Day 4
April 11th, 2002
Near Pocomoke City, Maryland

I slept well despite the cool weather.  I stayed in my sleeping bag as long as I could to avoid the cold air outside my tent.  I forgot my watch at Murray's and had to use the clock on my phone to track the time.  I picked it and it lit up at 6:15am.  

I gathered my sweat clothes and broke camp.  I will start the day with a sweatshirt and medium gloves, and long wool socks.  I took the sweatpants off before putting on the Roadcrafter.  The temp hovers in the low 40s and will not rise above 65 all day.  This is definitely not Central Alabama.  

I get back on U.S. 113 at 7:15 am.  Why I did not take SR 12 out of the campground I don't know.  Oversight I guess.  Could have saved myself about 40 miles according to the atlas.

I ride back to U.S. 13 north with the sun bright, the air cool and the scenery good.

First I hear it, my ears have listened to the hum of that perfect running 4 for so long now, no way I don't pick up the subtle change in exhaust note. Then I feel it.  The ST is not running good.  It feels like it is on choke, I check it.  Nope not that.  My speed drops from 70 to 60, now the bike feels like its on 3 cylinders.  It is slowing down as if I'm about to run out of gas.  I am losing speed, and now I picture myself on the shoulder calling Honda Riders.  The symptoms are out of sync carb, fouled plug, or bad gas.

As quick as it comes it goes.  The ST suddenly lurches forward and is running perfectly.  I will push on to Sailsbury and have the bike checked.  One thing about riding a Honda, never far from help.

I arrive in the city, and pull into the Kawasaki shop to find a man bringing bikes out of the service area.  They have just opened. 

"hey where's the Honda Shop?"

"straight down this road, about 2 miles"


Soon I pull into the Horner Honda service area.  The showroom has a ST on the floor so that's a good sign.  I explained what happened and the service manager asks-

"when was the last time you changed plugs?"

"well, haven't yet"

"WHAT! you got 45,000 miles on this bike and never changed plugs?"

"well yeah, been running good saw no need to change"

"Look I know its a Honda, but still.  I suspect this cold air mixed with gas flooded a plug, and caused the problem. When it got hot enough it burned it on out.  Lemme put ya 4 new plugs in it."

"think it will be ok till I can get home?"

"I dunno"

" its running good now isnt it?"

"well ok, if it does it again, will you please change the plugs?"

"I promise"

And with that I was back on the road, heading out of Sailsbury on U.S. 50 West.  The Lincoln Highway.  I can ride this highway all the way to Sacramento, perhaps one day.

I follow U.S. 50 to Easton where I go to SR 328.  My atlas says the Mason-Dixon marker can be found up this way.  That's worth checking out.

SR 328 is a great ride through Eastern Maryland.   Once again the wind is back.  Does it blow like this all the time near the Chesapeake? 

I have a nice quiet ride into Denton where I stop for gas and a butt break.  I buy a Mountain Dew and a Baby Ruth bar, and sit outside on the curb in the sun to stay warm, and block the wind.

I tried to call Neal again, but got no answer.  So I called the fire dept. offices back home for some help.  I asked the secretary if she knew what room Neal was staying in.  She said no, and referred me to Chief Gann. 

"hey Chief I've been trying to reach Neal for 2 days with no dice, his phone does NOT have voice mail"
"I know, let me shoot him a email, telling him you will be arriving in Emmitsburg this afternoon."

With that done I spend a few minutes with the Chief updating him on my travels.  I noticed then my phone was dangerously low on juice and needed charging.

Rested up I move back out on SR 313 to SR 311.  It's a glorious spring day on the Eastern Maryland shore.  Daisies and wildflowers lie in the fields around me.  There is no traffic to speak off.  I am having a great ride.  "God, this is so much fun", I think to myself, as I glide through the postcard Maryland countryside.
​A Spring Day Ride on Md. SR 313, 5 miles north of Greensboro
In Goldsboro I take SR 311 and a few miles later ride into Marydel.  A tiny town on the border with Delaware.  I ride the quiet streets looking for the Mason-Dixon Marker but can't find it, so stop off in a local store.

"look here, where y'all got the Mason-Dixon Marker?"

"you're close, ride back down to that little barn that says Kate's Treasures. You will find it right next to it on the side"

"thanks m'am"

I find the marker.  Nothing much to look at. A stone and a small sign describing the Mason-Dixon expedition, and nothing else.  Having discharged my duty to the M-D marker, I ride across the state line into Delaware, picking up another state.  My ST and I have now rode in 42 states.  I will pick up the other 6 this summer.
I leave the marker on SR 454 and 302, picking up 313 in Barclay.

Riding north on 313 is another great ride.  I pass a few slow moving 18 wheelers, but nothing else.  I am pleasantly surprised this area of Maryland affords such good riding.  The roads are good, and the landscape rolling farmland.  I pass through rustic and quaint towns.

In Elkton I stop for lunch.  McDonalds.  I couldn't find a local place and I was hungry.  I had a quarter pounder.  I looked desperately for a place to charge my phone but came up empty.

With my cholesterol sufficiently elevated, I turn west on SR 273, completing my circumnavigation of the Chesapeake Bay.  I cross the Susquehanna River at Cononwingo, then turn north on SR 136 and slip into Pennsylvania. 

As I turn left onto SR 851, I glance down at my clock-3pm "bad time", I will arrive in Emmitsburg right on time.  So far, I have covered 240 pleasant miles.

SR 851 proves to be one great ride.  The road gets twisty and I carve the ST around the turns.  It takes me over hills, and into valleys.  I pass by the quiet Pennsylvania farmland.  I keep my speed down, and avoid any peg scrapping, no matter how tempting this road is.  It is full of turnouts and blind hills, and I don't want any surprises.  The road is smooth, and has just the right radius in the turns.  If you want to learn more about this great road click here.
​Pa. SR 851 winding its way past quiet farmland
I ride 851 under I-83 in Shrewsbury.  The traffic picks up as I near the interstate and I got bogged down for a few miles.

A girl with a cell phone enters a intersection near New Freedom, causing me to jam on the brakes.  She doesn't pull out, but could have fooled me.  I wasn't taking any chances.

My next route is SR 216, another great road.  Curvy and smooth through Cordous State Forest.  Not as good as 851, but nice.

I need a butt break, also I need to charge up my phone.  I enter Hanover, and seek out quiet place with free electricity.  I get lucky and find a closed down gas/mart.  I see a pay phone in the front with a outlet, and plug in my phone.  I need a 30 min charge to make sure I have enough juice to find Neal when I arrive in Emmitsburg.
With my phone on charge, I walked over to a nearby Laundromat and buy a Mountain Dew out of the machine. Then I walk back over to the gas/mart, get out my Oatmeal cookies, my atlas, and as I sit against the wall, see how far it is to Emmitsburg.

​Hanover Pa.- Cookies, Dew, Map, and a charging phone
With my phone charged and butt rested, I leave Hanover, and soon find myself in Emmitsburg.

I enter the business district, and turn left on U.S. 15 south toward the Academy.  Been a long time since I was here, but I still remember the way. The tiny town draws its life blood from Academy students.  That fact has not changed, and not likely to anytime soon in light of 9-11.

One thing has changed. Security.  I pull into the guard area and 2 guards give the ST a thorough shakedown.  They inspect my bags and all my stuff, good thing Phil ain't here.  They quiz me, then check my story, by calling admissions and verifying Neal is a student here.  They write me a pass, and hold my drivers license.  I was quite impressed.  

I rode 301 fabulous miles today.

I ride to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial and pay my respects.  This is a haunting place, and very well done. 
The National Fire Academy trains firefighters from all over the country. It is here we learn the latest techniques and theories, from haz mat, to fire suppression, to administration, and now biological emergencies.  The Academy is a viable target for terrorists.  Firefighters are now on the front lines of this war, and we are being trained to expect ANYTHING.

I enter the campus and can't find Neal, so walk over to the dorms and find out his room number.  I settle down in the lobby and take a nap.  At 5pm he enters the lobby from a run, and we head down to his room.

He helps me get my stuff in and we spend the next hour talking shop, after which I get a shower and borrow his lap top and check email.  I log on to find 60 emails, most of it junk, but I still had a few that needed answering.

Finished with that we walked back into town to eat at Otts.  A popular place with Academy students.  Neal tells me about his current class, and about his project.  We share our table with Henry Butts, a fire chief from Watertown, Wisconsin.  He advises me if I am ever in the area, I am welcome to sleep in one his fire stations.  A guy can never have too many resources.

Back at the room, Neal went to wash some clothes and I called home, then I rolled out my sleeping bag, and pad.  The room only had 1 bed, but I didn't care, I had a free place to stay, and good companionship.  Thanks to Uncle Sam.

We talked fire dept. a little more and went lights out after the weather. It was another great day, this trip is proving to be a blast.

Next - Day 5, gettysburg battlefield