You're sleeping in the old morgue - Can I Join You? - CycleBlaze

September 26, 2016

You're sleeping in the old morgue

I think I only remember this was a Monday morning now that I'm writing it 18 months later. While on tour I tend to forget which day of the week it is and often end up having to look it up on my phone or count back from a weekday when I was sure of the day. Either that's due being in bike-tour mode or I'm losing my mind since I turned 50, I'm not sure... (I'll go with the bike-tour reason for now).

Following a breakfast at the Falls Market, we make our way to the trailhead (basically walk up one street and there it is). Within 60 seconds pedaling south, we pass into the "tunnel of trees", with the sunlight filtering through the trees creating a Zebra pattern of sunlight on the trail in front of us. Kath mentions how different this is to just riding a bike on a day trip. What I get out of this is the experience of seeing this trip, this ride, this adventure through her eyes. When I'm traveling, I'm 100% aware of what I see, but I don't see it from the viewpoint of another. And while I get to experience all the wonders and joys of the ride, I also get to experience the discomforts of the other rider, too.

Sun filtering through the trees creates stark shadows on the trail
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Mid-morning we greet about 8-10 riders who pass us, but they are moving faster down the trail than we are. They don't stick around and ride with us and chat. At a road crossing ahead they are clustered around a van partaking snacks and food laid out for them on a folding table. So to me it looks as though they are on a supported paid tour. No wonder they were riding faster and outside of a quick hello flew past us without wanting to engage in conversation. As we make our way into Confluence, they pass us again after their break, with the same level of conversation as before.

Our stop in Confluence allows us to do two things. One, we stop into the Confluence Bicycle Shop to get a Wifi signal since we have no cell connectivity since yesterday afternoon. Kath wants to message our girls and let them know how the ride is going. She also wants to get off the saddle for a bit. I chat with the proprietors of the shop, and it turns out this is a summer gig for them as they normally live in upstate NY. I ask where and they say in a small village in the Adirondacks. Upon further inquiry, they tell me it's Keene Valley, NY. I say, "I know that place - Noonmark Diner!" They tell me they live right down the street from there. We have a good conversation about the area since I owned a house in Lake Placid which I converted into a vacation rental (and have since sold). So we chatted about local history of the area, what tourism is like, the food at the diner, etc. We leave having met some new friends, and purchase some Clif bars (or something like that).

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Pinkerton Tunnel - when I came through here in 2015 this was not yet opened, so this saved us 1.8 miles of detour
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We take frequent breaks to keep the blood flowing in the posterior regions. While Kath has rolled over 100 miles on this trip so far, she's not used to sitting in the saddle for a long period of time, so hence the frequent breaks to stretch and get off the cheeks. We look forward to lunch and decide to wait until Rockwood to eat since there's a place there where we can get a sandwich. It's later than we want to eat at 1:00 in the afternoon, but snacking on trail mix and energy bars gets her there.

When I rolled through here in 2015, I stopped at the Rockwood Opera House and Mill Shoppes. This is a converted National Register of Historic Places building and the owner has done a great job over the past 20 years turning the old building into a great stop on the GAP. There's a great sandwich shop in the building which contains multiple levels of original, creaky flooring. I order a sandwich made from pizza dough and it hits the spot. While waiting for lunch we walk through the small selection of shops in the building (more like shop-ettes). There's even a restroom to meet those needs. Definitely a stop on the ride. And if you're so inclined, and are staying in Rockwood at the hostel, you could probably catch a show at the Opera House. I like to see people putting time an effort into these Oases on touring routes.

Kath packs up after lunch at the Rockwood Mill Shoppes
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From there it's about 1 hour 15 to the next highlight of the tour, the Salisbury Viaduct. I wrote more about the history of this in my 2015 tour so I won't rehash that here. What I found more exciting was seeing and experiencing the 1/2-mile long viaduct through another's eyes. It's a great experience to cross it, as how often do we get to do something like that on a bike? But being able to experience it yet again sharing it with another is a great experience to be relived again. She talks about how cool it is to cross over farmlands, then a 4-line ribbon of concrete that is Rt 219, the Casselman river (again) and then active railroad tracks. Off in the distance, she points out the line of windmills on the ridge providing clean energy to the area homes. We stop to enjoy the view and gaze off into the distance before completing the journey into Meyersdale. 

The Salisbury Viaduct provide a great view of the Casselman River Valley and the windmills on the ridge beyond
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Rolling into Meyersdale, we stop at the old train station which has been converted into a local history railroad museum. Again, staffed with volunteers, they have displays of railroad history (which one would expect at a railroad museum) and a nice model railroad setup. I remember having a model railroad setup as a kid, and my dad helped me set it up. It was never anything spectacular, but it was a lot of fun driving matchbox cars around the buildings.

"The best part of the day" Kath says as we coast down the 3/4 mile downhill to the Morguen Toole company, which is our overnight stay. We meet the innkeeper outside (coincidence, really) and she shows us inside to check us in. After stashing our bikes, we shower (Kath and I, not the innkeeper and I) and then head downstairs to look around the building. The innkeeper meets us and takes us on a personalized tour. She explains how she used to work at a national hotel chain, but found this building had so much more personality and offered so much more and was local. She doesn't have to drive as far to get to work and feels as though she's making a difference in the community. She tells us about the building, and how the structure was originally a furniture factory on one side and a tool company on the other. The community room at the back of the hostel is the old town morgue where the dead bodies were stored. And that's how the place got its name - Morgue and Tool "Morguen Toole" - get it? Without talking with the personable innkeeper we never would have know that. Neither did we know we would be sleeping in a morgue, but don't worry, we survived the night and were not haunted at all.

Dining area at Morguen Toole
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Morguen Toole in Meyersdale - great place to stay if you're passing through on a bike
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We walk around the corner for dinner to split a pizza and a few glasses of wine, then it's back to our room at the inn to rest our bodies for the next day.

And Kath breaks her record for most miles cycled in one day three days straight.

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 127 miles (204 km)

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