Saturday, September 06, 2008
It was a dreary morning, raining, drizzling or misting through most of it. We got up around 6:45, having waited until it got light enough to see, and managed to get mostly packed up before it started raining. We headed out to breakfast in the rain and finally got going around 9. The scenery was quite lovely, verdant and wilder-looking than most of Ohio had been, and I was sorry to be missing so many nice shots, but the camera was tucked away in an attempt to stay dry. We slipped it out briefly to catch a pretty country church in Ellsworth, the first little town we came to. We then went through the town of Canfield, which started out looking like a small, rustic town but ended up being a good-sized city. The towns of Canfield, Boardman, and Poland were one long shopping center, reminding us a lot of our own Baltimore Pike, except the road here was wider. We expected the traffic to be minimal today, being Saturday and rainy, but it looked like everyone was out doing their weekend shopping - the road was quite busy. The traffic calmed down some when we got to the outskirts of Poland, where we saw a little red school house, built in 1858, and some very nice houses. We stopped for lunch at a diner in Poland and by now, the rain had pretty much stopped so we were able to start taking some pictures.
As expected, the hills were steeper and more frequent today; a few of them gave us a good taste for what was ahead in the next few days. We came to the Pennsylvania border, which we had been eagerly anticipating, and were disappointed to find no welcome sign. We caught a nicer welcome sign to Ohio there but just a no-littering sign for Pennsylvania. At the border, we turned off 224, which had been smooth with a good shoulder, onto back roads which were rough and narrow. We soon came to a little town called Hillsville (wonder why!) and then meandered through the hills, sometimes going through the edges of towns, not knowing what they were called. We were in the vicinity of Edinburg and then New Castle, but didn't go through either of them. We were getting into some really steep hills now, and had some great vistas from the ridges of some of them - seeing the tops of other nearby hills and the valleys between them. There were a number of small lakes around and some wetland areas. It was all very green and woodsy, although marred at times by quarries and other industries that dug into the sides of the hills.
We came to some other little towns, Moravia and Wampum, where the road was sometimes smooth asphalt and other times was a fresh chip seal surface. We saw some kids on bikes occasionally - it amazed me they would be riding on such steep roads - and they always expressed interest in our bike. We were getting into the Beaver River valley area, and we finally came to a bridge going across the Beaver River. We finally turned onto Wurtemburg Road, the last road before Linda & Jim's. It was smooth but narrow, passing just north of Ellwood City. We managed to see our turn-off and made it down the gravel road to their house. They had warned us that they would be arriving late in the afternoon, but as luck would have it, they had gotten home just before we got there, about 5 pm. We were still pretty damp, partly from the earlier rain and partly from the exertion of all those hills, so we were looking forward to a shower and washing all our clothes. Linda & Jim were perfect hosts, fussing over us and making us a delicious dinner, not letting on at all that they were tired from their own trip. We stayed up late talking and finally got to bed around 11. We had done a little under 47 miles in a little under 5-1/2 bike hours, much slower than we've been able to do lately, but probably the norm for the days ahead.