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Grafton, WV to Belpre, OH

April 4, Friday
Today shows that a day's mileage does not tell the whole story on how difficult the day was. We had thought the hills were becoming shorter, but they hit us with a vengeance today. Most of the roads we traveled on were gravel and there were many steep ups and downs. At one point, we had to get our bikes through a barbed wire fence before continuing down the opposite side of the ridge. We walked our bikes up many of the steep uphills and on the downhills our hands ached as we clutched our brakes. We figure we walked our bikes about 5 miles today out of a total of 35. We are unaccustomed to the amount of water we must consume while biking — it seems we need 2 to 3 times as much water as when we hike. The temperature reached the 80's today with low humidity. After reaching Gypsy and stopping at a restaurant for lunch, we each ordered a glass of chocolate milk, lemonade, and a chocolate milkshake, plus we drank several glasses of water. From Spelter, we rode the Harrison County Rail Trail into Clarksburg. In Clarksburg, we got our bikes retuned after the 500 rugged miles we had put them through. After such a rough day, we felt we deserved a nice stay at the Main Street Bed & Breakfast. We would recommend this place to others.

35.6 miles, 7.3 mph, 4 hours 43 min total 503 miles

April 5, Saturday
After yesterday's struggles, today was a joy. Have you noticed that our emotions roller coaster a bit? Most of the day was spent on the North Bend Rail Trail. It is not totally completed and parts have a coarse roadway, but the level trail was a real pleasure. We were able to stop at small towns for snacks and lunch. A highlight of the day was a stop at the handmade glass factory in Ellenboro. Two craftsmen were busy forming swirled balls and shaped glassware and they allowed us to watch. The trail included 6 tunnels, one of which was over 2,000 feet long. This tunnel was described in the guidebooks as having three feet of water in one end, a statement which had worried Laurie since she first read about it in January. As it turned out, the water was no more than 5 inches deep. Near the end of the day, we came upon a volunteer crew constructing a gazebo for trail users. We stopped and helped for a while. We ended the day at the North Bend State Park lodge. Through Lu Schrader, the WV ADT Coordinator, we had learned that the lodge would be willing to put us up for free in exchange for us giving a talk to an Adventure Weekend group that night. It was an offer we couldn't refuse. After arriving, we learned it also included dinner. We are having fun now!

54.4 miles, 9.5 mph, 5 hours 40 min Total 558

April 6, Sunday
We took the day off at the lodge because we had a maildrop at Walker, which we could not pick up until Monday. We hoped for the rain that was predicted, but instead we had warm dry weather, perfect for riding, and we were sitting. We ate, slept, ate, slept, wrote cards, and made phone calls — Laurie's idea of a great day.

April 7, Monday
Today things ran amok. Upon leaving the lodge, Bill realized he didn't have his sunglasses. He returned to the room and searched to no avail. We then rode several miles on the rail trail. Upon entering Cairo, Bill heard something snap. Upon inspection, a spoke in his rear wheel had broken and the wheel was out of true and rubbing on the brake pads. Luckily, there was a bike shop right next to the trail. Unluckily, the owner was working his other job and wouldn't be open today. Luckily, a shop 10 miles away was open and could replace the spoke. Also, luckily, we found a man with a pickup truck willing to haul us there. Unluckily, we were pulled over by a state trooper and the driver received a speeding ticket. Luckily, we got the spoke replaced at Lewis Bicycle Shop for a mere 6 dollars. Unluckily, a seam in a new tube failed and we replaced it. Finally, Tina Lang, from the North Bend Rail Trail Foundation, gave us a lift back to Cairo and we got underway around noon. The remainder of the trail was through nice river valleys and we passed through 2 more tunnels. We retrieved our maildrop at Walker which included our Ohio maps. We sent home our WV maps. The 17 mile ride into Parkersburg was directly into a stiff wind, but we finally made it. Walking our bikes across the Ohio River bridge was a real delight as we watched Marietta College crew teams speeding down the river on their razor thin sculls. We spent the night in a cheap motel in Belpre, Ohio. With West Virginia behind us, we have completed 580 ADT miles so far.

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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