To Ocean City Maryland 65km
To Tasley Virginia 125km
Oh my, they have a few rules here. I though I was in the "land of the free". I pulled into the parking area to board a ferry, just as the last vehicle was boarding. "Hi Sir. Have you a ticket." No. "You'll all have to get one from the ticket office". Okay. " Hello Sir. You need to show me photo ID to get a ticket...." Back in the carpark..... "Now Sir, we just need this dog to check you all out...." My panniers, trailer, handlebar bag and pockets are sniffed. What are you looking for? "Just for anything you all shouldn't have....." said the Trooper. I'm told that they are just checking this stranger out, as he's doing unusual stuff, and they need to profile me, and get me in the system..... Hmmmm.
Then the signage..... "NO....NO.... NO", and they're everywhere. Is there anything youre allowed to do? And there are soooo many churches, many of never before heard of denominations....." The Church of the Lighthouse to God", "The Church of the Enlightened Father." Many are tucked away in quiet, tiny villages, and some are almost hidden in the woods. Is this the "Bible Belt"?
But, I'm meeting some amazing people, and can have in depth conversations with them, using words longer than one syllable. Like Debbie, an intelligent, beautiful pianist and organist, who teaches piano, is a massage therapist, and has just sold her Mexican Resturant, where she did all the cooking. I considered proposal, and an offer of coming to live with me in Hanmer Springs, but thought she might not like that I'm already married....( and perhaps I need to check in with Ju about it as well....)
Then there's Alex. He's a beach life guard in the Summer, cleans and prepares swimming pools in the Spring, and cycles to warmer climates in the Winter, so he can practice his passion of body boarding. This young man has his priorities sorted.
What about the crew at the Tasley Firehouse? I can't find my Warmshowers host, so call in to the Firehouse (Fire Station). The Chief is there, even though he's a volunteer, and there isn't a call out. "No problem, Sir." (I love how polite they are....) "You can bunk down here. I will just text the crew and let them know you will be here. Do you want food?" Over the course of the evening "I guess", every volunteer turned up to say "Howdy Sir", and then they hung out. Some are taking a Firefighting Course at the Academy, and had a written exam today, so there's a lot to talk about. Now I'm not sure whether they were really talking English, because when they got going, it was very hard to understand, but maybe that was because of the giant gobs of chewing tobacco they had stashed behind their lower lips, and their spitting into the empty coke bottle they have in the front pouch of their hoddie. I'm so very lucky, to be able to share these "real american" experiences. One of the crew was a policeman from the Chesapeake Tunnel/Bridge, and will help me cross it, as you're not allowed to cycle. Another couple suggested the best place locally for breakfast.......
Ocean City has a huge boardwalk, and this weekend is Spring Festival, which looks very much like an AMP show, without the animals. Lots of marquees were being set up for stalls, and all sorts of rides to add to those already on the boardwalk. As I rode into Ocean City, I passed at least ten "mini golf" courses. But then it is usual for 350,000 people to descend on the area over the summer, which starts on Memorial Weekend, in three weeks. So a pleasant quiet spot must turn a little crazy. What I did find, after much searching, since arriving in NY, was an ATandT shop, and sorted a Sim card for my phone, with the help of a great bunch of very respectful, and helpful staff...... did I say how much I love these people's manners...... calling me "Sir".
And the scenery...... My Warmshowers hosts have been recommending the best cycling routes. Mostly, the routes stay well off the main roads. Yesterday I meandered through lovely forest roads, with very little traffic. I saw deer, heaps of bird life, including a huge flock of what I think we're chicken hawks, and lots of other "critters". I just wish it would stop raining on me......