Into the Hills


We finished the GAP trail and headed onward to the Montour and Panhandle trails, our gateway to West Virginia. Amenities were sparse in the early part of the trail, forcing us to stealth camp our first night in West Virginia.  That’s the term for camping without a legitimate campsite.  Sometimes there’s just no choice.

Stealth Campsite
A cold morning.  It was 31 degrees.
Historic trivia along the path

We skulked out of camp early the next morning and headed over the two-mile climb down to the Ohio River where we stopped at a cafe for breakfast.  To our dismay, we discovered that Cafés in WV are gambling establishments with poker machines and no food.  Now we know!


With not much food in our bellies, we continued down the bike path to Wheeling, WV where the absence of people immediately struck us. It felt as though we were in a post-apocalyptic town. Despite that, a rest day was in order, and Wheeling WV was the place.  We booked a room in the once grand McClure Hotel where presidents have stayed.  The locals told us about the town’s history over a few beers.  It turns out that Wheeling was once a vibrant town before its industry fell on hard times — not an uncommon story.

Drying out at the McClure Hotel
Historic Bridge at Wheeling, WV
Jeff in front of Zanesville Courthouse

After our much-needed rest day, we left Wheeling and started climbing the tough, steep hills of eastern Ohio. Did I mention more rain? The forecast called for days of rain, yet we managed to dodge most of it.  Just as we rolled into our home for the night in Senecaville Lake Marina Campground, the rains moved in.  Fortunately, we were nice and dry under a covered restaurant deck, enjoying dinner and beer.  When it was time to pay the check, our server told us that our bill was paid!  Apparently, a nearby table overheard us talking about our adventure, picked up our tab and left without saying a thing.  We couldn’t even thank them.

We got a great view as well as a free dinner!

The steep hills continued – so steep that we had to walk our bikes up the steepest portions of a few climbs. As the hills became less steep, the rain became more steady. There’s always something when you’re bike touring.  As we sat in a restaurant, on the verge of hypothermia, contemplating a wet Campground, we decided to rent a small cabin at Buckeye Lake.  Good call!  We blasted all three heaters until the chill was gone. The weather was good for the next few days, so we put in some long days and took advantage of Ohio’s very nice state parks — Deer Creek, Caesar’s Creek and Hueston Woods. We woke up on Wednesday morning and crossed the state line into Indiana! Goodbye Ohio.

KOA Kozy Kabin – Note the pooling water around it!



Heaven on Earth is private — Figures!

9 thoughts on “Into the Hills”

  1. So so so fabulous to see your beautiful smiling face Jeff. Makes me so happy. Many blessings on the trail with so much love Always in my prayers oxoK

    karla refoxo

    May you Walk in Beauty


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    “I have a mind to confuse things, unite them, make them new-born, mix them up, undress them, until all light in the world has the oneness of the ocean, a generous, vast wholeness, a crackling, living fragrance.”

    Pablo Neruda (translated by Alastair Reid)

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    —Anais Nin



  2. Great photos and commentary. David Kaplan in his book Earning the Rockies made the same observation about Wheeling, WV. Thanks for the travelogue. I admire your adventure!


  3. Your adventures are making me homesick for some of the best parts of thru hiking. Stealth camping! Kind strangers/trail angels/free food! Leaning into the executive decision to embrace indoor accommodations! Ride on, Jeff! Keep sharing your story.


  4. The court house looks a bit like City Hall in Philly. Glad to see you guys are getting through some of these rainy days unscathed. I thought stealth camping was wen you went into the woods and setup camp! Maybe find some good mushrooms and make pine nettle tea!

    Keep up the good miles and stay safe my friends.


  5. We’ve had beautiful pouring rains here. I think often about you and Bill and wonder what it must be like to be riding uphill in the wet, especially when its trying to freeze. A dry room and pillow or even roof shelter must be nice when you can find it. Thank you for the effort involved in writing and posting photos.
    Letting us know how you both are and giving us a glimpse of our countryside that I don’t really know. Everytime i read your post I touch into a different more natural rhythm and also laugh a little. Much love, Lisa


  6. Thanks for sharing your journey Jeff, it looks like things are going well and despite the weather you guys are making good time. Look forward to the next installment.


  7. I am thrilled to see your back out on your great adventure. You are an inspiration to us all! Be safe.


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