Monday, June 15, 2015

Đại úy Chuck and the NCOIC, Part 6

June 8 – Day 4

In Basic Training one of the concepts learned is based on the expression, “Don’t stand when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lay down.” I a similar fashion when the opportunity arises to spend a night in a real bed, make use of the opportunity. Yoder’s Guest House is a place where both body and spirit can be refreshed. If that seems like an overstatement you’ve never stayed there; B&B quality rooms and ambiance and access to a well stocked kitchen makes it a very special value without B&B pricing.

Yoder's Guest House
Yoder's Guest House

Duy ui at Yoder's
Posing for Yoder's

The other attraction in Meyersdale that draws bikers from the GAP despite the steep return trip is the G.I. Dayroom Diner, a breakfast/lunch place where tasty carbs are standard fare where locals in caps and ready-to-go-to-work attire share space with colorful kit-wearing riders. The grill operator knows his craft, wielding a spatula to make perfect over medium eggs, pancakes with smiley faces, local sausage patties and bacon on the flat-top. Not having pancakes s a mistake because one of the syrups offered is locally produced maple, one of the town’s claims to fame (PA Maple Festival).

G.I. Dayroom
Grill operations at G.I.

Up the hill from G.I. Dayroom
Up . . .

Down to Meyersdale from GAP
. . . Down

Meyersdale is the last town along Gap before reaching the Eastern Continental Divide after something like 75 miles of uphill. Fortunately, the up is a gentle grade and Đại úy Chuck and NCOIC could manage an easy 10 to 12 mph without great effort. Reaching the Divide brought one of those “man, that was cool” smiles.

That's Cool! At the Eastern Continental Divide
Eastern Continental Divide

Downhill from here
Downhill on the other side!

Graphically speaking
Down is cool!

The loose gravel trail paralleling a railroad made the fifteen mile descent a bit squirmy on but required a minimum of pedaling. Vistas and viaducts, deep woods and charming villages made the climb to the Divide especially picturesque, but, along with the dramatic marking of the Divide, Big Savage Tunnel and the windy vista encountered upon exiting and the Mason-Dixon Line, provided satisfactory sensory input. There are three tunnels on Cumberland side of the GAP, Big Savage, Borden and Bush, 3900 foot Big Savage Tunnel being the longest, and Brush Tunnel with a seemingly obvious warning where the Trail shares the tunnel with a sometimes operational set of tracks.

Big Savage Tunnel
Big Savage

At the Mason-Dixon Line
Mason or Dixon?

Keep left of fence?
It seems obvious.
 At the end of four days (and part of one night) riding, Cumberland was a welcomed stopping point as it marked a Zero Day with some of Đại úy’s family from the area. Two days later came the very different challenges presented by the C&O.

End of first leg.

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