I spent last weekend in Pittsburgh visiting family and meeting my niece’s amazing baby boy. While I was in town, I also wanted to do a little research on The Book I’ve been grappling with, but time was short.
To make the most of it, I took my bike along for the trip and rode from Homestead to Point State Park on Friday. Initially, I was going to take the kayak and paddle it, but I couldn’t tell from Google Maps whether the boat ramp in Braddock would be viable. (Turned out, it would have been, though it is in rough shape … next time.)
Total ride was about 22 miles roundtrip, and the biggest reveal was just how massive the Homestead Works must have been. I rode for a while before I was even off the original mill footprint. From there, I rode toward Pittsburgh and crossed the Hot Metal Bridge to the Eliza Furnace section of the trail, named in honor of the J&L Works that used to wow me as a child. It’s mostly sprawling office complexes now.
I spent time at the Pump House in Homestead and stood at the Homestead Labyrinth, which is at the site where the Pinkertons landed in 1892 and were met by thousands of enraged Homestead residents. I dawned on me that the next day — July 6 — is the day 127 years ago that Homestead erupted in chaos.
It was a great ride. There were baby bunnies everywhere during the Homestead stretch, though they seemed to have the sense to stay off the bike path. I also passed a group of goats who were lazily munching on the weeds between the path and the river bank.
I got a bit turned around when I hit downtown, but the folks at Golden Triangle Bikes pointed me toward the Mon Wharf route, which mercifully kept me off the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh.
When I got to the point, I spent an hour or so at the Fort Pitt Museum, checking out the exhibits. It prompted me afterward to drive by the George Washington statue in Braddock that marks the spot where Gen. Braddock was killed during the French and Indian War. Just as importantly, it’s also the location of the Whiskey Rebellion.
And while I was in Braddock, I stopped to say hi to Joe Magarac, the mill hunky folk hero. A key part of The Book is a recasting of the Magarac tale, so it was good to spend some time with Joe discussing it …
Here are a few other photos from the trip …