Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

September 17, 2012

Biking Pittsburgh to Maryland on mountain trail

(Continued)

Still on the Pennsylvania side, in Connellsville at day's end, we scattered to four B&Bs booked months earlier, none large enough to hold us all. The Victorian Rose — http://www.thevictorianrosebedandbreakfast.com/ — and quilt-themed Seams Like Home — http://www.seamslikehomeretreat.com/ — were a little outside of town; the owners picked up their guests and bikes. Downtown, the Connellsville B&B — .,http://www.connellsvillebedbreakfast.com/ — hosted the most, and its pumpkin-cinnamon pancakes in the morning were a hit. Also in town, the Greenwood House — http://www.thegreenwoodhouse.com/ — offered a bare-bones breakfast, the tradeoff for a lower price.

DAY 2: Connellsville to Rockwood, Pa., 47 miles (76 kilometers)

In no time we're in one of the most remote and gorgeous parts of the ride, an 18-mile (29-kilometer) leg to Ohiopyle, much of it high above the Youghiogheny. A steady rain begins; you can see it rustling the river but it comes down only as a cooling spritz on your face, under the trail's thick tree canopy. This feels like the heart of the ride.

In Ohiopyle, people are clambering over rocks in shallow rushing water, lollygagging along the river's edge and whooping it up in colorful inflated rafts. It's bustling place, a destination on its own, but early for lunch so we fill our bottles and move on to Confluence 11 miles away. At this confluence of rivers, the trail leaves the Yock and picks up the Casselman.

You've gained elevation over two days, almost imperceptibly. Now you feel it, on the last stretch to Rockwood. But take heart: A big reward is ahead the next day.

A thunderstorm nips at our heels, catching some of us riding in the rear while others make it dry to town, only to get drenched there. Of the Rockwood B&B choices, the Gingerbread House —http://www.thegingerbreadhousebandb.com/ — in town and Glade's Pike Inn — http://www.gladespike.com/— outside are the favorites.

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