Today we began our charge toward Pittsburgh on the Great Allegheny Passage. I couldn't quite piece together in my mind how we were going to ride from Dunbar, near Ohiopyle, to Homestead all in one day. It seemed too far.
We started off where we left off near the Dunbar Historical Society, back down the Sheepskin Trail, and across the big red bridge where we followed the GAP into Connellsville. There, the Fayette County Cultural Trust had wonderful breakfast waiting for us at a pavillion in the park. Muffins and coffee cake, fresh fruit, coffee, juice, and yogurt, were the perfect start to our last long day of riding.
|Breakfast in Connellsville, PA|
|Mileage signs on the trail at Connellsville|
When we stopped for lunch about halfway through the day's ride in West Newton, The Trailside was the first thing we saw. A charming restaurant with a nice outdoor patio, had taken the bicycle theme and made it their own. Menu items featured names from neighboring trail towns and locked bikes lined the railings near the entrance.
|The Trailside, West Newton, PA|
Near Boston, the rain and storms had caused a rock/mudslide on the trail, and when we arrived, the crew was just finishing the clean up. There were still some ruts and sticky mud on the trail, but it was passable and really nothing compared to the C&O.
|Remains of a mudslide near Boston, PA|
We continued to McKeesport, and everything was familiar again. Although I had never been on this section of the trail, I had a good sense of direction, and knew where to go. Here, we had a brief section of share the road trail, some bends and turns and bridges, and then a nice final section of the day - a series of fly-over bridges that would bring us to The Waterfront.
First, we crossed over the Riverton Bridge, which was beautiful, and what I had known was an important part of finishing the trail to Pittsburgh. The few fly-overs that passed over the train tracks along the Monongahela River, were similar in steep inclines leading up, and like an amusement park ride going down.
|Riverton Bridge, McKeesport, PA|
|Fly-over bridge, Duquesne, PA|
|Kennywood Park, from the Great Allegheny Passage|
Entering The Waterfront, there is a well divided share the road bicycle lane with marked pavement and directional signs. Then, you hop back along the river, behind the plaza housing and past the restaurants and businesses to the hotel.
|Entering The Waterfront|
|Victory at Homestead, with Susan, Mary Jane, and Dave|
|Part of our group at Mitchell's Fish Market|
Please join me to celebrate the completion of a wonderful trip and the milestone completion of the longest continuous bike trail in the United States! There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10am at Sandcastle at The Waterfront, followed by a group ride to The Point led by our fearless and tireless 24 hour relay team!
At The Point, the final mile marker of the Great Allegheny Passage will be unveiled at 1pm, and from 2-10pm back at the Pump House at The Waterfront, there will be a Pop Up party with music, beer, and food trucks to continue the celebration.
Please join us to celebrate, and if you see me, please stop and say hello! Tomorrow, I will post the conclusion to our ride, and later I'll share comments and suggestions about the trip.
I hope you'll continue to follow along -- the ride's not over yet!