YooperBoy from Wilmington, DE on 12/10/2021 12:59 PM
I saw a couple of questions and comments about how to arrange return trips from various points along the trail, and thought I would add my two cents.
What we learned is that it was far easier, and cheaper, to rent a U-Haul one way back to Wilmington, as opposed to a rental car of any size! Like, 1/3 as much! I recommend that option highly if you find yourself in a situation like we did.
My riding buddy and I started our GAP/C&O trip in September, and had a great experience for the first couple of days. This was our first tour, and we were riding with far too much gear, but the first three days were great. Pittsburgh to Connellsville, Connellsville to Rockwood, Rockwood to Cumberland. We started late and had slim pickings for dinner on a Sunday in Connellsville, spent too much time at Fallingwater outside of Ohiopyle and missed dinner completely in Rockwood - that town closes up early - and got to Cumberland with plenty of daylight left.
I began to have issues on the C&O trail, especially as the temperature climbed. I'm diabetic and wasn't doing a good job with my sugars, and ran into trouble right around Paw Paw. I got sagged by some new friends into Hancock, and thought all would be good the next day. However, we hit the detour around Taylors Landing (mile 89) and that nearly killed me. As we got back onto the trail, I fell further behind, winding up by myself just slogging toward our next stop in Harpers Ferry.
Around mile 74, I found myself alone in the woods at 8:15 pm, in darkness like an abandoned mine, with a flat front tire. I managed to replace my tube in the dark, then had the chain fall off. Once I was finally back on my bike, nearing the point of exhaustion but still moving, it began to rain! I just kept plugging away, and caught up to my buddy at the campground at Antietam Creek, where he had taken shelter with Gary, the manager (an outstanding human being!!). We got a call from our friends asking where we were, and they came and got us, taking us into Harpers Ferry about 10:30 and again missing anything to eat.
It was at that point where we both decided we had bitten off more than we could chew, and it was time to call the ball, hence our U-Haul rental.
We learned a lot from the ride, and are starting to look towards our next attempt - when both the Paw Paw and Taylors Landing detours are completed!