We started the day a little off route because the hotel is a little off route, because most of the hotels are off route. It seems the ACA maps cater more to campers than to hotel wimps. Dana’s actually thinking of writing into them, suggesting that they map out route alternatives for hotels and B&Bs.
So anyway, we looked at the map and thought, we’re already on rte. 23, and the ACA route goes back onto rte.23, how hard could this be? We were supposed to be on a bike path, and it looked like we could get onto said bike path in Valley Forge National Park. So we went into the park and rode around for a while in the parking lot, but we couldn’t find the bike trail.
Dana finally found a park ranger who explained that the only way to get on the bike trail is via 422 – the bridge that caused yesterday’s kerfuffle – and he suggested that we ride back across the Schuylkill, then back again, just to get on the bike trail.
Not gonna happen.
So we headed back to rte. 23, found a trail in the park, and did the Valley Forge bike trail thing. Here is a nice touristy picture.
Then we continued onto rte, 23, back on track, until Dana realized that we should have turned off it almost immediately after getting on it, but he was so busy rejoicing in having navigated out of the park that he missed the cue. We stopped at a Quickie Mart to figure it out – I bought more Gatorade, and Dana ate a cherry pie in a box that he’s been hoarding for about a week. After snack time, we did a little maneuvering and got back on our route, which was much quieter and prettier than rte. 23, but also a lot more hilly. Surprise! The farm in this picture, which looked much better than it does here, came into view just as we came up over a hill. It was breathtaking, like it should be a picture in a kids’ book on the page “F is for Farm”.
We’ve also seen some wonderful birds in this area. Orioles and flickers are everywhere, and today we saw a pileated woodpecker. We even rode through an official Audubon sanctioned bird town.
After about 10 more miles of beautiful farmland and hilly scenic wonder, we got onto Pughtown Road, which eventually brought us, not to Pughtown, but to Bucktown. We learned this because we stopped for lunch in A.J.’s Pizzeria, and asked how you pronounce the town name, and a nice lady said Bucktown. Then she explained that it’s really Pottstown, but sort of Bucktown, and Pughtown is over there somewhere. We still don’t really know how to pronounce Pughtown.
We had a delicious slice of Brazillian World Cup pizza, which had so many toppings that one slice was a complete meal. We hung out in A.J.’s for a while, and the owner took our picture for his Facebook page. Then we got back onto rte. 23 for a little while, and turned off onto St. Peter’s Rd.
Just to be clear, that entire time – from the hotel to the parking lot circles to the touristy stuff to the scenic wonder – it was lightly raining. As we headed towards St. Peter’s, it started raining harder.
I just knew, looking at the map, that St. Peter’s would be on top of a hill. But it was the most beautiful little town, perched on a cliffside. From there, we kept climbing for about 15 more miles, through French Creek state park, and finally into Plowville, where we sort of stopped climbing. And it sort of stopped raining.
When the rain let up, we decided to change our gloves because they were getting slippery, and I’m pretty sure I was getting a rash from all the trapped moisture. And that’s when Dana realized that his second pair of bike gloves are actually my gloves, and he doesn’t have extra gloves. I however, have 3 pairs. Lucky me. While we were stopped, we ate some Raisinettes that Dana’s been hoarding.
We stopped for dinner in Bowmansville, where I had a beer and we both had sandwiches. We weren’t sure we’d find dinner near our hotel, and we figured eating early is better than not eating at all. I broke a rule and had a beer with 6 miles left on the ride. We sat at the bar talking to a really nice guy about biking, kids, jobs, aging, etc. Dana is getting into bar sitting!
When we left the bar, it was raining quite hard. Outside the bar we met 2 guys who are riding from New Jersey to Portland, Oregon. They are from France, only one of them speaks English, and they have no maps. We shared our maps with them and wished them well. They were looking for a place to camp tonight, and I’m thinking they are probably getting very wet right now.
We just got into Amish country between Bowmansville and our cheap motel in Reamstown. We passed some beautiful farms, like this one. Ducks are cute, even in the rain.
The last 2 mile to the hotel were on a sort-of highway, the sky was becoming ominously dark, and the rain was getting worse. As I sit here, I can hear it pelting the roof, which really makes us appreciate a cheap motel room. If the weather is OK tomorrow – and by OK I mean no lightning – we will ride 30 miles to Mt. Joy. They have a bike shop there, and Dana can buy gloves.