Our day started with a well prepared breakfast at the Bright Morning B&B. This is one of the nicest B&B’s I’ve stayed in. The owners do a superb job of keeping the place clean and comfortable. The breakfast was really good, too. I had advised them of my dairy allergy and they took special care to make me a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, watermelon, and toast … but I admit that I was a bit jealous of the home fries and eggs on JB and Billy’s plate. It was definitely the best breakfast of the trip.
We finished breakfast quickly and made our way back to the trail. I planned a short day today so that we could have some time do to a little sight seeing in Pittsburgh before packing up and driving home.
We had another gorgeous weather day. We made quick time to McKeesport and stopped for a quick snack.
Heading west, once you reach McKeesport, the trail becomes much more urban. There are several bridges that cross the river or train tracks to help navigate all the way into the city. This particular bridge was built in 1891 for trains to cross the Monongahela river (frequently called “the Mon”) and has been converted for the bike trail. No matter how many times I cross these kinds of structures, I enjoy thinking about the history of it and wonder whether the people who built it had any idea that it would become used for recreation. I guess none of us really knows the legacy we leave behind. What starts off as hard work might very well be the source of joy for others who we never meet on this side of heaven.
The trail continues for a few miles on the south side of the Mon and passes the few remaining steel mills on the river. We paralleled these active train tracks the whole way into Pittsburgh. I didn’t know before this trip that JB really loves trains. We stopped a few times along the way to watch the trains go by. Billy joked that our train gawking was like city folk who’ve never seen a deer before when they come to the country.
Once again we came back to the Hot Metal bridge and crossed to the north side of the river to head back into downtown. We stopped for the familiar view of downtown.
JB and Billy wanted to go back again to PPG Place, so we made a quick side trip there. When we arrived this time, we saw these three neat dinosaur sculptures in the entrance way to the main tower. I especially liked the Heinz ketchup bottle dinosaur. Pittsburgh is the home of Heinz.
Finally we made our way back to The Point, which is the end of the Great Allegheny Passage! 300 miles from Pittsburgh to Confluence and back.
We stayed at the point for a few minutes. Billy and I soaked our feet in the fountain and JB took a rest laying on the side of it. It wasn’t picnic table, but he decided it was comfortable enough.
Since we still had plenty of the day left, we rode across the Allegheny river to visit the Mr. Rogers memorial and the WWII memorial. The Fred Rogers memorial is neat – it has a great sculpture of him. Standing in the archway, you can hear a recording of him. We need a bit more Mr. Rogers and quite a bit less of cable TV news, I think.
Finally we crossed back over to the hotel where we left our cars. We got cleaned up in the restroom, and packed up our bikes and gear for the trip home.
I had told JB and Billy about this place called “Bicycle Heaven” just a couple of miles away. It is a museum of bikes and other neat stuff. We decided to go spend a little time there and walk around. I’ve been here once before a few years ago. Last time I was here, I stumbled across the exact make and model of the bike my first 10-speed that my mom & dad bought me when I was in 6th or 7th grade. It’s the orange bike in the picture below. It had a simulated suede seat with matching handlebar tape and a rear disc break – something way ahead of its time! I put many miles on that bike. I easily found the bike again because it was still in exactly the same place it was when I visited a few years ago.
After a nice long visit to the bike museum, we decided we needed to get on the road and head back to Lexington. It’s always a little bittersweet to finish a bike trip. The riding is fun, but eventually you have to get back to the real world.
JB was very insistent that we get a good meal on our way home. Good food has been somewhat elusive this trip due to COVID-19 and the Labor Day holiday. So we stopped at a steak place on the way out of Pittsburgh. It did not disappoint! 12 ounces of ribeye with steamed veggies and a salad hit the spot. I probably could have eaten two of them.
We arrived home around bed time. I was very happy to see my family. My dog was happy to see me, too. She’s getting a bit old and doesn’t like to be away from me too much anymore. She’s been following me around all morning today.
This was a very relaxing bike trip. I especially enjoyed being the tour guide for Billy and JB. Since I’ve been on the GAP several times, it was like riding through a familiar neighborhood for me, but for JB and Billy it was all new. We also found that our touring styles are very compatible. We each do things a bit differently, but we worked well together.
Hopefully next year we won’t have the gloom of COVID hanging over us. I’d like to find a new place to explore by bike. We’ll see what the future holds!
Some simple stats from our ride (including side trips and sight seeing):
Riding Time: 23 Hours, 33 Minutes
|Day||Start||End||Miles||Minutes||Pedal Revs||Pedal Strokes|
|1||Pittsburgh, PA||Connellsvile, PA||62.36||283||21,828||43,656|
|2||Connellsville, PA||Rockwood, PA||48.48||242||18,175||36,350|
|3||Rockwood, PA||Cumberland, MD||45.44||193||15,064||30,129|
|4||Cumberland, MD||Confluence, PA||64.03||284||22,681||45,363|
|5||Conflucence, PA||West Newton, PA||55.13||227||18,137||36,275|
|6||West Newton, PA||Pittsburgh, PA||39.09||183||14,296||28,592|
If you’re interested in learning more about the Great Allegheny Passage, check out their web site or feel free to drop me a note. I’d enjoy hearing what you’ve got planned.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.