Saturday, September 7, 2013

GAP / C&O Ride, 9/7/13, Train from Pittsburgh to DC

The train was supposed to leave at 5:20 am. So Bonnie and I awoke at 4:00 in order to get to the Amtrak station with the required hour to pack the bike.   

After a deep hug and sincere words of encouragement at the Downtown Pittsburgh Amtrak station Bonnie headed back home (and back to bed) and I quickly packed the bike. A very kind Amtrak employee did not charge me the $15 for a bike box because he had a good used one to give me from a previous cyclist.  Shortly thereafter the announcement came that the train from Chicago was running an hour behind. 

Well I boarded at 6:20. 

And I arrived at Union Station in Washington, DC at 2:10. Definitely not an express train. We stopped in Connellsville, Cumberland, Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry and Rockville before detraining at Union Station.  Never buy the lower car seats. The upper car seats and viewing area were much, much better.  (And the biggest shock - the snack car sold vegan burgers.)

I met two others on the train taking the same route as I. I then saw eight cyclists heading back to Pgh at Union Station after a week long ride.  I put the bike back together (pedals and handlebars) and headed out in to the streets of Washington, DC. 

Washington had some extraordinary bike lanes on Constitution Ave and 15th Street. (Pittsburgh could learn a lot about bikes and streets from DC.) After a 20 minute ride from Union Station to the Hotel Lombardy, I decided to just continue riding to scope out the starting point for tomorrow. I found the 0 mile marker and then ran into three guys just finishing up from a five day ride from Pittsburgh. (I took a group photo for them.) One guy was 61 so that gave me some encouragement that I could do it. 

I had dinner at my favorite Foggy Bottom Thai restaurant. I thoroughly enjoyed the Vegetarian Pad Thai with tofu and a Sinhga. 

I'm rearranging the bags and will be heading out early tomorrow morning for Shepherdstown, WV on the C&O.