We are here.

What a day today was! 

We started out bright and early, mostly because of the extra hour of sleep (!), and as we left Harper’s Ferry and had to cross the Potomac and go down the spiral staircase with the bikes.

trail in the background, Potomac River

We had breakast in a little town, Brunswick, MD, where they were setting up for the Veteran’s Day Parade.  We couldn’t hang around til noon, so off we went.  We got to the Second Breakfast stop,

Best fried chicken. Ever.

where we had some delicious fried chicken and Jesse called to check in with work about his schedule for tomorrow.  He’s on reserve, and Delta informed him that he had Long Call (he has 12 hours in which to position himself in Detroit for a trip), so we re-thought our day.  We had another 50 miles to go, and we had planned on humping pretty hard to get to the DC airport for a 7:30pm flight; with the news of the Long Call, we decided to not push so hard, go to about 15 miles or so out of DC, call it a day, and cruise in the remaining miles tomorrow morning.  Good Plan?  We’ll see…

you hit these spots with speed, fishtail through them, slow your speed in half, then head to the next one

We spent most of the day in swamp-like condition because of yesterday’s rains, so we gave up on maintaining any kind of speed at all, hitting 7 and 8 mph most of the day.  The slower speed allowed for a little more sightseeing, and that was kind of  fun.

a black squirrel - haven't googled it yet to know anything about them

 We also made a stop at a ferry landing (where we ate YET again), and took this photo on the side of the building:

hope you can read this - it's flood level and dates

Because of the nature of the trail conditions, every now and then you hit a puddle that’s FAR deeper than you think, and you just launch yourself skyward – that’s what had happened here, and my bag went flying – tearing off the little velcro tabs that are supposed to keep that from happening!

yeah, my laptop's in there

So we’re working our plan, riding leisurely, then at about 20-something miles yet to the end, we stop to see one of the lockhouses on display, and we speak with a park ranger.  We ask him about upcoming points of road access to the trail where we might bail and start looking for a hostel, hotel, B and B, whatever.  Mr. Park Ranger Sir tells us that there is ABSOLUTELY no lodging until the trail feeds into the city and the very end.  Not good.  It’s 4:00, no Daylight Savings Time, and we have 20+ miles to go!  We know we can pick up our pace a bit, cuz we’re out of the worst of the mud, but not THAT fast.

that is a worried face - beautiful point in the trail tho

This is the last pic we took of the river before we packed it in and put our heads down.

Great Falls on the Potomac - just gorgeous

So we ride the last 19 miles as hard and as fast as we could, and even so, it was dark for the last 10 or so.  I don’t mean dusky, sunset-y, having-a-little-trouble-seeing-the-path, I mean full-on headlight/headlamp/red rear blinkie no moonlight frickin D-A-R-K.  We hated to miss getting our big moment coming into the city, but at that point we still have no place to stay, and we really don’t know where the trail feeds in along the Potomac (Georgetown). 

Anyway, all’s well, we’re in the Holiday Inn on Wisconsin (which is at the top of a BIG-ASS hill), showered, Jesse is snoring beside me, I’m watching the Series (Phillies in 6), and our trip has come to an end.  We haven’t checked the flights yet, but we go home sometime tomorrow, after we resolve our bike-box issue (airport?  bike shop?  build our own from cardboard we scavenge?).

We’ve had a great time, and I’ll try to do a follow-up post with what we would change if we did it again, or if someone else wanted to try it.  Thanks for sharing the adventure with us, expecially my Flat posse!

Thanks for reading!