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The 2017 Greencastle Great Escape

We had another great Great Escape this year, with about the same number of registrants as last year, but it didn't look that way at first.

Only five of the 29 people who had signed up for the weekend showed up for the ride start at 9 a.m. on Friday June 9 – Dan Artley, Bill Wiesand, Scott Hagaman, Ed Jarcy (minus Mary, who had to work that day) and yours truly.  The weather forecast was predicting a perfect day for cycling – clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, light winds – so I was wondering if there had been an accident on the Beltway or Interstate 70 that was holding everyone up.  Nope.  It turns out most of the others had gotten together and planned to arrive at 10 so as to avoid the worst of the morning rush hour traffic in the Baltimore area.  Dan and Bill decided to wait for them, so Scott, Ed and I lit out for Chambersburg and lunch at Trickling Springs Creamery on our own.  Eventually the rest of them also made it to Trickling Springs, but not before the three of us had finished lunch and hit the road again.

One rider who wasn't at the start that morning had a different reason for not being there.  Ed Cahill, for reasons known only to himself, wanted to be the oldest person ever to complete the legendary Grandmother of All Rides and, using an old Tour de Montes cue sheet, rode out from the Comfort Inn at 7 a.m.  This was doubly impressive because two of the stores we had depended on in the past had recently closed, and the first place to refuel was almost 50 miles and two mountain climbs into the ride (I'm not sure if Ed knew this before he started).  And he did it solo, too.

Café del Sol had closed their Greencastle restaurant, so we gathered for our Friday evening meet-and-greet at Brother's Pizza, adjacent to the Comfort Inn where most participants were staying.

On Saturday I was hoping to talk some people into trying my incredibly scenic Four Valleys Century (sort of a Grandmother of All Rides without the mountain climbs), but thanks, no doubt, to a weather forecast predicting temperatures rising into the 90s by early afternoon, I didn't get any takers.  Instead, just about everybody wanted to ride to the other ice cream place – Windy Knoll Farm Market & Creamery.  The exception was Bill and Sally Ryder on their tandem:  they decided to ride to both Trickling Springs Creamery and Windy Knoll.  (How much ice cream can you consume in a day?)  After the ride we took an informal poll to find out which place has the best ice cream.  And the winner is...

Again this year we gathered for our Saturday evening dinner at the John Allison Public House with its usual great selection of craft beers on tap.  After dinner some of us strolled across the lawn for dessert at Mikie's Ice Cream.

On Sunday we all elected to ride to the Foot of the Mountain restaurant at Cove Gap for brunch, although we took different routes to get there.  Most decided to ride the Foot of the Mountain cue sheet (revised this year to swing past the Blue Spring Buffalo Farm) while Barry Menne, Paul Martin, Susanne Morsberger and I chose to ride the Whitetail Express which goes south into Maryland and then up Blair Valley past the Whitetail ski resort before rejoining the shorter route.  We got to the restaurant just as the others were leaving (and just after they stopped serving breakfast, although I was still able to get my Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream).  On the way back to Greencastle some of the riders took a short detour to a replica of Fort Loudoun, a garrisoned fort built during the French and Indian War that nearly a decade later became the site of the first colonial uprising against British rule.

All in all, it was a great weekend.  I hope you can make it next year.

Greencastle Great Escape 2017

Phil Manger

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