Sorry for being a day late with this.

We left Ashland, MD around 8:00AM yesterday morning and had about 12 miles to go to hook back up with the ACA route. Actually, the ACA route used to pass through here and most of the roads we were riding are the old ACA route. It was a beautiful area with smooth though narrow roads lined with grand old trees and white fences running straight through the undulating topography delineating horse pastures. Unfortunately this area has grown a lot and these little roads carried heavy commuter traffic. Traffic was heavy enough that we couldn’t really enjoy the area, though we only heard one “Get out OF THE r-o-a-d” yelled at us, and that funnily enough from somebody in the opposing lane who wasn’t affected by our presence at all.

We were approaching the D.C metro area so none of the roads we rode were really quiet, but it was pleasant enough riding. We stopped for a second breakfast sitting at a picnic table outside the deli that cooked our breakfast, and had a nice conversation with a couple of workmen who had stopped for their lunch.

Eventually we reached a part of the route — Rt. 30 — where a major construction project was going on and the route was posted “NO BICYCLES”, but no alternate route was offered so we really had no choice but to press on. Most of the way we had a shoulder to ride on though for part of the way we had to cross the road and ride against traffic, but finally we reached a section with no shoulder to either side and both lanes constricted by jersey barriers, and there was nothing to do but take the lane and force the 50+mph traffic to slow behind us. Finally we were through it and turned off on a quieter road.

Mid-afternoon we reached Rock Creek Regional Park and turned in. We rode through this beautiful park until we reached the northern end of the Rock Creek Trail which leads in to Washington, D.C. We followed this trail south with a few navigational questions when there were unsigned trail intersections. Eventually we were far enough south to know that the spur trail through Bethesda should be close, and by questioning other trail users managed to find it and ride right into downtown Bethesda. From here it was just over a mile to Jodi’s sister’s house, and we arrived around 5:00PM after a 71 mile day, making a total of 698 miles since leaving Boston 12 days ago.

Right now I am sitting in my sister-in-law’s living room watching Stage 6 of the Tour de France and those young riders sure do ride farther and faster than we do, but they don’t carry their own luggage nor do they have to deal with motor traffic. Wimps!

Allen Freeman