8/16/12 Ohiopyle, PA (on the GAP trail) to Frostburg, MD – 59 miles – 14th state
Also crossed the Eastern Continental Divide
We took our time leaving Ohiopyle. First, and foremost, we both just liked the feel of the town and being there. A very small town feel, but with enough activity and diverse shops and restaurants to make it interesting. Located right on the river with those beautiful falls. We were actually able to soak our feet in the cool water – a first since Oregon/Idaho, when we would sometimes stop next to a rushing river or stream. There is definitely some sort of healing powers in those waters. Our late start was also justified by the fact that the town is located right on the trail, so no highways or streets to maneuver to get to the trail to begin with. You are just off and running.
We had a terrific breakfast at a little coffee shop. Whole grain pancakes with blueberries and even peanut butter. I was a happy camper. We had a terrific server and agreed that Jordan, the blond in Lisbon, and last night’s waitress could all take a few lessons. This seems to have been a sub-plot during the trip: young people who are food servers with no clue or common sense re the very basics. Many are nice, but clueless. You have to wonder. Anyway, this young woman was outstanding. We learned that she had just graduated from college and was interning before moving out to Oregon and thereabouts to work with a group that takes young people out on hiking/rafting adventures through Idaho/Utah to Colorado. She had the look in her eye of someone who has a passion for life and an intent to use her life for good purposes. She gets it.
After breakfast, we packed up and hit the trail. It was another absolutely perfect day for biking. The temperature was in the low -mid sixties to start and, although a little overcast, the sun would peak through occasionally and just enough to warm you. The trail started alongside the river the first half of the day, and we rode on a straight flat path through tall shade trees. Trains passed by regularly on the other side of the river, and I kept looking again for the perfect picture that would capture our view of the river and the trains as we rode. Never got the perfect picture, but did get a pretty good one.
We stopped for lunch at this really cute cafe in Rockwood and took some time to use the wifi and catch up a little. Then, back on the trail. More of the same riding through tree shaded trails. Then, the scenery started getting interesting. First, we traversed this long, high bridge across what looked like an interstate below and emerged on the other side to a view of farmlands over which there were more of those windmills. We went through a series of small tunnels. Soon, we came upon the Eastern Continental Divide which, at 2,392 feet, is the highest point on the Great Allegheny Passage. Then, further along, we went through the Big Savage Tunnel, which was 3,294 feet long. When we emerged, we came upon an unexpected vista viewpoint that was stunning and demonstrated how far we had climbed since morning.
The next milestone was reaching the Mason-Dixon Line, marking our entry into Maryland – the 14th state on our cross-country ride. There was a literal white line made of stones across the path. We stopped and a young man biking with his church group offered to take our picture.
From the Mason-Dixon Line, it was cruising downhill at 15-20 mph all the way to Frostburg, our destination town. To reach the town from the trail, we had one last long steep climb to the business district. But it was well worth the ride. We pulled another Hotwire genie out of the bottle and found a great motel for the night. The end to a perfect day.