8/19/12 Hagerstown, MD to Mount Airy, MD – 45 miles
The day started out overcast and cool – perfect for riding as long as no rain. The plan is to head towards Baltimore and get as far as we can go before stopping for the night. Want to get to Annapolis on Monday if at all possible.
We were in agreement that the C & O Towpath was out and proceeded on the designated bike route on Hwy 40. Although mostly 2 lanes, the road had a beautifully paved 10 foot shoulder, along with many rolling hills. Some included very steep inclines, so we got a good workout. However, the descents on the other side were exhilarating. The Maryland countryside was lush and green, and a definite feel of fall in the air. All in all, a pleasant ride for me – Randy was still moaning and groaning about the hills. At one point, we came upon a sign with mileages for both Baltimore and Wasington DC and it hit Randy and I at the same time that we really are getting close to the end. So, we stopped and took a picture.
A little further along, we came upon an access point for the Appalachian Trail. I stopped to put a little air in my rear tire while Randy hiked up the path a bit. I took a picture as he returned so that he can say he has been on the trail.
The ride after the access point was mostly downhill all the way to Frederick. We stopped at McDonalds to re-group, grab a bite to eat and figure out how to get through this fairly sizeable town. When we got back on the bikes, it was getting increasingly more cloudy. There was a lot of traffic and the roads weren’t that great. After getting lost a couple of times, we finally found the designated bike route highway and headed east towards Baltimore. About 5 miles out, it started raining. Not a downpour, but a pretty strong steady rain. We took refuge under a porch at a place named Linganore Candles. I visited with the owner while waiting out the rain, and ended up buying some of her little homemade votive candles to give away.
The rain subsided for the most part and we started back down the road. It wasn’t long until the rain started again, and soon we were pretty much drenched. We ended up at a McDonalds in New Market, MD and decided to check out the motel possibilities, since it appeared that the rainstorm was pretty much here to stay the rest of the day. The only place we could find was 6 miles away in Mount Airy, and the online inquiry indicated that no rooms were available. I told Randy to call just in case there were cancellations while I tried to figure out plan B. Luckily, when Randy called there were rooms. So, we hopped back on the bikes and headed out in the rain for the remaining 6 miles up and down the rolling hills to “home.” This home was not the nicest place we have stayed, but I was just so happy to get dry and have a place to sleep I didn’t care.
Tomorrow it is on to Baltimore, then down the bike path to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Still targeting Wednesday as the official “tire dipping” day to end the trip.