Sunday, September 28, 2014

Filling in the gaps of the GAP (day 1)

I'm trying to tackle the GAP in small bites before taking on a multi-night adventure. Before this weekend's adventure, Here's what I'd managed to complete.

The yellow parts have been ridden, the remainders await.

Bereavement and ruminations

Having lost someone suddenly and without warning, their death was weighing on me. My stress rash returned after having been in remission for several years, this was taking a mental and physical toll on me. I needed a diversion... this was my respite, from everything. I needed to be alone, mourn and get used to their absence.

More firsts

This was my first overnighter. I'd found a place in Meyersdale that had a room on short notice and I jumped on it. I packed the panniers, basket bag and dry bag. I was worried I wouldn't have enough room for all my stuff, but I had plenty of extra space. This bodes well for upcoming trips that might involve more than one night. I was very pleased with my restraint when deciding how much stuff to bring. I went bare-bones.


Of course, this is all relative. I'm sure the next cyclist might look at all of my baggage and think: "All that for *ONE* NIGHT?"

I drove to Meyersdale and set out Southward early in the hopes of getting to the Savage Tunnel (between Frostburg and Cumberland) and on to Cumberland if I had the energy. If I didn't have it in me, Frostburg would suffice. Then I would turn back around and head back to Meyersdale and stay in a B&B. This was also my first time in a B&B, so I was unfamiliar with how things worked.

Wow: over state lines? On my bike? Staying in a bed and breakfast? So many firsts on this trip.

I arrived in Meyersdale early-ish. I was rerouted through the City and Wilkinsburg because all my routes to the Parkway West were blocked due to some damned event. The Great Race, maybe? 20 minutes blown trying to find my way to the Turnpike. Why didn't I take 43 to 70?

That was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was packing my clothes for the next day on the bike instead of leaving them in the car. Wow, that was dumb. Oh well, it was a lesson in packing and load distribution, which was also wonky. I had to get used to the heavy stern and starboard side, it nearly pulled me over the first time I mounted it with everything loaded. I think I need a front rack.

It was a chilly morning and I started out using my wool leggings and arm warmers. I wasn't able to remove them until noon when it finally warmed up.

I noticed many Amish folks (or Mennonites?) along the trail: perhaps going to Sunday services? I wished them a Guten Morgen and a Guten Tag later in the day...which surprised and delighted them, I think.

I hit the Mason Dixon line, Continental Divide, Big Savage and Borden Tunnels (hooboy, that one's DARK!) I'm very glad I brought my headlamps.

So many fellow cyclists love to help take your picture!

Oh, hai

Gianormous black snake!

Frostburg made!

I wasn't enamored of the creepy head sculptures at Frostburg.
When I arrived back in Meyersdale, my legs were giving me the "We're about to have some wicked spasms" warning. I needed more water and salt. I checked into my room at the Morguen Toole and got the tour from Brooke. She told me some of the history of the building which was once a Morgue and hardware store, the floor where I was staying was the mortuary, where the bodies were prepared.
Very cool. The building inside is a restorationist's dream. Old tin ceilings, brick walls, old fixtures, artifacts from the morgue. Wow, I loved this place.

The bikes stay in the garage. Fizz was that night's only occupant.

I showered and napped, but the muscle cramps that threatened were making a visit and interrupting my nap in my cozy, quiet room. They hit my feet... my FEET! My big toe was nearly vertical. Torture! I'd wanted to bring pickle juice with me, but I'd forgotten it.
I headed down to the restaurant for something salty. Brooke was also my waitress as well as hotel concierge and hostess. She brought me a burger with extra pickles and mustard on the side.

After dinner, I wanted to walk around Meyersdale and check things out. It took 10 minutes. Meyersdale isn't that big. It IS interesting though.

I went back to my room and enjoyed the quiet: no dogs, no TV, no spouse to entertain... just complete silence pierced only occasionally by a train's horn. The mustard and pickles as well as the walk helped my legs. I slept like a log.

I took many, many pictures. The leaves were just starting to turn on this part of the GAP. 
You can see the rest of them here: Trip photos

32 miles on a gorgeous autumn day.


  1. Looks like an awesome ride and I really love all of the pictures! I'm officially jealous.

  2. Thanks, with some well deserved time off in October, I plan on taking advantage of the trails during the peak leaf season. So gorgeous.

  3. Newsflash: Fall is cancelled!,2319/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:NA:FTA

    (Sorry for your loss, too)

    1. Hi, OP! Thanks and thanks. I needed a laugh.


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