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Late Train out of Pittsburgh

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Late Train out of Pittsburgh

Old 10-11-21, 01:44 PM
  #26  
David.MPB
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Alright, so I encountered some loss of cell signal and was also running behind and was very concerned about PawPaw and..... needless to say I neglected to keep up with he the somewhat daily postings as asked.


First let me say the C&O is absolutely spectacular in beauty. The Gap has some beautiful sections but I can understand why one might want to complete it north to south. Eat your cabbage first then have your dessert. If I were to do it again I would allow more time for the C&O due to the surface. I didn't find it conducive for free flowing speed. Im used to road touring so I may have overestimated the mileage I should have been doing. Getting behind on day one didn't help at all. The Gap was great coming out of Cumberland, a relatively easy incline albeit for 22miles. Crossing the Continental divide was a moment to treasure.


My fears about the Paw Paw Tunnel detour were really unfounded. It was tough pushing a loaded touring bike no doubt but not necessary to push all the way. I took 1:15 with much stoppage time for video and pictures or simply to catch breath. I should not have been so concerned.


Weather was great and rain only came down on me once despite the forecasts. Actually twice as there was a good thunderstorm between Starbucks and the train station in Pittsburgh. Entry to Cumberland was a bit muddy and slowed my average. Discovery on previous days of the Western Maryland Rail Trail boosted my average and gave some respite from the constant gravel and hammering on the bars. (Hancock - North end)


Amtrak will probably not see me again. While I accept that shorter commuter routes may be better equipped the long haul baggage carts were simply not friendly. There seemed to be much confusion as to who should handle the bike. Not all routes (CHI-STL) had racks for bikes which was a cause of great concern for me. But ultimately its the entire system. Its slow, dirty, tired and the windows are filthy. Most of the staff encountered were very helpful. Just a couple not so much.

Having met so many riders on the trails I discovered there are decent options for parking. Most notable in Cumberland and using that as the starting point for a single or double trail route. (granted a train would be involved but I believe there are also shuttle - Van - services)


I would also take less stuff If I were to ride again. There are some laundry facilities to be had along the way and Id spend more time exploring the few towns along the C&O. I did it in the time that I had, really enjoyed it but would change a few things.


Pittsburgh was actually a pleasant experience - once I got through industrial wasteland and to the end. I was guided in by a complete stranger who gave me a thorough history lesson and some advice on where I might spend the next few hours.I decided to go up Mount Washington (?) via one of those trams that go up the side of the hill. A Child was running it and there is no disabled access (IE an elevator) so I crossed a really busy road on foot, lifted the 4 Pannier bike up two flights of stairs and almost got stuck getting through the tram doors. I had to quickly rip off one of the rears and in so doing watch my sunglasses bounce down and through the gap. Crap!

A couple other passengers were very helpful and offered to carry the two rear panniers when disembarking.

I am constantly pleased with the generosity of strangers when doing tours.


I ended up riding down as I was looking for coffee/food. after observing the view of the city from up the mountain. It was pitch black, I had lights but damn I nearly died coming down those corners. I really thought I wasn't going to be able to stop at one point and went all speedway with my leg out. Disc brakes were full on.

I managed to get to Penn Ave for food then hunker down in Starbucks while the storm came in.


Multiple times was I stopped in Pittsburgh with strangers saying welcome to the city and inquiring about my journey. Some of whom had also done it in the past.

I did continue with daily documentation on instagram @meplusbike should anyone reading this be interested.

Journey completed Sept 30 - Oct 8 2021
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Old 10-12-21, 01:51 PM
  #27  
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Congratulations!
And Gladys Knight sends her best, too.
(Not to mention she wishes your midnight train ride was better ...)
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Old 10-13-21, 06:57 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Congratulations!
And Gladys Knight sends her best, too.
(Not to mention she wishes your midnight train ride was better ...)
That was Georgia........
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Old 10-13-21, 07:02 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by David.MPB View Post
Day1 was a complete fiasco and lesson in lack of planning



After getting out of Union Station it was a bit difficult to get bearings. I never planned a sightseeing tour but rather the only thing I did want to visit was the Lincoln memorial.

Heading that direction I spied the capitol building. Went closer spoke to a cop for a few minutes. Front area is section off for repairs.

The I proceeded down the mall which was in the process of two things. Setup for Washington university ceremony and a truck show. Like big rig trucks.

Kinda took away the ďimpressive ď factor. Spoke to some people.


Anyway I saw that the Jefferson memorial was close by (ish) so off I went. Nope, a lot of repairs and construction too. On to the Lincoln. That was still impressive so a few pic s there.

I figured the whitehouse deserves a view. No it doesnít. I was so far behind and dehydrated. After the whitehouse I went to find mile zero amongst much traffic.

By the time I got to mile zero I had maybe an hour and half to get to camp. If I knew the way. And if there were no people. By this time I was done with the noise and was quite stressed.

There are no water sources in the early parts of the trail as best I could tell. Why didnít I get something in DC? Well thatís the lack of planning lesson and perhaps a little panic.

I found a gas station between locks 7 and 8 but didnít like the route to get to it.

By the time I got the water google maps was getting really confused stressing me out more.

I ended up super high on the hr monitor and bolted for the first campsite I knew about. Marsden Tract?

Anyway it was pitch black on arrival. I saw it was a paid site. National Park service. $40!!

Well that didnít sit well but I attempted to make a booking but the site would not allow selection of checkout day.

I was was so tired I didnít care. Things were dropping from trees.

Retired by 8:30 and slept well although fearful some ranger would roust me next morning.

I woke at 5:30 just so I could get out of there. Still in the dark but awesome to see the fog lifting.



So now weíre in day 2 and I realize if I had gone another four miles in the dark I would have missed the great falls overlook. So yay me.

Another plus. Because I was bit paranoid about being somewhere I shouldnít (didnít pre pay) I learned I could completely pack and leave in 45 mins. Without particularly rushing but just paying attention to what I unpacked the night before.

Thatís a target time I will now be challenged to reduce.



Spent today on an absolutely gorgeous ride. The weather perfect. Scenery perfect. People interesting and I documented all the campsites along the way.

Tonight I rest easier at Bald Eagle island campsite. With just a few train for company. I donít care about them right nowÖ..
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Old 10-13-21, 08:15 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
That was Georgia........
Oh, honey ....
It's all midnight train rides.
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