One thing bothered me about the the GAP/CO trip, not just leaving my car in Pittsburgh, but returning to get it since Amtrak arrives at midnight. I was returning on Friday. So I looked forward to arriving, getting my bike from baggage, reassembling it, loading it and then riding through the heart of the city at 2 AM Saturday morning. It not only sounded inconvenient, maybe stupid and not even vaguely safe.
I was wrong. After removing my tightly packed Hunqapillar
and reassembling all the necessary parts.
The streets of Pittsburgh looked less than threatening. Except for a couple female cops on foot,
I had them to myself until I reached the GAP trail.
I was apprehensive at that point. City MUP's are notorious places for disadvantaged, dislodged and disreputable characters. None were found. I coasted along the well maintained "Steel Valley" trail section through rail yards, and past industrial concerns without a problem. Many of these places might look foreboding to another, but I was raised in a railroad town, worked 12 years for one of the largest and was familiar with industrial landscape. These places are lit up and locked up like Fort Knox. There was nothing to do but admire an unusual glimpse into the working guts of a great industrial city. There are a few artistic renderings developed to reflect it,
but I liked the functional symmetry.My car, 16 miles from the train station, was just as I had left it. I reloaded and went on my way, drove a couple of hours at a time and napped at rest stops until I got home.
The trip cost me $50 in gas, $25 in toll charges, $70 in Amtrak costs, $10 in campsite fees plus food. I don't count food as a traveling expense, I do expect to eat wherever I am.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a real confidence builder for somebody attempting cyclo-touring for the first time. I'd suggest checking with the shop in Cumberland, set up livery service and ride the CO to or from Washington for a trip. What I did was easy but the CO trail is really a nice ride without many challenges for a novice.