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Reply to June 2021 Meyersdale>DC

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Reply to June 2021 Meyersdale>DC
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Jonathan from Indianapolis on 3/22/2021 12:16:33 PM:
Hello, All. I'm trying to gather useful intel in advance of a planned ride from Meyersdale to DC in mid-June 2021. Planned stops so far are Meyersdale>PawPaw>Hancock>Williamsport>Harper's Ferry>Leesburg>DC. We are a group of friends, probably 10 to 12 people in all, aged late forties to early sixties. We are leisurely riders, built for comfort not for speed. Most of the group are planning on staying in hotels & air bnb's along the way, which minimizes gear to haul. We seek input on the following questions in particular: 1. How rugged is the hike over the Paw Paw Tunnel? Closure of the tunnel is a big disappointment, and there are worries about just how arduous this obstacle is going to be. 2. If the trail is muddy, is it rideable on 38 mm width tires on a loaded touring bike? Are fenders a liability? 3. I've read that the trail is resurfaced between Harper's Ferry and White's Ferry; any comments on the nature of the new surface? 4. Speaking of White's Ferry...what are the odds it reopens by June? Leesburg looks really nice and we have got nice places reserved there, so we really want to make that work if possible. People familiar with the area, any thoughts on alternate routes to get back the C&O from Leesburg without having to backtrack? Or is backtracking just a given? We also would welcome any other bits of advice, restaurant recommendations....just useful intel in general. Thanks in advance!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/22/2021 9:13:46 PM:
I'll offer you my opinions about the questions you've presented. Other forum members may have different opinions and information. 1. I'll begin by stating that I and two other 60-somethings successfully made the trek up and over the Paw Paw Tunnel when it was closed for repairs a few years ago. I was camping and had a loaded bike. It was not fun. It is a rough bypass trail with roots and rocks along the way. Most of it is not rideable so we pushed and pulled our bikes most of the way. It probably added an hour to our journey that day. 2. I've ridden it on 28, 32 and 35mm tires in conditions ranging from sloppy mud to bone dry. I'd say 38's would generally be ok. If it is very wet, some knobs on those tires would add some confidence but wouldn't add much benefit under dry conditions. Under the worst conditions your fenders could clog if the tire clearance is minimal. The worst section is from Cumberland to Little Orleans but there would be puddles and mud holes scattered along the rest of the unrestored sections of the trail. I don't want to make it seem unpassable but you can expect to get muddy and wet if it has rained a fair amount before or during your ride. 3. The restored trail between Shepherdstown and Edwards Ferry is a significant improvement over the previous condition. It is smooth, and drains well. 4. I haven't heard any recent news about if/when Whites Ferry might reopen with the new owner. I'm not aware of any good alternative to getting up to Leesburg. Locals in that area may have some good suggestions for you. PS: I'm an Indy Decatur Central grad in 1968 when Decatur Township was virtually all farm country. Spent all my adult life in suburban Pittsburgh however.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 3/22/2021 9:56:20 PM:
Since your first night is Paw Paw (the town), it looks like you would get to the tunnel in the morning on day 2, so at least you’d knock it out early and be done with it as opposed to the end of a long day. I would ask your companions if they are OK pushing bikes. As for Whites Ferry, if it’s still closed a week before you depart, I’m certain someone will do shuttles for a fee. I’d give a call around to local bike shops in Leesburg. Not sure if that will involve sticker shock! There are ways to backtrack to Leesburg but I can’t say if leisurely riders would enjoy it or not. Good luck!