June 15, 16 and 17 – Days 11, 12 and 13
Hanging in Baltimore; 6/15 and 16
Two Zero Days were spent among Ða?i u?y’s cousins and extended family in Raven’s Country— except for Fred who mostly cares about the Yankees. Despite the NCOIC’s preference for the Steelers, only bread was broken. (ed: I love the Ravens and Steelers rivalry!) Outstanding food (Baltimore food one evening and superior Mexican the next) and libations (no National Bohemian) added to the pleasure of being around fine people.
Having someone skilled and familiar with Dundalk and in-town Baltimore made it obvious that getting from DC and traversing Baltimore would have been a very difficult ride. It was also good to have showers and beds and no need to be up and loading the bike at oh dark thirty. To successfully navigate a city aboard a loaded tandem requires much better maps than Google can provide!
Baltimore to York; 6/17
Well fed, panniers repacked with freshly laundered clothes and food for later, the duo began the final stage of its ride from north of Baltimore, again, thanks to Cousin Debi who found her way to the Trailhead in Moncton, MD. That she was traveling against the in-bound flow was good, but still served as a reminder of why riding a bike instead of driving is so compelling.
In Maryland, the Rail Trail like much of the C&O was under a heavy canopy of green. It climbed steadily uphill for the entire distance into Pennsylvania, about 20 miles. Soon after crossing the Mason Dixon Line again the Trail leveled and became more rural; farms, villages and less dense woodland. It also became Pennsylvania Bicycle Rout J-1. The packed earth surface in Maryland turned in to a variety of surfaces from gravel (packed and loose), paved and packed dirt. Lacking the picturesque quality of the GAP and the obvious history of C&O there were fewer Kodak Moments. The area’s significance in the Civil War was not close at hand to view or photograph.
The Howard Tunnel, built in 1940, was not the longest, darkest or wettest, but is still the oldest active railroad tunnel and deserved a picture. So, too, did the over-large wheeled replicas in a county park along the Trail.
Indian Rock Campground, south of York, was the destination for the thirteenth day of riding. It was a small, neat place and dark clouds suggested that the tent should be located in a pavilion once more. An all-night rainfall validated the decision! Having only one functioning showerhead would have been a bigger complain had the owner/manager not shared libations which, when added to Cousin Debi’s bag of edible goodies, took care of dinner. Two more days of riding should complete the adventure.