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  • Writer's picturePatrick Baechle

Getting pumped up for a clean ride.

Leaving Little Orleans, in the morning, I was immediately confronted with the option to switch routes. I noticed other people in the campsite leaving with their bikes to a different location, than the C&O trail so, I followed them. They were entering the Western Maryland Rail Trail which, I discovered, actually parallels the C&O trail all the way to the revolutionary Fort Fredrick. When I found out the trail was paved with asphalt for 26 miles, I shouted out "Jesus loves me"

I became a magnalev bullet bike zooming along at breakneck speeds. I could not believe my good fortune; dry; no ruts; no mud holes; smooth sailing all the way.

I stopped in Hancock for lunch at Buddy Lou's. What a colorful and interesting place to eat. The restaurant is full of antiques and the window curtains are made with worn shirt sleeves. They make and bottle about 15 different flavors of lemonade. I drank two bottles of white peach lemonade along with my Maryland crab cake sandwich. Delicious. Hancock also has a fabulous bike shop where I pumped my tires and bought some trail patches.

About 4:30 I arrived at Fort Frederick and rejoined the C&O canal trail again. It was much nicer. It seems to have dried out a little more.

I rode with a fellow cyclist for about 10 miles into Willamsport MD. He led me to Frank's pizzeria where I bought a calszone and a couple of yinglings for dinner. I carried them downtrail, about 5 miles, to a hiker biker campsite and set up camp alongside the Potomac River.

Tonight I really needed a shower but, all I have here is a pump. The pump is an old rickety squeaky mechanical contraption located directly off the side of the trail in front of the camping area. I decided wait until it got a little darker to avoid any surprise visitors, such as a troop of wide eyed girl scouts passing by on a bicycle tour.

Now taking a shower in this pump is quite an ordeal. First of all you must pump the handle, with both arms, at least 20 times to get the water to trickle out of the spout. If you want to keep the water flowing, you must continue to pump, or else it just stops. Now keep in mind, the spout is on the other side of the handle at least 3 feet away from where you stand to pull the pump handle. . First I tried to pump really hard and fast and then pick up my tin cup and try to make it to the spout before it stopped flowing. I got half a cup.

Then I tried to hold the cup in my hand and reach out and pump with one arm while trying thrust the cup under the spout with each lame one arm pull. Really, I did not trained for this.

After I got a full cup of water I dumped it over my head. It was ice cold. I started to shampoo but, then I got soap in my eyes, so now I had no rinse water and had to start again wih the one arm pump/reach/fill cup method. But now, I can't see anything because, I have soap in my eyes and my hands are all soapy so, I can't hardly grasp the skippery pump handle let alone find where I set my cup down.

The process of washing my hair took about 25 minutes but, it felt so good that, before long, I was standing in the woods, buck naked, pumping the lever with one arm, filling up the cup and dowsing my soapy body with ice cold nature. The sounds I was making probably scared away the varmints and if anyone was watching me they would have turned away frightened by the spectacle.

I sat at my picnic table and enjoyed my calzone. The night temperature is just about right for good sleeping. The regular cicadas are buzzing already. It is the peak of a good summer.

Heading to the vicinity of Leesburg today.

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