Thu 5.21.2015 47mDeparted from R's abode in Cecil near the Montour Trail, and headed south and east along the less-used connection between the Montour Trail and the GAP. Got to see the new bridge being built at ValleyBrook Road, very exciting.
Fri 5.22.2015 39m
Fri 5.22.2015 39m
Also got to ride the bridge across Route88, even more exciting. The trail on the eastern edge of the bridge is rough but it's going to be a fantastic connector. At the end of the trail-trail in Clairton, we followed the signs for the Montour Connector to the GAP.
The signs are newly placed and so much of an improvement. It really isn't challenging (now) to get to the GAP from the Montour. We rode Clairton and Glassport (which has recently repaved most of the roadway, smooth as butter) and then took a new route at the McKeesport Bridge.
Previously I'd always crossed from Glassport over the McKeesport Bridge, then rode the McKeesport road-trail down to the PortVue bridge. Now the signs direct you along Liberty Way and River Ridge Road and you never need to ride through McKeesport or cross the bridge to PortVue. It's a two-lane road, no shoulder, with big trucks but everybody was super-sharing. The new signage is really quite an improvement.
It was a funny temperature- wearing only a shirt it was cold, but with a windbreaker or a light wool sweater it was way too hot. No Goldilocks. I think I could have used a high-viz cycling shrug, just something for my arms and shoulders.
Rode out to Boston, to Dravos Cemetery / Landing / Campground, and then continued on another 4 miles (halfway to West Newton) to check out Driscoll and Sons Cafe, located right behind the Yough Twister soft-serve ice cream stand at the Sutersville Bridge.
Wow, just wow. Where has this place been my whole life? A lot of trailside restaurants really exist by virtue of their proximity to the trail and the dearth of alternatives, but this place is excellent. Highly recommended. Clean, great staff, phenomenal food, wifi, good coffee, liquor license. I had a MonteCristo sandwich and R had a steak salad, we both felt like the place had way exceeded out expectations.
We bought a six-pack to go and they gave us ice in a bag, and we were off for the four miles back to Dravo under inauspicious skies. We'd gotten our tents up and were just building a campfire when the rain started. It was a cool evening and the rain was not expected.
It was a rainy, cold, dark night but I was warm, dry, and well fed in the tent. Nice evening. There is a lot of train noise along the GAP, but I never had a problem falling quickly back to sleep.
In the morning we made coffee and oatmeal and then started riding back. In Glassport I found a storefront using Poop-911 as a toll-free number, there's a Pittsburgh cyclist who uses that phrase a bit.
Along Peters Creek Road, the Art Students of TJHS have painted Jersey barriers with images of trail use: fishing, running, biking, walking.
We had a headwind all the second day, until we turned off the trail and into the neighborhood where R lives and then we picked up a tailwind as we climbed a heartbreaking hill. To give you an idea, the name of the housing complex is something like Precipitous Heights and he lives on something like Switchback Street.
Very nice ride. The Dravos Campground is in great shape, and continues to work well as the GAP campground closest to Pittsburgh. Driscoll and Sons Cafe is highly recommended, bike-friendly, and I'll go there again.