Monday, June 17, 2013

Allegheny River Trail, August 2010 - Part Three

We awoke to a day of drizzle. My original goal was to ride to Emlenton, and then ride back north to Franklin, but my poor showing on the bike yesterday squashed that idea. Also, Judy had enough of the trail. So we developed a plan - Troy would ride south for breakfast, then turn round and ride north. Judy would ride back to Franklin from the campsite. I'd go on to Emlenton and wait for Judy to pick me up. So 15 minutes after Troy headed south, I left Judy as she packed up.

The drizzle began to break as I headed down the trail. I stopped at Rockland Tunnel, 2500 feet long, to capture the fog that poured out of the mouth. Would I meet Puff the Magic Dragon inside? Or, knowing my luck, would it be Fafner? If it was Fafner, I regretted leaving my road bike Notung at home...... Again, like the previous tunnel, I walked through it. 

Muddy bike. Note the grocery bag under the saddle cover - I wasn't taking any chances!

Passing through the former Quaker State facility. Emlenton is where the well-known brand of motor oil originated. You can see several old buildings and structures over the fence, but since this is a Superfund site I wasn't crossing over it. 

I met Troy as he came back from breakfast:

We tried to ride the unfinished portion of trail between Emlenton and Foxburg, but turned back because it was as muddy as the C & O after a rain. And unlike the C & O, this one has low overhanging trees as well. I nearly crashed as I tried to avoid one water-filled pothole. After Troy left north with snacks in his bag for second breakfast, I spent my afternoon at the little park along the Allegheny, at the gazebo on the trailhead, and at an ice cream shop with Internet access. Emlenton is a nice little community, and I didn't draw too many stares as I pedaled my bike and trailer back and forth through town. 

I was joined at lunch by three riders who were taking a break from their century training ride on the trail. Paul, his brother, and his 13 year old son were from Ohio and riding a 100 mile route in September. We chatted about bikes, Brooks saddles, and riding a century. I think they found it a little hard to believe that I'd ridden a century and completed the Pittsburgh to DC trip three times - Paul's brother inspected my bike and shook his head. But I'm used to that response from cyclists, and they were nice enough people otherwise. 

Judy arrived a little after three to pick me up. After retrieving my car in Franklin, we headed north to the campsite she had reserved for us in Two Mile Run Park. This is a big park run by Venagno County, and it's fitting Judy chose this site to unwrap her latest surprise: Mega-Tent!

This six-man shelter was purchased with Judy's hobby of historical reenactment in mind. Now she can change standing up in a space separate from that of 50 sweaty men getting into their French and Indian War battle uniforms. As a bonus, if she takes it on a bike tour, she can store her bike inside with her. I named the tent the "Pleasure Dome" as Coleridge's poem came to mind as she tried to set it up. 

Speaking of bike touring, Judy discovered that the actual campsite we had tried to locate was a mile or so north of where we camped. The rain had knocked over enough brush that the trail shelter was visible as she rode north. We had missed it and instead pulled into a picnic area with a table and fire ring. I became excited at learning this. "You know what this means, don't you?" I said.

"That we stealth camped."

"Yes, we stealth camped. According to the 'rules', we are now 'real' bike tourists!" I raised my water bottle in triumph.

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At June 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emlenton is a sleepy little place.


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A Taste For The Woods: Allegheny River Trail, August 2010 - Part Three

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Allegheny River Trail, August 2010 - Part Three