State 30 – Maryland

3/14/2020

Our thirty state and third in a  single day. We were pushing our stamina and daylight, but we wanted to get this ride done. When we left, there were concerns about the Corona virus, but we left for the trip anyway. Getting done faster and getting back home seemed like a good idea.

There was snow for the state sign, but it was just very drizzling rain by the time we got to our riding location. We were at the Paw Paw Tunnel Trailhead.The plan was to ride north about a mile to the tunnel, then go through and see the trail on the other side. Come back and ride the other direction on the trail to meet our distance and time goals. It was our second tunnel this day.

When we got there, I was worried that we encountered another closed tunnel, but there was a way through. If you’re curious, go read about the Paw Paw Tunnel’s history.

We walked the unicycles through the tunnel using our cell phones as flashlights. The path wasn’t smooth and it would have been a bad fall down to the water if we fell the wrong way. We found a hole in the bricks on the inside of the tunnel. We counted 8 layers of bricks used to make up the tunnel. This is a heck of a lot of work. Add this to the fact the tunnel is 3,118 feet long. It took a while to walk all the way through. We were both amazed with the quality of the finishing around both sides of the tunnel.

On the far side, a wooden walkway stretched a long distance. We were amazed that somebody thought it was a good idea to put a train track through this area!

Once we got back to the parking lot, we needed to keep riding to get our distance and time in. Here is another interesting part of the path. Again, lots of stone work on the side to drain water.

When we finished our ride, we were exhausted. We finished our third state in a single day. We were cold and wet and just wanted to call it a day. In fact, we were so tired, I left the tracker on and logged 37 miles back to the hotel for the night…

In order to compensate for this mistake, I went to Google Earth that night and measured the distance we rode. You can see in the photo from Corvin’s Journal our actual values.

Our incorrect Strava entry is listed above.

Our map of completed states. You’ll have to look close as its a smaller state.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles:  168.47
Total Moving Time: 32h 35m
Total Elevation Gained: 4456 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 15
Total Corvin UPD: 9

Hogan Haake

State 29 – Pennsylvania

3/14/2020

After riding in West Virginia, we had to drive back out on the difficult road that we came in on. It was a three and a half hour drive. After the first hour, things started speeding up. Before we knew it, we were at the Pennsylvania state line with a surprise!

It had started to snow!!! I heard that we could get snow flurries earlier in the morning, but we were there a few hours before it was supposed to begin. We were not going to let a little bit of snow delay our trip. The ride was set for the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP Trail). It goes from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD where it joins the C&O Canal Towpath all the way to Washington D.C. We were only set to ride a very small portion of this large trail system.

We were headed to the Big Savage Tunnel. Its too early in the season we learned, so we would only be able to look at it.

We were not going to let a closed tunnel or a little bit of snow slow us down. But the GAP trail would, as the path was soft and very difficult to ride on for the first quarter mile. We both questioned if it was a good idea going out into a growing snowstorm on a path that was difficult to ride with insufficient gear. But since its two guys, you know that we chose stupid and kept going.

The snow would continue building during our ride out.

Eventually, we arrived at the tunnel you see in the photo. Its the Eastern Continental Divide.

Looking at the different elevations of the ride, we’re at the top, but didn’t see that much total elevation for the ride.

We eventually got to the prize of the Big Savage Mountain Tunnel.

They were not kidding, it was closed. We couldn’t figure out why they would want to close the tunnel.

Yep, its time to climb.

The view from the top.

You didn’t seriously think I was going to let Corvin have all the glory climbing to the top?

The snow is starting to accumulate. We only have to go 2 miles back!

Of course we made it back or I wouldn’t be blogging about our adventure. This trail was unique due to the snow and the huge closed tunnel. I”m not sure the quality of the whole path, but about 1/4 of what we went over was not very unicycle friendly. Maybe a mountain bike. But definitely not after a rain. We had fun but were very happy to get back in the car and start warming up.

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava Entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles:  164.46
Total Moving Time: 31h 37m
Total Elevation Gained: 4441 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 15
Total Corvin UPD: 9

Hogan Haake

State 28 – West Virginia

3/14/2020

Its spring break and we’re ready to travel to new states. We have 8 states planned for this trip out east and south. No trip would be complete without some drama. We’re dealing with the COVID-19 virus and things are starting to shut down around us. No formal lock down requests were made that we were aware of. Our plan was to get in and out of each state fast with minimal contact with people.

We came in fast to West Virginia and of course it was night time. We needed a photo of the state sign and were not sure if we would cross paths with the state again. Hence the night shot. This sign was a bit closer to the road than we would have liked!

Behind us was a very large refinery with many lights on. There were several stacks flaring the gas from the refining process.

We did end up finding a daytime photo later in the trip. I like the color better, but just remembering how desperate we were for the first shot, I didn’t want to forget it.

Our plan was to ride a section of the Greenbrier River Trail. Its a 77 mile trail along the river that seemed to be peaceful. I looked at a map and picked the perfect location for us to ride. The plan was to drive out to Clover Lick, West Virginia and ride out to Sharp’s Tunnel, then come back to the car and move on.

Unfortunately for Corvin and myself, my planning didn’t turn out that good. First off, Clover Lick is not an easy town to get to. The last 30 is miles took about an hour. The road curves a ton. It is wide enough for about 1.5 cars with gravel on each side. When you do have to pass somebody. Both vehicles have a set of tires in the gravel and play the how far can I get to the side without going off the road game. Corvin was getting a bit motion sick from the turns and elevation changes.

When we did get to the town, I had us go the wrong direction on the trail. We eventually met a couple that was riding in the opposite direction on bikes. He explained to me that the tunnel was 5 miles one way from where we parked. At least the scenery next to the river was peaceful!

Very cool bridge.

Then Corvin wanted us to stand up on the ledge. I was freaked out and didn’t stay up there very long. Dang,I think I’m getting old!

This is what most of the trail looked like. Peaceful and would be amazing in the summer. Probably tons of places to stop and swim!

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava Entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles:  159.61
Total Moving Time: 30h 39m
Total Elevation Gained: 4209 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 15
Total Corvin UPD: 9

Hogan Haake

State 27 – Louisiana

2/16/2020

The last state of our 3 day weekend is Louisiana.

You can see from the photo, it was raining. Not a great thing when you want to be outside uni-cycling. We took a detour south of New Orleans to visit Fort Jackson.  We’ll cover that visit later in another post. After our visit, we went back north to New Orleans. There, Corvin and I were surprised to realize that there were parades. It was the weekend before Mardi Gras and the city had already started celebrating. Traffic was high, causing us to drive a bit before we found a suitable parking garage.

We managed to see some of the parades and get to Bourbon Street. We managed to get a meal on a balcony overlooking the madness. Corvin got to try some of the local fare and we generally had a good time. But time was running out and we still needed to unicycle. We went back to the car and drove across the Mississippi river. We were going to unicycle in Algiers, New Orleans. There we would look back across the river to downtown.

Always concerned about parking we ended up parking in the lot of the local police station. I figured it would be legal and safe. It must have worked because the car was still there when we finished, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We did our best to make the Louis Armstrong statue pose with a unicycle. Unfortunately for us, the base was high off the ground and everything was still damp making climbing dangerous.

Corvin holding both unicycles allowing me to get a photo.

The photo we were getting ready for.

Corvin was getting sick of me acting like a child and saying, just wait for one more boat to go by.

Unicycles near the river.

Look another boat. Cool thing about this boat is that we took a ferry across the Mississippi about 4 hours earlier and saw the same boat during our ride continuing upriver!

And a speed up view of the boat. This shot took about 2 minutes to record.

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava Entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles:  153.78
Total Moving Time: 29h 36m
Total Elevation Gained: 4166 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 14
Total Corvin UPD: 9

Hogan Haake

 

 

State 26 – Alabama

2/15/2020

We had an hour long drive between our Florida riding location and our planned Alabama ride. We took our time to get rest between the two rides.

Our ride was planned to start on the Backcountry Trail in Gulf State Park. This is a paved trail in the park that will join other trails and take people through different local ecosystems. It sounded interesting and that was where we started. I hoped with a name like Backcountry , it would be remote, but the parking lot was nearly full when we arrived. Since we felt ahead of schedule, we took more time stopping to take photos and video.

We didn’t want to go too far off the trail after this sign!

Corvin thinking twice about if he should leave the trail!

This long wooden boardwalk was fun to ride and walk over. I stopped riding for a bit to just admire all of the nature it afforded us to view.

The sun was setting, we had plenty of light left, but our shadows were growing!

After the ride, we drove a short distance to hang out on the beach and enjoy sunset.

No beach visit is complete without digging a hole in the sand. After a few failed attempts too close to the water, Corvin finally moved the hole back and got deep enough for water to seep in.

And now the cold ocean water bath to remove as much sand as possible.

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava Entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles:  148.14
Total Moving Time: 28h 31m
Total Elevation Gained: 4166 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 14
Total Corvin UPD: 9

Hogan Haake