Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish. by Vannevar Bush       about       /       murals       /       Pgh-DC bike maps new

Sunday, November 6, 2016

DC to Meyersdale

11.01.2016 5m
11.02.2016 60m
11.03.2016 52m
11.04.2016 53m
11.05.2016 50m
11.06.2016 10m
Nov. mtd:230 ytd:2646
To most folks, a relative's one-way moving truck rental is kind of a nuisance; you still have to get back home. But to a cyclist, a one-way rental is an opportunity to throw your bike in the back and ride your bike home. On Tuesday Nov.2nd, I drove a rental truck down to Richmond, VA. Rode around Richmond, met a friend for dinner, went to one of the "two" Amtrak stations in Richmond - Staples Mill is the Amtrak station with RORO bike service.

Of course, the bike service is available on the 0430AM departure to DC. I don't know that I've ever spent the night in a train station before. Kind of quiet.

Disembarked Wednesday morning at DC's Union Station, in the last stages of morning rush hour. Riding in DC is tremendous! I rode Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and then M Street out to Georgetown. Instead of starting on the C&O, I took the Key Bridge, the Custis Trail, and the W&OD out to Leesburg. I really like this route. Stopped at Green Lizard Cycling and Coffee for espresso, and in Leesburg for a late lunch.

There's a 5-mile penalty for riding the W&OD to MP36, but it was worth it. I really like that ride. The transition from Leesburg to the ferry wasn't bad. I'm continually bemused at Jubal Early's name on the ferry - he's the architect of the Lost Cause myth of the Confederacy. Those "South Shall Rise Again" memes? Straight out of Jubal Early.

Camped at MP50 after riding 60 miles.

Thursday I rode into Brunswick MD for coffee & breakfast at Beans in the Belfry. Awesome. Rode north. Skipped Shepherdstown and Harper's Ferry, rode into Williamsport. Stopped at Tony's for dinner, and Desert Rose Cafe for coffee. Back on the trail to MP101.

Friday I departed Williamsport. Saw some great demonstrations of stone balancing on the paved WMRT.

Stopped in Hancock. Checked out Blue Goose Bakery & Fruit. It's not really a place to stop on a bike trip, but they do have pie and wine. Breakfast at Weaver's. Rode to Little Orleans; Bill's Place was empty, possibly because of squirrel and turkey hunting season. Back on the trail to the Paw Paw Tunnel.

I'd like to reassert my long-standing belief that the southern portal of the Paw Paw tunnel is the most dangerous place on the C&O. Banked slickrock, on a narrow surface, no guard rail, a steep drop into a slimy creek. Could be a lot better.

I learned there's actually two NPS campgrounds on the north side of the Paw Paw Tunnel. The small hiker-bike close to the tunnel is where I should have stayed. The really big campground at MP156 is for groups like the boy scouts who showed up at 2130 and were pretty loud until 2300. But the big lot has cell coverage.

Saturday I departed PawPaw. My plan was: 28 miles to Cumberland, then 22 miles up to the Big Savage Vista. I got there, but it was a lot more work than I'd expected. There was a terrific wind up there overnight, the top of the tent was moving quite a lot. Great sunrise.

Sunday I rode from Big Savage Vista to Meyersdale. Unfortunately, my fave breakfast spot (the GI Dayroom) is closed Sunday, as is just about everywhere else. Sheetz doesn't have indoor seating. The Subway shop had tables and chairs. On a Sunday, outside of the normal season, there's not much out there.

After-Action Report: trying to do 50-mile days, fully loaded, in November's reduced daylight and cold temps, with the election as a deadline wasn't smart. It was a great ride, but it stopped being fun.

  • I got tired of laying down all the time - I was warm enough on the bike, and when I got off the bike I needed to get into my sleeping bag to stay warm. I felt like I was in the hospital, laying down for 12+ hours a day.
  • There really isn't much open in the way of support businesses once the season shuts down - some towns are effectively Dead To Bike Tourists.
  • Being on the trail was a welcome respite from the Election Season.

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