Updated: Feb 4
Day 88. 08/18/22
Got on the Montour trail and we had beautiful weather. Sarah wore an extra layer but I enjoyed the cool of the morning in just my riding shirt. We had a river beside us most of the day. Neither one of us had a clue on how to pronounce the name of it so we didn't even try. The Montour trail took us through a lot of diverse environments. One minute we were pedalling along in beautiful forests and the next we had old dilapidated factories on either side of us. At times the trail would divert us into towns that seemed to have been past their glory days. Leaving the Montour trail we headed over some steep hills into another valley and picked up the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) trail. We will be on this trail for the next few days. No traffic and great scenery. We stopped for lunch at Gary's Chuckwagon in the town of West Newton.
I know the name sounds a little hokey but they made some mean hamburgers. We happened to sit next to a couple of guys (Linn and Pat) who had also ridden bicycles from Astoria, Oregon. They took the northern route which is 1000 miles shorter than the route we rode. It turns out that they were brothers taking some time to enjoy life together. We shared stories and said our goodbyes. It was great to talk with other people who could relate to our journey. Back on the trail it wasn't long that Sarah said we should get some ice cream. I told her that she had sworn us off of that, again, but she would have none of it. Right then this sign pops up on the trail and our resistance was shattered. We bought this amazing strawberry and cookie wrapped ice cream sandwich from this trailside business.
We finished our ride at the KOA in Connellsville, PA. It was a memorable day of riding with my best friend.
Rode 64 miles today.
Day 89 08/19/22
We slept in this morning and got a very slow start. I flagged down a guy riding past our campsite to ask him some questions about the ride ahead of us. What a character he was! I didn't get his name but I got his story. I asked him where he was going and he said, "Everywhere." He started riding his bike in 2012 and never stopped. He thinks he has logged well over 30,000 miles but he's not really counting. The places and stories he told me were amazing. I finally had to go because it was getting past 10:00am and we hadn't even had breakfast. Our first stop was Connellsville to get some groceries, a few muffins and milk for breakfast. Once back on the trail we were riding right next the Youghiogheny river for miles and miles. It was georgeous weather and we had incredible views of the river from our trail above. We stopped in the town of Ohiopyle and got to talking with some folks who were on a day ride. We were going to eat lunch right across the street but they suggested another place ten miles down the trail. They took off and we intended to follow but at the last minute we decided to go across the street. As we were ordering food someone yelled out, "Hey they don't allow tandem riders here." It was Pat and Linn whom we met the day before. It was so good to see them again so we sat and ate another lunch together. We had a more indepth conversation with them even about their future plans and faith. The time flew by when Sarah suddenly realize it was 2:00pm and we still had thirty miles to ride.
Off we went. Once again, riding a gentle incline all day crossing the river on tressle bridges and through a long tunnel carved through a mountain. We made it to Rockwood, PA around 5:00pm and set up camp at the Husky Haven campground. While eating dinner some other campers came over for a chat which turned to politics but all were on the same page. Ate dinner and off to bed. It was another great day.
Rode 50 miles today.
Day 90 08/20/22
Another beautiful day that started with two Starbucks Frappucino's chilled in a nice cold stream all night.
I don't even want to mention it but I developed a saddle sore after 4000 miles of riding. It is literally a pain in the keester and sitting on a bike is no fun but you do what you gotta do. We have been climbing a grade for the last three days which tops out on the eastern continental divide. Before we arrived we crossed over a long tressle where we met a father and daughter. Anne and Jay were spending the day together riding bikes and looking at the scenery when we pulled up in the middle of the tressle. When we got ready to leave they asked us if they could sing a blessing over us and they sang the benediction; Numbers 26:5-6 "The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
It was their beautiful gift of a two part harmony that left us filled with kindness and encouragement.
We kept on riding to Wagner's mill and found another sign that said donuts. Off the trail, about a hundred feet, was an Amish produce stand that happened to sell fresh homemade donuts. Apparently we will have to change our diet when we get home but for now those donuts were amazing. They also had an array of jams and bread and produce but we showed some restraint because we didn't want to carry any more weight.
We eventually made it to the divide and had a good chuckle. It tops out at 2392 feet which doesn't hold a candle to the western continental divide at 11,500 feet.
The next twenty minutes took us through the Big Savage tunnel with a well light 3/4 mile long ride cut through a stone mountain.
The view coming out the other end was stunning. Perched high atop a valley we could see for miles and miles.
Just beyond the tunnel was the Mason/Dixon Line which seperates Pennsylvania from Maryland. We stopped for a photo shoot and took a break before a 13 mile downhill coast to Cumberland.
We were riding next to what we thought were abandoned railroad tracks but we started to notice people with video and stillshot cameras lining the trail. We stopped and we could hear the tracks squealing and from around the bend appears a coal powered steam train lumbering toward us. It was a great sight to behold, a puffing reminder of the past.
We arrived in Cumberland and had a great lunch at a downtown cafe while sitting at a table on the mall listening to a live band. We got a room for the night because rain is expected tommorow and the trail becomes difficult to ride under such conditions.
Rode 44 miles today.
Day 91 08/21/22
We are three days away from DC today and we have had to take another down day. It is raining but another issue has unfortunately arisen. Two days ago I began to develop a saddle sore and yesterday I developed another one that is even more significant. Without going into to much detail the new one is the size of a large marble and hurts like the dickens while sitting on, what feels like a two by four for five hours. So it's safe to say no pictures today and hopefully a couple of days off will help with some healing so we can finish the last 200 miles.