Friday in Pittsburgh

My cousin sent me an I.M. a few days ago about needing a ride to the local DMV office in my town.  Since he was off on Friday and worked evening on Saturday, I decided to go after him  Friday late morning.  I decided to take the motorcycle.  I also decided to wear my leather gear, instead of the lighter summer gear, since I thought I would be back home before it got too warm.  Going into Pittsburgh wasn’t too bad, with the traffic moving pretty good through the inbound tunnel. I got to Oakland, waited for cousin to get ready, and we headed back.  As I was leaving, I thought that I should go out a different way, rather than going back down to where I came in. Since it was only about noon, I decided not to listen to my little voice.

As we got closer to downtown and the tubes… traffic started backing up.  More traffic.  Uh-oh. So, I waited in traffic, in full leather, with a rider on the back, in direct noonday sunlight.  “This isn’t looking good, I thought.  I wondered what was going on, because it shouldn’t have been that bad at noon on a Friday.  I made my way to the Grant Street exit to find a way out.  I was really starting to feel the heat. I wished I had decided on the lighter jacket. I crossed Smithfield Bridge toward Carson, and things were moving pretty good. I was looking to go toward the West side to go around the tubes. After only a short distance, traffic stopped again. We waited in traffic again for a long time, until I got to a place where I could see the distance I was from the tunnels.  It was a long way and we were barely moving.  I turned around when I found a spot and headed back to find yet **another** way out.  I was headed back up Carson, hoping that the Liberty Tunnels weren’t all backed up.  I saw a sign that read “To 51” and I made the right up over the hill. This brought me down on the other side of Mount Washington, onto 51.  I was feeling like I was making some progress, finally. I went down 51 toward the tubes.  As I got to the exit, traffic backed up again.  The difference this time, is that it seemed to be moving a little bit.  It was still hot, but at least I knew within 10 minutes or so, I would be moving at highway speeds again.  As I got back onto the road on the other side of the tunnels, I realized that the tunnels were closed. They had closed the outbound tube at about the time I came through the inbound. Traffic was a nightmare.  It took me somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to make a trip that normally would have taken about 45 minutes to an hour.

Last night, I looked online and found that they had closed it for “emergency repairs”.  And I also discovered that before I came in, there was a 7 vehicle — 4 trucks, 3 cars — accident on the inbound bridge; which was cleaned up just before I came through.

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