This was getting real. We put down a blistering pace for the first 40 or so miles, our legs replete with rest and our stomachs replete with breakfast. We made some of our own oatmeal. The AirBnB that we stayed at the night before provided pumpkin bread, and the lightest, tastiest - homemade - yogurt and granola. Great fuel.
We stopped for lunch in what one could endearingly call a town - Little Orleans. In reality, as far as we could see, it consisted of one building, Bill’s Place. A no fuss diner. There were a group of other bikers outside, also traveling to D.C. On The door, a business card sized sticker of a confederate flag with the caption “pride not prejudice”. Matt and I headed inside, laying ourselves to rest in satisfyingly comfortable chairs. Even more satisfying. A cheeseburger, fries, jalapeño poppers, and a Starbucks iced coffee. We charged up, ate up, and enjoyed the mental change of pace from the trail. Two other bikers entered the restaurant just as we were finishing lunch. Motor bikers. They had the most expensive Yamaha adventure bikes, fully adorned with top-of-the-line accessories. I went to the bar to pay my expensive bill of $11.50, approaching who I assumed to be the proprietor, Bill. I think this image will stick in my mind for a long time: as I handed Bill some bills, he lifted up a previously unnoticed doormat sitting atop the bar counter, revealing rows of bills underneath, Monopoly style. He produced the change, and I walked away. Delighted, and surprised yet not surprised at all that this was the cash register.
The rest of the miles went well, if a bit more slowly. We stopped again for ice cream and finally some decent barbecue in Williamsport. The day ended, to my mind, with what I am calling the “C&O hobo shower”. All of the campsites have potable water pumps. They’re cold. Matt and I took turns pumping for one another as we rinsed off under the pump. Bracing. It was a good night to have the tent, as the bugs were ferocious, although somewhat dissuaded by 30% DEET content bug-spray. Even if our skin burned, no bug-bites.