Day 42: I exploded my tire

Woke up this morning to my rear tire having almost no tire pressure. I inflated it and rode it with Kristine back into town where we got breakfast, I took the tube out to check for leaks, didn't find one. When I put it back together and filled it, it held for half the day, which was good. We went to a gas station where we ate some food and hung out while Kristine charged her phone, and try to charge mine (still no good). I've been having a lot of flats on my rear tire lately, I often can't even find the source, and the punctures are always tiny little pin prick holes. I went on Amazon and ordered a new set of tires knowing that the tire was probably going to go soon, and set them to ship to State College, PA, which is a 2 day trip (2 day shipping with prime). By the time we were ready to take off, Billy was nowhere to be seen. He didn't answer his phone, and he presumably took off to Philipsburg, which was tonight's destination. Billy, since entering Pennsylvania, has been showing a real eagerness to get home. He's a man on a mission! Kristine and I were honestly unsure if we'd catch up to him since he was locked on to the idea of going as far as he can every day. Kristine and I took off and biked on some awesome back roads. The day was nothing but climbing up and down hills, but the grades were much kinder than the past few days save for a few specific hills. We rolled through another Amish country, horses and buggies everywhere! At one point we rode up a long hill through farmland where Amish families live, and the children would run out to the fence or lawn and just watch us slowly pedal by up that hill in utter amazement! One thing I noticed, is that even with our loaded bikes, going uphill, we were still faster than the horse drawn buggies... It was kinda tough because we needed to keep momentum to make it to the top, yet we can't get too close without spooking the horses.

Later we got through Amish country and was back in the forests. At one point we saw a black bear cub hanging out on the side of the road. We immediately stopped and started scanning for the mother in case we were about to ride inbetween them (that would've been pretty bad). The cub saw us after a minute and ran off to it's mom, and we ended up scaring the both of them off by riding by screaming stuff like "MASSACHUSETTS, YEAAAAHHHH".

We were about to hop on to a rails to trails path, which began in this small town, when I got another flat tire! While changing it, some guy on a motorcycle stopped and kinda kept me company and chatted while I worked (I'll call him motorcycle dude). I finally changed it, but in the process, I realized what was giving me all those flats. The bead of the tire (The lip that kinda hooks against the inside of the rim) was tearing, stripping and the wire center was exposed in some places. I changed it, knowing it wasn't gonna last much longer. I loaded up my bike, and the moment I sat on it, the bead broke and my tire exploded out the side of the wheel. Unfortunately, it's done. Like, done done. This happend around 5pm and we were about 3 hours from our destination in Philipsburg. Kristine and I thought for a minute, because hitchhiking is statistically more successful with a girl in the party, but having two bikes would severly limit who has the capacity to pick us up. So we decided that I should hitchhike alone and take my chances, and she needs to get to Philipsburg by herself while she has the day to do it.

There were some local kids, two brothers, who lived nearby, and they stuck around with me which was nice. They even brought me some water bottles! I appreciated their company while I made a big sign out of cardboard. After about an hour and a half, and a few guys who kinda lingered as the peanut gallery (not really helping to be honest), motorcycle dude rode by and saw me still hanging about, and he stood with me for a few minutes, before he saw a young couple he knew and flagged them down. We explained what happened, and they agreed to give me a ride to Philipsburg! We took a picture of us holding my sign with my bike on their phone, they texted it to me, but until I get my phone working I won't have it. We cruised into Philipsburg before Kristine arrived, and as we were pulling into a stripmall to drop me of, I spotted Billy's bike parked outside a KFC. So we unloaded, I thanked them, and I went and hung out with Billy while we waited for Kristine.

Kristine arrived about a half hour later, and we just rolled behind some store in the strip mall and set up our tents next to some railroad tracks. I couldn't go far with my bike as it was, so it was the best we could do. Tomorrow, I need to hitchhike once more to get to State College, where Tuesday my new tires will be waiting for me at the post office.