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How one couple found adventure on their 25th wedding anniversary.

Natalie Finnemore June 25, 2015
A top view of a pile of maps and guides.
Try something different, adventurous and out of the ordinary with a CAA Drive/Ride Vacation.

“We wanted to try something new for our 25th wedding anniversary,” said Vicky Perez, Map & Research Specialist, with CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). “Cycling vacations seem to be a big trend right now.”

For Perez and her husband Fernando, they were looking for a unique and exciting way to celebrate their special milestone together.
Vicky and Fernando Perez standing in behind park benches with an open, elevated view of forests and skyline.
What inspired them were well-researched Drive/Ride vacations, which are pre-planned travel recommendations that enable you to drive to a location and cycle throughout your destination with ease. Pennsylvania is one of the newest additions to the list of Drive/Ride routes available, and the popularity of this location is what initially drew them to the area.

Their journey started in the Greater Toronto Area, and then they drove to in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and continued as far south as Cumberland, Maryland. The couple used a combination of vehicle and bike travel, including 1,600 km of travel by car and more than 200 km of cycling through the region.

“The whole trail is in spectacular condition and it has good signs to keep you on the right path. There are a lot of facilities along the way, including restaurants, B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) and public washrooms,” she said.

A highlight for the pair included visiting the Bicycle Heaven Museum in Pittsburgh, which is a sight that would delight cycling enthusiasts and amateurs alike, she said.
An interior space filled with bicycles in the Bicycle Heaven Museum in Pittsburgh.
“From Cumberland to the East Continental Divide was my favourite part, because of the tunnels, outdoor art along the trail and making it to the highest point,” Perez said. “As soon as you say ‘hi’ to the locals, they want to engage with you and tell you stories about local history.”
Vicky standing next to a large golden statue
Although having preplanned routes is helpful, it’s good to do some of your own research and make plans well in advance.

“The GPS led us astray and we ended up in the wrong place. Having hard copy maps came in handy,” she said.

A tip she has for fellow travellers is to book your accommodations early. She observed that some cyclists were left spinning their wheels without a place to sleep. Thankfully, some of them came prepared for any circumstance by packing their bikes with all their camping gear, including food, sleeping bags and tents.

Five ways CAA SCO can help keep your trip on track:

  1. Visit the Drive/Ride Vacations section for free, pre-planned routes to help you get started.
  2. Download the CAA Bike Assist App to help you stay connected while on route.
  3. Get a TripTik Travel Planner online and keep hard-copy maps on hand.
  4. Visit a CAA Travel Store to get TourBooks to help you start your planning.
  5. CAA Members have 24/7 roadside assistance throughout Canada and the U.S., and CAA Bike Assist help for cyclists in Ontario.