lockhouse 49

“NEWS VAN VISITS 4 LOCKS ROAD” (Wednesday, December 1, 2010)

Woke up this morning to a driving rain, which later turned to sleet. Was grateful to be warm and dry in Lockhouse 49 updating my blog and website. Will be interesting to see how muddy the trail is tomorrow. Called local NBC affiliate WGAH late morning, which was interested in doing a story on the ride. Just a few blocks from the lockhouse, the news van encountered a tunnel it couldn’t clear with the satellite dish on top, then got stuck in the mud backing up to turn around. So I triked down 4 Locks Road to do the interview there.


Skies started clearing in the late afternoon, so it’s back on the trail tomorrow. I’ll sure miss this place. Will also miss all the home cooking I’ve been enjoying (Bob & Sue brought up dinner again tonight – thanks, guys!). Tomorrow it’s back to freeze dried dinners and sleeping in a cold tent. Tonight I’m enjoying Bob’s homemade blueberry wine.

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“RIDING OUT THE RAIN IN LOCKHOUSE 49” (Tuesday, November 30, 2010)

Rained all day today, but was cozily holed up in Lockhouse 49, catching up on emails and drafting the DC arrival press release. When the rain slowed, did a little exploring of some of the historic buildings and structures at Four Locks.

Bob came out and picked me up again around dinnertime, swinging me by Fort Frederick to see this historic site from the French and Indian War, where Union troops were also stationed to guard the C&O Canal during the Civil War. Have always been fascinated by forts.

Were later joined at dinner by their friends, Kenny and Barbara, two other Lockhouse 49 Quartermasters. Really appreciated the great food and company tonight. Flash flood watches and warnings are in effect for tonight and tomorrow, so expect I’ll be spending another day at Four Locks, which, in its heyday was a thriving little community big enough to support a post office, two warehouses, two stores and a one-room schoolhouse. Today, it’s just little ‘ol me.

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“DESTINATION: LOCKHOUSE 49” (Monday, November 29, 2010)

Woke up this morning to frozen water bottles and frost covered gear, meaning no drinking water until Hancock seven miles down the trail.

A few miles later, came across these historic limestone kilns, used to make cement for construction of the canal.

Had heard about a bakery in Hancock, so rolled down the path to Weaver’s Restaurant & Bakery, despite having been told it wasn’t open. Picked up the aroma of home cooking as I rolled past and pulled up to the curb to check for myself. Just then, the owner (Penny Pittman) happened to walk out the door and told me they weren’t open for another 30 minutes. But she not only proceeded to invite me in to warm up with a hot cup of coffee, she also called the local newspaper to let them know I was in town. Five minutes later, I was sitting in her restaurant doing an interview with The Hancock News.

The food, and company (thanks for the wonderful service, Diane) was so good there, I ended up staying a full 3 hours, using the opportunity to recharge my laptop and phone and catch up on some emails. Enjoyed turkey, potatoes and gravy as a late Thanksgiving meal. When I tried to pay my bill, I was told it was “on the house.” Thanks, Penny! If you love homemade pies, and appreciate down home cooking, do yourself a favor and check out Weaver’s in Hancock, MD.

With heavy, steady rains forecast for the next two days, and being as I hadn’t yet passed Lock 49, decided to call Bob Steine and check on availability there for the night. Good news: it was not only available tonight, but the next several nights, if I needed it. Better news: Bob called the staff at the C&O Canal Trust (www.canaltrust.org), who manage the property, to explain the purpose of my ride and they very generously offered to waive their standard accommodation charges. Thanks so much, guys!

So rolled 15 more miles down the trail to 4 Locks, where I couldn’t believe my eyes. Built in 1839, historic Lockhouse 49 is a beautiful, old brick home with historic age furnishings. There’s no running water, but it has heat and electricity, making it the perfect base to ride out the rain, before making the final push to DC. Bob came out and opened up the place for me, then kindly invited me to his home in Clear Spring for a spaghetti dinner with his family, along with a much-needed hot shower and chance to do my laundry. Thanks, Bob and Sue for your warm and generous hospitality! Their sons, Sam and Joe, rode back out with us later that night to check out the trike.

Before drifting off to sleep in the comfortable bed upstairs, I read about some of the fascinating history of working and living on the C&O Canal locks. What a unique opportunity these restored lockhouses provide travelers to step back into history.

Rode 25 miles today. Counting a short detour, only 115 more to go.

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