Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 10, 2017, Monday

I figure that I should get focused on getting a blog post done, it has been a while.

July 10, Monday (yesterday), Daisy and I traveled over 32km (20+ miles), along the C&O Canal.  It is extremely beautiful yet grueling work riding on the unimproved tow-path/hiker-biker trail (Many years ago in the 1800's when  the canal was functioning, mules and  horses were used on the tow-path to tow the barges up and  down the canal).  Along the path I encountered parts of the trail that is - full width - hard pack and other parts that looked like parallel goat paths with a rough section of growth in between, often at times having to slow down for oncoming bikers loaded down with panniers on these narrow and rugged passages.

Traveling the trail, although flat for the most part, takes quite a bit of adjustment.  I am traveling at half my normal pace of 16+kph (10mph) when traveling on asphalt or concrete and at times as slow as 5kph.   I spent five hours traveling a distance that would normally take me just two which included time spent taking photos and letting Daisy out to stretch her legs a few times and meet with passersby.   Gnarled exposed roots are occasionally hazards, as well as downed trees and sections of mud that grab at your front wheel wanting to pull it to one side or the other - very stressful riding conditions that require intense focus and concentration.   Fortunately, I have yet to encounter a downed tree, forcing me to carry my chuck-wagon piece by piece over it, but noticed several indications of recently cleared obstacles.

I got off to a late start this day for I was making adjustments to my new tubes and tires.  While letting air out of the inner tube to reseat the tube as well as double check the tire bead and to ensure it was seated properly along the entire circumference along the rim, the presta valve shot out.  As I had no replacements (all of my valve stems on this tour are shrader valves), I had to do a thorough search through the grass for this vital part.  Fortunately, after an hour of search and cursing myself I found it.  I left camp at Chisel Branch at 11am.

Along the way I met a cross country hiker and a few others that were interested in our journey.  I stopped at White's Ferry for an apple and to drop off my old "used but good for an emergency" tire for later use for someone in a similar situation.

July 9, Sunday, an anonymous concerned and kind citizen picked up and delivered new trailer tires and inner tubes that "Veterans and Their Pets" purchased for me online at a nearby store.  Thank you and the also anonymous donor that helped make this recovery all possible.

I replaced the trailer tire and then backtracked along the trail a half mile in the direction that I had come from to Chisel Brach Hiker-Biker Camp because the park ranger informed me this morning that I was not supposed to camp at Edward's Ferry.  I informed him that this is where I broke down at, had spent the night last night, and that I would move on.  

July 8, Saturday (Swains Lock), many trail users out today.  I left Swains Lock Hiker-Biker Camp and upon my arrival at Edwards Ferry is when I heard what I at first thought was a gun shot very close by.  I thought again about the sound and thought to check both trailer tires.  Upon inspection of the second tire it was evident that my travels were done for.  A hole big enough to put ones thumb through was clearly visible in the center of the tread mass.

July 7, Friday, Swains Lock, recharged two of my backup batteries via solar panels, caught two fish, and relaxed.  

July 6, Thursday, I left Daisy and the "Chuck-wagon" at Swains Lock Hiker-Biker campsite for resupply and top off food stores at Safeway just 2.7 miles away.  In anticipation for the long trail ahead and assuming that the few trail stores that do exist would charge a considerable premium for the convenience of trailside purchases, I thought it best to travel heavy.  I topped off, spending all but my last two dollars, plus change, buying ramen, oatmeal, kool-aide, instant coffee, and beans.  It started to rain fairly steady at a mile before I returned to camp.  It rained, for the most part, all day and for certain ALL night this night.

July 5, Wednesday, I left Gravelly Point for a ride through Georgetown where I hopped on to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Tow Path which extends from Georgetown to Pittsburgh.  I arrived at a Hiker-Biker campsite along the canal path called "Swains Lock".

July 4, Tuesday, I left Gravelly Point after witnessing a remarkable and extraordinary sunrise over our nation's Capital.  I traveled to what I considered to be the heart of the coming festivities where I was waved off (denied entrance) by police and other official security forces from various agencies for they were securing the fireworks launch site and viewing grounds.  The police K-9's were doing a "bomb and explosives" search at the time, and after which, when the are was secured and deemed safe, all visitors and event spectators would be subject to a thorough search.  I gladly backtracked to explore other areas of the Capital.  A search would be an all day event in my case.
I found myself on the parade route and decided to stay and witness this event.  I'm glad I did.  I witnessed my first helium filled parade floats in person.
After leaving the parade, and I did so early to beat the crowds, I found a park bench along the national Mall for which to rest my rig and claim my seat for the fireworks display that would start in four hours.  Here I met two homeless fellas and passed the time in each other's company.   We would later rendezvous at Gravelly Point where I made dinner for myself and one other that had not eaten already.

July 3, Monday, I left my hosts in Clinton, Maryland after giving thanks and saying goodbyes.  It was hot and humid but otherwise a great ride.  I arrived at Gavelly Point and spent the remainder of the day watching jets take off and land immediately overhead (Reagan International's runway trajectory is directly inline with the end of runway).  It was here that I made a quick picnic, combination lunch and dinner.  I had just barely enough water to get us through the night.  I would later pay for this dearly for I would suffer from caffeine withdrawal the next day.  Thank goodness for instant coffee.  I slept on a park table top prepared to leave immediately in the event that I was asked to leave.

July 2, Sunday, I left my good friend and host Susan and family in Lothian, Maryland after an extended stay for repairs and awaited equipment deliveries.    The hills out were ridiculously steep at times; a person could walk up faster than my pace.  It was along one such steep incline that I noticed a motorcyclist pull up ahead and park at the roadside ahead of me at the crest of the hill for which I was only half way up.  As I neared, I saw this fella pull a rope from his saddle bag.  I laughed and shouted between labored breaths, "Hell no, I don't need a tow, but thank you!"

Upon my arrival to his parked bike, I recognized the rope as being Daisy's Leash; one that I obviously left at Barry's house (Susan's husband).  We laughed, said goodbyes once again after expressing my gratitude for the leash, and parted ways.
I arrived in Clinton,  Maryland to stay a night with a new friend and his wife.  It wasn't a long day but I didn't start until nearly 1:30pm in the afternoon.

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