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I get the general idea of this Trek touring bike, but where are the mud-guards (fenders) and why oh why drop handle bars? Unless you're into down hill racing or fancy yourself in the Tour de France, no one on a long distance bike ride needs drop bars - IMHO. And unless you enjoy a wet ass, fenders are a great invention. It looks like Trek are just jumping - belatedly - on the rising popularity of bike touring but are still stuck in mountain bike mode. Otherwise, not a bad bike.I like the variety of hand positions you get with drops (my 520 has 50K on it so far) As for fenders I'm agnostic: they are a nuisance when you take the front wheel off to fix a flat, if you are touring with somebody you like it's nice for them to have a rear fender with a mud flap (aka buddy flap), they are a bit of added weight, mine are SKS and Trek might balk at the cost. That said in most cases a back rack and its contents acts like a fender to keep your bum dry but does nothing for your wife behind you.
ACA maps are better for people trying to enjoy the experience rather than get somewhere specific.
Quotelube ceremonies.I like it.
+1 I rode Route S from near Philly to Rockwood. Some of it is fairly busy roads but much of it is highly rural PA e.g. Burnt Cabins. The western part is quite hilly. I managed to miss the old turnpike tunnels as you will if you follow the Route S signs, perhaps as well as I didn't have much in the way of lights or a map to show me where the tunnels were. i was unimpressed by the GAP. When it's wet the crushed gravel makes a paste that clings to your bike, especially to fenders. i ended up sharing a room with a complete stranger in Ohiopyle because the camping facilities near there were so poor.I'm working on alternative routing in case this proves to be a problem. This would put me on country roads through small towns, but in Pennsylvania and Maryland instead of Kentucky and Missouri.
If you are not set on starting in D.C. or can get yourself up to it, you might consider signed PA Bike Route S to get around the C&0:
Heading west, Route S joins the GAP at Rockwood, PA. However, you can take U.S. 220 from Bedford, PA to Cumberland, MD if you want to pick up the GAP from the beginning. I did the reverse when I rode from PGH to Philly in 2013. I picked up U.S. 220 north of Cumberland by following smaller roads out of town. The road has a decent shoulder and traffic was not that heavy on a Monday afternoon. Let me know if you want the exact routing between Bedford and Cumberland. Personally, I found the portion of the GAP between Rockwood and Cumberland to be the most interesting so I wouldn't miss that portion if possible.
Also, if you pick up Route S anywhere east of Hustontown, PA and have a strong from light or headlamp you can take an easy detour from the route and ride a stretch of the abandoned portion of the PA Turnpike. Very neat ride (It was used in the filming of "The Road" starring Viggo Mortensen), but there are two long tunnels that are not lit, hence the need for a good light. At the western end of the rideable portion you will find yourself back on Route S at Breezewood, PA.
FWIW, the care my chains get is mostly sloshing on some lube and wiping it off with a napkin. They very rarely get any cleaning beyond that.Hmm. It could be I'm not oiling my chain often enough. I took the Dumond label at its word when it says not to relube until you can hear the chain. I'll try more frequent oiling and see if that makes a difference. I can live with oiling more but the cleaning razmtaz is insufferable.