Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Squid on Wheels: The Great Allegheny Passage ... Day 3

Ohiopyle, PA to Smithon (Belle Vernon), PA

After a comfortable evening in Ohiopyle, we set out once again, this time back the way we had come. Our goal was the Fairway Inn in Smithton, roughly 40 miles away.

Shortly after we started, Squidette mentioned that she was not feeling 100%. With that in mind, we took it slow though still at a quicker pace then the day before, simply because the route was mostly down hill. We stopped periodically to rest and to make sure that we were all drinking enough and rolled into Connellsville about 10:00.

In Connellsville, we found a supermarket and bought muffins for a mid-morning snack and sandwich fixings for lunch.

After another break and the consumption of the muffins, Squidette started feeling better and was able to eat her lunch when we stopped at the Roundbottom Campground.

We had a nice lunch and chatted with some day-trekkers. While dining, a 20-something, riding the entire trail with his friend, came over to us to ask how far they were from Connellsville. After providing the information, we gave him and his friend our leftover sandwich meat and bread.

Moving on down the trail (mostly slightly down hill) we traveled for a few miles before Little Squid started complaining that he wasn't feeling 100%. See a pattern here? (It actually started with Mike the night before.) We persevered to the Smithton trailhead and gave him a while to rest. We were way ahead of schedule so time was not a big factor and we knew we still had two miles or so to go.

Since we were running so early, Mike and I wanted to continue to the Ceder Creek trailhead, an alternate exit for our night's lodging, and did what we could to encourage Little Squid to continue a few more miles north.

(Old Overhold Distilary Swining Bridge remnants)

Finally, we resorted to bribing him with a geocache that was 4/10th of a mile from our location on the way to Ceder Creek. It worked and after quickly retrieving the cache, we continued on to Ceder Creek Park. There, Mike called the Inn for directions and was told that the route from Ceder Creek was much easier than from Smithton. So we started climing out of the park. And climbing. And climbing. Squidette and I had to resort to walking our bikes up part of the hill while Little Squid (he of the stomach ache) plowed his way up the entire hill with Mike. Mike later admitted that he had his rear kicked by that hill and barely made it up himself. Just goes to prove how much the gear was weighing us down.

We found our way to Highway 51 and worked our way to the Inn, passing several other motels along the way.

When we finally got there we discovered that it was a tiny, 10 room establishment attached to a bar. And that the proprieter had not started the grill for the day and was therefore not serving any food. This was rather annoying since one of the reasons we reserved rooms there was because the proprieter had clearly stated over the phone that there was food available at the inn.

Figuring that we would have to walk to the gas station for sandwiches, we went to our rooms to stow our gear. And immediately walked out. Both rooms stank. One of cigarette smoke and the other of ... I really don't know but it was gross and disturbing.

What I did know was that there was no way we were staying there and that I was willing to eat the cost of the rooms.

We turned around and carefully pedaled back along the highway to the Comfort Inn where they happily provided us with two clean, odor-free rooms. And then, immediately and pleasently refunded one room when we realized that just one of the two was more than big enough for all four of us. It was HUGE! Plently of room for the bikes, two queen beds and a small table to boot. And ... they had agreements with nearby establishments to deliver food to the hotel!

So, after a dip in the pool (!) we showered and ordered a huge dinner from a local pizza place. Breakfast was included in the room rate so we were totally set for the night.

The next day we headed back to the other inn to drop the keys in the drop box and realized that had we climbed up from the river at Smithton, we would have had an easier climb and we would not have seen the other inns. In this regard, that rear-kicking climb was a true blessing


Kristen said...

Eeeew, glad you didn't settle for the dumpy "inn".

Ina said...

Bike touring hones all kinds of decision-making skills, including knowing when to walk away (euw). Excellent choices all around!