Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172

    Riding the C&O Canal

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    The D.C. contingent of TE (and guest!) toured the C&O Canal this past week. This was my first attempt at bike touring, and it was wonderful.

    Here's what the National Park Service has to say about the C&O Canal:
    "184 1/2 Miles of Adventure
    Preserving America’s colorful Canal era and transportation history, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is 184.5 miles of adventure. Originally, the C&O Canal was a lifeline for communities and businesses along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, grain and other agricultural products floated down the canal to market. Today millions of visitors hike or bike the C&O Canal each year to enjoy the natural, cultural and recreational opportunities available."


    Over 5 days (longer, I understand, than it took for a mule-pulled barge to travel the same route), we rode 184.5 miles from Cumberland, MD, to Washington, D.C. The area is rich in history - transportation, agricultural, and Civil War. Mostly, we stayed in hotels, although the more intrepid among us camped a few nights.

    The area was beautiful. The riding was great. The company was fantastic. And the weather was just about perfect. All in all, a near-perfect tour.

    See pix and some discussion here: http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showt...365#post371365
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    Wow! I'm so jealous of your trip!!!
    What was your favorite part? How many nights did you camp out? Has anyone written up a day by day recap of the trip (or did I just miss it on that post- going back to look now)?
    My parents and I lived in DC for a short time (long before I biked) and I wish I could go back there now with a different set of eyes (bikers eyes).
    Congrats on your first tour!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Quote Originally Posted by Tri Girl View Post
    Wow! I'm so jealous of your trip!!!
    What was your favorite part? How many nights did you camp out? Has anyone written up a day by day recap of the trip (or did I just miss it on that post- going back to look now)?
    My parents and I lived in DC for a short time (long before I biked) and I wish I could go back there now with a different set of eyes (bikers eyes).
    Congrats on your first tour!
    Thanks!
    I think the whole thing was my favorite!
    I just had a grand time.
    I didn't camp out at all. Stayed in hotels or inns or lodges with real beds and showers!! DebW and Zen did some camping - but not every night. No real day-by-day recap. I did record my mileage daily (I reset my computer each a.m.). Recaps were limited to short impressions (and I will quote from my notebook):
    Day 1: Dropped Zen.
    Day 2: Flat rear tire.
    Day 3: Started with spitting rain. Jacket on. Jacket off...all morning! Then CRASH! After lunch. Oh, my aching arm and leg!
    Day 4: Late start from Harper's Ferry. Cool. Nice tailwind!
    And nothing for Day 5. Hmmm...not exactly the stuff of epic tales!
    My photobucket site is sort of my day by day diary.
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Wow, was it really that beautiful, or did you omit the MacDonalds and Walmarts? It really looks like the place that time forgot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    Quote Originally Posted by redrhodie View Post
    Wow, was it really that beautiful, or did you omit the MacDonalds and Walmarts? It really looks like the place that time forgot.
    My version of the tour was to leave Cumberland at 5 pm on Monday and not see civilization again until about 4:30 on Wednesday - though I did hear it.

    Monday - Photo ops by the mule at the Visitor's Center. Eat ice cream in Cumberland. Ride 4 miles and camp. Campsite was beside the towpath with portapotty and water pump. A nice spot except for the NOISE from the train track on the other side of the canal. Trains screeching all night long about every 15 minutes. Not much sleep until I put in earplugs. Dinner was Mexican food of brown rice, chicken, black beans, corn, and cheese.

    Tuesday - DB and 7rider arrived at 9 am, we all rolled out of camp at 10 am. We planned to meet Kalidurga at 11 am to ride the Paw Paw tunnel together, but we were late and missed her. Later she met us riding back to her car as we were approaching the tunnel. At this point, Zen bailed out with KD, send home her camping gear, and rejoined us the next day as a muffin. I planned to camp either just before or just after Little Orleans where the muffins were staying. The campsite before had no water so went on to the campsite after, where I had a nice night alone, and the rail line across the river had trains only every 30 minutes. Dinner was stove top stuffing with turkey, peas, cranberries, and boiled potatoes. In sleeping bag at 7:30.

    Wednesday - DB and 7rider and Zen arrived at my campsite about 9 am. We got in a nice groove riding and stopping to enjoy all the local history and scenery. Discovered and ate paw paws along the trail, since the others had been introduced to them the day before at Bill's Place. Zen took the Western Maryland Rail Trail while the other 3 stayed on the C&O. Stopped in Hancock to eat pie at Weavers. Zen decided by mid-afternoon that her saddle wasn't working well enough to complete the full trip, so she called a friend and headed home. As we neared Williamsport, I scoped out the campsite but decided there was so much local walker and jogger traffic there (1.5 miles from town) that I wasn't comfortable camping there alone so enjoyed the amenities of the Red Roof Inn with the others. We showered, had dinner, and bought a 6-pack of beer and bag of Ruffles for a debate watching party. Even did our laundry.

    Thursday - rain forecast for afternoon, but instead we had on and off drizzle in the morning and a dry afternoon. 7rider had minor crash after lunch. Arrived in Harpers Ferry about 2:00. Good thing there were 3 of us so we could each make 2 trips up the stairs with our bikes and gear to walk the footbridge over the river. Checked into the Town Inn where we had a room with 4 beds and a private bathroom down the hall. Ate ice cream. Went for a walk uphill to Jefferson's Rock and the cemetery atop the hill. Had dinner with beer/wine. Went to sleep at 9 pm.

    Friday - 2 mile walk uphill to breakfast. Stopped at Appalachian Trial Conservancy Office on the way back. Then checked out of the hotel and spent a little time at the NPS museum and historical buildings. Then we rode our bikes around on Virginius Island and checked out the ruins of old water powered mills along the Shennandoah River. Finally back through old town Harpers Ferry and over the footbridge again, where we repeated the two trips down the stairs with bikes and gear, and rode off on the C&O about 12:30. Did 25 miles to White's Ferry. Ferry and hotel shuttle into Leesburg, VA for the night. Mexican dinner and more beer.

    Saturday - Met Zen and Madscot for the final 22 miles into DC. Lunch at Great Falls. Stopped at an open lockman's house, where all our burning questions about canal operation and mule management were answered by the NPS interpreter (and where we found a portapotty we were in great need of). A convoluted route through Georgetown, previously scouted by DB, brought us at last to Mile Post 0 for a 15 minute photo op. Then a 2 mile ride to the Metro station, 2 elevator rides to the train platform, a crowded train, 2 more elevator rides, and more 2 miles of pedaling to 7rider's house completed the trip.

    fauna: turtles, deer, one large snake, great blue herons, pileated woodpeckers, wrens, bluejays, crows, etc.

    flora: paw paw trees and fruit, osage orange tree and fruit, lots and lots of poison ivy but we all avoided that.
    Last edited by DebW; 10-22-2008 at 03:07 AM.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102
    I am jealous!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    756
    7rider, awesome pics!! (Hmmm...Zen looks nothing like her avatar. )

    Apropos of nothing, I lived in Potomac, MD, as a kid (hence my fanaticism for the Redskins). Got my first pair of ice skates for Christmas, headed down to the frozen-over C&O to try them out, and proceeded to fall on the ice and break my arm really badly. Haven't ice skated since!

    Even after 30+ years in Texas, I still get a touch of homesickness for Maryland.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MD suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,832
    Excellent summary, Deb! The only thing I would add is our daily mileage:

    Day 1 Cumberland to Little Orleans, MD 43.7 miles
    Day 2 Little Orleans to Williamsport, MD 41.4 miles
    Day 3 Williamsport to Harper's Ferry, WV, 38.7 miles
    Day 4 Harper's Ferry to Leesburg, VA 25.2 miles
    Day 5 Leesburg to Georgetown, DC 35.5 miles

    Plus a few extra here and there to get to motels and look around a bit.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •