Liz Ray has Mad Throttle

Getting rear-ended and other misadventures...

Strawberry Fields Forever

strawberryfieldsThis morning I didn’t have any honey left to put on my cereal.  There were two ways to address this issue: 1) walk over to the supermarket a few blocks from my home and purchase honey — likely in a plastic bottle in the shape of a bear wearing a cone-spout on its head or 2) get on the scooter and ride to some ridiculously far-away place, in search of honey and adventure.  I chose #1 — oh, wait, no I didn’t.  I’m not boring…

Going Down To Strawberry Fields: Buckwheat honey is my favorite type of honey.  It is also very rare and somewhat hard to find, outside a handful of specialty stores.  But I knew that the market at Linvilla Orchards always had it.  And Linvilla Orchards would have fresh-picked strawberries — buckets of them.  Pick-your-own or ready to go in the farmers market.  Honey, fresh strawberries, and whatever else I could haul back on the bike beckoned . . .  (That photo up there shows two berries that I ended up having with my coffee and apple cider donut.  Linvilla Orchards says that its apple cider donuts are world-famous.  I’m not sure I believe that folks in Azerbaijan are sitting around contemplating the renown of these donuts, but they are really good . . .)

[I took more photos of the haul — but they won’t load.  Some sort of weird error that I don’t know how to fix.  So, pretend like you saw pictures of a mountain of strawberries and peaches, a jar of buckwheat honey, a canister of Old-Bay-dusted peanuts (everything is better with Old Bay), and a flagon of hot sauce called “100% Pain” — to distinguish it from the mere 85% and 90% Pains that were also on the shelf.  I have yet to encounter a hot sauce that I find spicy enough, but I can hope.  Perhaps someday I will make it to a chili pepper convention, where legend has it that anyone who can ingest a Carolina Reaper — and not vomit or die — wins a cash prize. . . )]

But I digress.

Based on Google’s maps, getting to Linvilla Orchards would involve essentially three easy steps: 1) take Lancaster Ave to City Line Ave; 2) take City Line Ave to Route 352 South; 3) take 352 South to Knowleton Road; 4) arrive at destination.  (That fourth step doesn’t really count as a step.)

City Line Ave is Route 1, and I knew Route 1 (aka The Boston Post Road) from growing up with it in Connecticut, where it is a sleepy little road that has traffic signals every four feet or so.  Little did I realize that Pennsylvania has a very different take on Route 1…

Luckily, the Little Voice Inside My Head works weekends (I wisely never allowed the voices inside my head to unionize…), and it told me to go out in full battle gear, even thought I figured I’d be on little local roads.  After positioning myself between the trolley tracks on Lancaster, it was a (long) straight shot out to City Line Ave.  Traffic was light — I figured everyone was probably BBQing with friends and family, and not riding for miles in search of weirdo honey.

Turns out, everyone was out driving around on City Line Ave.

City Line Ave/Route 1 started innocently enough.  (It was trying to lull me into a false sense of security, I think.)  I took in the scenery (suburban strip malls, gas stations, and the occasional Baskin Robbins) and observed the road signs as they went by: No tailgating . . . Avoid Aggressive Drivers . . . Keep Alert. 

Keep alert?

Alert for what?

Alert for the immediate complex set of forks in the road, none of which was labeled: “Hey, dummy, if you want to say on Route 1, go here.”  Unable to turn off (and uncertain whether I wanted to or should), I continued straight.  Straight onto a stretch of road that suddenly became a multi-lane freeway type thing.  The posted speed limit was an irrelevant combination of random digits heeded by no one.

So there I found myself — zipping along at 75 mph on my little pink scooter, unsure of where I was or where I was going.  (Sort of like my regular life.)  Off-ramps for places I’d never heard of trucked by on the right.  SUVs that thought 95 to 100 mph was an appropriate rate of speed whipped passed on the left.  After about 15 minutes, a sign for Route 352 appeared.  Turns out, the insane stretch of road was Route 1 after all — and it occurred to me, “Wow, this thing reaches all the way from Maine to Key West.”

Wait a minute…

lightbulb-ideaThis road goes all the way to Key West . . . I immediately began calculating how much vacation time I had stored up (not much, but maybe enough if I could put add the trip to a three-day weekend) and where I could board the dogs.  I had always wanted to ride from Philadelphia to Key West, but a straight shot down I-95 didn’t have much appeal or romance.  While U.S. Route 1 was no Route 66, it would certainly have more charm than Interstate 95.  I wouldn’t need to bring much — a few clothes and some oil to keep the fuel injector on the bike from dying.

And, like that, a ride to fetch honey and fresh strawberries hatched a plan for an epic East Coast road trip . . . 1363 miles (one-way) is no joke, but Mile Marker 0 is where the conch fritters are.  (Maybe I can ride down and have the bike shipped back.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way — and I’m nothing if not willful.)


  1. I live across the road from Styers Orchard, here in Langhorne. It would take you no more than 45 minutes to ride here . Styers carries all types of honey and has been here over 100 years. As far as riding to Key West., it’s certainly on my bucket list!

  2. I lived near Route 1, on the North Shore of Boston. Through Saugus and Peabody, the ugliest stretch of Road anywhere.

  3. I won’t say it’s a bad plan per se, but, from experience, long stretches of US1 are less than idyllic. Maybe 1-95 to Florida, then A1A south, then US1 from Miami to the keys, now that would be awesome and full of nice vistas and interesting contrasts.

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