The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows. Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes. Learn more about the ride and the riders. Today’s guest blogger: Spencer Carran.
Going into our second full day of riding, we were anxiously refreshing the weather forecasts for fear of cycling through thunderstorms. By morning, the main storm cell had moved far enough past us that we could look forward to a clear route to Maryland. After spending the night at Orbisonia, we rose early to find Pastor Ed’s hospitality continuing with a breakfast of French toast and quiche. Afterwards we joined the worship service at Orbisonia United Methodist Church. This is a small, rural congregation that opened their doors to eight strangers passing through. The contemporary worship style was blended with a more traditional communion, and towards the end of the service Pastor Ed invited us to the front of the sanctuary to receive an anointment and blessing for safe travels.
After a quick stop at the grocery store to stock up on peanut butter and jelly, we began the 55-mile trek to Hagerstown. The first leg of our trip included many steep climbs, which made us all grateful for the relatively cool temperatures. As we continued to climb towards Cowan’s Gap State Park the mist grew thicker and thicker, until at the top we could hardly see ahead of us. Jon claims we stopped to eat lunch next to a lake, but I saw no such thing. Newly filled with our PB&J’s, we resumed our journey – much easier now that we were coasting downhill for the next portion.
Though there were rumors of a coffeeshop break in Mercersburg, we settled instead for beers at Flannery’s Tavern. Freshly hydrated, we continued to make excellent time and crossed the border into Maryland around 4:00PM.
Another hour or so saw us arriving in Hagerstown at Christ’s Reformed United Church of Christ, where Steve Wise generously reopened the winter homeless shelter to us – tonight, we sleep on cots instead of floors! Even more welcome was the opportunity to shower. Though the hot water heater was out, after two days and well over a hundred miles we were all glad to wash off in cold water.
Karl’s Granddaughter Carina, his wife Paula, and Scott’s wife Christine then joined us for an excellent dinner prepared by several members of the Unitarian Church of Hagerstown, including Will Willis, an instructor of environmental science at Mercersburg Academy. This is a new contact for us, and we were glad to discuss our mission with them and hear about their many activities.
Scott had to return to State College to meet with President Barron, but with Carina rejoining for tomorrow we remain at eight riders. The weather is supposed to change, so we’re looking forward to a warm and sunny ride through Maryland tomorrow.
—Spencer (and the other cyclists)
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