So then, Reddan used his amazing networking skillz to assembly a motley crew of randoesque folk to partake in a leisurely Sunday ramble amongst sylvan dale and babbling brook. Ok, enough vocabulary for now…
Yeah, we wanted to scout the first 100 miles or so of the NYC route. So, we devised an out and back starting in Homestead (at the site of one of organized labor’s bloodiest battles in U.S. history) and turning around in Cresson (located at the top of the first railroad to breach the Allegheny front) and heading back. Full route being a solid 300K.
There were seven starters, and four finishers of the full route (Chris, Steph, Jim, and Bill). Three of us (Reddan, Sarah P., and meeself) decided to turn around at mile 70 and make a ‘short’ day of it.
Seeing as this route was totally untested from about mile 10 onwards, we all had no idea what to expect. Some significant observations were made:
1. The West Penn trail is an actual TRAIL with garlic in it’s soul, not a stevia sweetened low calorie rail trail bon bon.
2. The West Penn trail gets confusing at one critical point not far from the Conemaugh Dam, and it’s easy to be lured into bushwacking. Not that we would actually do that, you see.
3. Hey, this is a great route. All of the roads intended for the one way NYC route are keepers.
4. If we can eliminate a little Ghost Town Trail for some roads, that might not be a bad thing. But not totally necessary either in the context of a one way ride.
5. Dillweed is a place, and they have a nice country store there.
6. Sarah is a tough lady. After wiping out in the soft shoulder of the GTT whilst trying to pass a lady on a motorized trike with dog-holding sidecar (not joking) she merrily mended her wounds with baby wipes, neosporin, and duct tape and continued to ride another 70 something miles without complaint. Then she worked a 13 hour day starting the next morning.
Anyhoo, the routes were..
Rest of the pics I took are here: http://s771.photobucket.com/user/steamer_03/library/NYC%20Scouting%201