When Ale and I crossed the border into pennsylvania, I received a voice message from my dad reminding me that I had a great aunt (grandma’s cousin) who was living about 70 miles away from where we were currently staying. At this point in time, Ale and I were planning on racing up to New York to get there by Saturday (the 13th) in time to see a Stanford field hockey game in Connecticut on the 14th. I was a little bit stressed at the thought of taking an extra day to navigate and bike 70 miles to see this relative, but my thoughts completely changed after talking to my aunt, Linda.
Linda and I spoke on the phone for over a half hour as she told me how excited she was about our journey and explained her own plans to hike the east coast greenway trail. I knew three things immediately after hanging up: one, Linda was fricken awesome; two, I loved Linda and would somehow make it possible to see her; and three, I must have inherited some of her adventure seeking traits, because this lady totally got what Ale and I were doing and wanted to do something similar.
Ale and I talked about it for a while and studied the map for even longer. We finally realized that Linda was only 40 miles away from our friend’s sister’s apartment in Philadelphia. This was ideal because Sam (the sister of Kelsey, one of the players on the Stanford hockey team) was driving to the game in Connecticut and had offered to give us a ride. Perfect.
The next day we navigated our way to Linda’s house without too much trouble and managed to find gorgeous desolate roads to bring us there. We got about 5 miles away before we got a phone call from Jeff. Jeff, Linda’s brother, called to tell us there was too much traffic on the route we were planning to take and he offered to come pick us up. I gladly accepted, as we had been biking in the dark for about an hour and the cars were getting a little too close for comfort and seemed to be multiplying. Jeff came with his warm and beautiful wife Karen, in a huge truck, and we piled our stuff in and headed off to a resturant to meet Linda.
Dinner was amazing! Ale and I both ordered huge salads (that we were warned that we would not be able to finish) and were so happy to see vegetables. We destroyed the salads and had a wonderful conversation while doing so. It was so much fun to hear stories about my grandparents and aunts and uncles and distant relatives that I had never met. Linda was so incredibly nice and told hilarious stories about her own adventures, and Ale and I shared some of our favorite stories.
At the end of the meal we all drove back to Linda’s place to unload the bikes. Jeff was so helpful with all of it and I was so glad he was there. We said our goodbyes to Jeff and Karen and then headed off to bed where we instantaneously passed out.
The next morning Linda made us a huge breakfast with potato omlettes and biscuits and cereal. It was delcious! We gave her some tips on gear and camping equipment during the meal, so she could be better prepared for her long walk along the greenway. She then offered to drive us around so that we would better understand our route into Philly. Ale and I jumped into the car barefoot and we were off. Linda raced over the hills on the windy roads and Ale and I both held on for dear life (we were used to riding on bikes at a slow pace and this was a complete shock). Linda laughed at us and continued on showing us historic landmarks and roads we should and should not be on.
The car ride ended up being very helpful and I was able to get us most of the way to Philly without using my phone. So thank you thank you Linda!
I was so incredibly grateful to be able to visit Linda and I am so excited about keeping in touch with her in the future 🙂