Day 6 - May 9 - Confluence to West Newton - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

May 9, 2023

Day 6 - May 9 - Confluence to West Newton

Mind the GAP!

Ed’s Story

Well it rained most of last night letting up for maybe an hour or two. It stopped while we were loading up the bikes but started just prior to leaving. 

We headed out toward Ohiopyle but came across a blocked trail where a tree fell.  John has the picture and will share.

We stopped and had a great breakfast there at the Falls Market Restaurant Inn. I had a great burrito with veggie sausage, potatoes, onions and peppers, with coffee of course.

After leaving Ohiopyle we came across 3 cyclists from Virginia headed to Pittsburgh. They are planning to ride cross country next year and hiked the Appalachian trail 2 years ago.

Finally a bike route
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We were there
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This is the overpass we walked out into and met several other bikers taking a break.
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An unusual sight as normally you just see a porta potty.
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Jane ChimahuskyLuxury pooping!
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9 months ago
Ed ChimahuskyTo Jane ChimahuskyOnly the best for us!
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9 months ago

We arrived at the Gap Trail Campground around 3:30 - a great place. We had dinner at the Trailside Pub. 

Off to Hendersonville PA tomorrow - 43 miles.

Happy Biking!

John’s Story

Mid 50s this morning and rain. We’ve figured out how to take down our tents and take up the ground cloth without dismantling the tent poles or removing the rain fly. We can be completely packed up with only the rain fly and poles to deal with, without ever getting out into the rain. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Rainy morning.
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Each campsite where we stayed had a tall shepherd’s crook pole with a hook at the end of it. I’d never seen that before. Perhaps it is to allow you to hang a lantern. We decided it was to keep critters like raccoons out of our foodstuffs, so we hung our food on the pole overnight. Perhaps passersby shook their heads, but it made us feel better.

Take that, raccoons!
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We didn’t cook breakfast because of the rain, and instead headed out for Ohiopyle about 10 miles away. We found a very nice café and had a tasty brunchy breakfast. The folks at the café actually brewed me some decaf coffee at my request. Perhaps they’ve heard of my movement. We were about to leave the café went in walked Adam, a biker we met several days ago at breakfast in another café. Adam evidently does not have fenders on his bicycle. He asked me how his back looked.

No problem, Adam. You’re neat as a pin
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We evidently disturbed the balance of Middle Earth because the Ents started throwing themselves across our path.

After some negotiations, the Ents let us pass.
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We crossed a number of bridges surfaced with wooden planks today. Wet from the rain they were just about as slick as ice. I only tried stopping on one of them one time and excuted a beautiful fishtail maneuver. There was not a second time.

Water on wooden planks. The new ice.
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Folk art on a large scale.
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It seems that different sections of the great Allegheny passage are owned or controlled by different groups. I don’t know how they divide things up, but this section of the trail is the route of the old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.
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Are we on the right trail?
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Tonight we are staying at the Gap Trail Campground in West Newton, PA. When we went online yesterday evening to make a reservation we found that the campground was closed. Ed called the number on the website to confirm this was the case. Indeed it was. The fellow at the other end of the phone call was in Florida, and told us that the campground was not yet open for the season, but that his partner was getting it ready. He said he would call his partner and have him call us. 10 minutes later Ed’s phone rang and it was Paul from the campground. Paul had been there for three days preparing for their normal seasonal opening this coming Saturday. But since the showers were working and the bathrooms were in order he decided he could open the reservation system online and let us book a spot, which we did. When we arrived at the campground we found Paul mowing the grass and doing other busywork around the property.

Open after all!
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An interesting place. An open air pavilion with rattan chairs, a long counter with a sink and coffee maker, some picnic tables, some party tents set up, two open air bathrooms, two “hobbit” showers and a grassy field leading down to the river. Just use your imagination to visualize the hobbit showers.

We were there for about an hour when who showed up but Patrick and Uli from the Paw Paw Tunnel trail from several days ago. We compared our routes after leaving here and discovered that we are on slightly different itineraries between here and the Mississippi River. Our routes will converge again on the Katy Trail in Missouri. We traded contact info so we can keep track of who’s ahead of whom in getting there.

When we went out to find dinner we met up with Adam again. His trip ends tomorrow when he meets his parents in Pittsburgh, so we won’t be running into him again.

I ordered a 23 ounce draft beer before dinner, but the server brought a 16 ounce serving. Realizing her mistake, she brought a 23 ounce glass of beer and left the first one on the table. Bonus! Now, someone show me the way back to the campground.

Our tents are pitched under a party tent, and there’s zero chance of rain tonight, so, protected from the dew, we should have a dry night.

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 3,751 miles (6,037 km)

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