As I awoke to a crisp morning in the mountains I was briefly confused by my surroundings. This is the first time I camped in a real campground and there was a lot of hustle and bustle going on. I quickly remembered where I was and all the night time disturbances that happened… Passing cars, a little girl screaming “I want mommy” at 2:30am, and the bat that ran into my tent.
I got up to start my morning routine and saw three guys at the camp across the way. They had small tents, bikes, and scruffy beards, my kind of people. I wandered over and asked where they were riding to. They had come from Baltimore and were heading to Pittsburgh, they asked if I wanted to join them. I declined but we chatted a bit longer. As I rode off one waved at me and simply said, “have fun!”.
I blew another rear tube on my decent from the campground, luckily it wasn’t bad and I think I can patch it. I finally got a much needed tire in Connellsville to replace the worn rear tire. Hopefully this will prevent future blowouts. While in Connellsville I asked an old man who was gardening where I could get a bite to eat. He gave me directions that included “go past the old brick road” and “ride against the highway traffic”. It seemed pretty legit so I went for it. The old man also gave me some advice after hearing about my journey, “enjoy your life”. Two solid pieces of advice in one morning.
The dinner was pretty good and the waitstaff very friendly. I don’t think they get many bikers off the trail at that particular restaurant. I am starting to look a bit like a local though with my farmer’s tan and faded Flogging Molly tshirt with the sleeves torn off.
I’ve noticed that people’s reactions to me can vary depending on the clothes I’m wearing. When I’m dressed as I was today the locals (mostly rural mountain and river people) seem more friendly but the trail riders from DC and Pittsburgh seem a bit wary. The opposite is true when I wear a full tshirt. The only time I am rejected by both groups is when I don’t wear a shirt, but this might be due to my shorts and front pouch both being black so I appear nude when approaching someone.
As I travelled along today I saw a little girl selling water by the trail. I didn’t particularly need more water but I wanted to support local entrepreneurship. The tone of the trail kind of changed after that. I am an easy days ride from Pittsburgh and the path is no longer filled with locals in cut off shirts, overalls, and hodgepodge bikes. Instead it is a lot of middle-class families with matching clothes and bikes. It isn’t a good or bad thing, just an observation.
I’ve now reached the home of the very generous Cervone’s who have filled my belly with food, given me a hot shower, Eric’s bunkbed to sleep in, and a hot tub to soak my wary muscles. It was a good day of traveling and I’m looking forward to Pittsburgh tomorrow and the end of Leg 1.
Just a reminder that you have a cousin (Nicki) in Dayton, if you need a place to eat, shower, and sleep. Let me know and I can give you her info. I know she would love to see you and dote on you a bit.
Hmm, thanks for the reminder. If I may actually be near Dayton later this week, can you email me her contact info?