South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog

Mason-Dixon Line

Pennsylvania/Maryland marker

Big Savage tunnel

Continental Divide

old style table juke box

Princess diner

Bollman Bridge

Keystone Viaduct

Salisbury Viaduct

There is no way the two of us can ride the 148 mile GAP bike trail, so we've cherry picked what sounded like some of the most interesting spots. We left the campground by car in 62º to ride the portion that includes the crossing of the Mason-Dixon Line and the Continental Divide. By the time we got to the parking area in the aptly named Frostburg, it was 52º. But when you ride to the the Continental Divide you ride uphill and that's what we did for eight miles. I wan't cold at all. I would like to think I would have made it to the top sooner or later, but it sure was nice to have have an e-bike. The battery was half spent by the time we made the round-trip ride. This is only the second time we have put the bikes to the test; we're still learning how much the battery can augment our own pedal power. The route we chose also included the Big Savage Tunnel, the longest one on the GAP at 3,300 feet. It goes through the Big Savage Mountain and has challenged railroad crews since it was built in 1911. The soft mud and sand inside keep collapsing and airbags used to build the subway in NYC were brought in to stabilize the tunnel to the cost of $12 million. It just opened since it is closed in the winter. We brought our flashlights, but it was well lit and we did not need them.

Just as we got back to the Frostburg parking lot, we were hit by a few juicy raindrops. So we had lunch at the Princess Restaurant, a classic spot that has been in business since 1939 and patronized by President Harry Truman. We can't remember the last time we had a juke box on our table. We love eating in local spots that are not franchises.

Rain over. We got back in the car and drove to Meyersdale, which had a cute museum inside the railroad station, that is still functional. We rode west to the Salisbury Viaduct, a 2,000-foot long, 100-foot high trestle that was a key engineering achievement when the railroad was built. We rode east to the wrought iron Bollman Bridge that was so picturesque that it was moved here from another county to be part of the railroad trail. The 900-foot long Keystone Viaduct curved elegantly through the valley it bridged. Total ride with half the battery left: 25 miles.

By the end of the day the sun shone bright and it was 80º. I'm trying to ignore the rain in tomorrow's forecast and looking for more interesting spots to ride.

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