Cumberland Lives Up To Its Name

So, my buddies Daedalus Sam, Niko the Russian and I, Colin the 29 year old who lives with his parents, decided do to a weekend ride down the C&O Canal. Our journey commenced by rendesvous-ing at Union Station to catch the Capitol Limited train to Cumberland. 


The train ride was beautiful. It's unbelievable how quickly the scenery changes from urban DC to rolling pastures and tree-lined Appalachian ridges. Within no time city life had become a distant memory.

Sam told me about his ride the prior week on the Great Allegheny Passage. While describing the charm of the Western PA towns he traversed, the woman sitting in front of us joined our conversation. She told us she wrote a book about Shakespeare and the Cumberland Gap and the Spanish Empire, she then said that the US government had likely comitted bioterrorism by dropping tics from aircrafts to scare people out of the countryside. I didn't know what she was talking about, but Sam seemed engaged.

We arrived in Cumberland around 7 pm.  I had to assemble my new handlebar bag at the train station. While doing so, a guy wearing a Mountaineers hat whipped out a knife on us and asked what we were trying to to do. He was a pretty nice guy.

We rode to El Jinete, a Mexican place I visited last year when I rode to Cumberland. The owner let us stash our bikes in the back...very cool. We then took a seat at the bar. Thursday nights feature karaoke and $1 margaritas.

The disc jockey, DJ Craig "Put Em In A" Hurst was on the other side of the bar, flirting with a young woman, April, by being very mean to her. The waitress brought us chips, salsa and white sauce, at which Craig commented, "She likes white sauce on her face!" The juvenile joke evoked a chuckle from us. April the looked at us and added, "I like white sauce on my face, just not that white sauce." The three of us fell silent.

Karaoke went swimmingly. There were excellent performances of Three Doors Down's "Kryptonite" , Nelly's "Grillz" and Fallout Boy's "Were going Down." I performed The Band's "Cripple Creek" in honor of my Bessie.


The white sauce girl and her friend sat next to us during dinner and often jumped into our convo. When we paid our bills at the counter they followed us to the front and just kind of stood there. It was weird, these girls were really lurking on us. I also felt a little odd in my riding gear, my skintight outfit attracted some funny looks. Maybe that's because I looked funny. I wondered if this was how girls felt when guys were being creepy at the bar.  


We rode through nighttime Cumberland. The steeples of its four churches were illuminated and the silhouette of Appalachia loomed in the background. We followed the C&O Canal five miles to the Evitts Creek campsite. The erie five mile ride through a tunnel of frog chirps was unforgettable. I saw so little but heard so much. 

That night we set up tents, made a fire and then slept to an orchestra of freight trains, rain drops and bird calls. The disturbamces caused me to sleep lightly, though I did have a cool dream that I was in a dorm room full of hummingbirds and woodpeckers and I had to find a baby hummingbird that was trapped in one of the walls.