Category Archives: Comfort Zone

Time for my North Bend Trail Bike Adventure

It’s time for my North Bend Trail Adventure!


The North Bend Rail Trail project, begun in 1991, was formally a spur off the CSX system. The trail project began from four “model sections” which were then connected to form the current trail, which accounts for the change of trail conditions from county to county.

Limited Info

Finding current information on the NBT has been limited. Trail reports from 2009 or 2012 does not give you good beta on what you will find in 2018.

North bend map

My best source was Traillink. I  got some better idea of what to find by Googling North Bend railroad tunnels. There are 13 tunnels on the NBT, 10 passable. 

Water Sources

My main concern for my two day trip would be for water source. This is a very remote trail-albeit running parallel to Route 50, there are not many towns along the trail. Once I started drilling down, my fears were allied-it looks like 26 miles would be the longest stretch between water stops. Food I wasn’t concerned about, I can carry plenty of food!

helga fat bike

West to East

My trip runs west to east for logistical purposes. We have a family reunion in West Virginia a day after my trip.  It would be an easy hour drive on the highway from Clarksburg to Sutton. My reward after my bike ride is going to be a world class meal at the Cafe Cimino Inn in Sutton West Virginia.


Since this was a plan for August, it doesn’t concern me that it will be hot and uncomfortable in July. With the hot weather, I am hoping lots of the alleged muddy areas will be dried out.

Trail Conditions

The official Rails-to-Trails Conversvancy Guidebook comes right out and says the NBT is best enjoyed by hiking it.

Hike it

I am hoping by riding a fat bike-which can handle lots of conditions-it will be an enjoyable trip.

Get ready for Day One Report!

Next Adventure: North Bend Trail West Virginia


North Bend Trail Adventure


The North Bend Rail Trail is on my list for Bike 2018. With a family reunion following on a 4 day weekend in July, my little wheels started spinning. This also had to involve a dinner at Cafe Cimino (2nd best meal we ever had) and the reunion.

Where is the North Bend Trail?

The North Bend Trail stretches from Parkersburg to Clarksburg West Virginia, in the northern part of the state. It’s parallel, more or less to Route 50. The North Bend Rail Trail offers a scenic experience with splendid railroad elements and welcoming trail towns to be enjoyed. Stretching nearly 72 miles from Interstate 77 near Parkersburg (Cedar Grove) to Wolf Summit, the trail travels through an impressive 13 tunnels (10 passable), crosses 36 bridges, and passes through or near an assortment of state, county, and local parks.

Not Highly Developed

The trail link entry mentions this should be done on a mountain bike, as many sections are dirt, grass, unmown grass. In otherwords, this is not going to be a beautiful asphalt, coasting along bike route.

From all intel gathered, the NBT needs a bunch of work. There are not many towns along the NBT-and the towns that are nearby, these are tiny towns! Like population under a 1000 people small!  Without folks interested in the trail, there are no trail maintainers.

There has been a feasability study released by Rails to Trails Conservancy about the possible Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (the P2P) trail. The 238-mile Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (P2P) rail-trail is already nearly 80 percent complete; just a few short gaps exist in West Virginia to unlock a contiguous 150-miles-plus stretch of the rail-trail from Parkersburg to the state’s border with Pennsylvania. Linking up with the Great Allegheny Passage Trail could also mean you could bike from Washington DC to Parkersburg West Virginia!

What is my Plan?

The trail is 72 miles long. A popular method is to bike 29 miles and then spend the night at Norrth Bend State Park-my orginial plan. The Lodge is booked! Plan Two!

If you ever travelled between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, it’s a great four lane highway. There are just a few tiny towns.  There does happen to be a Sleep Inn in Ellenboro, about 40 miles from Parkersburg which happened to have a room available.

I will be dropped off at the Parkersburg end of the trail, bike to Ellenboro, spend the night there, and finish the 30 miles the next day in Clarksburg.

What Will I Ride?

Helga and Me

I am taking Helga! My beloved fat bike. She will need a bit of work. I need to get the fenders up on her. I also need to make sure I can carry my front handlebar bag.

Helga at the Beach

I may also swap out my Terry saddle to Helga. I’ve not biked long distances on Helga. I need to get a few long distances up on Helga.

Ever ride the North Bend Trail in West Virginia?

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland!

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

I’ve never seen an Alice movie. Not the Disney, or the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp. All I have read is the book.

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

This was a fun challenge since I got to review some of the excellent illustrations by John Tennel. I particularly liked the Red Queen version.

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

Who could forgot the “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” labels that led Alice into some precarious situations?

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

The White Rabbit is portrayed as big ears hidden under most of the mixed media on top.

Art Journal Challenge Week Eighteen Alice in Wonderland

I am finding I don’t really like white space left on a page. Perhaps next week I will paint the page first so there is color everywhere.

Top 10 Activities to Pursue Whilst Waiting for Barkley Marathons Updates

Barkley Marathons Top Ten

Another year, another Barkleys Marathon. Last year I was lucky enough to crew for a Barkley runner.

Gate Guardian

Me babysitting the Yellow Gate while my runner ran around in the woods all night and day.

You know what? You get more intel sitting at home in front of the computer than in camp! Plus it’s far more comfortable! You can’t spend all your time on your phone as there is limited space to charge up a phone. Cell coverage is still poor there.

Lazarus Lakes Barkley Marathons

My latest Top Ten List Whilst Waiting for the elusive and cryptic Barkley Marathons Update

    1. Go for a run-there is time. Nobody is going to come back to camp within six hours at the earliest unless they have quit already. Go run a 5k, half-marathon, hey, even a 50K can be raced before you hear of updates from the front runners. Mike Wardian
    2.  Read an account of a very long first loop-32 hours. Spoiler alert: they timed out.
    3. Watch Inside the Documentary at Popcorn Talk, where producer Annika Illtis chats about the making of “The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young”.
    4. Since you have plenty of time, kindly peruse Christian Griffiths 2010 Barkley Race Report
    5. Read a book. Specifically, Cathy Henn’s “Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate”. Cathy is the wife of Raw Dog and the mother of Danger Dave. Cathy knows her Barkley! Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate
    6. Read some of my curated lists from over the years! Here is 2017 Barkley Interviews, My 2017 Top Ten, My Top Ten 2016 List,
    7. Watch “Where Dreams Go to Die”. It is-was available to download in March. Will Gary pull off five loops this year? Race Director Tools
    8. Check out  the map of FHSP and pretend to be a Barker! Look at those really close together contour lines! Frozen head state park map
    9. Read Frozen Ed Furtaw’s Book “Tales from Out There”. Your best Barkely reference tool.
    10. Listen to a long form interview with John Fegyversi on Ten Junk Miles-very good!

Is anyone back to camp yet?

Art Journal Challenge Week Eleven Travel

Art Journal Challenge Week Eleven Travel


A much easier prompt! This was Art Journal Challenge Week Eleven. Whee! Travel!



I used a few different tecniques on this page. I had previously painted one side green. Most of the images were cut and pasted from various sources. I used a stencil, added some words on places I want to travel to soon.

Where I Want to Travel To


Grenada in October

Savannah sometime this year? We have friends there and Savannah is rich in history that we’ve only scratched this surface of. They have fantastic food there too.

Napa Somehow I don’t think I could convince the Hubs to a Grenada, Savannah, and Napa all in the same year. Napa 2019!

The Tour Divide-well I doubt this would ever happen, but never say never. Bike from Banff, Canada, to Mexico.


My Biking tour of the  Ohio to Erie Trail from Cinti to Cleveland. Or vice versa, I haven’t decided yet.

On to Week Twelve!

Art Journal Challenge Week Eight Map

This week’s prompt was “Map”.

Art Journal Challenge Create a Map

As so far, I start out strong. I’m really stoked about the challenge, then I tend to lose steam. Same with this week.

Map in Progess

My painting is clumsy and amateuristic. I have this vision of what I want to create, but that is not what goes down on the paper.  I think with the next challenge I am going to mix it up with a bunch more of “mixed media”.

Finished Map

Onto Week Ten!

Week Seven Art Journal Challenge Colors

Another week has gone by!

Art Journal Challenge Colors

I started out pretty strong with this, but faltered midweek. Work has been a horrible strain lately, and I come home exhausted and don’t want to do anything but watch TV. I haven’t been feeling too creative.

Week Seven Art Journal Challenge Colors

When I touched the prompt “color” I thought of the Pantone Color of the Year Ultraviolet. But I cheated and printed it out via the printer. I did use my acrylic paint, watercolor, a few pieces of paper, and used my stencils a bit.

Onto the next week!