Saturday, July 3, 2010

Johnstown-Ligonier-Somerset Loop


I came to the mountains to ride and was not disappointed. I left my parents' place in Friedens and headed north to Stoystown. 

Farm on Plank Road near Stoystown

I had a nice descent past Camp Harmony and the Quemahoning Reservoir. Went to Ferndale then crossed the river into Johnstown.

Quemahoning Reservior

Coming out of Johnstown I followed Menocher Blvd (Rte 271) which turned out to be a neat 11-mile mountain climb to the top of Laurel Hill Summit.

Downtown Johnstown - Inclined Plane on Hillside

Rte 271 between Ligonier and Johnstown

I was disappointed that I only could get my bike up to 48 mph coming off the mountain. I surprised my niece, Bekki Reese, when I stopped at her place in Waterford. I told her someday I would and it would be a complete surprise. Today was the day. She gave me water. Yes!!!

The Diamond in Ligonier

I left Ligonier and rode up Rte 711 to Darlington Rd towards Rector because I knew I could hit 50 mph on that hill. But as I was descending I saw a sign for Bridge Out Ahead. Brakes!!!! If I wanted to return to Somerset I could have followed Rte 381 to Jones Mills and then took Rte 31 to Somerset. Instead I turned around and climbed the hill I just flew down. It was a 12% grade beast in places.

Rte 381 bridge in Rector

I returned to Ligonier then followed U.S. Rte 30 to Laughlingtown where I took a short nutrition break at the Pie Shoppee (the more letters in the name the more expensive it is). Leaving Laughlingtown I climbed for 3,5 miles to the top of Laurel Mountain -- also marked as Laurel Hill Summit.

Compass Inn in Waterford, Pa.

Crossing Laurel Mountain Again - Rte 30
between Jennerstown and Laughlingtown

About four miles north of Somerset I stopped at the Quecreek Miners' site where nine coal miners were lifted to safety from what would have been their watery grave back in 2002.

Rescue Site, Quecreek Mine

I returned through Somerset, stopped and visited another niece, Hannah Cramer, before returning to Friedens. After 86 miles the legs felt good and I was tempted to go ride another 14 miles to make it an even 100 but my mother had made dinner so it was a good end to a great ride.

Court House, Somerset, Pa.

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