It’s a little over two weeks since our trip ended. Since then, the government has re-opened, and I’m back at work. I’m still frantically trying to catch up on things, which has been complicated by moving to a new house. My arm and knee have more or less healed, and I’m back to commuting on the bike, with occasional coffeeneuring trips.
photo by Jane.
Leesburg, VA to Washington, DC
354.02 miles total
When I woke up this morning, my right arm felt like someone punched me hard on the shoulder. Although my forearm was scraped up from yesterday, I didn’t fully realize how much of the impact from the fall I had taken on my arm until today. I looked at my rainjacket– sure enough, it was torn up at the shoulder.
Downed tree on the trail. Photo by Jane
Shepherdstown, WV to Leesburg, VA
314.43 miles from start
When I woke up, I pulled the curtains aside and looked out the window. It was raining. Again.
Hancock, MD to Shepherdstown, WV
269.12 miles from start
There was already a group of bicyclists sitting at the dining room table at the B&B when I walked in that morning. They were older folks, all kitted out, and talking excitedly about today’s ride. One of them asked me where I was from, and I told him I was from DC. This gentleman, from the Midwest, asked about the government shutdown, and when I told him that I was on furlough, he made it sound like it was just a nice vacation for me. Granted, I was having a good time on this trip so far, but I had made plans ahead of time for the ride– I didn’t exactly plan on not being paid while I was gone or not knowing when I would be allowed to return to work. It occurred to me that people outside of DC were not taking the shutdown too seriously. Being on the trail made all that seem remote to me as well, and I decided to put it out of mind and get ready for the ride.
Cumberland, MD to Hancock, MD
215.17 miles from start
Jane got the email from the Canal Trust a few days before we left, saying that the C&O Canal Towpath was closed because of the Federal shutdown. That was not part of our plan. We exchanged messages full of expletives. And then we discussed possible alternate routes.
Rockwood, PA to Cumberland, MD
154.89 miles from start
We woke up to fog and a sudden drop in temperature. The last couple mornings were around the 60s F; this morning was 42F. I was prepared for the colder weather, but I think it took some of us by surprise.
I was a little concerned about my endurance. This would be the first time I would ride a 40+-mile ride three days in a row. Would I be able to keep up? I did a mental check– I was feeling good, no more tired than usual. My legs were a little stiff, but not sore. My neck, lower back, and butt felt just fine. Well then, I thought, I’m in good enough shape to ride today.
Dawson, PA to Rockwood, PA
110.14 miles from start
The GAP Trail, which was made from a former set of railways, parallels the current CSX Railroad line. Throughout our ride, we could hear the train clacking on the rails and its whistle sounding shrilly to announce its presence. The trains traveled even in the middle of the night, which meant we’d hear them wherever we stayed.