Day 4: Newark to Joppatowne, MD

Yesterday morning, I got up around the sunrise once again. After packing up my stuff, I waited for Rodolfo and Hali. We said our final goodbye before I loaded up my bike and headed out.

The first thing I did was to get some breakfast on Main Street. I didn’t want to ride too far so I ended up settling on The Original Hot Bagels. Only that I didn’t order the bagel, but an omelette. For some reason, the omelette was placed on an aluminum foil, which made it hard to eat since the knife would cut the aluminum foil. I had to be very careful not to eat that. Soon after breakfast, I rolled out of this wonderful college town.

The rain had already started when I started riding. It’ll rain for the whole morning. Komoot, the app that I use for navigation, took me mainly on the local roads. I actually saw a roll of cash, $21 in total, on the roadside while cycling. Must be my lucky day!

By the time I arrived in Elkton, Maryland, the rain became heavy. I decided to rest at Spork Cafe and eat a second breakfast consists of a cheese danish and a glass of orange juice.

Spork Cafe

The rain does not make for fun riding. I was feeling a bit down overall and really questioned if I want to cycle around the world. I need to keep my emotions in check and not think too much.

I started riding once again after my second meal. There was one incident where I went down a curb on my bike, and as soon as the back wheel hit the ground I heard a loud thud. I was afraid that with most of the weight on the back wheel it must have cracked my rim or damaged a spoke or the tire. After checking, everything turned out fine. What a scare that was. I certainly don’t look forward to fixing the rear wheel in the rain.

Just outside of Charlestown, MD, waiting for the rain to die down

I rolled into Charlestown around noon and spotted the Market Street Cafe. I decided to grab lunch there and wait out the rain.

The waitress looks young and she’s so kind and caring. She seemed to know everyone who came into the restaurant. Well, everyone except for me. I ordered a Maryland crab soup and a house salad with shrimp so I can get some nutrients other than meat.

Market Street Cafe

I had read in my Warmshowers host’s profile that there’s a bridge that I would need to go on to cross the Susquehanna River, but it’s closed on weekdays. I was worried that I would need to take a bus or an Uber across. As it turns out, the waitress, whose name is Emma, told me that her mom’s boyfriend works for the Maryland transportation department and she would call him to ask. A while later, the man on the phone said that the bridge is open on weekdays from 9 AM to 3 PM and on the weekend from dawn to dusk. I looked at my watch, it was already 1 PM. I better get going. I ended up leaving a 50% tip for Emma for her help.

Emma and the restaurant owner Bobbie

I got to the Hatem Bridge around 2 PM and pressed the button on the road so I can go across the bridge. The lights came on to warn the drivers that there’s a cyclist on the bridge. I ended up riding on the middle of the right lane so that cars will have to go to the left lane pass me. I made across safely, but it was an intense ride across the bridge with all the cars.

Komoot’s directions took me the local route that’s parallel to route 40, which is full of cars. But I had to climb hill after hill. I don’t know what’s worse, the rain or the hills. At least the rain had stopped in the afternoon.

I have trouble riding up hills because I’m still too weak. And the bike’s lowest gear is not suitable for steeper hills. I ended up playing a game of “The Next Driveway” where I would just walk or ride to the next driveway ahead, then rest for about 30 seconds to a minute, then go to the next driveway, then the next. This strategy worked well especially when there was barely any shoulder on the road.

When Komoot took me to a residential neighborhood, I was lucky enough to get a water refill from a retired couple named Felicia and Dean. They moved to Maryland four years ago from Idaho to be with their children and grandchildren. I forgot to take their photograph, but they are my first road angels of the trip!

Soon after, I had my fourth meal of the day at Wendy’s, which is my first fast food restaurant of the trip. I needed more fuel for the next 15 miles or so, especially when there are more hills ahead.

The rolling hills of Maryland

And indeed there were more hills! Around 6 PM, I finally arrived at Stephen’s house in Joppatowne. It was a little over 47 miles that day and I was exhausted.

After parking my bike in the garage, Stephen gave me a tour of the house and showed me his Lego collection. I was so amazed since I collected Lego sets, too. But I had to sell most of mine due to the downsizing and the cycling trip. Stephen’s collection is much large and most sets are built, unlike mine.

Stephen, and some of his Lego collection

After taking a much needed shower, I met Olga, Stephen’s wife, and their son Alex. Stephen made some delicious homemade bread and heated up some chicken parmesan for dinner. I can’t believe I ate five meals in one day!

Last night, I slept in the bed in the basement. It was a restful sleep. Now, just finished having two egg sandwiches made by Stephen, I plan to head out at 9 AM to the Amish farmer’s market that’s nearby. It was recommended to me by Rodolfo and Hali to visit there. Since it’ll rain the whole day, I will ride only about 12 miles to Middle River and stay at another Warmshowers host’s place.


  1. Hiatt, you are the nicest guy. Hope you have a safe, blessed trip. Felicia

    1. Thank you so much, Felicia, for the water and the conversation!

  2. So glad you are meeting such nice people! And what a Lego collection!

    1. Yes, Stephen is a great guy! I would have loved his Lego collection if I was younger!


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