June 18th. 2019 / (121km/75mi, 880hm)

We start at 7am today to avoid the heat of the afternoon a bit and avoid to be caught by a thunderstorm that may be possible in the afternoon.

The GPS app first leads us into a direction where there is no thru road at all, then it gets us onto a gravel trail. So the time we thought we’d made up in the morning is quickly lost by a useless detour and slow progress on a gravel trail. But then we hit a paved backroad again which stays with us for at least 80 kilometers. It’s rural scenery, fields and farms left and right, and the road rolls over slight hills taking turns left and right. Traffic? Almost nonexistent. Absolutely perfect.

It gets hotter and muggier towards noon. The crickets are chirping and the hot air seems to be sticking between the trees in the forests that we pass. It’s going to be another hot day. Luckily it’s overcast so there’s little direct sun today. But it serves as a reminder that later today we’ll likely see some thunderstorm again.

We make a short break in Bowling Green at a nice bakery and café which came as a surprise actually but just at the right time for our half-way point today. Whenever we stop anywhere, everyone is very kind and interested what we’re about, where we’re coming from and where we’re heading to. Makes for some nice conversations every time. Everybody’s concerned about (road) safety with all this traffic. I have to say that I had very few roads where I was really concerned. Most roads I was riding were ok, either not so heavy traffic or a shoulder to ride on. And most of the time cars and especially trucks were taking care, slowing down often before passing. A few exceptions apply and I wish those guys one or two flat tires in the coming weeks for rushing past too closely. But other than that: all good so far. Now of course we’re entering busier terrain with the Washington D.C.. Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York areas. Keeping our fingers crossed that the official bike trail keeps us off the heavy traffic roads.

We reach Stafford at around 2pm. Early again. But better starting early and arriving early than starting late and hitting a thunderstorm.

Tomorrow we’ll have another 120k ride which will get us right into Washington D.C.. I replanned again yesterday, extended today’s ride a bit and merged the two upcoming ones into a single one. So I’ve saved one day riding to D.C., which allows us to have two full days of sightseeing there before we leave again on Saturday morning!

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