The beginning of the End of our Adventure.
June 25, 2019- Pilot Travel Center, Bentleyville, Pennsylvania
Team Ronyx is up early this morning and ready to roll. We have to drive off Wheeling Island, WV due to the bridge we have to take to accommodate our truck is on the Interstate. We drive 8.5 miles and then Ron starts to bike with Onyx at 8:20 am. He ends up pedaling out 40 E and it twists and turns close to the Interstate. In about an hour, Ron has gone 15.6 miles and passes over the state line. Meghan snaps a picture where the GPS tells them they have entered PA as there is no state sign on the highway they are on. They are both disappointed at the lack of signage. Ron switches Onyx out for Fonyx as the shoulders on 40 are getting smaller and the roads are winding this way and that. Meghan tries to stay as close to him as possible. We know that the roads in Pennsylvania are going to be the most challenging because as we venture further East, it is more populated which means more people are on the road. The other factor that makes Pennsylvania a challenge is the fact that we know what roads we don’t want to be on, making it harder to find the roads that are best for him to bike on. And, there isn’t a direct bike route from West to East like there are in most states. But we have plans and we will have some down time now that we have our arrival date set for arriving at Canine Partners for Life for Ron to make up the miles that we have to drive here and there. Meghan checks their emails, we got our weekly update from Canine Partners for Life, we have raised $9379.42! We are so close to finishing Onyx’s Great Adventure and we need all the donations we can get to get to our goal of $30,000. We end our day at the Pilot Truck Stop after Ron pedaled a total of 30 miles. In total for the day we have traveled 50 miles, some of that (about 8 miles) is off our route. Juanita and Harold have driven ahead of us and decided they would go ahead and travel to the Ohiopyle State Park to camp as the truck stop was pretty crowded for them and their camper. Team Ronyx tries to save money as often as possible and decide they will meet up with the Carey’s tomorrow in Ohiopyle State Park. Once they got settled at the truck stop, Ron stuck Onyx in the bike trailer and rode around the town of Bentleyville to make up for some of the miles they had to drive. After he returned he took a short break and then took Phoenix out for a ride as well. After Ron finished riding he went and got pizza. While Ron was busy riding and picking up dinner. Meghan worked on measuring out their routes for the next couple of weeks so that they knew about where they plan to stay each night up until arriving at CPL’s doorstep in Cochranville, PA. She also spoke with Juanita about Ohiopyle State Park. Juanita told Meghan that they only had one pet friendly site available for that day and that if Meghan and Ron wanted to camp with them tomorrow we would all have to take primitive sites. Meghan thought that was ridiculous. She had never heard of a campground that restricted pets on the actual campsites. She called the campground, thinking that there must have been a mistake because she could see 30 sites available online. They confirmed that they have pet and non-pet friendly sites. Meghan was angry at first and decided to look around for other places for everybody to camp in the area so that Juanita and Harold wouldn’t have to travel too far. She ends up striking out with affordable sites in the area. That evening, the dogs had a blast playing in the large grassy area behind the row where Team Ronyx parked. They played off and on for several hours and well into the evening.
June 26, 2019- Ohiopyle State Park, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
When Team Ronyx wakes up this morning they discuss what they want to do. Meghan can either continue to find another site or they can pay $30 for a primitive site in a park that has strict rules on where dogs are allowed. We understand most rules about dogs but think that it’s a little excessive that you aren’t even allowed to walk your dog in “non-pet” areas. Ron suggests we just go and meet the Carey’s there so they don’t have to drive anywhere else and Meghan doesn’t have to spend any more time trying to find another place to camp. Today was a day of loading and unloading of gear. We drove the 8 miles from the truck stop to 40E where Ron would pedal. He was able to ride his bicycle towing Fonyx as he wasn’t comfortable with the roads. When he reached the 4 mile mark, he met a man who waved him over to chat for awhile. Meghan drove up to where Ron was stopped and waited for him, the road ahead is looking pretty rough. There are construction cones everywhere and lots of commotion. We decide to load up the gear and drive 6 miles and we unload the gear again and Ron starts biking down 40 E with Fonyx. Meghan stopped in at the Ruffin’ Around Resort and Day Spa to wait for Ron. She goes inside to check the place out and talks with the owner. They have a really nice clean facility there in Uniontown to take your dog for the day to play or stay. Ron ends up biking a total of 13.5 miles today and we drove 21.5. Once Team Ronyx gets to the campground they meet up with the Carey’s and find their spots. Ron helps them get their camper in the spot as it is pretty tricky. Ron takes Phoenix for a ride around the campground to try and make up for some of the miles we had to drive today. It is actually really nice in the primitive area, we are tucked back into the woods quite a bit and there aren’t many campers. We have steaks over the fire tonight. Can you tell it’s one of our favorite meals? That evening we all went to bed pretty early after sitting around the fire and chatting about our previous days events.
June 27, 2019- Laurel Hill State Park- Somerset, Pennsylvania
The next morning we pack up early and hit the road once again. We are heading to Somerset because we have secured an arrival to the SCI-Somerset for 10 on Friday. We will get to meet the staff, volunteers and the future service dogs that are being raised at the facility. We are on the road and drive the winding hilly road out of the State Park area. We are now being directed to our next destination by a series of back roads that lead out to 653N. At 17 miles, Ron begins towing Onyx out in the country. He is loving the lesser traveled road but once we meet the intersection of 653, his mood quickly changes. This road isn’t a challenge physically for him but it is a twisting, winding, hilly road that has a guard rail right up against the shoulder. He is nervous about someone flying around a corner and hitting him with nowhere for him to go. We end up packing up the gear again after he pedals about 10 miles and driving to Laurel Hill State Park. We got there pretty early and couldn’t check in, so we went back down to the main road and decided to get lunch at the Trent House Inn. The owner (which we missed her name) was so friendly and asked a lot of questions about what we were doing. She was so lovely. She even ended up making our food and sat and chatted with us. She went above and beyond for Team Ronyx and we highly suggest people stopping to her place to eat or stay if you are in the Somerset, PA area. While Meghan and Ron were getting ready to eat, Juanita and Harold pulled in. They are having some issues with their trailer brakes not engaging fully so the mountain roads have been pretty challenging for them as well. After Meghan and Ron finish eating, they meet up with Juanita and Harold at the park. We have lots of options for sites for the night. We have very limited cell service here at the park so it is going to be a challenge for Meghan to work on the blog or stay in contact with the news media that she has been reaching out to. After we pick our spots, Meghan and Juanita walk down to the Ranger Station and check-in. After their sites are paid, Meghan and Ron, walk down to the lake area to see if there is a place to swim the dogs. They take the Copper Kettle Trail down towards the beach area and see signs everywhere about no pets on the beach, so they continue to walk past the beach and find another access to the beach with a small floating dock and a rough beach area. It is a fishing spot on the lake but there aren’t any signs that say “no dogs” so we let the dogs play. Meghan is happy because she has cell service at the beach and can post some updates and answer emails. She is also working on securing their next camp spot near Bedford, PA. She calls Juanita to tell her where the beach is and invites her to join them. Harold likes to stay with the dogs and relax at the trailer so he stays behind since their dogs can’t walk that far any more. Juanita joins Meghan and Ron for awhile and then the thunder starts. Meghan needs her credit card to secure their site and Juanita decides to join her in walking back to their camp sites. Ron decides to stay behind and play with the dogs as long as he can since they have not had a lot of water play time lately. Meghan took care of their camp reservations and then walked back to meet Ron, who had already walked more than halfway back with the dogs. That night, we had chili dogs for dinner since it was too hot to make a fire. Right after we were done eating and cleaning up, the rain started and then we had an impressive thunderstorm. Harold, Juanita and Meghan sat under the Carey’s awning and watched the storm for awhile and then everybody headed off to bed. Ron and Meghan have to head out to meet the staff and volunteers at SCI-Somerset.
June 28, 2019- Shawnee Lost Hollow Campground, Schellsburg, PA
Meghan is up early today and getting ready to head over to Somerset. Ron isn’t thrilled with how the roads have been so he isn’t sure if he is going to ride today. After they are done at Somerset, Meghan wants to go and see the Flight 93 memorial site. Ron drives to SCI-Somerset, when we arrive, there is a crowd of staff, volunteers and future service dogs that are being trained at SCI. There are signs welcoming Onyx and Phoenix and snacks for all. We have such a great time meeting each Volunteer and sharing stories about our journey. Team Ronyx is given donations, snacks and treats for the dogs too. We are so thankful and honored to be helping out an organization who already has so many fabulous volunteers, liaisons and staff. Today, Meghan has received several calls for news stories. She has made arrangements to be on KDKA News Radio from Pittsburg at 5:30 that evening. She is also to submit photos and video of Ron riding around the area which is proving to be a bit of a challenge. We end up traveling 41.5 miles today but 4 miles were off of our route. Ron wasn’t comfortable riding these roads today so he will be making up the miles around the area over the next few days. We ended our evening at the Shawnee Lost Hollow Campground. We only booked the site for one night but after arriving and realizing how tired we all are after traveling every day, we decided to stay a second night. Once we got settled into our sites, Ron took the dogs for a walk and found a turtle and brings it back to camp to show the Carey’s. Meghan does her radio interview, submits photos of Ron riding in the area and we enjoy some dinner of hamburgers.
June, 29, 2019- Shawnee Hallow Campground, Schellsburg, PA
Meghan is up early today, she walks Team Ronyx’s laundry up to the laundry room and gets it started. Then she sets up her laptops, printer and hot spot. She has a lot to do today to plan their arrival into the area. She has already figured out what towns they want to be arriving in each day for the next several days but she has to find places for them to park or camp. She also needs to print more brochures about OGA (Onyx’s Great Adventure). She starts to print and realizes she is out of ink after she got 5 brochures printed. Ron takes the bike out for a ride to see where he can make up miles. The day is spent making plans and discussing options on where we will camp to get to our final destination. That evening Meghan makes PA Dutch style chicken and waffles for everybody. We used Juanita’s instant pot to cook the chicken quickly and Meghan got to making homemade waffles while the chicken was cooking. After the chicken was done cooking, her and Juanita made the gravy for the chicken. Meghan shredded the chicken, added it to the gravy and we had a wonderful dinner. Juanita and Harold had never had it before. Juanita thought it was good, Harold thought it was ok and of course Ron wouldn’t touch it because he doesn’t think chicken and waffles should go together. He ate his waffles with syrup and then had the chicken gravy by itself. Tomorrow we will be moving eastward again.