On Rails

Day 150 • July 29, 2012 •  Reisterstown, MD to York, PA •  52 miles

Charlie had suggested we pick up the Northern Central Railroad Trail near Monkton, MD and take it to York, PA.  Zoe and I were hesitant to take another crushed-limestone trail after our time on the Katy but it was a more direct route than Adventure Cycling and, of course, there would be no motorized traffic to deal with.  I decided to leave it to fate—if we could find a Warm Showers host in York we’d take the rail trail.  Our fate was sealed when Jane and Paul offered to host us.  They live in York right next to the trail.  Perfect.

Once again I can thank Zoe for our good fortune with our hosts.  Paul was out of town and Jane was reluctant to take in a stranger on her own.  But after checking out our blog I think a guy and his nine-year-old daughter must have seemed harmless enough.  Jane met us at the trail and led us back to the house where a wonderful meal was cooking.  She and Paul have done some extensive touring on a tandem so it was fun to hear about their adventures.  Keeping up the blog has been a struggle for me, a month and a half behind!, but it was all worthwhile when Jane offered me a (good) beer because she’d read on the blog that I’d been seeking it out.

As usual the rail trail was a mixed bag.  The railroad museum in Monkton was a nice break, Zoe even got to do some crafts.  The trail in Maryland was poor however, essentially single-track most of the way, which is rough on the trike.  Combined with a significant uphill grade, the first half was pretty slow.  Once we crossed into Pennsylvania at New Freedom, however, things improved dramatically.  The trail was much better, pretty much equivalent to the Katy, and mostly downhill all the way to York.  Even though they’re contiguous trails on the same rail line, the Maryland and Pennsylvania sections are managed separately with little apparent coordination—it was strangely difficult to figure out the extent of the trail when I was planning the ride.

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