Saturday, June 30, 2012

S-ADV 6/24/12, day 3

An early start towards cell phone service and in search of a "real" cup of coffee, I parked across the the street from this landmark:

At McBreakfast (I have to do better at morning camp food) I plot my course home.  The GM route I'd planned was the longest of the thee days, and the western portions of it the least interesting to me.  I resolve to just see what the day brings.
The Pine Creek valley - rt 414 to 44 - is filled with beautiful scenery, no traffic, and fun roads.  Every now and then a dirt road shoots off 414, taunting me.  I think I want to come back and base camp in the area, doing several day loops.  There are just too many spots that beckon you to stop and look around - which you can't, if you need to make time.

A random sample, somewhere along rt 414:

One excuse of this route is "checking out" the rail trail that follows Pine Creek from Wellsboro-ish to Jersey Shore-ish.  Melissa and I would someday like to bicycle - camp this 60-ish miles.   It looks to be an amazing ride, but a ways from "civilization" on a bike.  The trail can be seen hugging the stream looking almost straight down from the road:

Approaching McConnel's Country Store in Waterville, PA, I spotted a parked VStrom with hard bags: all the excuse I needed to stop.  The rider turned out to be a retired gentleman named "Steve," who has logged a LOT of miles on two wheels and has done some amazing rides: Copper Canyon Mexico; flying the bike out west and riding back; 30+ day trips, etc.  I'm on a "super" 2-night weekend, and Steve's up from Delaware doing day loops for (I think) a week.  I hope to look Steve up sometime for a guided tour of West Virginia.

Slipping around in my tent and O-C internet research disorder has me wanting some wool blankets.  I like the idea of a tent carpet which I could roll into if it gets cold... and in my mind a sheet and wool blanket would pack smaller than a sleeping bag (at least MY sleeping bag).  Real wool has amazing qualities, blah, blah, blah... I stop at the home of the "Pennsylvania Tuxedo." 

... and leave empty-handed.  Their wares are way out of my price range.

My originally-plotted course was a very direct line from Woolrich to 322.  The need to save time/ miles is just a rationalization to ride more dirt/ gravel.   Bald Eagle State Forest is nothing but roads like this - seemingly miles and miles of them.  Garmin is clueless, trying to route me on non-existent roads into the trees, and once sending me down a lonely stretch of gravel road which turned out to be a long private driveway.   It would be fun to get lost for a day here, but you hit that point where you know you have to get moving if you're going to get home before dark.  At that point, being lost for another hour with a useless GPS, no landmarks, and a flashing gas icon on the dash starts losing its charm.

Emerging from the woods, I'm again up against the clock.  I have to make some time so it's rt.80 to Bloomsburg, then 42 to Ashland, then 61 to Schukill Haven where I take a break and check in with HQ.  I've been on the bike (except for the photo op above) since Woolrich.  It's 3:30PM Sunday and I know SADV weekend is winding up.  Rather than fight it, I slab 61 to 78 and home by 4:30.

A dirty, water-spotted, Strom belching gear in the HQ driveway.  The bike and all my gear worked flawlessly, the weather held, I stayed on, and I rode some great rodes - it's hard to imagine a better trip.

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