Estimated mileage: 77 miles, actual: 80.25 miles
Avg. speed: 15.9 mph
Cumulative distance: 672.16 miles
Patrick has one wall in his living room that he paints with blackboard paint and his Warm Showers guests write on it. When it’s full, he cleans and repaints the wall. We left some messages of thanks and took some pictures. Then it was time to say our goodbyes. Patrick has been absolutely superb – he’s been immensely kind and patient with us, even though he’s been very busy himself.
Mike (McL) had to take some stuff to Sam’s in Shadyside near Carnegie Mellon University, so he went off at 8:00 and we agreed to meet him at the Hot Metal Bridge, about 3.5 miles out of the city, at 9:30.
Before we set off we had time to clean our bikes and I discovered puncture #5 – Mike (McB) rear (again, this is becoming tiresome and I’m tempted to replace the tyre. I went with a new tube as it was faster than a repair – the tube already had two patches). We set off and it was a lovely, warm and quiet morning. We wanted to begin this leg of our journey at the official start of the route of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, by the fountain in Point State Park. We wanted someone to take our picture and we asked a guy with an good-looking camera and who looked like he knew how to take good pictures to do it. He was called Duane and we chatted while he photographed us. He told us about hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon – something I’d love to do! We rode off to meet up with Mike (McL), we were going to be a few minutes – but we rather banking on him being a bit late too!
Staying on the route was really straightforward, there was good signposting. There were loads of people out on bikes – all ages, sizes, abilities – it was brilliant.
Michael had arrived just a few minutes before us when we got to the Hot Metal Bridge. Mike was talking to guy – also called Mike – with a new mountain bike, (he offered me a go on it when I said how much I liked the look of it, which was a really friendly thing to do). He was waiting for a friend before setting off for Frick Park, which has mountain bike trails. He admired our titanium frames – he was a metal worker! We asked him to a picture of all if us and we set off.
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. The trail turned from Tarmac to fine grit after about 20 miles, but it was quite well-compacted and easy to ride on, as Patrick has said it would be.
We travelled east and upstream mostly with the River Monongahela on our left. The trail took us through Homestead, Duquesne to McKeesport where the Youghiogheny River joins the Monongahela River. We crossed the Monongahela and started to follow the Youghiogheny River Trail. At the start of the trail we saw our first sign to Washington DC – 314 miles!
In Boston we stopped for coffee and juice, (plus French toast and maple syrup for Matthew and Mike (McL).
Then Greenock, West Newton, Whitsett, a campground called Roundbottom, which I thought was amusing. We’d intended to stop at Dawson for lunch, but it was on the north bank and we missed the turning – if there was one – there may not have been a bridge, so we carried on to Adelaide where we stopped for lunch at Milepost 92 Café, which was part of a campsite – there was a little pool (with rather large people in it) and rather fetching plastic frogs and flamingos all around! We were only about 20 miles from Ohiopyle by now.
After lunch on to Connersville, where there were some lovely community gardens segregating the cycle lane from the road. We called in at bike shop that we passed to buy some spare inner tubes. I saw some chamois cream called Chamois Butt’r and as Mike (McL) had been complaining I bought some little sachets for everyone!
After Connersville the road climbed gently but persistently to Ohiopyle. Just before entering the town we crossed a narrow iron bridge over river and high up in trees – it reminded me of the tree walk in Kew Gardens. We stopped to take some pictures – a man who we’d overtaken earlier, his name was Larry, came past and we asked him to take our pictures. He also directed us straight to our hotel – brilliant.
At Ohiopyle station Matthew fell off his bike – he wasn’t even moving, but couldn’t get his foot out of his cleats quickly enough – we were laughing at him and everyone around looked a bit more shocked and concerned! He was fine – just one or two some cuts and bruises, his pride was the main thing that was hurt!
Ohiopyle is a very small town, with only 74 residents according to the town sign – but it was very busy with tourists. There were lots of people milling about with bikes and some people were playing in the river – Matthew wanted to go for a swim and decided that after his fall he definitely wanted an ice cream.
The motel in Ohiopyle didn’t serve breakfast (probably not enough people to staff it) and there were odd injunctions in the room booklet against using too much toilet paper or stealing towels! We showered and then headed to the grocery store – bit hopeless but we managed to get some fruit and cereal for breakfast. At another store around the corner from the first Mike (McB) found a store selling soya milk – result!
Matthew and Mike (McL) had the ice creams that they’d been promising themselves since Adelaide (probably earlier in Matthews case), we went for a paddle, (it was too cold to swim in Matthew had decided) so we sat at the river’s edge and dipped our feet in the river.
Dinner – basic, but really nice after the best day’s ride so far. A Magic Day.
Hello Chaps. Sws says hello, and that he’s alive and well, despite missing you. He seems to be dining out a lot (at least I hope so, as he’s not eating much at home). Re. the Grand Canyon, if you ever do it, don’t do as I did – i.e. forget that the second half of the walk (getting back up) is seriously harder than the first. Oh, and that it’s a good idea to take some water (I didn’t…). Enjoy the rest of the trip!
We miss him too (and you of course Dave). I hope he’s not left you any presents! We’ve nearly made it to DC, just two more rides of around 40 miles – Mike is obviously sad about this (he’d like to keep on pedalling). All being well we’ll be back in Bristol Sunday lunchtime so look forward to catching up over a cuppa then.