After the horrible 90 degree heat on our day off (day 7) we woke up to temperatures in the 60’s and the promise of warm sunny weather. We were excited for this day because it would mean we had accomplished our first goal; to make it to Cape Henlopen State Park, DE. Friends from the Lancaster area had planned to come and camp there for the coming weekend and we wanted to make it there in time to met them and hang out for a few days. We were successful since we arrived a whole day early!
The ride that morning was quite nice and we rolled easily over paved country roads.
We stopped in the town of Milford and happened to pass the local bike shop.
“Bikes Etc.” is owned by Jack Sheaffer, who was very pleasant to talk to, and he has a wonderful shop catering to a variety of cycling needs. I picked up a rear view mirror that mounts to my handlebars. We each have mirrors that attach to our helmet visors but it seemed nice to have a second one that is stationary while I move my head. Jack gave us a bicycling map of the area and some good advice about roads to ride on to get the Cape Henlopen. Thanks Jack!
As we pedaled on the day became warmer but the wind started to pick up. Around 2pm the wind was blowing so strongly that it felt like we were pedaling uphill all the time. My guess is the wind was constantly moving at 13 MPH and there were gusts around 17 MPH at times. This made for some awkward handling of the loaded bikes. A few times I had to stop and pull over because the wind was blowing me into the traffic lane or off the road altogether. I supposed this is something we will get used to the more we ride and our skills improve…but I don’t think I’m ever going to like riding in that much wind. At one wind rest stop we watched a farmer plowing up his field and seagulls rushing in and out to get at all the newly turned over grubs and worms.
If you want to see it in action, here’s a short video of plowing up seagulls.
After what seemed like endless hours of struggling to move on flat terrain we entered the town of Lewes (Just a few miles from Cape Henlopen State Park) and stopped to eat at our favorite Italian eatery. It’s called “A Touch of Italy” and the food is delicious and quite authentic.
We both ordered huge sandwiches and stuffed them down, hands and faces covered with olive oils and sauce. I have to say, I couldn’t quite finish mine but Hannah did hers justice.
We also bought some lemon wedding cookies and chocolate cream cheese cookies from their bake shop and stowed them in a pannier for a later treat.
At this point the weather really started to take a turn for the worse. We knew a storm was coming in later tonight and the weather would be wet. We carry and small NOAA weather radio with us to alert us to bad weather and friends and family had texted us earlier to let us know the weather would get bad in the next 24 hours. So as we walked out the door of the restaurant we shivered and grabbed insulated jackets out of our panniers. The temperature had dropped about 15 degrees in the past hour, thick fog had rolled in and the wind was as strong as ever. Knowing we only had two more miles we didn’t pull on cold weather riding gloves or hats but I sure wish I had. These last two miles were miserable and such slow riding into the wind. Everyone who had been out enjoying the nice day had vanished into their homes or cars and we made the best effort to pedal our way to the campground.
We arrived in a soggy mist and hurried to locate the site we would camp at for the next few days. After setting the tent up and stowing gear inside the vestibules to keep it from getting wet I felt pretty chilled and wanted nothing more than a hot shower and bed. I walked down to the showers to find out that only one of them worked well enough to even count as a shower and that the water was far from warm. Since this shower was lacking in the ability to fine tune the amount of water being used, I got rather soaked with cold water when I turned it on and after 20 minutes of holding out for the water to get warm I bitterly toweled off and made my way back to the campsite, shivering the whole way.
Once back I donned the wool long underwear I’d been carrying for cold weather, wool socks and my hat and mittens and slumped into my sleeping bag. After an hour without any improvement in body temperature we made some hot tea which really helped warm me up. We then ate the cookies and read via the e-readers for a few hours before drifting off to sleep.
It rained on and off all night but the wind did eventually die down. My last thought as I fell asleep was of being so glad that we did not have to get up and ride the next day in the wet cold weather.