Country Road (21)

Today marks the first day we rode into a state neither of us has ever been to before: West Virginia. And trust us – you can’t swing a dead cat in New York or Pennsylvania without hitting someone who will suggest that we ride should through Ohio rather than West Virginia to avoid the hills. One wise man even told us that West Virginia would be larger than Texas if you flattened out all of the hills.

Nevertheless, we woke in the morning with our sights set on crossing the West Virginia state border.

Shortly after lunch, Rachel got spooked by a car and tried to escape to the sidewalk, but got hung up. She claims she dismounted gracefully and let the bike fall.

The last 15 miles of PA were pretty hilly, which got us excited for highly-anticipated hills of WV.

A mile from the state line, we found the Sheepskin Trail.  At first we were a bit skeptical because it was a dirt and gravel path that didn’t look particularly well-worn. However, the trail provided plenty of shade and no cars. After a mile, we came upon a gate which we believe to have been at the state line.

Past the gate, the trail transitioned to hard-packed cinder, and only a few miles later pavement, so we could move more quickly! We really enjoyed this section of the route 🙂

In Morgantown, the home of West Virginia University, we met a kind, garrulous man named Jack, who shared some tidbits of West Virginia wisdom with us and even offered us rooms in his house!

   We contemplated the offer but decided to keep moving, with our sights set on a campsite 20 miles further South. The rest of the ride was along the same bike path, which took us past Fort Prickett.

Finally, we made it to Fairmont, where we intended to stay at Prickett’s Creek Campground (key word being intended). To our dismay, the campground wasn’t where Google Maps showed it, the address posted online didn’t include a street number, no one answered the phone when we called (we had even left a message a few hours earlier), and the locals we spoke to either didn’t know about it or gave us conflicting information.

Rather than chance riding a few miles and still not finding it (it was already 9pm), we checked into a hotel in town instead. We’ve been spoiled: 3 hotels in 3 days. We have promised ourselves that we will be better about our daily routine moving forward, by getting our miles in as early as possible and contact campsites early.

Trip stats, to date (Day 21)

  • Belle Vernon, PA to Fairmont, WV
  • Daily mileage: 73.4mi;  Trip total to date: 1,222.8mi
  • Daily riding time: 6hr 0min;  Trip total time: 111hr 51min
  • Daily ascent: 3,113ft;  Trip total ascent: 52,479ft
  • Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0

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