GAP Bicycle Tour 2013 Day Two

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I rose before the Boy Scouts and packed my camping gear into the panniers. I changed from my sleeping clothes into my riding shorts and shirt. There was about a two mile ride to Connellsville for breakfast. As I rode out of the camp the Jeff and Ron were working on the bike rack to try to get it fit for the trip to town. Once they got to town they would need to find a bicycle shop that was open and get a new rack. I wished them luck and headed out for breakfast.

I stopped at the Yough River Park and asked directions to a diner. I dropped off the trail and rode through an adjoining shopping center. The diner was in a strip mall that was not far from the shopping center. After my usual hearty breakfast I walked to a mini-mart across the street to stock up on water. From there unlocked the bike and worked my way back toward the river. As I rode through the city I passed an old train station in town. At one time the town had six train stations and this one, built in 1911, was the only one still standing.

Once back on the trail, the scenery was peaceful and lush green. The trail along the river sometimes broke to the other side of the river or across a run on an old railroad viaduct. There were many places where you can stop and enjoy a view of the river below. I walked down to the river at Bruner Run where there is a take-out for rafts and kayaks. Many years ago my family and I  were here on a rafting trip that ended at this point, so this was a trip down memory lane. Up the trail a couple of miles I crossed another railroad viaduct and stopped to watch kayakers take out on the river below. Just beyond the viaduct I rode into Ohiopyle, where our family raft trip started years ago. I found a bike shop and bought another spare tire tube. Near the bike shop I found a small restaurant with a patio where I had a late lunch. Riding out of Ohiopyle, the trail soon reverted to the quiet trail along the river.

At the town of Confluence the Youghiogheny River merges with Laurel Hill Creek and the Casselman River before petering out at the Youghiogheny River Lake. There were people at the town entrance to attract attention to the town. I decided to see the town and take yet another opportunity to eat. There were the usual people enjoying the river by fishing or just hanging out on the grassy banks.

Out of Confluence the trail follows the Casselman River. It remains peaceful and lush, but the river is sometimes out of view and out of earshot so that you can’t hear the rapids. There was always a temptation to stop and enjoy the river when there was a break in the woods along the river bank or a vista overlooking the river. There were frequent reminders of the heyday of the railroad through here. Telephone poles that ran along the rail bed still stand in many places.

I arrived at Rockwood in early evening. The Husky Haven Campground was easy to find. It is on the trail just beyond the main road into the town of Rockwood. I looked around. The campground is very primitive. There are nice camp sites in a very nice setting, but there are no showers or bathroom facilities. The sign at the campground directs you to the Husky Haven cottage in town if you need to shower. There was a telephone number. I called and asked if there was a vacancy at the guest house. To my happiness, the answer was “yes”.

I turned around and followed the directions of the proprietor to the guest house. The Husky Haven camping facility is run by a husband-wife team as a kind of hobby. He is one of the local tradesmen, an electrician, with his own business. I was making my arrangements through the wife. Their home is across the street from the guest house and the business garage next door.The house is a very nice building with a place to wash clothes and a public shower for campers. The cottage itself had a shower and two bedrooms as well as pull-out beds to accommodate six to eight people. The cost was $60. That was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t want to sleep in the primitive camp tonight. I could have done it, but didn’t want to.

I told her that there were these two other guys who were having a bad day behind me. If they showed up, I might be willing to share the cottage with them. I went to dinner nearby and when I returned Jeff and Ron were there talking with her. We split the rent.

They started their day with the temporary repair of the bicycle rack. The headed into Connellsville and found a bicycle shop that was able to solve their problem and sell them a new rack. All of that put them an hour or two behind me.

They invited me to join them for dinner and I turned them down. That was a good decision for me because they were gone for a long time and didn’t return until late. When they returned I was in bed and falling asleep.

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