We drove up to Cass early, and the drive was significantly shorter on the state road as compared to the county road we took yesterday... When we got to the Greenbrier River Trail head we saw 6 or 8 deer--just a harbinger of what we would be seeing on the trail ahead.
Dianne and I left on the bikes and Bill drove away, planning to meet us down the trail after about 11 miles. We found him at the old depot at Clover Lick, just as planned. He was the only other person we saw this morning, so we were glad to see him! There were plenty of deer cutting across the trail in front of us, and we watched the sides of the trail carefully--we knew we would lose if there was a collision! This is a great trail! The surface is mostly packed gravel, much easier to ride than the North Bend Trail. Another advantage is that there are no barricades across the trail--it is easy going, and the scenery is beautiful. For the most part, the trail runs right along the river for which it is named. Most of the original mileposts are in tact, repainted white with black numerals, and there are whistle posts at every little crossroads. There is only one water tower left, so we stopped and looked at that on the way into Marlinton.
We went through one tunnel today, and crossed many bridges, some of which are the original trestles, and some rebuilt.
After our rest stop with Bill, we headed north toward Marlinton, the largest city on the trail. He said he was going to take an unmarked road that was shown on the GPS to go through to Marlinton instead of the road shown on the trail map. We left with plans to meet up at Marlinton to eat lunch together and go to the bike shop. My rear derailleur will not shift at all today, and I have a wobble in the rear wheel.
When Dianne and I got to Marlinton we saw people everywhere! We had not seen another person on the trail all day, and suddenly there was a group of bikers parked in the middle of the trail, which became blacktop within the city limits. And there were people walking... culture shock! We pedalled over to the meeting spot, and Bill was not there. Dianne took a comfort stop while I waited for him, and then I went to the bike shop while she waited for him. The bike shop is also a coffee shop, so we ate lunch there, leaving our distinctive bikes outside so Bill would see us if he came into town. We were plenty worried about him since he is so reliable and was going even farther off the beaten path than he has all week...
We checked back at the meeting spot after eating our lunch, and he still was not there. Now we were REALLY worried... so we went to the Visitors' Center where a nice young woman told us that this was a new one--she gets many requests to look for people on the trail, but never had been asked by people on the trail to look for anyone on the road! She offered to look for him in her car, which was a good thing, because our next move would have been to go to the police.
While she went out to look for Bill, Dianne and I went back to the meeting place. Still no Bill. A short time later I got the idea of looking at the old (burned out) train depot, and there he was! He was sure that was the meeting place, and we were sure the trail parking lot was the meeting place.... you may rest assured that we will never discuss this again, since there is no resolution... We were plenty glad to see him, and just as I was ready to go to the Visitors' Center to tell them he was found, the young lady who was looking for him drove up in her car! All's well that ends well.... we lost an hour and a half, but we got Bill back.
Dianne and I left on our bikes, leaving Bill in the parking lot after filling our water bottles. About a half mile down the trail, I got another flat tire! This on one of my brand new tires... Dianne got a ride back to town to see if Bill was still there--John and Joel were walking on the trail and offered to drive her... While she was gone, I looked over my tire and wheel very carefully and found a teeny blip in the rim tape on the rear wheel, exposing a sharp edge. I taped it up with duct tape, and soon we were on our way. (They did not find Bill--he had already left for our next meeting point, since he has to drive 20 miles or more of curvy mountain road to meet us 11 miles down the trail).
We met up at Seebert, and I was ready to be done for the day--this was right at Watoga State Park, and our cabin was calling to me. But we stayed with the plan and got back on the trail after fortifying ourselves with PBJ and gatorade. We finished up at Beard, where Bill was waiting in the truck, and we loaded up and headed for home. We were showered and in our jammies by 4:00.
I cooked supper with the windows open, and it started raining just as we were ready to eat--nice timing! Bill happened to glance out the window, and saw a couple of bear cubs cavorting around the yard... soon there were 3, and this time I had the camera ready! Not the best resolution, but I think you can tell what they are. The 3 cubs played around for a long while and we thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Of course we knew better than to go out in the yard when they were there... we did not see Mama Bear, but knew she was out there nearby.
We had a nice supper and shared some wine, then got out the Scrabble board. This is our last night at this cabin.