A Flatlander Cyclist Dream Ride
This morning I am sitting at an idyllic campsite in Ohio Pyle state park. The birds are chirping the sun is shining and children are flying by on their bicycles screaming out loud at each other. Of course, I pay this no mind as I am completely aware that this is a stage of early childhood development that is required when, as an adult, someone tells you that you must go up a hill to get to the campground.
Yesterday was such a nice ride. I am riding the big river today: the Monagahalia. You can hear the class 5 rapids down below as the trail rises into the Laraul Highlands. The forest are lush and green an wet. There is moss everywhere and cascades are falling from the stone walls. A very tall tree canopy has protected me most of the day from the sun. I have been riding through a tunnel of shade.
It was flat the entire way from West Newton to here. What a great trail. The best yet.. people put out coolers with free refreshments and pop up shade canopies along the trail for hot cyclists, (like me). You can sense a certain amount of pride from the locals about having this trail go through their backyards.
When I arrived,it was about 7 pm. I was so happy to be here. Ohio Pyle is the Mecca for crusty, earthy, outdoorsy people. The town is teaming with hikers, cyclist, rafters and kayakers. It's like the Boulder of the East.
My heart was set on a warm meal and an ice cold beer. I set my sights on the establishment of my dreams; a rustic old barn converted into a restaurant with outdoor seating and the din of laughter, conversation with the aroma of delicious cooked food wifting through the air.
I looked and smelled like a rancid wet sponge. I was clammy with sweat. I saw across the street from the outfitters was a shower building, probably set up for the kayakers at the end of the day. I rolled my bike up the hill, pulled out my fresh out-on-the town outfit and ventured in.
It was a manly place; painted concrete block walls with just the right amount of oder and fungi; slick floors teaming with algea and a wood pallette shower basin with a string to pull the shower head on. I was in heaven. It felt soooooo good to take a shower!
Now I am all clean and spiffy and I start to realize that it may be getting kind of late to get camp set up. I saw the entrance to the campground about a mile back on the trail and debated if I could eat, drink beer get there before dark. I was on the fence. (literally I was sitting on a fence). It seemed easy enough. Of course, did have a good headlight.
I saw this guy walking by in a wetsuit. obviously a river guide, and I asked him about the campground. He gave me the obligatory Norseman grunt greeting and said "you gotta go up a big hill you know", then walked away shaking his head in disbelief.
At this time "practical pat' kicks in (not a common occurance). I climbed on the bike and rode back to the campground trail where I spent the next half hour pushing Big Bertha up the hill stopping every 50 feet to catch my breath.
After a fine meal of dehydrated lasagna, which was actually quite satisfying, I settled down for the evening. . Today I am heading toward Rockwood to the Husky Haven Campground. I'm sure Big Bertha will fit right in.