Sunday, May 25, 2014

Downhill both ways and BYOTP

I had the entire day to myself, I wrenched it from the clutches of Hubby. He wanted to do stuff that involved dragging me around and I fought hard and won. Victory!

I planned for a long (well, long for me) trip on the GAP. I packed snacks and sammiches: swiss, pickles and mustard on whole wheat and chocolate, peanut butter and banana on whole wheat. The latter would have been better on white bread, frankly.

Set out early, parked at the Pump House and was underway before 9AM.

 I was in McKeesport before too long.

Can't stop here. This is Dead Man country!
Birds: a saw either a bluebird or an indigo bunting. I couldn't tell and nearly crashed craning my neck to get a better view. Gorgeous creature.

I stopped in Dravo and lurked around the cemetery. This is my favorite headstone. Consort. I know that must have been controversial back then!

I tried my hand at getting the pump to work. It wasn't very cooperative.

Then a group of cyclists stopped and they seemed to be getting water out of it.

I went over to observe and see what the trick to getting water to come up was... and in the group was my favorite bike mechanic from Thick. We said our hellos and they liked my Black Flag tee shirt and loved the Errandonee and Coffeneuring patches and I think I convinced them to try this fall's challenges.

Things I saw along the way:


Ideas for future trips.

West Newton MADE!

I love Pittsburghese n'at!

I figured West Newton was 25 miles from the Pump House. A round trip would have put me at 50 miles for the day. A new record! I turned around and my energy levels stayed great most of the day until I hit Duquesne on the way back. Ugh, tired. There was no where to sit... so I just drank, ate a pear and stood still in the shade for a bit. I was able to carry on normally after that.


I was thankful for all the restrooms and portable johns, even the one at a housing project in McKeesport with a fresh memorial to someone shot(?) there.
Many didn't have toilet paper. I'm known to have some in my bag, and I was grateful to have it.

Downhill both ways

The entire way out to West Newton, I kept saying to myself: "Geez, this looks entirely downhill, this will be harder and take longer to get back up to Homestead."
Yet, on the way back, I said to myself: "Whoa, this looks and feels downhill too! How can that be?"

Could the planets aligned perfectly to not only give me excellent weather, no wind, but shift the axis of the planet as well to grant me: Downhill, both ways?
Huh. That four-leafed clover I found yesterday had extra special powers.

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

I rested in the grass near aptly named Buena Vista and had a lovely view

While I attempted to snooze in the grass, I noted that things from the trees above me kept falling on me. I assumed they were leaves. Um, no. Gypsy moth caterpillars!

These things are everywhere. I can't help but have the squished guts of hundreds of them mashed in the treads of my tires and the fenders are caked with carcasses. Gross. They make a horrible popping noise too. *shudder*

40 miles in and I decided to do some flower-picking for Ruby.

After 40 miles, neither of us was fresh as a daisy. She was coated in a layer of dust and I was sweaty, dusty, sun-burned and covered in bug guts too.

51.7 miles today. 

...and now for a bit of all-in-good-fun snarky competitiveness:

Yesterday's National Bike Challenge standings. Welcome to the top 30!

Today's top 30. HA!

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