Usually we plan our route for the day's ride to stay off the Interstate highways, much preferring the slower pace of local roads that also give us more of a feel for the communities. We also book our hotel room so we know where we're headed, and plug the hotel's address into our Garmin GPS system so that no matter how many scenic 'wrong' turns we take, we always end up where we plan to spend the night.
Today we threw caution to the wind. The weather forecast was for intermittent rain and thunder storms, and while we planned to spend the night somewhere in Pennsylvania, we also needed to ride into Delaware to check off our 13th new state. We decided to start the day's trip with about 100 miles on I-81 heading north from Harrisonburg, VA to Chambersburg, PA to cover the miles quickly and hopefully beat the storms.
We started at 6:30 am before the sun came up, and watched the light gradually highlight the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in the distance. I-81 travels through the Shenandoah Valley and crosses the Shenandoah River.
We crossed in and out of Maryland and Pennsylvania a few times today so that we could dip into the northwestern corner of Delaware. We rode through Gettysburg, PA, site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the inspiration for President Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address, and the turning point in the war that ended General Robert E. Lee's second invasion into the North.
This was the most traffic we've experienced yet in our 14 days on the road from home in Arizona, and it was jarring and frustrating to be in stop-and-go traffic through the numerous towns and small cities. We decided to let the Garmin GPS take over, and were relieved to be routed away from the centers of most of the towns and instead enjoyed the quieter side roads through the rolling hills of this part of the country.
We finally stopped for a late lunch in the beautifully named town of Honey Brook. We saw a billboard advertising a local diner, and Wimpy & Dee's didn't disappoint. Our waitress was friendly and helpful, the chocolate milkshake perfect with our sandwiches, and we enjoyed the 1950's memorabilia.
While we were eating lunch cellphones all around us started buzzing with a thunderstorm and possible flooding weather alert. We decided to find a hotel within an hour's ride to hopefully beat the approaching storm, and settled on Limerick, PA. This part of Pennsylvania is home to many Amish, and our route took us past several Amish farms, a couple of Amish driving a horse-pulled cart, and children working in the fields or riding push-scooters.
Everything out-of-the-ordinary worked out today: we just missed several storms, riding on wet roads where steam was rising off the pavement covered with puddles; we rode into Delaware; the Interstate helped us get around congested areas and ride faster; and taking our chances using the Garmin instead of pre-planning our route took us on curving roads through the beautiful green countryside.
We rode 360 miles today and 4167 total miles so far on our trip. Each day brings new challenges and something unexpected as we continue to make our way northeast. Here is today's route