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Messages - John Nettles

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General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 04, 2021, 03:54:31 pm »
Did you happen to take any pics of the trail surface? 

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 04, 2021, 11:41:12 am »
It appears there is an active plan to resurface at least 80 miles of the towpath.  The organization leading these efforts is  Be interesting to hear their perspective on this discussion.
This is the power of the ACA Forums!!  ;D

EDIT:  As I go down my emails, I see that others posted similar things.  My apologies.

Seriously, that is interesting.  They, in conjunction with the Allegheny Trail Alliance, are implementing resurfacing, at least along parts of the canal.  It looks like they have resurfaced (root removal, graded, and added gravel dust) about 57 miles of the more urgently needed areas so far.

Thanks for posting this.

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 03, 2021, 10:38:54 am »

Your comments in the first two paragraphs have me softening my position a little bit.  For one, I did not know about the repeated (at least it sounds repeated) flooding.  That would probably do serious damage/expense to any improved trail and since I usually try to take a long-view on most things in life, then yes I could see how keeping it the same makes since. I can also see Pete's point about the improvement being a slippery slope. 

That said, I still wish the places where the trail is really rough with roots, ruts, & rocks could be periodically graded to smooth out the trail and maybe help slope it slightly to help with drainage.  Yep, a few trees might be lost (sorry John) but then a rideable path could be created.  Riding on dirt is fine, I actually love it next to pavement.  What would be neat is if a local group could be trail angels and maintain it but the NPS probably has a heavy hand in deciding how it can be "maintained" even if no federal dollars are involved.

For the record, I don't think I ever strongly proposed paving the trail though I must admit, with unlimited resources, that would be my preference.  No RV pullouts  ;) .  I just want the trail to be rideable to the vast majority of potential users.  To me it is a shame that such a neat and interesting trail is inaccessible to a somewhat large group of people.

As far as locking this thread, I think we for the most part have been pretty civil, at least compared to other forums, i.e. CrazyGuy.  We can disagree without getting into fights.  One way I try to do this is that when I write, I always try to imagine I am actually speaking face-to-face with the person.  This tempers my "internet voice" quite a bit. 

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 02, 2021, 06:59:13 pm »

Your "improving" is someone else's "diminishing".
This is what your and my opinions boil down to probably. Perhaps money also in the case of the NPS. 

That said, I am still for a little more progress on the trail.  The primary reason is I have some elderly touring buddies who use trikes and various trike users have said the trail east of Cumberland is not suitable for trike users.  To me, it is a shame that due to lack of what I consider a limited amount of "industrialized" improvement, lots of additional visitors are unable to utilize the C&O. 

Thanks for your opinions.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 02, 2021, 04:48:19 pm »
Seriously, I am asking.
West from WDC:
MP 0-73 - Trail resurfaced
MP 70-113 - Quiet back roads available in Antietam & Williamsport areas
MP 113-142 - Western Maryland Trail - paved for about 30 miles.
MP 157-184 - Highway 51, light to moderate traffic

That leaves only 15 miles without a nearby, hard-surface option at present.
Some things are best left alone.
Water pumps are fine.
These are the kind of good alternatives you usually supply.

However, those are not the C&O path itself.  I can accept the other 29 mile paved trail as a decent compromise but my point is if the NPS wants visitors to any of its sites, why not do some reasonable things to encourage more visitors?  For instance, while your route suggestions are reasonable for people who regularly bike, people with little kids may not want to ride on moderate highways.  People in wheelchairs still will not be able to visit 82 miles of the C&O. People who hike it might prefer reliable water sources.  My suggestions would be minimally invasive yet provide access to many more visitors.

As far as water goes, I am sure I am not the only one who is unable to drink hand-pump water.  Plus, it is not uncommon for a hand-pump to quit working. 

Again, if the NPS "improves" other Historical Parks like Colonial National Historical Park (Yorktown) and Saratoga National Historical Park (NY) with paved paths, roads, concessions, etc., what is so wrong about grading and applying a layer of crushed granite on the C&O?

Just sayin

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 02, 2021, 03:11:47 pm »
I will take the C&O in present condition with the shade trees and history and the remoteness versus the over developed, treeless Erie where you have to dodge the homeless living on the trail by the Rochester airport.
Fair enough, but would you prefer the C&O in it's current condition or with a level crushed granite path?

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 02, 2021, 02:53:09 pm »
That is what is interesting about you John, you occasionally try to make your point by being over the top ridiculous in a somewhat snarky way instead of just trying to provide answers/opinions like your well-thought out route advice.  So using your thinking, we should ban everything except mules and the mule guides and you can only visit if on an actual barge pulled by the mules?  And maybe require visitors to wear period clothing and speak like they did too. Ban any sort of modern technology of course?  That means we can only ride high wheel bikes maybe??

Of course, we can disagree as to what the NPS should do, but why is having the NPS put a layer of crushed granite on the path and a few pressurized water taps in the campgrounds so bad and so extreme?  They do that (unsure about the pressurized water taps) for sections of the exact same trail closer to Washington so why not extend it so more users, say those in wheel chairs, can access the C&O the entire length. If it is good for the areas closer to DC, why not those closer to Cumberland? Seriously, I am asking.


General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: August 02, 2021, 01:57:16 pm »
I agree it is not an official rail trail as it was never a rail road to begin with.  However, I would think a lot of people would understand what a rail trail is more than a canal path. 

As far as developing the Historical park, look at the Erie canal.  In places they have "improved" that canal path.  My thinking is that if the path were improved, many more people would use the path, thus learning much more about the C&O history, enjoying nature, etc.  I would think that at least one of the objectives of this particular park is to have people enjoy it.  If it were strictly for preservation, no people would be allowed.

As far as taps, many of the campgrounds I passed had hand-pumps which are not always the most sanitary and/or easy to use. By "taps", I meant pressurized water taps/faucets/bibs or whatever you call them in your area.  Again, I am trying to think of things to get more people out to the various National Parks so the massive crowds at the developed parks like Yellowstone might disperse to other, less utilized parks.

General Discussion / Re: What cyclists see, and nobody else.
« on: August 02, 2021, 02:56:16 am »
The one thing I have learned is that people are not near as bad as the media makes it out to be.  People just want to raise their family in peace, be healthy, and to be left alone to lead their lives the way they see fit.  Doesn't matter what part of the world you are in, what politics, religion, etc., you believe in.  It basically boils down to these same things.

That and a bunch of dead animals, tire shreds, empty beer cans, and the way flags blow indicating if you have a tail wind or not.
Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Chicago to Cincinnati?
« on: August 01, 2021, 07:46:53 pm »
The Cincinnati to Cleveland back to GAP/C&O is on the bucket list after the wife retires.  That said, as Aggie suggests, I would definitely use a GPS track to help guide me.

As far as the Chicago to Cincinnati, I would just follow ACA's route to Richmond, IN, then create my own route to Cincinnati.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: August 01, 2021, 07:37:01 pm »
While I personally would not use the Scrubba, I could see those that only carry one set of riding clothes and one set of camp clothes doing so.  It doubles as a dry bag (or maybe a pillow) so, depending on durability, it might take the place of an existing dry bag if you use one which can cost nearly as as much.
It does supposedly have 1300+ 5* reviews so it can't be all that bad.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: July 31, 2021, 10:22:01 pm »
Just to clarify, when washing using Ortliebs, I meant it was done in camp, not on the road while riding.

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: July 31, 2021, 07:57:55 am »
The C&O is better than my ‘home trail: Delaware Canal State in PA.
Thanks for the info.  I know that trail is one I want to avoid then  ;D
Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: July 30, 2021, 05:33:03 pm »
I have read that some round the world travelers using Ortlieb (or similar) roll-top panniers just use a pannier as a "wash machine".  Some did it "deluxe" and used one for wash and another for rinse.  No extra weight and they typically are not in any rush whatsoever so they typically do laundry and the bag drys out overnight. 

I personally have not done it but if I was desperate enough, I probably would.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: C&O trail
« on: July 29, 2021, 11:41:34 pm »
Yep, it was like that back in 1982 when I rode it from Harper's Ferry to DC.  I called them once and asked about it and they said it is to it remains "natural".  I pointed out how all the National Forests and tons of other National Parks have pavement, maintenance, etc.  His response was well DC decides such things.  I said, You are in DC! To which it was the stereotypical "it is above my pay grade".

I think they should at least grade it and place crushed granite so it is like a regular rail trail.  Heck, charge a fee if needed like the National Parks.  Also, a few water taps along the way would be nice.

At least you are out touring though!
Tailwinds, John

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