Day two GAP

Even with a leisurely pack-up this morning I was pedaling down the trail by seven.Shortly afterwards I passed under I-70. The Appalachian Trail passes over it on a purpose built bridge in Maryland. Now I’ve done both.
I took a long break at my intended stopping place for yesterday, Roundbottom Campground, and, after getting back on the trail, stopped only long enough to read history markers along the way. After a short while of riding in some heavy rain, I reached Connelsville around 10:30. After going to Wendy’s for lunch I bought a new pair of gloves at a bike shop right next to the trail and headed out for Ohiopyle. And, looking back at it, that is where the day started to go sour.
At around the halfway point between Connelsville and Ohiopyle I heard a loud pop/snap. A quick glance at the rear wheel confirmed my first thought. There was a pronounced wobble, indicating a broken spoke. The break was at the hub, and so I bent the spoke around the point where two other spokes crossed and continued toward Ohiopyle at a reduced speed.
But I am getting ahead of my story.
The reason for starting the ride on June 30 was, that on that day, I turned 65. An unconsidered problem caused by the day being a Friday was that it would mean the first few days of the trip would be on a holiday weekend.
Taking a break a few miles out of Connelsville, I tried calling a few places to stay in Ohiopyle. There were no vacancies anywhere. Like it or not, it looked like I was going to ride a little farther than I wanted and end up in Conflunence. It was shortly after this revelation, that the spoke broke.
The good news was that Ohiopyle had a bike shop. The bad news, was that by the time the repair was made there was not enough time for someone with my ability to make it to Confluence. A bivouac near the trail was a big no no. I was in a bit of a bind.
A woman at the information building, the former train station, told me that the only kayak/rafting business in town allowed bikers to camp behind their building. It was, she said, technically illegal, but that it had gone on for a long time and was routinely ignored. However, when I inquired about it at the outfitter, both young ladies I talked to looked at me like I had asked them to sacrifice their first born child. Needless to say it was back to the old train station.
After saying that the girls I spoke with at the outfitter were “probably new”, the lady at the information building made a phone call, and then informed me there were some spaces available in the walk in section of the Ohiopyle State Park campground. Getting there involved a little backtracking, and then pushing the bike up a steep dirt road for a quarter of a mile. Before I left she assured me that all I needed to do was pick out an unoccupied spot and a ranger would be around to collect the fee.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
It was, up to a point.
The “point” came just before dark. I was in the tent, very close to being asleep, when I became aware of footsteps on the back and blind side of the tent. I was soon informed by a young woman that I was in a reserved spot and that I was going to have to leave. I wasn’t in the mood to argue so I struck the tent, made everything as portable as possible, and moved to another vacant spot. There didn’t seem to be much of a mosquito problem, and the sky was clear, so this time I just used the tent’s footprint for a groundsheet and slept in the open.
Eventually anyway.
First I had to endure the stabbing lights of my recent evictor’s military grade flashlights as they continued making trips from their car to my original campsite.
On the plus side, while waiting for the bike to be fixed I had a fantastic dinner at one of the nearby eateries.
I went to sleep believing that the next day would have to be better.

One thought on “Day two GAP

  1. Oh my goodness, what an adventure Randy … I am so sorry to hear that. Thankfully you finally found a resting place and a place that worked on your bike. We wish you better days Randy. Will be following your blog … take care.


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