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  1. #1
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Finally, My First Tour ever~! The GAP - This June

    Some of you may remember me, but for those newer to this forum, I had this thread going for some time.

    The last time I was considering a tour, it was 1979, and I was going to be doing the Portland to Portland tour with four friends. That was also when I had my first of many knee surgeries.

    Fast forward to today, I now ride a TerraTrike Rover, and have both a new left knee, and a new right hip, and a rebuilt right shoulder. Over on BROL, we are planning a GAP ride for this coming June 1st http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...ad.php?t=79486 While it is planned as a ride from Homestead South to Cumberland, I've decided to make it a round-trip. This will be a slow 'newbie' type ride that anyone is invited to.

    I plan to pull my Wike self-built 2 wheeled trailer, and will do roughly 284 miles of crushed limestone and dirt MUP. For some reason, a lot of the BROL folks think I am nuts for doing it as a round-trip. The feeling is the pull north out of Cumberland will be too much for me to do. With all of my joint issues, OA, and other issues, I do not have a lot of power, but but swapping out the front chainring to a "Mountain Tamer" with a 17T ring, my lowest gear now is 12.7GI - so while I may be quite slow, I do not see any reason while I shouldn't be able to do this.

    As I am leaving my Tucson at Homestead, and will part with the primary group at Cumberland, I should be able to set my own pace for the rest of the trip. I plan to camp at the various primitive camping spots along the trail, so my greatest costs will be my fuel to and from Homestead, and food. I have not toured before, nor have I camped in the last 30 odd years, so this will be quite the trip for me.

    So far, possibly two other people might be doing the round trip with me, but that is not for sure yet. The nice thing about the trike is that 9hrs in the seat does not create any pain! To date, the most I have done was multiple 30 odd mile rides back-to-back, and my longest ride to date was 42 miles. Other than cold weather in Ohio, I have about 15 weeks to get ready for this trip.

    This is a far cry from where I was back in 2009, I never thought I would even consider doing something like this ever again. Touring, even small ones like this, has been a dream for me for a very, very long time. It is one of the reasons I was an over the road truck driver for so many years.

    I just thought I would share this with the folks just getting back on a bike after many years of little to no exercise. There's been a few bumps, and set-backs, but it *can* be done, if you want it bad enough~!



    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  2. #2
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I read your thread on BROL where I lurk, dreaming of getting a trike someday. I love the idea of a leisurely tour and If I had a trike I'd drive all the way out there to ride the ride both ways with you folks. When I was young I tent camped all the time and often went on multi-day canoe trips. It seems like so much fun now that I am more fit again. I can't wait for the trip reports!

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I read your thread on BROL where I lurk, dreaming of getting a trike someday. I love the idea of a leisurely tour and If I had a trike I'd drive all the way out there to ride the ride both ways with you folks. When I was young I tent camped all the time and often went on multi-day canoe trips. It seems like so much fun now that I am more fit again. I can't wait for the trip reports!
    You know folks on trikes are usually accepting of people riding bikes? Make the trip anyway and ride with Peter C.

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    As many long-timers know, I've been patiently, and at times not so patiently, on Peter to set ambitious goals. Here's what I wrote when Peter posted about the ride on another site:

    "Are you kidding!?! Peter during the entire time I've known you I've been pushing you to push yourself and not live a limited life. And now you plan an adventure like this!?! Peter I am so proud of you that my eyes are misty.... you are awesome."

    I still feel that way.

    Peter, as far as camping goes, there are three "primitive" free spots on the GAP - Dravo Cemetery a few miles south of Boston (campsites are located next to a historic graveyard, there is running water and nice chemical toilets),



    Cedar Creek Park a mile south of West Newton (water and chemical toilets), and Round Bottom about six or so miles north of Connellsville (AT style shelter, portable chemical toilet on the trail, and cistern water pump.) There is no primitive camping allowed elsewhere. (Lots of private property, kids using ATVs at night, abandoned wells, and besides the police patrol the trail.) Most campgrounds charge a nominal fee for bike tourists (Husky Haven in Rockwood and the US Army Corp of Engineers campground in Confluence are about ten bucks apiece, IIRC.) In Cumberland you could stay at the YMCA's camping area for about ten dollars or less. It's about a mile and a half from the trail, fenced in, and across the street from the showers and bathrooms. Or if you are ambitious you could ride on the C & O for a few miles to the first hiker-biker site.

    Now, about the climb back up from Cumberland..... I've never seen a trike do it, but I've seen a quad tackle it. There were two riders, however:





    You might want to investigate using the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad for part of your climb. You'd need to arrange for them to take the trike and trailer, but they can get you to Frostburg, about seven miles below the summit.

    And again, if I can make it out to run SAG for you guys, I will. I wish I were making the trip with you.

  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    This is a far cry from where I was back in 2009, I never thought I would even consider doing something like this ever again. Touring, even small ones like this, has been a dream for me for a very, very long time.
    Peter, you now have the "magic" you asked me about in June 2010. It's not magic at all. It's determination. And you have it. You had it all along, and didn't realize it.

    "Everybody says don't,
    Everybody says can't,
    Everybody says wait around for miracles,
    That's the way the world is made!
    I insist on
    Miracles, if you do them,
    Miracles - nothing to them!
    I say don't,
    Don't be afraid!"

  6. #6
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    Have you thought about not taking the trailer and using panniers on your OMM Rack? You could also pick up an ortlieb dry bag and strap it to the top where your hardcase bag is.

    This would make the ride quite a bit easier and more enjoyable in my opinion.

    By June I will have some ortlieb panniers and you are free to borrow them if you want to ditch the trailer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    Here is an example of what I am talking about http://goingeast.ca/blog/2009/10/28/...view-panniers/

  8. #8
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    First, anyone is welcome, and yes, even 2-wheelers Sounds like we'd best plan on camping at a few non-free places - thanks for the info Neil, love the photos too of course!

    Haven't you done the climb out of Cumberland yourself? It's not more than 1-2% is it? Are you saying that you think it may be too much to do?

    I'd love to hear from anyone that has ridden up the hill from Cumberland, your thoughts, how much gear you had, if you were pulling a trailer or not, stuff like that.

    Heh - the 'magic' I think, is simply having a year with any surgeries in it. This is the first year since you've known me that I've not had any hospital time, or rehab - so that in itself makes a bit of difference. Still, I am very excited for this year! The 'centuries' I am planning will all be on unpaved MUPs too, so while basically flat, they will be a bit harder riding then on roads. Am hoping to take the 'towpath' from close to my house, all the way to the lake in Cleveland, and back in one day - dunno if I can do it, but I plan to try this summer as well.
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by iforgotmename View Post
    Have you thought about not taking the trailer and using panniers on your OMM Rack? You could also pick up an ortlieb dry bag and strap it to the top where your hardcase bag is.

    This would make the ride quite a bit easier and more enjoyable in my opinion.

    By June I will have some ortlieb panniers and you are free to borrow them if you want to ditch the trailer.
    Peter, what gear are you bringing? Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cook stove, pot, cup, etc? Ditching the trailer is an excellent idea if you can.

  10. #10
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iforgotmename View Post
    Have you thought about not taking the trailer and using panniers on your OMM Rack? You could also pick up an ortlieb dry bag and strap it to the top where your hardcase bag is.

    This would make the ride quite a bit easier and more enjoyable in my opinion.

    By June I will have some ortlieb panniers and you are free to borrow them if you want to ditch the trailer.
    Thank you very much for the kind offer, but using the trailer I built, is part of the whole dream - sounds goofy perhaps, but it all kind of comes together. I bought and built the trailer kit so that I would have a neat way to carry whatever I desired if/when I needed it. Granted, the trailer adds about 22lbs empty, but I have already pulled it full of dog chow, and have found it pulls very easily. I'm a big guy, so what's the sense in trying to go 'ultra-light', as I need the exercise anyway...LOL
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  11. #11
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    That's cool...I really like the trailer, and you have to live your dream.

    Let me know when you are going to ride to Cleve on the towpath.

  12. #12
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    First, anyone is welcome, and yes, even 2-wheelers Sounds like we'd best plan on camping at a few non-free places - thanks for the info Neil, love the photos too of course!

    Haven't you done the climb out of Cumberland yourself? It's not more than 1-2% is it? Are you saying that you think it may be too much to do?

    I'd love to hear from anyone that has ridden up the hill from Cumberland, your thoughts, how much gear you had, if you were pulling a trailer or not, stuff like that.

    Heh - the 'magic' I think, is simply having a year with any surgeries in it. This is the first year since you've known me that I've not had any hospital time, or rehab - so that in itself makes a bit of difference. Still, I am very excited for this year! The 'centuries' I am planning will all be on unpaved MUPs too, so while basically flat, they will be a bit harder riding then on roads. Am hoping to take the 'towpath' from close to my house, all the way to the lake in Cleveland, and back in one day - dunno if I can do it, but I plan to try this summer as well.
    Peter, every time I've ridden on the GAP it's been Pittsburgh south. That's because I've lived with defective knees and always chose the 'easiest' way. (Also on through trips I found it easier to end in DC than Pittsburgh.) I know people ride up from Cumberland, but I've never done it myself. Hmm, perhaps I should. That would be awesome.

    As for the magic, I think you are forgetting our endless arguments about setting goals. You were at times very negative about ever getting anywhere and many people here called you on your BS. I've gotten a lot of flack and lost at least one friendship because I didn't ride across the US as I planned in 2011, but I'm still setting that as a goal and working towards it. I'm a firm believer in going big or going home, even if at times I don't live up to that motto. I think it's great you are doing the same. I really am very proud of you, Peter, for doing this trip. Now git-r-done!

  13. #13
    Neil_B
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    Peter and other friends, my Flicker sets of my trips and rides on the GAP and C & O. Note that they include the Montour Trail, which connects to the GAP at McKeesport. Second one includes my 2009 Delmarva tour. Third includes photos of trikes, including Sayre Kulp on Oso:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehist...7607302637009/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehist...7620713185884/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehist...7625100801080/

    This one is from my 2010 trip through Western PA. GAP photos are at the end. You might remember meeting me at Pymatuning that trip.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehist...7624856338740/





  14. #14
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    I dunno. It seems that most of the folks think that going north out of Cumberland will be beyond me to do. Yes, I am a big guy, and ride a heavy trike (42lbs stock, without any gear), and plan to pull a 22lb trailer with my gear in it. But, a trike does not have balance issues, and I have a lower than mountain-bike low gear. So the big question is if I can do Cumberland to the first available camp ground in one day or not? There is no real time limit to deal with, so it simply comes down to whether or not I can pedal the grade at *all*, not so much how fast. I can now do 5% pulls with rest breaks, and I believe the run out of Cumberland is less than 5% the entire way?

    Plus, I am planning to ride as much as weather permits between now and then.

    The gear I have is neither "ultra-light" or even what I would call 'light'. Due to not having the money to spend, I will be using what I have, and I expect to overpack since that seems to be the way I always ride. I see these *lists* of gear, that do not even include a 'flashlight', much less any type of camp light. There is more to touring in my mind than just riding and sleeping. Besides the needed items like tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothing, etc, there is stuff like my Kindle, camera, iPod, and so on that I believe are needed for my enjoyment.

    I am hoping to do a shorter out-and-back overnighter around the end of April to see how my gear works for me, and at that time will have a better idea if the whole round-trip idea is just plain silly or not. While just doing the one-way ride on the GAP is a nice goal, I really am drawn to the idea of the round-trip. I have done 3 days in a row day-trips longer than 25 miles, granted, not pulling any gear, so this will be a challenge to be sure. It just bugs me that it seems like everyone wants me to either not do the round-trip, or else have a bail-out option just in case.
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    I dunno. It seems that most of the folks think that going north out of Cumberland will be beyond me to do. Yes, I am a big guy, and ride a heavy trike (42lbs stock, without any gear), and plan to pull a 22lb trailer with my gear in it. But, a trike does not have balance issues, and I have a lower than mountain-bike low gear. So the big question is if I can do Cumberland to the first available camp ground in one day or not? There is no real time limit to deal with, so it simply comes down to whether or not I can pedal the grade at *all*, not so much how fast. I can now do 5% pulls with rest breaks, and I believe the run out of Cumberland is less than 5% the entire way?

    Plus, I am planning to ride as much as weather permits between now and then.

    The gear I have is neither "ultra-light" or even what I would call 'light'. Due to not having the money to spend, I will be using what I have, and I expect to overpack since that seems to be the way I always ride. I see these *lists* of gear, that do not even include a 'flashlight', much less any type of camp light. There is more to touring in my mind than just riding and sleeping. Besides the needed items like tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothing, etc, there is stuff like my Kindle, camera, iPod, and so on that I believe are needed for my enjoyment.

    I am hoping to do a shorter out-and-back overnighter around the end of April to see how my gear works for me, and at that time will have a better idea if the whole round-trip idea is just plain silly or not. While just doing the one-way ride on the GAP is a nice goal, I really am drawn to the idea of the round-trip. I have done 3 days in a row day-trips longer than 25 miles, granted, not pulling any gear, so this will be a challenge to be sure. It just bugs me that it seems like everyone wants me to either not do the round-trip, or else have a bail-out option just in case.
    Don't listen to other people, Peter, if they tell you NO. Determine for yourself if you can or not.

    That said, it's 43 miles from Cumberland to Husky Haven in Rockwood. 24 miles of those are up to the top of Big Savage Mountain. Grade is between one and three per cent during the climb. I'm not discouraging you at all. I'm just keeping it real, as the young people say.

    As for having a "bail out", don't think of it that way. Was my spending two weeks in Ohio with you and your family a "bail out" after I hurt my back? Or was it simply a changed trip? Sure, I'd liked to have ridden across PA, as I'd planned. Instead I spent two more or less marvelous weeks with my friend Troy in PA, and you, your wife, your sweet mother in law and your dogs, Stoutdog, Mr. Dan_W., iforgetmename, and others. I had a great time, and I thank you again for making it happen.

    Most of my trips didn't go as planned. I broke a rib and a friendship on my first trip to DC in 2008, I had flats and broken spokes riding home from Delaware in 2009, I had an IBS attack and had to skip hiking Gillespie Point in 2010, my knees gave out and scratched my planned cross country ride last year. Nothing you ever plan will go perfectly. So you have to remain flexible and consider all alternatives.

    If no one else in this world believes you can do this round trip, Peter, know that I do.

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    The gear I have is neither "ultra-light" or even what I would call 'light'. Due to not having the money to spend, I will be using what I have, and I expect to overpack since that seems to be the way I always ride. I see these *lists* of gear, that do not even include a 'flashlight', much less any type of camp light. There is more to touring in my mind than just riding and sleeping. Besides the needed items like tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothing, etc, there is stuff like my Kindle, camera, iPod, and so on that I believe are needed for my enjoyment.
    My "flashlight" was my helmet light and detachable handlebar lights. Camera, cell phone, Kindle, and iPod don't take up much weight.

    I can't spare my tent and other camping gear, since I plan on using it, but I have a spare stove I can send you. I don't think it's safe (or legal) to ship white gas through the mail, so you'll have to spend 4 bucks at Wal-mart for a canister. See if you can borrow a tent and other gear.

  17. #17
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    You know folks on trikes are usually accepting of people riding bikes? Make the trip anyway and ride with Peter C.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    First, anyone is welcome, and yes, even 2-wheelers
    I thought about it, I could use my hybrid and borrow camping equipment. I'll talk to the spouse. How about laundry? Food? Is it possible to cheat and hotel it? Or have my spouse with our RV be SAG? That would help everyone. Just thinking outloud here. Don't want to change the nature of the trip for others.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 02-05-12 at 07:04 PM.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Bent Rider Online has a new poster, Peter C. Looks like he's riding your trike! :-)

  19. #19
    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    I could provide loaner gear. It's not the best, or lightest weight... but it'll do in a pinch.

    If I get medical clearance, count me in for a round trip, Peter

    Judy

  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I thought about it, I could use my hybrid and borrow camping equipment. I'll talk to the spouse. How about laundry? Food? Is it possible to cheat and hotel it? Or have my spouse with our RV be SAG? That would help everyone. Just thinking outloud here. Don't want to change the nature of the trip for others.
    I'm not answering for Peter, but just noting the indoor lodging situation....

    There are hotels/motels/B and B/hostels in Boston (motel), West Newton (B & B), Connellsville (Hotel, motel, B & B), Confluence (B & B), Rockwood (B & B, very nice and modern hostel), Meyersdale (B & B, hostel), and Cumberland (hotel, motel). All are within a mile of the trail, and some much closer. If you don't mind traveling some distance from the trail, Markleton has a B & B, Somerset has motels and hotels. Most places will have places to do laundry.

    If your DH gets bored watching you ride, he can see Fallingwater five miles outside Ohiopyle (not a good road for a bike - narrow, no shoulders, big hills, and coal trucks), Mount Davis (highest point in PA) ten miles outside Meyersdale, and the Flight 93 Memorial on the other side of Somerset County. There's also a nice set of covered bridges, old barns, and churches all over Somerset County.

  21. #21
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Judy, I would so be honored and happy if you came. I wasn't going to ask you based on your personal life ATM, but like Neil, it would increase my happiness level a lot

    Thanks, but I do not need to borrow any gear, as I want to use the gear I have collected. I do not plan on doing any cooking during the trip - we plan to hit whatever we pass and eat as we like. of course, will have cold stuff in camp too. A few folks are thinking of motelling it, and that's perfectly fine, you just gotta find the group in the AM. I'd suggest that anyone possibly interested in doing this (one way, or round-trip) to come over the the BROL thread and chat about it.

    The one issue that all the one-way folks are dealing with is the need to rent like a U-Haul, etc to move all the trikes from Cumberland up to Homestead. Motels are cheaper in Cumberland, so everyone is thinking to stage at Cumberland, rent a van and a U-haul and split the costs among the people using the rentals, get everything and everyone to Homestead, drop off the rentals, and go. I am planning to park in Homestead at the 'Pump House', and leave my Tucson there while I am doing this trip.

    My actual thinking for doing the round-trip is the following:
    I have basically unlimited time.
    I will save gas by only driving to Homestead
    I will save cash by not having to help pay for the rentals
    I eat food whether on a tour, or at home - so food cost is *close*
    The money I save on gas and rental costs will more than pay for my costs for the return trip
    My lovely wife blessed the time I am planning
    So to me, I am doing two tours for the cost of one (weird logic I know, but still)
    Lastly, it would be an awesome thing to have done, and I want to do it!
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  22. #22
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    Do you have a day-by-day plan? Something along the lines of where you plan on camping each night? I'd most likely be a day behind you because of another event I have planned, but I'd like to catch up and join you guys if I can.
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  23. #23
    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    Peter - I posted my interest in BROL
    Goldfinch - If you are interested, I can loan you some camping gear
    Sayre - knowing you - you'll catch up on the second day!

    Judy

  24. #24
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Thank you Judy. I can borrow everything I need from my cousin.

  25. #25
    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    Neil - if Peter wants to break up the climb into 2 sections, he can stop in Frostburg at the Trail Inn and camp there. That would make it a 16 mile climb out of Cumberland for the day. If he's feeling up to it, he can always push on farther to Meyersdale (nice new hostel there) or Rockwood.

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