Day 7

First I need to say something about last night. After quickly writing the Day 6 post (protected against the mosquitoes by deet), I retired to my tent. That was at about 18:30. By the time I had my little house set up inside I was feeling quite tired, perhaps aided by the release of tension in finding a place to stay. I lay my head down for a short nap and slept essentially until morning — longest sleep I’ve had in a very long time. ┬áHere’s a picture of my setup just before I retired (I forgot to post this yesterday):

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Well it wasn’t uninterrupted sleep. I did wake up a couple of times with howling off in the distance. I don’t know what it was — wolves? coyotes? but I was a little scared. I rooted around in my bin and got out my Fox 40 whistle (thanks Ken!) and my pepper spray (thanks Paul!) and hung them around my neck. It occurred to me that there were no humans nearby and I felt quite isolated and exposed. At another point in the night I thought I heard some small animal noises nearby.

Anyway, the morning light was welcome and it didn’t take me long to deconstruct my camp. I was on the road shortly after 08:00. I spent all day on Route 6. It was very pleasant, with lots of ups and downs (though nothing, I suspect, to what lies in wait when I cross the Pocono Mountains). Here are a few random snaps:

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At one point I passed this sign — the only one of it’s kind that I saw:

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Shortly thereafter I saw this little monument (roughly where the cart is in the first picture):

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One suspects that cyclist Steve Head lost his life here because of a careless motorist. I wasn’t able to find anything on the internet about it. The date on the simple monument was 2005-04-22. It made me sad for a little while, especially thinking about Tom Samson, my son’s best friend, who died last year in such an accident.

On a lighter note, here’s an honest sign:

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My goal for today was to get to Hawley — about 15 miles. It’s amazing how dirty and smelly I was getting camping, no showers, absorbing road dust. So I decided that I would get a hotel and clean up. I tried to make a reservation on the way but the first place I called was closed on Tuesdays (!) and recommended a B&B, which didn’t respond to my calls. But I headed there, via google maps, anyway. I knew I was getting close when I saw Lake Wallenpaupack:

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Coming out of the northern end of the lake is this monster pipe:

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It’s easily visible in google maps satellite view, but I couldn’t figure out what it was for.

Anyway, I finally made it to the B&B just as my front tire got a flat! I knocked on the door and no one answered. Two blows at once. I realized that I couldn’t do anything without a working tire so I set to work repairing it. I had a spare tube and a repair kit with me but it was quite hard. It’s difficult getting a small tire off a rim and it’s even harder getting it back on. I probably didn’t have the right tool. I think I may have pinched the new tube because it wouldn’t inflate. OK, I thought, trip scuttled. Call Fiona and get a ride home — there can’t possibly be a cycle shop in this remote place.

However, I decided I would limp along to a hotel anyway. After calling around a bit I found one quite close to where I was — the Ledges Hotel. I managed to get there and found out almost immediately that there are two cycle shops in town. I was ecstatic and took this picture of the reception crew:

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So I took a shower — never more welcome! — and headed over to the Settler’s Inn, the MUCH more expensive sister hotel to the Ledges. After a lovely burger and bowl of soup I was feeling pretty good! I had solved four problems: busted inner tube (hopefully tomorrow), dirtiness, homelessness and hunger! I have decided to take a day off from walking tomorrow to get the tire fixed and to do laundry. Besides it’s supposed to rain the next two days; might as well only walk in one of them.

By the way, Matthew has added a couple of new features to the MAP tab. It should show my route so far in alternating colors and then a blue line from where I am to my destination, as computed by google maps. Also, I now have an app on my iPhone that when I press a button a text message is sent to a phone of Matthew’s which he processes with a Perl script and automatically shows my location on the map. I shall try to press that button periodically. It would be nice if I had an app that could do that automatically at a specified frequency. If no one knows of such an app, maybe someone could write one. Ches?

34 thoughts on “Day 7

  1. Marnie

    So glad to hear about your day! Allan. Glad the problems have a resolution. And that Fiona is back in the US.

  2. Marnie

    Oh what is the name of the app that is sending your location in a text?

  3. Wen-Ling

    Geoffrey & I prayed for you last night… Dave & I prayed for you this morning…
    We will keep praying and look forward to hearing the blessings and grace experienced from the trail.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thank you very much Wen-Ling and Geoffrey and Dave! It is a great comfort to know that my little adventure is bathed in prayer by many people.

  4. Dave Sutherland

    And on the eighth day, Allan rested!

    A well deserved and well timed sabbath pit stop. Your efforts ended on a high with sweet multifaceted redemptive deliverance following the deflating experience of the tire. It’s lovely that all of us following were able to experience the relief vicariously.

    You’ll need everything ship shape before you head into the mountains. Its been quite a week.

    1. Allan Post author

      Well put, David! And it will be climbing in the rain, if the weather forecast is correct. But I’m sure I’ll be pumped for it by tomorrow.

  5. Jim Lamason

    Good morning Allan,
    I noted in this post your sense of being alone… Right now, in a virtual sense and even a spiritual sense you are far from that. And its going to grow as you press on. The people you are meeting along the road and the folks who are posting here on a growing basis should tell you are far from alone. We are there with you… Maybe not physically but definitely in spirit, bathed and surround by prayer and thoughts of you through out the day… Wise choice to take a day off… Rest easy and sleep well..
    JIM

  6. Russell Sutherland

    Great early morning snaps with the water reflexions (for Simon)! That’s what we’re talking about!!
    And do not get discouraged re. your tyre (for Simon again) puncture. You’ve gone to far and have still miles to go before you sleep!

    Good call re. taking a rest day… call it a sabbath.

    Rolling.. rolling.. rolling on the river.

    Russell

  7. Pete

    Come on Dad, getting down because of a flat tire, you were the one that showed me how to patch an inner tube when I was probably 12 years old! I agree a rest day is in order, looks like you are about 1/4 of the way here. My students were wondering about whether you listened to music, I’ll pass on your reply to Dave’s query.

  8. Joe Abdy

    I like the Jewish day aspect of the blog, that is the latest post has started with the prior evening! As a big Google Maps fan, I have enjoyed the map and the new additions. Yesterday your path for the day was uploaded before the blog post, and you could see your path to the B&B and then to Ledges. I surmised that’s where you stayed based on the map (my family thinks I’m a little crazy, but I enjoy the “detective ” work, sort of like, “Guess where Allan is”). Enyoy the day of rest, however, please pick up the pace, I have good odds on you finishing in under 31 1/2 days in the inter-assembly pool!

    1. Allan Post author

      The first thing I do when I arrive at my destination is turn off the GPS tracker and email the track to myself and to Matthew. Some time inevitably elapses before I write the day’s blog post; hence the lag you noticed. I love the fact that you are analyzing the track as soon as it is posted! As for the pace, I’ll try to pick it up; maybe I’ll try riding the cart on the downhills. No I guess that would be cheating. Seriously, though, I had imagined that once I got into the rhythm of things I could up the pace to maybe 20 miles per day. That may still be the case, but 15 miles seems like a good chunk. It’s harder work than I had imagined, both physically and mentally. But we shall see — wouldn’t want my neighbor bankrupted by my tardiness!

  9. Barbara

    Glad you enjoyed your time at the camp ground. Glad to see you made it to Hawley lots of hills from Milford to there. Thanks for giving me your website. Your pictures are great especially the one of my friends garage in Milford. Best of luck on the rest of your trip. Enjoy your day off. Hawley is a quaint little town.

  10. Cheryl

    Keep the posts coming! So interesting to read. And I posted to your Facebook that I’m happy to see you at least chose a very nice hotel to spend your day off! Might have to take a trip there myself…it looks so nice. I find it interesting that you’ve been gone for 8 days on the move but yet you can still say in your blog post that you were “thinking of calling Fiona to come pick you up”! You’re so far … but yet so close! Get some good rest! Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

    1. Allan Post author

      I know Cheryl — I’m constantly reminded in many ways of the speed ratio between walking and driving. The comment about Fi picking me up was important in another way, though. If anything goes wrong (and many things could!) I’m never more than 4 hours from a pickup since I have family in Toronto and since Toronto is only an 8-hour drive from Scotch Plains.

  11. Laura Haggan

    Keeping track of you Allan, I was a bit nervous last night because I went to bed and you hadn’t posted anything yet…glad to see and hear all is well again.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for your concern, Laura. I know it was late, but it was just taking a long time to do the post. I’m going to work on the Day 9 post now so hopefully it should be done in an hour or so.

    1. Allan Post author

      That’s a cool service, Patrick! I should have looked into it before I left. But it does seem that it shouldn’t be too hard to do the same thing for free with an iPhone. Thanks all of you in the Osl and Whalen clans for following!

  12. Dave

    Sometimes we take a sabbath, and other times God tells us to take one – Either way I am glad you had the wisdom to take a day and regroup. Blessings.

  13. Kenneth Holms

    Good tip to get tire on is to rub it with the likes of washing up liquid and it should slide on no bother, it will also work getting it off too. go man go.

    1. Allan Post author

      Good tip, Kenneth. These tires are really tough to work with. Even the expert at the bike shop had trouble.

  14. jpl

    About 3 decades ago, I used to do a lot of cycling, so I experienced a lot of flats. I just looked through a bunch of how-to sites on the web, and here’s one I liked.

    http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/flat-tire.html

    In particular, several sites didn’t mention partially inflating the tube before remounting the tube and tire on the wheel. A partially inflated tube is much less likely to get pinched, and a pinched tube is likely to go flat quickly. Checking the old tube for damage is also important. If a spoke has protruded far enough through the wheel to wear on the tube, the new tube is likely to wear out at the same place. Fortunately, I seldom saw this, because fiddling with spokes is non-trivial. Possibly less critical at the speeds you are traveling (unless you change your mind about riding down the hills :-).

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks, JPL. I’ll blog about the tire in a few minutes, but basically I think I didn’t do anything wrong. I did do the partial inflation before insertion and I don’t think I pinched it — it was probably a problem with my old pump. The real problem with changing those small tires is getting them back on the rim — really, really hard.

  15. John M.

    Hey Allan, Jon B. pointed me at your blog, primarily because your walking trip has a lot of similarities to the bicycle trips I’ve taken. Interesting stuff. It’s fun to see where the mind goes with too much time to think. Although flat tires are a hazard of bicycle touring, I wouldn’t have expected that you would also be vulnerable. Good luck on the rest of your trip.

    John

    1. Allan Post author

      Jon has mentioned you to me several times — my bad that I never got in touch with you. He speaks very highly of your expertise. I will welcome any tips you might have if you see areas where I can improve.

      1. Jon Bentley

        I’m glad that my two (road) wandering friends are in touch at last! Allan’s trip does seem to have many issues in common with John’s trip described in his blog at
        http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=9680
        I have felt a closeness to Allan’s walk as I’ve been reading his blog, and much more as I’ve been wandering Adirondack trails on the weekends. Thanks to both of you for sharing, and walk safely, my friend!

  16. Jim Lamason

    Hey Allan,
    Just had a thought… Any way you could get a spare wheel all together? They you could just change it out, and then work on the flat when you had down time.. Just thinking..
    Ok looking at weather for tomorrow. Should be some showers.. Praying and following you!
    JIM

    1. Allan Post author

      The trouble with a spare wheel is that it is bulky and I’m really full up at this point — the bin is packed to the top. I don’t think it would be worth the hassle and I think I’m basically prepared now for flats. Good idea, though — thanks, Jim.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks very much for finding that, Jorge. “Died suddenly”. It was such a small, simple, crude monument.

        1. Allan Post author

          Thanks Stephanie. So he was driving a car, not a bicycle. It says “he left the road” but doesn’t speculate why.

  17. kathleen VanNatta

    I sometimes wonder if strollers need inflated tires. They can be so inconvenient.
    I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work. You and Ali are great writers!
    Kathy

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