Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This morning at 7am the air was thick and humid. I could tell this was going to be a challenge from the start. Leaving Philadelphia from the Conshohocken bike path along the Schuylkill River however, was very easy and quick. The still waters followed me along a parkway void of car traffic. Leaving the path, I followed another path into Valley Forge National Historic Park. The rolling hills and stone barns and houses stand as stoic reminders of the battle for independence. Washington's headquarters is just off the main road. Though the path is seperate from car traffic, it is odd to see comuter traffic run through the park. This still does not disturb the quiet beauty of the fields and it is difficult to imagine cannon fire in what looks like prime farm country. As I left the area, my route took me further into the forest. As the day went on the fields seemed more remote and the forest thicker. I thought I should keep my eye out for black bear. Deer were abundant in the area and I had to carefully ride around one as he just stood in his tracks and looked at me.

This is Lancaster county, Pennsylvania and the elavation will not let a cyclist forget it! Combining this with 95 degree heat, I carefully monitored my water intake! Pennsylvania is an old state. Continental Armies waged war with the British Empire, the Confederacy launched attacks into it's homeland, and the battle with Native Americans began here before all this. The landscape holds these memories and knows that struggle is part of it's heritage. Stopping in Reamstown for the day, I am made aware of it's 250 year old history too. Just southwest of here, Lincoln commemorated another space in Pennsylvania. Speaking for what amounted to all of two minutes, his speech at Gettysburg eloquently framed and outlined what would become a new vision for a modern America.

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