The old and weathered Allegheny Mountains run through north-central Pennsylvania and portions of neighboring Maryland and West Virginia. The range was once the furthest reaches of a young nation, and within the mountains' wrinkles lie stories and tales that, like tree rings, reveal the past.
It's early October and there's a chill in the morning air reminding us that the riding season will soon be over. This is my girlfriend's first motorcycle trip. An experienced thru-hiker (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and others) and bicycle tourer, Anna finds the Honda Gold Wing an absolutely indulgent treat. We ride down from Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which spans two counties in the borough of Seven Springs, but the valleys are still sheathed in shade. The roads are quiet and we can ride at a leisurely pace until the thermometer climbs. It's a mix of small farms and woods here; the soil is tilled when it is flat enough and left alone when it isn't.
At Youghiogheny River Lake dam, we stop to take in the view. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1943, the earthen dam doesn't look like much, but it holds back a 16-mile reservoir and prevents the water from inundating the communities downstream, including nearby Confluence.
We cross over into Maryland and have a quick lunch before continuing our wandering. Our next stop is another reservoir, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland's largest inland body of water. Fun fact: All lakes in Maryland are man-made. This part of Maryland is a world away from the Chesapeake Bay, literally and figuratively.