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Thursday, September 17, 2015

300 miles, 6 days: Cumberland-Pittsburgh-Cumberland

At times I'm asked for itineraries along the C&O and the GAP and I've decided to start publishing them in case they're of use to anybody.

Instead of literary-porn, this is itinerary-porn. I end up writing itineraries for different types of trips. Rather than ride 335 miles from Pgh to DC, I often suggest just riding the GAP round-trip. Here's the back-story:
1. The GAP is a modern trail, contemporary materials, best-practice engineering standards
2. The C&O is a CivilWar Donkey Path, built to whatever MilSpec they used for donkey paths in the 1850's.
Every time I've ever been with a group that bent a bike or bent a body, it was always on the C&O- including my recent snafu where I bent my bike frame beyond repair. My friend Killer had a catastrophic failure of his carbon-fiber front fork on the C&O. The smartest, wisest way to ride 300 miles is to ride the GAP round-trip, back to where your car is.

This is a six-day, B&B-type, credit-card touring itinerary.

Cumberland to Pittsburgh

DayOne Starting in Cumberland, I'd suggest the first day is: Cumberland to Meyersdale.
It's 33 miles but includes 24 miles of climbing and it's a completely sufficient day's work.
Depart Cumberland with a bag lunch and plenty of water.
Watch the train track crossings, people fall down on them.
At MP16 there's the Frostburg trailhead. It takes quite a while to get from the Trailhead to the
restaurant on top of the switchbacks (new owners). You might just eat your bag lunch and drink at MP16 and skip
the switchbacks. If you choose to go to the diner, call and see if they're open before doing the switchbacks.
At Mp22 there's a tremendous vista. MP24 is the top. MP33 is Meyersdale.
If you stay at Morguen Toole, you can take a room for yourself or stay in the hostel/bunkroom for $30.
I stay in the Hostel. So far, I've had it to myself every time.

DayTwo. Meyersdale to Connellsville. 58 miles.
I don't have a personal recommendation for lodging. I'm told good things about Connellsville B&B.
I like NYPizza for dinner; if you go, stop at the grocery nextdoor and get a container
of fresh fruit to bring on the trail the next day.

DayThree. Connellsville to Southside, 57 miles 10th Street Holiday Inn Express
The Holiday Inn Express is accessible via the trail. Don't take the Hot Metal Bridge;
continue north on the SouthSide Trail. After you pass under the 10th St Bridge, turn left and cross the railroad tracks and you'll come up on the rear of the HIE.

Pittsburgh to Cumberland

Day4. Wake up in Pittsburgh, ride to West Newton.
Continue North to Station Square, cross the Ft.Pitt Bridge.
Ride to the Point and get your picture taken.
Blvd of the Allies, Grant Street, Jail Trail.
Take a photo on the Hot Metal Bridge with Pgh in the background.
Lunch at OTB cafe. Coffee at Big Dog Coffee. Supplies at REI.
In the afternoon: ride 33 miles to West Newton.
dinner: Trailside Inn (there's a bike shop under the restaurant)
overnight at: Bright Morning B&B

Day5. WestNewton to Confluence. 53 Miles
In Confluence at the Caboose, go to NYPizza for lunch.
In Ohiopyle, I like the Ohiopyle Bakery.
River's Edge is a great place for dinner and also has a B&B; recommended.
ParkerHouse is the town's finest establishment for lodging and I'm not allowed in there.
Confluence Cyclery for WiFi and bike stuff.
Sister's Cafe for breakfast

Day6. Confluence to Cumberland 62 miles
Stop in Rockwood, check out the Opera Hall upstairs at RockwoodShoppes.
Stop at Meyersdale Trailhead. If you're happy with just the vending machines at the trailhead,
avoid descending into town. But this is the halfway point, and there is a Sheetz!
Stop at Frostburgh Trailhead.
Watch the train track crossings, people fall down on them.
Dinner and beer at FattyPig isn't bad.
I personally like the ice cream at Queen City Creamery

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