Monday, 3 July 2006
Pittsburgh, PA to Confluence, PA
88.0 miles, 7h38m, 11.5 mph
Elapsed Time: 9h31m, Max speed: 32.9mph
Total Climbing: ???ft, Max elevation: 1351ft
Total mileage: 757.3
I wanted to beat the traffic out of Pittsburgh, so I rolled out of
downtown at 6:15 after an inadequate breakfast of coffee, crumb cake,
and a banana-nut muffin. I bumbled around a little while before finding
the Ezra Furnace Trail. The trail took me out of downtown and
into the surrounding rust-belt areas. The trail ended near the
Hot Metal Bridge (coolest bridge name ever--I wonder if there's a Cool
Jazz Bridge) and continued on PA
835 to the Glenwood Bridge, where I crossed the Monongahela River for
the first time. Traffic was light. I made the mistake of crossing on
the sidewalk, so I had to schlep my bike down some stairs and run
across the road to get onto PA837.
That road took me through Homestead and Duquesne, where I crossed the
river again into McKeesport. I crossed on the sidewalk so I could
get a picture of McKeesport, but I was thwarted by the fence.
Downtown McKeesport from the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.
I managed to find the start of the trail in McKeesport. There are
no signs, so I guess you just have to know to cross the Yough on the
15th Street bridge and follow River Road until it ends, then veer off
onto the unmarked trail before you get to the wrecking yard. It's
all part of the game.
The trail was generally pretty good. It looked like this...
.. and this...
...at various times. There weren't very many people out
there. Certainly no one else riding from Pittsburgh to Confluence.
Since my breakfast was so feeble, I got hungry for lunch a little
early, but there was no place to eat. I rode all the way to
Connellsville (60 miles) before I was able to wolf down a chicken
caesar Wrapz from the Sheetz. The last few miles were touch and
go. I was starting to self-metabolize. Not pretty.
Anyway, I got my food and took it back to the Connellsville waterfront
Site of my lunch. It looks nicer than it is.
Riding along the trail for hours on end leads to a sensory deprivation
experience. The slightest little change from riding down a tunnel
of trees is a big deal. Like the time I rode across that bridge...
Ooh! I can't wait to see the view!
Ahh yes. A junkyard.
You could usually see the river through the trees, but there wasn't
much to see there--except maybe for the occasional bikini-clad
whitewater rafter. I say maybe because I didn't see any of
those. They would have been wearing stupid life preservers
anyway. But then every once in a while a spectacular vista
It wasn't really "once in a while," it was "once."
Ohiopyle was a huge shock to my senses. All of a sudden there
were people all over the place, crowding the trail, screaming children,
ice cream. I didn't know what to do. I really wanted
some ice cream. I talked to a couple who had started at
McKeesport and were riding the trail to Cumberland. They were
planning to get to Rockwood today. I should see them on the road
tomorrow. When they went to get ice cream, I took off for
Confluence. I never saw them again.
There were about 50 people on the bridge watching these
rafters go down the river. Fifty-one counting me.
Eleven miles after Ohiopyle I rolled into Confluence.
This is the actual confluence.
Linda was waiting on the front porch of the B&B. I guess it's
really only a "B" since there is no breakfast here. In about 20
minutes the owner came by and we were able to get in. Later we
walked down the street to the Sisters' Cafe for dinner. All of
the regular restaurants in town were closed because it was Monday so we
settled for home cookin'. We'll certainly eat breakfast there.
Tormorrow I ride to Cumberland. Then Linda heads home and leaves
me with my bags.
"Erie Canal (and more!) Tour 2006" Copyright © 2006 By
Clemons. All rights reserved.