Good Evening everyone, My name is Marriah Cousins. Happy July 4th! Today was a very eventful and education filled ride through the town of Mechanicsburg and west Jefferson. To start off, the morning was very convenient for cycling. The air was cool and the clouds were out so our start was comfortable and the beaming sun was not out to drain us. After about 12 miles or so, one of our Underground Railroad cyclists encountered a flat tire. We were parked off on the side of the road while Josh and Rachel started to repair the tire and at the same time we ate some trail mix and drank some water. After the tire was repaired we continued along our trail. Our second long distance rest stop was at a church about 20 miles after our first stop. There we had some water refills and some laughter. Mysteriously, one of our cyclists, Chris, disappeared and of course we continued to ride assuming that he would get on his bike and catch up, but as we got farther and had no sign of Chris or Joaquin, we gave them a call and were told that some technical difficulties had occurred. So we continued riding.
At about 10 miles after the call, we encountered another flat tire in which the same sequence of events happened but we also had a cyclist, Tariq, that really had to use the bathroom so Chuck picked him up in the van. After the tire was repaired we continued on to our first destination, Mechanicsburg. There we met up with our two cyclist Chris and Tariq as well as Joaquin and Chuck. We met a woman named Elen who offered us some fresh fruit and cold water. We also met the mayor of Mechanicsburg who was really kind to us and he spoke of the history behind the name Mechanicsburg and the town. Also involved in teaching us some history was Charlotte, who is a descendant of a slave that is honored in the town. Charlotte is also the grandmother of John Legend, a famous R & B singer!
The slave, Addison White, was a runaway slave, running from slave catchers and when he ran into Mechanicsburg, other citizens were informed and they dropped all of their belongings, stopped what they were doing and went off to fight the slave catchers. Charlotte is an important part of Mechanicsburg and we were honored to meet her but we had to get going!
It didn’t take long for the sun to come out and it was about time to get on the road again so we left the town of Mechanicsburg with a memory of Elen, Charlotte, and the Mayors generous hospitality. We met Rod there, who in the previous BLURR trip rode with the cyclists from Mechanicsburg to West Jefferson. From Mechanicsburg, we had a little over 20 miles to go to get to West Jefferson and on the way Joaquin and Chuck met us and we rode the remainder to the church where we set up tents and got dressed as quickly as possible to go to the pool. To our misfortune, it started pouring rain and we thought that hopefully it would stop raining as we got there but it didn’t, so we went back to where our tents were and got dressed to eat at the church.
When we got back, we noticed that our tents were missing! They had been blown into the bushes by the heavy rain. So, we had to find our tents and put them in the sun to dry. We will probably have to sleep in the church tonight because our tents are wet. We had dinner at the church and it was really fun to speak with all of the church members, they were really funny and charismatic. It was also another bonding moment between me and the other cyclists. Tonight we are hoping to laugh up a storm and watch fireworks together under the stars as well as fire some sparklers of our own. Today was a great day.