Delaware - exploring the first state

Preface - Delaware

04/22/2005 05:51:00 by Administrator

Mary (the Rear Admiral) wanted me to be sure to provide the following advice for touring the state of Delaware on a bicycle. If you're new to bike touring, or are looking for a spring warm-up after a long winter, we suggest riding and touring Delaware. The bicycle maps you get from the state are fantastic. The route and the streets are well marked, and if you make a wrong turn, it is very easy to correct. You can ride on roads that are busy, but have wide breakdown lanes/bike lanes or you can just choose quiet country roads with little, very little, traffic on them. Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Campgrounds, Restaurants, and Food Stores are easily found if you are looking for them. There are numerous bike shops for repairs and such. Warning: Delaware is FLAT, you've been warned.

Delaware - Day 1

04/23/2005 05:54:10 by Administrator

From: Winterthur Gardens, DE
To: Glasglow, DE
Mileage: 0

We arrived in Northern Delaware around noon. Our original plan was to begin our ride in the very northern part of Delaware, around Winterthur Gardens. But the weather was overcast and gray, with rain here and there. So we decided to visit Winterthur Gardens, which was the country estate of Henry DuPont between 1920 - 1980 (roughly). The country estate is surrounded by 900+ acres of gardens, pastures and walking trails. You can visit the mansion and museum which holds Americana artifacts. The grounds were/are fantastic. Smells and colors were everywhere. You can also take a tour by tram around the estate but Mary and I just walked and walked. We had lunch at the cafeteria which was both yummy and priced correctly. It closed at 5:00 so we were 'forced' out. We got to Lums State Park about 6:00. Got everything out of the car, then it began to pour. We quickly made the Subaru into a camper. That night was full of buckets of rain with lighting and thunder added in for show, but we both had a great night sleep.

Delaware - Day 2

04/24/2005 05:55:08 by Administrator

From: Glasglow, DE
To: Dover, DE
Mileage: 49.7

Our plan was to leave the car parked at the state park ranger's office but he said it would be a liability, so we went to the State Police barracks in Glasgow and were allowed to park it there. This was our first tour with "SeeMore" (our Rans recumbent tandem). So after we loaded up the panniers, backpack and stuff sack, we spent a couple of minutes taking laps around the parking lot. Everything felt good, so we headed out for breakfast on route 40. Within a mile or so, we found a Friendly's where the Rear Admiral had her usual Lumberjack special (2 pancakes, 2 eggs, sausages or bacon strips). Mary is only 5'4'' and maybe 112 pounds. So watching her put this away is amazing! After our breakfast, we started our ride at 44 degrees F and it only reached 52 for that day. Normal temperatures for April in Delaware is about 65 degrees. We had either headwinds or crosswinds of 20 mph all day long. It was overcast, and threaten rain, but that threat held off until we were safely in our hotel room in Dover, Delaware. Even with the wind, we had a great day of riding. The highlight was downtown Odessa, a small quaint town of different architectural style buildings. We followed mostly RTE 9, which runs along the eastern side of Delaware. We stopped at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area and took the trail into the marsh. Saw Egrets, muskrats, hawks, blue herons, sand pipers, turkey vultures, red wing Black birds, and cardinals to name a few. SeeMore, our Ran's tandem behaved himself for the most part, but towards the end of the day we had an argument about who would control of the rear V brakes. He won, so I disconnected them for the last 5 miles. I fixed them when we got to the hotel. We really didn't need them, I have front V brakes and the Rear Admiral has a rear disc brake; add to that the flatness of Delaware and you can see we were not in any trouble. I will replace the brake cable when I get home. We held up at the Red Roof Inn tonight because of the rain. We just came back from the family diner next door which had a piece of chocolate three layer cake that had my name on it.

Delaware - Day 3

04/25/2005 05:56:40 by Administrator

From: Dover, DE
To: Lewes, DE
Mileage: 69.5

Had a good night sleep, didn't even hear the highway that was right out our door. We went next door to the family diner. The Rear Admiral had her usual LumberJack special and I settled for a 3 egg omelet. After breakfast I 'practised' with our new tire pump. I figured that the Bike shop was down the next block, and I should have tested it out at home. It worked great, which we later appreciated because we would be needing it outside of Wyoming Delaware. We be travelled southeast today, and yes you guessed it, the wind was coming out of the southeast at 20 to 25 mph. When we were in the headwind we averaged about 9 mph, in the crosswind about 11. On the rare occasion when we had the wind behind us we sailed at 18 mph with no effort. We had our first flat tire with SeeMore in front of a cement mixing company. They filled a bucket of water for me to find the leak, and offered their tools and shop if I needed anything. People are so generous! After patching the hole, and using their rest rooms we were off again. Did I mention that the roads in Delaware are flat and perfect for riding? We followed Bicycle route 1 most of the day and stopped in Milford Delaware to see if we could find the bike shop.The Superintendent of Schools and the Chairman of the School Board stopped to see if we needed help. When I saw the Milford School District badge on the Superintendent I told him that I work for the Milford School District also! We had some laughs, and shared some 'war' stories, and they were kind enough to direct us to the best subs in Milford at Mills Bros. Mary and I spilt a large steak and cheese sub while sitting in the park in Down town Milford, uh Delaware. Even though it was cloudy in the lower 50s, we had another great day of cycling. Most of the United States was 'suffering' from a cold spell, and Delaware was no exception. In Milton we met a couple from Northern New Jersey on a purple Burley tandem. Paul and Jane were heading west, while we were heading southeast. We had done a lot of the same rides, so it was so fun to share stories. After saying our goodbyes, we headed to Lewes Delaware (first town in the first state) and set up our tent at Henlopen State park. Setting up our tent in the wind was equivalent of watching a Laurel and Hardy movie. After tying everything down, we headed back into Lewes for dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant (yummy) and topped off the night with a Peanut Butter Parfait at Dairy Queen, while sitting by the Atlantic Ocean. It's really not about the riding, it's about the eating!

Delaware - Day 4

04/26/2005 06:09:30 by Administrator

From: Lewes, DE
To: Ocean City, MD
Mileage: 70

Great night for camping, we were by ourselves, on a sandy beach site. In the a.m. we headed down the coastal highway with a head wind coming directly at us from the south at 15 - 20 mph. We again averaged about 9 mph in the wind, and about 11 mph the whole day. I'm glad we did the coastal highway, but I wouldn't do it again. We were off season, and it was way too busy for us. We had breakfast in Rehoboth Beach at a Bob Evans. The Rear Admiral had her usual and I had another omelet. Place like Bob Evans are ok, but we like the 'atmosphere' at the mom and pop diners a bit more. There seems to be a lot of construction all over Delaware, and the Coastal Highway was no exception. We made it into Ocean City Maryland, where we shared a road lane with buses. It has grown up so much in the past 10 years. Again, I'm so glad we where riding during the 'off season'. Had lunch at Dumster Ice cream and sandwich shop and filled up with sandwiches and milkshakes. We were still full, about 7 hours later, as I write this! Made it down to our southern most goal, Assateague National Park to see the wild horses. What a great way to see a National Park, on a bicycle. We saw the wild horses up close along with sika deer and tons of shore birds. The road is only about 4 miles long, but we spent the whole afternoon riding and enjoying! They even built a bridge for bikes and pedestrians only over to the island, you don't have to share the bridge with regular traffic! We almost got into a head on collision with a black racer (snake). The snake wanted to go one way, I wanted to go another and the Rear Admiral wanted to go backwards. SeeMore just missed the guard rail, which would have knocked us over, right on top of the snake. Again, it would have made a great Laurel and Hardy movie. The state park was closed to camping, and the National Park was open but there was a 80 percent of server thunderstorms for the night, so we headed (reluctantly) back to Ocean City to stay the night inside at the Bedtime Inn.

Delaware - Day 5

04/27/2005 05:59:32 by Administrator

From: Ocean City, MD
To: Harrington, DE
Mileage: 67

Back to Delaware! Started off with another big breakfast, and you know by now what Mary had. We meandered along the back roads of Delaware, the key word here is meandered. Some of the more memorable road names were: Piglet Patch, Hard Scrabble Road and 9 foot Road. We were on one very lonely quiet road (no cars for 4 miles) when we met up again with Paul and Jane on their purple Burley tandem. I think all four of us were truly amazed. We had a very long chat and extended eMail addresses with them this time. We basically met in the middle of the road and talked and talked. Seems we had so much in common, and so much to talk about that we had two conversations going at once! Only two cars interrupted us during the whole time. After saying our goodbyes, Mary and I headed for Georgetown and Lunch (Pizza). We had put in 40 miles so you can tell that the wind had died down a lot today. We picked Killians State Park for the night, but did not reach our goal. 8 miles outside of Harrington the back post of my seat broke and we were forced to make a temporary fix (with 2 spare screws, duct tape and a rag). We limped into Harrington and the Holiday Express Inn . After visiting the local Hardware store, I fixed it using two auto studs. We will see tomorrow how well I did!

Delaware - Day 6

04/28/2005 06:01:05 by Administrator

From: Harrington, DE
To: Glasglow, DE
Mileage: 75

Today's four letter word. . . wind! It blew coming out of the northwest, which was exactly the way we were heading. It was a beautiful day outside, with temperatures in the mid 60s. The sky had little white puffy clouds, and tons of sunshine. If we had done the trip in reverse direction, the wind would have been with us for 95 percent of the journey. Mary picked out some excellent roads, again with the aid of the Delaware bicycle maps. The last day is always sad. We had lunch (subs) in Clayton at a little country store (yummy) and also stopped at Bruester Ice Cream stand for a late afternoon sundae (Remember It?s not about the riding, it's about the food!). We had a great tour, and would continue if we could, but Katelyn has a Bio Genius contest in New Jersey which we need to attend. We finished up camping at Lums State park. The repair on my seat worked very well. When we arrived at the state police barracks to retrieve our Subaru, the battery was dead (I had forgotten to close my door all the way). With the help of a state trooper, we were on our way. We camped at Lums State park for the night. To our happy surprise, there was a dog show going on. Life is so much fun! Now to go around and enjoy the dogs!