Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

C & O Canal tour ?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

C & O Canal tour ?

Old 06-26-20, 03:09 AM
  #26  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
thruhiker, thank you very much for your detailed advice. i backpack but nothing like your level and have never used water filtration. i will look into both your recommendations. trying to go easy on the expenses. i have all the equipment i need in costa rica but it is very expensive to ship to the states so i am having to purchase everything. major bummer as i have good stuff at home. (airports still closed)

my understanding is that the water pump handles were removed due to covid. is that correct ? have you heard anything about their return ? i checked park service website but they did not say.

that app sounds like a great idea

fla trail and 15 time co canal transit are very impressive. thanks again for sharing your knowledge
mark d is offline  
Old 06-26-20, 05:27 AM
  #27  
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,851
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 204 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by mark d View Post
my understanding is that the water pump handles were removed due to covid. is that correct ? have you heard anything about their return ? i checked park service website but they did not say.
When did you check, because yesterday, the NPS website said:

"Water Fountains and Wells - well pumps are beginning to open, but may not be available in all areas."

Since you can't fly out of CR right now, I wouldn't worry about it until you're actually able to fly back and begin the ride.
axolotl is offline  
Likes For axolotl:
Old 06-26-20, 06:07 AM
  #28  
StarBiker
Senior Member
 
StarBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,644

Bikes: Gary Fisher Cobia, Cannondale Super V400, Cannondale F700

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 666 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
For about the last 2 years the region has been stuck in a weather pattern of southerly winds bringing up a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture. This spring has been quite rainy so fenders & wider tires might be good for the C&O. As for camping, it might help to call the individual campgrounds for details on current COVID restrictions.
That's called the gulf stream........it's not new, or recent.

July is about the worst time of year around here. Although it will get decent by Fort Frederick, and comfortable in western Maryland, Hancock, Cumberland.

It would be even nicer along the GAP. The GAP is more interesting to me.

Either way enjoy, and be safe. Carry lots of water.
StarBiker is offline  
Old 06-26-20, 07:38 AM
  #29  
Thruhiker 
Senior Member
 
Thruhiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Greencastle Pa
Posts: 55

Bikes: Fuji touring, jeep hybrid.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
The pumps are not dependable. Even before covid there were many missing their handles or not working. Also the water is treated with iodine. Imo it taste awful. Depending on your daily miliage you can easily get to towns once or twice a day. Here is a list of towns that have at least a convenience store. I will put the miliage mark in front and this is starting at the D.C. end. Corresponding to the markers on the canal.
Mm 15 great falls visitor center snacks water
mm 48 Point of Rocks. Convienence store/deli
mm 55 Brunswick bike shop resturants small grocery store
Mm 75 sheperdstown convenience store +lots more but spread out
mm 100 williamsport convenience store resturant small grocery
Mm 126 Hancock bike shop grocery restaurants stores
157 Pawpaw small grocery and convenience store
184 cumberland large town.
this is from memory and a few journals these are the towns and places I'm most familiar with miliage is not 100% accurate. Also these are small towns and a lot of the places have limited hours.
I did not include Harpers Ferry. The pedestrian bridge is still closed to the best of my knowledge.
Another thing Dominoes pizza delivers to Swains lock mm18.
a filter is convenient but not imperative. You could just plan on town stops and carry water purification tablets or a couple ounces of clorox for emergencies. Google treating water with clorox.
Thruhiker is offline  
Old 06-26-20, 08:25 AM
  #30  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
When did you check, because yesterday, the NPS website said:

"Water Fountains and Wells - well pumps are beginning to open, but may not be available in all areas."

Since you can't fly out of CR right now, I wouldn't worry about it until you're actually able to fly back and begin the ride.

right now i am about 150 miles off the coast of texas on my ship. will be returning to an american port next week. can not go home to c.r. so perfect time to do the c&o

last time i checked the park service site was 2 or 3 days ago. thks for the info. plan to start ride july 10th ish
mark d is offline  
Old 06-26-20, 08:30 AM
  #31  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
thruhiker. thks for all that info. i will follow your advice on the water purification option although maybe not the expensive one. again thks
mark d is offline  
Old 06-27-20, 06:11 AM
  #32  
Prowler 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Near Pottstown, PA: 30 NW of Philadelphia
Posts: 1,523

Bikes: 2 Trek Mtn, Cannondale R600 road, 6 vintage road bikes

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 233 Post(s)
Liked 130 Times in 79 Posts
FYI, though I know you're talking about the C&O, I rode the GAP last summer and found that the water story was excellent. The various organizations that maintain the trail have done a great job with water availability and signage. When there was a known water source out of service, they had signs that warned of it - fill up here, next source is closed. I carried two 20oz bottles and filled both whenever I could. No problem. I always camped at sites with water. I did not carry a filter, used the hydrants all the way (parked at Cumberland and went to P'burg and back). No issues, no runs, no problems. I found that bikecando was very helpful and pretty current. I printed and carried their maps so could keep an eye out for next water source.

However those we're "the halcyon days" prior to the the world turning upside down. I have NO current information on what life is like there now. Little did I know how lucky I was to "just to it" last August.
GAP tour 2019
Prowler is offline  
Old 06-27-20, 07:09 AM
  #33  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
hey prowler, just finished your gap thread. very enjoyable. i like your bike.
mark d is offline  
Old 06-28-20, 04:25 AM
  #34  
Prowler 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Near Pottstown, PA: 30 NW of Philadelphia
Posts: 1,523

Bikes: 2 Trek Mtn, Cannondale R600 road, 6 vintage road bikes

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 233 Post(s)
Liked 130 Times in 79 Posts
Thank you. Yes, carefree times. Just endless forests and hard work. Watching the weather. Camping under the stars. Who knew life could change so much. I read a lot of science fiction but did not expect what we have now.

I hope you can ride the C&O or the GAP or both. Memories for a lifetime.
Prowler is offline  
Old 06-28-20, 10:40 AM
  #35  
Allycat24
Senior Member
 
Allycat24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bethesda, MD
Posts: 176

Bikes: All-City Space Horse, Trek 5000 WSD

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I did the C&O and GAP last year. Some of this info might be a repeat of others posted here but here are some links and apps I found useful. Note, cell service on the C&O is sporadic.

Great web sites: https://gaptrail.org/ and www.bikecando.com

Apps:
GAP app for iPhones only - ‎GAP Trail
C&O app - C&O Canal Explorer Mobile App

Be sure to check the National Park Service website before you go for last minute updates: https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
and mile-by-mile guide to services: https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvis...itled-2018.pdf

Have a great trip!
Allycat24 is offline  
Old 06-28-20, 06:32 PM
  #36  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,915
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 103 Posts
I’ll be riding from Cumberland to DC next weekend. Weather looks good all week, so the towpath conditions should be fine, and although a little hot, I plan on camping one night and staying in a hotel the other. Might do the GAP in the fall. This is my annual ride for the past 15 years, and it will serve as a bit of training in advance of a trip to Finland in August. My legs are definitely not as strong as usual, with the lack of regular bike commuting.
alan s is offline  
Old 06-28-20, 10:37 PM
  #37  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
alleycat, thks for the advice

allan s, i hope you post on your ride . good luck on the trip
mark d is offline  
Old 06-29-20, 06:01 AM
  #38  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 26,943
Mentioned: 192 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11383 Post(s)
Liked 3,019 Times in 1,680 Posts
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
IMy legs are definitely not as strong as usual, with the lack of regular bike commuting.
Same here. Iím going to shove 60 miles down my throat on Wednesday. The upside to touring this time of year, which I usually donít do, is the amount of daylight. I can leave early, take my time and not have to worry about sunset. I think proper pacing will be the biggest challenge.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 06-29-20, 07:28 AM
  #39  
StarBiker
Senior Member
 
StarBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,644

Bikes: Gary Fisher Cobia, Cannondale Super V400, Cannondale F700

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 666 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Iíll be riding from Cumberland to DC next weekend. Weather looks good all week, so the towpath conditions should be fine, and although a little hot, I plan on camping one night and staying in a hotel the other. Might do the GAP in the fall. This is my annual ride for the past 15 years, and it will serve as a bit of training in advance of a trip to Finland in August. My legs are definitely not as strong as usual, with the lack of regular bike commuting.


Unless in Cumberland it's gonna be very hot........and humid........
StarBiker is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 09:12 AM
  #40  
specialmonkey
Fillet-Brazed Member
 
specialmonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Posts: 481

Bikes:

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 181 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
I went to a small middle school in Washington, DC in the mid 1980s that offered a bike field trip from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, Washington, DC on the C & O Canal, 180 miles as I recall ... Everyone and their bikes (maybe 15-20 people) were loaded into vans, and driven from DC to Cumberland, MD.

Some highlights I still remember were:

- camping for the first time,
- the Paw Paw tunnel,
- Sharpsburg, MD and Antietam,
- escaping from the pack with a small group of friends and getting in big trouble! Park Rangers were called to find us.

I don't recall how many days it took us, maybe 3-4.

As I recall, there weren't too many places to eat or have your bike fixed along the way, so planning for food stops, provisions, tools and parts will be important.

I understand some of the lock houses have been available to rent for lodging along the way. I don't know how that's working these days.
specialmonkey is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 11:13 AM
  #41  
ndrose
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 64
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Lockhouses seem to be open.

https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-quarters/
ndrose is offline  
Likes For ndrose:
Old 07-01-20, 04:20 AM
  #42  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 801

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 83 Posts
Have fun - you probably have a good window to do it. Today/tonight might bring some storms along the towpath.

My wife and I did the three day version back in 2004 - tour writeup here.

I'm not a purist - if I did it today I'd pick up the WMRR paved trail around Towpath mile market 143.5 and go "ahhh" for the next 27 miles or so. When we did it, we only used it for the 10 miles from Hancock to the eastern terminus at Big Pool.


Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Iíll be riding from Cumberland to DC next weekend. Weather looks good all week, so the towpath conditions should be fine, and although a little hot, I plan on camping one night and staying in a hotel the other. Might do the GAP in the fall. This is my annual ride for the past 15 years, and it will serve as a bit of training in advance of a trip to Finland in August. My legs are definitely not as strong as usual, with the lack of regular bike commuting.
jpescatore is offline  
Old 07-01-20, 01:09 PM
  #43  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
hey jpescatore, i just finished reading your tour writeup. i enjoyed it. thks for the tip on the wmrr. i did not know about that
mark d is offline  
Old 07-03-20, 09:56 PM
  #44  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,915
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 103 Posts
Originally Posted by mark d View Post
alleycat, thks for the advice

allan s, i hope you post on your ride . good luck on the trip
Halfway through the ride. In Williamsport for the night. The towpath is in good shape. There are a few mud puddles here and there, but nothing you have to ride through. It was hot today, but the humidity was OK, and I had plenty of liquids, paced myself, and stayed in the shade most of the day. Decided to get a room to take a shower and enjoy the air conditioning. It is hotter tonight than last night by about 10 degrees. I didnít bring a sleeping bag, and actually was a little chilly at one point last night. So far a nice trip, and looking forward to tomorrow.
alan s is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 03:53 AM
  #45  
jpescatore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashton, MD USA
Posts: 801

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Disc, Jamis Renegade

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 83 Posts
Nice! You are somewhere around mile marker 100. If you are looking for a break 25 miles or so in, between mile 76 and 77 you will reach the Killiansburg cave on your left (pretty obvious, since on your right is water!) that is kind of a cool thing to see and there are a few info signs scattered around. A mile or two later on you'll see smaller caves, then reach Lock 38/Ferry Hill area which has lots of open porta-potties and many photo ops, too - but might be crowded on the 4th.

Enjoy the last day!
jpescatore is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 08:19 AM
  #46  
Marylander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Frederick County, MD
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 22 Posts
I read on https://bikecando.com that the harpers ferry foot bridge may be open. So, there could be big crowds of people around there...
Marylander is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 06:24 PM
  #47  
mark d
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: costa rica
Posts: 91

Bikes: panasonic 1987 dx-5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Halfway through the ride. In Williamsport for the night. The towpath is in good shape. There are a few mud puddles here and there, but nothing you have to ride through. It was hot today, but the humidity was OK, and I had plenty of liquids, paced myself, and stayed in the shade most of the day. Decided to get a room to take a shower and enjoy the air conditioning. It is hotter tonight than last night by about 10 degrees. I didnít bring a sleeping bag, and actually was a little chilly at one point last night. So far a nice trip, and looking forward to tomorrow.

sounds great. will be leaving a week from monday. thks for the real time info. hope all continues well for you
mark d is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 07:17 PM
  #48  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,915
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 103 Posts
Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
I read on https://bikecando.com that the harpers ferry foot bridge may be open. So, there could be big crowds of people around there...
There were many people on the canal side, but couldnít tell for sure whether they had crossed. Far fewer than are usually there if it was open. I never cross into Harpers Ferry, so I didnít stop to see. From the train on Thursday, the new fencing was visible, so if not yet open, it will be soon.
alan s is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 07:27 PM
  #49  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,915
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 103 Posts
The resurfacing project is coming along nicely. I really enjoyed riding on miles and miles of smoothness. Hopefully there will be funding for the whole towpath. The original resurfaced section is holding up very well. https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvis...ng-project.htm
alan s is offline  
Old 07-04-20, 07:30 PM
  #50  
Marylander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Frederick County, MD
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
There were many people on the canal side, but couldnít tell for sure whether they had crossed. Far fewer than are usually there if it was open. I never cross into Harpers Ferry, so I didnít stop to see. From the train on Thursday, the new fencing was visible, so if not yet open, it will be soon.
I was going to check it out today but I got on at Brunswick and looked at the huge number of vehicles there and decided to go south rather than north, which usually has less traffic. I might walk up the stairs there to see on a work day this week.
Marylander is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.