Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | August 11, 2016

Days 55-56: Food, a fall, and a visit to Pittsburgh

Day 55
Destination: Steubenville, Ohio
Wednesday’s mileage: 67. Total: 3,134

Sometimes the only thing that distinguishes one day from the next at this late stage is the food. Sloppy Joe’s at the Jewett Restaurant hit the spot in a number of ways. First, I was hungry. Second, there was rain all around. Just after I sat down for a quick bite, the skies opened up and I enjoyed the show while safely and comfortably ensconced in this little gem of a place in Jewett.

Jewett restaurant

I went with the $5 Sloppy Joe lunch special and it didn’t disappoint. I also was warned about the dangers of Steubenville before departing. Said my server’s grandfather, the husband of the Jewett Restaurant’s owner: “Why don’t you just stay here?”

Another thing that locks a day into your memory bank? A fall. Yeah, I fell. It wasn’t tragic or fantastic in any way. I was slogging up a steep hill in eastern Ohio (it’s hilly out here). The cords from my headphones (yeah, yeah — I know, I’m supposed to be paying attention. But I like to listen to books on the long rides) got tangled in my aerobar. As I tried to extricate myself, I steered — at low speed — off the narrow road. As I tried to correct, I lost what little speed I was carrying. Because my shoes have clips that are locked into the pedals, I tried to “clip out.” But because I was now basically stopped, I panicked and tipped over. It was more slow-motion fall than crash, but I’m sure the details of it will grow more harrowing the older I get.

Anyway, I skinned my elbow but otherwise came away unscathed. An older couple in a car coming up the hill behind me slowed down, a look of concern on both of their faces. I waved at them, assuring them I was OK. Pride injured. Body OK. And I carried on.

Beyond that, the day was all about grinding my way to the border of Ohio and West Virginia. I did that. Good enough.

Day 56
Destination: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Thursday’s mileage: 50. Total: 3,184

I crossed over two state lines today. The first hurdle was the Market Street Bridge over the Ohio River. That path took me from Ohio to West Virginia.

Market Street Bridge

I might look a little dazed, but I’m not confused. I crossed TWO state lines today, going from Ohio to West Virginia and then on to Pennsylvania.

After scaling the hills on West Virginia side for a while, I glided down into Colliers and then onto the Panhandle bike trail, which runs alongside Harmon Creek and then on into Pittsburgh. It was great to be off the busy and narrow-shouldered roadways of this part of the country, even though a good section of the trail was crushed limestone (not a perfect surface for my skinny-tired road bike).

Once I cleared the trail and headed into Pittsburgh proper, I was back on roads and back climbing hills. It was slow going and the heat and humidity were oppressive. But I rolled into town, located one of the many Pittsburgh bike trails and found my way to our destination — a beautiful old mansion that has been turned into a hotel. It’s called The Mansions on Fifth. We got a good deal, and at the end of the day, Melody definitely deserves a night like this. Me? Yeah, I think I deserve it, too.

Mansions on FIfth

It’s a beautiful old stone mansion turned into a nice little hotel. Very sweet spot.

***
For more on our trip, please check out the 55andalive website that Melody maintains. It includes her musings about the trip, which are often quite different from my own. And also lots of great photos and some videos, too.

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