Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cumberland Md 2

The bike path runs along the original C&O route thru a scenic section of Cumberland . A great deal of it is paved with bricks. Along the route is a big bike shop who's owner we met at breakfast in Frostburg earlier that morning. It turnss out he was quoted in that USA Today article that we read in Coraopolis on theday we started the trip.

This is a bike that was being entered in a local art contest. Besides the bike being painted there was a matching helmet, water bottle and riding jersey that went with it.

There is a huge information center in this area that details area history as well as the inside scoop on the C&O Canal. This is Ned standing besides a pretty big fountain out side the viscenter. That is the fountain on the left.
BTW --please note that fashionable sweatshirt ned is wearing. he happened to leave it in my van so it is now that fashionable sweat shirt that Ned used to own. I have been wearing it a great deal lately as I work on the farm, cleaning cow poop out of the stables. I did not want to smell up any of my work clothes on a job like this and ned's former sweat shirt fits me like a glove.

Speaking of Ned I want to discuss my experiences with having a sag wagon on a cross country bike trip like this. It was my first experiences having somebody in a vehicle, carrying my stuff, mirroring my route and meeting me at the end of the day , and sometimes at designated spots along the way. I have talked to many bikers who will not go long distances w/o a sag wagon because they do not want to carry all the extra weight and have to mess around with finding a place to sleep/camp in the evenings. All the biker has to do is focus on riding.

My 2 experiences with having a sag wagon on any trip has been limited to having Miss Sassy (Monica) meet me in Nebraska for the week long Ragbrai trip across Iowa, and brother in law Ned driving me to the GAP trailhed in Coraopolis Pa.with the plan of accompanying me along the GAP into Washington DC.

To be honest if I have my druthers I have decided that I am not a sag wagon rider. I prefer to be self contained , carrying a tent and enough food/drink so that I can travel at my own pace and not have to worry about having a schedule to meet someone at a designated spot . I like this even though it means lugging more weight but that is offset by being able to stop anywhere for as long as I want . There is so much cool stuff to check out and wonderful people to talk to that I want to do as much as that as possible. I feel that there is no guarantee that I will ever be able to do something like this again so I want to absorb as much as possible when I can. Being on a schedule, no matter how loose , is restricting.
With Miss Sassy and the RAGBRAI sag there were no options--it was understood from the gitgo that sagging the Ragbrai was part of the overall package. I guess there was also no other option than having a sag wagon for the end of the trip. After the crash the only way Miss Sassy would let me ride my bike out of the drive way was with a sag.

All that being said it is only natural to compare my 2 sag wagon experiences with Miss Sassy and Ned. As I rode my bike along at 12 mph thinking of things to contemplate I pondered my 2 different sag wagoning.
To be honest there are some similarities --both involved having vans driven by relatives carrying my stuff so I was riding free. That part was cool.
There are a bunch of differences--some of which I just can not put in writing because of the legal ramifications.
Some of the ones I can talk about are the following:

Listening to books on tape/CD--Ned and I both really like listening to a good book that has mystery, adventure, murder and sex involved. As mentioned before the Worch Memorial Library has proven to be a great source of such books. The miles just roll by and everything is macho. It does not get much better than cruising along listening to Louis L'amour speak on the Sackett brothers with little or no Ned/Tony conversation . We are both lost in our own thoughts unless we stop the CD to discuss some interesting portion of the story . This is great old fat guy stuff.

With Miss Sassy it is a different story. Listening to books is a non starter. So is any music I like(Doowop-oldie country-Zydeco)--if there is any music it is stuff Sassy is into and as I write this none of it is memorble enough to recall/list any of the songs or artists.
What mostly happens is that we "talk" (meaningfull dialogue) because riding in a enclosed vehicle is a great place to share quality time w/o interuptions. Now I like this as much as anyone especially with Miss Sassy but there are limits --after 50-60 miles I feel we have covered about any meaningful topic pretty well, even if we have not seen each other for 2 months like before Ragbrai.
Another endearing Miss Sassy tendency is to slow down and check out any garage sale sign stuck up along the route. This is kinda nice when we are just moseying alone. But sometimes that is not the case and you just want to keep the momentum of the van moving. In c ases like this I employ my BB gun strategy which has worked pretty well over the years. Youe see ,I have had this dream of finding a nice used cheap BB gun on the block at one of these deals. Miss Sassy on the other hand is very anti gun of any kind--including BB guns. So when I am in the mood to keep moving forward and Miss Sassy sees a garage sale sign and starts to slow down I say something like "Oh that looks like a great garage sale, let's stop, I bet they will have a cool BB gun for sale there". Many times this ploy has worked (or at least Miss Sassy let's me think it works).

Both Miss Sassy and Ned are excellent drivers and super at finding good places to rest for the night, but again there is a big difference. Miss Sassy needs rooms with all the regular stuff plus fancy extra frills like soap-toilet paper-working sinks-curtains on the windows-clean sheets and floors that your bare feet do not stick to when walking across them. These extras are nice but I am a cost conscious traveler and it is tough to feel comfortable when you are paying an extra $15 for these luxeries. Ned on the other hand subscribes to my idea of a basic motel room. Bed-toilet --working exhaust fan in bathroom--- TV with a working remote--nearby pizza place.

Another big difference is what happens when we get settled into that room for the night. Like all sag wagon drivers both Sassy and Ned do the basics--have the ice bucket full waiting--wash my socks and underwear in the sink--fluff my pillow--warm up the toilet seat (if it is chilly).

Also both are very good at rubbing my feet with scented oil after I get settled down but unlike Sassy Ned just refuses to work his way up past my feet unless I pay him extra, which I refuse to do.

Other than what I have just described there are not many other major differences between the sagwagoning between Miss Sassy and Ned (that I can discuss in public). As I think about it I can say that although I prefer riding self contained , having a sag wagon is not all bad, especially when the saggers are Miss Sassy and ned, although both have very distinctive and different strong points.

One of the things that made the C&O canal workable was the horses used to pull the barges/boats thru the waterway. It seems that many of the cargo boats had an area for extra horses which were interchanged regularly to keep fresh legs working.

This me standing near a statue of a tow horse and its handler. That is me on the left with my hand on the working part of the horse.

There is a neat looking restaurant beside the C&O bike route that was closed when I rode by. Definitely a place to check out somewhere down the line.
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1 comment:

  1. How does Miss Sassy feel about you putting your hand on someone else's ass?

    Now that I've read this blog about Ned's sweatshirt, I'm wondering if my ear muffs that I misplaced while in DC, might show up on your head when it gets cold.