Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 6 - Parker Dam St. Park, PA to Emlenton, PA - 75ish miles.

So, there are the pretentious, snobby bike shops who will stare down their greasy nose at an amateur cyclist and emit an aura of discontent, And then there are the uber-friendly, passionate, get-to-know-you, genuine, truly helpful bike shops. Today I discovered the latter.

As my alarm chimed at 6:30 am, I awoke to thunder, lightening and rainfall. Fortunately after 20 minutes or so, it stopped, and I made a break for it, packed everything up and hit the road. I stuffed half a poptart in my face and cruised 14 miles to Dubois, PA while dreaming of food the whole time. Did you know poptarts have 410 calories in just two little pastries? I ate those things all the time growing up. Lucky to not be enormous I guess.

As I slowly rolled into Dubois, I found a small restaurant where I sat for two hours. I consumed eggs, gravy, potatoes, toast, cheese, oatmeal and even a chocolate shake compliments of my super-friendly server, Cassie. It was extra-chocolately I might add. And while eating I updated the blog and such.

Feeling full, I took off for the Gaslight Campground in Emlenton, PA. As I reached the top of my first hill I noticed my bags to be wobbling to-and-fro. The upper right mounting point on my bike had become stripped out and the rack was no longer held tighly to the bike. I backtracked about 4 miles to the nearest auto parts store in hopes of getting some re-threading materials, but to my dismay that doesn't exist anymore. For some reason, I feel like it did when I was a kid.

The wobbling wasn't so bad that I couldn't ride, it just took that much more energy to keep the bike stable. I was still in a bit of farm country but I noticed that there was a university in Clarion, PA. Where there are college kids, there are bikes, so there has to be a bike shop.

I rode the next 40 miles straight into the wind, always climbing and descending, not a flat road in sight. As I pulled into Clarion, I must admit, I chowed a KFC double-down for some cheap, and delicious, energy. If you don't know what a double-down is; it's bacon, cheese and sauce sandwiched between two pieces of chicken. i'm salivating right now.

Just down the street from the KFC, I asked a gentleman on the street about a bike shop so I could get this bike fixed and back to being solid. He pointed me to University Bicycle & Outdoor. Here I met Chris, one of the nicest and knowledgable bike gurus I've come across. He immediately took an interest in what I was doing and began solving my probelm of a wobbling bike. Chris re-engineered my set-up, even throwing a brand new and sturdier rack my way. I ended up spending over 2 hours in the shop talking and discussing the ride. Dude, was incredibly helpful. So if you're ever in Clarion, PA be sure to stop into this guy's shop. There is even a small climbing wall inside.

At about 7:30pm, I set out to the Gaslight Campground in Emlenton, PA, just over 20 miles away. Of course the last 2 miles of the ride were straight-up hill. Everything in PA always seems to be just at the top of a hill. I'll ask "Where's X?" and people will always reply, "Oh, it's just at the top of the hill." Thanks.

I pulled in after dark, but Martha and John were there waiting, just chillin' on their porch. They were great as we discussed the ride a bit. But most importantly for that moment, they showed me to a cabin. I was expecting a tent site, and I knew my tent was soaked from the previous night. So, that cabin was beautiful to me.

1 comment:

  1. Keep you the good work Andrew! Many people are following/supporting you.

    Here's a link to the Gaslight Campground(just in case anybody else is interesting in learning about it).