76.79 Miles / 3129.43 Total Miles
1298 Ft. Elevation Gain / 99,528 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
After a wonderful night of rest in a nice, clean hotel, with ultra soft sheets on the bed, fluffy super white towels and a clean shower, we were ready for whatever was coming our way. Up and at it at early, we were out the door at 6:11 AM, this morning. Amazing, eh? We went downstairs for the breakfast buffet and found out that it cost $14. Really? We have been staying at places where breakfast was free–not going to pay $14 for breakfast–so we jumped on our bikes and started riding back to the route. Shortly, we came up on a McDonalds, where we picked up a quick and tasty breakfast and pounded down some carbs, all at the same time.
Other than the fact that we crossed over into Pennsylvania, and it was hot and muggy, then got hotter and muggier, nothing really stands out about our cycling day, besides the fact that it was way too many miles and way too much climbing for one day. Who came up with this ridiculous plan anyhow? Oh yeah, Ed and I did. What were we thinking?. After riding a few of these 70+ mile days, I was talking to Chris about what the optimum day was, and he said 50. I agree. That would be perfect, if only campgrounds and other forms of lodging would make themselves available, with showers and electricity, every 50 miles..
Back to our day, we passed through farmlands, forested areas, modest homes, little towns, and several resort communities. This is some beautiful territory.
When we came up on this Kent State University sign and the flags, I choked up, The image of the young girl kneeling over the body of a slain student, after the National Guard shooting at the Kent State Vietnam War demonstration, came to my mind. I instinctively pulled in to look for a memorial, then Ed reminded me that this was just an extension campus. If there is a memorial, it would be at the campus in Kent, Ohio. Still, as we cycled on down the road, I kept thinking about what I could remember about the shooting and the Vietnam War protests. I was only in the 8th grade, when the shooting took place, but I was in touch with what was happening in the world. My brother had already died in Vietnam, and I read the newspaper every day and Newsweek every week.
When we came coasting into our campsite (there was a long, super steep hill that dropped right down into it), the fun began. Tom Calhoun, had driven 5 hours, from his home in Fairfax, Virginia, to meet up with us, and was there waiting for us to roll in. It was so good to see a familiar face! We met Tom when we all rode the Southern Tier together, back in 2017 and have some great shared memories. One of my favorites is the night he and I had to cook dinner, together, and he landed on this menu that included potato salad. But we’re not talking about the kind of potato salad you buy at the deli. No, we boiled the potatoes, cubed them and the other vegetables, and added all the other ingredients ourselves–all without a recipe. What man can do that?
Tom had brought his tent, and he set it up with ours and spent the night. He drove us to the next town for dinner, then we made an ice cream stop on our way back. Once back at camp, we sat and watched the fireflies and reminisced about the Southern Tier, till the mosquitos came out and put an end to our fun. We all readied our bikes for the rain that was forecast to arrive around 4 AM, then dove into our tents for the night.
Thanks for the huge effort you to made to come spend a night with us, Tom! We loved seeing you and enjoyed the memories. Wish you could have ridden at least part of this ride with us.
When we pulled in to Uncle John’s Elk Creek Campground, out popped Tom Calhoun, from our Southern Tier ride, four years ago. He drove down from Fairfax, Virginia to see us, and it was so good to see him again! He pulled out his tent and set it up in our campsite, and now that I mentioned the word campsite, I hope it’s okay with you if I go ahead and rant about the camping, that night. Uncle John’s was a private campground, with half of the restrooms closed, and the remaining open restrooms, which happened to be in old train cars, creepy and dirty. Ironicly, we paid the BIG bucks for the privilege of using them–$45 per tent, and we had 4 tents, so that came to $180.
Once we had our tents up and were showered, Tom drove us to a town several miles away, for dinner