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(Each link to a video, shows its run time; Minutes : Seconds)
Liz and I finished the Pittsburgh to Washington, DC bicycle trip sponsored by Wilderness Voyageurs located in Ohiopyle. A total of 330 miles. There were 13 riders in our group. Two staff guys (Aaron and Travis) looked after us, and they drove us to lodgings on the nights that it wasn't close to the trail.
The official ride started on the Yough River Trail in Boston, PA (just up river from McKeesport) on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. We arrived at the end of the C&O Canal in Georgetown, Washington, DC on Friday, Sept. 25, 2009.
On the day before the start, I added a stage by biking from (video :20) my House to (video :21) the Boston Trail Access (picture at right). I reached 38 miles per hour going down the Dravosburg hill. Eileen drove my car to pick me up. It was only 7 miles, but it means that I biked from my House to Washington, DC in 7 days.
The rail trail is built on abandoned railroad beds. The railroads generally followed river valleys to avoid hills. There were many bridges and a few tunnels.
Day 1 - Boston, PA to Ohiopyle, PA
Day 2 - Ohiopyle, PA to Frostburg, MD
Day 3 - Frostburg, MD to Cumberland, MD
The C&O Canal was built to haul cargo, because the Potomac River was not suitable. We biked along the towpath that had been used by the mules that pulled the barges along the canal.
Day 3 - Cumberland, MD to Hancock, MD
Day 4 - Hancock, MD to Shepherdstown, WV
Day 5 - Shepherdstown, WV to Violettes Lock, MD
Day 6 - Violettes Lock, MD to Washington,
It was raining when we got up. It was raining during the van ride back to Violettes Lock on the towpath. It was sprinkling as the bikes were unloaded. It stopped falling as we headed out on our bikes.
|Weekday||Date||Daily Miles||Time (hr:min)||Average Speed||Maximum Speed|
|Day 0||Sat.||Sept. 19||7.4||0:35||12.6||38.3|
|Day 1||Sun.||Sept. 20||56.9||5:07||11.1||16.8|
|Day 2||Mon.||Sept. 21||64.4||5:48||11.0||22.2|
|Day 3||Tues.||Sept. 22||72.8||6:27||11.2||18.2|
|Day 4||Wed.||Sept. 23||53.7||4:45||11.0||27.2|
|Day 5||Thurs.||Sept. 24||52.0||4:51||10.7||15.3|
|Day 6||Fri.||Sept. 25||22.8||2:10||10.4||16.2|
|Night 1||Trillium Lodge||Ohiopyle, PA||Dogwood Room||Chestnut Room||Bike Shop in Ohiopyle|
|Night 2||The Castle Inn||Mt. Savage, MD||Cottage, first floor||Monday Room||Castle Inn Courtyard in rain|
|Night 3||The Country Inn at Berkley Springs||Berkley Springs, WV||Room 109||Room 209||on top of Van|
|Night 4||The Bavarian Inn||Shepherdstown, WV||Room 66||Room 62||Tennis Court in rain|
|Night 5||The Inn at Buckeystown||Buckeystown, MD||Captain's Quarters||Teddy's Place||on top of Van in rain|
Our biking chef, Aaron, prepared all of the lunches along the trails. He also prepared the very elegant Trillium Lodge Dinner and Breakfast, and he helped with the other breakfasts.
|Day 1||Home, Dravosburg, PA;
Orange, peanut butter bagel
Salad and bean wrap, fruit salad
|Trillium Lodge, Ohiopyle, PA;
Salad, chicken, broccoli, Rosemary potatoes, cheesecake
|Day 2||Trillium Lodge, Ohiopyle, PA;
Variation of Eggs Benedict, fruit salad
Cheese stuff, salad stuff, fruit
|The Castle Inn, Mt. Savage, MD
Salad, chicken, potato, green beans, strawberry shortcake
|Day 3||The Castle Inn, Mt. Savage, MD
Yogurt, granola, fruit, quiche
|Old Town, MD
Wrap with chicken and salad stuff
|Tari's Restaurant, Berkley Springs,
Salad, crabcakes, noodles
|Day 4||The Country Inn at Berkley Springs, WV
Biscuits, breakfast rolls, fruit, juice, Big waffle, whipped butter, potatoes, bacon
|Cushwa Basin, Williamsport, MD
Pita bread triangles, tomatoes, olives, humus, salad stuff, carrots, etc.
|Rathskeller, The Bavarian Inn,
Roasted pork, potato pancakes, very good Nut Ball for dessert
|Day 5||The Bavarian Inn, Shepherdstown, WV
Fruit, bacon, sausage, danish, breakfast rolls, scrambled eggs buffet
|Point of Rocks, MD
Wrap with chicken and salad stuff
|The Brewery, Frederick, MD
Big burger, skinny fries
|Day 6||The Inn at Buckeystown, MD
Yogurt with granola, fancy cut fruit, quiche, scalloped bacon, potatoes
|Georgetown, Washington, DC
Wrap with chicken and salad stuff
|Dravosburg, PA - Box lunch put together by Jim
Ham sandwich, cooked potatoes, green beans
A deer was standing on path. As we approached, it went into the trees, then stood and watched us, as we passed by.
At morning snack stop in Markleton, saw camouflaged toad jumping on leaves. We could only see it when it moved.
At afternoon snack stop in Deal, saw Amish horse and cart flying up the road.
On the edge of the towpath, a Big turtle was covered with green slime as it left the water.
A moment later, one biker ran over a medium-sized brown turtle. Biker and turtle were okay.
There was a duck standing in the slimy water.
Saw blue heron wading in water, and shortly after, it took flight.
Saw a deer on trail. It ran back to a group of 5 more, staring at us. Later one deer bolted across the trail a little in front of us.
Chipmunk ran across real close in front of us. Liz almost squashed him.
Lots of squirrels. We were calling them kamikaze squirrels.
Along the canal edge, we saw a group of turtles. They scattered as we got close.
Thin snake about 2 feet long was stretched across my path. It was raising its head as I got close. It was hard to miss. I went around the tail end.
Did you ever see a turtle climb a tree?
At Great Falls, visitors were getting a ride on a canal barge pulled by one mule.
Saw a number of Blue Herons along the Canal. It was hard to get a photo.
Variety of ducks at Mile Marker 0, where the Canal meets the Potomac River behind the Watergate Hotel.
We crossed the Mason-Dixon Line. I had my left foot in Pennsylvania, and my right foot in Maryland.
48 Years Ago
In July 1961, I went on a trip with the Boy Scouts, Troop 383, to visit Gettysburg, Antietam, and Harpers Ferry. Art Evans was our Leader. Mr. George was a history teacher, and guided us on a walk through Civil War history.
I feel a great sense of accomplishment having completed this ride. During our 32 years of riding together, Liz and I had discussed a DC ride, as trail sections were completed and tunnels renovated. Then, biking was getting harder as my hips and knees were losing cartilage. After my left hip replacement, I worked at restoring my biking skills. Then I wanted to do the trip before other joints wore out.
It has been two years since I had my hip replacement. That metal joint worked well. My rehab and training programs proved adequate, because I was able to finish, with the group, without any major soreness, aches, or pains.
For the whole week, we never got rained on while biking. There were overnight rains and some early day sprinkles, enough to put on rain gear, but it always stopped raining, when we started riding.
The weather cooperated; the people were nice; the trip was well planned; our guides were great; and the varied sites along the way kept it interesting.
I hope that these descriptions, photos, and videos, give you a sense of the good trip that we experienced.
Photos of group shots, George, and some of the animals were
taken by Aaron and Travis from Wilderness Voyageurs.
Other photos were taken by George, Eileen, and Liz.
Videos were shot by Eileen and George.