TRIP: 15158 Calories, 281.1 miles --> 574 miles per gallon
Day 3 - 5283 Calories, 100.1 miles -> 587 miles per gallon
Woke up in the hostel, after a long night with the snorer, and knowing I would have to slip into a dried-sweat-y outfit for another 100 mile day. I put on my civilian outfit (goonies T-shirt from Sarah Wilson, sandals and trousers), drank a bottle of emergen-C (also from SW) and walked around the corner to a coffee shop called Doubleshot where I enjoyed a blueberry muffin and a coffee, wrote some emails at the terminals for patrons, and went back to the Hostel where Pete (seen here--might not be his real name) helped me find a route to Baltimore. He just used mapquest, avoided highways and looking for the shortest route. It worked out such a wonderful route. Great for pounding pavement, not great for understanding where you are (I can lead you along all the routes from the previous days, but have no idea how I got to Baltimore!).
After suiting up and packing everything onto the bike, I headed to the nearest bakery, where I purchased a huge, calorie-rich and day old loaf of wheat bread for just $2. I planned to munch on it all day. I figured that something which wasn't too flavorful would taste better later in the day, but for now I was running just fine on my blueberry burps.
About 5 miles into my ride, I got to this HUGE bridge over the Schuylkill river, the beginning of which, to my delight, was right next to a car crushery. Here is the video of the lanky monsters lazily tossing car parts onto an enormous mess of twisted metal. Watching them was quite relaxing, unlike the actual bridge crossing. there was a lot of glass on the pedestrian path, so I took donned sandals and walked until I got to the metal part of the bridge, where I was just riding on a see-thru grating, down over a hundred feet to concrete or water. It was really scary, but quite beautiful, so I found my self staring down as I rode along. I realized with a heart stopping horror that I hadn't been looking ahead where I was going, and that if a section of the grating had been missing, I would have just ridden off the bridge and into the water. Unlikely, yes, but an awful thought? Well, also yes.
The end of that bridge meant finding Pulaski Highway (25 miles away) and riding it 60 miles into Baltimore. It was like any other 4 lane highway in the US, with strip malls and car dealerships. The ride on Pulaski was notable for its length, the headwind (I was riding "against the flags" all day. they were blowing straight out) and this AMAZING submarine sandwich I got from Roma Pizza at 883 Pulaski Hwy in Bear, DE. An amazing Italian sub, all oily and with a ton of mayonnaise, and meat, well, just take a look! All for $4.99. Okay, looking at the picture, it doesn't look that good. It was GREAT. It tasted like heaven. Unbelievably fulfilling.
And I rode on, and on, and on. It was a boring, endless road. I had half the sandwich in my jersey pocket, so life was good, but the scenery was like anywhere else, I ended up having to take a picture of an busted up truck.
Then, finally, another rider passed me. What luck! It was the first time on the trip I have ridden with anyone else. His name was Jude, and he was in college, doing work at the nearby military proving grounds (I forget which ones) anyway, we talked for a bit and then I drafted him for a couple of miles. We rode together for between 5 and ten miles. I know drafting might be considered cheating, but there was such a headwind I have no choice but to consider it fair game.
When I was finally just 10 miles outside of Baltimore, I decided to call the hostel in Baltimore at which I planned to stay. They said two things.
A) They are closed for renovations
B) There is a 20 mile bike ride starting in 3 hours (9 pm)
So I call and they say: "You say you've ridden over 100 miles to get here? Well, we don't have anywhere you can stay, but can we interest you in a bike ride?"
I rode into Baltimore's inner harbor. It was a crowded, trendy little part of town, and I was sunburned, hungry, tired, dirty, and unsure of where I was going to spend the night. I had an hour left before the bike ride, and washed up in the food court bathroom and had a cup of crab soup (and 3 glasses of water) at a restaurant on the dock.
Then I rode back up to the hostel, and to my mild surprise, there was in fact a bike ride going on. A crowd of appropriately attired people had gathered inside the hostel and were discussing the historic sites which were to be visited along the ride. The atmosphere was terrific--everybody was calm yet enthusiastic, and very warm--offering me water, vegetables, and eventually, a shower, detergent with which to wash my clothes, a bike map of Maryland, some Guinness, and a sandwich including no less than ham, mustard, mayo, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes. I had chips too.
Chris (in black) is a volunteer who lives at the hostel and is helping to renovate it, was nice enough to let me stay there. He and a girl named Vatu chilled out in the hostel while everyone else went on the bike ride, and we had some good conversation. Chris and Vatu were very mature, with well thought out opinions on whatever we talked about. I felt a little young around them, to be honest.
I slept on a couch in the main hostel hang out room / office, and drifted into a deep sleep until the next morning.