I rode alone for the first time since 1993, as Megan's interest in the ride and willingness to train weren't as strong as they once had been. We took her bike and she rode some of the miles.
The various trails making up a then-uncompleted network from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD are a great way to travel—very scenic, and a big help in getting through the steep hills and valleys that mark the start of the Appalachian Mountains. Entering into Maryland, I crossed the Mason-Dixon Line for the first time on my journey.
From Cumberland, I pushed straight east, crossing ridge after ridge of the mountains. I walked a lot. At last, the mountains gave way to hills, and then to flat land.
And suddenly, it was the last day of the ride. Wide shoulders on most of the roads in Delaware made the final miles pleasant and provided opportunity o think about the past ten years. So many places. So many changes. I was proud and happy about the accomplishment, but a part of me wasn't sure I wanted the journey to end. Perhaps, in some respects, it hasn't, and maybe it never will.
Photos: A group photo at Broadkill Beach, DE, where the ride ended. The photo includes Pauli's dad, who accompanied us on many of the segments over the previous four years. After the bike ride, we continued on to Washington, DC.. The road grades of southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland were steeper than those of the Rockies, and I walked up a good many hills. Megan pushes along the trail under her own power, on a brief ride with me along the Youghiogheny River Trail. One of the persons I rode with for a while was this gentleman, whose name I’ve forgotten but I recall that he was a retired rocket scientist from suburban Pittsburgh. Taking a break and enjoying the view. The girls and I play in a natural water slide in Ohiopyle State Park. An old lock on the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland. The trail was rough for bicycling, but scenic. An aerial view of the huge “cut” made for Interstate 68 west of Hancock. Of course, by bicycle, I had to take the side roads up and over the ridge. A long bridge connects Maryland to Delaware.
Final photo: Pauli took this photo, the traditional dipping of the front wheel into the opposite ocean from the start of the journey. It’s one of my favorites, capturing the moment and much more.
1999 Mileage Log
67 West Newton, PA-New Lexington
24 New Lexington-Meyersdale
19 Meyersdale-Cumberland, MD
85 Elkton-Broadkill Beach, DE
3,729 Cross-Country Total Miles
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