Today we cycled from Budd Lake, NJ, to Lehighton, PA. Lehighton is not on PA Bike Route V[ictor], which we picked up in its eastern terminus at Portland, PA.
Before I explain, I’ll hit some of the highlights. Jeffrey had to fix a couple of flats. In NJ, we walked for a while with a South American gentleman, long a taxpaying (unauthorized) U.S. resident, out for his daily constitutional, and discussed how hard it is for him to support his U.S. citizen children, and how sad he is that his oldest child, born abroad but living here since first grade, has not been able to use her talents as an American-but-unauthorized adult. We saw interesting things we did not photograph, such as a house flying the U.S., New Jersey, and German flags from the front porch; and things we did photograph, such as a NJ farm that would look at home in northern NY or New England, the Orthodox church offering services in English and Slavonic, and the dog resort. Below you’ll also see the pedestrian bridge across the Delaware River, a view from the bridge, Joey on the far Pennsylvania end of that bridge, Joey and Jeffrey together in Pennsylvania, and some scenes of the Water Gap area and the countryside.
Here’s why we are now off route. After almost 60 miles, we tried to find a place to stay in Kunkletown. There was none to be had. Nancy Freund Heller and her assistant Meghan could not locate a hotel room within 10 miles of the place. So we proceeded to another small town on the route. No hotels there either. Bottom line: we found a local pastor, described our mission and our predicament, and to our sad surprise, were offered no help — just good wishes for a 12-mile detour to a hotel. We wondered what Jesus would have done; we suspect He would have offered us shelter in the church, or let us park the BikeE at the church and given us a lift to and from the hotel. And we wonder how the pastor would have felt upon reading in tomorrow’s newspaper about the man and kangaroo hit by a truck at twilight on US 209 South.
This is what the pre-departure blog has railed about: hypocrisy. We Americans say we believe in welcoming strangers. But when the opportunity arises, we turn away.
Happily, the hotel clerk in Lehighton — Eddie, a college student, sportsman and cyclist — is everything the pastor was not. He told us that to bicycle from here to reconnect with Route V is dangerous. The roads are high speed and there are no shoulders. Tomorrow morning, Eddie will put us and the BikeE in his F150 truck, and will take us 12 miles to where it will be safe for us to proceed on two wheels. So our 12 mile detour will be canceled out and we can continue the Ride without undue risk of being crushed against a guard rail.
I forgot to mention yesterday another person who went out of his way to help us. Joe, who works for a large corporation in the Budd Lake area, found us a mite bewildered (as Dan’l Boone would say) and accompanied us to the right road. That makes our fellow cyclists the Good Samaritans of our story. Maybe cycling should be required in divinity school.