Day 46
I left the B+B in Shippenburg after a good breakfast (which was essentially two of the standard breakfasts they serve) at about 9:45 AM. That is the problem' with B+Bs; too much time talking with people! Actually these were very interesting people and it was time well spent. This B+B is located just west of the center of Shippenburg in a really (as in spectacular) neat old house. You can't miss it if you are riding or driving through on 11. Since they had a separate phone line for guests I was able to get the net.

Tonight I'm at the Budget Motel about 5 miles south of Strasburg. I've ridden past this motel before, but today was so muggy and hot (and tomorrow is supposed to be worse) I was really dragging after I got to Winchester. At 99 miles, this motel was well located. It is cheap ($38 with tax) and air conditioned. Ahhh. It even has direct dial phones so I should be able to get on the net. The only real problem is that it is a long way (maybe five miles) from anywhere to eat. I was so hot and tired I didn't have any appetite anyway. They do have some crackers and such for sale in the office and that will do me for tonight and for starting my day tomorrow.

Riding today wasn't much fun, but that was mostly because of the weather and the haze. This a beautiful valley, but with the haze limiting visibility to five miles or less, I didn't see much of it today. Asheville (and I guess the entire southern US) has this haze most of the summer now. This was not the case even a decade ago. In the Smokey Mountain Park average summer visibility has been reduced by 90% over the last few decades. It used to be around 75 miles and now it is around five miles. This is a direct result of our polluting our air. It was nice to be north of it for a long time on this ride. It would be even nicer if people cared enough to reduce the pollution that causes it.

Route 11 continued to be good for most of the 25 miles to the PA border. It either had a good shoulder or it had three or four lanes so that, with light traffic, riding was pleasant. In Maryland, for the 20 miles or so of 11 in that state, it was better than in PA. At the West Virginia border, it got much worse. However most of the 25 miles or so in West Virginia were OK. West Virginia just isn't a state that cares much about bicycling. All of the Virginia part has been fine, including the Winchester section.

The West Virginia part opened with a climb (it was the hilliest section) on a very recently redone 11 that has narrow lanes and a little bit of shoulder. There was a lot of traffic and some of it came within inches (OK, maybe 6 inches) of my bike. Not fun. That lasted for about five miles and then the lanes got wider and/or the shoulder was better. The remaining 20 miles were hot, hazy, humid and hilly, but mostly OK riding.

I did experience the usual jerk behaviors; yelling, horn blowing right beside me, etc. I think there is a higher jerk count in West Virginia than in any of the other states on this tour. North Carolina is probably a close second in that ranking 8^(, but, because my route there was mostly either the BR Parkway or very rural, I didn't experience that kind of behavior there on this tour.

I'm back now on familiar territory, but it is interesting how my perception of it is affected by where I have just been riding. Last year I came in Winchester from the hilliest part of my tour; south western PA and Western MD. Route 11 south of Winchester seemed quite flat. This year I came in from the, quite flat, route 11 through PA and suddenly route 11 south of Winchester is hilly. It is remarkable how much this, very old, valley has changed in just one year! Last year I also had one lovely clear day (a huge front had just passed through) in this part of the valley. It was fine day and a lovely ride through great beauty. This year it was a hot, and humid trudge through yucky gray air. We, he says sitting in an air conditioned room, give up a lot in order to have our cars and air conditioning.

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