SEA TO SHINING SEA: Riding hard and riding home

One of the lock-keeper houses along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. BY DENNIS FORNEY
August 8, 2013

DAY 79, 80, 81 -  August 5, 6 & 7– I'm tired tonight John Boy. Writing in the keeper's house at Lock 22 between the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Potomac River.  A long day of riding.  Unlocked the door here as the day's last light stretched thin above the trees.  But no lightning bugs.  Lots of August bugs singing in the night, but no fireflies. Makes me wonder.

Birds pulled out a good one today in San Diego. Chris Davis hit his 41st homer – a three-run shot - to break up a 3-3 tie and the boys of Baltimore piled more on to win 10-3.  Announcer Joe Angel, about three-quarters of the way through the game and talking about Yankee A-Rod's pending suspension, told a good story about Babe Ruth being suspended for 20 games back in 1921.  It was in Babe's pitching days and he didn't like the umpire's call on a fourth ball.  So he punched the ump.  Very first batter of the game. Not so nice.  Babe's successor in that game, said Angel, a pitcher named Ernie Shorr – or something like that - went on to retire the next 26 batters in a row. A perfect game less Babe's four-ball walk and single punch.

At any rate, we left the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown at about noon today, after a nice breakfast with Don and Bonnie, then cranked out 54 miles with a brief stop in Harper's Ferry. That was on top of 74 miles on Tuesday.  Unlike Pittsburgh during the last bubble, we ended the day by bellying up to the bar in the Bavarian's first-class Rathskeller. The lager came out of the tap icy cold and the heavy glass mugs kept it that way.  You see John Boy, when you're that tired and thirsty, and the cold beer tastes that good? Well, it took a while this morning to burn it off.

Backtracking a little more, we started the week sleeping Sunday night in the Pittsburgh train station before catching the 530 Monday morning AmTrak to Cumberland.  Place was clean as a whistle, quiet, fluorescently bright and the price was right. Nonetheless I wouldn't recommend it.  Hard chairs, linoleum floor.  No place comfortable to curl up.  Still, we didn't get into Pittsburgh until midnight – on a flight from Maine – and couldn't justify a room. So – Sunday night in the train station, Monday night at the Town Hill B&B in Little Orleans, Tuesday night at the Bavarian and tonight at Lock 22. Real 1800s place.  No electricity or plumbing but I think there is a chamber pot under one of the beds upstairs. The heavy stone walls have it pretty cool in here against the heat and humidity outside so that's good.

Grover Cleveland stayed here when he was president.  Liked fishing in the Potomac.  I guess if it was good enough for him it's good enough for us. I think he was the only president who served two nonconsecutive terms.  Just thought I'd throw that in.  Don't know if he caught any fish.

Today's 54 miles were muddy in a lot of places.  The government's tight on money and not a whole lot is coming to improve the surface.  But I'm not complaining.  The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a gem and I'm proud to live in a nation that values history and outdoor activities.

So that's it for now.  Oh yeah, our total mileage for this journey has now reached 3,244 miles.  I'll post some pictures of the lockkeeper's house tomorrow.  We plan to get home Saturday and will be hosting an informal open house on School Lane in Lewes from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. so we can say hi to all the fine folks who have been following our travels on this blog.  I'll remind you again tomorrow.

Night night John Boy.

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