Sunday, September 12, 2021

On My Own Again

 Dear Friends and Family,

 I have liked this camp spot.  Though on a cold day it was too much shade, and no sunlight in which to dry my rags.


But today I move on.  I sure hope to return to this part of Pennsylvania again some day.

***

On my last evening with Jean and Keith, Jean offered to me some cloth holders for taking stuff out of the microwave.  Her sister makes them and Jean had gotten a big stash from her to give away as gifts.

I thanked her by declined saying I just can't add more stuff to my stash,  It was awkward refusing such a pretty gift.  I told her I use rags and towels for that task, stuff that does double duty.  She then mentioned she loves them and puts them between pots and dishes to reduce rattling.  

OH!  I took two and could have taken more.  Thanks Jean!  

I will see Jean and Keith again in a couple months, they may be in their Florida home by the time I get home in Florida.

With Jean and Keith I was riding my trike, but now I have less than two weeks to my big ride on the Gap and C&O trails.  I need to toughen my bottom again.  

And as long as I mentioned the Gap ride, I got an email from the author of the Great Allegheny Passage Companion, Bill Metzger.  He was introduced to me through a mutual friend that had told me about the new book.  We have arranged to meet the Saturday evening before Joan and I start our ride!  Cool!

I have a couple of authors now that want to learn from me on how to promote your book after you publish.  I am NOT the gal for that.  I suggest YouTube. Amazon had lessons for authors on advertising on their site too.

Now that it is after Labor Day the Campground has started to shut down.  It has closed off the other loops and one night when I went to take a shower, I walked to both shower houses and they were locked!  

Ok, there is motivation to drive the 50 minutes again to Anytime Fitness in Warren for a workout and shower.

Ride Rail 66 Trail

With Jean and Keith gone I planned two days of long rides and a day of hiking and rest.  Three days on my own and then off I go to a different campground.

I am going to try to not bore you with all the details.  I am going to try to choose three highlights from each day.

First, I did one last ride on my trike.  I drove over to Leeper to do the other end of the brand new Rail 66 Trail.  I found a trailhead at Farmington Park which had a paved branch that connects to the main trail. 

I was on the trail before the morning mist had burned away. 

 

I stopped by a wetlands where the mist had marked the many many spiderwebs that we usually don't see.

The picture below doesn't show it, but there were little tufts of spider webs like cotton balls dotting the tops of the vegetation.

The trail turns to gravel just before entering downtown Marienville.  There was a crew there working to improved the park by the depot.  A man told me they get a bit of money each year to add a little bit more to the miles on the trail.  

The depot was closed.  A sign on the door encouraged me to take a selfie by the depot and post it on their Facebook page.


The Marienville Library had a nice community garden next to it with a colorful fence.


I noticed that when they removed the Railroad ties to make the trail they just dumped them next to the trail.  At first I was upset, the creosote makes them a toxic waste.  But then I realized that if they had remained on the rail bed, they would have just rotted there.  So best to just let them set near where they were.

After my 30 mile ride I drove to Warren, lifted and showered and then got a sandwich from Subway and took it to a picnic table by the river nearby.  There were at least 50 ducks that came running when I sat down.

Ok, so 50 might be an exaggeration.  There were a lot, and they all came quacking toward me.





 I Am A Cutie!

 Ok, so the highlight of my day relaxing, exploring the town, and doing a little hike was this...

I rode my bike into town to check for mail at the Post Office.  On my way I passed a man (60's ish) who was washing his truck.  I smiled and said, "Hi." 

He smiled back and returned my greeting.  

On my way back by he smiled and walked toward me, "Hey, are you from around here?"

"No, I am at the campground."

"Oh, you're one of those campers," he said seemingly disappointed.  "You're a cutie."

That made me giggle as I rode away.  Take that world!  I am a 68 year old cutie!

*** 

I visited the city cemetery and found another tombstone being swallowed by a tree.



Tionesta has these flags with pictures of their local heroes.  They are on poles on the main street, but I also saw some in people's yards.  Young and old, from lots of different conflicts.  Our country fights a lot of battles!


Later in the day I drove up by the dam and walked some trails.  While I was walking the wind picked up and it started to rain.  I was prepared for the possibility of rain with a raincoat and hat.  But the wind made me nervous as I looked around at the big trees that had been blown over before.  There were a lot of dead trees still standing and ready to fall!

Someone attached an electrical connection to this tree years ago.  The tree is now enveloping the conduit.



Allegheny River Trail - Oil City to the Big Tunnel

Yesterday I drove to Oil City and rode my two-wheel bike to the big tunnel (40 miles round trip).

I said "Hi" to pretty much everyone I passed.  It was a lovely day and I was feeling pretty cheerful.  I did notice though that a majority of the riders were not returning my greetings.  "Do I look that strange?" I wondered.

I am proud that my home trail is friendly and it is unusual for someone to not return our greeting.  In fact my friends and I talk about that person.  Many of the riders on the Withlacoochee are regulars, so we get to know who is a non-responder.  

My friend Margaret persists in her friendly greetings to those non-responders and she does a little celebration when she finally gets a non-responder to wave back, or smile, or return her greeting.

Two things that thrilled me about my ride on the Great Allegheny River Trail, 

One is that I chatted with two couples from Akron, Ohio.  They had driven over for a day of biking. They were super friendly and I was finding myself yakking quite a bit.  I hope I didn't appear over zealous.  It is just that they had skied the Burkebeiner Ski Race in Northern Wisconsin.  They were amazed with my solo travels.  They loved the trails around Xenia, Ohio and enjoyed Yellow Springs, Ohio.

I told them to cherish their time riding together.  I miss the ride weekends George and I shared with our Wisconsin bicycle buddies.  We shared so many laughs and stories.   

Second was that I learned so much!  I took pictures.  Much of what I learned was related to mechanical engineering.  I took pictures for Chris who worked for us at Rentapen and is still designing machines after we sold the business in 2014.

 On my drive to the trail I stopped at a roadside historical site.  As I was standing in the clover reading the kiosks, a humming bird came up right by my leg to check out the clover.


I never thought of this before but in the past they couldn't create or ship the big long beams that they use now-days for construction, so they would piece and rivet together smaller parts to create a bridge.


The bridge became too narrow and hard to maneuver for the big trucks.  And it was getting weaker with rust.  When they built the new bridge they designed it to fit better into the landscape, to allow drivers to see the view, and to channel the salt and run-off to a place where they could treat it and divert it from the river.


 While excavating they learned that Native Americans have been living on the Allegheny River for over 10,000 years.

When I saw a picture of a fishing net weight made from a stone I thought that I would have passed such a rock up as worn by water and wind, not as a tool made by humans.


When I pulled into Oil City I decided to stop and give a local coffee shop some business before my ride.  When I parked I saw the "Fun Bank" and was wondering what that was.  Do they have fun promotions and enjoyable financial lessons?  Then I heard one of its customers at the ATM machine not having fun.  He was growling and banging on the machine.   I think it must have eaten his card or refused to give him money.  Not so much "Fun".  

FUN, it turns out, stands for First United National.

I get on the trail in Oil City.  The trail is called something else there, but it still runs along the Allegheny River.  

I read a lot of kiosks since I was alone and no one had to wait on me.

I learned that the oil barons learned they could use one motor and run several pumps.  The one in the location I was standing ran 14 oil wells.



Near the part of the trail near an oil baron's mansion the hills are covered in rhododendrons.  I would like to come back some spring when they are in bloom.

I learned at the visitors center that the mansion we can see from the trail is not the mansion but the caretaker's home.  The manion is behind a knoll and can't be seen from the trail.  It was owned by the catholic church for a while as a place for priests and then nuns, Now it is owned by a Protestant Minister that uses it for retreats.

The Sugar River Trail crosses overhead on an old iron bridge.

Underneath the bridge the trees are growing up into it.

You have to climb steep stairs to get to it,  Be sure to wear your helmet as you climb.  I was watching the steps as I rose and hit my head hard on a girder.  I was very grateful I had on my helmet still.

The walk us is worth it, for a nice aerial view of the river and the Allegheny River Trail below.




As I was coming down the stairs is where I first encountered the two couples from Akron, Ohio.  They too were riding to the tunnel.  I realized then that I had forgotten to transfer my headlight to my bike from my trike.  I wasn't going to be able to go through the tunnel without light.

I learned that John Wilkes Booth (President Lincoln's assassin) lived a couple years in the area.  He was well liked here. (Reminds me of the people that said Jeffrey Dahlmer was such a nice fellow.)  His picture was in high demand after he shot Lincoln.  He owned an oil well for two years.  It was mediocre, so he tried blowing it up, and it destroyed the well. 

Connie and Jerry had mentioned they saw the "Indian Prayer Rock" and I saw the rock though I didn't climb down to get a closer look.  The natives must have been so heart broken to see the beautiful river valley stripped of trees and soiled with oil.  Such a tragic story for them.  And when they insisted an area shouldn't be bothered because it was sacred, well money, greed, and gold won.

Though who knows if the place was a holy place or if they were just trying to save another great fishing and hunting spot?  And to those that live off the generosity of the land, isn't any good place for food and shelter sacred?

The drawings look a lot like ancient-style graffiti to me.

The GPSmyride App and taking all the pictures used up much of my battery on my phone.  So I thought if I took a picture of the mile marker inside the entrance to the tunnel I could figure out how far I rode round trip (almost 40 miles).


Imagine working for the railroad and having to hide in one of these hidey-holes when a smoking train roared through the tunnel.




On my return trip I stopped to eat my snack at a scenic spot.  As I started my ride again I was inspired by a message from George... or maybe from one of you.  Thank you!
There are a few rustic campsites along the trail.  I hope the ones we encounter on the C&O and the Gap trail are as nice.
I put a few bucks in the donation bar.

The two couples caught up with me at the visitors station.  We chatted some more, I learned that Donna is a birder and has been to several countries birding.  She is leaving for South Africa (fingers crossed) in October on a birding tour.

Back at home I cooked up my veggie dish for supper and left-overs.  I practiced my Spanish.


***

Please skip this next bit if you can stand another frustrated COVID rant.

What is the common good?  

When we were at Jean's ancestors cemetery, she mentioned she or the trust owned the wetland next to it.  She can't build on it or do anything with it because it is nationally protected.  She might have been complaining to get a rise out of me, because when I defended the need to protect wetlands she wrapped one arm over my shoulder and told her cousins, this is my liberal friend.

If I buy land and it has a stream running through it and I think, "I can irrigate my crops and use that water."  And then I start using that water and the person with land down stream that bought their property for the same reason is ticked because they don't have enough water to irrigate their crops and the person down from them doesn't have water to drink anymore.  

Then the guy upstream from me buys his land to make a golf course and he uses the water to water his golf course and now not only don't I have enough water, the creek now is polluted with the chemicals used so the golf course (and its patrons) can have pretty greens.

Shouldn't the government make rules so that everyone has clean water to drink?  Is that the best thing for the common good, though it may disappoint the golfers, and reduce the amount of crops we can irrigate?

I think so.  That is why I was pleased to hear Biden setting up rules to help slow the spread of COVID 19.  (I no longer think we can stop it, but slow it so the hospital workers aren't burned out and the rest of the population can get needed hospital surgeries and treatments.)  

To those of you in the future, this week on the forth wave of the virus, we lost 1,077 people this week according to the CDC.

The rant...

Ok, this is enough already!  COVID has come and taken another person I know.  This time a member of our bicycle group.  

If you haven't done so already, please get your vaccine.  It is proving to save lives and reduce hospitalizations.  I know we are scared of new stuff not tested over long-term.  But really really either stay in your own cocoon with no contact with anyone, or get the vaccine.  I don't want to have to grieve your sorry ass!

And if you got the vaccine, you know you can still spread it, right?  Not as much as the un-vaccinated, but still you can get it.  You may not feel very sick, and then shout at a football game or something and the guy next to you inhales your germs. 

Rant over.

***


This week I will be riding the Red Bank Trail and getting some stuff ready for the big ride on the Gap.

  I heard to use small garbage bags or bread wrappers to protect my feet in the rain.  Shoes take a long time to dry and I don't want swamp foot or cold feet either.

Be well and keep in touch!


2 comments:

  1. I am so happy that you were able to ride the trail south from Oil City so that you could read all the interesting signs about the history of the area.There have been so many changes to this region since it was first occupied by man and it is interesting to see how uses and attitudes have changed.
    If you have a chance to make the change, the trail you climbed up to is the Sandy Creek Trail, another fun, though shorter trail to ride on a future visit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did ride it! At least a pet of it with Keith, I think. So much riding and places I don’t quite remember it all.

    ReplyDelete

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