Last Day on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail
Day Four was my last day on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail.
My miles were shorter. I only had to go twenty four miles, from mile 160 to mile 184.5. I did not need to be in any hurry on this day.
There was quite a bit of water in the canal. Turtles have become my new spirit animal. I just love to see the turtles sunning themselves on logs. But the turtles were thwarting me. Every time I stopped for a photo op, they would slide off their log back into the water!
Campground and Water on the C&O Canal Trail
I wanted to mention the campgrounds and water available on the C&O Canal Trail. One great feature on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail are the free campgrounds, which are spaced out about every five miles. There is a port-a-potty and a water supply at each campground. There is a good sign that tells you how far to the next campground, which made it very easy to gauge whether I needed to refill on my water supply.
Flat Number Three!
All was going well until around mile 173. My tire…was going flat. I stopped and pumped air. The gauge would not go above 40 PSI. I actually found the hole where the air was going out.
I did not want to change the tire. I put a plastic candy wrapper on the hole, then wrapped cloth athletic tape around it. I biked a bit. This didn’t work. I was going to have to change the tire. On the trail.
Know how to change your tire. I have now changed my rear tire five times. It really hasn’t gotten that much easier. I can now get the flat tire off the rim much quicker.
If you are going on a bike tour, you need to know how to change a tire.
I got the tire off, and inner tube out. I knew where the hole was. Sitting on the side of the trail, I carefully looked inside the tire. I inspected the entire outside tire. I knew where the hole was. But was the problem?
There, in a tread, was a little quartz pebble. Which I knew was the problem. This little quartz pebble was penetrating the inner tube. Since I had not removed the little pebble the day before, this was caused Flat #3.
Pebble removed. Inner tube installed. Now time to put wheel on bike and chain back on derailleur.
This took…quite some time. I had no cell phone signal on the trail and could not consult You Tube. I kept trying. I know it is very simple..but when you can’t get the chain on, and don’t know how to do it, and it’s 2 pm and hot and humid and sweat is pouring down your face, it’s a big deal.
But I did it. It took me an hour to change the tire. (Which is not bad, my fastest time is 40 minutes in my driveway at home). I load the bike up with my stuff, and the rear wheel doesn’t move.
I still don’t have the rear axle aligned correctly. I take the pannier off the bike AGAIN, and fix this.
Now I can continue, my last ten miles on the C&O Trail!
I am so filthy. Triumphant but filthy.
It was cool, to see my first view of the mountains as I pedaled westward.
I’m so ready to be done. I’ve been dreaming about a gin and tonic for miles. I know the towpath trail comes out of the woods not far from mile 184.5. When I see the iconic spires of Cumberland for the first time, I let out a WOOHOO! I am almost there. Almost done.
I have been less filthy finishing a 100 mile foot race and biking this section of trail. I am a mess.
A finish and straight off to the bike shop I go. My brakes have been messed up since Flat #2, meaning I haven’t had brakes that worked. Flat #3 hasn’t changed that. The Bike shop fixes my brakes-meaning they tell me I need new brake and install them. I am good with that. Perhaps I will have a new bike by the end of this bike tour.
My gin and tonic taste amazing and we have oysters and crab cakes at The Crabby Pig in Cumberland. I have now completed the C&O Canal Trail, and it is on to the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in the morning!
Do you know how to change your flat with the kit you have available on your bike ride?