Day 5: Leaving DC

6/7/15: 20 miles, Washington, D.C. to C&O Canal Lock 21 (Potomac, Md.)

I spent the last few days with some high school homies in Washington. T’s knees were giving him trouble, so we hung around for the weekend for them to improve. We watched the Cavs take on the Warriors, as well as some Stanley Cup action. On Saturday, drove to Ft. Washington in Maryland, followed by some serious seafood consumption in Alexandria, Va.: oysters, clams, lobster rolls, beers, and later on, we grilled ribs. Ate like kings. Sunday 6/7, T and I pedaled around DC to check out the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Roosevelt Island and Georgetown. Some pics from the action:

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But after our day of riding, T’s knees weren’t holding up, and he decided to end his leg of the trip in DC to prevent further aggravation. It was Sunday afternoon at the point, and I didn’t want to fight Monday morning DC rush hour if I was leaving. So, once we got back to our host Ralph’s apartment, I took a shower and packed up.

About 5 p.m., I rolled out for the head of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal path in Georgetown. The problem with the head of the path is that it’s more of a brick sidewalk intended for people to stroll and read the historical plaques rather than ride a bike. And that’s all well and good, except you’ll be fighting your way through Georgetown, frequently crossing the road for several blocks, and if you’re rolling heavy on a touring bike, it’s not easy to get going. I’ve ridden the C&O from west to east, and I recall the last mile of the path being a labyrinth of pedestrians, intersections and narrow brick path.

A better alternative is the paved Capital Crescent Trail, which runs parallel to the C&O from Georgetown about 10 miles out of town. After that, the CCT splits to Bethesda, and then you can jump on the C&O.

I only rode about 20 miles to the Lock 21 campsite on the C&O, near Great Falls National Park. From there on, there are free hiker/biker campsites all the way to Cumberland, Md. About 180 miles upriver. I pitched my new tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 that I picked up from the REI in Arlington, Va., left off the rain fly, and passed out.

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