Yokatomactrek '99

 

Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA

June 12-20 1999

 
Celebrate inter-city trails on the C&O Canal Towpath
and the rail-trails of the Allegheny Trail Alliance by riding the length of the nearly-completed trail
 

Five states and a dozen trails in nine days!

The Trekkers are off!

If the winds of cyberspace favor us, we'll post periodic reports as we go.

The trail connection between Washington DC and Pittsburgh PA is nearly complete. It follows the C&O Canal Towpath, the Allegheny Highlands Trail, and The Youghiogheny River Trail with a gap still on roads near Frostburg.

The Yokatomactrek is a bike ride using these trails from Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA as a lead-in for the International Greenways Conference to be held in Pittsburgh June 22-26.

The Yokatomactrek has two parts: a cooperative, largely self-supported, through-ride from Washington and Trail-A-Bration '99, a Father's Day finale on the trails of the Allegheny Trail Alliance featuring the Trek Fest party at McKees Point and a mass arrival in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening June 20.

The Through-Ride

We'll spend a leisurely week-and-two-days on the trail, allowing time to enjoy the scenery and the historical setting. For simplicity, we're using lodging that's within easy biking distance of the trail, including motels, B&Bs, and primitive campgrounds. There's an all-indoor-lodging option and a mostly-camping option. Trip size is limited by the capacity of the available lodging. We'll have a van to carry baggage and camping equipment during the day -- the inimitable Bill Metzger has volunteered to drive it! Access to the trail is limited, so sag support will be very limited.

We're organizing this as a cooperative, self-supported trip with a group of friends. We'll share planning and logistics effort and common expenses. Since indoor lodging is scarce in some locations, we're planning on the basis of double occupancy. Everyone will be responsible for his or her own equipment, meals, and lodging expenses. We'll try to help organize carpools for transportation before and after the trip. This is not an outfitted trip -- plan to be self-sufficient, and be prepared to help out other riders if any problems come up!

The C&O Canal Towpath is significantly rougher than the rail-trails on the Pittsburgh end of the route. On our trip a year and a half ago, a friend rode a good hybrid and did just fine. However, we recommend against using a road bike unless you've already tried it for day-trips on the upper sections of the towpath.

Several people would like to see the Washington and Old Dominion Trail while they're down there. Since no one has objected, we will gather Friday evening in Leesburg for a Saturday morning start. We'll ride down the W&OD on Saturday and return to Leesburg via the C&O Canal Towpath on Sunday. Monday we'll return to the Towpath and stay close to it for four days, all the way to Cumberland. The Allegheny Highlands Trail in Maryland group will host us as guests of honor at a barbecue on Thursday night. On Friday we'll take the Western Maryland Scenic RR to Frostburg, drive across the trail gap to Meyersdale, and complete the trip on the Allegheny Highlands Trail in Pennsylvania, the Youghiogheny River Trail South and North, and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. The last day (Father's Day) we'll be joined by throngs of happy day-riders on the ATA's first Trail-A-Bration ride from Cedar Creek Park to McKeesport and then to the Jail-Trail in Pittsburgh. The Mayors of McKeesport and Pittsburgh will officially welcome us.

Itinerary: Route and Lodging

Date

Riding mileage

Itinerary

Indoor Lodging and cost per person

Camping Location

Fri eve 6/11
(optional)
0 get people and bikes to Leesburg Days Inn, 721 East Market St, 1 rm 1 king, 5 rms 2 dbl, $30+tx ($60 if alone in rm) (703-777-6622) no convenient camping
Sat 6/12 39 or 43 Leesburg to Washington DC via W&OD Trail and various connectors. Lunch at Vienna Georgetown Inn, 1310 Wisconsin Av, 1 block north of M St, 2 blocks north of towpath, 3 rms 2 beds, 2 rms 3 beds, $35-65+tx (202-333-8900) no convenient camping

Su 6/13

41 (35.5 on C&O and Capital Crescent, 5.5 on road to Leesburg)

Washington DC to Leesburg via C&O Canal Towpath, Capital Crescent Trail, and Whites Ferry. Lunch at Great Falls

Days Inn, 721 East Market St, leave towpath at MP 35.5, cross river at Whites Fy, go up hill on VA side to US15, endure a couple of miles on US15, rm 1 king, 5 rms 2 dbl, $30+tx ($60 if alone in rm) (703-777-6622) no convenient camping

Mo 6/14

43 (5.5 from Leesburg, 37 on C&O, 0.5 to B&B)

Whites Ferry to Shepherdstown. Lunch at Brunswick

Thomas Shepherd Inn,Cor German and Duke Sts in Shepherdstown, 3/4 mile from MP73 on WV side of river, 1 rm full/twin/cot, 2 rm 1 full/cot, 1 rm 1 queen. $40-45 +tx incl bkfst (304-876-3715) Antietam walk-in camp (free)

Tu 6/15

50 (.5 from B&B, 49 on C&O and WesternMd RT)

Sharpsburg to Hancock. Lunch at Williamsport

Hancock Budget Motel, 210 E Main St. 3 rooms with 2 double beds, 2 rooms with 1 double bed. $22.50-$45 + tx (301-678-7351) NPS Hancock access (special permit)

We 6/16

32 (31 on C&O, 1 to B&B)

Hancock to Paw Paw. Lunch at Bill's in Little Orleans

Paw Paw Patch B&B, 402 Winchester St, 1.5 miles from MP 156 Paw Paw trail access on WV side of river, capacity is 3 double rooms plus 2 double beds next door, all ours;. $27.50-$55+tx, incl bkfst (304-947-7496)

Paw Paw boat launch campsites (free)

Th 6/17

32 (1 from B&B, 30 on C&O, 1 to hotel)

Paw Paw to Cumberland. Lunch at the park with the restored canal boat, about MP 175

Inn at Walnut Bottom, 120 Greene St, about 6 blocks from trail on west side of tracks, 5 rooms of various sizes, average price ~$45 incl bkfst (800-286-9718) no convenient camping

Fr 6/18

30 (25 on Allegheny Highlands Trail, 5 on singletrack or roads)

Cumberland to Confluence. Lunch at Frostburg (get food in Cumberland)

Preview future trail on scenic RR ($16.50); shuttle Frostburg to Meyersdale; ride Meyersdale to Confluence

River's Edge, 203 Yough St, about 4 blocks from PA281 along the Yough River, 3 rooms, accommodates 6 people, $30 + tx includes continental breakfast (814-395-5059) Yough Dam Outflow Campground (pay)

Sa 6/19

49 (47 on Yough River Trail, 2 to motels)

Confluence to Smithton. Lunch at Connellsville.

Fairway Inn, a mile or so west up the PA981 hill at Smithton, $20-25 (724-929-6677) no convenient camping

Su 6/20

25 (22 on Yough River Trail, 3 on Eliza and a few blocks to park)

Ride Smithton to Cedar Creek Park; join Trail-A-Bration '99 ride to McKeesport; transport to Eliza Trail; Eliza Trail to Grand Arrival

sleep at home sleep at home

We'll have an option to sleep every night in a B&B or motel and another option for primitive camping on four of the nine nights and indoor lodging the other five nights. We'll also be able to provide other combinations of indoor and outdoor sleeping.

Indoor capacity is limited, so we'll share rooms. The rates quoted in the table above are based on full occupancy. If you use a room at less than full capacity, your cost will go up. For example, Paw Paw has only five rooms, each with one double bed, plus one cot (we have confirmed reservations for all of those); we've planned several room for single occupancy to avoid putting unrelated people in the same bed, so their rate will be $55/person. We have to guarantee the reservations, so we need a deposit $100 for campers, $125 for non-campers.

Camping is limited to about 10 by the size of the hiker-biker sites on the towpath. These sites are open clearings next to the towpath equipped with a pump, chemical toilet, picnic table, and usually a path to the Potomac River. They are shared by people traveling the towpath; on weekday nights we have only rarely had company, though. A couple of locations don't have convenient camping, so the campers will get hot showers every few nights.

Riding miles are approximate but close. They're figured for the indoor lodging. Camping will be a few miles longer because of ride back from dinner to campsite and ride out to road in the morning to get gear to the van. We'll have cue sheets and maps -- primarily for the road connections, as the trail directions are pretty simple (for example, "Turn left (northwest) on the towpath, go 18.5 miles to Brunswick Park at milepost 54 for lunch.")

Logistics

Good news -- Bill Metzger has volunteered to drive the support van! We'll use a personally-owned van to carry baggage during the day.

We should use the smallest number of vehicles possible to get to Leesburg. We'll arrange to get those vehicles back to Frostburg so we can use all the vehicles to carry people around the trail gap between Frostburg and Meyersdale. We can retrieve the vehicles from Meyersdale on Sunday evening 6/20 or Monday 6/21, or we can do some shuttling on Satuday 6/19.

Meals

Breakfast will be at or near where you sleep. B&Bs provide breakfast, motels have breakfast nearby, campers can choose between cooking and riding out to a restaurant. We'll have lunch along the trail; there are grocery stores every couple of days, so plan to take some lunches that don't need refrigeration. Bill has offered to pick up food to enliven your lunch. Dinner will be near the indoor lodging; we'll have dinner early enough for the campers to ride the couple of miles to the campsite and set up after dinner.

Other information

If you don't have your favorite list of things to pack for a week-long bike trip, there's a nice one at http://dcs.umd.edu/~mark/things3.html that some Washington DC folks put together for a ride a year and a half ago. This was drawn up for a motel-and-hostel trip, so it doesn't cover any camping equipment. BRING A BIKE LOCK! You may need to leave you bike unattended during meals. Based on recent observation, it would be a good idea to bring toilet paper instead of relying on the facilities to be stocked. This is mosquito season, so bring insect repellent; you'll definitely need it if you stop to change a tire.

We wrote a trip report after we rode this trip a year and a half ago. A number of other web sites provide information about the route. Since we list these on the Allegheny Trail Alliances Other Links page, we'll just refer you there.

Our choice for the guidebook to have in our pack while riding the towpath is Hahn's Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal, though Mike High's C&O Canal Companion provides a better overview. The ATA bookstore has ordering information

Costs

Shared costs: Phone calls and postage to set up reservations ($50-100), copying of map/cue sheets etc ($30-50), operating costs of support van ($50-100), expenses of volunteer driver ($5-600). Expect around $80 per person.

Individual costs: The major individual costs are lodging and meals. Lodging costs are shown in the itinerary; expect $400+tax for the all-indoor option if we use the rooms fully. You're better able to guess meal expenses than we are. We'll also make polo shirts for those who want them. The Trail-A-Bration will offer food and T-shirts, for a price, .

Contacts

Mailing list of people who have expressed interest: Yokatomactrek@ATAtrail.org Mail sent to this address is automatically sent to the entire list of interested people.

Coordinators: Mary Shaw and Roy Weil Mail sent through these links reaches us individually and is not automatically sent to the whole list.

Most communication and coordination will be by email.


The Father's Day Finale: Trail-A-Bration '99

Everyone is welcome to join the ride for the final day or even the whole weekend. We hope to have a few hundred people on Father's Day.

Date Event Itinerary Arrangements Cost
Sun June 20 Fathers Day Grand Finale Start at Cedar Creek Park, ride 22 miles to McKeesport for a trail celebration. After that, move to the Eliza Trail, and ride 5 more miles on the Eliza trail to a welcoming ceremony near the Jail. Mayors of McKeesport and Pittsburgh will welcome you. Snacks, lunch at McKee Park. Commemorative shirt optional. a la carte

The Yokatomactrek web pages are hosted by the Allegheny Trail Alliance. This page last updated 06/10/99.