Saturday, September 19, 2009

It Was Worth the Climb

Day Two: Monday, Sept. 7, 2009

Lunch was over and it was time to go but first things first.

Use those knees, Brother!

chris, pa, 9.07.09

The morning ride had started in Ohiopyle, lunch was in Meyersdale and our afternoon destination was Frostburg/Mount Savage. It had been a slight uphill climb all morning. The afternoon promised more of the same, that is until we crossed the Continental Divide and then it promised to be all downhill from there to DC. It was to be an afternoon of bridges, tunnels and divides. My brother accused me of cherry picking the best part of the day's ride but I like to think that I was just smarter than him. That would be proved later in the day. Ha!

pa, 9.07.09

Isn't that a pretty bridge? We had ridden past it and I had convinced Chris that we needed to go back and take pictures. I'm glad he agreed to be convinced.

pa, 9.07.09

He convinced me we needed to take pictures from the bike path. I'm glad I agreed to be convinced. I like it.

pa, 9.07.09

It looks like Jack and John are enjoying the afternoon ride.

jack & john, pa, 9.07.09

The first highlight of the afternoon. Big Savage Mountain Tunnel.

jack & chris, big savage mountain tunnel, 9.07.09

The tunnel was one of the last portions of the GAP trail to be completed. It was originally built as a railroad tunnel over in 1911 for the Western Maryland Railroad and has been abandoned for over 30 years. The tunnel is 3,291 feet long - which is longer than 10 football fields. The tunnel has been totally renovated for the bike path. The tracks were removed and a new roadbed, 32 overhead lights, a liner and a drainage system were installed.


big savage mountain tunnel, 9.07.09


big savage mountain tunnel, pa, 9.07.09

As tunnels go it was a nice one. It was lit and DRY which later in the week would prove to be lacking.

A few more miles uphill and we had arrived! Two days of uphill riding had broght us to the Eastern Continental Divide. A few years before Dave and I had ridden over the Western Continental Divide on bikes but this was our first time to ride a bike over the Eastern Continental Divide.

continental divide, 9.07.09

We, well some of us, had climbed 1662 feet in the 126 miles from Pittsburgh to reach this point. In the next 24 miles to Cumberland the trail would drop 1754 feet. It is much easier grade-wise to ride Pittsburgh to DC than the reverse. Thanks, Dave, for thinking of that.

pa, 9.07.09

We enjoyed a nice break here. We talked to the girl from Cincinnati, another girl traveling alone, took pictures and especially enjoyed the view on the Eastern side.

chris, pa, 9.07.09

pa-md, 9.07.09

If you closely you can see a bare strip of land running through the photo. That is the Mason-Dixon Line. Pennsylvania is to the left and Maryland to the right.

mason- dixon line, pa-md, 9.07.09

The ride down the eastern slope of the ride proved to be as fun as advertised. Compared to the pace earlier that afternoon we were flying down that hill. I almost felt sorry for the people we met who were slugging their way up that mountain. Almost. Next time have Dave plan your trip, people.

We had arrived at our last highlight of the day. The Mason-Dixon Line.

Since I now live in Pennsylvania and my not that much younger brother lives in Maryland we thought it only appropriate that we stand in our respective states.

carrie & chris, pa-md, 9.07.09

John refused to choose sides.

john, pa-md, 9.07.09

It was time to make our way to the B & B. Earlier that morning when Rosy and I had talked to the innkeeper we had mentioned the spot in town where we had planned on getting off the trail. She had informed us if we rode another three miles further down the trail we would end up only a mile from the Castle instead of three to four. She said the ride was shorter and much safer. We were sold. We noted her directions and then drove it with the car. The last turn was at Patty Baker Road and we would find the trailhead a little way up the road. Perfect.

We rode from the Mason-Dixon Line, past our original trail head exit point and continued on three more miles. This is what we found.

md, 9.07.09

The road was supposed to be Patty Baker not Paddy Baker. More importantly this isn't what Rosy and I had found earlier in the day. What to do? Mmmm. T. D. Close enough for me. I say let's try it. It turned out to be a STEEP curving road. Halfway down I recognized what Rosy and I had thought to be the trailhead. Whew. We wouldn't be riding back up that hill. Wait a minute. Brother is behind me. He doesn't know that. Wouldn't it be fun to play with him a little? Of course it would. Dave, Jack and I waited for John and Chris at the bottom of the hill.

"Chris, I was wrong. This isn't the right road. We have to ride back up that hill."

The look on his face was priceless. If only I had a picture. To his credit he wasn't fooled for long, but, oh for that one minute I had him. I live for those moments. But I wasn't through with him.

"Brother, there is a short steep hill just before the Castle. You might want to walk your bike up." Ha! He's a Porter. I knew there was no way he would walk his bike up that hill. And he didn't. Really, there should be a law against taking advantage of people like that. Cherry picking indeed.

We enjoyed a nice dinner at a local Mexican establishment and then came back to the Castle to find a bat flying around in the sitting room. The fun never ends.

No rain, one broken spoke, great scenery and good friends. The guys had ridden 63 miles that day. All in all it was a great day.

What would tomorrow bring? Trust me on this one. More surprises. The most memorable B & B of the trip was in store for us and someone gets up close and personal with the trail.

to be continued.....

3 comments....porters always have something to say!:

curlz said...

Oh how I am enjoying your tales! Today's had me rolling on the floor.

Jock said...

As this day wore on we cared less and less about the tunnels, Mason Dixon line and Continental Divide and more and more looked forward to finally to be able to go downhill. It is surprising after peddling uphill for 100 miles how your priorities change. It is also surprising after you cross that continental divide how your attitude changes knowing you are downhill the rest of the way. There were times I was hitting speeds over 20 mph going down that hill.

jporterGOP said...

These blog posts are great!

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