Any Road Tour: Day 5 – GAP-ing to the Burg

I slept poorly in the Adirondack shelter in Connelsville. (Still haven’t used my tent!) I neglected to fully inflate my sleeping pad, a mistake I won’t repeat. I awoke with the sun and resisted the urge to start riding. I lingered over a fine breakfast of two slices of left over pizza then I hit the trail.

The trail is still pretty dreamy north of Connelsville. I set a goal for the town of West Newton for proper second breakfast. I was running on fumes when I began a search for food. I found an eatery, the only one open for breakfast, across the river in town. I ate an appalling amount of food and drank at least six cups of coffee.

Stuffed and buzzed is how you do a bike tour, my friends.

Pedal, pedal.

There have been purple wildflowers along the trail. Anyone know what they are?

The trail passes through several small towns like this.

One of them had an ice cream place. Two scoops please!

Pedal, pedal.

I stopped to address a comfort issue with some chamois cream. It helped. It also afforded me the opportunity to take a picture of one of the scores of little waterfalls along the trail.

About 20 miles from Pittsburgh the trail loses its rural vibe altogether and acquires pavement. My speed increased noticeably. In McKeesport I missed a turn but a dead end at a bus depot set me right.

There are actual hills in this section of the trail. How dare they?

And there are bridges over the river and train tracks.

The trail was busy with weekenders some of whom failed to appreciate the fact that a loaded touring bike doesn’t maneuver or stop particularly well. Despite being pretty tired, I made it to the hostel without uttering a single f bomb.

Today was an easy day of sorts: 60 miles. All told I’ve ridden 332 miles. Tomorrow I plan to ride to beautiful Wheeling West Virginia. Probably in the rain.

Onward.

Any Road Tour: Day 4 – GAP Bliss

My host at the bunkhouse brought Ugg’s me food from town. Town is up a steep hill so this was very kind.

I left a little after 7, zooming down to the GAP trail for the slog up to the eastern continental divide. The shade of the trees kept me nice and cool as I ground my way up.

Every time I looked up I saw another WOW! This area is just indescribably beautiful.

Also my the ride a herd (?) of white tailed deer crossed in front of me. They just kept jumping out of the trail side bushes.

Later I rolled through a bunch of wild turkeys. They just bobbled about mindlessly. It cracked me up.

The downhill didn’t seem so forgiving on an empty stomach so I stooped for mega lunch in Rockwood.

The gut bomb worked. After a half hour my body woke up and I started enjoying things. The scenery changed every few miles with a river making relaxing music through the trees.

In Ohiopyle State Park the trail becomes so shaded it’s almost dark. A tunnel of green shade, small waterfalls, river sounds, and chipmunks. Ahhh.

In Ohiopyle town I finally acquired the elusive Fiber Fix spoke. And recharged my belly bank with a double dip ice cream cone. This powered me to my destination for the night in Connelsville. I am staying in an Adirondack hut but in a city park. Note to Kevin U. the huts now have anchors for hammocks.

A local hotel provides showers for campers for $10. So I rode over to clean up.

And just in case you thought I was kidding about what a nice day for riding this was. Here are a few more pictures.

If you ride a bike and live anywhere near the GAP Trail, ride it. But not in November (Michele!).

Total miles today: 76.5. So far: 282.5.

I am eating pizza and French fries for dinner. Don’t judge.