Monday, Monday, so good to me; Monday morning, it was all I hoped it would be. Oh, Monday morning, Monday morning couldn’t guarantee that Monday evening you would still be here with me. –“Monday, Monday” by the — Mamas and Papas
And so it was with Monday morning. We awoke to a spectacular sunny day. The evening was so pleasant at the Econolodge Harper’s Ferry. I highly recommend it to cyclists. They were so welcoming. Their high pressure hose was perfect to wash away the Sunday mud encasing our bikes. They allowed us to take over the breakfast room for our pizza and salad dinner.
Monday morning saw three of our cyclists off to the bike shop in Brunswick to repair their mud damages bikes. One of them had to go on to Shepherdstown for a more major repair of replacing his derailleur. Good lesson learned here is to not force the bike through 4-6 inches of mud for miles and the importance of having a SAG wagon accompany our tour. TVH, our SAG driver has saved our butts several times so far.
The remaining four mud survivors spent the morning touring Harper’s Ferry. It is one beautiful sleepy town at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers with a good bit of history. Around noon, our comrades returned with repaired bikes. We grabbed a quick lunch at a patio cafe before heading back onto the C&O.
The trail surprised us with dry and excellent riding conditions. We sailed along for the next twenty two miles. The scenery was beautiful with the rushing Potomac to our left. The river remains very high with the flood waters receding.
Things changed once we passed Shepherdstown and approached dam 4. Short sections of mud were gradually replaced with longer sections of tire miring mud. The last 1/2 mile into the dam #4 parking lot was pretty bad.
We were greeted with towpath detour sign at dam #4. It turns out the new section of the towpath that Chuck and I had to detour around 3 years ago was now under water and unsafe. We would have to take the road detour to continue on for the day.
Justin volunteered to be our scout to check the trail conditions ahead. We had hoped the river had receded and the trail was passable. It had indeed receded but was covered with even more mud than we had seen to date. He found himself stuck in 6″ of mud. Even worse, his derailleur hanger broke. This seems to be a recurring theme with heavy mud.
Our group was not amused. The official detour was over 10 miles of rolling roads into Williamsport. That was our to be our destination for the day. We did not feel the need for adventure to cycle into town. TVH sagged this tired and disillusioned group to the Red Roof Inn for the night. Our day of cycling was done; 15 miles short of our goal.
Sometimes the most insignificant thing can change a groups demeanor. We walked over to the Waffle House next door for dinner. It was simple but was so delicious. The staff was great. They had a hose that we could use to clean our bikes. The Red Roof Inn did not. The hotel front desk clerk was embarrassed that the owner did not have a hose for cyclists.
After breakfast at the Waffle House and repairs to our mud scout’s bike, we are heading west to Little Orleans for the night. The trail condition reports are that it is in good shape with no mud from this point on. We have passed the flooded potion of the Potomac.
At Fort Frederick, we are switching to the Western Maryland Rail Trail for 20 miles into Hancock. The group is looking forward to sampling the famous pie at Weaver’s Restaurant in Hancock. Our destination for the evening is the Little Orleans Lodge in Little Orleans.