We left Mount Laurel on Saturday, April 20th, grateful for the clear weather after a night of heavy thunderstorms. Our good friend, Val, was kind enough to drive us to our starting point in Washington, DC. Right out of the gate. We made a wrong turn and had a front tire blow-out, but eventually found to mile 0, the start of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. We quickly left the crowded streets of Georgetown DC behind as we entered what we affectionately call the “Green Tunnel,” It’s a rough, mostly dirt, tree-lined path that runs the 185 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD. It’s also mostly flat, allowing me to ease into riding. Our bikes are heavy, weighing eighty pounds each — and that’s with minimalist packing.
The weather was beautiful for the first 150 miles! We met interesting people both riding the canal and in the small towns along the way. It’s a rural area with few amenities.
On Thursday, 4/25, the rain began in the morning and picked up as we entered Cumberland, MD. It turned into a steady rain as we climbed the 1100 feet to Frostburg, MD, where we wisely made the decision to get a motel room and hit the laundromat across the street. It was still raining the next morning, and cold to boot. We debated whether to continue riding, but ultimately decided we’d rather brave the weather than sit in a tiny motel room all day.
So, we bundled up and began the climb up to the Mason Dixon Line. It was a cold, wet ride … the kind where you start shivering the moment you stop cycling. The following morning was forecast to be in the low 30’s. Fortunately, we were able to rent a small cottage for the night in Rockwood, PA, complete with cable TV and both a pool table and a ping-pong table. After getting dry, warm and cleaned up, we headed out to the local tavern for dinner and a beverage – a real luxury!