Saturday, January 28, 2012

Road Trip - Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cedar Point

Witness the city of Pittsburgh, where two rivers meet to form a third. Our time there was brief. Perhaps best described as a drive through. Although we did park, get out of the car and walk around a bit.

To get to Pittsburgh when traveling, like we were, from West Virginia, one must go through a tunnel. I assume it goes under one of the rivers, but being inside of it I could not say for certain.

My understanding is that on the bluffs across one of the rivers are renovated historic homes which overlook the downtown "V". Our tight time frame, however, did not allow for a visit to this part of the city. Imposing stone office and financial buildings, often classically inspired, dot the area near the small end of the "V". As the "V" widens we found streets lined with narrow row houses. Though prosperous in the past, the city has had it's share of hard knocks. The modest, somewhat shabby condition of these homes are evidence of this. They seem sturdy but tired, like one who has been asked to work too long for too little. Across one of the rivers the new baseball stadium is visible. It's upper decks appear almost terrifying in their verticallity.

We somehow track down a gay bar. As it is Friday, just after many people have left work, it is packed with men getting an early start on their weekend. The crowd is most kindly described as motley. We do not stay for a drink but grab a local gay publication to use as a guide and hightail it out of there.

In many smaller cities gay men know, at least by sight, all other gay men in town. When you enter all eyes turn to you. You are new meat, unfamiliar, this was another reason for our hasty retreat. Deeming the few hotels in town too expensive, we decide to head outside the city in hopes of finding lodging that is more affordable.

We cross a bridge to the side of the river that contains the stadium. Here empty lots share space with once grand and beautiful victorian mansions, now cut up into apartments, which are falling into ruin and decay. About 30 minutes outside of town we find a small motel with rooms priced well within our budget.

We decide our Pittsburgh gay bar experience will consist of a visit to The Pittsburgh Eagle, in large part because it is the bar located nearest to us. In all, I have visited 4 of the Eagle bars across the country. They are, for the record, San Francisco, many times during my years there, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and Chicago, again more that once since I now live there. The Chicago bar no longer exists. I understand the Phoenix bar has also closed. I do not know the fate of the other two. The bar is housed in an old building which sits across from a highway overpass. I seem to remember the area as being almost uninhabited outside of the bar.  It had tin ceilings, 2 floors and not a lot going on. After 2 drinks we decide to cut our losses and return to the motel to rest up for the next leg of our trip.


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