On day 7 we both woke before the sunrise and realized that a trip outside would be necessary if we were going to get anymore sleep. No middle of the night strolls are ever casual when you are tent camping, every little sound you make seems extra noisy and the stillness of the night seems extra quiet. After tramping around in the chilly night air our warm beds felt comfortable again and we were able to sleep another hour before climbing out for the day ahead.
After seeing how clean Dear Husband got from his river bath, I decided to wash a few clothes items out and secure them to the back rack of my bike to dry while we rode. Once more we packed up our gear, enjoyed a protein bar for breakfast and headed out on the trail.
I wondered before I left for this trip if after 7 days straight of riding a bike for 4 1/2 hours a day, would I grow tired of riding a bike. I can now say that was never the case. Each day I looked forward to getting back on the trail and seeing the things that were yet to come. Both the GAP and the C & O Trails go through the woods and follow a river, but never did I feel like I had seen enough. Every single mile was as beautiful as the next and having the ability to keep seeing it day after day was all that I had hoped it would be.
There are several quaint, historical towns along this lower section of the C & O Trail, Shepherdstown, WV, Harpers Ferry, WV, Brunswick, Md, and Leesburg, VA. Each of these towns are fairly easy to access from the trail and would make great stops. We had thought about checking out Harper’s Ferry on this trip, but the spiral steps up to the footbridge over the Potomac didn’t look very inviting to our loaded down bicycles. There are bike racks at the bottom of the stairs where your bike could be locked, but we had no way of locking up all of our possessions attached to our bikes. So, we have stored away the idea of visiting Harper’s Ferry on another trip to the area. This section on the C & O would be a great weekend journey, stay in one of the towns in a hotel, bring your bike along and ride the trail to a few of the other towns in the area.
We did make a stop in Brunswick, MD for lunch. The Trail Book had an advertisement about a coffee house located in a century old historic brick church called Beans in the Belfry.
They offered delicious fresh baked goods, soups, chili, snacks, salads and Panini sandwiches along with coffee, tea, espresso, coffee specialty drinks & the best(according to their web ad) hot chocolate.The item that pleased Dear Husband the most was his root beer milkshake. And, because he had me order for him, he left wishing the best milkshake he ever had would have been the size large instead of the small that I had ordered. I guess I now have a way to get him back on the trail…dangle that idea of another awesome root beer milkshake in front of his taste buds! I certainly enjoyed my Mozzarella and Tomato Panini sandwich and the unique atmosphere the cafe offered.
Once again we were refueled and back on the trail.
“The Monocacy Aqueduct with its seven support arches is the longest of the 11 stone aqueducts and a very dramatic structure. The aqueduct is 516 foot long and had seven 54-foot span arches.” Trail Book 11th Edition
Our afternoon point of interest was at mile marker 35.5, White’s Ferry.
“The last operating ferry on the Potomac River. It carries motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians across the river to Virginia.” Trail Book 11th Edition
At the White’s Ferry store Dear Husband bought a few treats while I waited outside with the bikes watching the ferry come back across the river. His surprise purchases were and apple, orange, bag of Fritos, bag of White Cheddar Popcorn and a can of Coke, to which I exclaimed, “We going to have a party tonight!” Obviously, I am a low budget kind of girl….
While at White’s Ferry, Dear Husband had me “model” the extra-large Osage Orange he had found on the Canal Path. He was really amazed at the largeness of many different familiar things he found along the C & O, the trees, grapevines, and the Osage Oranges being some of them.
Some of these things ended up as riding hazards along the way.
Our stopping place for the night was at mile marker 26.1, Horsepen Branch. This was a bitter-sweet night of camping, because after having dinner from our supplies and enjoying our treats from the White’s Ferry store we began the calls home to make arrangements for our car to meet us at the zero marker in Washington DC. This would be our last night camping next to the Potomac River.
Tomorrow the wizard would be getting us home(aka, our nephew would be driving our car to the Thompson’s Boat Center in Washington, DC where the zero mile marker is located for the C & O Canal Path). I was excited to be achieving our goal of riding the entire 330+ miles, but I was sad to be ending this joyous journey.
“Oh please, Professor, why can’t we go with you and see all the Crowned Heads of Europe?” Dorothy
“A place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.” Dorothy