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American cycling trips and trails
[some trails now shown on my photo album website: www.bobmcmullen.info]

W & OD rail trail,  VA ( Percellville to Arlington)
for some photos of this trail follow the link to my trail photo album website: www.bobmcmullen.info
 

Deckers Creek Trail, WV  (Morgantown to Reedsville)

                          
Photo left shows a unique trail stop....snacks, sit & rest, sign the guest book and look at the historic rail and town photos of the region.... wonderful experience that lets me learn about the people and places who live around the trail. Trail runs through some scenic limestone hills

And then you enter Morgantown and meet their paved riverbank trail along the banks of the Monongahela River. It provided a quick route back to the motel.....but it was a joy to see how the residents were taking advantage of this visionary addition to the city core. When all of the trail plans are eventually constructed, this area of West Virginia and Pennsylvania will be a significant destination for cyclists.....they plan to link this trail system with the Youghiogheny Trail system....wow....and then to Ohio?

    

Mon River Trail South - runs between Pricketts Fort and Morgantown, WV. On our trip we started in Fairmont at the MCtrail and cycled to the riverfront in Morgantown for a total of 37 km. No problems with this railtrail .... easy riding through the heavily forest route that follows the Monongahela River. In early July 05 when we did out trip, the tunnel at the start of the MCTrail was closed ??? But why no sign at the trailhead? Visitors frequently do not know the alternate route and our support vehicle had departed .... so we climbed over the barrier and continued on.

 
              typical trail                                                                tunnel repairs                                               Pricketts Fort State Park

North Bend Rail Trail - runs 72 miles (115 km) between Parkersburg and Wolf Summit in West Virginia. Just cycled 20 miles from West Union to Wolf Summit in early July. Except for the tunnels, the trail was in excellent condition. The tunnels are both wet and dark - you must have a flashlight. Trail maps and guides are readily available. West Union has a small 7-11 store and pizza outlet, as well as a gas pumps. Turn left and then up the hill to the trail crossing and then off on journey through vanishing towns and way of life in West Virginia. In Salem, take some time to cycle the main street and visit the station. Here is a link to some more photos list by trail.
 

       

            tunnel                              West Union trail start                               Wolf Summit trail end

Returned in March 2007 and cycled  20km from Pennsboro to Cairo. When in Cairo visit "Country Trails Bikes". If you are doing the trail in sections, I would use Cairo as  a starting point for either direction.


Natchez Trace Parkway - runs 450 miles between Nashville, TN and Natchez, MS. The trace not a trail, but in fact a 2 lane paved road and is a "dedicated bike route." The route takes you through 3 major geographic zones. My experience is that virtually all motorists respect the cyclists safety space. Since most of the route misses urban areas, the parkway provides a relaxing journey through 'natural' terrain. We have just returned from our second visit to the trace and a 125 km cycle of some southern parts. Signage along the trail and an excellent trail guide provide basic information about this historic parkway. A must visit for American history fans - cycle and learn.

   

On a January 2006 trip south to cycle in Mississippi, we had a chance to see the Katrina storm damage.

 


Lake Wobegon Trail - (Minnesota) Cycled from Avon to Sauk Centre. Easy to find in the small towns along the way. An easy to ride paved trail through several small towns.

           


Great Western Trail - (Illinois) runs between Sycamore and St. Charles.

   



West Fork Rail-Trail
- (West Virginia, 2004) (22 miles) Cycled alone through wood valleys. Parts of the trail are not mowed, but the experience is worth the trip .... carry water and emergency repair materials because you will be alone. Once you leave the Glady post office/store, there is only one other house on the entire route .. just you, the river and the forest.

                     


Justus Trail - Pennsylvania (5 miles) entered from Franklin with the aid of downtown signage. Most cities do not help visitors to locate the trail, but thankfully Franklin has directional signs. Planning to return to Franklin and ride the other trails that run south.


 Great Allegheny Passage:  after several visits (03, 04,05 and June 06, 07,08) I have now cycled  from McKeesport to Cumberland!  In fall 08,
finally cycled the last segment from Frostburg to Cumberland. Visit their excellent website for maps and other information. Website features
an incredible map for the entire trail with interactive features. Here is a link to my map of Ohiopyle to Connellsville segment. http://goo.gl/maps/b9Aj
          

                  bridge located at Ohiopyle                                                                Big Savage Tunnel .... 'cool' ride

      ohiopyle bridge                

The entire 119 mile continuous trail system is now called the  Great Allegheny Passage. Cycled my remaining segment from Frostburg  to Cumberland (Oct. 08). The 52 mile Montour Trail will eventually connect to the Passage. At Cumberland, MD the trail  connects directly to the 184.5 mile C&O Canal Towpath to extend the off-road linkage to Washington, DC.

 
bridge at Myersdale .... see the wind generators on the hill top?

November 12/05 and it was sunny and warm for a cycle from Confluence to Rockwood. But cool weather and rain arrived

Allegheny Highland Trail. - part of the Great Allegheny Passage

 

      river bridge at Pinkerton tunnel                             wonderful fall trail                                           Pinkerton tunnel bypass

If you plan to cycle or hike any part of the Great Allegheny Passage, a copy of "TrailBook 2005" would be helpful. The 158 page book provides wonderful information about goods and services along the entire trail system. The booklet also includes a nifty trail map printed on tyvek to resist moisture. Based on the book's information, Cathie and I enjoyed tea and pie at the Rockwood Opera House - the pie was so tasty that one of us had 2 pieces.

 


Finally found time to cycle 48 km on the  The Montour Trail  from Coraopolis to Hendersonville. (Aug. 05)
It is part of the above mentioned system, except is follows an old railway route around the west side of Pittsburgh. On the first trip I purchased a nifty trail t-shirt. It was an easy ride on a well maintained stone dust surface.  You must visit the trail website to obtain the most current maps. One excellent feature was the numerous washrooms provided at many of the access points. Work has started (March 2007) on "closing the largest unbuilt gap in Peters and Cecil townships."

   


 Chief Ladiga Trail -  (2005) Alabama  Excellent paved trail between Anniston and Piedmont.  From Piedmont north the trail is not paved but easy to cycle. An excellent welcome centre on the trail in Piedmont.  {BUT  the trail is very rough and not maintained as it passes through the last county before entering Georgia ... a horrible trail surface and one dangerous bridge.}  Have the bridge and trail in this last county be improved? The photo on right is likely the new replacement bridge constructed in late 2007, with paving of trail section .... photo from newspaper article about CL trail Feb. 08. Planning to return early in 2008 to check out the trail construction work.

        


Silver Comet Trail -  Georgia - amazing cement trail with numerous trailheads. Only had time to ride from Hiram to Rockmart.

    Silver Comet steel bridge


We stayed in Cedartown and thus had access to both the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails. If you visit Cedartown, make certain that you eat at Zorba's Restaurant on North Main Street. Wonderful food and atmosphere.


Virginia Creeper Recreational Trail, VA.    (53 km Virginia railtrail)

                       

A lazy ride, but just once you have to start at Whitetop Station and ride (coast) down to Damascus ......delightful  rail trail through deep forest and over numerous bridges. Be certain to take some food and stop along the way. Damascus features numerous cycle stores and shuttle services to take you up to the top of the trail. For a really nifty drive, you should travel to Whitetop Station from Galax, VA on route 58.....non-stop up, down and around.  Returned in the spring to complete the Abingdon to Damascus section. Trail narrows in sections .... likely problems with local residents. Trail also passes through a pasture and you will likely meet some large 4 legged friends. You will really enjoy the new bridges.

    


New River Trail, VA.     (83 km Virginia railtrail)

                           

A wonderful ride between Pulaski and Galax, with a spur to Fries.  Have now cycled all of the trail after two visits. As the photos indicate, the trail is a combination of wonderful views of the New River, forests and local communities with well designed trail stops along the way.   Look for the red caboose in Galax at the trailhead.


Boynton Beach, Fl. provides on-road cycling facilities. The bridge design is amazing.
This is what we need to provide safe non-motorized access across our highway #401.
Yes, Florida weather in March is more suitable for cycling  that here in Cambridge.

                              


Longleaf  Trace Trail - Hattiesburg, MS
This trail was a wonderful break from driving northwards back to February snow. A tranquil ride through pine forests with abundant wildlife. But of special note arethe trailhead facilities: washroom, maps and change area. Excellent in all respects.Note the emergency first aid box on the marker! And for a length of the trail, a horse trail runs beside the pavement. On our January 2006 trip, we had a chance to cycle south from Prentiss. A fantastic job repairing the trail after Katrina. Fantastic clean up job.

            

    
     Carson station                                                   have a rest at an overlook                                  Prentiss - north end of trail


On Oct. 26-29 we attended the TRAILLINK 2001 conference in St. Louis, Missouri. A well organized and informative conference. Really enjoyed Friday's mobile workshop, a 48 km cycle along the KATY TRAIL. Many thanks to the State Park staff and volunteers who hosted the event. At 360 km (225 miles) in length, it is the longest developed rail-trail in the USA.


Was able to visit New York City in April 2001 for a week......wow.....enjoyed both the trail and street cycling. NYC is building an incredible riverbank trail system. Brooklyn Bridge also has a trail on it.

                           


Little Miami River Scenic Trail

Well, we have found another MUST VISIT trail, or really a trail system. From Cambridge it was a relatively short drive.....in fact, the bike was off the car and on the trail by late  afternoon. Consider this - - a 112 km paved trail more than 3m wide with numerous  washroom, food and public facilities. 

Where? Ohio.   Runs between Springfield and Milford (roughly Dayton to Cincinnati).
A short 650 km trip down highway 401 and I 75......now with new Tim Horton stores along the I 75 in Michigan and Ohio......(.a Canadian franchise).....best coffee and oatmeal raisin cookies in the world....... never travel without them.
 While you are in Corwin, stop at the Corwin Peddler.....try their Cow Patty flavoured ice cream...

    


In the fall of 1999 we did some cycling in North Carolina. Used a  guide book to find a unique route in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Running north from Bryson City into the mountains, the Road to Nowhere offers a scenic 8.5 mile ride into the mountains. It seems that this road was was begun in 1941, but was never completed. At the forest end, you ride through a completed tunnel and then.....the pavement stops and forest starts. Most of the route falls within the boundaries of the Great Smoky National Park.

             



Pine River Trail - runs roughly north - south between Ansonia and Blackwell in north central Pennsylvania. It is not the easiest trail to find, but easy to cycle and surrounded by wonderful scenery. After the cycle, enjoy a nifty drive southwards along route #414. 

                         

Brief personal anecdote  from my ride. While cycling along the trail, I met a group of Amish visitors (old order Mennonite) and talked to them about the fact that it was an early 1800 migration of Pennsylvania Amish that were the first European settlers here in Waterloo County. In fact, a grain mill/dam just .5 km across the Speed River from my house was built by the Erb family who settled here about 1803. This mill is the 'longest continuously functioning' business in Waterloo County. Virtually all settlements in Waterloo County were based on a dam and water powered mill. And on a even stranger note, I have since discovered that some of my distant farming relatives in Markham County were also early 1800 Amish migrants from Pennsylvania. One grandmother spoke only German until she was about 5 years of age, although born in the Markham area. 

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