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Bicycling and Flipping Dinosaurs, Lewes, DE

Greetings from where we are to you where you are,


I know this may seem strange to you.  But as a full time traveler I have to make an effort to do the things that will maintain my health and ability.  Just like you I do bills, try to keep in touch with friends and family, maintain my vehicles, file my taxes.  

It would be easy to let exciting locations and tourist activities consume all my time. The beach is calling, the new trail needs exploring, the museum is full of things to learn, restaurants have goodies, breweries have entertainment.  Speaking of museums!  I found something surprising in one recently I will tell you about later.

All that touristy stuff does fill up a lot of our time.

But the first morning at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware, I chose to ride my bike to a local gym so I could get some weightlifting in and do at least half of the PT exercises I was assigned.

I mapped my route and took off on trails to a gym in Rohoboth.  Now I was combining maintenance stuff with fun sight-seeing.  Rohoboth is a touristy place with a lovely boardwalk on the coast.

The route took me on the Gordon Pond Trail, It appears to be a great place to watch for birds.  It goes by salt marshes and a huge tide pond.


When I arrived at the Gym, the door was locked, the lights were off, and there was a note saying the gym was closed due to an emergency.  



I was bummed and tried to figure out how I could still get a good strength building workout.

I found a park with a picnic table and thought, "There must be good exercises to do using a picnic table on You tube.  Yes, there are! Youtube rewarded me with a couple picnic table workouts.  Check it out, sometime.  I did not succeed in doing all the exercises,  (which included jumping up on the bench and then up to the table) but I gave it a good try and worked up a dripping sweat.

When I was done, it was almost noon. I texted Steve that I was heading back to camp.  It turned out he was wandering around Rohoboth on his bike.  We met up and found a place for lunch.

It was a sandwich and coffee shop.  A man working there complained that he was a home builder, not a sandwich maker.  We must have looked at him strange because he then took the time to explain.

It turns out a local builder bought the coffee sandwich shop to market the builder to the locals.  The sandwiches are made to order and packed in boxes to take to the beach.  The coffee and sandwich business really took off.  This man said he got pulled away from construction to help out at the cafe.

After he walked away I started really noticing the decorations, all promoting the building company, including a video showing the current neighborhoods they are building.  


Unfortunately, the population is booming here, and the traffic to get around by car is overwhelming the existing roads.  Steve went out shopping twice and ran into grid-lock. 

Fortunately for us, the roads are mostly bike friendly (with big shoulders or a bike lane, and the drivers were courteous.  Plus, there are quite a few bike trails.

Steve and I biked a loop back to the campground.  On the way, I got a flat tire on the back wheel.  The electric hub added a bit of complication, but it was easy enough.  


Steve suggested we take our bikes on the Ferry to Cape May.  I had never been to New Jersey.  I was excited to experience the Ferry and Cape May AND check off another state.  

There is a Ferry from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ.  And it is about one bike-able mile to the Ferry from our campsite.

While biking the loop, we stopped at the Ferry and bought our tickets for the next day.

That evening I ordered two new marathon plus tires for my e-bike to be delivered to Steve's daughters in NY.   We will be seeing her shortly.   Schwalbe Marathon Plus are puncture resistant.  I get a lot fewer flats when I use them.  The flat I got that day was caused by a tiny piece of glass.  That wouldn't harm the Marathon Plus.

On Tuesday we rode our bicycles from the campground to the Ferry.  

There was a large group of bicyclists from a neighborhood in Lewes that were out for their annual ride to a Cape May brewery.

\

The ferry ride took about 45 minutes.  I saw six different dolphin pods!

We had also booked tickets for a historical tour by trolly.  The historic district is full of beautiful (to me) mansions.  The tour guide was a retired history teacher.  He was entertaining and very polished.


After the tour we walked down the pedestrian mall near the trolley station and looked for a place for lunch.  We came upon The Ugly Mug.  It was mentioned on our tour.  We went there.


I got excited as we were parking our bikes.  Right next to us I saw a Peanut Butter store.  After lunch we went directly there.

I could have eaten 10 deserts!  Omg.  Chocolate peanut butter, strawberry peanut butter, butterscotch peanut butter, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cups.

We settled on peanut butter cannolis.  Omg,  Soooo good!  A mini orgasmic experience!  😆 



We biked the bike lane on the ocean front road, past lovely old mansions.




We stopped at an old hotel that allows people in to see the lobby and public areas.




As we were getting back on our bikes, Steve pointed out the real gas-lit street lights still operating.


We got back to camp at around 8:00 and ate cheese and crackers before setting the alarm to get us up early.  Steve was going to show me where he and Margaret went to flip horseshoe crabs.  I had scheduled our time here to coincide with the time that the Horseshoe crabs usually land to spawn.

I set the alarm for five a.m.



We found a pair mating in the sand.  They were a long way from the water and appeared to be stuck.  We helped them get unstuck and closer.

Click here to see a real short video.


I just looked up on Google about the crabs and here is what it says, 

"Horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) can survive on land for up to four days if their gills are kept moist. In fact, they often become stranded on beaches during high tides in the spring when they gather to spawn. To conserve water, they may bury themselves in the sand or fold in half until the tide rises again. "

I found an article about them too. Eleven facts about Horseshoe crabs that will blow your mind.  Like, they aren't really crabs but more closely related to spiders and ticks.

As we were flipping them Steve told me they are an ancient species, even older than the oldest known dinosaur and they have blue blood.  Those are two of the 11 facts in that article.

That first morning we didn't encounter very many crabs.  

While shopping, Steve picked up a local paper that told where there would be live music in the area.  We found a pub that fit our schedule (some of the music started at nine and ten pm!).  The music at Jimmy's Grille in Dewey started at six and had items on the menu we could eat.

We rode our bikes, mostly trails to get there.  The menu items were in large print on the ceiling!




The music was good, by Send Letters Duo.  They are there every Wednesday night during the season.  The female singer pointed out groups of people in the audience and called them her new friends.   We were still there after the break, she thanked us for sticking around and we were her new best friends.

Then the really fun part.  We started the ride home at about 8:15 while the sun was setting.  It was sooo much fun!  We were on mostly trails.  I came around a dark corner in the woods and there was a deer in the path in front of me.  Fortunately I had time to shriek and slow while the big deer leeped off the trail. I was reminded how big the deer up north are compared to the deer in Florida.

Then we came to the Gordon Pond area of the trail.  The orange-red sunset on the right, the full moon on the left.  Wow.  So cool.






That night, in spite of getting in after my bed time, we set the alarm for even earlier, four a.m.!  We were going to try again to go flip some horseshoe crabs and watch the sunrise on the beach.

We saw more horseshoe crabs.  Steve said I saved more than a dozen.  It didn't seem like it.  We found live conch also sitting on the beach, digging themselves in.  I picked them up and tossed them into the sea.





Here is a video of Steve flipping a crab on the beach in Lewes, DE.
And another video.

Our travel time was up for a while.  Our last night Steve and I walked out to the ocean to say goodbye until the fall.  Our next stop on our journey was Steve's house in up-state NY.

Steve made a fire and I made popcorn.



We celebrated our journey north with memories of the highlights.  The growling gators in the Okefenokee swamp.  Speaking of Okefenokee!  Remember I went to Anytime Fitness in Folkston, near there.  The ladies were so nice and welcoming and invited me into their yoga class.  I sent them a book.  I didn't expect to hear from them, but I actually got a nice comment on my blog post about our time in the swamp.  

She wrote:  "Hi Susan….thank you so much for your great review of our little town. It was a pleasure to meet you at yoga. I found the book and thought one of my friends had left it for me. My sister in law has advanced dementia and I’m her legal and medical advocate. I have 24/7 caregivers for her. My brother died suddenly 2 years ago and her condition nosedived dramatically. It’s been a challenging time for me to watch her decline. I found your note in the book that night and realized I had met you at yoga. I shared all of this and your review in class on Tuesday. I’ll pass around the book and then we will donate it to our local library. Looking forward to following along on your adventures…
Donna"

How cool is that! I kind of thought the "Alzheimer's" in the title of my books would strike a cord with someone.  There are so many of us caregivers around. Thank you Donna!

On our last night in Delaware, Steve and I agreed that another highlight of our trip was the ride back from Jimmy's Grille in the dark with the sunset and moonrise.  And all the fun we had on our 71 mile ride in the Outer Banks.

We made it to Steve's house just fine.  On the way I got to see the NY city skyline as we bypassed the big city.  

Steve got into work mode at the house.  He had a list of things to do on the camper and things to do on his house.  He had appointments with the dental hygenist, the car and truck needed their emissions inspections and service.  He amazes me how he gets so much done.

We visited his mom a few times, which was always a delight.  She is upbeat though it must be hard for a women who was very active and fit to be weak from multiple injuries and illnesses.  

I got to play in Steve's yard trimming back trees.

Steve's kids came over for dinner one day and we had so much fun.  They have traveled in so many places outside the US.  I mentioned I was looking at a sail and bike tour in Tuscany and  one in the Netherlands.  I think they both voted for Tuscany, though Kevin had a lot of good things to say about the Netherlands, Germany, and Prague.  He showed us pictures from his time in Prague.  Wow, the architecture!

I was worried about losing my ability to enjoy myself alone.  So back many months ago when we planned this trip, I planned on getting off alone by myself a few days.  I had booked an airbnb in Stowe, VT.   As the time drew near, I was torn because I was having a good time in NY.  But I was also tired and just needed to get away and just chill on my own a while.  

It's easy for me to pack.  My mini dresser with my summer clothes went from my trailer into Steve's trailer and now into his red Chevy.





We had to loosen the handle bars on my bike and I had to figure out how to manipulate it into the back of the Equinox.  It took a while, but I did it.  Thank  you, Steve for standing aside so I could do it by myself once I got on my own.

My digs are kind of rough on the outside, but lovely on the inside.  I have an apartment over a garage that looks like it will blow down in a stiff wind.







The area is beautiful here.  I rode part of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail one day.  


The bicycle rest stops are lovely with train themed shelters.






***

A bit of History in the making here.  If you avoid the news because it stresses you out,  skip the next paragraph or two.

While I was writing to you, our 45th president was convicted of 34 felonies in NY state by 12 impartial jurors who were chosen by both the prosecution and the defense.  This is an historic event.  Never in the history of our country has a former President been convicted in a court of law of a felony.  But then, there has never been a President that thinks, acts, and behaves like Mr. 45.

I got a text from Steve as soon as he heard the news, and I, in turn, texted several of my friends.  This morning, my friend Debra called.  It was great to chat with her.  The downside of traveling so much is I don't hang with my friends as much.

***

Speaking of friends... I told you I had an interesting thing happen at the Museum here.  I stopped in the Stowe Historical Museum today and the volunteer asked me where I was from.  "Florida," I told her.

"Where in Florida?" she asked me.

"Inverness," I said, not expecting her to know where that is.  It is a small town, and not many have heard of it.

"My sister lives in Inverness," the Museum Lady told me.

I looked at her, noting some familiarity.  I thought, what are the chances that I know the person she knows in Inverness.  But I have had strange encounters before.  Once I was camping and the sister of a woman I know on the Withlacoochee trail (Gabrielle) came over and introduced herself when she saw my Florida plates.  So I didn't expect to know the name that the Museum Lady was about to share.

"Mari Towle," she said.

"What?!!!  That's my friend and former next door neighbor!"  I exclaimed.  Then I recognized the eyes, the shape of the face.  Yup, that's Mari's sister.  OMG!

I gave her a hug.  A bit of home here in Stowe, VT.  Yes, I knew Mari was from Stowe, VT.  She told me about how lovely the area was and that was a reason I chose to drive here from Steve's.  But then I just didn't give it another thought.





Museum lady showed me Mari's great grandmother's wedding gown on display at the museum.  She showed me the sled that their great great (don't remember how many greats) used to haul stuff and told me they were the second residents of Stowe. 

And she told me about the Von Trapp family that settled in Stowe.  

The museum lady is taking up painting, no surprise there!  Their brother, El Towle is an artist, and Mari's daughter...  

I have one more day in the area. Tomorrow I bike again another section of the 92 mile Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.  Then I will head out a day early because I want to join in a gathering that Steve's family is having.

It will be nice to be back with Steve again too.  I have had good sleep, fresh air, and time to write to you.  It's been a great time.  Also, today I toured Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory.  Today's sample was strawberry cheesecake.  And after the tour I tried a new flavor, PB s'more.  It wasn't a hit with me, but I ate it all anyway.  

Ben and Jerry's has a graveyard for some of the flavors that didn't make it.







We have driven 1870 miles so far on our journey.  We have just begun.

Oh!  Good news!  And I almost forgot to tell you.  I heard today from Jeremy, my son.  He got a job and he starts next week.  One in a big company with lots of potential.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  Keep them coming as he transitions.  The finances will still be very tight for a while.

Congratulations, Jeremy!  You worked hard to find a place.  I hope this one turns out to be great.

To all of you readers, enjoy your moments and as always, I love those emails and comments!  Thanks for letting me know you are following our journey.  Remember, most the comments are anonymous, so give your name. 


Comments

  1. Read it all. Great read.

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  2. Way to go, Jezza!

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  3. I am so enjoying reading your adventures with Steve - and your little “me time” excursion to Vermont. How cool to meet up with Mari’s sister in the Stowe Museum. I don’t think I will ever understand your need for these escapes but everyone is different. I am glad you had such a good time in Rehobeth and your visit to Cape May. There are so many interesting places to visit - and so little time. Continue enjoying life’s adventures.

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  4. Enjoying your adventures.

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  5. Fun to read this! Keep enjoying😊Amy

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  6. Louise Patenaude.June 1, 2024 at 6:57 PM

    So much fun to read you! Stay healthy and share good times with Steve!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Enjoyed reading this. Always wanted to bicycle in cape May. Be safe .

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  8. So good to hear from you and the wonderful adventures you are enjoying with Steve. I am very happy for you and hope you have many more. Audrey B, SL

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  9. Sue, I really enjoyed this blog entry. Especially the early evening ride , the crab flipping part and u getting to see Mari’s sister in VT. And of course the part about Trumps conviction, though he will probably have the Supreme Court reverse it and get away with his crooked schemes again!!!

    Keep on having fun with Steve and enjoy the rest of your long trip. We miss your smiling face! Charlotte

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  10. Such a great read...stay healthy, happy, "hi to Steve" and continue on!! :) M

    ReplyDelete

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