We had a bit of a slow start this morning--we took advantage of the hotel's continental breakfast, loaded the bikes and gear in/on the truck and left around 9 AM. We found the trailhead after a few wrong turns, and unloaded the bikes and got started 9:30ish... I got on my bike and instantly got in trouble--the bite valve on my Camelbak fell off and water was spurting out... I tried to catch the bite valve and stop the bike at the same time and ended up on the ground. Not too much fun.
This is a lovely rail trail. We can so imagine the trains on this route. Once Dianne and I got started on the bikes Bill went in the truck to find a store--we needed batteries for the bike lights (need the lights for the longer tunnels) and a toothbrush... our plan was to meet up at the next town, Walker, which was about 10 miles up the trail.
When Dianne and I got to Walker, Bill was not in town; in fact there was no town there either. Just a post office that looks like it may have once been the train station. We waited at the post office for a while and then moved on and found Bill at the trail head about a mile out of town. We refilled our water and juice and found that only one of the bike lights still works.
We saw some nice sights along the route--there was evidence of the original use of this corridor. We saw piles of railroad ties, wheels and axle once, and old station buildings. The best photo not taken was of a log cabin by a creek. I would have had to get down (and then back up) a steep enbankmant to get a clear view. The trail surface was rocky, but it was pretty flat most of the time. As we approached the tunnels we had a slight uphill grade, but then after the tunnels we were on the dowhill so it all worked out. There is only about 300 feet difference in elevation over the 70 miles of the North Bend Rail Trail, which is where we are riding today and tomorrow.
We knew we would not finish the 70 mile trail today--this is vacation after all! We stopped and took photos at all the tunnels along the way, including the reputedly haunted tunnel 19; each one has its own character. Our planned lunch stop was at Cairo, which was a nice little town. Unfortunately this is Sunday and a lot of places were closed. Our word for the day today is "fortuitous". As we rode into Cairo to meet Bill, Dianne's rear tire had a bulge--very like the one I had earlier this year on my mountain bike. There was a hole in the tire; the only reason it did not blow out was that the earth guard was plugging the hole! The Country Trails Bike and General Store (see photo) was open, and when we walked in there we found 5 tires--a 12", 2 24", a road bike tire, and one mountain bike tire exactly the same as the one that had the bulge! That is indeed fortuitous! We bought the tire, asked if there was another available (there was not), changed it, had lunch and were on our way with plans to meet Bill at Pennsboro for ice cream and finish 50 miles today. The woman in the bike store was supremely helpful--she gave us "real" maps of the North Bend trail and other West Virginia information.
When we arrived at Pennsboro I was so done.... and Bill was having an allergy attack. We had planned on driving to Clarksburg at the end of this day for a room, but Dianne likes Bed and Breakfasts and other smaller independent places. She went for a little ride on the bike and came back with the information that there was an Inn here in the small town of Pennsboro, so here we are at The Legacy.--she again used that word--fortuitous. It is a lovely place and we were so glad to be done and off the trail even though we only rode 38 miles today. We walked to a place in town for dinner, then (what else) played Scrabble until 9 PM (in the common room of the inn).
Here is the train station at Pennsboro, in process of restoration. This was a great little place for us, fortuitous indeed!