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We slept in a bit but managed to make it to the free hotel breakfast before everything was gone. We enjoyed our typical cereal and yogurt (me), Waffle (the Beast) and Biscuits and gravy (Frankenbutt). I wanted a banana but they were all pretty past ripe and I actually don’t like my bananas that sweet.
We meandered back to the room, packed up our stuff and then minutes before we were ready to head out the door, Frankenbutt noticed that one of his spokes were broken. We removed our helmets and consulted the Google maps on my phone. We found a bike shop 9 miles round trip from the hotel. Frankenbutt called and confirmed they had what he needed and headed out on his own. The Beast and I relaxed and watched some TV.
When Frankenbutt got back about an hour later, he explained that the bike mechanic told him it would take 45 minutes to install it. Frankenbutt asked if he could borrow the cassette remover tool and install it himself since we really needed to get on the road. The mechanic agreed and when Frankenbutt returned the tool about 5 minutes later, the bike mechanic was surprised how quickly he had gotten the job done. I guess that part time job at the bike shop has paid off!
At 11:45 am, we finally got out on the road. We used the hotel business center’s computer to print out directions to the C&O Canal that Ben Cary sent us. We hopped on our bikes and followed 522 North out of Winchester. There were some long uphill climbs and I heard the many comments folks at the Hagerstown and Winchester tracks had made about the trip from Winchester, VA to Cumberland, MD. We hung in there and occasionally got a nice long downhill run for all of the sweat we put into the uphills.
We pedaled on with our cell phones and GPS device turned off. It’s not that we were looking for a disconnection from the world, but rather because we knew that we’d be spending the night at a primitive campsite at the C&O Canal sans electric. We noticed a small convenience store as Route 29 North ended and Maryland Route 9 began. We turned in and picked up Gatorade and some fresh water since our bottles were near empty. I asked the clerk, “about how far to Paw Paw?” and she said, “about 3 miles and it’s mostly downhill.” I could have hugged her! That made my day!
We flew down the hills and climbed a few small ones before we saw the entrance to the C&O Canal. We rode down the gravel driveway and saw tents set up in a big grassy field. There were also 3 porta-pots, so it wasn’t as primitive as some campsites we’ve read about. We picked a shady spot that happened to have some firewood left at the site. We relaxed for a bit at the picnic table and then Frankenbutt and the Beast set about building a campfire while I pulled the cooking utensils and dinner food.
As I pulled the pans out of the pannier, an “Off Personal Bug Repellant” box tumbled out. I had almost forgotten about that! Diane from Hagerstown gave us her own belt clip style bug repellant that is not a spray but rather a fan style personal bug repellant. I turned it on and set it on the table and was impressed with how well it worked. Thanks, Diane! (Also, I looked for Ryan at Winchester and was disappointed not to meet him. If you guys come to the Grands, please find us and introduced your son to us.)
I found myself nodding off as Frankenbutt prepared to dinner. The Beast had already put the tent up and it was a little after 8 when we finished dinner. I declared that I was heading to my sleeping bag. I barely had my contact lenses out when I drifted off. I awoke around 4 AM when Frankenbutt was stepping out of the tent to go to the bathroom. It was definitely cold outside but I was so snuggly warm in my down sleeping bag that I decided to “hold it” ‘til morning. I made it to 6 AM, ran to the porta-pot and then crawled back in to my sleeping bag for another hour and a half of sleep. Coco did the same; she knows whose sleeping bag is the warmest and the roomiest.