Saturday, 7 August 2010
North Mountain Campsite, MD to Marble Quarry Campsite, MD
74.6 miles, 6h13m, 11.9 mph
Elapsed Time: 10h49m, Max speed: 31.6mph
Total mileage: 152.6
Breakfast was whatever we'd bought in Hancock. I had some cold pop
tarts (cinnamon) and a bottle of warm orange juice. Curt was the first
one ready to go, then me, then Mr. Balint, then Tony. Then there was a
contest between Dave, Fu, and Wilson for last. In the end, the rest of
us were waiting as Dave pushed his bike up on to the towpath.
Soon we were on the cool part of the
towpath that runs between a cliff and the river.
I almost rode in to the river to get
Soon we were in Williamsport. We rode through town to the Sheetz and
ordered a bunch of breakfast burritos. Wilson ate several. Then back on
A stunning view of the picturesquely named Dam 5.
Wilson takes a picture of Dam 5 (Tony photo)
Tony, at takes a picture of me
taking a picture of him.
Me, taking a picture of Tony taking a picture of me.
Leaving Williamsport after breakfast.
There were obstacles.
And then there was the detour.
Apparently there are grand plans to fix the four-mile stretch of
towpath that runs right along the river down to Dam 4. For at least the
past 15 years, that stretch of towpath has been closed. It's still
closed. The picture at the detour looked really cool, so someday it
will be really awesome. But it's not awesome now. And I didn't take a
picture of the sign.
But Tony did..
Using the detour requires "extreme caution." I guess that's what
you need any time you ride on the road. What does riding on the closed
trail require? "Super-extreme caution?"
So we climbed a ridiculously steep hill to the back of somebody's farm,
then out on to a road, more climbing, more climbing, some downhill,
more climbing, then the long run down Dam 4 Road to...
...Dam 4. Which somehow isn't as nice
as Dam 5.
Never saw Dams 3, 2, or 1,
Mr. Balint at Dam 4.
We jumped off the towpath at Taylor's Landing so that we could have
lunch in Sharpsburg. That meant more climbing up to the Antietam
Battlefield, and a nice descent into town. And then backtracking to the
Battleview Store. We ordered sandwiches and ate them outside at picnic
tables. Well, most of us did.
Sharp eyes will notice that the
towpath is in the background. We're on
This is supposed to be the "JT"
salute. Not sure he got it right.
Not even close.
Wilson enjoyed a roast beef
sandwich sans bread. And he ate indoors.
Linda met us in Sharpsburg with a brand new Eureka Zeus 2 tent for me.
I do without her?
Well, for starters, I'd be duct taping my tent pole together again
tonight. And riding my bike home from DC. And I don't know how we would
have gotten to Cumberland. And I'd be poor and lonely and living in a
cardboard refrigerator box and eating out of dumpsters. Well, some of
We rode south toward Shepherdstown to rejoin the trail. We were able to
stay on the roads for a few miles then it was back on the trail.
We rode along the river for over a
hundred miles. Sometimes we could
get a good look at it.
But usually the view looked more like
As we approached Harpers Ferry we
noticed the river was infested with
At Harpers Ferry. Fu watched the bikes
while the rest of us walked
across the bridge to get ice cream.
Wilson decided he would push on because he was slow. We never saw him
again. Still haven't. At some point he decided he didn't want to spend
another night outdoors and he just made for DC.
The tuber-infested confluence of the
Shenandoah and Potomac.
Tony got a nice big ice cream cone. I got a strawberry banana smoothie,
which turned out to be too much for me.
And then we had to return.
When we got back, Mr. Balint announced that he did not want to spend
another night outdoors and that he would push on for DC. We never saw
him again...no wait, we did.
We rode straight past Brunswick (Home of the Iron Horse) and stopped to
buy dinner at Point of Rocks. We carried the food for several miles and
stopped to eat at the Monocacy Aqueduct.
Looks like Fu down there.
Curt and Tony on the Monocacy Aqueduct.
The view from our picnic table. Notice
all the debris jammed up against
the newly restored aqueduct. That must have worried some people.
Eventually we reached the Marble
Quarry campsite. Here, Dave cleans up
his tent site.
Meanwhile everyone else was all set up. I turned on my phone to call
Linda and 10 seconds into the call, my call waiting says Mr. Balint is
on the line. I switched over. Mr. Balint said he was at mile 20 and he
had passed Mr. Wilson, who was also pushing on to DC. He mentioned that
Wilson had left a message with Dave about his plans and that he
expected he would stay ahead of Balint...and that he would buy Balint
all the beer he could drink if he caught up. Well, he caught up. And
went by. Mr. Balint arrived in DC well after dark, but he didn't have
to camp in his mosquito net again.
We later found out that Mr. Wilson arrived in DC shortly after Mr.
Meanwhile, Dave was still tidying.
Eventually Dave checked his messages and got the message from Wilson.
Wilson recommended the Marble Quarry campsite. Good to know.
The night was very comfortable. There was considerably less snoring
and Wilson, but the animal noises were louder. There were some frogs
that sounded just like dogs barking all night.
And me without my pepper
"2010 C&O Canal Ride" Copyright © 2010 By Bob
Clemons. All rights reserved.