Thursday, July 4, 2013


Lots of Rhododendrons in bloom all over the place. Saw only one late blooming mountain laurel

Sculpture close up at Falling Water

Fallingwater was designed to blend into the waterfall it was built over

Three state view. Somehow they look the same
On Day three, we had a day of rest. We could choose to whitewater raft the Yough (already have done that),milder white water raft (classI to II rapids) or kayak on still water. Or we could tour one of the two Frank Lloyd Wright houses nearby: Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob.

I chose the former. FLW was already 70 sometime in the 30s when he designed this weekend retreat for a wealthy Pittsburgh department store owner. This house jump started his career (fortunately he lived much beyond that).

The house was built over a waterfall in a very lush setting. Most of SW PA seems very lush. Have they ever seen droughts? We were not allowed to take photos inside even from the outside spaces, which were many. Almost every room had some deck access. The word 'organic' was thrown around a lot. Lots of original art work was still on the walls: Picasso and Audubon prints (is my Snowy Owl real? should find out). Tiffany glass all over the place. The furniture was designed by FLW too. The 'help' lived in a nearby guest house.

It was a very interesting tour. Afterwards we had a tasty but expensive lunch (with small portions, disappointingly as I let my fellow bicyclists in front of me with early appointments eat all of the food at breakfast. I had sat down next to a fellow with 2 yogurts. I had none. What's wrong with this picture? He gave me one)

The bus ride itself was a wild and crazy ride. This area is quite hilly and I was really hoping that the brakes had been maintained on our creaky old school bus. On the trail itself, originally graded for trains, the maximum slope was 1.5% (allegedly: from my calculations dropping 1200 feet over the last 15 miles is closer to 2%). But on the side roads: 9% is seen . Even the expressway had 7% grades coming into Cumberland.

Silly me thought I would run during my downtime. This did not happen. Instead I just sat around listening to raft upheaval stories. Seems like noone was able to stay in their raft. As I did not want another mystery meat experience, a group of us went for a nice dinner( including a tasty mango margarita for me) at The Lucky Dog. On our walk back, the sky was turning black. From The Red Tent of Misinformation: a strong storm was headed our way and that we were to secure our tents. I made sure the stakes were in well. The tent I had with me was 'water resistant' not water proof which already from last year's ride, even before we began in Mackinaw City proved to be a disaster. People with Verizon at least had service for half of the ride; others had absolutely none. I could see the storm bearing down on us. Very strong winds, lots of lightning and then it was over in 15 scary minutes. The tent held and I was dry. A campfire was then held outside my tent but I fell asleep only to awakened for a new round of storms at 4 am with just sheets of rain falling for an hour (I didn't call this post Fallingwater for nothing). I assume most of my leakage occurred around the opening. I had placed my stuff on waterproof islands in my tent while I more or less floated on my self-inflating mattress pad. Nothing came through the ceiling as I had staked the rain fly well. Fortunately when I got up for good, the rain was gone as nothing is worst than packing a tent up in the rain. As it looked by radar that it might return, I quickly put everything in the truck.

And this time, I had food at breakfast.

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