I took the luxury of a motel room, even a 40 dollar a night motel room, as an excuse to sleep later than normal. I was on the road by 8:30, and stopped at a truck stop in Felton for breakfast. I soon discovered my fast wasn't the only thing broken, for two miles down the road I pulled into a gas station to fix a broken spoke. The spoke wasn't on the drive side, so I thought it would be easy to fix it with my fiberspoke and limp into Dover, 8 or so miles on, for a professional repair.

However, my inexperience showed itself again. I made a mess of retruing the wheel. After two attempts and two failures, I decided I'd have better luck thumbing a ride to Dover. A few minutes on Rt. 13 brought me a lift to Delaware's capitol. Tony's Bike Shop on Rt. 13 managed to replace the spoke and true the wheel once I made them understand I was on a bike tour and couldn't wait three days, and by noon I was rolling again.

While crossing the city I took a whim and headed into the historic district. I was rewarded with touring serendipity when I discovered an African-American festival in full roar on Legislative Square.

I rode round the square a few times, and walked around listening to the band and enjoying the sight of the city center alive with people. I pulled up to a stand advertising "Best Soul Food in the World" and ordered some sweet potatoes.

"Where are you coming from?" the fellow behind the counter asked as he handed me my food.

"I started in Pittsburgh on the 13th. I should be home near Philadelphia on Sunday." It was a familiar question, one I'd answered many times over the past two weeks. But I'd never received the reaction I did here, which was stunned silence and blank looks. In the awkward silence I thanked him for my food and turned to leave. As I left I heard one of the servers say to another "That guy, he's da man." The trip to Dover was worth it for just that remark.

I pedaled across Dover to pick up the Delaware Bike Route 1 - and the only one - north. The trip was pretty, but the road was poorly signed. I got off course just after taking this photo at one of Delaware's many millponds:

My misdirection led me back to Rt. 13. Not wanting to waste more time crossing back to the bike route when Rt. 13 led me to the same place, I turned north on it into Smyrna, turning off on Rt. 71 into Middletown. Pity this place was closed when I reached it.

I was keeping an eye on the skies. Would The Historian escape a soaking? The clouds gathered overhead.

I stopped at the Middletown Academy to rest for a few minutes. My trip north had become gradually more and more rolling, and I found the climbing tiring. Also the continuous traffic wore me down. There's something to be said for trails after all.

But I then pushed on, and soon enough reached the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, a shipping ditch across the Delmarva region linking the Bay and the Delaware River. Here I was almost stopped.

Ride on the shoulder or walk through the construction area? I turned and saw a fire engine take up half the shoulder climbing the bridge, and began to walk the mile or so of milled pavement. With the thought I might spend the night in a Delaware jail for trespassing, I stopped and took a photo at the top of the bridge:

Once on the other side, I remounted and pushed my tired legs to my night stop, Lums Pond State Park. I set up, showered, and settled in for the night as I listened to the neighboring "campers" argue in their home on wheels. The one drawback to the campsite was the enormous number of kids around. I overheard one of the fathers warn his son about "telling if anything funny happens" when he was in the restroom. The concerned dad was looking at me in my Lycra as he said this, and all I could think of was "If he only knew the truth." I have a horror of paedophilia because I can't understand why anyone WANTS to spend time with children. Where is Herod when I need him, I thought, as I went to sleep.