Final Thoughts: The Great and Not So Great - A Plethora of Baby Boomers Partial and Piecemeal Pedal of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail - CycleBlaze

August 7, 2017

Final Thoughts: The Great and Not So Great

All participants had fun and lots of great biking, hiking, rafting and ziplining was enabled by great weather for lots of outdoors time. Some things I highly recommend to anyone planning something similar:

1. Confluence is a nice central location for riding the GAP that has lots of lodging choices. Not a lot of local dining choices within walking distance, so using it as a base where your car will be works out well. Rivers Edge Cafe and Riverside Bakery were great, Sisters got a so-so report from the only ones who ate there.

2. The Parker House was phenomenal both years we've stayed there, small group and large. The Rivers Edge Cafe lodging got high marks this year, too. The water in Confluence is kinda eggy smelling - bring gallon jugs of water if you don't like that.

3. The Cumberland Trail Connection let us down for the shuttle Sunday from Cumberland to Deal, but stuff happens and they were upfront about a refund. I'd use them again, but would have a backup plan.

4. The GAP from Cumberland to Connelsville is just a treasure. From Connelsville west it starts to become just another crushed limestone trail. Heavy rains do cause washouts - trail maintenance happens pretty quickly, but check conditions (the C&O Canal Yahoo Group has many people who respond) if there have been storms within a week or two before you are going.

5. For two years in a row the weather gods assigned us to the Fairy Godmother department, not the Department of Practical Jokes (a Robert Heinlein/"Glory Road" reference.) Backup plans for inclement weather included the Frank Lloyd Wright houses, a trip to the Flight 93 memorial, indoor games, maybe a visit to the casino at Nemacolin if we got desperate or sick of each other. Even driving to Uniontown or Cumberland, though there really isn't much indoors to do in those cities, either. An old standby from Deep Creek vacations on rainy days was the Country Club mall in La Vale, but haven't been there in years.

6. The Stonehouse Inn, Braddock Inn (both in Farmington, close to Uniontown - the are actually owned by the same people) and the Riverside Pizza, Bakery and Cafe were places to eat that we'd go back to.

7. Almost any bike is OK for biking on the GAP. I like 32mm or larger tires, no real need for lots of gears (other than making the climb from Cumberland up to the Eastern Continental Divide) and the surface is much better than the C&O Canal towpath - but definitely not smooth like asphalt.

8. The Meyersdale Visitor Center is worth a stop and worth supporting.

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Rick TresslerThanks for all the hard work putting this trip together John! You rock!!
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