Ticks, and why to check for them

A day after my previous exploration, I discovered what most outdoorsmen/women fear discovering a day after a hike: ticks.

I found not one but two ticks near my, how do you say it, nether regions. The second of which I actually found two days later, which goes to show: even after a thorough search, these little arachnids can be difficult to detect.

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Paddling – 2 days through the ICW, Indian River, and Atlantic Ocean

Gear List

I know what you are thinking: Delaware, how exotic! It’s not a tropical paradise, but in the summer, the Delaware beaches have a lot to offer if you are looking for water adventures. The beaches are the main attraction of course, but across the highway there are some sparsely explored bays, rivers, and canals that offer a peaceful relief from the summer crowds.

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Why not to push it

It’s been 5 days since my failed journey across the United States by bike. My consolation prize that I thought of this week is biking from Philadelphia to Montreal: only a ~600 mile journey, just a bit longer than Delaware to Pittsburgh (as far as I made it across the country). And, learning a lesson from my cross country attempt, I planned on only biking around 60 miles per day to make it more enjoyable.

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Stories from the trail

In my haste to bike across the country, I didn’t get to stop and smell the roses very often. I couldn’t tell you much about anything I rode past. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail has a ton of places to stop for nature or for touristy things. I recommend taking a 3 or 4 day tour on the GAP and you will have an easy ride with plenty to see and places to stay (you don’t have to camp).

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Shooting the GAP – biking the Great Allegheny Passage in two days (or less)

Once you have completed the C&O canal from DC to Cumberland, you can continue directly onto the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP for short. The GAP has a much better reputation among cyclists. The surface is crushed stone which is very tightly packed. It is also meticulously maintained. I saw crews in multiple locations either chopping up downed trees or regrading some muddy sections. They were smoothing out surfaces that were not half as bad as large stretches of the C&O.

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The C&O Canal Towpath – biking North in two days

The C&O Towpath (trail) is 184.5 miles long and runs parallel to the Potomac River and the partially-completed Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. It runs from Washington DC to Cumberland MD (it never made it to the Ohio River). I have a history with this trail. On two occasions I have attempted to complete the entire trail from start to finish. Both times I failed due to poor preparation. I was overly prepared this time around.

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More adventure = more gear

= More money spent. On my last bike tour, I purchased a brand new bike a few weeks beforehand. $900. I still have that bike, but now that my planned route involves a lot of trails, including the gravelly C&O towpath, I did my research and decided to go with the Surly Troll. $1700 woo! This bike appears to be able to go anywhere and that is exactly what I think I need. My original bike, a Soma Saga would certainly get the job done, but it is a road touring bike that doesn’t do as well on gravel. In case you haven’t heard of them, Surly appears to be the standard in steel touring bikes. Using their website, I was able to locate a dealer in Delaware, near my home state of Maryland. There are a few dealers in my area, but I went a little farther from home for this bike because they gave me a little discount for paying cash and no sales tax in Delaware!

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