Another great day on the trails!

We started out in Cumberland, Maryland with a great breakfast at our Fairfield Inn.  Then back up the trail a bit for a picture of the C and O sculpture on the square.  We knew it was going to be a long day, and we were unsure of the trail conditions, so we were rolling by 9, which for us is early.

me, the mule, and the mule driver

Today we began the C and O canal (stands for Chesapeake and Ohio).  The canal was conceived in the early 1800’s as a route to carry goods to and from Washington DC.  The railroads were also being developed at the same time and at times they ran parallel to one another.  The canal was built, complete with 75 locks, alongside the Potomac, and was used until 1925.  It was shut down and began to deteriorate and then-President Nixon signed a bill creating the C and O National Park in 1971.  Now many of the locks and lockhouses are visible and some are even functioning for public display, and the trail runs for 180 miles from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington DC.

a lock and the lockhouse
a little canal scum just adds to the color

The trail conditions here were different than the Rails-To-Trails we’ve been on up to now.  It’s far muddier, and more “natural” (read roots, stones, puddles), but it was no less beautiful.  Jesse took a little spill, but the leaves cushioned his fall a bit, and we fully expect this won’t be the last time, as we expect a bit of rain tomorrow, making the trails even juicier.

Jesse's wipeout, exactly as he landed

We ate twice today at colorful places along the trail:  the first, and we took no photos of this for reasons we don’t know, was formerly a high school and there is now a diner in the old lunchroom; the second, Bill’s place, kind of a sketchy place right off the trail that is open when Bill says it’s open.

the sausage and cheese plate at Bill's

We also went through the PawPaw Tunnel – a 3000 foot-long tunnel that was to have saved a couple of miles around a mountain when it was built.  A little creepy, drippy, and dark, but interesting.  Took 14 years to build and has a million bricks in its internal arch.

Randy - I wanted to call you from here, but had NO cell service - did you run this without a headlamp?!?!?!

We rolled into the town of Hancock around 6, checked into our cozy hotel, took steaming hot showers, snacked on trail snacks and vending machine soft drinks, and are reading about tomorrow’s ride.

Thanks for reading!