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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mission accomplished

We arrived in Pittsburgh this evening, getting to McKeesport, PA (where the trail ends, just short of Pittsburgh) as dusk fell, about 30 minutes before we were to meet our taxi to Zach's place. About 349 bike miles in total, including detours.

Since we lacked cell phone access, I haven't posted since Cumberland. The Great Allegheny Passage took us from there up a couple thousand feet (over the course of 24 miles) across the Eastern Continental Divide. At the top, there was the impressive Big Savage Tunnel, which cut through several thousand feet. The rest of the trail wound slowly down the other side, eventually ending near Pittsburgh. There were great views, enhanced by fall foliage. The towns along the way were interesting -- some small places that grew up along the railroad and the Yohiogheny River and have had the world pass them by, rotting industrial towns, and cute hamlets that have found a tourism niche.

The plan had been to camp out last night, after staying in a hotel in Cumberland. But we checked the forecast yesterday when we had a whisper of cell service, and it said there were freeze warnings for the area near the town of Confluence where we had planned to camp. We decided to sleep inside instead, and rolled into town around 6:30. Confluence has a hotel and upwards of ten bed and breakfasts, but we soon discovered (using the phone at the Sisters' Cafe, the only thing still open) that the hotel was full and all the B&Bs had closed up for the night and were not answering their telephones. "Well, I'm not sure what to tell you," said the guy at the hotel. With visions of shivering in our summer-weight sleeping bags, we struck out in the dark (with our bike lights on) for the campsite outside town. But, we took a wrong turn and ended up in a neighborhood. We were trying to find our way back when we saw two guys getting into a truck with a canoe on top of it next to a dark B&B. We asked if there were any rooms available, and they directed us to the house down the street of the lady who owns it, where we knocked on the door and miraculously obtained a room. The heat was much appreciated, as were the muffins and tea in the morning.

We're at Zach's place now, where between the three of us we ate 10 pancakes, 14 eggs with cheese, one pound of sausage, one pound of peaches, two pounds of strawberries, and 1 cup of cream. We'll look around Pittsburgh tomorrow and head back to DC on an early morning train (following, I should add, a pretty similar route to the one we biked). I'll post some of my many pictures when I get back to DC.

As Aron remarked, it was pretty cool to be in any one of the middle-of-nowhere places were were along the way and think "I biked here from my front door."


Anonymous said...

Hey Teague, awesome bike trip! I didn't know you were going, but happened to stop by at the right moment to read your posts. Glad you had fun and made it to your destination not much the worse for wear!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that was Erin (Quigliscious) by the way.

zach said...

Hey fellas, I enjoyed having you at my place. Did you have a good trip back?