Madeline Rides to Washington – Day 1

And we’re off! The circumstances of daily life often dictate my bike trips, as it should be, and this year’s tour was no different. In short, here’s the scoop: My daughter, Maddi, and I (see earlier posts) are riding our fully-loaded tandem along the C&O Towpath to Washington D.C. Then, my wife will meet us in D.C., pick up Maddi and the tandem, drop off my single touring bike and some supplies, and I’ll continue with the second leg of the trip. 

Maddi’s “Papaw and Mima” live in Harrisonburg, VA. Conveniently, I-81 crosses the Towpath in Williamsport, MD. So, Williamsport was the origination spot of this trip. It’s about 3.5 hours from our house in New Jersey, and we got a late start. There was a pretty strong storm that came through on Saturday mornning, so we waited that out before loading the car. Finally on the road just before 10:30, we headed out with the whole gang. We made it to Williamsport. You can see the somewhat precarious fashion that the bikes were lashed to the car. The tandem sticks out a bit, but fortunately I didn’t side-swipe anything en route.

It was a hot day of riding. Temps in the 90’s and 90% humidity. Most of the trail is shaded, and it was significantly cooler under the canopy of trees. Due to the rain overnight, there were lots and lots of muddy spots on the trail. Not a big deal, unless you’re riding a fully-loaded road tandem. We had to dismount and walk thru several of the muddy sections. 

We took a nice detour off the trail and onto the roads to ride thru the Antietam Battlefield. The roads to get there were steep, but it was moving to see this large battleground and read about our country’s history. It was good, too, for Maddi to actually see where these events in history take place. 

As we left the area, we stopped at a roadside stand in Sharpsburg and bought a couple of peaches. Yum! It was a long hot ride back down to the Towpath, but once there we enjoyed the shade for the final stretch into the campground. It was late when we rolled in – almost 7:30 – but it felt good to complete our first day. 

Dinner was chicken quesadillas, and we scrounged up just enough wood for a tiny campfire so we could make our s’mores. We drifted off to sleep, hearing birds and bugs, the rippling current of the Potomac, and trains off in the distance. Ready for tubing tomorrow!

Williamsport, MD to Antietam Creek Campground. 29 miles.



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