Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 4: Opequon Junction to Huckleberry Hill

We woke up just after dawn with high hopes that this would finally be the day we got a lot of miles in.  Chrissy now had no problem sitting on the bike and keeping up a steady 10 miles per hour for long periods of time.  We ate some Clif bars for breakfast and packed up camp.  

Chrissy was ready to go so she did her stretches and started peddling out.   I said I would be right behind her and would catch up right after nature's call.  However, soon after I started peddling I soon realized something wasn't right; I had to resolve the problem of a flat tire.  A patch job would be impossible because the valve stem had ripped off.  

I called the nearest C and O visitor center to see if any volunteers were about.  They were not out this Memorial Monday morning.  First a runner came by and he volunteered to run home and get a tube and return.  However, we were in the middle of nowhere and it would be a while.

Chrissy eventually returned and was irritated about having to backtrack three miles and that she had told me to buy extra tubes at the bike store before we began the trip.  (I thought my 24 patches in my repair kit would have been plenty.)  Another biker eventually came by and donated a tube.  We rode on to the beginning of the detour and Chrissy hears hissing from the tire.  She decides the problem is more systematic than a new tube but I start working on patching this leak.  

A park ranger shows up as a response to my earlier call for help.  He talks to Chrissy first and offers to give me a ride to a bike shop.  Chrissy says I could do whatever and she and the kids will meet up with me in Shepardstown and she rides ahead.  With her new found bike riding ability I know she'll make it there in no time. 

I complete the patch job and decide to ride on.  The ranger drives ahead on the detour to tell my wife that I'll be right behind.  The sun is getting high in the sky and the detour is six miles on hilly open country streets.  It all seemed good until the patch failed again.  
This was probably due to the undersized tube being over-inflated to fit on my tire.  I peeled off the failed patch and was bout to double up on new patches when a mama biker showed up pulling her kid in a trailer.  

She donated a presto-style tube suitable for my mountain bike, but she had to inflate it because my pump was not presto.  We chatted and she said she goes to music festivals and used to be a professional biker.  I suggested she check out Musefest which we found was kid friendly and the Rainbow Gathering of course.  She suggested Deadfest in Ohio which would conflict with the gathering because it is on July 4th.

I finally was on my way with a good tube but the scenery was so pretty I stopped to take many pictures.  The last 1/4 mile was very curvy and steep.  Chrissy had called to warn me to be careful on it since her breaks gave out on her way down.  Mine felt okay so I decided to take it for a ride.  Chrissy was waiting for us at a beach she found on the tow path.  I waded in the Potomac to cool off from this very hot and difficult detour.  Then, we were back on the tow path.
Lynnis met us at lock 38 (mile 72.7) to drive us into Shepherdstown for lunch.  It sure beat riding a ways up hill.  We gave her a birthday present from the gift shop we visited in Williamsport.  We walked down main street in search of a restaurant we could agree on.  We agreed on Maria's Tacos.  Of course we were starving after biking about 30 miles that morning because of back tracking and the detour.  

Getting huge burritos in our bellies was just what we all needed to put us all in high spirits.  Brian won a free burrito since he ate the Burrito Challenge ($15).  Chrissy wondered why she was not served the burrito challenge when she was so clear that she wanted the biggest burrito on the menu?  We bought supplies at the bike shop and bakery.  Then, we filled our Nalgene bottles at Sheetz with ice water.

We continued another ten miles to Huckleberry H/B Campground.  Willow was tired of this very long day of biking.  We camped with a family from Tennessee that was biking with their two pre-teen sons and a man from the Czech named Ludik.  Surprisingly Chrissy and Ludik had a lot in common with their Czech heritage.  He was especially excited when she told him about her family recipe for bread dumplings, something he hadn't had since he was back in the Czech.  Our campsite was beautiful, with an unobstructed view of the Potomac.  We slept with the rain fly down.  We were ready for a good nights sleep but it was interrupted by Willow many times which helped us get an early start in the morning.

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