The last time I came to Ohiopyle was in 2016, during the epic KVIITM75 bike ride from Pittsburgh to the Washington DC area. We had arrived at Ohiopyle on the second day of the ride, just in time for a late lunch stop and a detour to visit Fallingwater, the famous Frank Lloyd Wright built home. We had arrived in town with little time to spare, and somewhat tired from the ride from Perryopolis earlier in the day. We had picked up lunch from a restaurant near the place where we were to catch the shuttle to Fallingwater, and had decided to ride our bikes to the Ohiopyle waterfall to consume the food. Alas, we never found the waterfall, having misunderstood directions provided to us, and having taken a path into the woods instead of into town.
But I was determined to return to Ohiopyle some day, not necessarily to look for the waterfall, but to explore the beautiful state park nearby. The attraction of Fallingwater was actually what eventually led us to make the trip back to Ohiopyle last week. We entered the town on a road that actually went past a busy part of town (nowhere near the trail we had biked on), and there on our left, beside the parking lot, were the waterfalls! We spent some time walking through town before and after lunch. Here are some pictures.
The B&O and the Western Maryland railroad lines used to run through Ohiopyle on the two sides of the Youghiogheny river. The Western Maryland line has been converted to the Great Allegheny Passage. The old B&O line is now a CSX mainline connecting the eastern seaboard to the rest of the country. Ohiopyle is now a holiday spot with a focus on watersports and place for bike riders on the GAP to rest. The Ohiopyle State Park is on the other side of the bridge!
I was reminded of this old email that I had sent to family and friends because of some recent news that I blogged about. I will explain at the end.
Ok, I am being overly dramatic! It is not a legend. It is merely a curious story. The particular name in the title has the remote possibility of attracting the attention of suspicious people who like to keep track of activities on the Internet – even though the story is quite old at this point. Anyway, back to the story.
If you were running along the C&O canal near Washington, DC, (just north of mile 1 on the towpath), you might come across a small white cross leaning against a tree trunk beside the trail. On the cross is a card. The card indicates that this is a memorial to Mary Pinchot Meyer.The cross appeared on the trail some time last year and is at the location where she was killed while walking along the towpath in 1964. She was 43 years old when she died, and the cross appeared on the towpath 43 years after her death. Nobody has yet admitted to putting the cross there. Who was Mary Pinchot Meyer? She was John F. Kennedy’s mistress at the time of his death. If you look it up the Internet, you will find a few conspiracy theories surrounding her death. She apparently used to keep a diary that included an account of her affair with JFK. Various people were interested in this diary after her death and went looking for it. Her ex-husband, Cord Meyer, was a higher-up in the CIA and was involved in the search for the murderer. The person who was brought to trial for killing her was acquitted. Just another story on the towpath…
By the way, if you are interested in a really good (but completely humorless) movie about the kind of people who came together to form the CIA during that time, I would recommend The Good Shepherd directed by Robert De Niro.
I finally worked up the courage to do the Potomac tour on foot in the area of Washington DC this morning. Basically I ran on both sides of the river at Washington, DC. Working my way south on the towpath from Fletcher’s Cove,
and then followed the Mount Vernon trail south, past Roosevelt Island and the various bridges that span the Potomac.I followed the trail as it paralleled the George Washington Parkway all the way to Gravelly Point Park at the end of the longest runway for Washington National Airport. I spent some time at Gravelly taking pictures and watching the planes landing and taking off.On the way back, I crossed over the river at the 14th Street Bridge into Washington DC.I got off the bridge close to the Jefferson Memorial, and then worked my way back up north along the river, past the Lincoln Memorial, the Kennedy Center and the Watergate buildings, to the beginning of the towpath. I then followed the canal back to Fletcher’s Cove.Next time I come to this area I will try to explore the trails on Roosevelt Island, and also try to find the trail along the edge of the river north of Key bridge on the Virginia side.
Today’s Postscript: Coming back to Mary Pinchot Meyer, mentioned in the first section of the above email, the cops tried to pin her murder on a black person, Ray Crump, who happened to be in the general area. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, the subject of my previous blog, was the one who was able to get Ray Crump acquitted of the crime. It was quite an achievement for a black woman lawyer in those days!
Since I wrote the original email, I have been to this area, and traveled this path, several times on a bicycle. I have taken the 18 mile long Mt. Vernon trail all the way to Mt. Vernon. I have however not been to Roosevelt island yet! I have also walked the trail on the Virginia side of the Potomac up to the Chain bridge under very trying conditions. That was the subject of another email blast, an email that I might rediscover some other day.
By the way, I have not seen a memorial to Mary Pinchot Meyer in subsequent years at that location, but this could possibly be because I have not been on that section of the towpath at the right time of the year.
I have one of these childhood memories that I am not quite so sure about these days. It could be a figment of my imagination.
As a kid, for some reason on the other, I had a fascination with music played by bands. I must have been in either elementary school or middle school when I recruited my brother and sister for a session of playacting where we pretended to be members of a band. We had no instruments and had to make the sound of the instruments through other means. In the case of the guitar, it mean pretending to be strumming a guitar while making guitar-like sound with the mouth. I think we had a fake trumpet also. But the centerpiece of this fake performance was a piece of borrowed furniture that played the part of a piece in the fake drum-set. I think it is called a pouf, or maybe an ottoman, in the western world. It looked like a beanbag but was better designed to keep its shape. It was covered with stronger material than on a beanbag, perhaps leather based, and stuffed with material that allowed it to better maintain its shape when sat on. It was quite tightly packed, and one could bang on it with a stick and produce a deep sound.
The siblings were assigned their roles in the faux band, and off we went. I think this “tribute to music of the west” only happened a couple of times, and it only lasted a couple of minutes or so when it happened.
But I was reminded of this when I listened to some big band music recently. Perhaps it was music like this that was my inspiration as a kid, but I cannot be sure.
I am sitting in the restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn in El Segundo and I have pleasant buzz going. It is Happy Hour at the bar. I am partaking of a glass of red wine – for health reasons of course. The place is not crowded. Off to my left, at roughly 10 O’clock, a woman is complaining to her companion about the irresponsibility of somebody else in her workplace, and about how she is dealing with it. At a table right in front of me, a couple of folks are busy snacking, chatting, and consuming beer and vodka. At one point one of the gentlemen goes up the bar and brings back the rest of a half-empty bottle of vodka. It seems that he is not interested in having his drink poured into a glass by a waiter a little bit at a time. Off to my front and right, roughly beyond 1 O’clock, a group of women are having a jolly good time jabbering away loudly amongst themselves. I cannot make out if they are consuming any of the cheaper drinks that are being offered for Happy Hour. At 90 degrees to the direction I am facing, exactly to my right, is another gentleman who, just like me, is looking up at the Flat Panel TV high up on the wall towards a corner of the room. I think this gentleman is here for a free dinner. Along with his wine, he is eating the free oily hors d’oeuvres and the soup that are being offered a a part of Happy Hour. He has made at least a couple of trips to the buffet table for the food. The two of us are watching bits and pieces of the move “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in High Definition. I see Richard Dreyfuss go cuckoo and start throwing all kinds of things from the garden through his kitchen window into his home. It seems that he wants to build a model of a mountain in his living room. Through the big glass windows of the restaurant right in front of me I can see the coconut trees and a parking lot. Beyond the parking lot is the elevated train station for the Los Angeles Light Rail Commuter train. I wonder if the spot outside the restaurant would be a good location to take a picture of the trees and the train station from, especially when a train arrives at the station and the light of the setting sun hits its side.
I am absorbing all of this while consuming my veggie burger. I am enjoying the French Fries. They are a special treat since I do not eat them often. They are not supposed to be good for me. I will make up for this breakdown in discipline by consuming a plate of fruit salad in the end. All of this probably only makes a difference in my mind.
I am experiencing all of this as if I am observing myself from somewhere outside of myself. Apparently, I am feeling a little detached. I am feeling a little separated from myself. You might think you know what I am doing here, but I am pretty sure I do not. But it is good to have that pleasant buzz anyway. Thanks goodness for Happy Hour.
I took the following pictures during my later trips to the city from the proximity on the hotel mentioned above, at the corner of Mariposa and Nash. Regular trips to Los Angeles were part of my work routine in those days, and I used to stay at this place a lot. I was also still in recovery mode from my heart procedure at that time.
It is a cold morning here in Gaithersburg, with the wind and the sub-zero temperatures making me glad to be indoors. But I am beginning to feel warmer already. I leave today to the land of my birth, to the place of my childhood. It is a trip that I used to make more often. It is a trip that has been delayed this time more than it should have.
When I step out of the airport in Chennai I will once again absorb the feelings of being in a familiar place. But I also wonder how much the place has changed since I last visited. Will I still experience the familiar chaos, noises and smells? I wonder how much people have changed since I last saw them. People grow older, and perhaps wiser, and sometimes more frail. I wonder how much I have changed.
Today is the birthday of an old friend. We go back a long way, all the way back to elementary school. My friend is a remarkable person – full of joy, sweet, smart, kind, curious, adventurous, and always helpful. He is one terrific guy. I went on a bike ride with him this summer in the Rockies in Canada. Here are some pictures from the ride that capture his spirit, including his sometimes playful, dare I say, cheeky nature.
At the start of the ride.At the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.The lovely couple.Do not know what happened here!Supporting a fellow rider up a challenging slope.He is his own man,but I am not sure what he is doing here.They both have one foot in the Banff National Park and the other in the Jasper National Park.The explorer on Parker Ridgeprobably looking at Saskatchewan Glacier (not in the picture) in the distance.He gives a friendly wave as we head out to our stop for the evening at The Crossing Resort.He was the first to venture into the glacier fed waters of Waterfowl lake. It was cold!Here he is returning from an exploration in the vicinity of Bow Summit.The friendly wave. Happy birthday and happy trails, my friend!
Moments like these anchor memories of happy days gone by,
When one partook of the joys of the simple things in life,
Toes in the water, holding hands, beauty of nature and birds in the sky,
No worries about what tomorrow will bring,
Heart filled with so much joy, the soul could sing.