Today we rode from Conshohocken, a suburb of Philadelphia, through Philly to Newark, Delaware.
On the way, I met up with a friend who used to live in DC, Vanitha. I can’t believe we didn’t take any pictures of the two of us together. We met for breakfast at a place called Greg’s Kitchen (delicious breakfast bowls with tater tots – yum!). While I was waiting I was looking at the neighborhood. The architecture told a story that I would love to investigate using deed records and historical notes. Across the street there was a sculpture gallery called Artesano Iron Works. These are some of the very interesting works they had outside.
Right next to the ironworks was a “Smoke and Vape” shop. Next to that was, appropriately enough, the fire department. I thought the juxtaposition was funny.
After breakfast we rode together for about 10 miles before Vanitha needed to head back. We rode right past her apartment and she very kindly offered me a car ride to Newark, but I resisted. Before we parted I took a photo of this trail sign. 10 points if you can tell me why I took this photo.
The route went through some pretty gritty areas of Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love needs to show some better love in the neighborhoods near the airport and the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. I was never nervous or felt unsafe in those neighborhoods, although there were many boarded up houses, etc. It was Sunday morning and most of the people I saw out were dressed for church and responded cheerfully to my “Good morning!”
At one point the route took us through a small park where I saw several peahens strutting around unconcerned about people passing through. In the midst of all of these sad neighborhoods, they were a treat to see.
From there I went through the Heinz refuge. What a surprise! When I was researching the route I saw it went through there, but I couldn’t discern what kind of trail it was. Well, typical of the Adventure Cycling routes, it was gravelly and dirt, but very doable with my Surly (yay again for the touring bike). The area is some land surrounded by interstates and airport and would be considered “waste land” except that it has started to recover from years of pollution. Marshes provide natural filtration and cleaning of the water and the health of a system is measured by the animals returning. I saw MANY fishing birds – mostly herons. There were also ducks and geese.
A lot of our route today was marked as part of the East Coast Greenway. I have to say that “greenway” is an ambitious description. Yes, it’s a connection of roads, but the green spaces around this area are few and far between.
But finally, I saw this sign:
And I knew I was close to the finish. I wandered around a bit at the end and took a wrong turn, but I corrected pretty quickly and finally got to the church. We are at Bible Fellowship Church of Newark, DE. What a great church – open, friendly, and showers available on site. A couple of us went to do some laundry.
So, I have a clean body, and enough clean clothes to get me to Reston. I rode the entire way today and if the speaker wasn’t as loud as I would have liked, at least I didn’t get any flats. One of our road bike riders and our tandem riders weren’t as lucky today, and it was hotter today than yesterday.
So I feel pretty okay, and I’m ready for some sleep and then another short day tomorrow as we head for Havre de Grace.