October 11, Day 101 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Fall’s Changing Colors
Short sleep accommodated a fast getaway from our unsavory motel room this morning. While we ate breakfast in the familiar confines of a Subway restaurant, a kaleidoscope of fall colors was outside preparing to dazzle us with its richness and its thoroughness in covering area hills. The colder air and shorter nights that have challenged us on the touring front are paying dividends with the visuals. This is the brighter side of fall touring. It’s autumn payback time! The farther east and the later into the season we travel, the better it gets.
Soon, we were off. The morning chill was now a familiar foe and had lost its intimidating power to cower. Instead, we delighted in the splashing colors of fall and in ripping off chunks of the remaining mileage in our trip.
We met a group of adventure cyclists of a different kind outside an outfitter’s outpost. They were launching into a trail ride on this autumn Saturday and many seemed ill clad for the cooler temperatures and ill equipped for the bicycling to come. In its full fall décor, the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania” awaited their 20-mile ride along Pine Creek River. Although the canyon is one of the Pennsylvania Board of Tourism’s major “Do 6” attractions, it is several miles off the beaten path. We chose not to divert from our main objective, although we may return in the future to enjoy the splendid scenery. For now, the promotional photos that wowed us will have to do.
An astonished waitress served us lunch in Wellsboro. She couldn’t believe her ears when we described what we were doing. It made us realize that we’re traveling an infrequent route for cross-country bicycle tourists. That’s okay. We’re enjoying it anyway.
After lunch, we held our collective breath and booked another motel room sight unseen, this one in Troy. Who knows what we’ll encounter when we arrive!
Freefalling to the Unknown
We cycled toward Mansfield, home of Mansfield University. The hill just outside of town provided a wonderful view of the surroundings. Not only did a bright sun provide for warmer riding conditions, but it also highlighted the magnificent fall colors on the so-called Endless Mountains. The hill soon plunged us into a joyride. This descent was a monster hill that delivered a coasting extravaganza. Yet another large descent west of the next town, Troy, matched the cycling pleasure.
Our arrival in Troy brought us closer to discovering what the overnight accommodations would be like. Due to yesterday’s experience, the unknown state of tonight’s lodging had been looming over our heads all day long, more so over Debbie’s head than over mine. With no restaurants nearby, we bought supper at a local grocery store and carried it to our room before sunset. When Debbie opened the door to our motel room to find a newly renovated room with four beds, she breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. We will sleep well tonight!
For October 12 post entitled An Abrupt End, which was posted earlier, click here.