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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day2: Aberdeen MD to Killen's Pond State Park

11/2/2013 77m
Aberdeen Md to KIllen's Pond State Park

Slept well, at least five hours without waking which is unusual for me. Walking my loaded bike into the hotel elevator, a lady looked at me (approvingly) and said, "all your earthly possessions, huh?" Which very much reminded me of a recurring theme, the extremely fine line between a touring cyclist (socially approved) and a homeless guy (socially disdained).

Rode north on Route 40 to Havre de Grace. Passed a local volunteer fire company doing some sort of proficiency drills. Stopped at the Hatem Bridge at Harve de Grace, which is closed to bicycles. Weekdays the Teal Bus provides bike rack crossings of the Susquehanna River, but on the weekend you're SOL. So I took two of my panniers off the bike to suggest my dilemna, and stuck out my thumb and started hitchhiking a lift across the bridge.

It only took +10 minutes, about the sixth pickup stopped. I'm not often hitchhiking or a supplicant, and it was a different experience. My thought of my situation was tempered by my recognition of the priviledges of my standing there, a rich old white guy with money, a short haircut, and a socially acceptable reason for asking for help. I thought about my friend M who gets stopped by a Pittsburgh police officer once a week, so the cop can challenge him and ask, how does a black guy like you afford such a nice bike? before deciding to allow M to continue on his way. So I think my bold experience in open-source river crossing had a lot of unspoken context.

Driving across the bridge, the kindly driver (another rich old white guy, so there's the whole tribe thing for you) asked where I was from and when I said Pittsburgh, he replied Man anywhere but Pittsburgh and those Steelers. I could see he was wrestling with the desire to throw me and my gear into the river on one hand, and his offer of hospitality on the other. I'm glad he chose not to pollute the river.

Trying to change the topic, he complimented me on my bike luggage and I explained it was my retirement gift from my colleagues, I was pleased to get to explain that. Two years next month.

Resumed riding on the other side of the Susquehanna. Drivers here are remarkably courteous and very aware of right-hooks. Stopped in a local restaurant in Elkton, Md, decorated as an homage to The Great One (as many are, this place's definition of The Great One is Marilyn Monroe. I often wonder about walking in to a small town eateries dressed like a cyclist/alien, but on Holloween Saturday they were all dressed funny, too, so I blended. There was a lady, Genet, who's the hardest working waitress I've ever seen.

I picked up a bit of a headwind as I turned south. Very nice roads, great shoulders, lots of share the road signs. Rode until the very edge of twilight, arrived at Killen's Pond State park as darkness fell.

Started raining as I entered the campground, so I set my tent and quickly got inside. I was warm and dry in the rain and dark, so that was great. I would not have been as comfortable in the hammock.

Very happy with my Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL2 tent. After two hours (I took a nap) the rain stopped, so I emerged and cooked some Mandarin Orange Chicken for dinner (which was very good). 77 miles.

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