The 2016 KVIITM75 Bike Ride – Day 5

At the end of our fifth day of riding there is a sense of being tired, but also the sense that something unique and remarkable in our experiences is coming to an end.  I am looking forward to getting home, but at the same time I could do this forever!

Our ride from Hancock, MD, to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was somewhat more mellow than the previous two days’ rides. It might have been due to the fact that we covered a shorter distance, and it was over flatter territory.  The experience on the towpath is very different from that on the more challenging and exciting Great Allegheny Passage.  We started the ride on a cloudy morning after a nice breakfast at the Riverrun Bed and Breakfast place that we had stayed at overnight.  Yes, there was stretching taking place before riding, and icing of sore muscles at the end of the day.

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It had rained during the night, but it was not expected to rain while we were riding. The first part of the ride was on the smoother Western Maryland Rail Trail that parallels the towpath.

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We stopped at McCoys Ferry for a break.P9012346.jpgThen it was downhill at Four Locks.

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We rode by a slackwater area where the canal disappears for a short while. The boats used to be pulled along the river in this section.

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Dam 5, one of the dams used to route water from the river to the canal.P9012364.jpgThen it was back on the towpath.

P9012374.jpgLunchtime was in Williamsport, MD.  We crossed over the Conococheague Aqueduct to take the road into town.

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We took a short break at Fallingwater.

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We had to take shelter during a short rainstorm.

P9012386.jpgThere was another short stop at McMahon’s mill.

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We encountered this turtle who must have been surprised by all the attention.

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A stop at Dam 4 on the river.

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We had to climb from the towpath to the Rumsey bridge to get over to Shepherdstown where we had dinner and then proceeded to our hotel for the night.

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Tomorrow is our final day of riding.

The 2016 KVIITM75 Bike Ride – Day 4

We are now in Hancock, MD, after about 60 miles of riding along the C&O Canal on its towpath. I think my fellow riders would agree that this was the toughest day of riding thus far due to the combination of the rough surface of the trail, and the fact that this was the second day of riding such a long distance.  But we made it!

We left Cumberland after taking in the sights at the start of the C&O Canal.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe started seeing the locks and lock houses for the first time once we started riding.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We stopped for a snack in Oldtown, MD.  This was the only restaurant.  It was actually located in the schoolhouse.  We went in in spite of, or perhaps because of, the sign.  The folks were very sweet.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen it was time for a stop and dip at the Town Creek Aqueduct.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe arrived at the 3118 foot Paw Paw tunnel.  It was an engineering marvel at the time it was completed in 1850.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe saw this amusing numbering for the locks.  They apparently miscounted when they started numbering from each direction.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen it was time for a dip in the river and lunch.  Nobody loves the water as much as Koushik.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe made another stop at Fifteen Mile Creek.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were exhausted by the time we got into Hancock.  We were ready to crash out after dinner at Buddy Lou’s Eats, Drinks, and Antiques. We returned to our room for icing of sore muscles, liquid refreshments and entertainment.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it was time to fall into a deep slumber.

The 2016 KVIITM75 Bike Ride – Day 3

This was a day of amazing experiences, riding about 60 miles from Confluence in Pennsylvania to Cumberland in Maryland.

It was still misty and cloudy outside when we started our ride from Parker House after breakfast at Sisters’ Cafe in what remains of downtown Confluence.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The mist cleared and we were soon riding under clear skies.  This is a view of the Casselman river from one of the bridges we crossed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is the Pinkerton tunnel, opened only last year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe stopped in Rockwood, PA for ice cream.  The surroundings are beginning to change. We had been riding in the woods beside rivers.  From now on it was farm land.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a random shot of a touch me not flower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We met some interesting people. Jim, in his 60s, was into extreme outdoor exercise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what you do to take care of the pain in the butt.  We took a few “butt breaks”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have left the woods and are the riding past farms and fields at this point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Crossing the Salisbury viaduct with the Casselman river below us.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALunch place in Meyersdale, PA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese two gentlemen are friends from back in the Vietnam war days in the army.  They have amazing stories.  They do a lot of riding all over the world.  Really remarkable ordinary folks!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing another interesting viaduct.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACalf with an interesting face.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore rest stops (butt breaks) before continuing the ride.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Eastern Continental Divide!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are about to enter the 3300 foot long Savage Tunnel that opened in 2004.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAView on the other side of the tunnel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then we were crossing the Mason Dixon line into Maryland.  It was all downhill (in a good way!) from then on.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went through a few tunnels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter Frostburg, MD, we continued careening down the hill beside railroad tracks. There is usually a tourist train that runs between Cumberland and Frostburg during the summer, but the line looked like it was in a state of disuse.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then we were in Cumberland at the start (end?) of the Great Allegheny Passage!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following picture was contributed by Ramgopal from his camera since I was not carrying mine.  We ended to evening with dinner at the Baltimore Street Grill.  It was Koushik’s birthday present to Shankar.

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And now it is onward to the C&O canal towpath!

The 2016 KVIITM75 Bike Ride – Day 2

Typing this early in the morning before daybreak.  Everybody is asleep (I think), and Parker House is quiet, expect for the whistle of the freight train in the distance.  This is Confluence, PA, where the Cassleman river meets up with the Yough.  This is my blog for the ride from Perryopolis to Confluence.

We left the hotel at Perryopolis early.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following picture is taken on the road that we biked from the town back to the Yough river. The tunnel takes you to the bridge across the river. We did not cross, but took the road that you can barely make out on the right before the tunnel. This took us to the trail head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it was time to ride once again!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere had been a spectacular storm late the previous night that we had observed from the front of our hotel rooms. Fortunately, the trail was not too wet. This was the only place where a tree had fallen across the trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis chap is trying to get down from the trail to the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an abandoned railroad bridge across the river that we encountered. It appeared to be falling apart.  You had to watch where you were stepping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing a gorge on a trail bridge. The GAP trail that we have been riding is a rail trail which was built where the railroad tracks once used to run.  This bridge would have been carrying train traffic in the past.

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A picture opportunity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was steady freight train traffic on the other side of the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe section of the trail that we covered today was just amazing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Yough river seen from one of the trail bridges just outside of Ohiopyle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the bridges over the Yough carrying the trail into Ohiopyle.  The river meanders in a U-shaped loop in this section, and there are two bridges over the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt Fallingwater, PA.  This house was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in the the 1930s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe house is spectacular, both inside and outside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are the folks in Ohiopyle who provided us with the shuttle to Fallingwater.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was quite late in the afternoon after the trip to Fallingwater, and had another 10 miles to ride to Confluence.  We were hungry and got a snack to eat at a waterfall.  We never found the waterfall, and ended up eating in the woods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe made a few rest stops during the ride, including this one betwen Ohiopyle and Confluence.  The bike being examined was making some strange noise.  We will try to get it checked out in Cumberland, our destination for tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is Parker House, the place we are staying in Confluence. It is a beautiful place with lot of space.  We are getting ready to go out for dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe crew was famished!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was dark by the time we left the Lucky Dog Cafe.  The sky was spectacular (due to the absence of light pollution) and folks were identifying the stars and the planets.  We walked back to Parker House using the faint light from a smartphone to show us the way through the dark streets of Confluence.  Went to bed after a night-cap.  Goodnight from Confluence, PA.

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The 2016 KVIITM75 Bike Ride- Day 1

Four middle-aged dudes, former graduates of Kendriya Vidyalaya High School, IIT, Madras, in 1975, set out on a multi-day bike ride from Pittsburgh, PA, to Gaithersburg, MD, today.

Waking up in Homestead, in Pittsburgh, PA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur bikes arrive at the hotel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith his proud family!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe riders are ready to depart.

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Riding over the railroad tracks near the Monongahela river. We see the old industrial side of Pittsburgh while riding through its outskirts. The city has seen better times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing the Monongahela river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Youghiogheny River in McKeesport.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClimbing the hill!  This is after they returned back to the bottom of the hill after the initial attempt. They wanted to start the ride back up the hill in first gear!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Boston, PA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlong the Youghiogheny river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe had to get his feet wet in the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnjoying theplas made by Kalpana.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe red waterfall, which is basically waste water from an old mine. This is an unfortunate part of the legacy of industrial development in the area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALunch stop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABridge at West Newton. We crossed the bridge over the Yough into town for kicks, led by our fearless leader.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnder Interstate 70 on the trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last rest stop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABridge over the Yough.

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We are the champions!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKoushik goes to the Byzantine church in Perryopolis on Sunday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChinese food for dinner at our motel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGoodnight from Perryopolis, PA!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

I thought I would present some pictures from our trip to Africa in 2012 that fit into the theme for the week.

This was the view from the room where our daughter, then a Peace Corp Volunteer, lived for two years.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The town of Dalaba in Guinea where she served used to be administrative center for the country.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis goat, looking pregnant, seems to be guarding this particular property in town.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next couple of pictures are from the mosque in Touba, Senegal.

The following pictures are from Goree Island in Senegal.  This was one of the ports of departure for slaves being sent to the Americas.

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The first two pictures in the Goree series are of rooms where slaves were housed before being shipped off. The third picture is of the Door of No Return in The House of Slaves, through which the slaves were forced on to the ships bound for the American continent.   The fourth picture shows a destroyed section of the fort at Goree that used to house a cannon. Goree Island can be reached by boat from Dakar, the capital of the country.

Dreaming of a Bowl of Cereal (6/19/2014)

I opened the door to the pantry with a little more anticipation than usual this morning.  This was the morning after our return from India, and images of the first breakfast that I would consume at home had been playing in my head towards the end of the trip.  I was looking forward to my first bowl of cereal!  I felt a sense to relief when I looked up at the top shelf in the pantry and saw the nine different boxes of cereals neatly lined up, just as I had left it before we departed for India.  This was going to be a good morning!  Perhaps the breakfast of my favorite cereals would help me to get back into the swing of things in Gaithersburg after having been away for more than three weeks.

Truth be told, this trip to India has been somewhat  unusual, with a few life events experienced, both planned and unplanned, both happy and sad, and with enough changes and adjustments to plans and schedules to keep things more uncertain than usual.  One managed to keep up with the flow, and the good thing is that with the current circumstances of ones life the mechanics of making such adjustments to the travel plans were the least of the problems to be tackled.  I have to thank all those who facilitated all of the last-minute changes in schedules in various ways without hesitation and without asking questions.  You all know who you are.   Thanks also to everybody, family and friends, for their extreme hospitality in spite of the disruption that one caused.   I have to mention the one “planned” trip I made to a facility to meet up with an old school friend of mine for the first time in nearly forty years. It was a great gift to me that he recognized me the moment we met.  But the circumstances were difficult.  The extremely destructive mental disease that my friend suffered from had aged him well beyond his years.   The intelligent and handsome young boy I had gone to with school appeared to have been destroyed by his illness.  Life can be cruel, and some of us are more fortunate than others.

But back to the present.  The cereal boxes await me in the pantry and the routine of breakfast at home is going to help me get back on track.  Perhaps you wonder at the number of cereals in question.  Each one of them is a unique, and need I say a “healthy”, mix of grain, dried fruit and nuts.  So what does Kuria do with all of this?  He puts a little bit of each cereal that meets his fancy on any particular morning into his cereal bowl and creates his own yummy mix.  This is what it looked like this morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it is time to add some fruit,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then some milk,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand down it goesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAuntil the bowl is empty!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, while I did relish the idlis, dosas, vadas, upma and other great stuff that I ate for breakfast while in India, this was what I was looking forward to and enjoying this morning.  Let’s see where the rest of the day takes me.

Submitted for the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Morning!