Day 17: Was awakened this morning by the sound of raindrops splattering on the tent fly. In a few minutes, the rain stopped and the sun emerged. I always seem blessed with good weather on these rides, and am grateful for it. A few miles down the trail, rolled by the historic McMahon’s Mill (pictured here), an old grist mill with a water wheel.
A little while later, came across a stretch of trail that was not here when I came through in 2010. Then, I had to do a long detour. Now, I used the opportunity of the smooth concrete surface to have a little fun, which you can watch here: “Speed Racing Along Potomac River.”
Encountered another aqueduct crossing, this one with a much narrower, and more uneven, surface. This short video provides a bugs eye view of the careful crossing. Notice how close I come to the edge making the first turn: “Bugs Eye View of Aqueduct Crossing.”
Midday, hopped off the trail into the sleepy little burg of Shepherdstown, where I spent a few hours at a local coffee shop recharging the laptop and catching up on emails. Picked up some Chinese carryout on my way out of town. As much as I like freeze dried food (seriously), its nice to have fresh food on the trail when you can.
About 4 miles from camp, came across a location I visited when I rolled through here in 2010. Not sure if it’s a cave, or an old mine, but was told by a local resident back in 2010 it was a hideout for escaped slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. It true, this is a fascinating and powerful part of our nation’s history and there needs to be an informational marker here. I took this video entering the cave: “Cave Part of Underground Railroad?”
Set up camp at the Huckelberry Hill site mere feet from the Potomac. At dusk, saw a huge fish jump out of the water upstream with a splash that echoed across the water. Has me wondering what it was. The river here has a strong earthy smell, I’m guessing from the fall leaves and other detritus decaying in the water. I like it.
Intentionally slowing down the pace of the ride to focus on DC preparations, but still pedaled 27 miles closer to the White House today. Saw a few other cyclists out on the trail today, but not many. Have the campsite all to myself (again). Staying warm with another campfire. It’s good to be alive.