Yesterday, Dear Husband and I took the opportunity of a few unclaimed hours we had to go on another preparation run. Our trip is only days away now and we wanted to make sure we could find a parking area near Point State Park in Pittsburgh where we could unload our bikes and maneuver easily to the trail.
We chose this area located under the 31st Street bridge in an area called Washington’s Landing, a place neither of us had ever been before. It turned out to not only be a perfect starting point, but also a wonderfully quiet location that I would visit again. On this small “island” area there are several restaurants, office spaces and a beautiful community of condominium homes tucked into a mature growth of trees and other plants. It isn’t often that I, a die hard country girl, find a place in any city that I would find appealing to live, but yesterday, I found such a place.
After unloading, we found our way to The Heritage Trail, one of the many bike trails that Pittsburgh offers. This particular trails takes riders right down along the river and past the baseball stadium. Not far beyond the stadium we took a sidewalk to the Fort Duquesne Bridge. This bridge has a separate ramp and lane just for walking and bicycling. Once across the bridge the trail goes right into Point State Park.
Point State Park is the starting point for the Greater Allegheny Passage Trail, the GAP, and will be our official beginning point for our 330 mile trip. Dear Husband and I have never visited this iconic symbol of Pittsburgh even though we live just a short distance away.
On our way out of Point State Park, we passed by the Fort Pitt Blockhouse.
“The Block House was built in 1764 as a small defensive redoubt and is the only surviving structure of Fort Pitt, as key British fortification during the French and Indian War, which also served as the western headquarters of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
“The Block House was originally constructed to help defend Fort Pitt from American Indian attacks during the mid-18th century. After the British abandoned the fort in 1772, the Block House turned into a trading post for a number of years. By 1785, the building was converted into a single family dwelling. During the 19th century it became a multi-family tenement with a family living on the second floor.” DCNR.STATE.PA.US website
To get onto the GAP Trail from Point State Park you have to travel several blocks on Pittsburgh streets. We had a map, but stopped a park ranger on our way out of Point State Park to be sure we were heading in the right direction. Riding on the busy streets was a little intimidating, but we made it through without any problems. There are trail signs along the route making it easier to follow. Dear Husband made the comment, “Never in my life did I think I would ever be pedaling a bicycle through downtown Pittsburgh.” I guess he was a little out of his comfort zone too!
Once on the trail, we decided to ride a few miles since we haven’t had much time in the last two weeks to do any biking. These few miles through Pittsburgh neighborhoods is a wonderful ride and I would recommend anyone that likes to bicycle to check out one of the many trails. We rode as far as the South Side crossing the Hot Metal Bridge
On the other side of the Hot Metal Bridge. we jumped off the trail and were able to ride to an area of shops and restaurants. Dear Husband wanted to make a stop at the REI store and I waited outside with the bikes even though this store allows bicyclers to bring their bike into the store with them while they shop.
While waiting I took a few pictures of the Hofbrauhaus House, a German restaurant.
Hofbrauhaus-The Craft Bier of Bavarian Kings-Pennsylvania’s first authentic Hofbrauhaus-modeled after the legendary 400+ year-old Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany…” Hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com
After Dear Husband made his purchases we had to head back the trail and back to the truck. It was a perfect afternoon of riding and not only served to help us sort out our plan for departure, but also added to my excitement about this whole adventure. I am shouting prayers of thanks for the prospects of good weather for our departure and am working hard at staying focused on the work still needing to be done until the official day we begin.