63.4 miles today.
We started the Great Allegheny Passage today, leaving the mud of the C&O canal behind.
It was a very rainy day, but the GAP drains very well. Not very many puddles and very little mud. Glad to have the worst of the mud behind us.
As we left the Fairfield inn, the rain started and just kept with us for about the first three hours of our ride today. It was a chilly rain, but with a nice raincoat and the ride going on, we stayed plenty warm.
The first 22 miles of the GAP are a constant climb. It is not a terribly steep grade, but you climb and climb and climb. We paced around 10 MPH so it took a little over 2 hours to reach the top. The ride up is beautiful and you pass a lot of great views. Today had its own beauty because of the very low clouds in the trees and valleys. But because of the weather, we couldn’t see some of the long distance views.
Along the way up we passed Frostburg. It is a neat little town to see, but with the rain pelting down on us and a few more miles to go, we decided to keep going up to the top.
The next stop along the way is the Mason & Dixon line separating Maryland from Pennsylvania.
We met this nice couple at the Mason & Dixon line. They’re on their way to Cumberland.
This is usually one of my favorite views anywhere I’ve been on bike. On a clear day, you can see 4 states from here. Today, you could see a few trees. It was actually more beautiful than it looks in the picture, but you don’t get any feel for how high you are above the valleys below.
The next few miles of the GAP are loaded with great bridges and tunnels. This is the Big Savage Tunnel – about 3,200 feet long. It is really neat.
Eventually we reached the top: The Eastern Continental Divide.
Inside this overpass is an elevation map – you get an idea of the elevation change. We came from Cumberland, just below my hand, and went up to the top, where my finger points. In 22 miles.
Some cyclists really enjoy climbs. Joe isn’t known to be one of those kind of cyclists… but he did well today.
We were getting pretty hungry so after crossing the divide, we went into Meyersdale to the G.I. Dayroom. Yum. We stopped here once before and it was worth coming back.
A BLT with some macaroni salad, home made french fries, and pie for dessert. Got some calories, for sure.
This is John. We met John in the Pittsburgh Amtrak station. He’s riding the same general direction as we are. We’ve crossed paths with him about 10 times since we left him in DC. He’s been camping on his way across. We invited him to join us for lunch.
John’s from Cincinnati, so I gave him my contact info and perhaps we’ll meet for some riding later in the season.
Leaving Meyersdale, we made our way west. The next highlight is one of my favorite rail-trail things anywhere: the Keystone Viaduct. A former railroad bridge that has been converted for bike traffic. It is really high and really long. The views from up here are awesome.
We stopped in Rockwood to get something to drink. I love this mural they have celebrating their town’s history as a railroad town.
A couple more bridges and tunnels, including the newly opened Pinkerton Tunnel.
Eventually we arrived in Confluence PA and we’re staying at a hostel. It is very clean and pretty comfortable, but meager. Fortunately, Joe and I are the only two staying here tonight so we spread out and took over. Hoping most of our clothes dry out overnight.
Here’s the route for today. It’s all downhill from here into Pittsburgh.
Tomorrow we’ll begin by heading to Ohiopyle and then onto West Newton for the evening.
It is supposed to be very rainy and cool tomorrow again. It would be nice if the rain could hold off until evening… but we’ll take whatever we can get. It sure beats 94° from last year on the KATY!