#Nowrongplan awoke ensconced at Yoder’s Inn…..Hotel…..B&B…I don’t know. It was Yoder’s because I like to type “Yoder’s”. I feel like I should be in the Dukes of Harzard or something.
The owner of Yoder’s (you see, I did it again) had asked our breakfast preferences the day we arrived and stocked the kitchen with our favor things with which we could feed our respective pieholes. It was a nice taste of home to be able to chose your own breakfast and make it yourself in a real kitchen. I can’t say enough good things about Yoder’s. They also provided an indoor and secured spot to park our bikes. If you are ever in Meyersdale, PA, you should stay the night.
After our coffee with bagels and cereal, we packed our bikes and headed out. Today, we would cross the Eastern Continental Divide, complete the GAP trail, and gets a decent start on the C&O Canal.
On the way out of town, I was on the lookout for Meth Man because it felt like he could reappear at any time. AT. ANY. TIME. However, I had bigger problems: the hill. On our way into town the night before, I had not noticed how downhill it was. My Vaya was heavily loaded. First thing in the morning I was not ready for exertion so early. I found the most granny of granny gears available. Slowly and surely, we made our way up the hill aside from John having to pick up the pace to avoid getting hit by a train while crossing the tracks which interpreted the hill.
Once back on the trail I quickly fell into a problem I started having the day before. Because the grade and surface is so consistent, I fell into this continuous grind at the same pace mile after mile. Pedal, pedal, pedal……. My body needed to change position and pace every once in a while. I would speed up and blast up the trail ahead of the rest of #NoWrongPlan, as much as one can blast uphill on a 80 lbs. bike. This was simply to exert a different level of energy and momentum. Sometimes, I would slow way down and let everyone go ahead. I just needed a change here and there. Thankfully, the rest of #NoWrongPlan understood and were in the same sort of mental state. At any given time, we could all be a quarter mile ahead or behind one another. Still within sight but riding alone at a different pace. It also helped with the “Zen” factor when it was needed.
Next stop, the Eastern Continental Divide!!!. The trail slowly rose as we neared the Divide. The memory of Meth Man was slowly fading as we made our way up through the lush forest. Eventually, we reached the highest point. Of course, we had to stop for a picture.
Crossing the Eastern Continental Divide was a huge psychological and emotional lift. What had been a continuous 60 mile 1.5 percent uphill grade was replaced by the equal downhill on the other side. No longer did my bike feel like it’s brake was dragging. Occasionally, I could stop pedaling and coast with the breeze on my face. We approached our first major tunnel, Big Savage. Time to turn on the lights!!!
Upon exit the tunnel, we were smacked in the face with a beautiful green valley below. I think there was a continuous smile on my face about an hour after this folded in front of my eyes. That was until I thought about the “F” word: flat.
About half way down the 20 mile decent into Cumberland I could feel my rear tire soften. It was a slow leak but is time was unlimited. We found a good stopping point at a park area along the trail. After stripping all the panniers off and starting the “flat fix-it” process. I realized the tire was cut as well. I had two extra tires with me for this exact reason. My Clement USH tires had a lot of miles on them even though they still had a lot of tread remaining. It was just a smart move to bring extra tires. Instead of just changing the tire, John suggested the tried and true $1 bill boot. Did you know that if you use a $20 bill it works 19 times better? We used the “budget” method. With the tire booted and a new tube installed, continued downhill towards Cumberland.
Along the way, we passed the Mason Dixon Line. When in Rome, you take a picture….on the Mason Dixon Line.
The trip down the hill into Cumberland was so terrific it had unicorns and leprechauns. Really. Not really. All I can say, it was awesome!!! Cumberland is the end of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.
To celebrate this accomplishment, we stopped at a place right along the trail called the Crabby Patty. Of course, #NoWrongPlan must stop for beer and food.
Realizing that the day was moving along quickly and #NoWrongPlan wanted to make some progress on the C&O, we rolled out. After having two beers and full lunch, I was a little sluggish. But hey, not a car in sight. The turning of the pedals burned off fairly quickly after I gathered myself.
The trail had definitely changed. The GAP Trail is a very consistent crushed limestone base. When dry, it is smooth and fast. There are no rocks or bumps to surprise you. The C&O Canal is a different story. The trail is more of a gravel base. There are occasional rocks and tree roots which can surprise you. It is a trail you must stay alert on. The contrast between the two trails was heightened by immediately transitioning during the same day. But, we cyclists are a hardy bred, we can take it.
Along the way, we pasted many causal hikers. As we neared our campsite, we past a hiker who wasn’t like the others. He had a large backpack which made him stand out as someone on a longer journey. He was also short and stocky but he massive muscular legs were obvious immediately. I didn’t think much of it aside from the way he stood for the next 5-6 miles. Eventually, our day ended at Pigman’s Ferry Hiker/Biker Camp. About 45 minutes after we arrived, the hiker strolled into the campsite as I was trying to hang my food bag in futility.
We exchanged pleasantries as he setup camp. He was obviously very experienced long distance hiker. We dubbed him the “Anti-Meth Man”.
The third day of the #NoWrongPlan tour was the best day so far. I was starting to find my tour legs and my butt didn’t hurt from sitting in the same position all day. We had officially transitioned from the Meth Man to the Anti-Meth Man.