Day 8 - May 11 - Hendersonville, PA to Wheeling, WV - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

May 11, 2023

Day 8 - May 11 - Hendersonville, PA to Wheeling, WV

Miss America

Ed’s Story

Another chilly night last night, especially stepping out of the tent at 5:00 to check on nature. Had another great oatmeal and peanut butter tortilla breakfast.

Packed up and was on the road by 8:30 AM, again following the Montour trail. After about an hour we changed directions from north to west getting on the  The Panhandle Trail which is a nearly 30-mile long trail that runs from Collier Township, PA, to Wierton, WV. We were on it about 18 miles.

From the Panhandle Trail. The Montour Trail is on the hills above us to the left.
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While we were riding we met Don Shepherd, a local long time cyclist who rode with us quite a bit. I’ll let John say more about him. We eventually got to the West Virginia line.

Brothers separated by states
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Once off the trail and onto roads we looked for the long steep hill we had to climb, but we missed it and climbed a different hill until our GPS told us we were off track. This added 2 miles and about 200 ft of additional climbing. By the time I finished riding (and walking) up the next 1.5 mile long hill my legs were jello.

Eventually the downhill started. Stopping for lunch at a small shop, we met a Harley-Davidson rider - I pointed at my bike and said I ride a Hardly Davidson.

We started riding along the Ohio River when we came across a lock and dam.

Lock and dam setup
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I didn’t think the Ohio River had them.

We arrived Wheeling after about 20 miles of trails, and checked into the McClure House hotel, with a big room. Off to the brewery, then back to the hotel, where we met up with Don again. Dinner was tacos at Taqueria 304.

At the brewery we met up with Kevin, the owner. He is a past bicycle racer and is involved in the Wheeling bike community.

Kevin of Brew Keepers
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Tomorrow is an off day for resting, bike cleaning, laundry, and mailing items back.

Until next time, happy biking!

John’s Story

First off, I’d like to explain today’s subtitle, Miss America. Refer to Ed’s pic above of the giant pylons supporting the roadbed of the highway far above us.  It occurred to me as I listened to the rumble of traffic up there that those folks roaring past are almost completely insulated from the country they’re traveling through. They only have time to barely notice what’s whizzing by them at 70 mph.

We slow motion travelers below them are so much more connected to what’s happening in the world around us.  We definitely notice the topography, vegetation, weather, critters and the like.  We hear what’s going on. We smell it. We feel it.  We have a much fuller experience as we move along. We experience America. They miss America.

I’ll bet no one up on that highway today met a tiny toothless little old lady pushing her small dog along the road in a makeshift buggy. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were 100 years old. She was kind enough to let me take her picture. Miss America.
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Not long after we left camp this morning we came across the National  Tunnel aka the Bishop Tunnel aka the McConnell Tunnel.

The National Tunnel is a “wet” tunnel, meaning water continually drips from the ceiling. In winter ice could build up so heavily that a track gang had to be called in to chop ice from the rails so trains wouldn’t derail passing through it.
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We moved from trail to trail today.  I don’t make notes of all of it.  This was a major interchange.

Montour Trail passes the baton to the Panhandle Trail.
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Ed continues to point out how closely the trail barriers are placed. Even I slowed down to a crawl a few times to squeeze through particularly narrow gaps.
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We were just up there a few moments ago.
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We met Don on the Panhandle Trail and rode with him for a ways. As a native of Wheeling and a veteran bike tourist he gave us some advance warning of some of the roads and trails we would see today. Don will be leaving in a few weeks to bike from Munich to Dublin.
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I’m at the top of the big hill Don warned us about. 11% grade in spots and LONG. Ed caught up a few moments later, but I had the chance to sit in the cool shade and wait.
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Not that great for small bikes either.
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There was an orchestra of birdsong this morning. I’m sure I heard the bird that inspired the music in many of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. 

Luxury dining experience.
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The Ohio River. Once we came off The Big Hill we followed it to Wheeling.
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Ed emerging from one of the more overgrown sections of trail along the Ohio River.
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Jane ChimahuskyDad. It’s much easier to bike ON the road and not in the shrubs *facepalm*
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4 months ago
Once again we found burly workmen tearing up trail and had to turn back. I think the whole hillside was sliding toward the river, because immediately above us the highway was also being worked on.
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The fun ride down The Big Hill was bumpy. It eventually led to my tent trying to fall off the rear rack. I stopped to re-secure the lashings. When I got back on the bike, for some reason I just fell over sideways at 0 mph and landed on my knee. Mostly just a scrape but there was one embedded pebble. I think I’ll live.
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Ben F.Your daughter knows a lot about those type of injuries. An expert and the first aid and healing process.
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4 months ago
Rebecca ChimahuskyTo Ben F.At least I am moving when I fall. I also have occasional help in the first aid department ;-)
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4 months ago

For some reason the cues on our route are coming up earlier and earlier than they should. My Wahoo told me we were in Wheeling 4 miles before we got there. According to Wahoo we are already in Ohio. Good.  It’ll save time when we leave on Saturday.

The  good news about Wheeling is that it is our first stop with a brewery! We checked into the McClure House (built in 1852), and rolled on down to Brew Keepers. The plan was to have a single beer. I ended up in conversation with a couple traveling to celebrate their wedding anniversary by making a birdwatching trip.  When they found out my 70th birthday is tomorrow, they offered to buy me another beer. How could I refuse?

A brewery at last!
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Jeff and Laura kindly offered to buy me a beer. Ed photo bombing.
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Arthur BrownI am enjoying reading of your travels. I was trying to catch up with you in age. Made a bit of progress for four days. It appears Ed and yourself keep meeting wonderful people along the way. Happy belated birthday! Cheers!
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4 months ago

Earlier in the e day when we were riding with Don, he quizzed me about what kind of birthday cake I like. Chocolate with chocolate frosting. He said he might just show up in Wheeling tonight or tomorrow with a cake. True to his word, we found him in the lobby of the hotel with a small cake when we returned from the brewery. He walked with us to dinner and even even picked up the tab for that! Don lives a 40 minute drive from Wheeling so this was no small thing he did. 

Early birthday dinner with cake! Thanks, Don! What a guy!
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Rebecca ChimahuskyGlad someone was so generous and kind as to make sure you had a cake to celebrate your birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! Love you!
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4 months ago

We parted ways after dinner.   I will remember this for a long time!

Now I lay me down to sleep.

Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 3,651 miles (5,876 km)

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