Pennsylvania (2nd time is harder!)

Entering Pennsylvania.

Day 92: Monday, October 4.
Our penultimate state - PA lives up to its reputation of hills. We crossed the border north of Youngstown OH and spent much of the AM sorting out the PM - not easy as campgrounds are starting to close. Catharine's flat tires slowed afternoon but got a good start to the state paralleling Route 80 and now near Grove City. 52.1 miles.

Catharine fixing a flat tire -
her third and the team's ninth,
all of which have been rear tires

Bob among fall colors.

Fall .. up close.

Lunch by a stream.

Day 93: Tuesday, October 5.
Morning cold and hills caused doubt in Eau Clarie, but full tummies, blue skies and higher temperatures after breakfast bolstered spirits. We planned our next few days with shorter mileage to account for difficult terrain. We ended up motelling it in Clarion, after a check out from the bike doctor who assures us our bikes are good health. 41.8 miles slow but steady.

The walk across Pennsylvania.

Bob's gloves, well worn
(holding coal we found
by the side of the road)

Day 94: Wednesday, October 6.
Breakfast at Comfort Inn distracted us from checking out but we left anyway; seriously hilly morning led to a bike-walking incident. Pleasant lunch in Brookville where we finally called to check out of our hotel. Then on through Reynoldsville and with heavier traffic, to DuBois, PA where we motelled it again. Having accumulated 4,500 miles, Catharine got a new rear tire leaving her much more confident. Excellent Italian dinner at Luigi's. 41.1 miles.

Forty-five...

...hundred miles, near Falls Creeks, PA

Day 95: Thursday, October 7.
Bad news from the weather channel convinced us to stay in our beds until the temperature went above freezing. We gave up at 8 AM and walked in search of breakfast, then on to Clearfield & Philipsburg over long but graded hills on US 322. Heavier traffic including coal trucks but wide shoulder & beautiful scenery. Expecting another frost tonight and eager to watch the Yankees win again, we are once more in a motel in Phillipsburg, PA. 37.8 miles.

The Susquehanna River

Day 96: Friday, October 8
We spent much of today in a valley between mountain ridges paralleling the Bald Eagle River, a tributary of the Susquehanna. Slightly warmer weather encouraged us to try camping in Bald Eagle State Park, near Howard (and anyway the Yankees have the night off). 42.7 miles

A valley view
northwest of State College, PA

Bald Eagle Mountain
rising behind its namesake river
and state park

Day 97: Saturday, October 9
On the warmest day in ages, we rode down the west branch of the Susquehanna from Lock Haven until we were banned from entering US-220 near Avis. Unfazed, we took a "shortcut" over White Dear Ridge, our biggest climb and descent since the Rockies. Moteled over night in Watsonville to watch the Yankees win again. Counting down our final days between Jersey Shore, PA (encountered today) and the real thing. 54.6 miles.

Flemington in Flemington, PA

Recovering from White Deer Ridge,
in view behind

"Welcome to Freeland;
Pennsylvania's highest borough"

Day 98: Sunday, October 10
Warm damp day in the Pennsylvania rain forest. Encouraged by yesterday's climbing success we took on the hills between the East and West Forks of the Susquehanna ten miles north of their confluence. Many promises of great views of the Susquehanna valley, but most hidden by low clouds. Now in a motel in Berwick, back on the Rte. 80 corridor. 42.9 miles.

Day 99: Monday, October 11
On a crisp, clear fall day we left the Susquehanna at Berwick and approximated Rte. 80 on tiny mountain roads. After 30 hilly miles we peaked at the highest borough in Pennsylvania: Freeland, altitude 1942 feet. From there the going was easier but we were already burned out and fell off our bikes into the Days Inn near Jack Frost ski resort. 44.0 miles.

11/18/99