The first and last parts of the day's ride kind of sucked, but the middle part was lovely. Some days are like that.
There was no place handy to have breakfast, so I just got up early, got packed and headed down into town and toward Route L. I figured I'd find breakfast soon in the town of Jessup, but nothing was open! After I reconnected with Route L and was headed out the far side of town and up a steep hill, I had just about decided I was going to have to breakfast with my emergency rations bag of trail mix when along came a nice little "Eatery by Jessica." It was open, and Jessica turned out to be a better cook than a namer of businesses. I had eggs with corned beef hash that were great and was soon on my way.
Looking back down into the valley from whence I came. This was only part way up the long climb, and I'm not sure the photo does justice to just how high I had climbed by then.
What I didn't realize when I left breakfast in a light-hearted mood was that the steep hill I was ascending never ends. OK, it ends, but not until after nearly four miles of unrelieved ascent. I was climbing Moosic Mountain. And there was a fair amount of traffic for such a back road since that road takes you over to a couple of major highways, including I-84, eventually. Remember from yesterday's journal entry when I mentioned those long, demoralizing climbs? This was one of those, the kind that make you wonder what in the hell made you think traveling around by bicycle could possibly be a good idea?
Yes, Jonathan really does need help!
But, of course, the climb ended eventually, at Moosic Lakes. The payoff was a long descent down to I-84. The route then turned along a road paralleling the Interstate for a short distance and ran under the highway to drop down into the valley. This was a great ride down into the town of Elmhurst, where I stopped for water and a Snapple peach iced tea. I continued on through the town and through the town of Moscow as well, on rolling hills. Just outside of town the route turned onto a back road and, after one more brief climb, became an easy ride that was mostly gentle downhill for many miles. Gentle downhills are the best. Not steep, white-knuckled 35-mph descents, but slopes where you can coast along at 15 or 20 mph, just kicking the pedals around once in a while to keep things going. Most of the rest of the day was like that.
Bear Creek Dam
The route cut across to Bear Creek Village, then turned to follow the creek south toward White Haven, my chosen stopping point. Still easy riding. Finally, I came to White Haven, where Google showed several motels. I turned onto PA 940 east and ascended a fairly steep hill to where Google showed two motels. Nothing. Nada. No motels there. OK, there was an Interstate interchange on the south side of town where Google showed a motel, and surely that made sense. So I went back the mile or so to get to that. Again, nothing. I stopped in a convenience store and asked about nearby motels. There weren't any! Google had totally screwed the pooch on White Haven. The nearest ones, the clerk said, were about four miles east of town on PA 940 (which I had initially tried, but not nearly that far out of town). So, I tiredly got back on the bike and pedaled the four (hilly, of course) miles over to the junction of PA 940, I-80 and the PA turnpike, where I checked into a motel. After cleaning up, I walked over to a McD's to eat since it was close and easy to walk to. I was done for the day.