Day 2: Elverson to Lancaster

This morning I got up at 6:45 AM. I didn’t sleep well last night since my legs and my back were aching the entire night. I must have over did it. I should have planned for only 20 miles or so on the first day since I've not bicycled in a long time. It seemed that Mark and Sue had their morning already planned and I didn't want to be a hinderance. After taking a picture of both of them in front of their cherry tree I left Mark and Sue’s house at 8.

Sue and Mark

I only rode for about 2 miles when my legs became sore again so I stopped in front of a gazebo, as it turned out, it was actually a coffee shop. An Amish person struck a conversation with me as we both went inside the coffee gazebo. The owner, Lynne, asked me what I want. I jokingly said a couch, so I can rest a little. Next thing I know, she called her husband, named Lynn, so I can take a rest in their house, which was just next door.

I told Lynn about my journey and my website, where I was keeping a blog to document my journey. While he was on the computer, I met Lynn and Lynne’s daughters and son. After stretching out my legs a little, I decided to get back on the road. I took a photograph of the couple and their coffee gazebo, which is named Twin Valley Coffee.

After Lynn went inside the house Lynne offered to pray for me. I was a little hesitant, thinking that she might try to convert me. I’m not a religious man, but I like the philosophy of Buddhism. I went to a Unitarian Universalist congregation for some time when I was living in Philadelphia. The UU's believe in equality no matter what religious background you come from. That was the main attraction for me. At this uncomfortable moment, I decided to accept Lynne's prayer, thinking that I can always use some good vibes.

Lynne asked me what I should prayer for. I thought for a second and replied mental strength. I think this trip will take physical strength for sure, but it's the mental strength that tends to get overlooked. We prayed that God will give me the mental strength I needed to complete my journey. Even though we might not agree on who Jesus Christ actually was, I felt a sense of rejuvenation after our prayer and decided to get on my bike again.

Lynn and Lynne

Mark and Sue had told me about a bicycle shop called Shirk’s, which is about 9 miles away from their house, or about 7 miles from the coffee gazebo. When I arrive there I picked out two water bottles and a pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses I brought with me was too heavy and kept falling off my nose when I was cycling. I also decided on a tune up service for my bike. Ben, the mechanic, replaced the break pads for me. Lucas, Ben's supervisor, gave me a steep discount on the tune up and even threw in the water bottles for free! They were so nice to me and my bike, definitely a great bike shop.

Shirk's Bike Shop

It was around 1 PM when I arrived at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, another place recommended to me by Mark and Sue. I had a taco bowl with some iced tea for lunch, but only found out later from the old ladies waiting at the bus stop that the real good food was on the second floor. Oh well.

I got on the road again and soon I was in Amish country. With the smell of horses and cows, and green grass and blue sky, I felt I was in a picture. In all four directions were wide open farm lands. With the 80 degree temperature and the occasional headwind, I began to worry about what would happen when I ride in the Midwest or the Great Plains. Several people had told me that the headwind is so bad there that some people turn back. Mark, who rode the TransAmerica trail in 1987, was going from west to east to catch the tailwind. I was also warned by the lady at Riverbend Cycles that the wind is bad out there. Judging by my speed, which is only about 7 mph, I will not be able to move forward at all if the wind gets too strong. I might just go south to Florida if that’s the case. I'll be the judge once I get to Virginia.

Amish Country

Around 5:40 PM, I arrived in Lancaster. I was able to contact a host on Warmshowers at the last minute. My host is Amelia, an outgoing girl who is in her twenties. Her two sisters live with her and so is her brother. I got to talking with the brother, whose name is Luke, about life and such. After taking a shower, I made dinner with Luke for just the two of us. I prepared some salad and Luke made some fried eggs. They were simple but good.

After dinner, Luke and I took a walk around downtown Lancaster. The town was a happening place with music at the civic center and people driving with their stereos blasting. When we got to the center of the town, there were two police men on horses. Horses kind of scare me because they are so big. I petted one for the first time.

Downtown Lancaster

I’m back at Amelia’s apartment. Luke put down some sheets on the couch for me. I’m ready to call it a night even though I only rode about 33 miles today, compared to 36 yesterday.