HINGTON, DC 2005-
WASHINGTON, DC 2012
MILEPOSTERS 2014 PITTSBURGH-CUMBERLAND
The Mileposters made their fifth ride from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD on June 27-30, 2014--three riders, with the group leader, in support of their parent/grandparent Brian Murphy, who has been diagnosed with eye cancer.
The most experienced rider, who had completed two trips from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC and two to Cumberland as stoker, was slated to be the first youth captain to complete a multiple-day ride (four days), but partway through the long first day (41 miles), a previous knee injury became aggravated, so her brother, who had completed one stoker trip each to DC and Cumberland, took her place. The Slush Run grade, which comes along after 35 miles of pedaling, gave us a taste of harder ascents in the days to come, but arrival in Connellsville was within the allotted time frame.
Stops the first day included Douglas Run, West Newton, and Smithton Beach, spending the night at friendly Melody Motor Lodge, which is a very good place for bicycles, and the central air conditioning is very quiet. Lunch was at the Yough Twister, with supper at Wendy's.
Taking a break at the West Newton Station, first day, June 27
Eating lunch at the Yough Twister
Traditional rest stop at Smithton Beach
Like the first day, the second, at 28 miles, was completed without rain, once again in good time, despite nearly continuous climbing. The tandem team with the youth captain and his stoker performed admirably. The knee-injured captain got relief by stoking for the group leader on the triplet (the third position was used for luggage). Stops included the Wheeler Bottom trestle and Ramcat Run. This time it was trailside peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, following a hearty breakfast at Ed's Diner. For supper we visited the Outflow Soft Freeze in Confluence. The River View Kitchenettes provided nice rooms for the night after a visit to the laundromat and shopping for the next day's breakfast at Dollar General. The refrigerators in our rooms kept the milk cold.
Stopping for a picture on the curved trestle at Wheeler Bottom, outside of Connellsville, Day 2, June 28
Taking a break at Ramcat Run, just outside of Confluence
Everyone knew that the third day would include steeper grades, but it was only 19 miles from Confluence to Rockwood. After crossing the Pinkerton High Trestle, we got the good news that an effort is underway to restore Pinkerton Tunnel, but for now it is still closed, so we took the bypass. Despite numerous stops and the first rain of the trip, we arrived in Rockwood early, and the hostel folks kindly checked us in right away. We then ate at the Mill Shoppes (Opera House) and shopped for breakfast in the very nice dollar store. We went to bed early in anticipation of the long final day, but not before doing laundry again. It's never a good idea to take along too much clothing (or anything else!) to carry up the many miles approaching Big Savage Mountain!
Reaching the end of the Pinkerton High Trestle, third day, June 29
Although the fourth day began without rain, we experienced a maddening sequence of on-and-off rain ponchos (put them on--the rain stopped; take them off--the rain started!). It was nearly 20 miles to the Eastern Continental Divide, but knowing it was coming helped to keep us going up the steepest climb yet. Along the way, we were amazed to see a turtle digging a hole to lay her eggs--in the middle of the trail! At Deal, a mile from the Divide, it was nice to see our name on the monument for Big Savage Tunnel--many years ago, along with others, the Mileposters made a significant donation to help reopen it for trail use. While we were there, we ate some more peanut butter and jelly. Then we wrapped up the climb and threaded Big Savage Tunnel, enjoying the 25-mile plunge down the mountain, passing through two more tunnels along the way. Everyone worked hard and we arrived 45 minutes before our projected time. The ride total, including shopping trips, was 134 miles.
Beginning to cross Salisbury Viaduct, approaching Meyersdale, fourth day, June 30
Turtle digging a hole to lay eggs--in the middle of the trail!
Visiting the Big Savage Tunnel monument at Deal, complete with the Mileposters' name
Cresting the Eastern Continental Divide--the moment everyone was waiting for!
Thanks to God for watching over us--no injuries and no flats. Appreciation goes to Susan Wagner and Norm Huelsman for taking the time to arrange for transportation to the Boston trailhead at the beginning of the ride, as well as to Terry Terhune, who was willing to pick us up in Cumberland if needed. Our van was parked at the Cumberland municipal garage; we thank them for their generous support. We loaded up, pausing for supper at Wendy's on the way back to Pittsburgh. The final picture wasn't taken on the ride itself, but was shot through the window of Amtrak's Capitol Limited as I rode home after dropping the van off in Cumberland a few days earlier. It's always nice seeing God's rainbow, but especially so from the train!
Rainbow through the window of the Capitol Limited, June 25
HINGTON, DC 2005-
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