Morning in the tent city that is this GAP trail town campsite. Weird little park with a greasy spoon diner, pizzeria and a Sheetz across the street. Lots of folks riding and camping here, without much else to do or see. Small talk with a few. One of them, Michael, is a hiker turned biker from San Antonio. He and Kara may or may not be distant cousins. He’s planning to get in 100 miles today. Our quartet makes us the last ones out of a dozen or so riders to leave camp. He bids us adieu with a monotone “well… I’m off to Sheetz”. His bland allusion to the 250 feet-way destination prompts chuckles. Moment later, we’re on the trail, heading west north west.
I had honestly forgotten today is Independence Day here in the good ole US&A. Aka the Fourth of July. I’m on vacation, here. What yinz what with me? I have no clue as to what day of the week it is, though I already knew it was holiday. One of my favorites to be off duty for as well. Aka America’s birfday. Time isn’t real, so I prefer to celebrate the anniversary of my first moment on earth for two weeks in both directions, twelve times a month. Let that sink in. And celebrate no matter what.
FYI, “Yinz” is western PA speak for the second person plural. Like y’all, you all, yous guys. Grammatically proper (or is that properly grammatical?) would be “you”. Whatevs. I love regional dialect like a fat American loves guns and Jesus; I believe this qualifies as a pronoun, and yinz gotta know the intense value of correctly utilizing your pronouns matters nowadays.
In case I haven’t already said it — because I haven’t — unless of course you simply read my words from last year on this same route: The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a rail trail running from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Advertised as “150 spectacular miles” on their map, it is the first rail trail to be inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame. So clearly this HOF was created to honor the GAP, right? … also, there’s a fucking rail trail hall of fame? Huh? What? Are we giving halls of fame to everything and anything now? I want a hall of fame to honor participation trophies and standardized tests! Let’s go down in flames. Pronto, yinz!
Nonetheless, it is indeed spectacular. It’s mega. Huber. Ultra. Whatever superlative hyperbolic phrase one can muster. No cars. No ruts. No puddles. No ungraded hills. Bridges. Tunnels. Water. Bike repair stations. Camping. Benches. Picnic tables. Everything I want. Nothing I do not want.
Calming down. Coffee in Confluence, currently. Tissue Farm has great coffee, and an interesting name and backstory. Apparently it goes back to folks shirt-cocking (be sure to look that up) at Burning Man. Add in some innovation in the form of a “pants cannon”. Then just a meeting touch of Sasquatch imagery. All of this creates a coffee shop in rural PA. Kara tells them I’m a coffee connoisseur, I relay that I prefer the word addict. Yinz better recognize.
Another 15 miles up the trail and we’re locking up on the main corner in Ohiopyle. Ohiopyle is like the outdoor adventure capital of at least western Pennsylvania. Lots to do and see, all with the 22,500 acre Ohiopyle State Park as it’s backdrop. Playground. Wonderland. Shit is rather outstanding, yinz. We came here to take a short day of riding and enjoy shot in honor of Lady Liberty.
Ohiopyle Pennsylvania brings more coffee followed by river tubing followed by more coffee followed by shop walking followed by checking out the waterfalls followed by burgers followed by this dumb steep climb into the state park Campground. We legit got the walk-up tent site at the top of the mountain. After all that climbing, I’m exhausted again; I wish for a second burger but none appears. A second night in a row with showers does appear however; that makes it all worth it. Plus there’s an outlet outside the showers. And if y’all don’t know what comes next, yinz better ask somebody. Portable palace pop up. Y? Why not? IN the tent I go. Z is zed, zed is dead and I am zzzzzzz. 💤