I’m hoping to get caught up on some blogging, beginning with a couple of vacation items from last week. We were out east again (two weeks after MCUSA convention in Pittsburgh) for a family reunion at Laurelville. Following the reunion, we went to my parents’ place for a few days, and last Monday my father, two uncles, and I went biking together on the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. It was a great day for many reasons, but mostly because of the quality time I got to spend with my dad and uncles. How often do these kinds of opportunities come along?

The GAP is a wonderful, vehicle-free trail that was converted from an old rail bed. It runs from the Point in Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, where it merges seamlessly with the old C&O canal towpath that goes all the way to Washington D.C. (The canal towpath has also been converted into a hiking/biking trail, although it is not improved quite as much as the GAP.)

I was slightly apprehensive setting out on a 25 mile bike ride on a day that was supposed to reach 90 °F. However, I really needn’t have worried – our whole trip was downhill. We started in Deal, Pennsylvania, and rode to Cumberland, Maryland. In the process, we descended approximately 1800 feet and brushed past Frostburg, which is where I grew up…

Along the way, we crossed the Eastern Continental Divide…

(That’s my mom taking pictures on the top of the bridge.)

Saw a black rat snake…

Crossed the Mason-Dixon line…

Passed through a few tunnels…

(The Big Savage Tunnel is roughly 0.6 miles long.)

And passed the excursion train that runs between Cumberland and Frostburg…

Dad and I took time to find one geocache, and we also got caught in a fifteen minute downpour. (Alas – we were just a couple of tenths from a tunnel that would have provided shelter from the rain, but we didn’t know it.)

In Cumberland, we reached the end of our trip…

And celebrated with lunch at the Crabby Pig!

(Note the trail mud up my dad’s back.)

Days don’t get better than that. Thanks, guys!

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