Sunday, October 22, 2017

Coffeeneuring 2017 #1, 22 Oct, Cold Stone Creamery, Aspinwall

Off to a late start this year due to both schedule and equipment problems. My main bike is out of service, and Bike #2 is limited to shifting only the front ring. Since this makes biking in traffic difficult for me, I am employing the use of a car for the first time. For the first time in over 20 years, I have a car for my exclusive use. This will at least let me vary my starting points.

For Trip #1, I drove to Millvale, parked the car and headed upstream on two wheels. This is an improved trail for only a quarter mile, then over a mile of rough railroad ballast. Today's excursion also featured a railroad construction crew which blocked 90% of the passable space. Nevertheless I was able to get by them by dismounting and walking the bike on the far side of their equipment. They didn't even look at me.

A bit later I was in Sharpsburg, and took the opportunity to explore some of the back alleys near the river. Later, I tried to find a cut-through under the Highland Park Bridge, close to the railroad tracks, but was not successful, if only due to having to stop to pull a wire out of my gearset. I had to backtrack some, in so doing finding a back way to the entrance to the Boy Scouts' Camp Guyasuta, but alas I did not find a simple, level way to Aspinwall.

Once in Aspinwall, I figured I'd traveled far enough to qualify as a proper coffeeneuring excursion, so scouted out a place to consume such. Water Works Plaza offered several possibilities, as did a few spots in the village. When I got to the end of the plaza, though, I considered the hour and the sun angle, and so opted not to try to get to the next town upstream.

Cold Stone Creamery was the most appealing of several options. A quick check verified that they did indeed have coffee ice cream. I picked out something decadent and sealed the deal.

Since I am off to a late start this year, I am going to have to double up on some weeks. The real trick will be getting these trips in such that they are not part of my routine commute.

The trip back to the car was uneventful, though I did find the level way back next to the tracks that I couldn't find earlier. It really cannot be ridden in its current form, as it is loose ballast. Boy it would be nice if that could be set up as a direct bike path.

The last little bit of fun was finding a new set of tire-eating drain grates. Seems every time I try to go someplace new, I find another one of these. In this case, three, all at the same corner in Sharpsburg. We're fast coming up on 10 years since I started tracking these. Coffeeneuring helps me find more of them! Is that a good thing?