Monday, June 11, 2018

GAP Mile zero: The end

View from the top

Welcome to Maryland, which was part of the north but hung onto Jim Crow laws into the 60s

barely readable sculpture

to encourage trail riders to go up a very steep hill into town they built a series of switchbacks decorated with about 5 bike part sculptures. Trail was sandy and the turns too sharp for me. I lost momentum and then insisted we walk. Part of our journey took us up 5 flights of stairs

the hair moved with the wind

one of the many waterfalls between Frostburg and Cumberland. All this shale indicates probable oil and coal

the start of the C&O canal which I rode on for a bit until I realized I was going away from where I was staying in town

the end of this adventure. Sigh

our very bicycle themed hostel. Much more comfortable than the barebones place we stayed at in Rockwood plus had fancy coffees we could make and snacks. The owner drove me to s state liquor store so we could have wine which we drank on a swing on the porch

Cumberland is a very old industrial and transportation hub but they managed to turn their downtown into an inviting place

when in Maryland, eat crabcakes. They had 'pig' for my friend but it turns out he loves crabs

and this silly drink

I did the final leg of our journey by myself, 15 miles of downhill from Frostburg to Cumberland.He kept wanting to stop; I wanted to get to the hostel at the time I said I would made difficult because I got lost in town. Then a very slow moving train blocked my path for 15 minutes. Yep I could carry everything (bike!!!)under the underpass full of homeless people but I waited. Our very nice hostess told us we needed to go to the National Park Service and speak with Ranger Rita to get the real scoop on trail conditions. I left that chore for my friend. We were advised not to go on but if we chose to do so, a list of outfitters was given who could pick us up for a price (though on line, some people were doing this for free). Meanwhile my DC friend as saying he'd come get us if there was a flood emergency. But at least the first few miles of the C&O looked good. We had reservations at a hostel in Little Orleans the next night, a hotel in Williamsport then another hostel in Harper's Ferry. The latter was problematic as one has to cross a ricketedy footbridge to cross the river complete with a spiral staircase (pain in the ass with a bike). But in the middle of the night I read that bridge was washed away so that would be impossible (one could maybe ford across an old railroad bridge or go on an active railroad bridge. I imagined some kind of Stand by Me situation there. Nein danke. But for a while we lived in denial that all was right with the world, got our wine (thanks Gail!) and later walked to town and ate crab cakes in the cool evening air.
My usual insomnia hit at about 2 am. Started readings of the  National Flood page. Pawpaw West Virginia, Mile 10 for us, was completely underwater. We would have to go through a long tunnel there which of course was flooded. Once I saw my friend stir, I said we needed to talk. He wanted to wait until morning. No can do. We went downstairs so not to disturb the other rider who was in our same leaky boat. He agreed we had to abort. Do we want to ride back to Pittsburgh? No. Take a train to DC? Only if we could get reservations for our bikes. They let only 8 bikes on a 18 car train and then claim to be bike friendly. But we got the reservations. Do I tell my friend in the middle of the night that we are coming 3 days early? That could wait. If he said no, we'd look for an airbnb.


Elephant's Child said...

I suspect that wine was an essential.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Yep it was.

Anonymous said...

Sue, I am very thankful to have met you on TNBC and later in person. You are an inspiration Kris!

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Thanks Kris. It was great meeting you too.


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