Today’s journey can be broken into three distinct parts. Overall the day went really well - we both felt a lot stronger than the day before.
Part 1: Of course, we managed to turn an early wake up into a less early departure. Cold, cheesy, leftover pizza was for breakfast. Nevertheless, it was a promising start to the day. It was between 40-45 degrees when we up, and colder during the night. I was fortunate to be warm enough this time, remembering the last time I camped there I was much, much colder.
The trail was dry and fast in the morning, falling just next to the river. The suns rays hit the flowing water, even as the trail was shaded by foliage. The surface of the water shimmered and gleamed under the suns rays; I felt this same energy in myself: bright-eyed, excited for the day to come. It was about 20 miles from Connellsville to Ohiopyle, and we had 11:30 tickets to see Falling Water! The excitement for that kept the fire alive long enough in my legs to get to Ohiopyle quickly.
Part 2: It’s always cool for me biking back over trodden ground, seeing the same sights in a different way: different season, time of the day, and / or mental disposition. Riding into Ohiopyle evoked this feeling. I remembered the last time I rode over the river at about 8:00 AM on my last trip. It was a cold morning, the sky a dull steel. I sought refuge and a cup of coffee at the diner, and continued on my way. This time was different. We were rushed, it was a four mile bike ride to get to Falling Water, and we needed time before the tour started to disguise ourselves as regular, clean people. What we didn’t anticipate was a three mile, brutal uphill to get to Falling Water. It was really hard, hot, and sweaty. We both walked most of the way. Falling Water felt like a well-won victory, and a fantastic break from the biking routine. It’s going to places like this that validate bicycle touring - seeing all kinds of cool places in a cool way. Back in town, it was hamburgers for lunch and back onto the trail.
Part 3: The afternoon quickly took on a different tone than the morning. I was moving slower, but no less determined. The riding got a bit monotonous, following the same gravel trail all day has its demerits. There were points where the trail broke away from the river, carving through craggy corridors and lush forest - that was pretty cool. Listening to Paul Simon helped me make the most of the day. As afternoon turned into early evening, we neared our destination, a hostel in Rockwood. We also butted up against the river again. As the sun dipped lower, its rays again cast onto the water, the same shiny surface developing, the undulations of the water muted by the metallic lacquer on top. The light in my eyes was dimmer than it was in the morning, but the intensity remained the same.