S24O to Lockhouse #22

For my younger son, each summer should include a camping trip. For me, each summer should include a bike overnight with my family and a camping trip. By bending the concept of camping, I attempted to combine both around busy schedules before school started. We recruited a family friend who has accompanied us on many bike adventures and departed our house riding our bikes. 

After 6 miles, we stopped for an early “lunch” at an ice cream store before continuing down the Capital Crescent trail to Fletcher’s Boathouse. At the boathouse, we picked up the C&O Canal towpath and biked north. http://bikewashington.org/canal/canal_b.php 

The D.C. area has experienced a great deal of much needed rain this summer, so I was apprehensive about the condition of the canal towpath. The National Park Service has the towpath in great shape, at least miles 3-19 that we rode. The boys took periodic breaks at a few of the locks and looked for turtles and other wildlife. 

At Great Falls we enjoyed a longer break and a late lunch at the snack bar. 

In addition, I saw a lovely Bridgestone RB1 locked to a rack. When its owner returned, he told me with great pride that the bike was older than he was. 

Home for the night was Lockhouse 22. The C&O Canal Trust preserves a few of the remaining Lockhouses and rents them out on a nightly basis: http://www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-quarters/ Most have neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. There was a picnic table and fire ring behind the house to eat and cook on respectively. A stream flowed next to the cabin and into the Potomac River about 100 yards away. The day had dawned overcast and humid. As we rode, a cold front passed by bringing cooler and drier conditions. The evening was lovely with a hint of Fall in the air. After hotdogs, baked beans, and s’mores we fell asleep to the sounds of the stream. 

Overall it was a great s24o adventure. My youngest son said the primitive Lockhouse with a campfire was pretty close to tent camping. It also spared us from carrying tents. To save us from retracing our route, my wife picked us and our bikes up in the morning. One realization for me was that the “boys” are now 17, 16, and 14. They ride faster and harder than they used to. And, I ride more leisurely than I used to. While my stamina in the saddle is still better, I was pushing it to keep up with them over the 27 miles! Here is an image of our route with mileage. 

The C&O Canal is a treasure that I am fortunate to have in my backyard!


Cape Cod: birthday ride

So my birthday was last week.  It was not a milestone number divisible by 5, yet, as I mature, I celebrate each year as an accomplishment and a gift more than I did when younger.  My family knows I like bike riding and spending time with them, so they gifted me a family ride.  As we were vacationing in Cape Cod, we drove our bikes down to one of the parking areas along the Old Colony Trail.

We rode 8 miles round trip into Chatham for ice cream.  The trail toward Chatham is well maintained and passes by the airport.

My elder son rides a Rivendell Rosco Bubbe v1:

My younger son rides a Rivendell inspired hybrid from the mid 1990s that I had  powdercoated to his specifications.  I even found black albatross bars through Blue Lug.  

After our family ride, I continued the opposite direction on the trail into Harwich.  

I enjoyed a snack break at the First Congrgational Church  Cemetery.  A peaceful place.

Careful viewers of my photos might notice the lack of a front fender on my Rivendell Romulus.  It cracked during the car ride to the Cape.  I saw it in my side mirror vibrating in the wind.  When we arrived, I noticed the damage.  

All-in-all a great day, which was followed by a great week at the beach.

Firefighter 50:  Pleasant Valley, MD 

For the second year in a row, my wife, a friend, and I rode the the Firefighter50 near Westminster, MD. We chose the 35 mile route.  We arrived Sunday at the fire station, unloaded the bikes, registered, and were riding before 7am.  We wanted to finish before the heat set in.  The morning was cool and damp.  Fog hung in some of the valleys as the country roads meanered passed farmhouses and fields.  I rode my Rivendell Romulus which I converted to a 650b.  It superbly handled the rolling hills.  

By mid-morning the sun burned through the low layer of clouds and fog. This is a lovely area in Maryland to ride and a well-organized event supporting a worthwhile cause.  After the ride everyone is treated to a delicious lunch buffet prepared by family and friends of the volunteer firefighters.  It’s a real community event!  The make your own ice cream sundae bar was my favorite!   Next year we will try riding “The Dirty 30”-the 30 mile dirt road route.  Promises to be equally fun!

A few more photos from the morning:

GAP Trail July 2017

A good friend and mentor, enjoying retirement, asked if I’d be interested in a summer adventure.  We settled on biking the GAP trail from Pittsburg, PA to Cumberland, MD.  Since my friend doesn’t cycle too much, we planned a four day credit card tour which would give us time to explore some of the towns we passed, while not overdoing things.  I wanted my friend to enjoy the mini-tour in the hope he’d be interested in doing another in the future.

Day 1 dawned and found us in Cumberland awaiting our shuttle van to Pittsburgh.  Arriving in Pittsburgh, we attached our bags and departed about 11am.

Within a few blocks we found the route closed which necessitated navigating a poorly labeled detour, but we were soon on our way.  This first stretch of trail paralleled a busy highway before crossing the hot metal bridge which offered beautiful views of Pittsburgh!

After meandering around suburban Pittsburgh the trail winds through McKeesport.

After 20 plus miles we stopped at Dravo Cemetary for a long break. This is a favorite spot; cemeteries are a not so subtle reminder to live fully each day, and we were doing that!

After 34 miles we arrived in West Newton and enjoyed the hospitality at Bright Mornings B&B.

Day 2 found us traveling 42 miles through beautiful scenery to Ohiopyle. 

Rhododendrons were blooming all along the way.

McKenzie house was home for the night in Ohiopyle.

On Day 3 we rode 41 miles to Meyersdale.  When I last rode the trail in 2014 the Pinkerton Tunnel had not been renovated, and we had to ride the bypass.  I was thrilled to find the tunnel open.

Another highlight in this section is the viaduct just west of Meyersdale that carries the trail over the river, a highway, and CSX railroad tracks.

An old family cemetary lies near the viaduct.

The Levi Deal Mansion in Meyersdale provided a comfortable night’s sleep in beautiful surroundings.

We began Day 4 with a final climb to the Eastern Continental Divide.

This was followed by an awesome 1800 foot descent over 22 miles into Cumberland.  In this section the trail crosses the Mason-Dixon Line and runs for a while next to the Western Maryland Railroad line.

Overall, the trip was fabulous.  The trees along much of the trail provided shade that sheltered us from the sun though not the humidity.  We met and chatted with many friendly people on the trail and in the towns.  The trail itself is a gem.  While we experienced no rain, during the prior week several areas had been pummeled by heavy storms.  We frequently encountered freshly cut-up trees removed from across the trail and freshly repaired trail sections where washouts had occurred.  The care given to maintaining this trail is remarkable!

In conclusion my friend said it was a “wonderful experience,” and we discussed future bike tour ideas.  Overall quite a success!!