No Wrong Plan: Day 5 – North Mountain to Brunswick on the C&O Canal Towpath

Loudest train whistle ever.

In the middle of the night. It is cold.

Get back to sleep.

Loudest goose ever. It is still cold.

Part of our morning ritual is to put chamois cream on our butts to prevent saddle sores, chafing, and other problems down yonder. As it turns out, chamois cream takes on the temperature of the air around it.

Whoopeee!! That stuff wakes your ass (and the rest of you) right up. There is shrinkage too.

Each hiker biker site on the canal has a portapotty (also known as a green room) and a manual pump for water. The portapotties on the western part of the trail were spotless. Truly remarkable for those of us who have seen the disgusting mess at Gravelley Point on the Mount Vernon Trail.

I filled up my water bottle from the pump. The water was a bit brown but tasted fine. My first bottle came with a flavor enhancer. A spider. Ick. Kevin found one in his helmet just before he strapped it on his head this morning.

We hauled our bikes up the incline back to the trail. This was a bit of a work out but after four days of riding we were strong as oxen. We smelled like oxen too.IMG_0602

We were pedalling along without a care when Kevin called a time out. He had to stop to make a small repair: his rear rack was coming loose. It took a while and a clever tool called a Fix It Stick that Ryan had, but we finally got it squared away.

Off the trail and up the hill we rode to the coolest eatery in the Cushwa Basin, the Desert Rose Cafe. It was ten o’clock. The owners offered to cook us either breakfast or lunch. Ryan chose lunch. Kevin and I went for breakfast. I recharged my devices as we ate. (Kevin and Ryan brought battery packs which made the whole device situation a lot easier to manage.)

The Desert Rose has a funky vibe to it. It’s motto is “Serving karma by the cup.” The staff are the nicest people on the planet. Before we left Rose Harris, the co-owner, asked if we wanted to get a sandwich and chips for the trail. Great idea. I opened the menu and saw that half of the items on the lunch menu were vegetarian and several of them were vegan. There was even red beans and rice. Lordy, what happened to ‘Merica?

I ordered a veggie and cheese (needed the DSCN3928_1058protein) sammich to go. And we went.

We pedalled along for a few hours. We stopped occassionally. Ryan and Kevin seemed to be much better at hydrating than me. Maybe I just have a king sized bladder.

At one point Kevin noted that you could blindfold him and place him on the canal and he’d have no idea where he was along the route. So much is just double track through woods and flowers. Not that I am complaining. It’s just a little odd.

We stopped to eat our sammiches. Not only did Rose put a pickle spear in each of our bags, she wrote a little note of encouragement on each napkin. So thoughtful.

We pulled into Brunswick and went into town for dinner. We found a restaurant with outside seating. The tables were empty but for the owner and his wife having a smoke. Ugh. We were too hungry to explore other options. And as we soon noticed, Kevin had a flat tire. We ate a truly unispired meal, fixed the flat and headed to our campsite across the railroad tracks.

The campsite was a pay site.The charge was $5 for which we received a spot to pitch our tents (Kevin’s hammock had to sag to the ground unfiortunately), free electricity for our devices and showers. A bargain at twice the price. The only downside was the fact that Brunswick is a rail yard town. There was much whistling, rumbling, and clanging going on all day and night. Oddly the noise didn’t bother me much. I slept well after a 58 mile day.

Pix of the excursion are over on my Flickr page.

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