Touring the GAP and C&O Summer 2021
We're going to Washington, D.C. right now. We're going to get on the Amtrak and then we're going to take that Amtrak train to Pittsburgh, and then we're going to ride the GAP and the C&O back to D.C. So we've done this ride.
2014 was a 2013 or 2014, so. Seven years ago. So last time we did that in 2014, I think we agreed 2014. We did it in six days. Right?
So now the goal is 4 days. So what did we do wrong last time? Too much weight. Yeah, on our body and on our bikes. So we have less weight We don't have panniers now. We're not going to camp.
Oh, yeah. That's a yay. We're going to just... Coast Yeah, we're going try to average 80, 85 miles a day. We're probably a little fitter than we used to be.
On average We're driving almost the same distance, in like 3 hours, that we are riding Isn't that crazy? The first time we did The GAP and the C&O was probably the second longest ride we've ever done. Yes. So it was. Previous to that, it was 100 mile ride from Philadelphia back to New York.
Which has.. we were very much unprepared for. Like we just... I just had this idea, "Hey, let's do that" and then we did it and then it's like, oh, no, oh, no. I think it had a backpack.
I had a backpack. We didn't have a rack. No rack. You did it on a hybrid. Yeah. My butt still hurts.
To this day. Yeah. And then the second longish ride GAP and C&O Like fully loaded with panniers, with a bunch of crap we don't need Like what was in that? I think like a journal with me that was really big A big old notebook Like clothes. Like a bunch of clothes. Like we are going to be changing our clothes every two hours like babies and then our camping equipment. Yeah, we didn't camp as much as we hoped We're taking a day in Pittsburgh to basically get ready, and then we're going to start riding tomorrow. Today is just leisurely walking around. And eating treats.
and drinking water and staying hydrated. Maybe we're going to have some pasta for dinner. How about that? Carb load? No? Yeah, first time seeing Pittsburgh in the daylight.
It's alright. What do you think? It's nice. It's better than Philadelphia. throwing some shade on Philly. All right, we'll start tomorrow.
All right, Day one. starting this ride. There is going to be a week of rain and thunderstorms ahead, probably it rained last night.
Right now it looks OK. But who knows? The biggest obstacle right now is how expensive it is to stay at hotels and motels bed and breakfast along the trail, easily over two hundred dollars a night. So first it was... It's difficult to find where to stay.
And then second is, if you do, it's probably going to we're probably going to be overpaying. So don't know where we're going to sleep tonight, but. We'll see what happens. All right. Setting off from Pittsburgh
Is this the beginning of gravel? For the next 300 or so miles? Yeah, stopped for lunch. Pretty good. Waiting for my Reuben. So compared to seven years ago doing the GAP and the C&O and the GAP. it feels like there's more people out right now compared to before many years ago. I mean, there's definitely been an uptick of people riding a bike. But there's also been the rise in popularity of e-bikes, which has allowed the opportunity of, you know, people who are a little bit older to get out there and ride.
And I feel like I definitely see more older people out on the bikes riding. I mean, everybody's still friendly. Keep saying hello to people passing by every minute. Yeah, it's cool.
More people out which still worried about where we're going to sleep today because everything is kind of sold out and filled up. We're definitely used to a kind of like planning our lodgings last minute, like around lunchtime, maybe figure out where we're going to sleep, but. Today, I don't know, we might have to spend a lot of money. Good news. We secured lodgings for the day. For the night.
Just 17 more miles. It's going to be maybe like a. Seventy-ish mile day. Right? Eighty? 80-ish mile day. Sixty one plus seventeen. Yeah, so 78.
Yeah, I am still not tired, so I can do math. All right. We had Sheetz for the first time, How was coffee at Sheetz? Bad. This one is very hard to please. I don't know what the hell he made he went through the Slushee machine for ice and then to the coffee machine for coffee.
No, no, no. It's called ingenuity. Spiders on my bike Spider-Man of bikes a little overview of our setup got racks on, but no panniers It's just dry bags with bungee cords. Look how ugly this. Ugh, a mess.
This looks more neater. That's a six liter on the front and what, 12 and 16 on the back or 16 and 18? Mine's is a 12 liters and yours is 13 12L and 13L what is this gearing here? Wha? What's going on? I've only gone down once from the back The hell? Like stretching the life of this chain. Amateur. Yeah, you want to throw this bike away, don't you? When I'm done I'm going to replace this headset. Definitely.
I don't think that lens is waterproof. I don't think so, either. Hey, guess what? It's raning again. Second day. Pheasants? Peacocks? Yeah! Hello, lady peacock. It's this really tall bridge, I don't know what the name of it is, but it goes over like.. just fields. And the highway But it's really cool.
I think that's the name of the bridge we passed by I didn't see the river, so it rained briefly on day two. We managed to stop over at a town eat and dry a little bit. And then the sun came out. So it's kind of.
Still cloudy but I don't see any rain clouds. That are coming this way. Hopefully it's going to be dry for the rest of the day I guess there was a train here before That is evidence of a train. There is a photograph...of a train Why are you on the Granny? Almost at the end of day two.
It was great going over the Continental Divide, it was a full day of climbing at a very tiny grade of two percent. Zero to two percent all day. And then once you go over, the Continental divide is just a huge drop into Cumberland, Maryland. So I'm going right now making up the slow going of the first half of the day, just coming down the mountain.
And we made reservations for somewhere to stay today. So hopefully we'll be there within half an hour. And that's going to be the end of day two, so day three and four is going to be more difficult terrain.
That was a... That was a bunch of deer running across the road. Mile 184 Mud, gravel. I don't like it. Go on a bike ride, they said it's going to be fun, they said, no hiking, no walking. I don't even know where I'm going now.
I cannot ride up this. No way. This is like hiking up a mountain right now Detour. Whoo! Going down is just as hard as going up. It's okay, lady. I'm just brown. Was she looking at you? We found a paved road! They tell you walk over the aqueduct. I almost went INTO the aqueduct. C&O is broken Day four My bike just fell Disaster.
Holy shit. This is why you can't go over there Day Five. which comes after day four Not fun. But we made.
Come with me. This is The Lincoln Memorial, this is where like Abe Lincoln lives, so it's like, you know, like the one the the the the one in Moscow with the Lenin where they put him in the tomb and they just glazed him. Gross. Made him all shiny. It's just like that but nothing like it. So Abe Lincoln is not inside, actually.
Some people think he's not like, you know, like an Egyptian mummy or anything, but. But he is one to 1:1 scale So he was really that huge. This is the reflecting pool.
So the reason it's called that is because if you look into it, you can see the reflection of your soul. Abe was not actually entombed in there like some kind of Egyptian Pharaoh Yeah, so it's all actually fake. But like I said, it's one to one scale, he was that huge. It was a giant of a man.
That's how he became president, he just beat the shit out of anyone who wanted to be president. It's like I'm the president and now and they're like, OK. So he was actually pretty good.
He loved everyone, except. People with disabilities. Because the staircase. It's not wheelchair accessible. Three hundred forty five miles in four days on gravel, like 99 percent of it gravel. Completed and
we find ourselves back in D.C., I took an extra day off just to recover. And luckily the weather has been great. Checking out the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument. Uh, this has been challenging but very rewarding. What do you think? I agree. It's challenging right now, just being in the sun.
It's challenging because it's really hot because there are a lot of steps. Uh, I wish I could just be scooted around. OK, we're heading back now. So thoughts, comments, concerns. Go.
I'm so very tired. My face feels so dry and my back hurts. And I can use like another three days of sleep So we ended up doing what we set out to do is to complete the GAP and the C&O in four days. Two days for the GAP Two days for the C&O We spent one day in Pittsburgh for preparation one day of recovering in DC We averaged 80 something miles a day. the last day
ended up being over 100 miles A couple of detours that added to the mileage throughout the. Towpath. Mostly because of construction and the rock slides. Also, there's a there's a lot of trees down Yeah, there were a lot of trees down, which. This slows you down some quality issues of the trail, Some parts are really nice, other parts really need work. The mud remains there.
After it rains. For a long period of time Yeah, that was clay that's very sticky, slippery Rocks. Toward the end, for some reason, in DC they've decided to put rocks. Instead of a pavement you can ride on or walk on properly Yeah. Ended up riding a little bit in the dark, which I don't really like. But I have to get used to. Frogs are number two on my shit list now.
I feel bad for the frogs, though. Absolutely sure we murdered Like many, many frogs. It's a lot of wildlife. Like we said. Like you said before, the pandemic was great for billionaires
and animals because a lot of them are out and about. A lot of deer. Birds. OK, and this was good training, too. I learned something about equipment. Wearing gloves doesn't really work for me, it doesn't really help. Well, I'll be returning to Long-Distance riding and you'll be returning to. I have a half marathon to train for Yeah, running.