Editor’s Note: On Monday, Justin Field, UD Class of 2011, embarked on a TSD-sponsored bike-ride across America to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank of Delaware. This is an update on his progress as he travels through Virginia.
Day 2: Pocomoke City & Tangier Island
We woke at 5:30 a.m. so we could get out of the city park before anybody noticed us (since only the Mayor could officially give permission to camp there). We rode into Pocomoke City, Md. and feasted at the Pocomoke Diner for breakfast.
With full stomachs, we started towards Crisfield, Md. about 35 miles away, to catch the ferry across the Chesapeake. We arrived at Crisfield at 10 a.m. with plenty of time before the 12:30 p.m. ferry. With nothing to do, we walked into the town museum and asked the woman at the info desk what there was to do.
“On a Tuesday? Well, to be honest not very much,” the woman said.
We walked through the small exhibit next to the desk and began to learn about crabs. An employee of the museum saw us reading and explained the difference between hard shell and soft shell crabs (they’re the same animal, just in different molting stages) and brought us out to a crab shanty.
We learned how differentiate crabs by gender, and how to tell when a crab is about to become a soft shell crab. Crisfield has depended on the Chesapeake for hundreds of years, first harvesting oysters, then hard shell crabs and now soft shell crabs.
At 12:30, we boarded the ferry at the city pier to head over to Tangier Island. On the island, we hopped on the next ferry to head to mainland Virginia.
On the ferry, we sat around a large table and plugged in our phones and basked in the glorious air conditioning. A little old lady sat down next to us, and we invited her to join us in a game of Bananagrams (its like Scrabble). As she proceeded to beat all of us at the game, we chatted and she told us about her daughter, who lives on the secluded island.
She said the island is suffering from a decline in the crab harvest and many people are deciding to give up their crab licences. It was fascinating hearing that the tiny island with more crab pots than people was affected by the variability in the abundance of crabs.
As we stepped off the boat in Reedville, Va. we said goodbye, and set out to find a campsite for the night. The landscape was much more lush on the other side, with huge fields of golden wheat beside the roads we biked on. After 15 more miles of biking we stopped at a library, to check Facebook and write this blog post.
Day 3: Gimme Shelter
Although the heat was definitely a factor in our first two days, our first full day of riding coincided with a heat index of 105 degrees.
The unseasonable heat was reaching its peak we were getting a little delirious.
Our general hydration regimen had us refilling our water bottles and Camelbak water packs at a gas station when we realized we had run out.
As we pedaled through the blazing sun on highway 360, we realized that method was not going to cut it, so we adapted a new routine. We stopped every ten miles in a gas station and sat inside until we felt ready to go.
We pulled over to the side of the baking road every once in a while and poured water down our shirts to supplement sweating.
It all was barely enough to keep us going, but we had a great motivation to persist: Dean’s friend Lydia lives in Mechanicsville, VA and was willing to host us for the night.
After we entered her family’s home, we quickly introduced ourselves and apologized for the smell; we were quickly given towels and shown the location of the showers.
We could not have asked for more gracious hosts in Lydia and her parents. Her mom made us a full pasta dinner, complete with garlic bread, salad, and sweet tea. Afterwards we made a quick run to Walmart and got ice cream at Brusters.
After some bumpy first nights, this shelter was like heaven. We passed out on beds, in air conditioning, and woke up to ham, eggs, oatmeal, and English muffins. Once again, we were amazed by the outpouring of generosity after a tough day.
Well fed and totally recharged, we set out on our fourth day.