Saturday, June 22, 2013

Delmarva 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 I couldn't leave it at that. "I'm a bike tourist", I thought. "Why not ride home instead of renting a car in DC?" I pulled out maps and requested more vacation time at work. The time off was approved, the mapping went well, and before I knew it I had a planned tour. 

The adventures, and sometimes misadventures, I and the other Bike Forums posters encountered during our week-long trip to the nation's capitol are the subjects of other threads. I was stretched, bonked, and exhausted from the tour, and Bike Forums member ALHanson was kind enough to host me Friday and Saturday nights, June 19 and 20, so I could recover for my departure the morning of the 21st. 

My original plans had been to ride from ALHanson's home in Northern VA to Annapolis, but I increasingly became concerned about the lack of a good bike route between DC and Maryland's capitol. A few exchanges on Bike Forums produced an offer of a ride, and so I was soon at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. I rode the bike trail that circles the airport, followed a connector, and soon enough was headed down the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail to the Chesapeake. The trail offered me both a short day and more time to recover from the knee trouble and chafing problems I'd suffered during the previous week. 

The B and A is a rail trail, with no more than a two per cent grade down to the coast. This being a Sunday, the trail was busy with walkers and riders. The weather was warm but not sultry, and while folks perspired, the air didn't stick to them when they stopped. And there were many places to stop as the trail wandered through the little towns along the way. I paused at the park headquarters, a former train station being restored to its Victorian small-town grandeur. 

Too soon the trail ended. But I had only a couple of miles to the city on roads with moderate Sunday traffic. I'd been advised by a rider I met at a rest stop that Annapolis crab is much better than Baltimore's, and the view of the city from the scenic overlook was not to be missed. "Annapolis reminds me of Venice, with the domes on the churches and the water", he said. I'm glad I stopped, for he was right about the view at least.

Before I knew it I crossed the Severn River and was watching boats pass by.

I called my hosts for the evening, folks I'd met through Warm Showers, the mutual hospitality website for touring cyclists. Little did I know my host was both a celebrity and a dog.

Sadie McCready is perhaps the most famous canine bike tourist of recent time, a distinction that almost tops the phrase "internationally known chess historian" in conversation-stopping ability. Sadie and one of her people, Daniel McCready, the week before my arrival completed an 850 mile tour from Maryland's capitol to Maine to promote the East Coast Greenway. They raised 6000 dollars, spent more than three weeks on the road, appeared on FOX News - Sadie's choice, no doubt, since she is a Lab - and were written up in numerous newspapers. Sadie rode in a trailer and Daniel rode a recumbent. The dog would get out on hills so Dan didn't have to lug her 75 pounds of weight up a grade. 

The photo shows my host and Daniel at Ego Alley on the docks in Annapolis. (Ego Alley is the nickname for the area where private boats are moored. I'll let you guess why the name stuck.) Sadie had been honored by the Mayor at a ceremony, and throughout the evening people would pass by and point, saying "Look, there's Sadie!" Being a Lab, she took it all in good grace.

After dinner, ice cream, and a short walking tour of the historic district, Sadie, her people, and I all set off on a boat tour of the Annapolis harbor. We four were the only travelers on the boat, and the sun was beginning to set. The condition of the light was to a photographer like a doggy toy to a pup:

Once to my host's home, showered, changed, and rested, I soon fell asleep, thinking of the day's ride, and planning to make the next day as full of wonder as today had been.

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A Taste For The Woods: Delmarva Tour, June 2009 - Part 1

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Delmarva Tour, June 2009 - Part 1