This time I knew. There would be two climbs today. The first was right out of RAAM Time Station 50 in Rouzerville on Old State Road 16 East. A poor old dog tried to catch me and a bug did catch me. I needed my hands on the handlebars to climb so I couldn’t bat the bug away.
Old State Road 16 East poured into new State Road 16 and took me past a road construction site to a left turn onto Jack’s Mountain Road. Jack was my dad’s name. How about that? The very last climb of the entire RAAM route has the same name as my dad who passed away about a year ago while I was on my first cross-country ride. Dad, today’s ride is in memory of you.
I let myself go on the final descent of the route from Jack’s Mountain. I was flying down when I saw a red traffic light at the bottom. No fair! I’m finally letting myself enjoy a descent! It was justified, though. The light regulated traffic onto the McGlaughlin Covered Bridge, a one-laner with a wooden deck. Here’s a video of the final ascent and descent of the RAAM route.
As we went through Fairfield, we saw road detour signs. Susie checked Google maps and found that our turn onto Bullfrog Road came before the actual closed road, so we proceeded past the detour signs. Bullfrog was narrow, shady, very hilly, and heavily used by trucks. When I finally got to the end and turned left onto Pumping Station Road, the wide open vista provided a place to reflect with Susie that I was tired of the stress of traffic.
Pumping Station Road’s wide view and delicious descent brought many pleasant minutes to the ride. Here’s a video of this refreshing portion of the ride.
I started to see a very tall tower, and, this time, it wasn’t a cell tower. I reached Confederate Avenue and there it was. I was not going to ride clear across the country and not climb the stairs up that tower! It’s called Longstreet Tower and it’s on the farm that Dwight D. Eisenhower owned in Gettysburg. Eisenhower was the first president I actually remember. He served from 1953 – 1961.
I could see the beautiful fields where the battles of Gettysburg were fought. It was so difficult to imagine the carnage that occurred there. Once I drank in the views, I got back on the bike and cycled through the battlefields at ground level. Here’s a video of that sad place.
The ride concluded in the town of Hanover PA. Tonight we are staying nearby at the extraordinary home of Barbara and Hank Evans overlooking Lake Heritage in Gettysburg. Susie and I worked with Barbara 40 years ago at Western Junior High School. Our colleague, Kay, and her husband drove all the way from Leesburg VA to join us for dinner at the highly historic Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg. We are incredibly grateful to our dinner and bed and breakfast hosts!
I am now done with the portion of the RAAM route that I am going to do. For me, there’s something iconic about going ocean to ocean so we’re going rogue now and heading for the beach. We are leaving the comfort of the sometimes quirky, mostly informative, sometimes just plain wrong cue sheets and elevation profiles for the RAAM route. Over the next five days, we will follow a route designed by my friend, Joan, on RideWithGPS. Thank you, Joan! It will take us to Bethany Beach DE where the plan is to dip my wheel in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, October 23. I hope you’ll come along with Susie and me via the blog for the final days. I have really enjoyed interacting with you through the blog!
Start location: Rouzerville PA
End location: Hanover PA
Distance: 41.3 miles
Cumulative distance: 2971.3 miles
Elevation gain: 2411.4 feet (bringing the total to over 110,000 feet)
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/748844624