Frostburg to Confluence - The woman who sat on the toilet too long (and other odd American tales) - CycleBlaze

May 10, 2014

Frostburg to Confluence

Jerry: "Are you a doctor?"
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JERRY was one of those amiable old guys with time on his hands and a wish to fill it happily and with benefit to others. So he organises the volunteers - and there are a lot of them - who look after the museum at the pretty little railway station in Meyersdale.

Meyersdale station, pretty despite the drinks machines
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We got there, Chris and I, at around coffee time. I like seeing old railway memorabilia but a coffee wouldn't have been a problem to drink, along with something sticky and bun-like. Instead, the pleasant experience of a conversation with Jerry.

He was 74, he told me. And while I usually pay people the compliment of saying they look younger, I have to say that Jerry looked older.

"Did you used to work on the railway?", I asked.

"Pardon me?"

"Did you work on the railway?"

"No, I spent all my life working in a store."

"So what brought you here?"

"Fill my time and be useful, I guess."

And that was about all I could elicit. Although I was just about to leave when he followed us through the door and shouted: "Say, d'you used to be a doctor?"

"No. Why?"

"'cause I just looked at what you wrote in the guest book. You write like a doctor. Couldn't understand a word of it."

The old station is now a museum; and a push of the button will get the trains moving. But only the model trains...
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In the absence of a trackside coffee, we rode down into the town itself

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and stopped at the first place on the left, just short of a bank with a Victorian-style clock tower. We'd been there a while, me marvelling at the row of spreading bottoms on the stools along the counter, Chris looking around more generally, when suddenly Chris laughed and said "Hey!"

"Hey what?"

"Hey, this is GI Day's," or GI something anyway.

"And?"

"And I've seen it several times on Crazyguy."

Certainly we weren't the only cyclists there, although the others were day-trippers on hired bikes rather than lean and raw veterans of the road as we fancied ourselves to be. At that moment our waitress came by and asked in a voice that could strip mud from boots if everything was all right. It was a ritual in American cafés, along with the words "You guys wunn more kaahfee ad all?"

We said that not only everything was all right but that her café had a global significance. Chris explained. Two more waitresses came over to join in.

"We're on the innerned," Boot-stripper said with the excitement of a teenage girl given her first sticky drink in a long-stemmed glass, and the others said: "Hey! Wow! Crazybahcyclist.dot.com, huh? We godda look thadup!"

And we left them to their fruitless task and set off back along the path, with Chris stopping every now and then to examine rocks and explain the pre-historic story of the area, until finally we reached Confluence, where he had arranged for us to camp in someone's garden. And it rained all evening and trains hooted all night.

"Hey, we're on the innerned, you know that?" the waitresses gasped
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Chris Ogden - a great guy
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Crossing the Mason-Dixon line
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Today's ride: 83 km (52 miles)
Total: 512 km (318 miles)

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