Rode 57 miles, doing the length of the Panhandle Trail twice in a figure-eight pattern.
|05/04/12 243# 57m 84F|
Started at McDonald trailhead with R and S, riding west on the Panhandle. In previous years, the trail from Burgettstown to the WV border was rough and quite primitive, but it has recently been reworked and it's a much nicer trail now.
Saw like an infinity of butterflies, ate a few flying critters, saw some goldfinches, cardinals, orioles, one heron, a few feral cats and a tiny toad.
Rode west to Wierton, stopped for a break. We considered riding into town to see what's available but decided to avoid what would probably be a steep climb getting back to the trail. This is the Wierton trailhead:
Started the GPS and TrackMyRide to produce the map below, and began to ride east.
Entering Burgettstown we stopped at the new trailside restaurant, Walden's at 1709 Main. What an excellent trailside restaurant. When I asked our waitress Athena to fill my water bottles, she brought them back filled with icewater and very clean - she had scrubbed off the yearlong accumulation of nasty on the outside of those bottles.
I had a grilled ham and cheese with onion rings, it was excellent and quite reasonably priced. S had a sandwich with sweet potato fries and she said they may be the best sweet potato fries she's ever had. R had a BLT; everybody was pleased with their food.
As we were leaving we took a look at their desserts - next time, I think we'll be there for pie and coffee.
Refreshed and fed, back on the trail and road eastbound. I should mention that there's a convenience store where the trail passes the Midway VFD, their fire klaxon is visible on the trail. We rode to the McDonald trestle and continued beyond the Montour Trail to the eastern terminus of the Panhandle.
Many cool things on the eastern side of the trail, birdhouses and windmills and Nike sites and things like that.
Turned around at the eastern end and climbed back to McDonald, stopping at Hunner's Deli in Sturgeon for ice cream, which was excellent.
The newly refurbished Panhandle Trail is every bit the equal of the Montour Trail in terms of the quality of the trail surface, and although I'd avoided riding west of Burgettstown in the past I'll be out there more often from now on.