Our host at the B&B we were staying at in Confluence, Sandy, was already there, busy at work in the kitchen, by the time I went downstairs from my room. Ram and Koushik were chatting with her.
After having a cup of coffee, I decided to take a walk around town while breakfast was being prepared.
This is the house in which we stayed. It was really charming, both inside and outside.The early morning fog was rising over the hills, and behind the community center. The population of Confluence is about 800.There were people sitting on the benches in the park in the central area in town having an early morning chat.The breakfast Sandy had prepared was quite grand – with scrambled eggs, chopped up potatoes with fresh vegetable mixed in, tasty sausage links, fruits of different kinds, orange juice, bread, and homemade jam. It was all fresh and substantial. Sandy fussed over us as we enjoyed the food, and she helped keep up a steady stream of conversation. We learnt a lot about the place. By all appearances, Sandy seemed to be a very active member of the community.
The weather forecast was not optimistic. The chances of getting rained on during the ride were significant. But we were prepared, and we were determined to press on.
Sandy came out of the house to talk to us, to bid us goodbye and give us last minute directions, as we got our bikes out of the garage and got ready to ride once again.We had to ride a short distance on the main road before we hit the trail once again.It was a steady climb right from the start. There were places where the river ran well below the trail and the train tracks on the other side.And then it started to rain. We had to bring out the rain gear. I had to stow my camera away in my backpack and put on my own poncho.This is the approach to the Pinkerton tunnel. The bridge is over the Casselman river. It was raining like crazy at this point. I was in no position to take pictures and enjoy the view from the bridge.We stopped at the entrance of the tunnel.The boy in the picture above was riding the trail with his dad. He must have been less than ten years old. He was really pounding the pavement and appeared to be enjoying the experience.We encountered many more riders who had stopped to take shelter within the tunnel while waiting for the storm to pass, but we pressed on. I was actually enjoying the ride in the rain.
The funny thing was that we encountered many of the same folks that were waiting in the tunnel when we finally got to our destination for the evening at dinner. And we might encounter some of the same people on the trail on the way to Cumberland today. There is definitely a kind of fellowship that is generated between people who bike this trail. I do not remember this from our ride in 2016.
The picture below was taken when we made a short stop for a restroom break. Koushik and I rode over the bridge to the other side of the river. It was still raining heavily at that point. It was difficult to take pictures since I had to first take my poncho off to get to my camera bag underneath it, then extract the camera from the bag in the rain, and only then, finally, take the pictures. I had to go over the process in reverse after I was done.We finally arrived at the town of Rockwood as the rain was beginning to subside. There was a group of cats on the trail. It felt like they were there to welcome us. Apparently, they have become rather well known on the trail. I could not take a picture.
We rode off the trail to a place we had stopped at during our previous ride in 2016 to get some sustenance and warm up a little bit. There were many other riders of the trail who had stopped there, most likely with the same purpose.
It was a nice atmosphere inside, and a general spirit of camaraderie. We were all there with the same spirit of purpose. Many folks seemed to be familiar with the drill. This was not the first time they were doing the ride.
I had been imagining a turkey sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate during the wet ride. I got what I wanted!Then it was back on the trail. Our rain gear was put away.Back on the trail, it was back to the steady uphill climb.
We took our time to enjoy the stops that we made. There were many small waterfalls along the way. The air was actually cooler as you passed these waterfalls. There were also the waterfalls that were formed just because of the rain that had fallen.
In one section of the trail with walls of earth on both sides, we came across a young deer that was trapped on the trail in front of us. It kept running ahead of us until it found a place to climb the slope on one side of the trail. We slowed down for it.
And then the rain started coming down in earnest once again.
It was pouring heavily by the time we got to the long Salisbury viaduct. We could not afford to stop too long on the viaduct since there was some thunder and lightning action going on around us – and we also happened to be the tallest objects on the viaduct.I would have loved to have stopped and taken more pictures on the viaduct, but it was not to be.
It was an uphill slog the last couple of miles into town. There was water running down the the trail as we kept our heads down and pedaled as hard as we could. A steady stream of water was picked up by the tires and a line of dirt coated our rain gear.
We kept at it until we arrived at Meyersdale, PA. We found our way to the place for the night.The first order of business was to clean up the bikes and put them away in the shed that you can see to the right of the above picture. Then we had to clean ourselves up. There was an incredible amount of dirt all over us.. My shoes and socks had gravel all over them. (The shoes are still wet this morning. I will have to ride in my sandals today.) A hot cup of coffee after a shower brought us back to normal.
This picture was taken from the front of the B&B. There are only a few places close by to eat at, and this shows two of them. The Donges Diner and the small motel next to it are very old, and both are still functional. The Donges has a good reputation.We went to the Morguen Tool Company for dinner. There was a nice breeze blowing outside as we chatted. We were joined by a few of our fellow riders on the trail, including the little boy and his father.Then it was back to the B&B for some more conversation. The bottle of Scotch was demolished. The people that we had stayed with at the B&B in Confluence stopped by to chat. We headed for bed as late as usual.
We rode about 30 miles yesterday. We have about the same distance to cover today, into Cumberland. There is a good downhill stretch towards the end, after we cross the Continental Divide, that could make this a short run.