TRIP 2010

Update #24 - August 28th
Meyersdale, Pennsylvania
6,568.98 miles (10,510.37 KM)

Sixteeth update for the trip.

I 'm not really going to do a rehash on what happened between Big Rapids, Michigan and here. The ride was pretty well uneventful through the rest of Michigan, across Ohio (the second time for the trip), and to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. I met some nice people along the way and a few bad ones that I will not write about. My accomandations went from my tent in some woods, to floors of churches, to a hotel room costing almost $200 in Beaver Falls north of Pittsburgh.

I've been really looking forward to this part of the trip. During the last leg across the country on my second crossing of the United States in 2008, I enjoyed myself riding along the Great Allegheny Passage (the G.A.P.),which is a Rails-To-Trails route from McKeesport, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. The trail surface is basically crushed limestone and follows mostly several abandoned railways. For about 110 miles, you are gradually climbing up to the Eastern Contintal Divide at about 2300 feet above sea level and during the last thirty miles you drop about 1700 feet in elevation. Along the way, you cross some really long vioducts and go through some really long railroad tunnels. The longest, Big Savage, is almost 3,000 feet long.

At Cumberland, you get on the historic C&O Towpath that will take you along the old canal right-of-way to Washington, D.C. There are about 180 miles of trail riding here. The section of the G.A.P. between McKeesport and Pittsburgh isn't completed yet so the best way to get to McKeesport is by another trail called the "Montour Trail". This is another Rails-To-Trails route of about 50 miles from Coraopolis to Clariton with another mapped route on roads between Clariton and McKeesport through Glassport.

There are about 40 miles complete of the Montour Trail with another 15 miles under development or routed along roads. Some of the trail gaps and road crossings are quite hard on the body and the bicycle. With one of the trail gaps, you had to go down a steep sloping grassy slope dropping about nine feet, across a bumpy road, up another nine foot high grassy slope, and back on trail on the other side ofthe gap. In total, the trail gap is about sixty feet wide (an old railroad bridge is missing). The object is to stop, get off your bike, do the crossing, and then remount your bike on the other side.

It was lightly drizzling at the time and things didn't go as I had hoped. I had missed my opportunity stopping on the stone and dirt surface of the trail and was hoping to do so at the top of the grassy slope but it didn't happen. The grass was slick and for some reasons the disc brakes on my recumbent didn't hold.

I slipped down the grassy slope picking up speed so at the bottom of the first slope I was moving about 10 miles an hour. I bumped across the road upright and up the grassy slope on the other side. At the top of the slope, there were these three vertical posts that you had to ride between and I thought I was going to hit one of them but I stopped right between two of them.

Along the way, the handlebar of my recumbent was jerked around a lot and my left wrist got the blunt of it. It's not broken (THANK ADONAI FOR THAT). Nothing seems to be out of place, I can move all of my fingers and the wrist up and down and from side to side. Also, there is no bruising or swelling. It's just sprained some and I can handle the pain with regular aspirin. I've got a temporary compression brace on it and I'll use it for the next couple of weeks to see if it helps.

Since this incident, I've had days less than 20 miles and more than 30 miles and a couple of days with 0 miles traveled like today. Hopefully, the brakes will hold tomorrow afternoon so that I can get down off the mountain safely into Cumberland, Maryland.

I'm not sure when or where this trip is going to end. There are some personal problems back in Americus, Georgia that I don't really want to deal with. After a short visit to Washington, D.C., I'll be visiting some friends in the Williamsburg, Virginia area. The trip might end back at my friend's house in Lexington, South Carolina near Columbia. It's all up to the L-RD right now. I'll try and add a new update every two weeks along the way so the next one will be around September 12th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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