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Tour de Jersey Shore
By Megan Frank
July 9, 2010
JERSEY SHORE -- The Pine Creek Rail Trail was voted as one of the “10 greatest places to take a bike tour” by USA Today and I am lucky enough to have the 62-mile bike trail begin right in my hometown, Jersey Shore. My friend, Alicia Thompson, and I travel up and down the trail quite often, but just recently we began considering turning our 5-mile bike rides into 30-mile bike rides.
Alicia and I decided that on June 27 we would ride exactly half of the trail, 31 miles. I woke up early and began packing my backpack making sure I had a first aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, and most importantly, water. I had checked the weather the night before and was expecting a nice, warm, cloudy day, but I was wrong.
Our bike ride began in Cedar Run at mile marker 137, exactly 31 miles from the Jersey Shore parking area, mile marker 168. As soon as we began we saw a turtle and a deer. We thought to ourselves, “This is going to be one exciting trip” and it was.
As we passed through Hillborn and Slate Run we felt great. We kept up a pretty good speed and rarely stopped except to see two more deer and tiny graveyard.
After biking approximately 13 miles, Alicia and I stopped in Cammal to eat lunch. We had packed granola bars, watermelon, and apples, but the apples had gone bad. We sat on a bench and were able to see people kayaking and swimming in Pine Creek. At this point, I was ready to give up and get in the water with them because it was so hot out. Clearly, the forecast was wrong.
After sitting for awhile we took off at full speed and only stopped once in Jersey Mills to take a photo of the post office and drink some water. We counted the trail markers left by the railroad as we continued down the trail and waited impatiently as the numbers got closer to 168.
By the time we reached to the town of Waterville, I was starving, Alicia was out of water, and the temperature reached approximately 90 degrees. We knew that Bonnell Flats Comfort Station was only 4.3 miles away and we could fill up on water there so we sped off.
A usual bike ride for us ranged from 3 to 6 miles so 4.3 miles did not seem that difficult, but after riding 19 miles, 4.3 seem like an eternity. By the time we arrived at Bonnell Flats, I was just about exhausted. I felt like I was going to get sick and could not get enough water. Alicia was ready to continue, but we sat for a while and waited to get some more energy.
The sign at Bonnell Flats reads “Jersey Shore 7.3 Miles.” Once again, this doesn’t seem like that far unless you just rode 23 miles. We rode on at a relatively slow speed and eventually reached the Whitetail parking area. We were 2.7 miles from Jersey Shore and I gave up. It was 93 degrees and I was incredibly overheated. Alicia went on and finished the next 3 miles so technically only one of us completed our goal, but we can both say we went the farthest we ever have on our bikes.
At the end of the day, I felt like I bit off more than I could chew, but I also felt accomplished. Alicia and I have decided to continue our long distance trail rides and eventually plan to complete all 62 miles of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
My advice to anyone who wanted to ride on the trail is to get out there and do it, just make sure you’re prepared and have lots of water. It’s a beautiful area and there is so much to see.