We left the Mifflinburg Hotel early this morning and were finally able to see all the historic buildings of downtown Mifflinburg and take some pictures of our hotel.
Also this morning, we were able to take in the smell of the horse poop from the Amish horses that permeates throughout the town. Thinking back, I am sure that some of this was flung up from our tires onto our bikes/gear/legs last night as we rode through the dark night. We rolled over to the rail-to-trail and hopped on a great paved trail that headed east to Lewisburg. Eventually the trail became packed stone, but was still so well maintained and well-used by the locals that our bikes traveled over this surface with absolutely no issue. The trail ended up lasting a little over eight miles and dropped us out at a bike shop in Lewisburg. We stopped in, as we often do at local shops, and browsed a bit, made a few purchases and then headed over to a Perkins to grab breakfast.
A quick breakfast later and we were heading past Bucknell University and further east towards the Pocono Mountains. As Highway 45 came to an end, we merged onto Route 642 and caught up with the first unsupported bike tourer that we have met since leaving Daniel in Cody, WY. This man was from England and had biked the Pacific Coast before heading to Kansas. Once there, he took a bus to Charleston, SC and has been biking up the East Coast. As we reached the second or third town called Danville of our trip, our new acquaintance headed off and we continued on to Highway 11 towards Berwick. Highway 11 provided us with flat riding in between towns and we made great time despite the road being lined with many business entrances.
Once in Berwick we crossed the Susquehanna River and reached the start of the Poconos. The town of Nescopeck started our trip on Route 93. The "hills" began immediately and soon turned into mountains and we found ourselves climbing up to our first Pocono summit. While the climb did take a decent amount of time, we found it was not nearly as steep or difficult to climb as the Rockies had been. The one unfortunate part of this part of the trip was that each time we gained elevation up a mountain, we immediately lost it down the other side. We encountered I-80 once again, the interstate that we had left behind in Nebraska after paralleling its movements for the better part of a week. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not condone interstate travel by bicycles. As we headed across the next valley, we passed a sign saying "Peacock Crossing". I thought the homeowner was being ironic until we saw a peacock walking down their driveway...
The next climb was much steeper, but once again we shifted down and climbed it without much fanfare. Reaching the top, we coasted down into the town of Drums, PA. From this point we knew it had taken the 2013 riders 227 miles to reach Farmington. With some mileage left in our ride today, it made our plan to get home in two more full days of riding, finally seem plausible once more. We grabbed Subway after Drums and took a short rest. The first thing we faced after eating was a steep climb up to the highest elevation we had seen so far today. Luckily this time, the descent did not waste our hard work and instead we descended slowly over a number of rolling miles. We much prefer this type of descent. We soon reached White Haven and knew we had about 5 miles more of climbing before we reached our motel. Luckily there was a McDonald's along the way so we were able to satisfy our nightly ice cream requirement.
When we reached our motel, the innkeeper could not believe we had pedaled all the way from San Francisco. He called his wife into the lobby and they took turns starring at us and asking questions. As we walked to our room, they moved to the parking lot and continued starring at us. It was a bit odd, and definitely uncomfortable. I planned to put my new tires on as I got flats today, but my old tires surprisingly held up. With the extra time afforded to us by getting in by 9:30, I changed out my tires for the new ones. I hope they fair well tomorrow on the rest of these mountains.
Our mileage was not massive today, but with the climbs we covered, we should be set up tomorrow to have more descents than ascents, hopefully allowing us to get a good distance into New York. Two more days until our homecoming!
Photos by Jonathan Kobles
About Lea's Foundation
In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.