We left Delta and Peach Bottom Township around 8 AM. A few minutes later, after climbing a steep hill, we were back in Maryland. The border is better marked at PA 74 than on Chesterville Road at Lewisville, the site of our first Maryland entry/exit yesterday. (The Mason-Dixon sign is leaning; that’s not faulty camera work.)
We made good time on roads with broad, smooth shoulders, although many were hilly. Yet we encountered long stretches of rough, narrow roads that were harrowing to bike and hard to walk. Most drivers were very respectful of us, but that did not make the roads themselves bike-friendly. A tiring day.
But there were bright spots. The Maryland countryside is beautiful.
More beautiful still was the reception we got from Jeffrey’s friends in Montgomery Village. They picked us up in Woodstock, fed Jeffrey a delicious kosher Chinese dinner, and were joined by mutual friends from Silver Spring. We were honored by the attention, and pleased that everyone there is a financial and philosophic supporter of the Ride.
It’s no surprise to be treated this way by friends. It can be a surprise – and heartening – to get a similar reception from strangers.
We bumped into Darlene outside Rising Sun, Maryland. Or rather, she bumped into us! Jeffrey told her about the Ride for Human Rights. Darlene is not a woman of means, but she handed Jeffrey a cash donation and promised to tell her friends and family to follow the Ride and to support it as they can.
Jeffrey met Robert at the Jarrettsville, Maryland, post office, where we stopped to buy a stamped envelope. Robert bought the envelope for Jeffrey out of his own pocket, then handed Jeffrey a cash donation. While they were talking, William walked into the post office and handed cash to Jeffrey “for spending money”; he had seen the HRF signs on the Lightning parked outside. (Like all donations, 100% of the money – 200% after the match! – will go to HRF.)
The rhetoric bandied about in this election year can leave the impression that Americans in the Heartland are heartless when it comes to welcoming refugees and accepting the foreign-born who already belong to our American community. An example is not a proof – but these three people, encountered at random, all “get it.” They make us feel a bit less worried about our country’s future.
We hope Darlene, Robert and William talk to their friends, and that they vote the consciences that they clearly have.