Not Philadelphia (because the countryside is better)

This stretch of the trip is heavy on cities. From Salem into Boston, then to Baltimore, then to Washington DC. Pro-tip: cycling in rush hour sucks.

But first, leaving Salem. The witches didn’t want me to leave, so covered the city in mist. Ominous, but lovely.

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Elizabeth, I’ll give your mother your love, shall I?

090Coming into Boston, I crashed into a parked car. Was paying too much attention to the garmin, not enough to what was in front of me. Oops. I’m ok, bike is ok, but car has a scratch. Left my details, guy was understanding, look forward to seeing how much that’s going to cost me.

In Boston, was staying in a rather grim student digs. Fine for the budget, but a bit miserable. Spent more time walking around, seeing the sights and eating nice food. Went on a running tour which was quite cool. Though running was hard, given how little of it I’ve done lately and how tired my legs are. Had fun though.

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Paul Revere’s house
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The hill that everyone thinks is bunker hill, and calls bunker hill, but actually isn’t bunker hill. Sprinted to the top of this against some high school track stars to try and win a hat. Not pictured: me with my arse handed to me.
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One of the ship, one of the crew. One of the ship, one of the crew.

From Boston, into the countryside again, with five days of tough riding – the last three were 95-100 miles each. More of those double digit hills to curse my way up. The tough riding meant I didn’t stop as often for pics. But I did get this postcard-worthy one and a few more.

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It was national ice-cream day while I was in the countryside. Now I’ve struggled with lactose in the past and have found digestion much easier since giving it up. However, I’ve taken this trip as an opportunity to test that a little. Cheese is still a total no-go. Butter is ok when baked into something, but not melted or in sandwiches. So deserts are fine. And so is ice-cream, which in America is served in an AMERICA CONE.

023From there, into New York state, staying in Poughkeepsie (P’kipsee). As every fellow millenial will know, Ross from Friends was seeing a girl who lived in Poughkeepsie – a long train ride from New York – and hilarity ensued. Having spent a night in Poughkeepsie, I’m calling bullshit on that – nothing nice ever came from Poughkeepsie. Moved on quickly, over the longest pedestrian bridge in the world (the autistically named Walk Over the Hudson Bridge).

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Longest pedestrian bridge in the world, with my shadow

Two days of beautiful riding along the Delaware river – with some hills, but also some lovely flat, fast sections. Really appreciate a few miles of no hills. Had some company too for most of it from some guy whose name I didn’t catch – nice to have someone talk while riding instead of flagging me down because they wanted a chat (the next person that does that is getting a tyre lever in the neck).

I had originally planned to spend 2 nights in Philadelphia, but after consideration, decided to stay in the suburbs. It’s a 12 mile detour, which would have been at the end of a 112 mile day (as well as back when I left) through built up areas and I didn’t fancy it, so stayed in the suburbs – a town called Plymouth Meeting.

A quick word about airbnb. Staying in the countryside is beautiful. Lovely people – usually self-employed, retired, teachers, or otherwise available during the day. They offer me food and the beds are comfy and it costs next to nothing. Haven’t had a bad experience. Staying in cities (cheaply) is a horrible experience. It’s buy to lets, with cheap furniture, claustrophobic, dirty, smelly rooms and is a grim experience. Haven’t had a good experience. But it’s cheap.

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Stuff with my name on it FTW

Spent a day recuperating in Plymouth – as well as planning out the next few weeks’ maps and accommodation… So pretty much in a coffee shop. Lovely shop though. Here’s a picture I took on the sly of a woman stuffing her cat into a cardboard box.

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Also had the first nice salad of the trip – so in three months. Generally America does salads bad, but this one was good.

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I was staying with a lovely woman (a teacher) and her son, both of whom were bang smack in the middle of a Parks and Recreation binge. We didn’t get that back home, but it’s amazing. It’s a sitcom with Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt and Rashida Jones (among others), written by the same guy as the US Office. It was huge over here. Full of energy, full of positivity – one of those programs you can’t watch and not be in a good mood. I’d been watching all the way along and coincidentally finished the series while there. Then got sad because there was no more Parks and Rec to watch.

 

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