Day 8 – Country Folk Are Just Bored
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats
Despite the freezing temps we had a great night of sleep. We both slept over nine hours, which was the most sleep either of us had gotten in weeks. There’s just something about the fresh air and sounds of nature that helps us rest.
After packing up our tent and gear, we headed toward the campground exit. There we ran into John again, along with his wife (Patty, we think. If you’re reading this and we got that wrong, let us know so we can correct it). They wished us well and answered some of our questions about what we could expect along our route for the day. Also, we talked to Diane for a bit, who wore a sweet smile and had an RV at the campground (unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture with her due to frozen hands and bleary heads). She was concerned about us staying warm. We assured her that we were taking care of ourselves and then had to hit the road because for the first time on this trip, we were going to try to get in 20 miles in one day.
In the late morning, Samuel and Tom were out doing yard work and saw us walking down the road. Tom yelled across the street to see if we needed anything. We didn’t, but we stopped and talked to them for a bit anyway. Tom shared the following anecdote with us that, while untrue based on our experience, was funny nonetheless: “Remember, city folk want to kill you, country folk are just bored.” Samuel and Tom also let us know some roadside tips about going through Amish country, as Tom had some experience doing week-long bike rides across the state.
A little later in the day, Katherine waved us down from across the road. We stopped and she scurried across traffic over to us with a big smile on her face. We had a nice conversation about how she and her husband hope to do something similar to our walk when they retire in a few years. Here’s hoping they follow their dreams and give it a shot!
Further down the road, we were fascinated by watching a man plow his field with three horses. He smiled at us, stopped, and walked over to say hi and introduce himself. We’re not sure if Ed was Amish, Mennonite, or Pennsylvania Dutch. Based on how he was farming and what he was wearing, we would have guessed Amish, but Ed didn’t have a beard, despite being old enough to have 10 children, many of whom are grown. He told us to sit down and rest for a while. We gladly complied. While chatting, a car pulled up and Heidi and Michael got out. Heidi said “I think I saw you two a few days ago, but it was in New Jersey.” We confirmed that we in fact were in New Jersey a few days before. Seeing us a second time, curiosity had gotten the best of her and she asked what exactly it was that we were doing. While hanging out with everyone, Ed’s dogs came over, gave us both kisses, let us pet them, and then proceeded to mark their territory on Heidi and Michael’s car. After Heidi and Michael left, Ed offered to give us a tour of his farm, but we regretfully had to decline and get back to walking. Tara was especially sad about leaving, because as she said, Ed had a “thousand watt smile and a gentle soul.” We didn’t take any pictures during our roadside rest with Ed because we weren’t sure of the Amish rules and didn’t want to make him uncomfortable.
As the day progressed, the landscape definitely became more rural.
We were able to get our 20 miles in just before dark. We found a roadside “motor inn” that was tucked between a Laundromat and a cafe. A perfect place to stay after a wonderful day.