Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Squid on Wheels: The Great Allegheny Passage ... Day 2

Connellsville, PA to Ohiopyle, PA
The day started out overcast and dreary. Since we only had about 20 miles to go for the day, we hung back at the hotel for a little bit and played a couple of hands of Uno. Once we saw that things were neither getting better nor worse, we set out.
The first 3 miles were just spent getting from the hotel to the start of the trail where Squidette had a spectacular slide-out. She hit a groove in the trail badly and her bike slid out from under her. She managed to stay upright and literally ran off of her bike as it fell. Riding behind her, I witnessed the entire thing while attempting to not run into her. Truly an amazing save.

That kind of set the stage for a rockier ride than the first day though the trail was still fairly decent.

The day was damp and periodically the clouds would drip on us. First lightly, then a bit more heavily, then lighter again. We donned and undonned our ponchos a couple of times before just giving up. With the "adults" in black and Little Squid in yellow, we looked like three grim reapers and a duck! I do so wish we could have gotten a picture of that.

By the time we'd ridden about 10 miles the sky had stopped dripping and our only complaint was our increasing need of bathroom facilities. Ultimately, the men did as only men can do and Squidette and I decided we could hold out for a bit longer. Finally, with about 6 miles to go, we came upon a raft take-out area with a porta-pottie. Never has one of those smelly closests looked so good to me!

After a few more miles we started seeing people on the trail, day trekkers and folks with young kids out for a stroll or bike ride. And then ... Ohiopyle!

Ohiopyle is a town that really seems to exist for the sole purpose of providing rafting trips on the Youghiogheny River. On one side of the Ohiopyle Falls there are class III and IV rapids and on the other there are class I and II rapids.

Our hotel was all of two "blocks" from the trail. I put the word in quotes because the whole town is only about 3 NYC blocks long and maybe 2 blocks wide. O.k., there are some homes a bit further out from the river, but not many.

Small as it is, Ohiopyle is a cool place. The people were uniformly friendly and the atmosphere calm and quiet. Our hotel--the Yough Plaza Lodge--was clean with large rooms that opened out onto a covered porch. We were able to park our bikes in the wooden rack right in front of our rooms using the "piddly" locks (NOT NYC quality locks!).

After a nice lunch at the Firefly Cafe, we changed our bike shoes for tevas and divested ourselves of anything that couldn't take a swim. Little Squid even changed into a bathing suit. The rest of us figured that our bike clothes would dry quickly enough if we decided to get wet. Setting out on a hike, we noted that it took us far longer to cross the bridges into town on foot than by bike.

We walked through the woods and after some interesting detours found the Natural Water Slides. Only Little Squid was brave enough to try them--and only after I first watched another family do them. We took our cues from the adult male in the group. He would go down a length of river in the slides and then give a thumbs up or down to the kids and female in his group. The mom would then watch as her boys went, one by one, down the slide. Once they had navigated each length of rock, I told Little Squid to go on and I followed on foot. Finally, the gentleman we were watching spun around a few times on one stretch and gave a thumbs down. The mom and I worked together to get the four boys from one side of the river to the other and the adventure ended.

Finishing our hike, we cleaned up and headed out to dinner and then an evening of game playing on the porch and a chat with our neighbors.
Another excellent day on the trail. 20 miles--mostly up hill but at a slow grade.

1 comment:

Ina said...

Another great day! I hope the weather clears (without heating up) -- it's pretty thick here in NJ.