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Rail trail extravaganza

Old 05-05-19, 08:37 PM
  #26  
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This was the second detour of the day and the interesting ramp up to the bridge.


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Old 05-05-19, 08:42 PM
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Back to rainy St. Louis and on to southern Illinois by car to the Riverfront Campground right on the Ohio River. Beautiful spot, but no showers unfortunately. The rain stayed west until the early morning hours.



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Old 05-05-19, 08:48 PM
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The Tunnel Hill Trail was next, with the threat of rain looming. Had a nice breakfast at the Vienna Diner, and was welcomed by the County Commissioner as I was getting ready to ride to the tunnel. He wanted to know how I happened to find Vienna of all places. After a nice chat, I rode the 10 miles to the tunnel, and the rain started just before I reached it. Saw one other cyclist along the way.



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Old 05-05-19, 08:53 PM
  #29  
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Drove to the nearby Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center, which was a real treat. Learned a lot about the history of the area and visited the wetlands and swamps that still remain.




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Old 05-05-19, 09:05 PM
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Finally it was on to the GAP, and I was dropped off in West Newton due to the late hour. Rode to Connellsville for the night, and the on to Frostburg the next day. I rode the GAP about 4 years ago, and a few improvements have been made since then. The Pinkerton Tunnel is open, and there are granite mile markers along the way. Mile 24 was a sight for sore legs, with the end of the 65 mile climb to the Continental Divide in view at last. Again caught rain on the way down to Frostburg, where I decided to stay indoors at the Trail Inn hostel for $30, rather than $15 to camp. Had the place to myself, which was great.
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Old 05-05-19, 09:07 PM
  #31  
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Dinner in Frostburg.

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Old 05-05-19, 09:49 PM
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Nice photos and glad you made it over to the Cache Wetlands Center.
So what do you do for an encore in 2019 ?
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Old 05-05-19, 10:29 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Nice photos and glad you made it over to the Cache Wetlands Center.
So what do you do for an encore in 2019 ?
The annual C&O Canal Towpath ride when conditions are ideal, of course. And Iím thinking of the Oregon Coast in September. Thatís supposed to be the best month for good weather and less traffic, according to the experts.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:39 PM
  #34  
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Thanks for the pics. I'm fairly amazed about such long-distance bike trails since I remember when DC had only a couple of local trails & back then they weren't even as nice as GAP/Katy etc. BTW have you tried the Virginia Capital Trail? It's pretty nice, a bit bland but the end of the trail allows one to ride the Colonial Parkway into Williamsburg with grand views of the James River.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:40 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
So what is ti that the Katy has that is more to offer? More towns? Better views? Better camping?

Parts of the GAP can be very bring but other parts are just spectacular. Exiting the Big Savage going toward Cumberland always gives me chills. At the top of my list of my favorite scenic areas.

You should have added the Greenbrier trail to your tour.
I liked the Katy Trail over the GAP for several reasons. The history on the Katy is more significant. Lewis and Clark and the fact that it runs along a major river, means that more happened there of historical importance. As a history buff, that makes a big difference. The separation of the trail from the cities and rail lines means that the Katy is more peaceful and natural. And it’s nice to have the option to cross the Missouri at several points for more civilization if desired. The trail surfaces are very similar and in excellent condition, so that aspect does not differentiate the two. The GAP has the nice scenic areas, the river rapids and mountains, but on the whole, the Katy takes it. But it was close. Sorry, Tunnel Hill fans, nice trail and scenery in the area, but it’s just not on the same scale.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Thanks for the pics. I'm fairly amazed about such long-distance bike trails since I remember when DC had only a couple of local trails & back then they weren't even as nice as GAP/Katy etc. BTW have you tried the Virginia Capital Trail? It's pretty nice, a bit bland but the end of the trail allows one to ride the Colonial Parkway into Williamsburg with grand views of the James River.
I rode the Virginia Capital Trail a few weeks ago as a warmup to this trip. I really enjoyed it, and having Williamsburg and Jamestown at one end to explore is very nice. I can do that trip in a weekend from where I live, which is a huge plus. Camped at Chickahominy Riverfront Park. Iíll definitely do that one again in the near future.
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Old 05-07-19, 12:28 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The separation of the trail from the cities and rail lines means that the Katy is more peaceful and natural. And itís nice to have the option to cross the Missouri at several points for more civilization if desired.
Funny because I considered that a point for GAP. Got to pass right through some towns a couple of times a day, some of them with more than one open business! Whereas the Katy, most towns were tiny unless you detoured off the trail. But I can see where the other aspect would also be appealing. I just like the diversion of exploring some of the town I pass through, and, an the Katy, that usually meant going around the block ;-) .
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Old 05-07-19, 08:57 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Funny because I considered that a point for GAP. Got to pass right through some towns a couple of times a day, some of them with more than one open business! Whereas the Katy, most towns were tiny unless you detoured off the trail. But I can see where the other aspect would also be appealing. I just like the diversion of exploring some of the town I pass through, and, an the Katy, that usually meant going around the block ;-) .
Yeah, Iím all about the riding and getting away from it all (but not too far away). Some people probably enjoy seeing the trains running by every so often on the GAP, but it sure bursts my bubble. The Greenbrier Trail looks like a beautiful place to ride, and only about 4 hours away. That may be next for a long weekend getaway.
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Old 05-07-19, 09:31 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Yeah, Iím all about the riding and getting away from it all (but not too far away). Some people probably enjoy seeing the trains running by every so often on the GAP, but it sure bursts my bubble. The Greenbrier Trail looks like a beautiful place to ride, and only about 4 hours away. That may be next for a long weekend getaway.
Do your homework on the Greenbrier. Last I heard, the trail was still down for repair after the flood. There is (or was) a Warmshowers host in the area. I helped her get though Pittsburgh some years back. Then a few years later she picked me up at the airport in Portland. Now she lives in West Virginia. Go figure.

here are only two places on the trail that have camping with services. The state park and the park in Malinton. Everything else is primitive camping unless you want to climb out of the valley.

I climbed out to get a hot dog.



There is camping (or was) in White Sulfur Springs but it is a heck of a climb. You can treat yourself at stay at the Greenbrier resort about halfway up. Only saw pics of the rooms but they remind me of the rooms in the movie, The Shining.

If you like trains be sure to take out time for the train in Cass. It is a very unique engine. And a very unique ride. I don't think I have ever takean a train ride using switch backs before.


I seem to remember a mountain bike trail. They take you up by train and you ride down. But might be remembering that wrong. For sure hey take you to a box car to sleep overnight. They come get you in the morning.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:24 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I liked the Katy Trail over the GAP for several reasons. The history on the Katy is more significant. Lewis and Clark and the fact that it runs along a major river, means that more happened there of historical importance. As a history buff, that makes a big difference.
Not to downgrade the Katy Trail (I hope to ride it someday), but the history along the GAP is significant. Its story predates America, and even North America, from the Paleozoic to the Anthropocene. You can find 300 million year old marine seashell fossils near Rockwood. Parts of today's trail follows Native American paths predating European settlement. George Washington passed through during the French and Indian War. The Whiskey Rebellion had its roots in the area. You mentioned Lewis and Clark - they started out in Pittsburgh. Of course a large part of the GAP's history is the industrialization of America including logging, iron, coal, coke, and steel production. The Robber Baron age explains some of the huge old homes in Connellsville. And it means to think about the immigration of the people fed into the maw of the mines, coke ovens, and steel mills. The story of labor unions and strikes can be found along the GAP. Pittsburgh is now in it's post-industrial period.

Some books covering the GAP's history:

An Uncommon Passage: Traveling through History on the Great Allegheny Passage


The Great Allegheny Passage Companion: Guide to History & Heritage Along the Trail

When I get ready to the ride the Katy, I'll need to find some books about it so I can better appreciate its history. Do you have any suggestions? Like you, I'm a history buff and I like to have some background before I hit the trail!
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Old 05-08-19, 09:28 AM
  #41  
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I don’t have anything particular on the Katy Trail to recommend, but if anyone knows of something, I’d be interested. Of course, there are many books about Lewis and Clark’s expedition, which covers a much larger area.
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Old 05-08-19, 09:50 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Do your homework on the Greenbrier. Last I heard, the trail was still down for repair after the flood.
Repairs were completed a while ago.
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Old 05-08-19, 04:35 PM
  #43  
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I do believe I recognize that pizza and the table it's on....
Fatboy's, I believe.
Great buffet w/salad options for hungry travelling folks.
Our house is the first one on the road to the left downhill from the train depot and the Trail Inn, between the inn and the trail.
You might have taken the switchbacks, which are also very cool. Love the local sculpture work, bike themed.
Frostburg is an amazing town, full of kind and intelligent people.
We have good friends and neighbors right on the trail in that area that are open to friendly visitors.
GAP riders are also welcome to camp at our house when we are there. We can host and throw down with a bonfire and BBQ during the month of July this year. Our neighbors are great, too. Good music, food, and beer in town.
Trail Inn At Frostburg

A Day In The Life Of Frostburg

Thanks for sharing your adventure, Alan !

Last edited by AusTexMurf; 05-08-19 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 05-08-19, 04:36 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The annual C&O Canal Towpath ride when conditions are ideal, of course. And Iím thinking of the Oregon Coast in September. Thatís supposed to be the best month for good weather and less traffic, according to the experts.

I did the coast in September and weather could have not been better. We may have gotten rain, if we did it was not for more than a few minutes. Traffic was not bad at all. But I understand September is "fog season" but we did not have any that I saw. Usually on the road by 9AM. If we had it, it was gone long before then.
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Old 05-08-19, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post
I do believe I recognize that pizza and the table it's on....
Fatboy's, I believe.
Great buffet w/salad options for hungry travelling folks.
Our house is the first one on the road to the left downhill from the train depot and the Trail Inn, between the inn and the trail.
You might have taken the switchbacks, which are also very cool. Love the local sculpture work, bike themed.
Frostburg is an amazing town, full of kind and intelligent people.
We have good friends and neighbors right on the trail in that area that are open to friendly visitors.
GAP riders are also welcome to camp at our house when we are there. We can host and throw down with a bonfire and BBQ during the month of July this year. Our neighbors are great, too. Good music, food, and beer in town, too.
Trail Inn At Frostburg

A Day In The Life Of Frostburg


So where were you when @robow and I made the steep climb up to Frostburg for lunch? I actually pushed but he climbed, for a flat lander he is a heck of a climber . Is the Trail Inn Restaurant open again by chance? We will be coming through again in September. This time either I will buy a sandwich before I leave Rockwood or tighten my belt till I get to Cumberland.
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Old 05-08-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Repairs were completed a while ago.
Thanks. Good news. I know it took them a long while to get started. There was a lot of damage all over the region and people were trying to get their lives back together, And I am sure there is not a whole lot of money down that way.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:06 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
So where were you when @robow and I made the steep climb up to Frostburg for lunch? I actually pushed but he climbed, for a flat lander he is a heck of a climber . Is the Trail Inn Restaurant open again by chance? We will be coming through again in September. This time either I will buy a sandwich before I leave Rockwood or tighten my belt till I get to Cumberland.
LOL. Missed ya.
Anyone on the forum passing through Frostburg can private msg me and coordinate to camp in our big yard near the trail if desired. Friendly neighbors usually have food, beer, water, warm shower, even if we aren't there. Also, Trail Inn is a great deal. Either the campground or the hostel/bunkhouse. They mainly have sandwiches, drinks, and ice cream/snow cones but serve food mostly around the train arrival times.
Fatboy's Pizza is just at the top of the hill on Depot. Several other local restaurants and two coffee shops in Frostburg.
Two small local groceries (Wholesome Harvest Coop and Lil Corner Grocery) on main drag. Cool vintage movie theater, library, university, book store, local liquor store, farmers market, and live music at Dante's.

Also,
Best breakfast on the GAP at Donges Drive In and Cafe in Meyersdale, Pa.
George's Big Breakfast w/ local maple syrup is unbelievable.

Or,
Hit A Place To Eat (Excellent Tex-Mex BBQ) or The Crabby Pig in Cumberland.
Great bike shop, Cumberland Trail Connection right off the C&O w/ useful parts and accessories for bike touring folks, local coffee, and local micro brew.

Last edited by AusTexMurf; 05-08-19 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:19 PM
  #48  
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I've also done the OR coast in September and it was great. I'd totally recommend doing it then.

Thanks for the comparisons of the trails. Consider me jealous.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:09 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post
I do believe I recognize that pizza and the table it's on....
Fatboy's, I believe.
Great buffet w/salad options for hungry travelling folks.
Our house is the first one on the road to the left downhill from the train depot and the Trail Inn, between the inn and the trail.
You might have taken the switchbacks, which are also very cool. Love the local sculpture work, bike themed.
Frostburg is an amazing town, full of kind and intelligent people.
We have good friends and neighbors right on the trail in that area that are open to friendly visitors.
GAP riders are also welcome to camp at our house when we are there. We can host and throw down with a bonfire and BBQ during the month of July this year. Our neighbors are great, too. Good music, food, and beer in town.
Trail Inn At Frostburg

A Day In The Life Of Frostburg

Thanks for sharing your adventure, Alan !
I will look you up next time Iím in town. The pizza was from across the street at LGís. Was planning to eat at Princess Diner, but didnít make it before closing time. Had breakfast there instead. And BTW, I learned my lesson last time about riding up the switchbacks. This time I pushed my bike directly up the road.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:55 PM
  #50  
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Great pictures! I’m the only one and will always be the only one from Hondo Texas to have ridden the GAP and C&O I lived in Pittsburgh in the early 70s when I was very young. My sister was born in Pittsburgh we always call her the Yankee This thread has got me all excited about a rails to trails this summer. Not sure which one but there will be another epic ride.
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