No Dogs This Year


Last year I biked from Somerset to Punxsutawney on consecutive weekends for family reunions. The lowlight was being attacked by Rottweilers and it has always made for some scary riding since. And the truth is, I have avoided that section of road ever since.

Today was a near-perfect day. Rain at the very start (I didn’t say it was a perfect day), cool enough to be comfortable although the sun eventually came out around Johnstown.

Coming out of Davidsville on Pa. Rte 403 there is a wonderful three-mile descent. The grade averages 6-7% and one can simply coast. In preparation for Mount Washington, I had removed the big ring off my bike so there was no pushing the speed to extreme heights. Traffic was light and respectful until some jerk came up behind me and laid on the horn. After he passed we approached a light and he stopped. He was very angry. He reached over to wind down his window (loser) and started screaming. “GET OFF THE F___ING ROAD!” I smiled and asked him why he was so angry. Just another day in the paradise of riding.

Arriving Johnstown I was passed by a large truck, slightly smaller than a dump truck. Just after passing me, it rounded a curve and a large piece of rebar came flying off the truck, crashing to the sidewalk and smashing into a telephone pole. A few seconds earlier that would have been me. Ouch.

In Johnstown, I passed Coney Island Hot Dogs. It was 8:30 a.m. I looked in the window and thought maybe they’d be serving breakfast but I saw a worker serving hot dogs. Who eats hot dogs at 8:30 a.m.? People in Johnstown, that’s who.

Conemaugh River Valley outside of Johnstown

The climb out of Johnstown on Pa. Rte 271 was nice. I could hear trains creeping in the valley. The cool air still enjoyable.

Twin Rocks

I followed 271 through Mundys Corners, Nanty-Glo, Twin Rocks, and Belsano Shortly after Belsano, I tried a new route – Snake Road. I thought at first it was named for serpents it soon became apparent that it was named for the way it snakes through the forest.

I came back to 271 and at Nicktown, followed it to Northern Cambria. I wasn’t going to take the shorter route through Marstellar and risk seeing those dogs again.

After Northern Cambria, I stayed on Rte 219 despite the warnings a bridge was out three miles ahead at Emeigh. It was. I simply took my bike and walked over it.

Bridge out on 291

After Cherry Tree, I used the Garmin for the first time to direct me. Each time I ride through here I seem to take different roads and I found some today. Once I got to Smithport, I knew exactly where I was going but there was one problem. Fresh oil/tar on the road. The last four miles had the tar and chip surface. Gravel is not a friend of road bikes and neither is tar. I arrived but the bike wasn’t in such good shape.

The worse sign a cyclist can see

Outside of the messy tar, it was a very enjoyable day on the bike. And no dogs.

Reunion Photo – Kay Walborn (far left), next to Barry Sherry

One Reply to “No Dogs This Year”

  1. Barry The rebar was our idea to spice up your ride. I did ask my cousin Vito to miss you by a "re". We are just trying to make your rides interesting. Just a reminder to pay us your insurance protection.

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