Day 69 Massachusetts

Our last morning of waking up in our dew covered tent I lay on my back staring at the ceiling. As I thought about all the places we had camped across the country I heard the foreboding rumble of thunder. Jess was awake by this time and we listened intently as the barrage grew closer. Within minutes the storm was directly over us; an illuminating flash of lightning and roar of thunder executed in unison. The storm seemed to linger above us. I eyed our tent’s supportive pole silently calculating the odds of it being struck by lightning. I chastised myself for the paranoia and let myself soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of the impressive example of Nature’s strength.

Our last camp site post thunder storm

Less than 20 miles into our day and we were already in state #15

Say that three times fast!

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Webster, MA

They needed some of these signs in Pennsylvania!

A church in Douglas, MA

Our destination for the evening was Somerville, MA just outside of Boston. A friend of a friend of a friend had offered to host us and we were excited to explore the area. Our plans to leave early that morning had been stymied by the lightning storm so we were pushing ourselves to make good time.

Cycling through Uxbridge, MA we stopped off at a convenience store to fill up on water. Over the past 3,000+ miles we have stopped for water numerous times each day. We fill up at rest stops, gas stations, hoses in people’s yards and water fountains. We try to ask permission but water is obviously essential and we drink a lot of it. Buying water is always an option in a pinch but drinking Evian across the country would have cost us a small fortune. So we choose to drink tap water much of the time.

This particular convenience store we stopped at gets the award for “The Most Hostile Establishment” that we’d come across on our trip. A sign on the outside read No Loitering. A sign on the inside read These Restrooms Are Absolutely Not Public Anymore, scribbled in black sharpie and underlined numerous times for emphasis. When we entered, I notice two tiny backpacks sitting on the sidewalk outside the store. Once inside the story explained itself. Two little boys were at the register buying candy; the woman must have asked these hardened criminals to leave their backpacks outside so they wouldn’t steal. Jess and I stepped up to the counter “may I fill my water bottles with water?” I asked with a smile. The woman nodded yes and I turned towards the sink. “May I add some ice?” Jess queried. This sent the woman over the edge, her face puckered in frustration “and you aren’t even going to buy anything?” she said distastefully. Had we needed anything we definitely wouldn’t have bought it there. I would have rather cycled 15 miles to the next available water than buy even a candy bar from this place.

Jess and I were cycling along, chatting about something, when I heard a light rhythmic thud coming from the back of my bike. I pulled off and inspected the tire. A large silver nail head gleamed in the sunlight. Amazingly enough my tire wasn’t actually flat, thanks to a layer of “Slime” a green goop that works like “Fix-a-Flat” for car tires. But as soon as I ripped the thick roofing nail from my tire I heard the hiss of defeat. Time to change another tire.

When we touched base with Allison (our host-to-be in Somerville) she asked if we would  be interested in playing in a Softball game. Jess the sports enthusiast of our team was ecstatic. She LOVES softball. By this time our day had consisted of enough delays that we needed to absolutely fly to make it in time. As suburban blended into urban and rush hour approached Jess and I began to feel like bike messengers with urgent cargo. We wove in and out of traffic, hopped onto sidewalks and utilized crosswalks. We dodged cars and worked our way around buses. We arrived in Watertown, MA our designated meeting place with moments to spare. We locked up our bikes and when Allison pulled up to a light began an intense game of Chinese Firedrill as we loaded all our bags into her car while the light was red. Bags safely stowed we leapt into her SUV and sped off.

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Field of Dreams

Allison pitching to Jess

Allison, Me, Mike, Jess and Heather

That evening we all went out to Mike’s a local favorite for large portions of Italian food in a casual setting. The know the food is gonna be good when the owner of a restaurant is also working behind the counter.

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