I finished up the GAP trail at McKeesport and picked up the Montour Trail (another rail trail). After a short ride, I came upon a nice camping shelter beside a creek. As I rolled up to the campsite, I met a woman named Peggy, walking her dog. She asked me a few questions about my trip including “what do you eat?” I told her that tonight’s dinner was a couple of Middle Eastern salads I had bought at the supermarket. She said goodbye and left. About a half hour later, she returned with hot pasta, brownies, a few energy bars and a Coke, saying “You need a hot meal.” I was moved by this spontaneous act of kindness. There have been others. Like the man Bill and I were talking to in a diner, who left and picked up our tab. Others who have asked if I needed anything, offered directions, recommendations etc. With all the current political divisiveness in our society, it is refreshing to connect with people on a basic level and feel the human spirit.
I picked up the Panhandle rail trail after Mountour, which took me to West Virginia. After climbing over a steep two mile hill, I was in Steubenville, Ohio, an Industrial town on the Ohio River. With the forecast of heavy thunderstorms and no camping options, I decided to get a motel room. Good move as the storms rolled through.
The rain slowed to a light drizzle by checkout time, so I headed out. The traffic was heavy, until I reached the Jefferson Hills area of Ohio. Yes, it was back to hilly terrain. After riding through the foggy hills, I set up camp at the Sally Buffalo Park outside the town of Cadiz.
As I awoke the next morning I stretched out, as I often do, and felt a dull pain below my right knee. I got out of my tent, and nearly fell down — I found I couldn’t put any weight on my leg! I struggled to walk 15 feet to a nearby picnic bench. As I sat contemplating my fate, the pain increased until I broke out in a sweat. This was not good. I knew I needed to get it checked. A Google search for doctors in Cadiz, OH, came up with two results — one number was disconnected and the other went to a fax.
I called the campground office to see if they had any suggestions. They recommended calling 911. Being out of options, and unable to move, I agreed. Within 5-10 minutes the cavalry showed up — three ambulances and the sheriff. Sarah and Francis, the EMTs, helped me on the gurney while Paul, the campground host, zipped up my tent and took my bike to a secure area. I quickly arrived at the hospital and after some tests, it was determined that there was no blood clot or fracture. They discharged me and called back Sarah and Francis, with their ambulance, to transport me back to the campground for my bike and tent. They packed everything into the ambulance and drove my to a local motel.
I am so grateful for the kindness I received from everyone. My hope is that some rest, ice and a dose of good fortune will have me back on the road soon.