Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Easton, Pennsylvania: Home of Crayola

3:45 p.m.

Quadrant Bookmart and Coffee Shop (just off the town square). Seated at an antique marble-topped "Singer" sewing machine stand, my laptop connected to the local wi-fi network.

I've been more or less following Highway 611 south through the gorgeous rolling hills and rich farmlands of Western New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania. A beautiful day for a ride; about 80 to 85°, scattered clouds, and great backroads.

Entering this relatively big city, the internet bug hit and I easily found this welcoming shop. They offer free internet access, good snacks and draw an interesting clientèle.

Awakened early this morning, a squirrel on my tent outside, obviously aware of the peanuts lying next to me beyond his reach. I went out later and noticed the puncture marks in the tent from his claws. Slept fairly late, rising well-rested around 9:30. Clear, cool, almost chilly, with a fresh breeze. The sound of cicadas and the wind in the pines and maples filled the air. The campground was virtually empty. Took some time to record thoughts from yesterday, then have a leisurely shower.

By daylight, I could see this park is set high in the hills (called "mountains by the locals", a view northwest to a cleft mountain, the "Delaware Water Gap". Seeing the mountains of the eastern U.S. helps me understand the fantastic, idealized Western mountainscapes of Albert Bierstadt and others in the 19th century. If all you have known are these hills, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada would indeed be unbelievable.

Down the mountain and into the little town of Hope ("settled by the Moravians in 1769"), I found the "Village Cafe". It's in a house built in 1911, across from the local grist mill. A look at the menu prices had me reconsidering, but I didn't have nerve to walk out. I tried to piece together some kind of lunch. $18.32, plus tip for a soup, cappuccino and cheesecake.

Jumping back onto Interstate 80, it was a wild awakening. I couldn't even keep up with the flood of semis doing 80 in a 65 mph zone, following cars and other semis less than a cab’s length behind. And the cop is pulling over a car! Incredible.

It finally occurs to me this is the same Interstate 80 that I have ridden so often in California.

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