Monday, September 21, 2009

Who Turned Out The Lights?

Day Three: Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009

Lunch was over and it was back to the towpath and to whatever adventures lay ahead.

Once on the towpath it was only a 1/2 mile ride to the Paw Paw Tunnel.


The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118 feet (950 m) long canal tunnel in Maryland on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was built to bypass the Paw-Paw bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe bends. Construction on the tunnel began in 1836, and the tunnel was not completed until 1850. Although it was originally planned to be completed in two years, there were many difficulties in the process of construction. The construction company seriously underestimated the difficulty of the job. Violence frequently broke out between various gangs of immigrant laborers of different ethnicities, and wages were often unpaid due to the company's financial problems.[1] The tunnel was finally completed with a cost overrun of 500%. Though surpassed by many tunnels today, it remains one of the world's longest canal tunnels and was one of the greatest engineering feats of its day.

paw paw, md, 9.08.09

We were a little nervous about this tunnel because it wasn't lit and a water-filled canal ran along the towpath. We had read warnings about this path being rough and to be careful not to step off into the water. In fact it was strongly recommended that bikes should be walked through this tunnel. It wasn't nearly as bad as advertised. True it was dark, and true the path was very rough but there was a nice waist-high fence separating us from the water. We would most certainly stay dry if nothing else.

But first things first. There was a convenient set of steps running up either side of the tunnel and boys being boys couldn't resist climbing those steps. I had seen a sign on my previous visit with Rosy stating NOT to climb the steps but who I am to ruin their fun? It looked safe enough to me. So climb they did.

paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

dave, john, chris, jack, paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

One last picture of John and then he made his way through the tunnel. He wanted to get to Little Orleans to meet up with Rosy. When we had left her she was headed to Dollar General in Paw Paw to kill some time. That was the only shopping available in Paw Paw and let's face it a tour of Dollar General isn't going to take a whole afternoon. Bye, John, see you in Little Orleans.

john, paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

Two still weren't done playing.

paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

Hey, yahoos, did you know that you're not supposed to be up there?

chris & dave, paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

I don't know them.

It was time to navigate our way through that tunnel. Dave and Jack had flashlights. Dave led, followed by Chris, then Jack and I brought up the rear. It didn't take me long to realize this wasn't a plan. All the light was in front of me and I really couldn't see where I was going and truth be told it was really dark behind me. Jack and I switched places so now we had a light at the front and the back. I liked that much better. That was one long tunnel. The light on the other end didn't seem that far away but it took us quite awhile to reach the other end. Of course the path was rough and we were pushing bikes so that did slow us down somewhat.

Did I mention it was dark?

paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

About two thirds of the way through Dave stopped and turned to the three of us behind him and announced, "There's a deep puddle of water back there".

"No sh**, Sherlock! We're standing in it and the water is seeping in our shoes. Move!" Well, I didn't swear at him but I did think it. Chris and I were both yelling "Move!" as we hopped up and down trying to keep our feet dry. I should have stayed in the back. Jack's feet stayed dry. Sheesh. We didn't need to worry about falling into the canal and getting wet. Dave was taking care of the getting wet part quite nicely all by himself.

We continued to slowly make our way to the end of the tunnel.

paw paw tunnel, 9.08.09

We took a few more photos

chris, 9.08.09

and continued on our way.

dave & jack, 9.08.09

More sightseeing.

chris, dave, jack, towpath, 9.08.09

What is it about men and steel? Well, I know my man loves steel.

towpath, 9.08.09

towpath, 9.08.09

I'm smiling now but in the next installment someone else won't be.

carrie, towpath, 9.08.09

Who could that be and whatever could have happened?

to be continued...

3 comments....porters always have something to say!:

Jock said...

Wow I never realized how eventful this day really was, it is going to take you 3-4 posts just to get through it.

curlz said...

The suspense is killing me! Get on with it!

carriegel said...

I know. When I started to organize this day I realized that two posts wouldn't cover it.

Editing the pictures for the next installment tonight. These things take time, sister!

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