Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The mist over the fields was so thick this morning that my handlebars felt wet to grab. The farms had laundry hanging on the line that I didn't think would ever dry. Next to a field being plowed by a man using four horses and a gas cutter, I saw a young boy wearing plain work clothes and a straw hat rollerblading. The Menonnite people in this part of Pennsylvania appear to be a liberal lifestyle version of the Old Order Amish I saw in Ohio. Neat homes and stone buildings seem to be the norm. Cycling along a ridge I was a little concerned with it's name being 'Furnace Hills'. I didn't want them to live up to their moniker. Moving west and then south I rode for a while along the Susquehanna River. Boats and docks lined the water's edge and it's size in places seemed more like a lake. Riding here was great on 'Long Flat Road'. But, that only lasted briefly as my southern path had to climb another ridge. It was nice to be in the trees and the houses on this stretch of the road were perched close together with streams flowing nearby. It reminded me of old places I had seen in West Virginia with the only difference being the use of stone to build foundations and retaining walls. I passed a place called Donegal and the stonework made sense. The scale of these buildings were 18th century and the people who built them must have been early Irish immigrants. My day's ride took me to the southern edge of the state line. Tomorrow I enter Maryland and will skirt around Baltimore's western edge. Lincoln had to do the same but for different reasons. He wanted to change trains here quietly and avoid confrontation with antagonistic people from this northern but slave holding state. His task would be to prevent insurrection and keep Maryland solidly in the Union.