Day 74-75: May 17th-18th, Kiptopeke State Park to Stockton, MD to Rehoboth, DE

We woke up at the state park and had to ride 27 miles into the wind before reaching an actual town with actual food and actual coffee. The town was called Exmore and we stopped for breakfast at the Exmore Diner. It was a one of those old-timey diners built in what looks like a gigantic Airstream trailer and we were, very clearly, the only non-regulars in the place. As always, we quickly made friends. One fellow close-talked us for a while and offered to buy us breakfast (we politely declined). Some bikers (Harley kind) sat next to us and encouraged us to “be safe out there” (then proceeded to ride away sans helmets, of course). Sophie placed our order and after she ordered my portion (two sweet potato pancakes, one regular pancake, two scrambled eggs, a side of bacon and a coffee) the waitress began to walk away and Sophie had to awkwardly tell her that that was only for one of us. Five different people commented on the amount of food we were eating and the waitress asked us, “Where do y’all put all that!?!” Sigh. Then, to add to the embarrassment of it all, I wanted to get a stronger cup of coffee after breakfast so we went to a bakery in town. There we were recognized by a patron from the diner who poked fan at us and then directed us to the ice cream shop down the road. Eventually we got back on our bikes and headed toward the Maryland border. We stopped for a snack at what appeared to be a cute country diner that was, in fact, a super gross roadside dive. We got lemonade which smelled and tasted strongly of sulfur and salads that I won’t go into detail about but suffice it to say that it’s the first time I’ve been concerned about food poisoning from a salad. During the stop, though, we had a couple older gentlemen ask about what we were doing and where we were going. After getting back on the road and riding about five miles those same gents pulled their car over ahead of us and flagged us down. One of them owned a giant farm right on the water a few miles away and they offered us a place to stay, hang out, nap, shower, whatever because they were just “so impressed” by us. Again, we declined but were very grateful for the offer. As ever, nice people everywhere. For many miles we had seen billboards advertising a place called Stuckey’s and, as a cultural experience, we decided we had to go. It had been billed as a gigantic Virginia gift shop, restaurant, novelty item haven, etc. What it was was a gas station that sold a whole lot of candy and some religious tshirts. I did get some awesome pecan pie though so it wasn’t a total bust.

We were scheduled to stay with a warm showers host just over the Maryland border. We got there around 6pm and regretted the decision pretty much immediately. Almost all of our Warm Showers experiences have been awesome. At the very least we have always felt safe and had a clean place to sleep. More often than not we have had kind, generous and interesting hosts whom we are sad to have to leave in the morning (I was ready to move in with Pam and Guy). This was not that. By the time morning rolled around we tried to decline having breakfast at the house because we just wanted to get out of there so bad. It’s hard to describe it all in enough detail to do the experience justice but some highlights include: our host appeared to be drunk when we arrived and proceeded to taunt us when we declined his offer of beer. He told us he was “in prison for many years” at which point I was ready to run for the door but eventually it became clear that he had worked in prisons, not been a prisoner himself. Sophie and I both tried to make small talk with him but he told us firmly, without a hint of sarcasm, that we were not allowed to ask him questions. A lot of silence ensued. He had a young Taiwanese wife who seemed to be very nice but she was never formally introduced to us and mostly ignored us. The room he gave us to sleep in was also used for incubating chicks so neither of us slept a wink because of the chirping and scuttling of the chicks all night. There was only one bathroom in the house and it was not clean and, confusingly, seemed to serve the double purpose of kitchen storage. In the morning, we tried to leave around 6:45am. To his credit, he made us breakfast and coffee which was very nice of him but unfortunately he barely cooked the sausage which was literally red inside. Warm Showers is a wonderful thing and the people who volunteer to open their homes and host strangers are, almost always, incredibly generous and kind souls. We have appreciated the kindness of all these folks along the way. Though I applaud this guy for trying to do a nice thing, I would have been far happier camping than had to endure the discomfort of staying with him.

Soooooo anyway… we left Stockton early and were excited not only to be outta there but also to be on our way to Rehoboth, DE. Last year Sophie planned a surprise trip for me with my little sister and former roommate to Rehoboth, home to our favorite brewery, Dogfish Head. We had such a great time last year that we decided early on that our bike trip would include a few days here. Unfortunately the ride was actually pretty miserable because of the fierce headwinds we were battling all day but once we got here we were happy as clams. Our first stop was the Dogfish brewpub where we sampled some of our favorite beers and celebrated having made it here, so close to the end of our trip. We will spend a couple days here, enjoying the last few days of the trip and, hopefully, trying every beer on the Dogfish menu!

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Sophie’s favorite wildlife area

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Battling the wind in Delaware

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Our first beers at Dogfish Head. This is the face of happiness.