Ride of a Lifetime

15 09 2019

As many know Cathy and I have been big bicycle enthusiasts for years. Because ofRock _n medical problems we’ve not done as much this year, but hopefully we’ll be back at it next season. With more trails being added all the time we’ve been able to bike some ten states. And probably the most memorable was biking the Great Allegheny Passage that starts in Pittsburgh PA and travels southeast to Cumberland MD. Some 150 miles of the most beautiful scenic travel you’ll ever do perched on two wheels. The mountains, valleys, and waterways are breathtaking. Passing through small communities that for over 50 years’ time have not changed was a bit like stepping back into history. For four days we nearly forgot what regular life and routine was like as we made our way across Pennsylvania and Maryland like two modern day pioneers always anxious to see what was waiting for us over the next rise. It all sounds exciting and a bit magical, and it was. But the last day of our journey wasn’t the easiest to say the least.

Toward the evening of the 3rd day of our journey it started to rain. Luckily, we were near the place where we would spend the night. The next morning the rain continued and the weather report didn’t give us any hope of it letting up. So, since we were on a time schedule; we packed the bikes and headed out into the wet gloomy weather. We donned our raingear, but it didn’t hold up very well considering we peddled away in a steady downpour for some ten hours. Also, since this was a packed dirt trail many mudholes materialized and I think we hit 90% of them. Within a few hours we were soaked, covered with mud, and freezing cold. Where was fun of this great adventure that we had experienced in the beginning? The beauty of the mountains and trees was gone because we couldn’t look up much from the pelting we were taking from the raindrops. I thought we sure could do without this last leg of the ride. But then, things started to happen. We would pass fellow bikers going the opposite direction in the same state of affairs as we were–wet and covered with mud. But they would see us and big grins would come to their faces as we passed and spoke briefly. I realized they were seeing how ridiculous we looked and not seeing themselves. We then looked at each other and began to laugh like a couple of kids playing on a schoolyard and the rains come. We started having the time of our lives as we muddied along. And as our attitude changed so did everything around us. We crossed a long bridge that went over a deep valley. We could see the clouds hanging low against the mountains giving an aura effect to the valley. We reached an area that had a small shelter and discovered we were at the Continental Divide. There were pictures on the walls of some of earlier travelers that had came that way. Then we reached the Mason Dixon Line and of course we had to take memorable pictures, mud covered and all. We reached another shelter where we had a late lunch of cold pizza leftover from the night before. And it tasted delicious!

Reaching our final destination of Cumberland with night setting in and the juvenile feeling of delight we felt started to fade. We had conquered the Great Alleghany, but we hadn’t made any arrangements for a place to stay.  The trail office was closed so we couldn’t get a list of places. Thankfully a couple was coming out of another office and we told them our dilemma. With one quick call they got us into a very nice hotel that had a bay for washing down the bikes and where we were able to take the bikes up to the room with us. A hot shower, dry clothes, and a wonderful dinner in the hotel restaurant. What a way to end our journey!

Chuck Swindoll; “Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.”

Instead of concentrating on the mess we found ourselves in that last day, we found a way to make the best of it. We didn’t chuck the whole adventure because of the troubles we ran into; we enhanced them in a good way with laughter and joy. It makes me wonder how often a situation wouldn’t seem so bad if we approached it with a good attitude. I’m not preaching, but it’s a thought. It’s like Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Amen?

Well, after completing the biggest ride we had ever done, I can say this segment of “Traveling the Rock Road” wasn’t exactly how I had hoped and planned. But I am so thankful that I made the journey with my Lady, without a doubt the greatest earthly gift the Good Lord put in this man’s life. And as for the trek itself, from alpha to omega, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! I hope I don’t have to do anymore rides like that. These old bones don’t dry out as well as they use to.

See ya next time.




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