Friday, June 28, 2013

I Want to Ride My Bicycle - Day 2

The night was spent pleasantly enough.  If you like leg cramps that radiate through every muscle and tendon of your legs, that is.  The mixture of riding 66 plus miles and a little bit of dehydration made my body complain a bit as I tossed and turned in my hammock throughout the night.  No rain fell at all and that was good.

I was up around 5am or so and on the trail at 6:17 after a quick breakfast of an oatmeal bar.  I got some water at an NPS campground down the trail and made use of their privy.  I wasn't moving too fast that first hour, but after a while my speed increased and all was going fine.

My first goal was Williamsport for lunch.  My guide said a Sheetz was there and I love picking up food at Sheetz.  It usually isn't too cheap, but I liked the convenience.

I took a quick break at Dam #4.  There used to be a road detour here as the tow path ran along the river after this dam and it had eroded away from the river action.  Near this point, the barges would move into the river and be towed up stream for a while before going back to the canal.  They were able to do this as the dam created a nice Slackwater section.  In fact, it was called the Big Slackwater.  They had recently repaired the towpath with nice smooth cement sections and I continued along the river for a few miles.

Day 2 - Me at Dam #4
I made it to Williamsport right around noon and headed up the street to the Sheetz.  I was pretty hungry by then, so I went a little crazy getting my meal.  Of course, a Monster drink was an integral part of the meal.  Love that Moca Loca.

As I was headed out, I saw two other bikers fiddling with their bike.  I went over to say hi and saw they were fixing a flat.  I learned they were from Cleveland, so after some good natured back-and-forth about our football teams before I headed back to the trail.

One hour later, I was riding along and all of a sudden, boom, hissssssss.  I get a flat.  I couldn't tell what I had hit, but it didn't really matter at this point.  I put one of my spare tubes in and used the CO2 cartridges to  fill it back up and I was moving again in about 20 minutes.  I think it was at this point that I realized 60 miles was about it for me at this stage of my journey and conveniently, Hancock, MD was right about at that point.  I made that my goal for the day and decided that I wasn't in a real hurry to get there as we were nearing the Solstice and I had plenty of daylight.  

I took breaks often and would stop and take a picture of anything I saw interesting.  

An old mill
Second Box Turtle I saw
As the afternoon wore on, I came upon a sign for Ft Frederick.  I headed up the hill and saw an amazing sight.  A completely stone fort.  Of course I was in such awe, I forgot to take a picture of the outside, but after getting some water and cooling off with the fountain for a bit, I left my bike under a tree and headed to the fort.  There was a worker in period costume inside and once we got out of the sun, he told me a little about the fort.  It was built during the French and Indian War in the 1750s, had never been attacked because of its awesomeness and had been used in each war after that.  There were two buildings inside the fort and they were made up real nice in period scenes.  I took a bunch of pictures of these rooms as I leisurely walked around the place in the 80 degree heat.  Here is one of them.

Officer's Quarters - Ft Frederick
After my "tour", I headed to the visitor center store and bought an ice cream sandwich (this would become a theme) and picked up a map.

The map was of the Western Maryland Rail Trail, which started nearby and went for about 20 miles to and past Hancock.  I was ready to get off the gravel for a while and this nice path was paved.  It ran pretty near Rt 70 for a time, but was still pleasantly covered in shade for most of it.  

I found the trail and started along it.  Before too long I was in Hancock, MD.  It was 4:30 pm.  Both trails run right along the edge of Hancock.  My destination today was a Bunkhouse that was behind the local Bike shop, right off the trail.  Also, there was a Sheetz in town.  

The bike shop was nice and the bunkhouse only cost $10.  I bought some replacement CO2 cartridges and a seat pad for my still hurting butt.  It was getting better, but still uncomfortable.  I had developed a technique where I would stand on the pedals and pedal every couple seconds or so.  It seemed to keep my speed up no problem and gave my arse a break.

The bunkhouse was in the "backyard" of the shop.  I headed back and picked a bunk.  There were some rudimentary showers out there, two privies, a fire ring and an outside area to hang out.  The bunkhouse was basically a long three sided shelter with a screened in front.  The bunks were plywood with cheap Walmart sleeping pads on them.  It would suffice for the night.
The Bunkhouse

My bunk for the night
There was already three people in residence, but they were out when I arrived.  It turned out to be a couple, Jim and Maria and their grandson Hayden.  They were from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and were out to show Hayden what a longer ride was like.  They planned to ride to Little Orleans, about 15 miles to the West and back, making a 30 mile trip.  Hayden was interested in everything and had lots of questions.

Later in the day, Guru and his son Shawn came in.  They were from Squirrel Hill, PA and were also headed East to West, but Guru had some knee issues and they were calling it quits at Hancock.  His wife would be driving from Pittsburgh the next day and picking them up.  It would have been nice to travel with them, so I was sorry to see their trip end.  I forget Guru's real name, but that was his trail name.  He had started a Thru Hike of the AT in March and had made it to the NOC about 137 miles in before he was knocked off the trail with giardia.  

We had a nice fire in the firepit and talked way past biker midnight.  I slept ok on the plywood with my own pad adding to the blue pad, but still had to change positions every once in awhile as that part of my body numbed up.
Camp Fire
Also, when I was taking a shower, I noticed that my ring and pinky fingers were numb.  I had remembered reading about that and how it was common when using straight handlebars and doing long rides.  I made a note to do some research when I had  a chance to address the all knowing Google.  

The bike computer registered 63.3 miles for the day in 6 hours 45 minutes of ride time.  My travel time was 10 hours and 13 minutes and I was at mile marker 124 of the C & O. 

Only about 226 miles to go...

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