Thanks to Hurricane Earl, somewhere out in the Atlantic, today dawned cloudy and somewhat cooler. I ate at the motel's continental breakfast, then hit the road, backtracking toward White Haven. It was mostly downhill, confirming that when it seemed mostly uphill the day before, it wasn't just the product of my tired imagination.
Just before I would have crossed the river, I turned left onto Route L south, River Road, following that for a few miles until the route turned east to head through Hickory Run State Park. At this point, Route L was joined by Route V, the east-west route I had crossed 100 miles to the west a few days earlier. These two routes ran together right through the state park, a very pretty -- albeit very hilly -- ride. There wasn't too much activity in the park, so the ride was nice and quiet. (This being the Friday before Labor Day weekend, I imagine things got a lot busier later in the afternoon.
A few miles after exiting the park, I reached the small town of Albrightsville, where Route L parted from Route V, with the former turning south. After stopping at a convenience store for an iced tea, I followed Route L south along PA 903, a road that in spots was not especially good cycling due to a poorly maintained and narrow shoulder and a fair amount of traffic. After a short distance, that improved and most of the ride was OK. Along about 11:30 I was starting to think about lunch. A pub appeared, so I stopped and had a chicken bacon ranch wrap and a Bass Ale, both of which were delicious!
After a while, Route L turned off from PA 903 onto the road that runs past Penn's Peak, a concert venue. The road then descended steeply down to the valley below. It as so steep that I was almost constantly riding the brakes so as not to go too fast. Even so, I topped out at 40 mph. Once down I continued on, shortly reaching the outskirts of Lehighton.
At this point, I had to make a decision. I was about 25 miles from the terminus of my trip in Allentown. Should I press on, finish up and drive back to Connecticut today? Or should I stop where I am, where there is a nice motel, for one more night? I decided to stay where I was. The deciding factor was that I would have had to drive back on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day, when the roads are bound to be packed.
So, I checked into the motel. Since I had no clean clothes (another factor that argued for staying), once I was cleaned up I put my dirty clothes in the guest laundry and wore the only clean thing I had -- my bathing suit -- down to the indoor pool. While my clothes swam in the washer, I swam in the pool. After a bit I went and moved the clothes to the dryer, then returned to the pool until I was prune-fingered.
Afterward, I retrieved my clothes and returned to my room to read and work on my journal. After a short nap, I walked to a nearby restaurant for a dinner of wings and a bison burger, accented by several Sam Adams Oktoberfest brews. Then it was back to the motel to read and sleep.