Home again, home again, jiggety jog…

Just wanted to do one last posting for the conclusion of our bike ride.  We’re back home now, back to jobs, home, asphalt, and wanted to wrap up our postings of our Ride 09:  Pittsburgh to DC.

We left our hotel in Georgetown Monday morning with a pretty weak plan:  Ride around town, find mile marker zero on the canal, see the sites at the mall, come up with bike boxes, ride to the airport, fly home.  Notice anything wrong with that plan??  Maybe the “find the bike boxes, ride bikes to airport” part?  How big is a bicycle box?  Remember the pictures from the beginning of the trip?  Coincidentally, you can fit a bicycle into a bike box, so riding with one balanced on one’s bike might not be the best idea…

Flat posse on last day - see how they no longer have their little elastic tag? And what a mess they made in this hotel room!

Jesse spent the morning SHOWERING the bikes in the hotel room shower (true) and Gayle spent the morning, ummm, seeking and finding a Starbucks coffee shop (true).  As a side note, let me just tell you, our bags/dirty laundry REEKED.  We’d even done laundry at the halfway point, but we were still pretty stinky.  Too bad for the people downwind of us, and next to us on the airplane.

We found the historical marker in Georgetown,

intentionally left blank

and Mile Marker Zero (hint:  it’s very near the Watergate Hotel and the Kennedy Center)

started at MM 180 - after 200 on the other trails!

Then we zipped into DC for the obligatory sights:

Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument (don't I look pretty here? - need more Starbucks)
Capitol Bldg

Then, because, believe it or not, Jesse had never been to Arlington, across the Lincoln Memorial Bridge we went.

crew mates of my dad's VP5 squadron who died in a crash in Greenland in 1962
Ted Kennedy's new marker
Iwo Jima Memorial which is hard to find

By now we’ve called a bike shop or two and struck out finding boxes…why, there’ll be some at the airport we can buy, of course.  So off we go on the Mt. Vernon Bike Trail which leads straight into the Reagan National Airport – kinda cool.

final trip picture - good, huh?

Anyway , in the interest of making a long story longer, no bike boxes at airport.  Get out the handy iPhone, start calling bike shops, find one nearby with boxes, Jesse starts disassembling bikes, Gayle gets taxi to shop, shoves 2 full-size bike boxes into small-size taxi (!), pack up bikes, get on flight to BNA via ATL, fly two legs, drive home, crawl ever so gratefully into bed.

All in all, fabulous trip.  Would we do anything differently?  Minor things:

 if you must start from the Pittsburgh airport, enjoy the Montour trail with all its imperfections.  If you have sag support, or the ability to begin at a different location, lop off those 45 miles and begin in the town of McKeesport, Pennsylvania on the Great Allegany Passage.  That’s a great trip by itself (3 days). 

If you want to, go ahead with the 3 days on the C and O Canal Towpath, but be prepared for lots and lots of mud and harder effort.  If you want just the flavor of the trail, just do the last 60 of the 180 mile trail, starting in Harper’s Ferry, coming into Washington DC, seeing the working lock, the Great Falls, etc.

The Continental Divide cuts the trip in about half, and the smartest of riders would begin at the Divide and go one direction, the get sag support back to the Divide and go the other direction – all downhill!!

Happy Trails!!

Thanks for reading!