Wednesday, June 22, 2016

GAP Ride 2016 Day 1 - Pittsburgh to West Newton PA

Here is Max, riding into downtown Pittsburgh to start our great adventure riding the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath.

It's pretty challenging getting through Pittsburgh. We had some trouble finding our way to the bike path out, which involved a half-mile detour through parking lots under a freeway that ended in a grassy path full of sleeping homeless people.

We eventually reached the first segment of the GAP, which is the "Steel Valley Trail" from Pittsburgh to West Newton. It goes through the area which one was filled with steel mills and is now full of empty lots, graffiti, and industrial debris, like this cool railroad car used to transport molten steel.

Max had lots of opinions on this section of the ride, mostly about how it's a very unattractive wasteland, and often smells bad. It will be fun to take him through west Texas some day.

Since I am always trying to put things in a cultural context for him, I asked "Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up in a place like this? Do you think you would grow up to be a nice person, or a Steelers fan?"

Max said "Steelers fan."

Here we are eating lunch at a marina in McKeesport. My kielbasa with sauerkraut was awesome. Max endured some chicken tenders, which he is thoroughly tired of.

Here is the outside of our lunch spot It's right on the trail. Winner winner winner.

Max has declared that since this is the first week off school, there will be no education this week. I am not to take him to museums, make him read history signs along the trail, or have educational discussions. I told him I predict by the end of the week he will be saying things supportive of Donald Trump. He has this look he gives me:

We got to the last restaurant before our campsite pretty early, around 3:00. The Trailside is a favorite, I've stopped here before. They have awesome drink specials. Today's was Bloody Marys.

We hung out in the air conditioning until 5, got a tasty dinner (steak for Max, he's happy to not have chicken tenders) and headed up the road a couple miles to our primitive campsite.

I showed Max how to rinse out his biking clothes and take a sponge bath in the water spigot. We had a small crisis when the battery died on his Nexus and he became very, very bored. We will buy a deck of cards in case this happens again. Cell coverage ended at McKeesport, there was wifi at West Newton.

It was about 40 miles of riding. Here's the Strava page.

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