Familiar stomping ground - My C&O and GAP Pandemic Tour - CycleBlaze

October 10, 2020

Familiar stomping ground

Cycling from Cumberland to West Newton

One of my favorite natural spots on the Gap is about 3 miles west of Confluence
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Al BurnardI can see why that's a favorite spot with the dense green of the rhododendron against the beech with their yellow leaves. Very nice.
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2 years ago

Mitch's Fuel and Food in Confluence serves up a heart tasty breakfast. Mitch fulfilled my dream of a ham, mushroom and cheese omelet. I headed over to Confluence Cyclery after breakfast. A visit with Brad at his shop is a tradition on my tours. It is an A+ bike shop. I kicked down my kickstand and it broke into two pieces. Brad did not have one to fit The Dude. I will be leaning my bike for the rest of the tour.

The Ohiopyle low bridge over the Youghiogheny River
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Today's ride is familiar stomping ground. I have hosted a spring weekend retreat for my former cycling club since 2012. I plan a long weekend of rides out of Confluence that include my favorite GAP ride to Ohiopyle. The 2020 retreat was rescheduled to just two weeks ago. Lucky me, I got to cycle the GAP again. 

Perfect Fall view from the Ohiopyle high btidge
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The weather was a repeat perfect. That headwind from the Big Savage followed me to West Newton. On the other hand, the 28 miles through Ohiopyle are downhill with easy pedaling. Those miles passed fast as I cycled into Connellsville, a quite nice trail town.

Look at that view from the Bruner Run overlook
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A cobb salad at the Kickstand Kitchen made for a good trail lunch. I know I talk about food too much. A bike tour is as much about the food as it is about the cycling. You can quote me on that. 

Make the Kickstand Kitchen in Connellsville a stop on your ride
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The remaining 24 miles of the day were uneventful. This area of the trail is flat and fast. The scenery is decent. I am not dissing this section of the GAP. After the mind boggling scenery from the past two days, it seems quite normal. It is a heavily wooded rail trail along a river with only a few very small passthrough towns.

Bright Morning Bed and Breakfast on the trail in West Newton
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Tonight's accommodations are at the Bright Morning Bed & Breakfast in West Newton. This is one of the best places to spend an overnight on the GAP. The innkeepers Rob and Marylou are super hosts. Their breakfast is superior. Damn, there I go again with the food!

Tomorrow is the last day of the tour. It's a short 36 mile ride into Pittsburgh. Our 6-day streak of spectacular weather is looking to come to an end. The remnants of a hurricane is promising to make it a wet ride. On every tour some rain must fall. 

Today's Route

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Today's Trivia

The trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence was the first completed section of the Great Allegheny Passage in 1986. Today, the trail extends 150 miles and connects to the Chesapeake and Ohio canal Trail in Cumberland. Mile marker 150 is the trail end at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 318 miles (512 km)

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