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We awoke early but after 3 days off the bikes, we all moved a bit slowly doing our morning routine. We finally got on the road at 9:30am. It was an absolutely beautiful riding morning. It was sunny but cool and breezy. We rode back gravel roads from Browning’s Campground out to the all too familiar Route 50. We had set our GPS to the local McDonald’s, again mostly to get the Wifi connection so we could post our blog. To be quite honest, I am pretty tired of McD’s food but feel obligated to patronize them if we’re going to utilize their free Wifi connection.
While sitting at the computer, I looked around and noticed that most of the dine in patrons were senior citizens. I think the inexpensive, no tipping necessary fast food chain has taken the place of the corner diner where our parents used to meet friends for coffee.
Once the blog was posted, the Beast and I packed up the computer bag and headed outside. We were surprised to see Naomi, one of the sisters who manages the Browning’s campground, outside talking to Frankenbutt. She had come into town to get gas for her mower, saw our bikes at McD’s and came to wish us well on our trip. I kid you not when I say that the people we’ve met along our journey have been amongst the nicest people in the world.
Once we started riding along Route 50, the traffic and the breeze blowing past our ears made conversation difficult at best. So, we rode along quietly for long stretches, each of us lost in our own thoughts. I found my mind coming back time and again to the family news my mom had shared with me the night before. My sister’s niece (her husband’s sister’s daughter) was recently found dead in her bed at the age of 24. I had only seen Stephanie a few times at my sister’s family parties over the years and wasn’t even aware that she was an adult already. She was always just one of the kids playing in the pool.
I knew that Stephanie had her share of problems over the years, including a few run ins with the local police for drugs. Although the autopsy hasn’t returned results yet, it is assumed that she died from an overdose. I can’t imagine how her mother, sister and the rest of her family are dealing with this. Although I’ve raised my kids as best I can, I always hoped that they would not be tempted by drugs. Addiction hurts so many more than just its user. Stephanie leaves behind twin daughters who are both autistic, as well.
I tried to get the weight of those thoughts off my shoulders and just enjoy the ride. During one of our stops, I received an email from my dear friend, Sheena of Newtonville, Ontario, asking if we felt the earth quake. I stopped and checked the online news on my Blackberry and was stunned to hear that a quake rocked the East from NC to Toronto. We truly hadn’t felt a thing while we were riding.
We pedaled on through quiet towns and country side until we reached Muscatatuck State Park. The entrance was a beautiful downhill winding road under old growth trees. It felt like it was going to be the nicest ending to a day of riding. Of course, just as I thought that, the downhill spree turned to an uphill climb that caught 2 out of the 3 of us in too high a gear. The Beast and I got off and pushed our bikes while Frankenbutt chuckled as he slow speed passed us. I didn’t mind so much since we were at the end of the day’s ride.