Sunday, June 21, 2015

Đại úy Chuck and the NCOIC, Part 9

June 12 – Day 8

Williamsport to Brunswick

If it hasn’t been said before, can’t too much food. The day began a hundred yards from the Red Roof at Waffle House and two All Star breakfasts; eggs, hash browns or grits, “breakfast meat”, waffle and toast.

Đại úy has ridden many supported tours and has not had to solve the logistical problems that can arise when riding unsupported. When a very large tree blocked the Trail it posed a potentially serious problem. A couple who had departed Williamsport earlier had just finished getting through the Trail blockage and offered assistance motivated out of honest concern, but also from a belief that a blind guy was not adequate to the challenge. Without additional assistance Đại úy Chuck and the NCOIC had the Co-Motion clear of the blockage, packed and ready to proceed in less than 45 minutes.


Obstacle Overcome

Also inconvenienced by the fallen tree was a fellow-traveller on the final leg of a ride from San Diego to northern Virginia.

Nearing Home

Eventually the canal returned to its proper position and we resumed a more normal state of riding readiness until meeting an area of “Road Work Ahead” where gravel was being moved and smoothed and packed to repair or improve a section of the Trail that appeared to have suffered some serious erosion. Gravel was being brought to the worksite in a small dump truck that we had the misfortune to encounter at a point where turning around was impossible for the truck (that now seemed to be not nearly so small) and almost impossible for the Co-Motion. The truck driver pulled as close to the canal edge as possible while Đại úy Chuck and the NCOIC stood as close as possible to the precipice overlooking the Potomac. The picture below shows how close to the canal’s edge the driver positioned the inside tire of the truck’s dual rear wheels. As for Đại úy Chuck and the NCOIC? “He just scraped the pannier,” said Đại úy, with remarkable calm, as the vehicle edged past.


One of Đại úy Chuck's goals is to walk the Appalachian Trail and anyone who doubts his sincerity and ability is badly mistaken. Visiting Harper’s Ferry for its historical value and its AT fame was a goal, but making it happen was compromised by a too casual description of how to get to town. “Just cross the bridge . . .” would require ascending the locally and AT famous spiral stairway; a minor inconvenience for someone hundreds of miles into at AT but well outside reasonable for the Co-Motion and gear. So, keep moving on.

Harper's Ferry, the spiral stairs and AT.

There were more backpackers than riders on this short section when C&O and AT meet. One walker, whose Trail name was Ophi, or Ofi or some variation on that sound, shared a wealth of information including that he’d lost more than thirty pounds since departing Springer Mountain.

AT Walker and AT Walker-to-be

A stationary freight train blocked access to the other side of the tracks and a chance to visit the International Youth Hostel favored by many through hikers. Another keep moving” decision. The Co-Motion was aimed toward Brunswick and the city owned Brunswick Family Campground. It’s difficult to not draw comparisons and contrasts between GAP and C&O and the same ones arise regularly; both are interesting, water is more plentiful along C&O, but taste is an issue and GAP towns are much more committed to the GAP. Like many other parts of the trip, adjustments had to be made and this place was one of them. The place was clean and we were offered use of a pavilion to counter the rain that had just commenced.

Avoiding rain in Brunswick

A bivouac or Ravens’ fans posed a potential problem; noise. Playing the Veterans card, stating that the best rivalry in football is the Steelers and Ravens and asking that they keep an eye on our gear assured a positive response later. Food (and lots of it) was found at Potomac Street Grill in Brunswick. The recommendation by locals was excellent.

Serious rain never happened and the Ravens’ fans settled surprisingly early. What could have been a not-so-good day became a day with events and just another day on the road.
Beuaty by a Dam Site

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