Today was veeeeeerrrrrry interesting. We rolled with the punches all day. We had initially planned a super ambitious day of about 150 miles, but our plans changed due to a number of spur of the moment opportunities and bumps in the road along the way.
We left on time and started to navigate our way to The Great Allegheny Trail, which was only about 8 miles away, but we encountered some detours, closed roads, and probably the steepest up and downhills we've seen yet. After getting super turned around from the construction we had Sanford pick us up to drop us off at the trailhead. By the time we get to Mckeesport (where the trailhead is), it was nearly 11:30. The plans of 150 already seemed like they were falling apart.
To regroup and find out more about the trail, we stopped in a cafe for lunch and advice. Turns out it was a popular place for bikers using the trail to stop. Everyone had signed the wall and the people in the cafe were very knowledgeable about the trail, but even better, they were interested about our ride. I wrote up a little blurb for them about the trip that will go in their bike association's newsletter, and we were also interviewed and photographed for the local newspaper! A very unexpected, but welcome surprise. Obviously, at this point 150 was out of the question.
We finally got onto the trail around 12:30. It was pretty nice. No stress, no worrying about navigation or wrong turns, no hills, just trail along the river. We even all rode together. I couldn't really complain. We made it about 45 miles before we took a rest stop and a swim in the river. Then we really contemplated the plan for the rest of the day. Turns out the trail makes the trip to Cumberland (our desired destination) about twice as long, so of course, we try to switch to the roads, only to find out we would trade distance for difficulty. After only about a mile of confusion, insane climbing, and craziness we regrouped yet again. After 50 miles, and the clock reading about 5:30 we decided today was over. We had to laugh at today. Maybe you had to be there, but the day was done. So we racked up and went on our merry way.
After all, we did have 5 days planned to get to DC, but we were being ambitious and trying to squeeze it into 3 instead (which still isn't out of the question). On our way to find housing we made a pitstop at The Flight 93 National Memorial, which is where the 4th plane on September 11th crashed. They have major plans of building a big memorial center to commemorate the event. We also crossed into Maryland and passed over the Mason-Dixon Line.
We finally got some dinner and were overwhelmed by the town's generosity. We were approached by two separate couples who both offered up their homes for the next two nights as places to crash. We respectfully declined since it was already after 10pm, but the offer meant a lot to us. The generosity and support has been unbelievable.
I think we all had a good time, and just got a good laugh about the day's events and how they all transpired. Pretty much the only thing we could do was relax and enjoy the ride.
Check out the other articles that have recently been published about the ride: