Millstone to Milestone (USA Day 17)
You get to a point, we’ve got a point, where you can start saying things like, “Can you believe we started in New York?” That happened this morning, as we had breakfast by our private riverbank wrapped in our sleeping bags, with nobody else in sight except an inquisitive otter who popped up every so often from the steaming water, craning his neck to get a good look at us.
We left the otter behind, despite his claims of cycling prowess, to crack out the final miles to Pittsburgh. The anticipation of a real bed along with slight disappointment at the semi-suburban landscape made the miles drag, and while we progressed quickly it was often joyless. However, the GAP’s well maintained, so navigation was easy and before we knew it we’d hit the industrial outskirts of the city.
We followed the Monongahela river into town, labouring past huffing factories and creaking trains, dodgy water parks and a group of keen autograph-hunters waiting outside the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training ground. Sure, we’d made it, but this was only one stop on our mammoth trip, wasn’t it? Nothing special, right? It was only on these roads, thanks to the wonderful cyclists who greeted us, that the impact of what we’d just achieved started to ripple.
“You just did the GAP? Good job!” cheered a woman heading in the other direction.
“Came from D.C.?” asked another bloke.
And there it is. This feels like the first significant landmark to have reached since leaving NYC. Over 500 miles covered (230 on tough off-road surfaces), ten days of riding, four states pedalled through and we’re here for our second rest day. Willfully, we forced ourselves to appreciate our own achievements until it became no effort. Now, a few hours later, we’re glowing from it.
Today: 52 Miles
Total: 551 Miles