Pine Creek Trail – day 1

We were at Subway when they opened at 7 am to get some breakfast and a sandwich for the road.DSC02658We had to ride about 3 miles to get to the trailhead.DSC02659Fly fisherman in Pine Creek:DSC02666Entering the 1.5 mile long Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania:DSC02668DSC02671There were no villages along the trail for the first 25 miles or so. In Blackwell, there were vacation homes and one little store.DSC02674DSC02675In Cedar Run, vacation homes, a small general store,DSC02680and the smallest library.DSC02683Our ending point for the day, Hotel Manor in Slate Run PA:DSC02684Views from the patio:DSC02686DSC02689Miles = 39

Wellsboro PA

Billie and I drove north to Wellsboro and took two rest days. Today, dodging thunderstorms, we took the walking tour of the town.DSC02628The Wellsboro Diner opened in 1939:DSC02629Built in 1921 for silent films, the Arcadia Theater was one of the first in the state to show talking pictures. Today it has 4 state-of-the-art screens and movies change weekly.DSC02632Inside the lobby of the Penn Wells Hotel is a 7 X 11-foot flag created in 1946 to honor returning WWII veterans at the Corning Glassworks annual banquet. At the time, the Wellsboro plant was the largest manufacturer of Christmas tree ornaments in the world – there are 1438 ornaments in the design, each ornament sitting on a cork peg. The field of blue was made from smaller camera flash bulbs.DSC02634Main Street:DSC02638One of the largest elm trees in the world, growing since the 1700s, and older than the town itself:DSC02639The town square known as The Green:DSC02648At the center, a statue of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod:DSC02652

GAP – day 5

Leaving Meyersdale:DSC02589The final 8 miles of climbing brought us to the Eastern Continental Divide. It was all downhill from this point – yay!DSC02595DSC02598
The Big Savage Tunnel, built in 1911, 3300 feet (2/3 mile) long. DSC02607
About halfway through, it got foggy, the rider ahead disappeared at about 30 feet. Clear weather on the west side of the tunnel, fog on the east side.DSC02608DSC02609DSC02614We felt a few sprinkles as we left Frostburg. With just 9 miles to go, we had to stop and put on rain covers.DSC02617All our stuff stayed dry, but we were soaked and filthy from head to toe. But none of that mattered, we had arrived in Cumberland MD!DSC02619As we ate lunch at the Crabby Pig, we realized how lucky we were to arrive when we did. There was a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning for about an hour. The bike shop let us use a hose to get most of the mud off the bikes and our legs. DSC02624Then it was time to say goodbye to Donna, who had to drive home to Roanoke. This was Donna’s first multi-day bike tour and she had a great time. There will definitely be more bike tours in her future.
Miles = 33. Total miles = 161.

GAP – day 4

It wasn’t as hot today, but we were up early and ready to ride by 7. DSC02554We left the Youghiogheny River to follow the Casselman River as we approach the Eastern Continental Divide. After the trestle crossing, it really looked like a dark tree tunnel was ahead.DSC02556Last year we had to take the bypass because the tunnel was being lined with corrugated metal. DSC02560Rest stop.DSC02568DSC02564The only place in town to get a bite to eat.DSC02567Another huge trestle across fields of corn, a freeway, local roads and railroad tracks. In the distance, windmills on the ridge.DSC02572We stayed at Yoder’s Guest House … on the third floor. DSC02577Check out these original glass mailboxes in the entry.DSC02580Innkeeper Denise was great, so friendly. We all went to dinner together at The White House Restaurant – Denise drove – the only way we would have made it.DSC02576Another fun day, but we are getting tired and in need of a rest day.DSC02585Miles = 30

GAP – day 3

Another early start today. There were 3 guys – from Seattle and Virginia – who also stayed at the Connellsville B&B. We ALL wanted to get on the road as early as possible.DSC02509DSC02511A wonderful morning: overcast, cool, riding through Ohiopyle State Park!DSC02513There aren’t many places along the trail where you can actually get a good view of the river, so this view was a must to capture.DSC02515Earl, John, and Mike caught up with us and it was dueling photo time.DSC02516From the bridge into Ohiopyle, I spotted a slew of rafters getting ready to run the rapids. Last year, we saw lots of people tumble into the water then scramble to get back aboard. This year, there seems to be a team of people ready to assist. DSC02520The first rafter is the leader. There are 3 kayaks stationed at critical points.DSC02523All but one made it through easily, but we could hear yelling in the distance as the kayakers tried to get the last raft unstuck.DSC02532On their way downriver.DSC02534Almost. Double-stuck.DSC02536We pulled into Ohiopyle and promptly parked in the WRONG place while we rested and had a snack.DSC02539Lunch at Sisters in Confluence.DSC02540Our B&B for the night.DSC02541Miles = 29

GAP – day 2

We were on the road at 6:30, it was going to be another hot humid day. DSC02485DSC02486The innkeeper packed us a traveling breakfast (because we refused to stay until 7 am when the kitchen officially opened). Six miles down the road at Dravo Cemetery, we took our first break and had a bite of food. The oldest grave dates back to the War of 1812. A Methodist church was built here in 1824, destroyed by fire in 1920, and never rebuilt. DSC02487At about the halfway point, we stopped at Jeff’s house. He has a sign on the trail to attract riders and a refrigerator stocked with all kinds of goodies which operates on the honor system.DSC02492Jeff first brought us, freshly picked from his garden, watermelon. Then cucumbers. Then picked 3 ears of corn and soon brought us hot, buttered, salted corn on the cob. Delicious!DSC02494Further down the trail were old abandoned coke ovens.DSC02497The arch into Connelsville was a welcome sight. DSC02499We had 3 hours to kill before we could get into our B&B for the evening, so we hung out at a local park. It was hot, but better than riding and being even hotter.DSC02500Once settled in and showered, we headed downstairs to Greenhouse Winery – a wine bar. DSC02502After tasting a few samples, we bought a bottle and went back to the B&B patio to enjoy itDSC02504before walking to the nearest restaurant for dinner.DSC02505Miles = 41

GAP – day 1

We were up early, it was going to be hot. We sweet-talked Laverne who was in charge of setting up breakfast in the lobby if we might be able to get some hot food early. She fixed us 3 big plates and asked us to sit far away to avoid other guests making the same request. We were on the road by 7, riding through almost-deserted downtown city streets – beautiful. At one point, I heard some popping. Maybe someone hitting something with a hammer? Then I heard Billie shout for me to stop. She also heard the popping sound, turned to look, and saw flames coming out of an old electric panel box on a row house. We called 911, but the fire truck was already on its way.DSC02439An exciting way to start the day!DSC02442We rode toward Point State Park. Ahead, four (Pittsburgh Steelers) yellow bridges and the lights at PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates). Pittsburgh has more bridges than Venice Italy.DSC02443DSC02455DSC02462Donna really needed to see Bicycle Heaven, but it only opened at 10 am. I was worried about how hot it was going to get, so I continued along the trail by myself while Billie and Donna went to Bicycle Heaven. I rode along the Monongahela River and crossed over the Hot Metal Bridge and a final view of Pittsburgh.DSC02464On the other side was the actual beginning of the Great Allegheny Passage.DSC02465 The river was on my left and trains on my right. DSC02471We crossed over the tracks a couple of times. DSC02472DSC02473Crossing the river, McKeesport ahead. But it’s so hot! Now the trail will follow the Youghiogheny (yock-uh-HAY-nee) River.DSC02474Relief ahead! As I crossed the blue bridge into Boston PA, the first business I spotted was Trailside Treasures: cold drinks, ice cream, a lovely deck, and blessed shade. DSC02483And the friendliest owners ever! Ralph and Barb.DSC02476I sat there for four hours waiting for Billie and Donna. It was still hot, but at least I was off the bike. At last, there they were crossing the blue bridge. I knew their ride was longer and way hotter than mine.DSC02478We sat and visited for another hour. As we were trying to figure out which nearby restaurant might deliver food to our lodging place, Ralph and Barb offered to go out, pick up 3 meals, and deliver them to us at about 6:30. That was so kind – they definitely fit into the Trail Angel category. Thank you Ralph and Barb!

Miles = 28

To Pittsburgh

Packed up and bikes loaded, we got an early morning start.DSC02419We drove to Cumberland MD which will be the end of our ride on the Great Allegheny Passage.DSC02423It is sooo hot. A “heat dome” is sitting over most of the country. We walked a few blocks to downtown and found a place for a cool drink. We sat only for a few minutes before going inside. DSC02426We unloaded only what we would carry for the next weekDSC02427and met our shuttle connection. Billie made sure the bikes were properly secured.DSC02430We were ready to roll … except the left side door wouldn’t close. Four guys from the bike shop tried to push it closed, but instead broke it completely. They got the other van out. An hour and 10 minutes later, we were finally on the road.DSC02432Checking into the hotel, our bikes went to the room with us:DSC02435We walked to a Mediterranean cafe called the Casbah for dinner.DSC02436Billie and I sang the chorus of “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash for Donna, but for some reason, she didn’t recognize the song. Our singing perhaps?

Getting ready for a bike riding adventure

The basement in Billie’s house could be a used bike shop. We were looking for gear I could use since I didn’t bring any and Billie and JD have lots of extra stuff.DSC02389There are 10 bicycle seats on the table. Lots of jerseys on the wall to the right. Many wheels on the floor. At the other end of the basement: bicycles not used any longer and onto the resale market soon. Need a bike anyone?DSC02391We’ll leave on our trip in a clean car.DSC02400A trip to the Cardinal Bicycles to pick up my Surly Troll – I was so lucky to get this bike because it was impossible to buy one anywhere. One of the guys at the bike shop wanted to sell his Surly Troll (his wife insisted he sell one bike in order to buy the next bike). My good fortune.DSC02405Donna is going with us. She came over last night for a tutorial on how to properly clean a bike – Billie’s an expert.DSC02407This morning, I rode the Roanoke River Greenway with JD. This was the first ride for the first volunteer Greenway Ambassador – JD. About 15 people were recently trained on how to do this job and received their identifying bright yellow vests.DSC02413DSC02414DSC02418Tomorrow we leave!

To Roanoke VA

Before going on vacation, some people have to figure out what do to with their pets, mail, etc. Me? Who’s going to agitate my Nocino? I strapped her in and took her to Thais’s house. DSC02360My flight didn’t leave until the evening so I had all day to pack. I wanted to compare the before- and after-vacation looks of the annuals Justin recently planted, so I took a few pictures.DSC02361A butterfly was quite active, fluttering everywhere, challenging me to take a good closeup.DSC02372DSC02381Justin took me to the airport.DSC02388I ate carefully all day so I could have dinner at the airport before leaving.IMG_0444 The original Squeeze Inn in downtown Sacramento only had about 10 seats at a counter. They were forced to find a new location to comply with the persons with disabilities act. It is a very good burger but it’s the cheese that makes it unique. IMG_0445Oh my! That was filling. And delicious!