Day 1: King of Prussia, PA, to Philadelphia

Today is the day!

I woke up around sunrise (this is normal for me) and made myself a cup of hot tea in the kitchen. I don’t remember what I did, but soon my landlady/housemate, Merritt, woke up and came downstairs with her two dogs, Cece and Jake. Merritt had to run an errand at the veterinarian office in the morning so I made my final preparations.

After I dragged my two boxes of stuff up to the attic, along with my duffle bag of clothes and my guitar, I was exhausted. I laid on the couch in the living room and wanted to take a nap.

The plan was to leave around 10 AM, but Merritt came back later than expected and we had to walk the dogs at the cemetery across the street. It was the last time I’m walking the dogs.

Around 12:40 PM, I got my bike ready. I had planned on lighting some sparklers to send me off, but the wind was too strong for the matches and the lighter. There goes that idea.

Merritt and I had an emotional farewell. I had a great time living at her house over the past two years. We also got along great! Merritt is the most intelligent person around my age that I’ve ever met. I’m very glad that I’m part of her family and she is one of my best friends. After our goodbyes, I rode across the cemetery and didn’t look back. To be honest, I was more worried about riding the bike on the bumpy grassy field.

Ready to go!

Today's route is to ride on the newly opened Chester Valley Trail connector to the Schuylkill River Trail, then have lunch at Manayunk, before arriving in Center City, Philadelphia. The total distance today is only about 25 miles. I learned a lesson from my 2018 cycling across America trip that I should start slow, especially the last time I rode a bike was last year.

I’m carrying a total load of 55 pounds of stuff, adding 165 pounds of myself, I wondered if my Priority Apollo will hold up. And it did. My speed wasn’t fast though. I think it’s because I’m carrying more stuff this time compared to my previous cycling trips. Also the Apollo is a little heavier than my previous bike, a 2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR4.

The new Chester Valley Trail connector

After I got on the Chester Valley Trail going east, I rode it through Bridgeport and Conshohocken. I had to take a photograph of what was then Riverbend Cycles. That was the start point of my 2018 trip. Now it’s called The Tricycle. The place brought back good memories when my girlfriend at the time and her friend sent me off.

The building that was Riverbend Cycles

I continued on the Schuylkill River Trail until I reached Manayunk around 2:45 PM. I decided to get bowl of Zha Jiang Mian at the New Leaf Chinese restaurant. It reminded me of my homeland, China. The fortune cookie told me that “Romance Awaits You.” Question is, how long is the wait?

My first restaurant meal, Zha Jiang Mian, at the New Leaf Chinese restaurant

I didn’t realize how bad of a shape I’m in. I kept on stopping every 4 or 5 miles to take a break. One time, I sat by a boathouse watching the seagulls. A few miles later, I rested on a bench by the art museum.

One unfortunately thing is that my old Google Pixel 2 is useless. I thought I could use it to navigate, but it doesn’t have internet connection and turns off when I tried to use GPS on I guess I’ll have to use my main phone, Google Pixel 5a, to navigate. It’ll chew a lot of data.

A little after 5 PM, Brooks, my coworker who is hosting me tonight, texted me when I was at the art museum. He told me he will be home around 7 PM. I decided to ride to his place ahead of time since I have nothing else to do. On the way, I almost got hit by a car when I was merging from the sidewalk into the road. It was my fault for not looking carefully. I hate riding on city streets!

Brooks arrived at 6:30 PM just as I'm finishing this post while sitting on his front door steps. We plan on grabbing a quick bite to eat later. I will have to sleep early so I can get on the road early tomorrow to ride about 45 miles to Newark, Delaware.

I conclude my first day's post with a photograph of last night's farewell dinner at Nectar in Berwyn, PA, with Merritt and I.

Merritt and I had a great dinner at Nectar in Berwyn, PA!