64.34 Miles / 3184.77 Total Miles
1325 Ft. Elevation Gain / 100,794 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
I fell asleep talking to my little sister on the phone, last night. It was only 10:30 PM, which is early for me. There was no wifi, so blogging was out of the question. Add last night to all the other nights I am behind on the blog. Will I ever catch up?
I slept so good, and I was the only one who slept well, last night. It was so hot and muggy, but we had to have our rain flies on to keep dry, when the forecasted rain came at 4 AM, and they pretty much block all air flow into the tent. I put my Thermarest into my silk cocoon sleeping bag liner, stripped down to my skivvies, and slept on top. of the coccoon covered Thermarest. Later in the night, when it cooled off, I covered up with my sleeping bag. The guys all slept on top of their Thermarests inside their cocoons, and were hot till it cooled off hours later.
A trickle down problem, from falling asleep while on the phone, was that I never set my two alarms, so while everyone else was packing up, I was still checking out the insides of my eyelids. Ed finally called me on my phone and woke me up. Thank you Ed. Next time, don’t wait so long, okay?
The updated weather forecast was that the rain would arrive at 7 AM, and it was right on time. Being a little behind the curve on taking down my tent, it and some of my gear got soaked in a matter of seconds, which was a bummer. All that water made it really heavy.
The rain was really pouring down, so we didn’t exactly rush, getting ready to leave. We had 40 minutes of chores to do, before we were ready to leave the campground. Tom offered to haul our bags to the Clarion Inn, in Dunkirk, our destination for the day, so we loaded all the bags we could live without into the trunk of his Lexus. Riding unloaded was going to enable us to make better time through the rain, starting with that steep hill we were going to have to climb, just to get out of our campground. Our Garmins report the grade we are riding, to us, and at one point, that hill had a 14% grade, which is ridiculous.
We rode to and through Erie, PA, which is a really cool town, with lots to see and do. But the rain was coming down so hard, our cameras were useless. They would have fogged up or taken a picture of the rain drops, instead of the subject. So we rode past all the things we usually stop for. I did stop to take a photo of this Veteran’s Memorial, in the downtown area. And while I was taking a selfie, afterwards, I kept hearing a car horn honking. Then I heard a voice say, “Ma’am, could you move your bike out of the road please? I need to back up.” I looked over, and it was a police officer talking to me. Boy am I glad he was a nice guy. I got the heck out of there so fast.
After Erie, we came to a road closure and detour. Our normal practice is to ignore those signs and see if we can forge ahead either on the road or sidewalk, and in this case it worked, thankfully. Later, Tom told us that the detour was 10 miles long–10 minutes, when you’re in a car, but possibly an hour, on a bike in the rain.
Once past Erie, we realized that there were no places ahead on the route to refill our water or stop for food. But today we had Tom on the route with us. When he caught up to us, we asked him if he would drive ahead, and pick up some sandwiches for us. He returned with some Subway sandwiches, at about the same time the rain stopped, and we were able to actually take a break and eat them. We were so thankful to have Tom with us on this difficult riding day. Tom: You’re our hero! Having you with us, today, was like having an angel in our pocket–lifting us along and helping us through the rough spots.
After eating, we stowed our rain gear away on our bikes and hit the road. It very quickly became hot and muggy, but now there was a tailwind pushing us along. After a couple more hours, we stopped for a snack and beverage, then went back at it, with just 20 miles left till the hotel.
When we arrived at the Clarion, Tom was already there–ready to unload our gear from his trunk. He had to get back home, so we bid him farewell, and he began his 6 hour drive back to Fairfax. We are so grateful for you, Tom! You have the experience to know exactly what we were going through and also knew precisely what to do to help us. We hope that the next time we meet, you are riding with us.
After showering, we walked over to Captain Ale’s for linner. It wasn’t our favorite meal, but we were starving, and it was convenient. We then parted ways to take care of personal business, do laundry, shop, go to the barber, clean our bikes and gear, etc. Chris put a new chain and rear brake pad on my bike, which were badly needed. Thank you Chris!
In summary, what could have been a miserable day, turned out great, with a little help from a friend (So says Ringo Starr).