Monday, October 08, 2007

New "Neigh"bors

Location: Assateague Island, MD

I am back in Assateague for a lovely fall visit -- but the 90 degree temps don't make one think "fall." It was so hot yesterday, I was forced -- forced I say -- to take a mid-day nap!

The trip here was uneventful until I got to Berlin where a bicycle event called the "Seagull Century" was in full swing.

The 100 mile ride started in Salisbury, snaked through the countryside, passed through Berlin, stopped for rest at Assateague Island, then returned by a different route to Salisbury, again passing through Berlin. So this route took them through Berlin twice, once from each direction, and to and from Assateague on the only road that goes there.

So can you guess when I got to Berlin?

If you have never been there, Berlin is a quaint, trendy little town with boutiques and eateries and narrow streets. Big enough for an RV to get through, but not a lot of room to spare. I had to make a left turn in Berlin, which I did, and then stopped almost immediately -- from a side street to the left came HUNDREDS of bicyclists, and their path would take them directly in front of me pulling the RV. So I stopped and waited, and the cars behind me stopped and waited, and pretty soon the riders passed, many of them politely thanking me for not killing them.

Once they passed I heaved a sigh of relief -- premature as it turned out -- and continued on to Assateague.

As hectic as Berlin was, it was nothing compared to the road to Assateague. Now there were cyclists on BOTH sides of the road, and cars going in both directions. The only way to pass the cyclists was to cheat to the center because many of them chose to hug the line on the side of the road or even to ride IN the road instead of in the bike lane. The cars coming the other way had the same problem, so we took turns using the center of the road to pass.

Eventually I got through it all without killing, maiming, or scuffing a single cyclist.

Assateague Pony with Mouth Open
I got settled in my spot, and was sitting at my picnic table taking it all in, when the ponies came sauntering down the road! Now there are numerous signs posted that you are not allowed to "approach, touch, or feed" wildlife in Assateague, but apparently that rule doesn't work both ways -- two of the ponies walked right to me as I sat at the table. I thought at first they wanted food, but they totally ignored me, and kept walking until they had joined three other ponies who were munching grass in my "backyard." As they passed, one provided this proof that Mom was right when she said not to talk with your mouth full!

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