Washington, D.C. -> Overlea (N of Baltimore)
Distance (km) : 96
Time on bike : 5h 34m
Brutto time: 14.00 – 21.00
Avg : 17.1 km/h
Total (km) : 50.598
Altitude: 30 m
Difficulty: 3 of 5
As I know far too well at this stage of my global wanderings, all good things come to an end. This applies to my fantastic time here in Washington, D.C. with Mike and Trina as well.
Saying goodbye in the morning as they leave for work, I have this feeling that this is not the final farewell, that we’ll all meet up again some day, somewhere. Fingers crossed because I’ve been very pleased with the friendship that has grown over the last week with Mike and Trina – plus I’m hugely indebted to them on the universal favor account that we’re all part of, and I hope I can somehow make up for all they’ve given me (edible, non-edible, material and immaterial) if/once we meet again, in Denmark or elsewhere.
My electronic gadgets seem to let me down these days. A few months ago, my mid-range Canon lens stopped working, my laptop has given up on me, and my 2.000 USD HD video camera (bought in Malaysia in 2007) has caused me trouble since the bumpy roads of South America.
I guess this is to be expected, but still it sort of saddens me to be carrying around these dead dinosaurs. The problem is temporarily solved this morning, as I send a huge 15.5 lb (7.5 kg) package back to Denmark (75 USD postage, all in the name of lightweight travel. Auuuuu! That hurt). Out of sight, out of mind.
I still have my pocket camera so I’ll still be able to make movie clips. And now I can devote all my electronic love to my new Toshiba NB205-N311 netbook.
Mike and Trina gave me a print-out last night with a description of an alternative, bike-friendly route from D.C. to Baltimore that I’m following all day. Leaving the house on Q Street late afternoon brings an emotional melange of the sadness of leaving something/someone behind that you like and the evergreen excitement of being on the road again. Sometimes the hardest and the right things are the same…
This part of the US, the eastern corridor, is expectedly built up and I never really leave the suburbs on my way to Baltimore. But the ride is pleasant, mostly on bike paths or minor roads with only light traffic.
I have absolutely no idea where to spend the night, but I do know that I’m not going to pay for it. I hit the suburbs of Baltimore around 7PM, shadows are long, and I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea at all to go through downtown Baltimore (not the best kid on the block) this late in the day, not sure where to camp or anything.
Some of the ‘hoods southwest of downtown are definitely not places you’d want to bring your family for a Sunday picnic. Running low on alternatives, I just keep pedaling through the not-too-nice and gritty areas, not paying much attention to the seedy characters I pass by.
At 8PM I’m wam-bam in the center of downtown Baltimore. Nighttime approaches, and I decide this ain’t the time for my big-city sightseeing escapades, so I keep going. Springsteen’s on my mind. Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack!
The seediness of the neighborhoods doesn’t exactly disappear on the other side of town. Even in broad daylight these areas would seem pretty dark. I hang a right on Hwy 1 that takes me out of town, towards Philadelphia. It’s dark, busy, and I can’t say I’m enjoying this last bit of the cycling day. I keep hoping for a church with a grassy, quiet backyard, but all I see is a busy and extended urban tongue that stretches waaay north.
A community center in the Baltimore suburb of Overlea shows me mercy. The fire flies seem to be my only companions (plus a few mosquitoes ready for a surprise late-dinner) on the grass behind the building, right next to some residential houses and just 80 m from the highway. Tent up, canned spaghetti down, and goodnight Zülle.
(Photos on their way…)