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I let the Beast and Frankenbutt sleep in a little this morning because it’s our daughter’s 13th birthday. At 7:45 am, I woke them and we all got dressed and went to the hotel breakfast. Unfortunately, for the Beast, there were no waffles and only 2 cereals, neither of which she liked. She’s not an egg eater or a bagel lover; Frankenbutt and I had bagels with cream cheese and a side of scrambled eggs and sausage. The Beast nibbled at a banana nut muffin and attempted to eat the Cheerios.
We leisurely packed up and left the hotel around 9am. Frankenbutt had seen an “Outdoor Outfitters” store not far from the hotel so we rode there first and finally got some cooking fuel. We use a compact can of a butane/propane blend that is typically available at Walmart but was out of stock during our last visit. With that in hand, we knew we’d have a hot dinner tonight! We also picked up some replacement batteries for our head lamps.
As we left Stroudsburg via Route 209 South, the familiar hills began. We were tackling them pretty well until we started to get some that were uphill to a plateau to another uphill. Those are tough without gaining the momentum we typically get from standard rolling hills. The plateau ones drain the life out of our leg muscles. Just about the time we were all feeling pooped, we came into a town and saw a Wawa. Needless to say, Frankenbutt shrieked like a school girl again! We parked our bikes in the shade, got Coco out for a walk and some fresh water and then ordered the famous Wawa hoagies. We sat in the grass and enjoyed the cool shade while we ate, cars buzzing past us in the parking lot.
I changed my shifting strategy and was able to ride up the rest of the hills. The GPS directed us to turn onto Forest Inn Road where there was a slight incline. I was concerned about getting onto the side roads because they tend to be less “graded” than main roads. BUT … this road was amazing! It became downhill through a beautiful shaded run and we found ourselves squealing with delight as we hit speeds of 35-38 mph! In no time, we peeled 4 miles off our remaining 15 miles. Of course, the fun came to an end when we made our next turn and then steadily climbed about as high up as we had flown down.
A few back roads led us to 895 West and our GPS said we only had about 6 miles to our intended campground. A piece of cake, right? WRONG! We cruised along 895, managing pretty well over the hills until our GPS directed us to turn onto Germans Road. Upon first sight, it was obvious that the last few miles were going to be tough; the road was a not so well paved steady uphill. Still … we were only 2 miles from rest!
About a mile from the campground entrance, I heard a loud bang behind me. The Beast’s front tire had blown out! Because we use “slime” infused inner tubes, there was a bright colored sticky mess on the ground around her tire. I wasn’t concerned because I knew we still had a spare inner tube. I looked at Frankenbutt who’s brow was furrowed and asked, “what’s the big deal? It’s just another tire change, right?” He shook his head NO and then showed me the gash in the tire itself and reminded me that he had just put our last spare tire on his bike yesterday after he noticed the uneven wear from riding slanted shoulders. (His bike has the heaviest load and hence the most demand on his tires.)
Uh-Oh. Still … I know Frankenbutt. He’ll figure out a solution because he always does. In 15 years, I’ve never seen him come up against a mechanical issue that he couldn’t handle … well, except once. Last summer, during a trip from Florida to Lancaster, PA to meet one of our favorite couples, the truck suddenly lost all power. I pulled off the highway and he went under the hood, tried several things and then returned with the same furrowed brow I saw on him today. He explained that the diesel fuel injector pump had stopped working and that it’s not a “fix” situation but rather a “replace” situation. Much to my surprise, we had to be towed. Ugh.
Today with a furrowed brow, he asked for the Gorilla Duct Tape, the spare tire tube and his tools and then told me to continue onto the campground and get us checked in. Since it was less than a mile away, I agreed, reminding everyone to keep cell phones handy and to call me if I needed to send help back to them. I continued the uphill climb to the campground entrance which turned out to be a STEEP, loose gravel uphill climb that my bike and I just couldn’t handle. I dismounted and pushed my bike up the hill to the office. In a full sweat, I paid the camping fee and a nice woman walked up another hill with me to show me where we’d be spending the night. She also offered to drive us to the Walmart that’s about 6 or 7 miles away to get a replacement tire.
Within 15 minutes, Frankenbutt and the Beast arrived and I felt like I could finally relax. He explained how he used the Gorilla tape to patch the tire from the inside and then installed and pumped up the new tube. Considering the gash that was in the Beast’s tire, I was impressed that it held. He never fails to amaze me with his ability to address and solve most any mechanical issue.
So, tonight we had a rice and broccoli dish which we added packaged chicken and quinoa to and it made a warm, hearty ending to a workout of a day. The tent is up, the sleeping bags and bedrolls are down and it’s beckoning to me. First, I’m waiting ‘til the last possible moment to walk back down the hill to the only restrooms before we call it a night. My cell signal has been sketchy at best so I’m not sure if I’ll get this blog posted before bed.