October 3:  Denver to Aberdeen, Maryland  57.4 miles

A fantastic day!  The air temperature as we departed from the hotel was already in the 60s with promises of rising into the 80s by afternoon.  This is October -- such perfect warm weather is not the norm!!  Put that with a clear sky and the day was set to be absolutely wonderful.

Denver, Pennsylvania is in the middle of Lancaster County -- a beautiful rolling countryside covered with fields of corn, wheat, and soy with a little of tobacco mixed in.  At this time of year the fields are either already turned under for the winter, or standing proud as the remnants of the summer's yield.  

As we exited from the community of Denver, we also exited the last town for over fifty miles.  The countryside is interspersed  with crossroads with names like Reamstown, Hinkletown, Groffdale, and Harristown.  Each reflect the name of the major families that reside in the area.  This part of the world is primarily inhibited by the Amish.  Each family possesses a large plot of land covering farther than the eye can see and has divided it among the members over the years.  It is not uncommon to see the same last name on mailboxes for miles.  The father has given land to his sons, who have given to their sons and so on.  The tradition is admirable.   A family protects its own and provides for each.  

Today we experienced the modern world mixed with the past.  The Amish believe very strongly that modern devises such as a car or electricity are not good and should be ignored.  The back roads were covered with horse drawn carts taking the mother to the store, the husband to the field, the children to school -- as well as cars carrying non-Amish mothers to the grocery store, fathers to work and children on buses rushing to school.  In the middle of all this we rode through on bikes.  The beauty of looking over the horizon beyond the corn field to see a horse and buggy speeding down a country road, while gliding down a hill with the warm breeze blowing in the face is beyond description.  The simplicities of the Amish life are refreshing and thought producing.

The one town that had more than just few homes was the town of Intercourse, about fifteen miles into the day.  Originally it was a quiet farm town but became the mecca of tourism with shops selling everything from Amish goods to "tourist junk".  We concluded that the name of the town drew the tourists to the area, not the Amish.  Once discovered that the curious would come the Amish capitalized on the venture and created typical wares!  The Amish may prefer the simple life, but they are not stupid.  

What we found the best in Intercourse was freshly baked soft pretzels covered in cinnamon and sugar!!

For close to sixty miles today we sailed down long winding roads only to sail up a hill on the opposite side with views of the farmland in all directions.  A few woods to traverse through, but most of the day was spent in the rolling hills over open farmlands of southern Pennsylvania.  

As enjoyable as this was, there were a couple of challenges.  One hill started out gentle and beautiful on both sides with leaves raining in colors of yellow and gold.  About a half mile into the ascend the road took a more serious turn toward the skies.  Because it bent and twisted as it rose, it was impossible to tell if the top was any time soon.  It wasn't until the heart was beating on the handlebars, not the chest, the sweat was soaking the bike and the panting was so quick that hyperventilation was a concern that the brain finally yelled "Help -- there is no top!!"  Push the pedal, pant, sweat, swear, and then there is a crest to this hill.  A miracle was in the making!!  We were going to be able to rest in a minute!

All in all the day was fantastic.  The weather was perfect, the scenery fabulous, the people wonderful -- what could make it any better?

Tonight we are in Maryland having crossed the Susquehanna River on US 1 just north of Baltimore in the town of Aberdeen.  We are now back on the coast after our ride around New York City by way of Philadelphia.

Amish Countryside

And Some More

And Some More!

Amish Horse and Buggy

Another State Entered