Eastern USA, Trip Reports » McKeesport PA to White’s Ferry MDby novarider
Video of the trip and written report below
Completed this trip last year and am just now getting around to writing a report on it. I started from McKeesport, PA and ended at Whites Ferry, MD. I used the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal to get from point A to B. Total trip length was approximately 280mi over 2.5 days. The entire trip was on dedicated rail trail/double track and went up and over the Eastern Continental Divide. This was the first time riding the GAP trail and I must say..cant get a much nicer trail than this…
The trip started off with a 4am revelry and a 6 hour drive from Virginia up to PA. Thankfully I had a friend that was willing to drive me and my gear up to the drop-off point. During this trip, the GAP trail was not completed from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. They are currently laying trail down for the final few miles to make a complete point to point trail from Pittsburgh to D.C (I plan to ride it this spring). I started the day around 11am and made it to Confluence, about 72 miles.
Breakfast at Sister’s Diner across the river from the campsite was a great way to start the morning!
There is tons to see along the GAP. Many bridges and tunnels and small trail towns. However, not as much camping and water resupplies as the C&O. GAP is also far busier than the C&O and its hard to get a sense of solitude for most of the trail.
I arrived in Myersdale before noon for a quick pitstop and ice cream before the last few miles to the top of the divide. They have a really cool museum inside. If you have time you should check it out for a bit of history of the old rail road system.
Another 8 miles down the trail I reached the heights point in the trip and was rewarded with a downhill journey all the way home to White’s Ferry..
Just following the Divide crossing was a series of tunnels that felt as though I was traveling into the mines of Moria. I forgot to whip out the camera in the Big Savage Tunnel (which is 3300 feet long I should add). I did however stop just after exiting to take this shot…
A bit further and I cross from PA to MD as signaled by the Mason Dixon Line!
Along this final section of the GAP you parallel the Western Maryland Scenic Rail Road. I sadly did not see the train in service that day but I enjoyed the scenes anyway!
I finally reached the end of the GAP trail in Cumberland, MD and had a late lunch in town at a restaurant that I cant remember other than it was the best meal I had all trip (due to having nothing but cliff bars all day)
The remainder of the trip was spent trucking as fast as I could go to stay ahead of a major storm that was chasing me down. It was paused for a few minutes when I crashed out just before the PawPaw tunnel on the C&O canal. That tumble took the pep out of my step and out of the aero bars for awhile. Luckily no permanent damage as I was miles from help in either direction and had not seen a soul in over an hour. There was also no cell signal :-/.
That about sums up the trip. Long days on the bike but a great way to shake down gear in a relatively controlled environment with help and supplies readily available. I plan to do an out and back trip this year from DC to Pitt’s as a final preparation for the Divide in June 2014!