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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231

    Tell me about your GAP / C&O ride!

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    Spending an arm to fly out from Hawaii to Boston so DH can run the Boston Marathon again. Hotel rooms have tripled in price from 2 years ago. Boston One my a$$. They are taking full advantage of us.

    So we might as well spend the other arm and do the GAP/C&O trail since we will be on the east coast. The marathon is April 21st. We will probably take the train to Pittsburgh a few days later and start our ride towards DC on the 23rd or 24th.

    What was your experience?

    Do you have any must see/must stay suggestions?

    Any suggestions for towns/locations where we should spend more than 1 night?

    We may limit our daily mileage to less than 20 IF my husbands mother joins us. That being said, any suggestions for that type of schedule?

    Mahalo!

    Denise

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,824
    I've only ridden the towpath between Georgetown and Harpers Ferry, and haven't been on it much in the past few years. But, here's a good place to start planning:

    http://bikewashington.org/canal/index.php

    Also there's a COTowpath yahoo group with many people who have ridden the whole towpath/GAP and can give lots of advice and details on stores and places to stay etc etc.

    BTW the weather here in late April is pretty varied. Could be 80 and sunny, could be 40 and rainy or overcast.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    Not sure what you mean with comment about Boston.
    Of course the hotel costs more... it's two years later and everything costs more. I sincerely doubt anyone is trying to make money from a real tragedy.
    Sorry, it really upset me.
    On the other hand, I'd love to do the C & O ride someday!
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Congratulations to your husband on getting a place in the Boston Marathon. That's quite an honor, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Major sporting events are always costly, but the real value is in the experience. Only you and your husband can determine if the experience (which never depreciates) is worth the money (which otherwise gets spent on something else, rarely a memorable experience). Boston is a wonderful city, full of history and interesting places. I hope you can explore it while you are there.

    The GAP is pretty new and mostly smooth and easy to handle, although there are some hills when you get off and into the towns. The C&O is over 200 years old and shows its age, particularly when wet. It's not easy to ride, although I found it very interesting and a lot of fun. I was glad to be comfortable riding on rough, narrow, pitted and muddy terrain.

    I rode my 2003 Jamis Coda but put beefy 700x35 tires on. Fenders, too, for the wet & mud. It was fine, but some people might like a suspension fork for the C&O. Bring headlights for the PawPaw tunnel.

    My memories include pie in Hancock, margaritas in Cumberland, pastries in Sheppardstown, a powerful diversion to Antietam (wow), ice cream in Ohiopyle, hot chocolate in Frostburg, another detour to Fallingwater, and another to Fort Necessity, and of course Harpers Ferry and Great Falls...so much to see! Don't forget the bike shop and pie shop in Confluence.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,824
    Re: the tunnel. You need really good lights, from what I've read. It is a long tunnel and totally dark. The BikeWashington website should address this.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    Not sure what you mean with comment about Boston.
    Of course the hotel costs more... it's two years later and everything costs more. I sincerely doubt anyone is trying to make money from a real tragedy.
    Sorry, it really upset me.
    On the other hand, I'd love to do the C & O ride someday!
    I disagree completely. 2 years ago the hotel rooms were $225 night. This year, same hotel, is over $500 per night. That is not inflation. The hotels KNOW that there is huge demand for rooms this year and they will (and nearly all of them are) sell out. I had many friends running this past year and had quite a scare that day so I am not dissing what happened. The price increase is not because "things cost more" - no, not at all. They are clearly taking advantage of the situation. Not the tragedy - the fact that way more folks are coming to Boston in 2014.

    And yes, Tulip - we will be spending some time again in Boston. Not too much due to the costs, but we have family that is trying to do a house swap. If they get a place we will stay with them for a few days before the event. And since we have done Boston before, we know where we want to go, eat, see, play from our last trip.

    I should note that we will be at Boston in support of what happened last year. DH has already BQ'd for 2015 by over 15 minutes and he doesn't really want to go. He'd rather spend money on running London, Tokyo, or Paris actually. But because Boston hit us hard last year we are going to show it takes a lot more than THAT to shut us down. And that is why I'm really shocked at the price hike on the hotels. Other folks that are going have expressed the same thing - really price gouging us all.

    Thanks for info on the GAP/C&O rides all!

    We did the Selkirk loop this past September and got stuck with 8 days of 40 degree temps and rain, rain, rain. It was really miserable. Soaked all day, every day. Late April/Early May could be similar for GAP?

    Thanks,

    Denise

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Quote Originally Posted by hulagirl View Post
    I should note that we will be at Boston in support of what happened last year. DH has already BQ'd for 2015 by over 15 minutes and he doesn't really want to go. He'd rather spend money on running London, Tokyo, or Paris actually. But because Boston hit us hard last year we are going to show it takes a lot more than THAT to shut us down. And that is why I'm really shocked at the price hike on the hotels. Other folks that are going have expressed the same thing - really price gouging us all.

    Thanks for info on the GAP/C&O rides all!

    We did the Selkirk loop this past September and got stuck with 8 days of 40 degree temps and rain, rain, rain. It was really miserable. Soaked all day, every day. Late April/Early May could be similar for GAP?

    Thanks,

    Denise
    If I had already run in the Boston Marathon, then I'd probably rather spend all that money to go to Paris or Tokyo or London, too.

    Late April to early May ought to be a beautiful time of year for the GAPCO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    I see nothing wrong with preferring to go to Europe after you've already run Boston more than once.
    But, the Marathon, even apart from what happened this year, is a huge undertaking for the whole area, not just the city, as it goes through several smaller towns and cities. Here, we don't do regional. Every town is its own little fiefdom and this is one thing they all cooperate for. Yes, we do make money from this. And we love having it here! I stood and watched people run up Heartbreak Hill every year during my childhood, in my hometown of Newton. It's also spring vacation week here and Patriots' Day. There's a huge amount of tourism going on, in addition to the Marathon. Of course, prices will be up. I complain about the tourists overrunning my town for the Patriots' Day re-enactments, but it brings a huge amount of money here.
    You could stay outside of the city, nearer to the start.... but, you'd need to have a car to do that.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    You could stay outside of the city, nearer to the start.... but, you'd need to have a car to do that.
    Yeah, we looked into that. And knowing how the transportation can be difficult on race day, we opted for the hotel close to the finish line. But, if family does a house swap we may stay with them and just suck it up and save a bit of money for sure.

    The good thing that did come out of the hotel prices being so high - we are going to do the GAP & C&O! So there is a silver lining to everything I suppose.

    And talk about tourists! Obama just arrived in our town last night. He spends Christmas here in Kailua and it brings in all the nut balls. Ever since he started this, Kailua is on the map and our tourism has skyrocketed! I'm fine with it because I run an Airbnb and ride my bike around town so the traffic doesn't bother me. But ohhhh boy are folks up in arms over it! We love to hate the tourists. But I can think of worse things to drive our economy for sure! It's always a touchy subject….that and politics, religion and Duck Dynasty. :-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    Agreed. I've seen way too many busloads of tourists parked in front of the Colonial Inn, taking pictures of the "weird spandex clad cyclists" who gather in our town to not understand. But, it is good for us.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,636
    We did a little bit of the C&O as a part of Bike Virginia back in, I think, 2004 (or was it 2003?) The weather had been rainy prior, and the trail was very, very sticky MUD in parts. I was riding my skinny-tired road bike and had to walk parts of it. Didn't go too well for my Speedplay X-Series cleats. It was a beautiful stretch, but if I ever rode it again, it would be on a mountain bike for sure!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

 

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