Climbing out of bed this morning made me nervous. I felt surprisingly well rested after a late night of blogging next to a revelrous wedding party in the hotel lobby, but I was sore. My thighs and upper arms were tight and achy, but I was shocked that after a day without padded shorts I had no discomfort in that one area everyone had so seriously warned me of. So, day 2...no padded shorts.
The complimentary hot breakfast was amazing and I guiltlessly piled my plate with scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and a heaping pile (at least 6 pieces) of bacon. As you'll learn, I'm a serious foodie, and when food becomes a much needed source of fuel, eating becomes all the more fun!
|General Jubal A. Early Ferry to the C&O|
|Turtle on a log in the canal|
|Most of today's ride was through tree cover like this.|
|Interpretive Sign at the Catoctin Aqueduct|
I bailed off my bike and ran back to find the camera directly in the center of the puddle. The clock was on, and I immediately dabbed and wiped at the camera, using my bike seat as a gurney. Everything looked fine, but I patiently waited until Harper's Ferry to try to turn it on. When I did, it was alive, but angry, and I am continuing to try and wipe dirt and grit out of the lens (sorry for any foggy pictures).
At Harper's Ferry, WV, our lunch stop, we locked our bikes and walked across the river to the historic town. It wasn't hard to find a place to eat, and the Carriage Inn Grille offered traditional lunch fare with an interesting twist. Their inviting patio with colorful umbrellas at each table made a comfortable outdoor atmosphere, and the brie and chipotle burger and chocolate root beer milkshake hit the spot.
|Harper's Ferry bridge (from town side)|
|Lunch on the patio at The Carriage Inn Grille|
Back on the trail with 11.5 miles to go, we got back on track at rapid pace, freshly fueled and ready. At the last small aqueduct, we disobeyed rules and rode our bikes over the stones on the top walkway. We were riding with a much more experienced rider, so this seemed like no big deal, but I was third in line and didn't have far visibility in front of me. Suddenly, some of the rocks were uneven and dropped a couple inches toward the edge. This was right in line with my wheels, and as I tried to shift to the left, my wheel caught and I went down.
In my mind, it seemed like I was a goner -- I was going into the empty canal and it was going to hurt. Instead, I hit perfectly on the side of my thigh and slid with the bike toward the edge (just EXACTLY like one of those sliding-toward-the-cliff scenes in movies). As the front wheel went over, I clamped my thighs and saved the bike, and probably me, from going over the edge! I pulled the bike back, popped the chain back into place and proudly exclaimed, "that was awesome"... for the next 3 or so miles. Not a scratch.
*DO NOT RIDE OVER THE AQUEDUCTS!!!!
After that misadventure, it seemed like no time until we were at Mile 72, our stopping point for the day. Here, we walked our bikes up a short, steep hill and rode across the share the road bridge into Shepherdstown, WV. Unfortunately, this is where we had to say goodbye to the lovely Mila, who had to head back to Pittsburgh for work.
We checked into The Bavarian Inn which reminds of the places I've stayed in Switzerland. It overlooks the Potomac River and the rooms are exquisite. I traded my bike for my luggage at the truck next to the 3 small chalets of suites that overlook the river and nearly turned around to run back and yell, "did you guys see these rooms?!".
|Suite at The Bavarian Inn|
|Balcony view of the Potomac River - where I wrote this entry|
|The chalets on the hillside|
I could rave on and on about this hotel, and in my book it could be a "must do," but what was really great was the great company and conversation at dinner, and how an earlier end to a day of riding gave us time to catch up and story tell.