Day 1: Diverted by thunder storms from GAP to the York Heritage Trail - Great Allegheny Passage Trail Revisited - Weather Strikes Back - CycleBlaze

August 2, 2018

Day 1: Diverted by thunder storms from GAP to the York Heritage Trail

The weather zigs, we zag

We woke up early Thursday morning and immediately began praying at the altar of the weather radar. We should have sacrificed more goats - the radar showed a front lined up across our planned route from Cumberland to Confluence, with predictions of rain and storms training over the area all day.

Being the resilient types we are, we changed plans to drive northeast to a clear spot on the weather map and bike from New Freedom PA to York PA on the York Heritage Rail Trail. 

The next best thing after the GAP
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Bill lives close to the York Heritage Rail Trail, which connects to Maryland's North Central Rail trail to provide a bit over 40 miles of GAP-like cycling, and Carole and I have biked those two trails a lot over the years. We had lots of rain during the week before this, so we chose the YHRT because it usually fares much better after heavy rain - and it lived up to our assumptions.

We started at New Freedom at the southern end of the trail, mainly to reduce driving and also because it has a nice cafe built in where we could get lunch afterwards. The downside is that New Freedom is the high point of the trail in PA - we would start out downhill, with a slight tail wind, but have a slight uphill/upwind slog on the way back.

Manly biking men (Chris, Rick, Bill) clear the York Trail
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The trail was in great shape and we made quick work of the 20 miles to York. On Saturdays, the  York Central Market is worth a visit but on a Thursday am there is not much happening, so we turned around and headed back to New Freedom. There has been so much rain that the ground was saturated and the slight winds brought a small tree down that blocked the path on our return.  Since we all feature strong backs and weak minds, we used our manly strength to clear the path for others, but left the heavy lifting to the rail car people if they were going to use the tracks...

That obviously didn't go over well with the weather gods - almost immediately it started to rain and when we hit the 1.5% uphill grade five miles from New Freedom, it started to pour. We slogged it out and had a nice meal at the New Freedom Rail Trail Cafe

40 Miles RT on the York Heritage Trail
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Waze then surprised me by saying we should head north to the Pennsylvania Turnpike to get to Confluence and we had an uneventful and actually quite scenic 3 hour drive to the Parker House. There, we met up with the women-folk and had a nice dinner at the River's Edge Cafe.

River's Edge Cafe in Confluence PA
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Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 40 miles (64 km)

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