I have all the Adventure Cycling maps needed to travel north as far as Baltimore. They are comprehensive and leave few ques tions except the pragmatic ones. Where will I sleep? Eat? Shower? Even these questions are answered by the thorough descriptions of the routes showing bike shops, campgrounds, motels and more. The questions are generated by personal uncertainties. How many hours can I remain in the saddle? How far can I ride?
For the next few months I will learn about my personal limitations by doing increasingly long day and overnight trips. Refining my camping skills will make it easier to anticipate were and how to do some stealth or guerilla camping. This seems to be a larger issue across southeastern Georgia than anywhere else.
One necessary adjustment has too be made to my intended route. The cost to cross from "mainland" Virginia to the Eastern Shore is too high at about $50 by private ferry. Getting to the Outer Banks remains on the schedule since the public ferries will set me back about $3. As a result, I no longer have to plot my own course from OBX.
North of Baltimore I will leave the Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route and head due north into Pennsylvania on the Maryland North Central Trail near Monkton.. The North Central Trail, a rail-to-trail path becomes a section of PA's J Route which eventually follows US 15 along the Susquehanna River. Currently, I am losing interest in daring the narrow roads leading to Pottsville and will consider my trip successful if I reach the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna.
The return route remains uncertain. reading Bicycling the Blue Ridge has given me a good idea of the challenge I will face there. I am less concerned about my ability and stamina than I am about where to turn south. Do I cross all of Georgia? Or do I head toward the coast again somewhere in North Carolina? No matter what route I choose it will be without good map support, a daunting prospect. Yet, if I have succeeded in reaching my northbound goal I will probably be able to cope with a less structured journey.
None of my concerns causes me to waiver in my desire to set-off. I see the concerns as reasonable and the solutions just part of planning and doing.