Parallel Lines Meet at Cape Salt

From November 3—7 of 2010, I rode my bike from Cape May to my home, but didn’t make it. The ride ended ignobly with my drivetrain tearing itself apart. I walked a mile and a half to a coffee shop and waited for Martha to rescue us, fifty miles shy of making it home.

I’ve done longer tours before, and I’ve had them fail before. This one was difficult because it would have meant that, between various tours and rides, I would have ridden the length of New Jersey.

It’s still an interesting read, though. Please have a look and tell me what you think of the tale!

Some excerpts:

Early afternoon. I’m on Route 5 in Harbeson, about five miles north of Holly Mount Road. The shoulder is very wide, but most of it is quite unusable-covered in sand, slippery gravel, and cracked asphalt. I ride in the paved travel lane, doing my best to hug the right edge of the pavement when a car or a truck needs to pass. The trucks are the most obnoxious, honking at me as if they can’t understand why I’m not riding in the war zone to my right. As another sixteen-wheeler passes, horns blaring, I tap my mirror and smile.

It’s my understanding that weather at sea is always more violent than the same weather inland. Mountains, valleys, houses, and people all break up the movement of air. Is that true, or just my uninformed layman’s impression of how meteorology works? I knew a woman in college who abandoned a major in that science. Her poster-sized charts filled with swirls of not-quite parallel lines making up complexes of air were always beautifully opaque to me.

As the ferry is crossing, I see the horizon lurch back and forth and I hear the wind and rain pattering against the thick window glass, making a sound almost like hail. After some searching online, I change my goal for the evening: Instead of camping, I’ll be staying at a Warm Showers host in Ocean View (who was—with very good fortune for me—able to accommodate me at extremely short notice).

In the ferry parking lot, the cars have left me far behind. The rain has slowed for the moment. I’m only hit with a sweet, salty fine mist. Some of that is probably the rain, some is the sandy beach air.

Cape May/Lewes Ferry. We crossed in a bit of wind and rain that day.


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