A 70 degree, sunny April day is a gift not to be squandered. Even if the wind is gusting as high as 30 mph. Too windy to sail, we decided to go biking. But biking at the beach in strong winds, in the spring, when copious amounts of chicken manure lie loosely over barren fields is a disgusting olfactory experience.
Check out Mitch’s fantastic St. Augustine video. My role in it was very painful:
Usually we freeze in St. Augustine. Winter in north Florida can be cold, and it’s a damp cold – the worst kind. Those that live out West don’t understand. “Fifty degrees?” they say. “Fifty degrees is nice.” In Moab or Steamboat or Fountain Hills, fifty degrees is shorts weather. But in Florida, a damp wind-blown fifty degrees penetrates stocking caps, gloves, winter coats, and especially bones.
All summer long I tell people to kayak into the wind first, do the hard work at the beginning so that the return trip, when you’re tired and have to go to the bathroom, is easy. Yet here we were, about to set out on a bike ride (my first in three months) doing the down hill portion—the easy part—first.
Less than an hour earlier we’d arrived in Jim Thorpe, PA and had checked into our cute boutique hotel room at Kelly Suites on Broadway for a one-night getaway to celebrate my birthday and our first break of the season. Two days earlier, when Mitch surprised me with his plan, I’d never even heard of Jim Thorpe, or of this impressive bike trail which stretches 165 miles from Wilkes-Barre, PA to Bristol, PA.
The Breakwater-Junction Trail is a rare 17 mile loop route connecting Rehoboth and Lewes, Delaware. (Rare because most bike trails are out and back.) But the fact that it is a loop is not its only attractive feature.
“How much you wanna bet we see a snake today?” Mitch said as we settled onto our bikes, bumping over the rocky dirt trail. (Mitch turns everything into a competition.) Even though it had sprinkled earlier, the sun felt intense as it broke through the clouds. The first warm day of a long, nasty winter – Mitch knew it was perfect snake conditions. But to me, the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge seemed pretty big, and it borders the even bigger False Cape State Park. Why would the snakes be on the trail when they had plenty of other opportunities to sun bathe unharassed? I took the bet.
East or west?
We were sitting on our bikes in the Summit North Marina, an access point (without parking) for the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Trail. But the problem was, neither direction looked like a trail. To the east was an “Authorized Vehicles Only” maintenance road up a steep hill. And to the west was a sidewalk linking parking lots.