Sunday, June 23, 2013

Alone in a Crowd: Montour/GAP/C & O Tour, June 2009 - Part 1

Early in 2009, Bike Forums member Spinnaker proposed a tour for Bike Forums posters on the Montour Trail, Great Allegheny Passage, and C & O Canal Towpath. The three trails cover 380 miles from north and west of Pittsburgh, PA, and Washington, DC. I and several other posters signed up to what promised to be an exciting, taxing, but satisfying trip. Having done the trails twice in 2008, I felt confident I could ride them again, and looked forward to riding in a group on tour for the first time. 

I also felt confident in my level of training for the ride. I'd done rides of varying length and difficulty in the weeks leading up to the tour, including a 52 mile trip into Philadelphia and back. While none of these rides were pulling a full trailer, or indeed much of a load at all, I felt I was at least as well prepared as I had been in August 2008 when I'd ridden the trails ten weeks after crashing and fracturing a rib. 

Finally the day came. Or more properly, the days before came. One of the group riders, "VT_Speed_TR", arrived at my home on the evening of the 11th. He spent the night and we departed early the next morning for DC, where we were to meet "ALHanson" and drive to Pittsburgh in a rental vehicle. 

The trip to DC was uneventful, aside from my being talkative from lack of sleep. (I work second shift, and it takes a day or two for me to adjust to a 'normal' daytime life.) We arrived in Georgetown to drop off VT's car, and awaited the arrival of AL.

We had our first surprise of the tour. Car rental companies weren't keen on a one-way rental to the land of the Three Rivers, so the full-sized SUV turned out to be smaller than anyone expected. It was a tight fit to get all of us and our gear in, but we made it work:

Once we were moving, the hours sped by. AL and VT were good talkers when I let them speak. We reached Pittsburgh about 5:00 PM, unpacked, arranged for the return of the rental car, and soon were setting down to dinner with our host and ride organizer "Spinnaker" and other tour riders. From left to right, Bike Forums posters "Robow", VT_Speed_TR", "Twodeadpoets", "Spinnaker" (obscured by Wes, riding with us the first day) and "ALHanson."

After dinner it was back to Spinnaker's to see the final game of the Stanley Cup contest between Detroit and Pittsburgh, and then bed on the floor in the living room. b

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A Taste For The Woods: Alone in a Crowd: Montour/GAP/C & O Tour, June 2009 - Part 1

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Alone in a Crowd: Montour/GAP/C & O Tour, June 2009 - Part 1