We got a good start today from our nice little Air BnB in the Deutschtown neighborhood in Pittsburgh, riding down rain wet streets and across the Andy Warhol Bridge and through downtown to the Great Allegheny Passage trail, which runs about 150 miles to Cumberland, MD.
We left Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River but then joined the Youghiogheny River, which, we learned , is pronounced YOCK-A-GAINY – though we are still practicing that and could be wrong.
It took about an hour, riding along the Monongahela River, through old and decommissioned steel, coal and other industrial sites, to get out of the city. We kept meeting other travelers, going both ways…so many that we didn’t even ask where people started or where they were going.
The trail was beautiful, and is one of the best rail to trails in the country. Riding from Pittsburgh south means that you gain elevation most of the way, up the the Continental Divide (and if you are going all the way to Washington, it is then truly and actually downhill the rest of the trip.)
Though the forecast had called for rain, the weather was actually very nice, though hot, all day. I’d been told by a fellow traveler earlier that, once on the GAP/CO “you can just turn off your brain” as there are no navigational decisions needed, and it was true, I did kind of go into a meditative state.
Until Lisa had her second flat of the trip, that is. I replaced her tube with a patched one, which lasted a few miles and then abruptly popped, weirdly, on the rim side. I put a new tube on which held up. We bought a couple tubes in the next town and I hope that is the last of flats, but I also don’t assume anymore.
We pulled into Ohiopyle around 5:00. I’d been here once before, on a road trip in a car. In 2007, I took my dad along when I went out to pick up Arne from NYU, and went down to DC, and then came back this way so I could take my dad (an architect) to Fallingwater, the Frank Loyd Wright house which is just a few miles away. I remembered the town well, as it is in a beautiful setting.
There are many bikers in town, especially in the little inn above a grocery store where we got a small (slightly above a hostel) room. It has a nice private bathroom, but no windows. We’re good and safe and we are really getting close to the end of this journey!
Next up – tunnels, the Continental Divide, another Confluence, and the switch from the GAP to the C & O.
2 thoughts on “Day Seventeen: Pittsburgh, PA to Ohiopyle, PA: Onto to the GAP and the YOCK- A – GAINY”
A handful of quick notes:
1) On Sunday night, I saw a sculpture in downtown Pittsburgh that I believe was probably part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival that I wanted to go back & photo or at least tell you about. I forgot (we could have easily driven past it on our way to the Incline). It was on the corner of Penn Avenue and & 7th Street, just two blocks off the Warhol Bridge, so I was hoping you’d notice it on your way through town Tuesday morning. At night it looked like it might have been made of aluminum, and it was a stack of block letters that said “I WANT TO RIDE / MY BICYCLE / I WANT TO RIDE MY BIKE.”
2) Charlie has a very cool custom-designed tat of the Homestead Smokestacks on his right bicep.
3) The Yock at Ohiopyle is an extremely popular place to go white-water rafting. It can also be very dangerous early in the spring when the water is high. Our family went one time when the water wasn’t supposed to be dangerous at all, and we all fell out of the raft, and Holly was convinced Charlie had drowned, and it was all VERY dramatic. We haven’t been rafting since.
4) Very nice photo from THE Hot Metal Bridge!
5) I’m sure all your fans & readers will join me in wishing you “NO MORE FLATS!”
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Sadly, Lisa did have another flat today. But thanks on all other notes!