October 25, 2003: Dinner at Fred's House
October 4, 2003: A Visit to the Arboretum
Return to Index for 2003

October 19-24, 2003
A Trip to Pittsburgh


This week, I am on a business trip to Pittsburgh, PA. Almost all of the pictures and movies I took this week had nothing to do with the actual Pervasive class, and so I have created this album page for them, although this was ostensibly a business trip. If you want to see the pictures that I took that were business-related, you can go to the Business Trips page from the main index and choose the "Allegheny County" link from the page index there.


The Fort Pitt Tunnel

While I was working in Pittsburgh, I stayed out in a town called Greentree, at the Parkway Best Western, which is actually part of a shopping mall/office complex. To get into town each day, I had only to drive down to the expressway and then take it into the city.

The route takes me through the Fort Pitt Tunnel under Mount Washington, which is right across the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh. This route is, I think, one of the most spectacular ways to enter any American city. The reason it is so interesting is that when you are driving towards the tunnel entrance, you cannot see any of downtown Pittsburgh; it is totally blocked by Mount Washington. So it seems as if you are driving through the countryside, and simply entering a tunnel that will just bring you to the other side of some mountain or something; you think that the scenery on the far end of the tunnel will be much like what is near the entry.

But nothing could be further from the truth. When you come out of the exit of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, you immediately find yourself out over the Allegheny River on the Fort Pitt Bridge, and lo and behold the city of Pittsburgh (which has some pretty spectacular architecture) is spread out in front of you. I have always likened it, when I try to describe the scene to someone who hasn't been there, as coming out of the dark forest and finding the Emerald City spread out in front of you. I can still remember the first time I drove into Pittsburgh following this route from the airport, and how amazed I was when the city just popped up in front of me.

Entering the Fort Pitt Tunnel

Now that I am here with a digital camera and now that I have mastered the technique of taking movies while I drive, I can show you what it is like. On Monday morning, I took a movie as I drove the car into the Fort Pitt Tunnel from the southwest (M1). You can watch that movie with the player at left.

I also began a movie at the point labeled "M2" on the aerial view above so I could show you the amazing entrance into the city when you come out of the tunnel, and I did, but the weather was crappy and the movie did not turn out well.

Entering Pittsburgh

I tried each day to get an acceptable movie and finally, on my last day here, I got one that works. To have plenty of time to show you Pittsburgh, I began this movie at "M3" on the aerial view, and it continues until we are almost across the Fort Pitt Bridge. I must admit though, watching the movie now, that even it doesn't really convey that feeling you have of coming into the Emerald City.

I found myself wishing that I had taken the time one evening for travel the same route and make the same movie at night, when all the skyscrapers lights are still on; I have come through the tunnel at night before, and THAT is REALLY quite spectacular.


The Grandview Avenue Overlook

The class ended early enough on the last day that I had some time for some sightseeing before I had to be at the airport for my flight back to Dallas. Following a recommendation from a class member, I drove up to Grandview Avenue, which runs along the city side of Mount Washington, almost at the top of the ridge, and which is supposed to afford excellent views of the city. The weather cooperated, and when I got to Grandview Avenue, I did get some great views.

I took a number of pictures and movies from up here, and I am going to use the aerial view at the left to show you approximately where I was when the pictures and movies were taken. I wanted the aerial view to be large enough that you could see both the overlook and where the city was in relation to it, but to get all that in ended up making the notations a bit crowded. When I talk about the pictures and movies, then, keep in mind that many of them were taken from essentially the same spot- at the overlook pretty much in front of St. John's Catholic Church.

First, you should take a look at five pictures, all taken from the same spot, that give you a complete view as it appeared from this overlook. The links below are annotated with the same numbers as are on the aerial view so you can see in which direction each picture was taken:

  Southeast along Mt. Washington (P1)
  Southeast along the Allegheny River (P2)
  Northeast towards Downtown Pittsburgh (P3)
  North towards Golden Triangle Park (Monongahela River) (P4)
  Northwest along Mt. Washington/Down the Ohio River (P5)

From my vantage point in front of the church, I also took two good movies of the view of Pittsburgh from here atop Mount Washington. Lucky are the people who live up here and can revel in this view every day. Watch these movies with the players below:

Panning from the southeast counterclockwise to the
northwest, to take in all the views that you saw
in the pictures above

Begins at St. John's Church and pans around clockwise
from northwest to southeast to show the view of
Pittsburgh from Mount Washington

Before I headed off for the airport, I drove further northwest along Grandview to see if I could get some different views of the city. I came to an open area across the street from a mid-rise apartment building on the crest of the hill that must have had terrific views, judging from the views of Golden Triangle Park, the city and the three rivers of Pittsburgh that I was able to get from here. Take a look at a wonderful view of Pittsburgh and use the player at left to watch my movie of the same scene.

October 25, 2003: Dinner at Fred's House
October 4, 2003: A Visit to the Arboretum
Return to Index for 2003