WASHINGTON, DC 2005 -
WASHINGTON, DC 2008: Our 2008 ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC was to raise money for
Deaf Mission in Western Pennsylvania, a PALM mission. We started out on June 13, dodging
raindrops, beginning our trip at Buena Vista instead of Boston. Thankfully, the rain
did not keep up. This was our first big ride to use the new uniforms which
we were able to purchase through a grant from the Eastern District LWML--LCMS. (SCROLL)
Rest stop at Smithton Beach, Great Allegheny Passage (Youghiogheny River Trail)
We did 33 miles the first day,
with five riders, ending at the Melody Motor Lodge
outside Connellsville, PA, after an ample supper at Wendy's.
Before we could start the second day, we had to drop one rider who got sick.
Then we began again with rain, but this time it didn't stop. We were hopeful
a couple of times, and took off our rain gear, but each time had to put it back on.
We stopped for lunch at Ohiopyle. After 29 miles, we finished at Confluence House
and dined at the Sisters' Cafe before turning in for the night.
Starting out after lunch break, Ohiopyle
Resting by the Yough right before arriving in Confluence
The morning of Day 3 we enjoyed an amazing breakfast of strawberry-stuffed
French toast, in very agreeable company. After hosing off the accumulated mud
of the day before, we had our own church service in the backyard of Confluence
House and set off for the Allegheny Highlands Trail and Meyersdale. Although
we had only two people on the triplet, we were able to make the best ascent of
the mountain to date, and covered the 30 miles to Meyersdale in good time, checking
in at the hostel for the night. Lunch at the store in Rockwood kept us going--the
triplet captain had to have another one of the marvelous kielbasa with sauerkraut!
Nearly across the low bridge at Pinkerton's Neck
Salisbury Viaduct, near Meyersdale
After leaving the hostel in Meyersdale, we did laundry and also checked e-mail at
the library. Although the fourth day began rain-free, before we ever got to the summit
near Big Savage Tunnel we encountered precipitation. We paused for a picture at the Eastern
Continental Divide, spending some time out of the rain in the little tunnel there. The rain gear
was on and off as we passed through the next three tunnels; our 32 miles for the day ended
in an icy downpour. Three riders left the trip in Cumberland, Maryland, leaving the triplet
captain by himself. He spent the night in the Holiday Inn, which offers free Internet access at a terminal in the lobby.
Crossing the Eastern Continental Divide, just past Deal, Pennsylvania
View exiting Big Savage Tunnel
Entering Borden Tunnel, past the Maryland state line
Exiting Brush Tunnel, rail-with-trail
Heading to the Holiday Inn, Cumberland
The fifth day the group leader continued alone on the triplet, beginning
the many encounters with lockmasters' houses along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.
This stretch also has the first of many hayfields along the canal, with the typical
huge rolls of hay. Soon after the hayfield came a gaggle of Canada geese blocking
the path. Although they hissed at the rider, they did not attack him! Lunch was
at the Pigman's Ferry hiker-biker campground, where the group spent the night in 2006,
eating breakfast with the cows--rather literally, as one cow broke through the fence!
This time, although their temper seemed no better, the tail-lashing bovines confined
their belligerence to fighting over a salt block! The rider checked in at the Little
Orleans Lodge after riding the triplet 44 miles alone.
Lockmaster's house, Lock 72
Canada geese blocking the towpath
Lunch with the cows, Pigman's Ferry
On the sixth day, the director of the Deaf Mission and two of his family
members, veterans of the 2005 ride, joined the trip, bringing us back to four
for the next three days. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Little Orleans
Lodge before setting out. We rode Little Orleans-Williamsport on Day 6--42 miles.
The 22-mile paved Western Maryland Rail Trail made this a lot easier.
The seventh day we did Williamsport-Shepherdstown, 27 miles, and on the eighth day we
took a break with only 18 miles to Brunswick, Maryland, where we had to find a temporary
home for the solo bike. Ed and Mary Mauzy of Bethany Lutheran Church graciously kept it
until it was picked up after the ride. The Deaf Mission riders headed back toward home,
while the triplet captain went toward the Green Country Inn. The next morning he enjoyed
a railroader's breakfast at the 24-hour cafe.
Stretching at Milepost 99, just past Williamsport
Antietam Creek aqueduct
The triplet captain finished the trip in two more days, camping at Swain's Lock
the last night after 40 miles. Friendly campers nearby feasted him (thick
turkey burgers, four varieties of cheese, carrots, crackers, choice of drinks,
etc., etc.); then came a game of dominoes. In 1997, on his first ride to
Washington, DC, the leader ate baked beans and hot dogs with Boy Scouts at this location. The
2006 riders had planned to camp here on that trip, but the campground was under three
feet of water! The Swain family, original lock tenders, who lived in the lockmaster's
house for four generations, had moved out two months earlier. The house is now
unoccupied like the rest of them.
The final day, June 22, 2008, covered 33 miles, dipping into Washington, DC at
Fletcher's Boathouse before heading toward the ultimate destination of Berwyn
Heights, Maryland. As the route departs the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, there is
a dramatic overhead view of the canal and towpath from the Capital Crescent
Trail. The Georgetown Branch Trail leads over to the descent on the gorgeous
Sligo Creek Trail. After sections on the Northwest Branch Trail and the
Northeast Branch Trail, the ten-day, 300-mile ride wrapped up on the
Indian Creek Trail, which comes within two blocks of the home of
Pastor Rudy Kampia and his wife Judy. There were no flat tires and no broken spokes for the entire trip, thank God!
Camping at Swain's Lock, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
View of the canal and towpath from the bridge on the Capital Crescent Trail
First bridge over Sligo Creek--one of many on this trail
Another Sligo Creek bridge--built to the typical arch design
Crossing Indian Creek on the Indian Creek Trail, one mile from the finish line
Riding a triplet alone is really rather pleasant: there is plenty of room for your luggage--no backpack on your back, the ride is more comfortable than a solo bike, and there is lots to drink with ten bottle cages! Our triplet is also geared very low on the bottom end (28-tooth granny and 34-tooth Alpine cogs) and went up steep hills and ramps quite nicely.
WASHINGTON, DC 2005 -
The Allegheny Trail Alliance Web site has maps
and many links to information on trails in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia.
Messages: jornada AT juno DOT com