28 June, 2010

C & O Canal + Mt Vernon Day 2

Day 2: Williamsport, halfway point, detour

Monday June 28, 2010, 67 miles (108 km) - Total so far: 112 miles (180 km)

The lightning bugs are beautiful. A pair of mammalian animals were nesting nearby and combined with cicadas, trains, and distant barking dogs to make a cacophony of sound last night.A tube on Heather's bike was defective and I replaced it. We hadn't ridden the bikes before the tour so this had gone undetected.
We wasted no time getting going since it would be a long ride till we could find a town for lunch.
We passed this old concrete factory that had repeatedly burned down. During its operation it made high quality concrete used in the Washington Memorial amongst other things.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureconcrete factory

We rolled into the town of Hancock to find our targeted restaurant didn't open till 11 and it was just after 9. We stopped at the local bike store for a tube, snack bar, and refrigerated juices since it was already hot.
Although we had some food, none of it sounded appetizing so we decided to ride another 25 miles to Williamsport where I had read about a health food cafe.
We jumped onto a paved path converted from a railroad line (rail to trail) since it went parallel with our dirt path.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureWestern Maryland Rail Trail

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureWMRT tunnel

The sights slowed our progress. We stopped at locks and aqueducts (bridges for the canal). Conversely, hunger was quickening our pace.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureFour Locks

The sky was dark. It was cooler but looking like rain.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureclouds form over Potomac

The Desert Rose was calling us. We saw deer and turkeys with young. It started to rain and the air was filled thick with gnats. It seemed we would never make it to Williamsport!

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureDesert Rose, an oasis!

The Desert Rose was everything we had hoped. We ordered a feast and chatted with Rose and a local. Then we ordered more food. Then we ordered food to go. Good prices and totally acoommodating to cyclists. She even filled our bottles with ice/water since the sun had now returned.
http://www.desertrosecafeandcatering.com/

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Click here for a larger version of the picturehistory at every turn

Soon after we leave town I spy a muskrat swimming in the lock. We talk about how we're going to wash our clothes since we only have a couple outfits.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturea full snake

There is a 5 mile detour. The river has reclaimed the path but recent funding has started long awaited repair work.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureunfinished trail repair

Eventually we must ride with light traffic and a sign warns that the road is "extremely dangerous" but we found this to be ridiculous. They are very cautious in Maryland and even have a sign suggesting you walk your bike down a supposedly steep hill. If you have brakes ignore that sign.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureperfect bike trail

After passing a number of caves that we failed to explore we settle into our next campsite. Fish are constantly jumping in the river.
I impatiently try to start a fire with magnesium/flint for the first time. I'm getting very sweaty before I find some good tinder. We don't need a fire but it was fun.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureKilliansburg Cave Campsite

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Click here for a larger version of the picturesunset from the tent