Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day With Charlie in Hampshire County

My new friend Charlie included me in his day. This meant I got to go to the Hampshire County Health Center. I got to swim and then put some water bottle holders onto Greg Lemond training cycles. Charlie's a volunteer at the fitness center and maintains equipment. In the afternoon I went with him on the roof of his house where he had begun the installation of a solar water heater. His son Brian helped and the three of us moved that project forward a bit. Later we went to an area restaurant in the evening and then toured  Hampshire County.

From Augusta to Petersburg
We took a picture together then I took off. Charlie and Susan are successful Boomers managing life's challenges and being supportive of their kids. They are true angels on Route 50 for cyclists from all over the planet. I felt honored to meet and spend time with them.

Me, Susan, and Charlie

The road was fairly good, light traffic, lots of cows and views. It Compares very favorably to Vermont. Not much happened; I watched the front wheel turn and looked at scenery.

I Made it to Petersburg and stayed at the Hermitage which is just opening for the season under new management. The clerk tried to charge me $70 plus tax. I suggested $50 was my limit and she accepted. The room wasn't worth $50.

Petersburg to Elkins
Reached Seneca Rocks which has atmosphere of its own. I had lunch at an upstairs general store restaurant facing the rocks cliffs. There were no climbers in sight. The afternoon's Challenge was route 33 to Elkins. There are 40 miles of Mountains with switchbacks, hairpins, three plus mile climbs and 10% grades. In most stretches the road doesn't offer pavement for cycling any wider than this iPad.

Seneca Rocks

When I left Charlie's yesterday morning it was 28 degrees. Today it's 85+ degrees on this pavement. In the first ten afternoon miles I came upon an overturned tractor trailer with gas leaking onto the road. It would be ten minutes before the responders arrived from Seneca Rocks. The driver crawled out of the truck and went down the hill with another driver. The heat was making this very difficult. I moved on from this scene which I assumed wasn't all that unusual for these parts.

I literally rolled into Harmon. At the end of the town at the last gas station before Elkins I could see the sign it read Elkins 22 miles. Its all mountains, all heat, tractor trailers loaded with logs wanting to get to the end of their day's work and me taking nothing but the edges of the road. My boomer brain said, "Use judgement."  The elder lady casually hanging over antique gas station the counter said. "Someone will give you a ride."  Someone did who needed the $15 I gave him. Tim got an additional $20 on his grandmas gas account. He was starting a job as a union laborer in the morning. He was worried about the supervisor whom he had words with on a past job. In less than 30 minutes, I was safe, comfortable and grateful for Tim's help. I was on the edge of Elkins at the Iron Rail Inn.

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