Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 6

            We left at 7:30 AM again this morning because we had a 52 mile day. The group has really “gelled” into very close friendships. We can joke with each other and tease each other with no hard feelings.

            Dean started to notice he had a soft tire and we stopped to pump it up twice before lunch. We rode into Williamsport for lunch and there was a group of volunteers at the Visitors Center, working on bikes. Dean asked if he could pay them to repair his tire but they said no, they could not take cash. They were setting a group of “trail rangers” who would ride (patrol) the towpath in the area and answer questions and “help out” as needed, if there were bike problems and he was given an email address, if he wanted to write an email in support of their proposal. So I asked if they would adjust my rear shifter, while I walked up town to eat lunch with our group. They said they would.

We ate at the Desert Rose Café and it was very good. After lunch, we started out for Shepherdstown. In an hour, my patch from yesterday was leaking and I flatted. Since that tube already had 2 patches on it, I put in a new tube. We started out again and rode through the Big Slackwater (where after decades of no towpath), they completed the 2 miles of “missing” towpath, almost 2 years ago.     When we arrived at Dam No. 4, we took some pictures and rested. Then there was a short, steep, very rocky descent to the towpath and at the bottom, Lee had a flat tire. The last 5 of us were together and stopped to help. Lee has been putting air in it most mornings, so it finally failed on the rocky ride down. We all got on our bikes to leave and I had another flat (from the rocks). So we started over and took mine apart. It was a long cut and may have been pinched when it put in the new tube a short time before and the rocks were too much for it. So we tried to patch it TWICE but each time it did not hold till we got it back on the bike. So I had ONE more spare tube with me and we decided to chance it and I put it in. It is working well now. I hope I can find another spare tube before I need it.

            Carol had already delivered the first 4 people to the hotel and we arrived at the pickup point an hour later than them. (That was how long it took us to repair Lee’s and my tires.) We here hot, tired and late (5:45) and set supper at 6:45. The first two restaurants were a long wait (for 13 people). JD’s brother drove down from PA to visit him and go out with us for supper, so we were a larger group than normal.  So supper was at a Chinese restaurant tonight.

This is what most of the C&O Canal Towpath looks like.
There are 2 tire tracks from the ranger's vehicles.

We passed Fort Frederick, a Revolutionary War Fort,
That is now a MD State Park.

This area is called Four Locks. There are 4 locks in close secession.
You can see 2 of them in this picture.

Little Slackwater, where the canal boats were out in the Potomac
River for about 3/4 of a mile and the Towpath is on a rock ledge.
Dean and Tess are just riding out onto the rock ledge.
The view is beautiful.

Dam No. 5 that backs up the river to provide
navigation for the canal boats in the Potomac River.

Cushwa Basin. Formerly where some of the canal boats
unloaded coal coming from Cumberland.
It is now a NPS Visitors Center.

Bob is coming out onto Big Slackwater, a 3-4 mile
long area where Dam No 4 holds water,
because there was no room to build a canal between
 the Potomac and the side of the mountain.

Part of the new two mile concrete section of the
towpath at Big Slackwater.
This also is a very beautiful area to ride.

Dam No. 4 below Big Slackwater.

Lee and Bob repairing Lee's flat.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We at the C&O Canal Trust --- the official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park --- are enjoying reading about your trip. The C&O Canal Trust is raising funds to help preserve the integrity of the towpath and improve the visitor experience at the Park. If you would like to help us care for this national treasure, please visit

  3. Thanks for your interest Mike. We certainly are enjoying the trip, despite the heat. At least it isn't cold rain. And thanks to the C&O Canal Trust for helping to make this resource available to the public.