The bike left the barn in Marianna and made its way back to where I first bought it. Metal and plastic were bent, repaired, and replaced and it made its way back to the family home. When that house sold it was kept in a garage at a friend’s elsewhere in town. I rode it to the RiverLine after Thanksgiving and it transferred at Trenton en route to Penn Station, where I rode it in New York for the first time. Then, after adding winter tires and such, I brought it through Times Square and back to Penn, where it hung on the side of a baggage car down to D.C. At Union Station I met a relative who generously gave me some all-weather sleeping gear, then made my way across the Mall and found Mile Marker 0 of the C & O Canal. I joined up with and veered away from the canal up the Capitol Crescent Trail to Bethesda, where I stayed with similarly generous family until Sunday, when I doubled back to the canal and headed west on Sunday. The first day I took a relatively short ride and stayed at one of the houses for the canal lockmaster, a position that meant being at the ready for boat crossings at all times of the day. Boat traffic is mostly not an issue on the canal these days. The house had no electric, heat, hot water or cold water but firewood was outside and battery-powered lanterns were available inside. On the main floor there was a guestbook and the previous visitors mentioned “ghostlike noises but no ghosts!” The bike went into the basement. Beds were on the second floor: linens are not provided either so I used my sleeping bag on top of the comforter. The closest to ghosts I heard were the thumps of two NPS police cruisers going over the adjacent bridge at 2 a.m., the drivers chatting in the parking lot before resuming their patrol, white LED roof lights blazing into my windows.
[pictures to come when I have a better connection]