personal blog of Jonathan Fretheim

For most of the way between the Ohio River and Clarksburg, WV I used
the 72-mile North Bend rail trail which includes 9 dark, damp, echo-
filled, spooky tunnels. People have often asked me on this trip if I
get scared out there all by myself. Up until now I always said no
without a second thought. Those tunnels, though, were scarey. Some are
as short as 300 feet, but at least 3 of them were longer than 1000
feet, one nearly a half-mile long. Some had a couple inches of water
through long stretches, some had a couple inches of mud I tromped my
way through. I had to dismount and walk through many of them, and
there were a couple occasions when I couldn't see the light at either
end from the dark, dark middle. I bought fresh batteries for my
headlight at the only store in Cairo after the first tunnel.

The western half of the trail is in pretty good shape, but things get
rougher in the east. If I were to do it again, I don't think I'd use
the whole trail without some knobby tires. I was fine, but it was
rough riding in sections.

Yesterday, the rain (and the hills…and the narrow roads with coal
trucks) slowed things down for me and I only made it 32 miles to
Grafton. Today (through more rain), I'll hit the far western Maryland
state line and may end up in West Virginia again. West Virginia is the
only state which is entirely within a mountain range. I'm not seeing
any high peaks in this part of the state, but the terrain is rugged
and the ups and downs are steep and unrelenting.

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