Monday, June 06, 2011

24 Miles to Groundhog

Had a doctor's appointment this morning and then it was bike time again. This time, I put in on the C&O Canal Towpath across the Potomac River from Shepherdstown at Mile Marker 72.8. I headed up the river with the promise to myself of a small pizza from a local pub in Shepherdstown if I did 20 miles.
Here's one of the old canal locks (Lock #39). The towpath was originally used for the mules that pulled the canalboats and it parallels the canal it's entire length--Now it's a one hundred eighty-four mile long national park.

About 3 miles up, I saw that the opposite side of the canal was now a vertical cliff. Visible in that cliff were several small caves. Me being me, I had to stop and check a couple out.

Hard to spot these through the foliage.
Here's me inside one. This just vindicated my practice of ALWAYS carrying a small, powerful flashlight, even in daytime.
This one was tight and without some caving gear I couldn't penetrate more than about 50 yards. So here's me on the way back out.I'll check out more of these when my nephew, The Spud gets here in a couple of months. He should like this. He is boy, after all.

Riding, riding...long towpath. But scenic. Much green, and the Potomac River just off to my left. Being a Monday, the towpath was practically deserted once I got away from town. All I saw going out was birds and a doe deer that ran out of the woods just ahead of me around mile marker 80 and ran down the towpath right in front of me for a couple hundred yards before finally leaping down into the canal and disappearing into the woods on the other side. I rode hard after her but could not catch her. I also could not get her picture because my camera was in my pocket. Drat. But it was fun riding with the deer. Finally I hit my designated turn-around point: Marker 83.It was almost with regret that I turned around. But I was ten miles away from my vehicle and I had other things to do today...and a pizza waiting. So I headed back.

On the way back, I stopped at Lock 40. I didn't get the chance on the way up because Park service was cutting the grass there but now they were gone.
But what's that over on the far side of the lock? I walked around and ducked through this old spillway to get closer.It's...A Groundhog!He was actually pretty calm and let me walk all around taking his picture.
Alas, I could not get him to stand up tall like they do. I even asked him to. No dice.

Eventually I mounted up and rode on back to where I'd parked. 20 miles. Pizza.
But wait--I wasn't that tired yet. This didn't feel like a pizza-worthy workout. I should go further, I told myself.
But I want my pizza, I argued back to myself.
Fine, I told myself. You can have the pizza, but plain. If you want toppings, you'll need to ride another mile for each item you want.
Well damn, I thought. I hate cheese pizza. I'll do it, but I'm getting a beer, too. So having come to an agreement with myself, I rode on down the canal another two miles, then back for four more miles, giving me a total of 24 miles ridden today. That earned me pepperoni, bacon, pineapple and onion, plus a beer. And in keeping with my diet plan, I did not eat the crusts, so that makes it a low-calorie pizza. Plus the beer was an oatmeal stout and oatmeal is great for diets, right? How can I go wrong there?

Ima gonna be ready for swimsuit season on the beach in no time with the workout program!


  1. I think the Oatmeal Stout is actually negative calories so without the crusts I figure you lost weight while you were actually eating!

    24 Miles? That is awesome.

  2. Roberta brought me over this beer that was "Breakfast Stout". It had oatmeal, coffee AND chocolate in it.

    Needless to say, I did not invade a country, create life, OR vacuum after that.

    Pepperoni, bacon, onion AND pineapple? Oh yummm. I wonder if they make bacon flavored jello? I'm NOT looking forward to post dental surgery food.

  3. Ed McMahon said beer is liquid bread!
    And (as you already know)
    PIZZA is food of the gods!

  4. Dark beer is nutritional. It is necessary for restoration at the end of all vigorous exercise.

  5. Oatmeal stouts are a staple of any healthy diet!

  6. So. it's that darn groundhog that's causing this early onset summer. Stupid rodents.

    Brigid may be onto something with the bacon-flavored jello! I know they make bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs -- maybe that would work for post-surgical bacon fixes, too.