50 8 miles, 2324 ft of climbing, West Elmira NY to Wellsboro PA

It rained all night (the best time for rain), things were very wet, and I took my time getting on the road. I had planned a 42 mile trip and Jim and maps said 100% paved. Normally, I would have gone through Corning and all the map tools routed me that way. It’s pretty flat, good shoulders, but 54 miles vs 42 with a couple of gentle climbs.

The first 7 miles were up at a grade so easy the recorder didn’t count much of it as a climb. The day was still very overcast, but it didn’t rain. The shortcut turn at mile 12 was dirt covered gravel. Wet dirt covered gravel! I stopped two nice ladies in a SUV and asked them if this road was paved further on or gravel all the way. “Oh, it’s gravel almost all the way to Lawrenceville, but the road you are on is paved all the way to Lindley.” So, I did some rerouting and headed off to Lindley. It wasn’t bad detour as it only added a couple miles to the trip and had one sweet descent.

I stopped for lunch in Lawrenceville then continued on to Wellsboro. At 1 pm, Rt 287 was pretty quiet. In fact, the roads were pretty quiet all the way from Elmira. August pre-school return quiet. Around 3 pm, and closer to Wellsboro, all that ended and traffic picked up considerably.

I’ve ridden into Wellsboro 10s of times on Rt 6. It’s a busy road with lots of fracking trucks and a small hill where you are slowed down to enjoy traffic noise even more. But today I noticed Old Tioga road, checked the map and found it paralleled that hill and came back to 6 at the top. On that road was a culvert with a PA highway marker dated 1917, Route 22, Station 74. Wow. What a throwback, and what things you find off the beaten path. AFAIK, there isn’t a PA Rt 22 anymore and any search for it turns up US 22 in PA.

In Wellsboro, I headed to my favorite watering hole at the Penn Wells hotel. It was closed on Tuesdays. Most other bars in town or also closed on Tuesday or didn’t open until 5:00 or were still smoking bars. Yes, it’s 2023, only 18% of people smoke, and there are still bars that cater to the 18% versus the 82%. So much for public health. I was so used to Quebec and New York where you could buy a single can of beer just about anywhere. So I headed back to the distributors but then saw the Horseshoe Inn with signs for takeout beer. I went in and there were just a few people at the bar, only one person smoking, and multiple seats far away from the smoke. The bartender came over and I asked, “What’s a guy got to do to get a beer in this town?!” The answer was to plop a dollar and a quarter down to get a Yuengling draft in a frosted glass. I had three (they were small) and had a nice conversation about bikes with Don the bartender.

After the beer, I made my way to my warm showers host, Jennifer. She had offered dinner, and I offered to bring wine so I stopped at the state store and bought a bottle. Jennifer is a retired school teacher and we talked about teaching and touring and dab of politics. She made kale & tomato quiche, pasta and peas, and sweet corn and we enjoyed that with the wine. After dinner, we sat on her front porch and continue to our conversation until it was dark. I headed to bed early to get a good rest for the final push home tomorrow.