Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vision quest


In 2008, I heard about a trip being organized in conjunction with Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary from Washington to Pittsburgh by bicycle along the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage. The former canal towpath and the old railroad right of way have been converted into a recreational trail heavily used by cyclists. Hikers also use it, but it is less popular for hiking, I'm told, than other long-distance trails such as the Appalachian Trail.

The 2008 trip cost about $800, though, and was in the middle of prime campaign season, so it didn't work out for me to go. Anyway--I have been wanting to do this trip since then, and now I think I finally have the chance in the ever-shortening window of time before law school starts. I'm delivering a family friend's car and cargo to D.C., leaving today, and I'll spend a few days in Washington before heading out over the weekend. I'm giving myself some flex time for the weather and not locking myself into a specific date to leave, but probably by Sunday.

And then will begin the epic "vision quest"--or something like that. I'll have 330 miles alone on my bike on the way back to Pittsburgh, and this is the point at which I become concerned. I've never done more than 50 miles in a single day (the first day of my trans-Rhode Island trip, or a couple of long days running errands in Pittsburgh) and never those extended trips on several consectutive days. I'm camping, which is daunting in its own daunting ways. I can't, and won't, carry a week's worth of food with me, which is fine since there are many towns along the trail with ample provisions. But there are long stretches with no services, which concerns me.

So, I'm feeling a good bit overwhelmed now. But I'm really looking forward to the trip, whatever ends up happening. The next time I do a bike lift on the Hot Metal Bridge, I'll be just a few miles from home!

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