Journey Journal ( my short bicycling adventure in 2015 ) (1 Viewer)


Feb 9, 2015
Baltimore, MD
Finally decided to type this up from the writing I did during that very short, but overall successful experience traveling for the first time.

First Day:
Started okay. About 10 minutes into my journey, I was walking up a very long hill. Someone with a pickup truck stopped and offered me a ride. They ended up taking me a few miles up the road, to Monkton, MD. From there I biked about a mile ( mostly downhill ) and found a beautiful spot in Gunpowder Falls Park. I stopped and had lunch at a stream, with some very COLD water, preventing me from enjoying a short swim.

After relaxing for about 45 minutes, I started up the road again...another very long, very hilly road. When I stopped for a break near the top of one of the hills, some dude threw me a water bottle out his window as he drove by. It caused him to swerve into the oncoming lane and almost cause an accident! A short distance further on that road and I saw a sign for the NCR Trail. I immediately followed it, because I was getting NO WHERE on all those hills. Another person pulled over to give me some Nature Valley breakfast bars, a welcome treat that would come in handy later. After finding the trail, I finally really got going.

Some time later, as night time was approaching and I began searching for a suitable place to camp, the Fear set in. I became extremely dejected, frustrated, and miserable. Crying as I was walking the bike, mumbling to God about what was I doing, this was so difficult. I was sore, exhausted, and scared. As I found a place to make camp, a barely perceptible change in my mind took place. A new determination. There in the middle of no where, begging to the heavens that no hostile animals came for me, I slept.

It was quite cold for mid-summer, and I learned a valuable lesson that night. 1, BRING A SLEEPING BAG!!! 2, Never camp near streams, the moisture in the air makes the cold feel colder. Splashing your face with fresh, clean water to wake up is just not worth it. I had a dream as I slept. I dreamt I was home, complaining about how cold it was.

Second Day:
I awoke to a cool fog from the nearby stream. I made myself some tea, and attempted to make ramen. I accidentally knocked over the little can-stove I made, and had to beat out a small alcohol fire. Hell of an adrenaline rush to wake me up! Those Nature Valley bars became a makeshift meal, as I was running low on water and was still a few miles from the nearest town. I broke camp and hit the trail again.

A short while later, through some gorgeous forest and an archway, I came across a restroom and water pump, and gladly used both. Soon I came to the Mason-Dixon line, and sat down to reflect on the immensity of the task I had accomplished. I was leaving Maryland for the first time, under my own power. No car, no bus, no money, just my bike and me. I cried again, but it was a happy cry. I was ACTUALLY DOING THIS. It was REALLY happening. I wrote in my journal, to preserve this memory. I had refused to give up, and I had done something incredible. It drizzled a little as I made my way into the first town in PA, appropriately named New Freedom. I think that was a bit of the universe prodding me with an encouraging push forward.

As I half pedaled, half walked into town, I was greeted by an old freight locomotive, which over the years had been stripped of some of its parts. I located a store giving off a wifi signal, and sat down on a nearby bench. I leaned back, and apparently disturbed a hornet/wasp, because I was promptly stung. At least I learned that I'm not allergic to the bastards! I checked the weather, and a storm was incoming, so I started walking up the nearby road to look for cover.

About a block further, and I found a Rutter's gas station and convenience store. They had a nice overhang, so I went in and bought myself a powerade using my EBT card, and explained my situation. I was granted permission to sit out front until the weather had passed, so I settled in for the wait.
They also had wifi, so my wait was not boring.

As I waited, I was approached by an older gentleman who recognized me as a traveler. He struck up a conversation that ranged from the trail I was biking, to government corruption, and to the town I started out from, Dundalk, Maryland. I learned a new term to describe my home. "Don'tdalk". Turns out he had worked in Dundalk in the past, and his coworkers and him had coined the term as an inside joke. The conversation wound down, and he offered me some money for talking with him, which I happily accepted.

After the storm had passed, and I got moving towards the next goal, Shrewsbury. There is a McDonalds and a Walmart there, a perfect place to hang around. I discovered that the previously consumed Powerade had given my body new life! Biking was easy again. As I rode on, I passed an old steam engine, pulling some equally old passenger cars along a preserved section of the track the NCR/Heritage trail was made from.

I left the trail to turn towards town, and found that the next half mile was straight uphill, with little shade to protect from the brutal summer sun. I climbed for what felt like forever, and finally reached town. I leaned my bike against a tree and sat down on some cool, shady steps to rest. A woman with dreads and her daughter were walking their dog, and the daughter spotted the cardboard I had taped to the back of my bike, and informed her mother. They told me to wait there, they would be back.

I waited, gladly enjoying the excuse to not move. The woman came back alone, and introduced herself as Nicki. She invited me back to her house up the street for some lunch, which I happily accepted. As we were walking, someone pulled over and gave me some more money. Halfway there her boyfriend met us, and his name was Mickey. Nicki and Mickey. Interesting pairing.

We get to their home and I was fed a wonderful bowl of chili, homemade by Nicki herself. After lunch and a short talk, they gave me a few snacks and a little money, and we parted ways. I made my way across town to the McDonalds, where I sat and charged my phone and battery pack as it rained again. I checked Google and saw prime camping grounds nearby, so I went to check it out. As I was finishing up, someone stopped and talked with me, inviting me to attend the nearby church the following morning. They also gave me a few bucks.

After another short rain, I discovered a HUGE storm was heading my way. I quickly set up camp behind the Walmart, as the thunder threatened me. I took cover in McD's just in time, as the skies let loose with fury. There were a bunch of scary close cloud-to-ground lightning bolts, one even struck right in front of my face, hitting a tower on a hill very near to where I was.

After it blew over, I headed back to camp, expecting to find my tent either flooded, or halfway across a field in the distance. To my surprise, it was still there, and bone dry inside. So I settled down for the night, although my sleep was frequently interrupted by the sounds of I-83 right behind me. I had no memorable dreams that night, but was very thankful for the sheet I had purchased from the walmart to give myself something to keep warm with.

Third Day:
I woke up, and grabbed breakfast from the McDonalds. I decided to accept the invite to church, and made the climb up the hill to a large church made out of a former shopping center. I left my bike outside and went in to discover this church was different than others I had been to previously. There were TV's in a little dining area that displayed the goings-on in the sanctuary, allowing myself and others to attend the service, without the closeness of being inside the actual sanctuary. Someone came up to me and gave me a decent chunk of money, and another person talked with me briefly about my trip.

After the service, I inquired as to if I could hide my belongings on the property, in case I needed to go elsewhere and didn't want to haul everything with me. I was shown a place, although I never actually used it. After heading back to the McD's and mulling over the situation of my rather heavy load, I decided I was going to head home. A friend I had previously been roommates with lived a few towns over, and offered to take me back to where I started in Hunt Valley, Maryland, if I covered the gas. We met up, and she drove me back and we caught up, having not seen each other in a couple years. I got lucky and caught the last Light Rail back into Baltimore, and made my way home.

I had no memorable dreams, but was thrilled with the overall positive experience I had during my first outing into the world of traveling. I vowed to go back out soon, by whatever means necessary.
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!

Deleted member 125

I closed my account
congrats on (what im guessing?) was yer first bike trip! they are a ton of fun, but yea man be sure to pack a sleeping bag next time, even when the weather warms up a bit its nice to have something to crawl into at night.


Feb 9, 2015
Baltimore, MD
Next is in March I'm hitting the road again in my bike, with changes to my supplies to make the trip possible. I have so many places I want to see and I ain't gettin any younger

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