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I woke up feeling less lethargic than the day before but still a little sore. C was not feeling great either so we had a later start to the day than usual and packed at a leisurely pace. I looked through my bags and dropped about half a pound of weight as I was carrying far more baby wipes than I needed. I’d used about 3 in the previous 5 weeks so had no need to carry the equivalent of a whole pack with me.

We packed the salad C had made the previous night for lunch and headed out. As with on the way in to DC, I was busy looking for a sign, but saw nothing showing me that we were leaving DC or entering Maryland, which was heartbreaking. Other than looking at my GPS the only reason I knew we had changed was because we went past a sign in the other direction that said Washington 1 mile and state roads started saying Maryland above them.

Our ride was down a fairly large road taking us in the direction of Baltimore. As we were leaving DC most of the traffic was going against us which made our side of the roads less busy than they could have been. We rode fairly slowly as C’s stomach was giving her grief, so much so that she neither took a picture all day nor ate the salad when we stopped for lunch.

After lunch we went through a small forest which took us down our first real descent. It was 12% at first and then there was a sign saying 18%, fun times where I got to make sure my brakes were working. Heading up the other side was thankfully not quite as steep although I think it was the first time I dropped in to my smallest gear in the trip. Later we skirted around Baltimore and went through Catonsville. I noticed several signs in Korean for churches and stores, the first ones I’d seen during the trip.

We arrived in Owing Mills eager to meet Louis. In his emails he used the name Louis Eagle Warrior, and he would be the first Native Americans that we would meet. It is a culture that neither C nor I knew anything about prior to meeting them although C had visited the Smithsonian Native American museum the day before to learn more. Our whole stay was an absolute pleasure.

When we got there his wife, June, was out at work so Louis greeted us and helped us move our things inside. He got C an ice pack to put on her achilles and a cup of tea to help settle her stomach. He showed us his flutes, answered lots of probably ridiculous questions from us and even showed us a DVD of pow-wows that he and June had attended. The DVD in particular was interesting as it let us see the things that he was explaining. It’s much easier to understand something that you can visualise!

June came home during the DVD and shortly after we were going out to a local Chinese buffet restaurant. It was the first buffet we had been to during the trip and we definitely got value for money. I was slightly concerned that C wouldn’t be able to eat much as she still had a dicky stomach. I don’t know if it was because of the pineapple that June recommended or what, but she did a sterling job. My goal was to eat a plate at each of the islands they had. They had 9, I ate 8. The only one I didn’t go to was the one filled with soups and more chicken things. By the end of the meal I was stuffed and could just about waddle to the car, feeling as one truly should after a buffet.

We went back to their place and spent the evening talking and even having the fortune of a performance by Louis on a couple of his flutes. It was a short but beautiful performance of traditional songs that he had rearranged himself. He even gave us both copies of his CD to listen to which are now on our iPods. Whenever they come up they remind me of our time in Owing Mills with gracious hosts, copious amounts of food, 3 wonderful cats and an intriguing insight in to Native American culture.

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