Any Road Tour: Day 2 – Ridges and a Desert Rose

Last night my left arm and knee were screaming at me. I took some ibuprofen PM to knock me out. It killed the pain but even with drugs I was too pooped to sleep.

The hotel breakfast was later than lame. Bad coffee, OJ, toast, and Rice Krispies. It would have to do.

Everything was packaged in plastic. So depressing after reading this:

After a brief tour of charming Frederick, I turned west on US 40 and began to climb into a headwind. For about an hour I went up Catoctin Mountain, in my granny gear. I thought I’d descend to a valley but after a 1 minute screaming downhill I was climbing again. Up and down over and over again. Will this ever end? I mean how far could Rice Krispies and last night’s gas station food take me?

As it turned out I had one minute more climb to go. I saw the sign for the Appalachian Trail and I knew I was creating South Mountain.

The downhill was glorious. A few more inconsequential rollers later I was in Hagerstown.

The hills were about as bad as I expected but my granny served me well. Not once did I run out of breath. Knee cartilage is another story altogether.

The Google showed me the way and I found US 11, a highway that follows the Cumberland Valley to Williamsport on the C&O Canal.

I stopped at the Desert Rose Cafe for food and karma. Ryan, Kevin, and I ate here on the No Wrong Plan Tour from Pittsburgh to DC two years ago. Good food. Nice people.

As it turns out, Rose does some shuttling of people around washed out areas of the canal. Good to know.

Rose told me the towpath was in good shape but I decided I wanted to try my luck on the roads. I stupidly expected level ground but got more granny worthy hills. The scenery was pretty epic but I found this stone farm most interesting.

I forged ahead and stopped to admire this roadside tribute to one Lancelot Jacques, maybe the best name ever.

I finally bailed out at Fort Frederick. Lots of stone here as well.

I didn’t stay because a towpath inspection awaited. Thankfully it looks to be in great shape.

I diverted to the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail and cruised the last ten gloriously level miles into Hancock.

I had planned to stay in the bunkhouse at the bike shop in town but it looks almost as rustic as camping.

With all the rain, the thought of camping near the river isn’t floating big my boat so I decided to check into a Super 8 motel just uphill from town. ($60 plus breakfast and a Nats game on TV. Also they have bike cleaning rags that I put to good use on my chain.)

The AC seems not to be cooperating. I probably won’t need it overnight though.

So for today 58 1/2 mostly very hilly miles. Total mileage so far is 127.

I am beginning to wonder why I am carrying all this camping crap. I’m sure I’ll get around to using it.

I am pleased with my progress. And with the prospect of a dry towpath to Cumberland in the morning.

Further.

7 thoughts on “Any Road Tour: Day 2 – Ridges and a Desert Rose

  1. I love Desert Rose and Fort Frederick! Looking forward to following your adventures. Safe travels, as always.

  2. So, two days with hills and more hills, rain, and crappy coffee to boot, and you’re still going strong. Awesome. We’re all rooting for you. I’m so looking forward to reading the 60 days of stories that let us all live vicariously. Be safe.

  3. Hi John, I met you at Mary’s house for lunch this spring. I am loving your blog. Ride on my friend. I am really loving this blog from the comfort of my living room as I suck down a perfectly chilled Manhattan. Looking forward to your next write up. Be safe.

  4. I am beginning to wonder if this was all just an elaborate plan for eating junk food in bed while watching Nats games….kidding, safe travels and hopefully you will have a day or two where granny gets a break.

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