Started the day early, meeting QR and DB in Highland Park and putting our bikes into the back of a van for the trip to DC. It was a luxury to be a passenger. Parked in DC close to mile-post (MP) 0 (zero), got to see the smartphone-based parking meters; we don't have those in Pittsburgh.
Assembled the bikes, put on the panniers, started to ride to the WhiteHouse to rendezvous with the rest of our group. First Lesson Learned: it's good to reconnect the front brake. We thought we would be a group of six, turned out to be a group of five, and we made our way from the White House out along K Street to MP0, the Water Gate, and the cluster of buildings named after it.
We rode out past the Yacht Club and the Capital Crescent Trail, joining the C&O Canal Trail. Between Carderock and Great Falls, the C&O Canal has been breached by flooding and a detour is in place which seems very similar to the Burma Road Detour of a decade ago. It's quite a bit of work to move loaded touring bikes up and down the stairs.
Today being Saturday of Memorial Day weekend there was quite a lot of people on the trail. We saw a copperhead snake at Great Falls, and of course everybody crowded around it, taunting Darwin's Ghost.
At MP16 you pass beyond the "showcase-DC" portion of the trail and into the more hiking/biking segment, and the trail displayed its tendency for mud.
It was not muddy everywhere; it was muddy for about five yards, every 100 yards. Somebody was singing, "Slip-sliding away". The area was dry for the previous five days so conditions were as dry as it gets and the trail was as good as it gets, and it was still muddy enough to be an issue.
Bike handling required continual attention, there was reduced braking and steering, speeds were lower and the bikes all accumulated a lot of mud.
We arrived at the campground, just south of White's Ferry, at about 7pm. We set about making camp, pumping water for showers and cooking, making dinner, and we all went directly to sleep for the night. The solar shower rig worked well and I was glad to cool off.
Making dinner (for me) was a function of boiling water, and generally consisted of using the boiling water in conjuction with things like the photo below, which gave me both a carb and a protein source.
It was a very good first day. Hot, humid, went through a lot of water, and it was muddy. Everybody said that the first 35 miles are the worst as far as the mud goes.
|May 26, 2012 Week 20 |
|246#||2nd Qtr 968 miles|
2012: 1984 miles