Wednesday, August 12, 2009

C&O Canal and GAP Ride - Day 3 - How Fast is Fast Enough?

Day 3 of our epic journey dawned bright and beautiful. Bob and I were in the highest of spirits. The horrific memories of our night with trains were but distant now. We slept like babies in our little cabin. We had separate beds. The air was conditioned and cool. The only noise that met our ears was the gentle, constant hum of the AC. It was a night that was practically perfect in every way.

We took our time getting up, sipping on hot coffee and eating a wonderful breakfast.

Around 9 or 10 am, we finally got around to packing our bikes and hitting the road. Remembering my mistake of the day before, I filled all 3 water bottles to the brim.

When we made it back to the C&O Canal trail, we stopped and ventured into the visitor center.The visitor center in Williamsport is a veritable treasure trove of history pertaining to the C&O Canal. I highly recommend it to future adventurist. We sat and watched an old film of the canal by Charles Kuralt. In that film, Mr. Kuralt said something that really intrigued me. The camera panned out as he was walking along the tow path. He was commenting on the fact that they would lead the mules and pull the barges along the 184.5 miles of the canal at just this speed - "4 MPH - There was a time when that was fast enough."

I think about how far we have come in transportation of goods and people and correspondingly how small that has made the world. 4 MPH would drive us crazy today. We've come too far to go that slow. In my humble opinion, that's a sad commentary as to where we are today. Would slowing down be that bad a thing? I commute to work by bike and one of the main things I appreciate about it is that it causes me to slow down and look outward to observe the sights, sounds and smells around me and maybe even more importantly to look inward and examine what I think, feel and believe.

"4 MPH - There was a time when that was fast enough." Sobering ain't it? Do something about it! Ride a bike!!

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