Weighing Our Options By Penny Fleckenstein

I invite you Campbell’s world visitors to read and enjoy! When I read these posts, I am right there! Gives me lots of joy! I used to do just a little bit of tandem biking. Only on sidewalks, and for little grassy fields, nothing like this. So this is a real treat for me. Reading about something I always wanted to do and never got to.

Dear Patty,

Here is my latest blogpost which I posted on: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com 

Please enjoy and reblog if you like.




Weighing Our Options


Penny Fleckenstein


This is a continuation of my series on Biking the Great Allegheny Passage

It was day two of our trip on the Great Allegheny Passage. My tank top was still soaking wet from the hand washing of the night before. My shorts were damp so wearable, but my shirt not so. No matter. I had brought a short casual sundress. It would have to do. The end of the day was the promise of a laundromat.

The sundress was a little difficult to manage but thankfully was sleeveless just like my tank top. I felt so happy I had made a good light weight choice. It really was the best dress for the occasion.

On our way from Connellsville to Ohiopyle, we went uphill with no port-a-johns or bathroom facilities for 17 miles. We had to squat in the woods just like I did when I was traveling with Mom and Dad and my sister as a child in parts of Papua New Guinea. Urinating in the woods didn’t bother me so. I was just concerned if Zachary or I might have to do more. I feel so blessed that during the whole trip, neither one of us had that problem.

Beth had brought over a Go-Girl for me to practice with because we knew that there would be a shortage of bathroom facilities. I practiced with mine three times in the shower as instructed. I gave up and kept mine at home. Hey, if I could squat as a child, I could certainly do it as an adult.

We felt a few sprinkles pass over us as we started our ascent. We had prayed that we would be spared from the rain, and we were for four whole days. Many told us the forecast predicted three out of four days of rain during our trip. All praise to God that was not the case.

One of the thoughts that made my trip easier up the hill was the anticipation of a Thai tofu wrap when I got to Ohiopyle. We had biked the 17 miles up the mountain before, so I was familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the climb. There are many places when it becomes a cliff going down to the Youghiogheny river, so I knew that there would be times I’d have to wait for relief.

At one point I asked Beth, “Do I hear people in the river or is that just my imagination?”

I recalled the time when Mark, Zachary and I went on one of our practice bike rides on the Pan Handle trail. He was searching for the stopping point on our trip and mentioned that he thought he saw a sign. He declared it a mirage as we got closer. I was wondering if the happy people in the river might be an audible mirage. She stated that yes, I was correct. There were people rafting and tubing in the river. I felt so exhilarated and reassured hearing merriment from those in the river. We were having an enjoyable time on the mountain. It was a perfectly beautiful day. What a wonderful creation!

How pleasurable it was to be savoring a Thai tofu wrap in Ohiopyle. I wasn’t able to get one on my earlier trip there because I lacked the cash and so sacrificed buying Zachary and the kids something to eat rather than something for me. I felt apprehensive wondering if they would even have it when I finally arrived. They did have it. It tasted so much better than expected. I’m glad I bought two of them, one for lunch and one I saved for dinner. I’m glad I listened to my intuition because dinner was overpriced and not so tasty in Confluence. That was the only tofu I experienced on the whole trip. Tougher than being a totally blind athlete with sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, arthritis, inflammation is being a vegan tofuholic athlete with very few food options. I will always love Ohiopyle for their tofu wraps, the river, and the wonderful bathroom facilities. After this expedition, I have found in me a brand new appreciation for clean bathrooms.

On our way to Confluence now with our back brake which Mark had put on in Ohiopyle, we stopped at what Mark calls “a glorified toilet.” We climbed many steps to it. The pit smelled atrocious as most of the facilities on the trail do. Although not too far from Confluence, it felt far from civilization. Mark had said something about doing laundry and Beth said in amazement and shock, “You mean we’re going to do laundry here?”

Mark smiled announcing, “Only if you want to use rock snot.”

We laughed joyously and made our way into Confluence. First to eat and then to the long awaited laundromat … which was closed. Beth and I were beginning to wonder if there was a spirit of closures following us. The first day the medical facility and now the laundromat? I would have to wear my biking shorts with my dress for another day. By the time we got into Confluence House, and we had processed Beth, Gabe, Moriah, Zachary, and me through the shower in my room, I was too exhausted to hand wash clothes. All I wanted to do was sleep.

That night, Hayden took time to hand wash some of their clothes.  the clothes didn’t dry completely overnight, so in the morning, Beth took her children’s socks to the laundromat and dried them. I’m sure if I had clothes to dry, she would have dried mine at the same time. I had weighed my options and chosen sleep. With 19 miles up the mountain the next day, I felt it was a good decision. I felt another moment of glee as I realized that we were almost half way done with our mileage. Certainly we’d finish. It sure helped that we had an absolutely delicious breakfast served to us at Confluence House. It started our day off right. We had fresh fruit salad with watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, and grapes, fried potatoes with zucchini, onions, mushrooms and peppers, eggs with cheese and spinach, homemade strawberry jam, and apple muffins. I was so appreciating the flavors of the potatoes and fruit; I was too full to enjoy the homemade strawberry jam. I heard plenty about it from Moriah and Beth. What a great way to start 19 miles up Big Savage mountain.

About claire plaisted

Claire Plaisted lives in New Zealand with her husband, three children. She is a Indie Author and runs a company 'Plaisted Publishing House Ltd,' helping Indie Authors get their books online and looking professional. We are happy for people to submit their work for our team to look through.
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