I have titled this post "2014 Meyersdale to Washington DC Bike Trip" for a specific reason. That reason being, in 2014 we pedaled our mountain bikes from Meyersdale Pa. to Washington DC. This was a trip that was long overdue and in my head for far too long. I had planned this trip a few years back as a hotel and B&B trip with my wife. We were putting the plan into place but it never materialized due to the trail suffering some devastating damage from flooding making several sections impassable. Life went many different directions so I was forced to file the plan in a dark empty spot in my brain. Fortunately, I have a fair amount of empty spots available so it sat dormant in this cranial cavity until late 2013 when I received a mental note asking if the data should be deleted or if I planned to revisit the plan. Revisiting the plan was the only logical choice.
Late in 2013 I mentioned the plan to my wife but I told her that I had figured on camping along the trail. Let's just say that when she heard sleeping in a tent along the trail without a shower, she told me to not figure on her making the trip. It wasn't the long miles in the saddle, it wasn't the random eateries along the trail, it wasn't the bugs, or the heat or possible rain or mud. It was pure and simple, if there wasn't a Holiday Inn or similar establishment at the end of each day, she wasn't going, end of discussion. So my plan was underway as a solo trip. Late in 2013 I casually mentioned the trip to my good buddy Jim McClelland whom I will refer to by his nickname "Muck". I briefly told him about it and even asked if he might be interested. He looked at me like I had one eye in the middle of my forehead, grunted something and that was pretty much it. Much to my surprise, he called me the next day and said, "count me in". I was surprised and happy to have a pedaling partner.
Over the next couple months I made plans and anxiously waited for the day of our departure. I laid out distances and tried to take into consideration places we could eat and get supplies. I had no idea how the trail would be and how far we could travel each day considering the heavy pack and panniers we would be traveling with. Despite these unknowns, I planned based on 50-60 miles per day which ended up being a very attainable target. I also planned so we wouldn't have to do any major backtracking for food or any significant miles off trail to get into trail towns. This was important because we already had a decent agenda on our plate. We later on found out that the agenda had constrictions because of a work conflict and the trip had to be completed on a certain day with no flexibility. This ended up being no problem in the end.
We also used the remaining months to gather gear that we would need. We would need a small tent, pad and sleeping bag that would pack rather compactly. I purchased a Mummy Bag, took it home and it was immediately obvious that I don't fit well into a Mummy Bag. Well, I did fit in the bag but I gave the term Mummy a whole new meaning. I mean you could literally see my pulse when I was in that bag. That bag was returned and the second one was a standard bag and this time I fit. This still wasn't like my bed but I thought it would do.
The months seemed to move so slowly as we waited to get this adventure underway. The plans were made, our gear was ready and we couldn't wait to get on the trail. Two days before our departure, Muck threw his back out at work and while I felt so bad for him, I was still determined to go it alone. Turns out he wasn't giving up and the night before the trip he called and told me he was still definitely going. He was a trooper and I'm happy to say once he got in the saddle and started down the trail he was good to go and never had a problem the rest of the trip. I was so happy that he was able to join me.
Our adventure went off without a hitch and it was a trip we will never forget. We rode roughly 250 miles with 30 plus miles on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and the balance on the C & O Canal Trail. The C&O Canal Trail goes from Cumberland Md to Washington DC and is the actual towpath that the mules would walk on as they pulled the loaded barges through the flooded canals. The trail system is actually National Park Service land and is a very historic trail.
My initial plan was to really document this trip and take tons of pictures, possibly video with a GoPro and even record notes on a mini recorder. I wanted to do that so I could write up a detailed story and cross reference mile markers and trail towns. A couple weeks prior to our departure I tossed those plans to the wind. I decided that all this detailed documentation was apt to degrade the real purpose of this trip which was to put stress behind, put paperwork behind, and instead embrace nature and the ride. With that being said, I will just post pictures and note anything worth noting below each picture. If I can recall where the picture was taken, I will include that. So here we go!