Bicycling the Delmarva Peninsula, page 5

Page 1: Kiptopeke to Assateague Island
Page 2: Assateague to Rehoboth Beach
Page 3: Rehoboth to Saint Michaels
Page 4: Saint Michaels to Fredericksburg
Page 5: Recovering in Fredericksburg

Thursday-Monday, September 24-28

For the past 5 days we've enjoyed bicycle-free relaxation. Taking long breaks at the end of long bike tours might become a tradition for us soon, since we seem to do it every year. As in the past, our time off the bike has let us visit with family and friends while our bodies recover and our children get some much-needed sleep. Planning for these rest days at the end of our trip also gave us some schedule flexibility while we were biking. If weather or breakdowns had delayed our finish by a day or two, we still would have finished in time to catch our flight back to Colorado.

As always, my mother kept us well fed (over fed?) during our stay. My father played with our children each morning so that Kathy and I could sleep in, and when we finally climbed out of bed it was because we could smell a hot breakfast cooking. Our kids couldn't get enough of Grandma and Grandpa, whether out on a hike or playing with antique toys at the house. My sister and nephew drove up from Richmond to visit us for a day, and later on our friends Steve and Hope drove down from Centreville to visit us again. We drove to some child-friendly tourist sites: The U.S Marine Corps Museum (which made a big impression on Daniel,) and a "living history" demonstration at a colonial plantation. Free admission, no guided tours, and plenty of room for the children to run around.




Hiking to a creek near Michael's parents' house.


Mom and Kathy look for a way down past a ledge.




Daniel and Grandpa "fish" the creek with sticks.


Steeples of the Lutheran Church and the courthouse in Fredericksburg.


Family dinner at Mom and Dad's house.




Shooting pool at the clubhouse.

At some point during all this visiting I began to reflect on our vacation, and thought to myself, "This was the best vacation for our family this year." We love our time together, and yet there are many things that our young family can't do together right now. We can't go backpacking or mountain climbing, because Daniel doesn't have the endurance. We can't go canoeing or rafting, because Maggie is too young. Our kids don't have the patience for art galleries or operas or fancy dinners. They're too short for amusement park rides. Our budget is small. So what can we do? We all like to play outside, especially near water or on sand. Our kids love camping, and they enjoy museums that cater to children. We all like ice cream, and we like visiting friends. And of course, we're very good at bicycling. On this trip we tried to make the most of our abilities as a family, and it worked out well.

It helped that our bicycling was trouble free. We rode 471 miles without any flat tires or breakdowns, we never had to ride in the rain, and Daniel became an expert at riding his trailerbike. What helped even more was that our kids have finally figured out camping. They know the routine of eating breakfast and getting ready in the morning, and they have learned to lay still and go to sleep in the tent at night. They sit still when we put sunscreen on them, and they know not to touch the hot stove at dinnertime. Even with the aggravations that our kids caused - those will always happen - camping with our kids was easier this time than on any previous trip.

We're happy to have finished a trip that was challenging, fun and educational for all of us. As our family grows up, we will adapt and try different adventures. New experiences, skills, and opportunities to learn are always good.


The U.S. Marine Corps Museum, near the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. The huge glass atrium roof is meant to remind us of the image of Marines raising a flag over Iwo Jima during World War 2.


Atrium of the Marine Museum. The museum also has amazingly good displays in its exhibit halls, but no photography is allowed in those areas.


Life-size displays like this one made a huge impression on Daniel, and he pretended to be a soldier for days.


Daniel really likes airplanes.


Alexa, Maggie and Daniel take a break in the atrium.


Ellwood Plantation, southwest of Fredericksburg. It's best known for its role during the Civil War, when it was Union headquarters and a hospital during the Battle of Wilderness.


Wandering through a cornfield at Ellwood.


Daniel gets a haircut from his grandpa (a retired barber.)

PREVIOUS

Page 1: Kiptopeke to Assateague Island
Page 2: Assateague to Rehoboth Beach
Page 3: Rehoboth to Saint Michaels
Page 4: Saint Michaels to Fredericksburg
Page 5: Recovering in Fredericksburg