Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coburn - Grand Canyon PA. More pictures!

We rolled out of Coburn to Milheim. Milheim was a medium sized town on the Delorme map. We figured that it would have a diner. Wrong. Gas station breakfast and gas station coffee. Such a let down after a long day the day before.
We were prepared for a mountain, but there was a "narrow" that found its way between a pretty serious ridge. Sweet. We rode lots of Amish farm roads and crossed over another mountain, into a more isolated valley of more Amish farm roads. These were a few of the best roads that I have ridden. PA state routes 192 and 880. We crossed under route 80 and headed for Jersey Shore, PA.
Yes there is a town called Jersey Shore, PA. It doesnt consist of much, but is the southern terminus for the Pine Creek Gorge (aka grand canyon of PA). If this attraction was in most other places, upon entering town, a tourist would know. Not the case here. We had to seek it out, and eventually found it. We headed north on the rail trail.

At one point we were riding along and I was like "dude a bear" pointing at one of those things that people use for archery practice. It was like 30 feet away. Mike slowed and confirmed that it was actually a bear. He looked like a cartoon!

We met up with a bike tourist riding from Florida to Erie. Mike and I slowed down our pace by 5 or 6 mph to enjoy his company. He was a 60 something retired school teacher. He and Mike went to the same elementary school. Then as a teacher, he taught a bunch of hell raisers that I knew from BMX in Erie. Small world.

We stopped in the late afternoon at a rad campground. It was right on Pine Creek, had a water pump and bathroom. The creek water was super warm (compared to Penns creek the previous day it was nearly boiling). I was amazed at how alive the river was. There were Blue Heron, tons of red faced ducks (no idea what kind they are, just they had red faces), tons of fish that you could see in the water. While swimming you can see fish all around you under water. It was pretty amazing.

We were in an amish valley for a long time. Stubna had met Amish kids on a bike trip before, and they talked about how they would leave a voice message for the whole community. This is apparently where the whole valley checks their voicemail or makes emergency calls? Neat.

Check the township!

Hey look a fake bear. Oh wait.

Blue Heron.

Super old cemetery.

1791 - 1891

Big rattlesnake.

Blue Heron

Our new friend.

Bikes, cookies and Stubs taking a bath.

view upstream

view downstream

water so clear we could see schools of fish

About 30 ducks spent hours swimming upstream then flying back down. I think they were getting dinner?

Glad Dr. Stubna engineered this dynamical bear bag.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A bike trip. Part 1. With Photos!

Pittsburgh PA - Coburn PA the long way.

Saturday: leave with kids on a bus to the trailhead in Boston PA. Ride 40 miles with 25 kids to a campground on a bike trail. They ALL finish. Awesome. For some it was their first time camping. For some it was their first time sleeping away from home.

"These people are so rich they dont need fences around their yards." For real quote about a mostly lower middle class area.

Sunday: Pack the kids up and put them on a bus home. Bike trip really starts and I keep heading East on Bike route S. Ride nearly 4 hours before hitting any kind of NEW ROAD! I was clear down near Maryland. Hot freaking day. Route S was cool and safe. Went like 3 hours without any services, which means low traffic, but also means I WAS THIRSTY. Randomly rode past the Cannondale factory in Bedford. It was closed, but I was rocking my 12 year old touring bike with at least 15,000 miles on it. Love that bike. Poached a campsite just outside of Breezewood. 107 miles.

Rockwood, PA's economy seems to benefit from the trail.

Oh wow, check that out.

Monday: Rode through Breezewood. Yeah, like stopped at the Sheetz that we have all stopped at like a million times before. Instead of transferring to the turnpike, I kept going up over the hill to the abandoned turnpike tunnels. They were pretty cool. The old highway is in tact and still has the paint lines on it. You can see where the lanes merged 2 --> 1 for the single lane tunnel. The first one was short. The second one was REALLY REALLY long and kind of scary. It was probably the darkest place I have ever been. I could not see either end from the middle. My headlamp was being reflected back at me by the 100% humidity inside. Kind of scary. I was scared. Bike Route S was rad through Cowans Gap State Park. It had brand new pavement and low traffic. Also a bit of nature. I pushed on to Chambersburg, where I met Dr. Stubna and we headed north. We rode a bunch of rail trails and some scenic roads that we randomly chose up to Colonel Denning state park. We were on Doubling Gap road which of course we knew of because of some time trial or something that takes place on it, but we didnt think that either of us had ever done it. We swam in the lake an camped out. 90 miles

Scenic low traffic bike route!

Path to old turnpike.

Narrow lanes of the old turnpike.

Old tunnel that was fixed up for the movie The Road.

Rain/Fog in tunnel. 100% humidity = no headlights work.

Hey Buddy!

Tuesday QUEEN STAGE!: Started with a 15 minute climb out of the state park. Stubna is a super serious bike racer so his coach had him doing "5 minute efforts" in prep for Univest. So yeah, with a loaded trailer on a bike tour, he is doing vo2 max intervals. We rolled through some small towns before crossing another ridge (route 74) in the Tuscarora State Forest. Lunch in Lewistown, then lost for 10 miles.
We head into the middle of freaking nowhere for a nice dirt climb, and what can only be described as a 3 mile rocky doubletrack climb on loaded touring bikes. (You state college dudes, it was out of Poe Paddy State Park up to Penn's view). Then we headed down to Coburn, the site of the Wilderness 101, and a town with no water for sale or free. We poached the town park and I swam naked in Penns Creek. Stubs insisted on wearing clothing. 95 miles.

Second mountain of the day in the distance.

At the top.

We hit a time warp.

4th mountain of the day was dirt.

5th mountain. Not even a road. Barely doubletrack.

Stubna with a double crank and 25cm tires.

Every outlook we got to we wondered if it was "penn's view." Then we would climb like 10 more minutes

Penns view?

Penn's view!

More to come!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Its almost september.

This weekend I am hosting a group of young urban kids on the river trail for a 40 mile day trip. They are all going to camp for a single night at the end. When we rode between the 31st and 40th street bridges I was asked if we would see a bear. This is going to be like going into the jungle for some of them. Kind of awesome.
This will be worth a blog post in itself when after it happens.

Then. I am going to ride PA bike route S until I run into Dr. Stubna. Then we are going to head north to the finger lakes. Then over to the catskills. Then down to philly. 750 - 800 miles total. Bike touring is maybe one of the best things ever. I am seriously going to spend the same amount of money in 9 or 10 days as I would simply driving the turnpike to philly and back.

I am stoked for some new roads, new scenes and some other cool stuff. 9 miles of abandoned Turnpike WITH TUNNELS is going to be awesome. If you saw "the road" you saw them come out of the old tunnel. Maybe Ill camp in it.

We are then going to head north to the Grand Canyon of PA. A 62 mile rail trail waits for us there.

The mountains are just going to be awesome. On the way back to Philly we are going to hit a traffic free 40 mile road around the Delaware water gap. Stoked.

If anybody is looking to sponsor a team of elite bike racers who just want to bike tour full time please send sponsorship proposals to us. We are looking to go PRO at bike touring.

Then I get home and start racing this cyclocross thing.