Friday, September 25, 2020

GAP/C&O Day 4 - Cumberland to Hancock

 We're at the Super 8 in Hancock. When you go up to the desk to check in, the nice lady working here will eventually notice that you are wearing a mask, and then gradually it will dawn on her that maybe she should be wearing a mask too, and then she will go back in the office and rummage around for awhile, then finally emerge with a mask on to check you in. The parking lot here is full of giant fancy pickup trucks with huge TRUMP flags mounted in the back. 

We rolled out of Cumberland around 8:30. The Fairfield Inn is right next to the trail. So convenient. Almost everyone staying there appeared to be bike touring.

It seems Maryland has banned coffee machines in motel rooms because pandemic. So you have to go downstairs to get coffee. The Fairfield has put the coffee behind the front desk. So when you wander downstairs at 6:30 half asleep because you have had no coffee and have forgotten that face masks even exist, they will hand you a mask and not give you coffee until you are wearing it. This is clever.

The ride today started with 45 scenic and historic miles on the very rough and bumpy C&O towpath. These pictures are about 10 miles from Cumberland where Jim had to fix a flat, so I sat around and took pictures.

We stopped for lunch right before the Paw Paw tunnel. There is a little park there with picnic tables. We ate some of our Pepperoni Rolls from Caporale's Bakery in Cumberland, and fruit, yogurt, and bagels from our breakfast go-bag from the Fairfield, which I like more and more.

The Paw Paw tunnel is a tunnel with a canal running through it. You don't see that every day.

It was especially dark and scary today, and the towpath is in worse shape than I've every seen it. It's barely rideable. I hear there are going to close it next year for a thorough renovation. All the holes in the brick walls do not inspire confidence.

Here is the exit to the Paw Paw tunnel, with boy for scale. I so wish I had thought of taking this picture when Max and I rode this 5 years ago.

We took a break at Bill's Place in Little Orleans, which is a favorite stop. We sat on the porch for awhile.

This is where we left the bumpy, unpaved towpath for the smooth paved Western Maryland Rail Trail, which in the last couple years has been extended to Bill's Place. Except for the Indigo Tunnel, where bats live. That is blocked by giant iron grates, and you have to ride around it for two miles on the towpath. But it is so incredibly great switching to the WMRT. We get 10 more miles of it tomorrow morning, to Fort Frederick.

We were in to Hancock by 4 pm.

There is a really nice restaurant in Hancock called Buddy Lou's. Full bar, great food, and many socially distant picnic tables outside. So we decided to walk the 0.7 miles to Buddy Lou's and when we are almost there, we run into four guys we met riding the trail today walking the other way. They said Buddy Lou's is closed because one of the servers tested postive for COVID yesterday. Crap.

There are not many other open businesses in Hancock these days. You can buy antiques, but the store with these guys in the window might not actually be in business any more. Go figure.

Anyway, our long, sad hike back to the Super 8 goes right by this Sheetz gas station and beer store next door. Dinner was a couple brats, some fried mozzarella sticks, and a Yuengling tall boy.

I wish I was in a tent after eating a backpacker meal today.

Here is today's Strava page:

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