Day 72 – Ohiopyle, PA to Frostburg, MD

 Maryland, On the Road, Pennsylvania  Kommentare deaktiviert für Day 72 – Ohiopyle, PA to Frostburg, MD
Sep 252015
Day 72 - Ohiopyle, PA to Frostburg, MD, Sep 25, 2015
94 58,409 6355,2 3948,94 19 18,75 1032 35401 13 - 26
GAP (Great Allegheny Passage)  Work in Progress Mason & Dixon Line  

Indian Summer is almost here!

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This cat really wanted to get my attention. When I stopped to take its picture it came running up to me and tried to rub its head against my legs and even the bike!

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At Salisbury I crossed the enormously wide Casselman River Valley on a magnificent steel bridge.

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The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad made this town grow starting from 1871


A "Caboose" is the last car on a train with space for the conductor, brakeman and a flagger ...


Meyersdale has a very nice museum on local history and shows some well-crafted model trains and landscapes


In memory of the people who die when Flight 93 crashed near here on Sep 11, 2001

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Approaching the Eastern Continental Divide. It's not as spectacular as the one in the Rocky Mountains (it is at "only" ca. 800 meters altitude) but now in fall it shows nice colors!

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 Posted by at 11:44 PM
Sep 252015
Day 71 - Connellsville, PA to Ohiopyle, Pa - Sep 24, 2015 (GAP - Great Allegheny Passage)
30 18,641 6261,2 3890,53 19,5 18,75 271 34369  12 - 27
Whitewater rafting! The wooden shelters in Connellsville guaranteed a fairly quiet and bugless night in my tent and in the morning I noticed that the middle aged person who had been sitting in a wheelchair near another sheltering building was still there with his dog. They had obviously spent the whole night there, him sitting in the wheelchair with a sleeping bag pulled over his body. I had met Uwe and  his son Gunter the night before and the three of us could only try to guess as to his fate. It was quite funny how we three met. I was standing at an information board in Connellsville where I had found WiFi when sudddenly these two cyclists stopped and the older one called out in German: "So finally there a German in this place!" Taken by surprise, I was taken aback and really wondered what had given me away. I was still puzzled when Uwe got me into the usual discussion of where, when and how. Later I asked him how he had meant his remark and he was still pulling my leg when he said: "Well, you just look like a German!" Only a couple of hours later did his son give them away: they had stopped at the same bike shop I had and  the bike shop owner told him that a German had just passed through ... We had decided the evening before to ride together for a while and we set off, once again on the Great Allegheny Passage in southerly direction. The route along the Youghiogheny River (pronounced “Yogeny”) is densely wooded and the leaves are starting to turn color. Soon this path will be running through a wonderful yellow and red forest. Along the route you can clearly see the geological formations that led to extensive coal mining in the area over the last two hundred years. But nature is quickly gaining dominance over the manmade impacts on the landscape. I planned to ride about 60 miles or 95 km to the larger town of Meyersdale on Casselman River but Uwe Eickert told me that Ohiopyle was very high on their list of trailside activities because of the whitewater rafting that was done there. It did not take much persuasion for me to join in on their plan and so we met at a café in that little town and found the rafting store. Our bikes were locked up in the canoe shed, I donned water shoes because I definitely did not want to wear my cycling shoes in the raft and with a whole group of people we were talked through the necessary instructions given to us by Barth, an energetic young man. I enjoyed Barth’s little jokes and it didn’t matter to me at all that the middle aged man from Ohio next to me said, “when those jokes were scripted, my dad still went to college!” Of the four boats that floated down the river ours was the only one without a guide on board so we had to learn to properly steer the raft as we went along. The guides did give us general instructions about what to do in case we hit a rock or got stuck or fell into the water. “Lean in!”, “Get on the floor!” or “In the water, lie on your back, keep your feet up downstream and pray!” … I was declared “captain” by Uwe and Gunter only, I guess, so they could blame me for all mishaps  we would encounter on our 7-mile or 11-km trip downstream. We joked about Germans feeling best when they could give orders until I pointed out that Uwe was German, too, but just didn’t admit it 😉 The rapids were really exciting! This was a wild, bumpy and very wet ride and we managed to work well as a team after a while and even did a really good stunt towards the end in the last rapid. Barth had instructed us to go past a huge rock which looked like a huge bear, then turn right fairly sharply and, following the outside bend of the river, go straight between two rocks which were so narrow that we could only get through forwards but not sideways and that we might “have a problem” if we messed up the entry. Well, he was wrong with the “forwards” part. We got to the point where we were to head for the narrow gap but hit a huge rock that started to spin us around and we didn’t have enough time to get back on course. I decided to finish the turn and we sailed through the narrow gap backwards for which we were applauded by the guide and the other crews! That was fun! We spent the rest of the day relaxing and talking and spent the night in a guesthouse organized by the rafting company. What an enjoyable day.
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Uwe Eickert and his son Gunter. Both engineers, Gunter is getting ready to join his dad in the strategic and historical game board company called "Academy Games".

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 Posted by at 11:41 PM

Day 70 – Pittsburgh (Homestead) to Connellsville

 On the Road, Pennsylvania  Kommentare deaktiviert für Day 70 – Pittsburgh (Homestead) to Connellsville
Sep 232015
Day 70 - Pittsburgh (Homestead) to Connellsville (GAP - Great Allegheny Passage)
85 52,817 6231,2 3871,89 19 18,73 595 34098  11 - 26
Bob accompanied me on the first part of the trail which, it turned out was planned, built and is maintained by the volunteer organisation he is on the board of. When we stood on the ledge at a steel bridge crossing over the railroad Bob called my attention to the last steel mill in operation in the Steel Valley, the Edgar Thompson Steel Mill, owned by Carnegie at one point, the steel magnate who was known for quite brutal exploitation of his workers. "Sure you can have a Sunday for Church and your family - if you make up for it the following Sunday!" That meant one Sunday off was to be compensated for by three consecutive 12-hour shifts! The steel bridge we were standing on was prefabricated and when it was installed the train company arranged a 4-hour standstill of train traffic for the installation of two bridges to finish the bike trail. The GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) follows several rivers  and at a length of 240 kms (150 miles) connects Pittsburgh with Cumberland, MD. It follows the beautiful Youghiogheny River and this route played an important role in the French - Indian - English war in the 1760s. Both the French, who had entered the region from Canada and the English, who came in from the east, were interested in the booming fur trade. One of the first settlers in this region known as "Stewart's Crossing" were the Stewart brothers of Virginia (1753) who ferried travelers across the Youghiogeny River. Official Homepage of the GAP The next few days will see me riding once again in hilly country, the first mountain range since the Rockies!  

Bob on his Surly bike which he also used to commute to work.


Steel Plant


Just a loo? Well "World Headquarters" (quote Bob) of the trail


The city of McKeesport has definitely seen better times!

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From now on I'll be on a limestone bike trail for the next 240km until I reach Cumberland.


This bikepath is a far cry from the wild and "uncivilised" trails in Canada and Montana!


In Connellsville cyclists get a good solid shelter to keep dry and safe.

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 Posted by at 7:12 PM
Sep 232015
Day 69 - Hodgson, PA to Pittsburgh, PA
84 52,195 6146,2 3819,07 18,73 760 33503 7 - 24
My ride to Pittsburgh wasn't too pleasant, since most of it was on busy roads with one or two unpleasant close calls impuissance cialis soft... and the routes off the main roads were interspersed with short but steep hills, among them two 11 or 12-percent climbs which I just about managed to climb. When I first caught a glimpse of the skyskrapers of Pittsburgh I was still a way off near a cemetry which allowed for some nice pictures.  I stopped at the "Duquesne Incline", a cable car up to the top of the bluff on the south side of the Monongahela River, one of the three rivers that caused so many bridges to be built in the city that was essentially formed by the steel industry. So what was easier than to connect the steep river shores with steel bridges? The bike path along the river was well paved but fairly narrow which was surely due to the fact that it was constructed as an afterthought in a relatively narrow valley which is dominated by a railroad and a highway which left no room for cyclists. I met Bob and Maggie Holder who have not only done their share of cycling in the US but have also travelled (and cycled) in Europe and are the most wonderful people. Both are retired teachers in their early 60s so we had lots in common and once again it became clear too that to many members of our profession things really get rolling after life in the classrooms. We shared terrific stories. Cycle touring really opens one's heart and mind to people! While Maggie is busy taking responsibility for her community on the board of the city council of West Homestead, where she and her family have been living for a hundred years - no kidding! - , Bob is active on the board of the volunteer organisation that created and maintains the Steel Valley Trail which the first part of the Great Alleghenny Passage between Pittsburgh and Cumberland which I will take and then continue on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath Trail to Washington DC. On their cycling tours the two them have definitely had some adventures one of which sounds particularly intriguing: On a self-contained tour which included the Glacier National Park in Montana and the Going to the Sun Road, Bob was told by a fellow rider that the zipper on one of his panniers was open and he turned round to check if anything was about to fall out of his bag. And that was it, he crashed and lay there bleeding. The car that pulled up offered to take Bob to the next hospital, 20 miles down the road but it turned out that of the 10 riders in the group four were doctors and pooled together they had enough medical supplies to perform the stitches needed to contain the damage! So as Bob put it in his story this was probably the last operation done in the US without heaps of paperwork involved 🙂 ...
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 Posted by at 6:19 AM