Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bike Log: C&O Canal Tow Path

This post is time-late. I started to write it and had troubles getting Blogger to upload photos, and I didn't get around to finish it until now.

My life has been pretty busy lately and I obviously haven't had much time for blogging. I'm in the midst of going through a series of fairly intense Navy schools. I was fortunate enough to have a week off between schools though, and I put the time to good use getting several errands run and projects done around the house.

On the Thursday of my week off (just after Labor Day), my friend Bob and I went for a 20 mile bike ride on the C&O Canal Tow Path, and it was awesome.

You may recall last year, Bob and I rode our bikes 13 miles from Point of Rocks, MD down to White's Ferry. This time, we started from the same spot under the Rt. 15 bridge at Point of Rocks, but we rode 10 miles upstream toward Harpers Ferry. Then we turned around and came back with a stop in Brunswick, MD for an awesome lunch at El Sloppy Tacos.

Starting off under the Rt. 15 bridge
at Point of Rocks, MD

On the C&O Canal Tow Path

Lock 29 and the Lock House

We passed Locks 28, 29, and 30 along the way. It was interesting to see signs at various places showing how high previous floods had risen. One flood, I think it was in 1996, brought the water level of the Potomac River up to the second floor of that lock house above.

We passed the remnants of the Catoctin Aqueduct.

This beautiful stone arch structure was originally built in 1832-1834 and was one of 11 stone aqueducts along the C&O Canal (such as the very nicely restored Monocacy River Aqueduct).
It collapsed back in 1973, but they salvaged the old stones from the Catoctin Creek and are raising funds to rebuild it to look exactly like it was with the original stones. If you want to sponsor one of the stones, then you can visit their adopt-a-stone website.

Of course, I had to stop and take pictures of flowers here and there. This was my favorite flower photo of the day. I am having trouble identifying the flower in my book though. Anybody able to help name this one? 
Update 10/21/2010: According to the Virginia Tech weed identification guide, this is a Wingstem flower (verbesina alternifolia). 

We turned around when we got 10 miles from Point of Rocks. It just happened to be exactly where the Appalachian Trail joins the C&O Canal Tow Path just shy of Harpers Ferry, WV.

On our way back, we stopped at El Sloppy Taco in Brunswick, MD. On a previous trip through town, my friend Bob had noticed this little hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and immediately thought of me. Not sure why he would think of me, but... Anyway, it had pretty good reviews on Yelp. Being the Mexican food addict connoisseur that I am, I must say that was a darn good tinga poblano burrito.

A glimpse of the Point of Rocks Bridge over the Potomac River on our way back.

Trip Stats
20.1 miles
Moving Time 2 hrs 35 min
Stopped Time 30 min 52 sec
Moving Average 7.8 mph

I turned off the GPS while we were eating lunch in Brunswick. Unfortunately, that broke my Garmin Connect download into two separate trips. This is my primary gripe against Garmin Connect: It won't let you edit the data to combine two data sets into one trip or to delete data off the end of a trip when I forget to stop and turn off the GPS. Oh well.

So this was the first part going up until lunch...

...and this was the second part from lunch back to Point of Rocks.

Overall, it was another awesome day out riding. As we prepare for the moving truck to come and yet another PCS move takes us away from NoVA, I will miss the awesome hiking, biking, and kayaking we've been able to enjoy here.


Hilary said...

Sounds like a great trip, Kevin. I'm glad you were able to sort out your upload woes. Your posts are always a treat.

Tanya said...

Fun! Sounds like you'd enjoy the Shark Valley bike ride in the Everglades (15 mi.). We've done it several times and love, love, love all the wildlife. Hope all is well!

Debbie said...

Sounds and looks like a great trip. We had wonderful burritos traveling yesterday at a hole in the wall!