Yesterday we packed the car with bicycles, drove to Washington's Landing (an island in the Allegheny, near 31st St from downtown), and took off down river. Hazel has a new-to-her bike, courtesy of one of Emily's soccer friends who outgrew it, and we took our first voyage with it. We arrived on the island, crossed one street, and *voila!* we were on bike trail for the rest of the afternoon.
The journey: across railroad bridge to the North Shore, along the river past lots of trees and weeds (japanese knotweed galore), past the old Heinz Plant, past the Warhol Museum and the hipster downtown condominiums, past the kayak rentals under Pirate Stadium, past Del Monte, Heinz Field (Steelers Stadium), the Science Museum, and finally past the casino. (Emily: "Why are they playing loud music the casino?" Me: "So gamblers can't hear their inner voice saying to stop losing money.")
But we made lots of stops, especially on the way back. First, we stopped just past Del Monte, at the water steps, which feature a tempting and apparently illegible sign saying "Slippery surfaces: Swimming and wading prohibited." It was clear from the number of children in swimsuits that many had brought their children for this particular purpose, so the girls waded in, cooling the biking grime from their legs. (I confess, I dipped my feet in, too) Then we stopped for pizza, just outside Pirate stadium, an early dinner which, had Emily had her way, would have turned into a full-evening activity, Pirates-Phillies game included. Among the trees, Emily spotted ripe mulberries (4 stops) and apple trees (2 stops). The mulberries were eaten on the spot, the slightly-green apples went into my backpack for a pie, later. A stop for looking at the river from an old boat launch, which gave me this view of 3 weeds together: purple loosestrife, covered with hedge bindweed, getting crowded out by japanese knotweed. Competition in action: the Pirates have nothing on these three plants.
Back up the ramp and across the bridge to the island, past the houses, past the restaurant/bar - I'd joked with Emily on the way out that if she exhausted me I might have to stop for a drink on the way back - and back to the car. We loaded up, stopped for grocery store pie crust on the way home, and recovered with apple pie, Brian, and a backyard campfire before bed.