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.