Friday, October 9, 2009

Greenville Ohio to Coraopolis, Pa

Picked up Ned Hemmelgarn in Celina about 9 a.m. and the we headed east with adventure in our hearts , snack food in our mouths and a Louis L'amour story(Treasure Mountain) in the CD player. It is tough to think of how life could possibly get any better.

We drove to Columbus and got on route 40 east to retrace the last 2 days I had on the bike. This is a great drive if you have the time, while it basically follows the National Road , there are several places where you can get off Rt. 40 and drive sections of the original National Road. This will provide a good sense of just how twisty turny hilly and nasty that original route was.

It was like I had ridden this stretch a few days ago. I recognized many many things that I had seen while peddling by at 12 mph. I was even telling Ned about what was coming up before we got there. We stopped to look at afew things of interest like the Y bridge in Zanesville, the "S" bridges east of there, and Doc's Hospital Lounge with pictures of the "nurses" on duty.

When we got past the town of Old Washington Rt. 40 joins I-70 so we traveled down the back roads I had ridden to get around this stretch. I wanted to see exactly where I had hit the road with my face and what might have caused it. As had happened so far I was remembering every thing--telling Ned what was coming up around each corner in detail. I was surprising myself. We came up on a farm and I let Ned know we would see a sign saying Bison Meat,which we did. I distinctly remember looking at that sign when I saw it while riding by it on bike and thinking I should take a picture of it for the blog, I even remember deciding not to stop and take picture for some reason.
Then I did not recognize anything else.

I had the name and number of the couple (John and June) who lived near the crash site and had locked up my bike until it could be brought back to Greenville. I called and while John was not home June invited us to their home, which turned out to be where the Bison Meat sign was. What a nice lady and when we entered her home we met the friendliest British bulldog I have ever been around. It acted so happy to see us, jumping on me, sniffing and licking me all over . I was surprised when June says "Sassy, leave that man alone". The dog's name was Sassy. My golly it was just like being in my own house and having Miss Sassy welcoming me home after a long sweaty bike ride. Ned thought the whole scene was hilarious.

June showed me the exact location of the wreck and it is about 50 years past the Bison Meat sign across a small bridge. There are a couple of potholes and some loose gravel but nothing unusual. These are things I had seen and ridden around 1000 times since leaving Oregon. I am guessing that I was looking back at the sign and missed the pothole/gravel or maybe I just fainted.

This whole back road route is marked as being part of the original National Road . It is about 15 miles of rugged road that is patially paved and partial gravel covered. It is all ridable on a bike but it would be slow going .

Above is a pic of me standing on a section of the National Road about 2 miles from the Bison Meat sign. That is me wearing the shorts.

I messed up by not taking any pictures of June or Sassy or the wreck site. Did not even think about it until we were down the road a ways and did not feel like going back. I told June I would be stopping back to see John, June and another neighbor who helped me and taking them out to dinner. I will probably take a few pics then.

Ned and drove the rest of the way via back roads which were very scenic and interesting. One of the most interesting was driving West Virginia Rt. 2 which runs along the Ohio River from Wheeling to north of Pittsburgh. There is a sliver of WV that goes north a lot further than it looks on the map. Along this stretch of road are a bunch of shut down steel and similar factories, pretty rugged scene.

We made it to Coraopolis in time for a spagetti dinner at a restaurant with this sign in the lobby. Apparently there have been some past issues with patrons wondering exactly where to wait for service.

Today promises to be an interesting day. It is raining pretty hard and the the forcast if rain all day with 15-20 mph winds from the NW. Not sure right now if there will be any riding today but I am sure we will find something to occupy ourselves .
There was something of note that happened at the motel continental breakfast this morning. USA Today has a big spread article on biking the Allegheny / Cumberland Trail . I consider this a sign that I need to get on that trail wet or dry.

Btw--my definition of a acceotable motel room has been modified from one with a bed, TV, working remote, and a pizza place within walking distance. After last night in the room with Ned I would include a working exhaust fan in the bathroom.
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  1. Nice work Ned! Asphyxiate him before he starts back on the ride!

    Great and safe journey lies ahead to DC, and I can't wait to start seeing what you see. Just so you know, I am planning on the Allegheny/Cumberland Trail myself soon..not sure of date...but I am going to try to do the whole thing in one day. I know, not your style...but it is good for me.

    318 miles:24 hours = 13.25 mph I will need to be doing about 15 or 16 mph avg to account for a few stops here and there.

  2. Mike--good to hear from you again--I have been remiss about returning communiques .

    As for riding the GAP in 24 hours I like the challenge and based on some of the rides you have done already I* have no doubt that you can ride that distance in t5hat time BUT I have some concerns about doing the GAP in 24 hours.

    From what I have seen so far the trail is not close to being like regular highway pavement--it will take some doing to average the kind of speed you will need. There are more than a few stops and places where you just have to go slow for safety.
    The biggest concern I have is riding in the dark. That is problematical even with a car headlight. There are too many spots that you would have to be lucky to not wreck at night because of what you can not see ahead of time.

    I will have some more thoughts as I get more trail under my belt.

    I know you are gonna try it anyway so best of luck --just think a bit about my concerns.