Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017, Licking Creek C&O Canal

July 13, Thursday, I have lost data coverage on my cell phone at about mile post 60 along the C&O Canal.  Food situation looks good but I am rationing in the hopes that we find a fish...or a dozen for that matter.

Today's ride brings us to Killiansburg Cave Hiker-Biker Campground near mile post 76.  It was hot and humid the entire day but I managed to get 21km before calling it a day.  The camp ground was empty, easy access to water, and yesterday was exhausting with the hills.

The path was very rocky, or more so than any other day yet encountered along the canal's tow-path.

Did laundry and took a sponge bath.

Beans, rice, and angel hair pasta for dinner.  Read a book, "Blowback" by Brad Thor.; very entertaining.

July 14, Friday, down day following two productive mileage days on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  Fished, read, laundry, sponge bath, and considered the path ahead.

July 15, Saturday, I left Killiansburg Cave Hiker-Biker Campground and would finish the day at Cumberland Valley Hiker-Biker Campground for a total of 33km.  Here is the PHOTO ALBUM (July 15, 2017)  for this day's ride. Note: Explanation of how these photo albums came to be will be explained later somewhere in this post.

This day I came across a new feature (new to me for it was the first for me to encounter during my canal travels) along the C&O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal) and one I remember particularly well for although it was short in length there was a steep grade on the gravel path that I found myself half way up...and stopped.  Stopped because I ran out of forward momentum and I didn't wish to be pulled down the grade by my heavy "chuck-wagon".  Whith the brakes on (and a foot (as a wheel chock) under and behind a wheel, I managed to reach over and open Daisy's crate, grab a leash and attach it to her, and call her out.  Now that my load was reduced by 40#, I bit down on my end of the leash and told Daisy to put a wiggle in it.  Bless her heart she knew what to do.  She damn near pulled the teeth out of my head but we got the bike up the remainder of the grade nevertheless.  (This happened to us also out in Kentucky on a lonely crushed Rock road on our last tour, though I must admit that the days were much more pleasant at the time of our crossing there.).

Once at the top of the grade, I had to capture some photos from this gorgeous vantage point but first I've got to secure the bike and put Daisy away.  This is the moment when folks pull up, I drop my phone, the bike falls over, and the dog goes ape-shit.  This was 5 minutes of chaos I'll not soon forget.  To the group of cyclists that just wanted to enquire about our mission...sorry for the fuck-bombs.  I got my photos and continued on.

I came across the "Big Slackwater", a portion of the river that was used in place of canal, a "guard lock" as well as several other locks.  Along the the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, I am constantly brought back to memories of playing Tomb-Raider (Laura Croft Tomb Raider) when I run across these old stone structures being reclaimed by nature.  Only now, as I write this I see how quickly nature takes back, or more accurately and likely that my present location gets less attention than areas more frequented by users.  I say this for in my present location at Licking Creek Aqueduct, I will back-track 2.6 kilometers to the start of the "Western Maryland Rail Trail", which parallels the "C&O Canal" for 22 miles to the "Sideling Hill Creek Aqueduct".   I suspect that a good many users of the route choose the same path that I will take.  I'll share some photos of the overgrowth on and around the "Licking Creek Aqueduct" at a later time.  I hope, for future generations, that the State of Maryland will keep up with, and find future funding, to preserve and maintain this awesome piece of American history!

July 16, Sunday, I left Cumberland Valley Hiker-Biker Campground and finished the day at Licking Creek Aqueduct Hiker-Biker Campground for a total of 41km.  I met several folks Along today's ride.  Here is my PHOTO ALBUM for today's ride.

As you can see from the photos, I visited a town today.  There are several reasons for doing so, but first let me explain how all of these photos, and many many others that you don't see, got uploaded.

While checking for a signal (cellular coverage), I made sure my phone was not in "Airplane Mode" which prevents my phone from communicating out (out here in the sticks, the battery will premaurely exhaust itself while the phone attempts to constantly triangulate with repeater towers).  My brilliant self forgot to, not only turn off "Use Phones Data To Upload Photos, but to place the phone back in "Airplane Mode" when I was finished doing whatever it was that I was doing at the time.  Thank goodness I set a 1 Gigabyte data usage warning.  The phone reminded me that while my head was up in my ass somewhere that I had just squandered that much data and..." What would I like it to do next?"  How I replied to it I'll leave to your imagination.

I digress.  Back to why I was in town.  Rumor has it that the Paw Paw Tunnel up ahead is closed due to falling debris and that the bypass trail is extremely challenging for a person with only a bike and saddle bags.  I wanted to visit the "Williamsport Visitor Center" to get a current trail status and to plot alternative routes which will accommodate my ride (see chuck-wagon and Daisy-mobile).  Indeed, the "Paw Paw Tunnel" is closed, and the alternate hiker path is not recommend for my load.  The park ranger were able to confirm with me an alternative route.  Thank you guys!!

The second reason for my hopping off the canal was that I had heard that the grade out of the river basin here in Williamsport is not nearly as steep as other locations, and if that were the case, it would behoove me to top off my supply of food at the local Dollar General. (I am not hurting for food at this time...just merely a precaution. )  This rumor turned out to be true!  On my way up this grade into town, I passed more than a few folks that were sitting on their front porch enjoying the nice Sunday morning weather as they smiled and waved as Daisy was carted by ever so slowly.

I spent $5.10 on beans, rice, and even went back for my sweet tooth for a $0.50 lollipop (cotton candy) spending all but my last seven cents.  Money well spent!  Note:. The last time I was at a store, was back near "Swains Lock" Hiker-Biker Campground, near mile post 16.  I am now at mile post 117 at "Licking Creek Aqueduct".  Progress is very slow going but very enjoyable!!!  I hope y'all enjoy the photos!

On my way back through town, I collected more photos, this time with the sun behind me.  I stopped and met a few folks too!  IMPORTANT:. I DO NOT HAVE FACEBOOK MESSENGER ON MY PHONE.  IF YOU ARE TRYING TO REACH ME THROUGH FACEBOOK, PLEASE CONTACT AN ADMINISTRATOR THROUGH "Tour De PACLANTIC or "Vets and Their Pets".  Additionally, and I find this off, I can connect to the internet but can not place or receive calls.  Text seems to work fine as well.  Imagine that!

Further on down the canal tow-path, I met just some of the great folks of "The Greatest Bicycle Tour of the Historic C&O Canal".  One hundred or so riders raising money for "San Mar Family & Community Services".  See photo album for a few folks of this large group that I was fortunate to meet and get a selfie with.  Later, one fella from the group assisted me in getting the chuck-wagon over two stair steps at "Dam 5" so that I could continue on without disassebling my ride.  I pulled and he lifted.  Thank you buddy!!!  To learn more about "sanmars.tgbt", visit or visit their website.  (Google it)

July 17, Monday, a down day. I remembered to set out the solar panels and attach the batteries to accept the charge.  Since I am in a heavily wooded area this task is somewhat time consuming, moving the panels as shade migrates across the camp area.

Meals for today was my main focus and I made a good attempt to vary my diet.  I had wild berries this morning to go with my oatmeal.  It was a joy fighting the millions of mosquitoes while picking these tasty treats on the outskirts of the dense woods.  I'll pick some more tonight for desert.  I broke out the split peas, and the vegetable soup mix just to have something different and to replenish my body from pulling my chuck-wagon through double rutt canal path.

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