Yesterday evening's ride (24.5 miles round trip) was an experiment in contrasts. The Old Fritztown Rd section through the low hills of northern Lancaster County were some of the toughest climbs I've experienced so far. Really steep and giving off that optical illusion in which "the top" isn't really the top, prompting me to breathlessly exclaim, "Oh f***ing hell!" several times.
But upon reaching the town of Reinholds at Rt. 897, the terrain leveled off into a rolling valley of flats and small hills. Where the Fritztown Rd offered civilization, 897 offered an endless cycle of simple Menonite farms, Amish homesteads, redneck farmers, and one or two isolated new-construction neighborhoods for the upper-middle-class folks.
The mission was to make it to Kleinfeltersville, but the setting Sun ended that quest. I had to turn back at around 12.25 miles into the ride. And it's a good thing I did. By the time I returned to the Berks County line, it was well past sundown and with no shoulder to speak of on Fritztown Rd, I would've been doomed in complete darkness had I continued on to Kleinfeltersville and turned back there.
The above camera phone shot was taken at the historic Reinholds Station Inn on Rt. 897. Information from VisitPA.com:
Historic Reinholds Inn was built in 1863 by Colonel Jesse Reinhold after its founder Colonel Jesse Reinholds who built a large and commodious hotel in 1863, soon after, the Reading Columbia Railroad Company had opened its railroad for business. This house was for a time occupied as a hotel, ticket-post-and telegraph office, with Mr. Reinhold as postmaster and station agent. During the summer Mr. Reinhold had his house open as a resort for recreation, it being generally patronized by wealthy Philadelphians. Now we offer the saloon downstairs and "The Station" upstairs, second floor, which is open for fine and casual dining offering dinner specials nightly.
VisitPA needs a proofreader. Official site for the Reinholds Station Inn.