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  • Writer's picturePatrick Baechle

New Hope is some hope

Leaving Philadelphia was a pleasure. Riding along the Scukill River bike path was so interesting. The trail took me passed the boat houses, where the skulking crews launched; past outdoor bronze sculptures an under magnificent stone arched bridges.

Things fell apart a little in Mantiuck but that was a cool town, packed tightly with bars, shops and eateries for many blocks on narrow streets, later decending into curvy narrow streets, with tightly packed old Town houses like you would experience in an old world European city.

It was there that I cast away the Garmin bicycle computer from my life, which took me more than a week to determine it was totally worthless to me.

I bought this thing in Arlington to replace my Cat Eye odometer which failed its most basic function: to record the milage. This Garmin would allow me to load my 911 trail ride GPS maps, and then assist me in navigating the turn by turn. It only took me a week of reading forums to try to figure out how to load the maps. It required a desktop computer, I find out. Once I acquired one of these I was finally able to store the maps on my Garmin.

So yesterday, upon leaving the art museum, I loaded up the segment of the map I needed and began. For the next two hours the map kept beeping and flashing the U-turn symbols. All of the arrows were pointing the opposite direction. I pressed every button, in every sequence possible; swiped every screen up down, left and right; pressed every arrow, and held down every prompt; nothin! I could not get the route to reverse direction.

When I got to the bike shop I explained the situation. The 911 Memorial Trail GPS map segments were made clockwise and I am trying to navigate the maps counterclockwise. I am trying to figure out how to reverse the maps. The shop technician said the Garmin can't do that. You have redraw all 1300 miles of the maps in reverse, then reload them. I thought "maybe I can do that at lunch". After lots of griping , groaning and moaning, and little success at getting them to accept a return purchase, I walk out to a bridge to throw the Garmin in the Scukill River.

My day changed dramatically for the better when I encountered a very cool group a group of six fellow bike packers. They had bikes and gear of all sorts and seemed to be moving along pretty well. I learned they are family and freinds who get together every year and go on a 4 day bicycle camping trip. They were a very fun, freindly and happy group of people. They invited me to have lunch with them, and we went to some obscure Mexican taquaria inside a Mexican grocery store in Norisstown called Los Potrillos. We muched down our tacos and burritos, and swapped stories sitting on milk crates at the loading dock. I really enjoyed their company and would have liked to travel with them longer. They departed west up the Scukill River and I north, to New Hope, directly into the path of severe thunderstorms and tornados warnings.

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