I was doing a father's day tour with my sons and our dog. We started in DC out the W O and D to Leesburg. We were going to cross the Potomac River and then return to DC via the C and O canal. Camp along the way.
When we got to Leesburg, I confirmed with a pedestrian that we were on the right track. She assured us we were, but that the road was incredibly busy, and way too dangerous for my children. I brushed her off as being a nonbiker and therefore a little bit nervous. We thanked her and went on our way.
About a half hour later this very same lady pulls up to us on the road with a van and her daughter in the other car.
She then proceeded to tell us exactly how dangerous it was. "No shoulders." "Fast traffic." "Crazy drivers." "People die there all the time." She tried to get us and our bikes into the van..."at least put the kids in the car" she pleaded.
By this time, my 10 year old is a nervous wreck, convinced we were going to end up a bloody heap on the side of the road. This civilian pestered us for well over an hour. We should have ridden away, but I didn't want to appear inconsiderate and ungrateful.
The sun was setting and we lost our window to scoot down the road, cross the ferry and set up camp before sunset. So we commando camped in a regional day use park nearby. My sons were nervous that we were about to be arrested for trespassing.
We woke early and broke camp before the camp rangers showed up. We then proceeded down this "Death Highway."
Oh were we steamed....the road in question was downsloping, so you could maintain a tasty pace, there was a 6 foot shoulder, there were "watch for biker" signs, the whole journey down the Death Highway was about 4 brisk miles of beautiful riding. We turned off the highway and were greeted with cows, deer and a two lane country road that emptied at the ferry to cross the Potomac.
When we crossed we found the beautiful campground where we intended to camp. We were so disappointed that we didn't camp there.
My point? I wish I had been gracious but separated myself from the non biker advisor. My son was so flustered by the talk, I was sure he was going to have a breakdown. I had done my research and while the road in question was heavily traveled it was still completely manageable. On that evening, I abdicated my judgement to an overbearing local and our trip paid the price.
We carried on the next day and had a great trip. I recommend the DC Leesburg Whites Ferry C and O to DC ride with kids and a dog. Great fun. Flat, easy and manageable. Good shade and solid riding. I will do it again, but certainly won't hesitate to bike those last 6 mile to the ferry.