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Confluence and Ohiopyle State Park: The wifi oasis, and mutiny in the land of the chipmunks

Confluence and Ohiopyle State Park: The wifi oasis, and mutiny in the land of the chipmunks

33 miles (53 km) – Total so far: 291 miles (468 km)

I tried my earplugs last night for the first time and I slept like a baby through the thunderstorm and all the trains that kept Craig and Gerry awake all night. Yay for earplugs!

Once again the rain didn’t start until we were safely tucked away in our tents. It was nearly dry in the morning. So far so good! Perhaps we’ll break our former habit of always getting rained on during all of our previous bike tours. Ellen, I know you’re reading this. I’m talking to YOU 😉

We stopped in at the Rockwood Mills Café for fresh donuts, coffee and breakfast sandwiches. A delicious beginning to the day. This was a short day. Only 30 miles to our next stop in Ohiopyle, PA for the night.

Another day of perfect weather and fabulous scenery. Am I sounding like a broken record? This is one record I don’t mind repeating.

This is lovely country. The further north we travel, the more the mountains explode with brilliant color. And local folks we run into complain that this year is the worst they’ve ever seen because it has been a very dry fall. Well we think it looks just amazing! Today’s trail paralleled the Casselmann River and then the Youghiogheny. We were often sailing along through the forest high above the rushing river. The trees up here are tall and straight and there is little undergrowth. You can see deeply into the woods as you rush by.

We’ve truly entered the land of the chipmunks. I had no idea they would be so dense here. They are as populous as squirrels are in the Midwest. I just love watching these cute little creatures scurry across the trail in front of us, chasing each other up and down the trees. Their high pitched warning peeps are a constant chorus along the trail. So cute!

We stopped in Confluence to check out the Confluence Cyclery bike shop Gerry had heard of. It was an interesting bike shop/antique store. Little did I realize that I was about to enter a wifi oasis! They had free wifi and an electronic charging station. I hadn’t been able to check email in over 24 hours so I set up shop, checked email and took care of some important website work. Unfortunately, that meant that we were there for over two hours. SORRY Craig and Gerry! That’s the problem with being a self-employed website developer. I can’t really take a vacation; sometimes I have to get some work done. That’s just part of the deal. THANKS Craig and Gerry for being so patient. They shopped at the store, and made friends with three quarters of the population of Confluence while they waited.

Besides my shoptalk, we were very impressed with the Confluence Cyclery. They had a nice variety of bikes, supplies and gear and Bob, the owner, was helpful and so friendly. He sold a bike to a lady while we were there and set it up for her. We all bought some cool tee shirts before we left. Thanks Bob!

We had lunch at the Sisters Café next door. Great food! Then headed back to the trail. Good thing it’s a short day!

It was only eleven miles to Ohiopyle or maybe it was nine miles, possibly thirteen. We noticed some disparity between signs so we were never quite sure. Ohiopyle is another pretty little town although obviously a tourist haven during whitewater rafting season. I’d bet that it gets packed with people during the spring and summer. Today it was nearly deserted and most of the shops were closed. That was fine with us. We’re not touristy types.

Our campground for the night, the Ohiopyle State Park, was just past the town and we had to climb a steep, rocky quarter mile trail to get to it from the GAP. When I say steep, I’m talking arms aching, panting like a steam engine, sweat dripping down your back, legs shaking STEEEEEP, for a quarter of a mile. Are you kidding me!? I thought I was gonna die. We had read all the warnings about this hill in other CGOAB journals so we knew it was coming. One lady emphatically wrote that if anyone tells you the hill isn’t bad they are LYING. Well I echo her sentiment. It is BAD.

We finally reached the top, a wooded area with a road but no other signs of life, where we encountered a posted map instructing us to trek all the way across the entire park to check in at the contact station. Right then and there I mutinied. No way am I trekking up another 86% hill to get to the contact station. There are campsites right around this corner. I’m marching right over there and setting up my tent they can yell at me if they want to!!!!

Well once I cooled down a bit I noticed that it really was a pretty campground and I also noticed that my iPhone had FIVE (FIVE!) bars. So that pepped me up a bit and got me out of my prior mutinous frame of mind.

And so I had another idea. Why don’t one of us (not ME) take all the bags off our bike and just zip over to that contact station and check in? I volunteer to sit right here at this picnic table in this lovely campsite and watch our bags.

So that’s what we did. Both Craig and Gerry deposited the panniers on the picnic table and I sat there and waited for them as all the cute little chipmunks scampered around me. I also sat up shop and started uploading my journal from yesterday.

When the guys returned we set up our camp, took showers (pretty nice shower rooms), cooked dinner, and enjoyed some fantastic conversation until bed time. Tomorrow’s a long day, nearly 50 miles. But it is our last full day on the trail. We are very sad to end this amazing adventure.

Breakfast at Rockwood Mills Cafe. YUM!

Breakfast at Rockwood Mills Cafe. YUM!

Morning on the trail.

Morning on the trail.

Rockwood in the morning light.

Rockwood in the morning light.

More cool bridges

More cool bridges

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

The Pinkerton Tunnel

The Pinkerton Tunnel

Approaching the Pinkerton Tunnel

Approaching the Pinkerton Tunnel

Nope, Craig, you can't get through! I looked through the cracks between the girders and there are huge chunks of concrete that have fallen off the sides of the tunnel onto the floor. We won't be going through there for sure.

Nope, Craig, you can’t get through! I looked through the cracks between the girders and there are huge chunks of concrete that have fallen off the sides of the tunnel onto the floor. We won’t be going through there for sure.

The detour around the Pinkerton Tunnel was very pretty.

The detour around the Pinkerton Tunnel was very pretty.

So pretty

So pretty

The other side of the Pinkerton Tunnel

The other side of the Pinkerton Tunnel

Wheels and shadows

Wheels and shadows

I'm a little bit short to look over this bridge.

I’m a little bit short to look over this bridge.

Making friends on the bridge.

Making friends on the bridge.

More prettiness

More prettiness

My heart is going to explode with joy...

My heart is going to explode with joy…

Crossing another bridge

Crossing another bridge

Sisters Cafe in Confluence.

Sisters Cafe in Confluence.

Confluence points of interest

Confluence points of interest

My Pennsylvania office.

My Pennsylvania office.

Confluence Cyclery. Great place!

Confluence Cyclery. Great place!

Bob setting up a bike for a customer in Confluence Cyclery.

Bob setting up a bike for a customer in Confluence Cyclery.

Sailing along the trail next to the beautiful Youghiogheny River.

Sailing along the trail next to the beautiful Youghiogheny River.

So lovely

So lovely

Exquisite!

Exquisite!

Divine!!!

Divine!!!

Pulchritudinous!!!

Pulchritudinous!!!

Break time!

Break time!

Gerry

Gerry

Ohiopyle, PA

Ohiopyle, PA

Shadows on the bridge

Shadows on the bridge

Break time on the bridge

Break time on the bridge

Are you kidding me?!! A quarter mile of THIS?!?!?

Are you kidding me?!! A quarter mile of THIS?!?!?

YUM! Beef stew for dinner. Hot chocolate and Baileys Irish Creme for dessert!

YUM! Beef stew for dinner. Hot chocolate and Baileys Irish Creme for dessert!

Ohiopyle State Park.

Ohiopyle State Park.

Camp is all set up

Camp is all set up

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