Day 1 in the Books, What was I Worried About?
The word on the street was that Day 1 of the Anchor House Ride for Runaway Children would be a killer and the question was would I survive? Survive…I crushed it with room to spare! To add onto that, great people, Larry who wants to know when the aliens are arriving and my teammates singing down the road is a round-up of Day 1.
When Do the Aliens Arrive?
When you ride around the United States you get to see memorable vistas and so many cool towns, but what it really is about are the people you meet and the memories they make. Some warm your heart while others make you shake your head and wonder.
Today’s winner was four miles from the end of the ride. My band of merry riders, Steve Preville, Niall (pronounced Neal) McKnight, Chris Murphy and Beth Caruso (Lady Gaga) decided that we should make a pit stop and grab some lunch to take with us to the end of the ride at the Hampton, Inn Somerset PA. As we waited for Steve to get his lunch, Beth and Niall were making friends with Larry, who hails from Somerset, PA. Larry, is turning 70 in the very near future and we are pretty sure he has never left this town. He was intrigued by our riding efforts and then the conversation turned to flying saucers. I guess since we were wearing spandex, he figured we must be experts on alien knowledge, flying saucers and the like. It was quite the conversation which ranged from the Loch Ness monster to his time in Somerset. In only 10 minutes we were filled with a wealth of knowledge and memories of Larry forever. But the best part, this is what happens when you ride.
PennsylTucky & Trump Country
So we are deep in Trump country and the nickname of where we are riding through is Pennsyltucky and mix of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Now having ridden in Southeastern Kentucky on my 2012 journey across the US, I can tell you this is not southeastern Kentucky; not even close. But that being said, it is also not Philadelphia or the northeast. The photo of the day that I missed was the building the size of a fire station with a huge red, white and blue sign proclaiming, “Team Trump–Building America.” The letters had to be six feet high and even though the election is long over, the Trump signs and pro-Trump attitude is everywhere. I think it will be this way until we get back east.
SAG 1 and Heat Warming Efforts
Our first SAG of the day was at mile 20 at a campground. It was another missed photo op because I simply was not on my photo game today. The owner of the camp ground, Country Acres, was an 80-year-old woman who not only opened the camp ground to us but she made homemade crumb cake with vanilla icing for all the riders along with homemade donuts! She sat, welcomed us and was so grateful to be part of what we were doing. It was so cool and so heartfelt.
The Ride Itself
While there are 157 riders on the Anchor House ride, I maintain that our group of five is the best. Call it biased if you will but we have so much fun together! We take turns leading, just enjoy each other and today we needed each other for one heck of a day!
It was a pretty tough ride with the first 20 miles being some of the best riding I have done anywhere in the country. We rode along Deep Creek Lake with a cool breeze (58 degrees) and mist coming off the lake. It was winding and just magnificent. We had some rolling hills to warm up the legs but you could not ask for better riding.
The second 20-mile stretch were a bit tougher as we entered Amish Country. Something I need to investigate is why the Amish settle in the same type of terrain all over the US. Wherever they go you are insured of rolling hills, steep climbs of 8-12% (sometimes higher) but they are short and continuous. It is some of my favorite riding and it was the same in upstate NY, Missouri, as well as PA Dutch country.
Miles 40-54 were advertised as the “tough stretch” and it was sure challenging but I was up for it. My training paid off and I pressed through as we did long arduous climbs into the very hilly terrain approaching Somerset, PA from the south. We finished the last 11 miles with more climbing to give us a taste of tomorrow. It should be fun!
A Note to Brothers Bike
Many of you who read this may know all about the Jenkins brothers ride across America this summer but many of you do not. Bobby, Raleigh and Dennis Jenkins, the owners of ABC Pest in Texas (they actually each own their own companies respectively in Austin, Houston and Dallas), are finishing up their ride this week. Their journey started in Washington State and will finish in New York this coming weekend. Interestingly, we will be trekking across Pennsylvania in almost parallel, separated by about 90 miles. If you do not know about their ride, I encourage you to check it out and consider donating to one of their two charities. Their website is: https://brothersbike.org/