2006For 2006's family and friends tour, I chose the Great Allegheny Passage / C&O Canal route from Pittsburgh to DC. Jeanine and I rode Amtrak's Illinois Zephyr and Capital Limited from Quincy to Pittsburgh, changing trains in Chicago. We met my sister Paula and her friend Karen at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. Later my brother Gary and his wife, Lynn, met us in Cumberland for the C&O Canal phase of the trip.
From the time we purchased folding bikes, I considered a shorter trip such as Connellsville to Cumberland. Since folders go as carryon luggage on Amtrak, you don't have to have baggage service at your end point
2010The cancellation of June 2010's Northwoods Tour caused by our daughter's wedding made it necessary to plan a tour. So I settled on Pittsburgh to Cumberland in early September. When I first announced the tour Jeanine said that she might not be able to make it since it would be in the middle of harvest season. But the desire not to be left out triumphed over gardening. And since everyone else I could think of were working or otherwise engaged, it was just the two of us.
I was determined to bike the whole route without shuttle help around the gaps in the trail near Pittsburgh. This went against the recommendation on the official GAP website and consensus opinion of Yahoo's GAP Group members. I was encouraged by an email from a contrarian who recommended a route and that I go for it.
2013I had been waiting for two events to occur before undertaking another Pittsburgh to Cumberland ride on the GAP:
- The long awaited completion of the trail around the Sandcastle Water Park in suburban Pittsburgh
- Completion of CSX railroad's daylighing project near the Pinkerton Horn. This had caused the Capitol Limited's schedule to be advanced 1/2 hour, arriving in Pittsburgh at 4:35am (5:05 was bad enough)
There were only two minor deviations from the 2010 itinerary: in order to distribute the miles between Pittsburgh and Connellsville more evenly, we spent the first night at the John Butler B&B just outside Buena Vista; and since the Riverest B&B in Ursina (just outside Confluence) had closed, we stayed at the River's Edge B&B in Confluence.
2015When hell had finally frozen over - Amtrak instituted roll on - roll off bike service at all stations on the Capital Limited in late September.
Even though it was early October - late in the season by the time I would be able to go, I had to try the new service. Jeanine and I would be the only riders. The lodging choices were the same as 2013, except that the Parker House replaced the Rivers's Edge B&B in Confluence.