We are on the train, heading back to Harpers Ferry. By the time we arrive there will still be more than 3 hours worth of daylight so we will get back onto the trail tonight.
The concert last night was worth the effort and cost of coming off the trail. I have never been to a concert with so much energy. The band was unbelievably good and Brandy didn’t even pause as she went from one song into the next. She came back for two encores. Not only was the music outstanding but her rapport with the audience was excellent.
We didn’t do any museum/gallery hopping this afternoon. Firstly because our morning turned out a bit different to what was planned, and secondly (and equally important) because we don’t want to get to the trail later with feet already sore from walking around too much today. We walked around Washington so much yesterday: I had sore legs by the time we got to Columbi. Then we still walked to the concert venue and back.
The reason for our morning turning out different to expected had all to do with food shopping and transport.
The only “grocery type” place close to where we stayed was a Whole Food Market (being bought out by Jeff Bezos) – picture Woolworths but mostly organic: totally inappropriate for hiker’s food. Just out of interest we walked through the store this morning (it opened at 7) and it confirmed that nothing we need is being sold there.
The hotel receptionist said I could go to Safeway 5 miles away. While Trevor was sorting out Post Office parcels (stuff we left at Erwin Mathilda which she sent to the hotel when we thought we were coming home now had to be sent back to her), I Ubered to the Safeway. It is hard doing hiking shopping anywhere else than at Dollar General, which are small stores where they sell typical children lunch box food, very appropriate for hikers. Other grocery stores are big, and there are many different chains, every time I shop in one of those it takes me 40mins to get the standard items on my shopping list (breakfast bars, cheese sticks, Snickers bars, ramen noodles&tuna, instant mash&salad topping bacon bits, peanuts and a few Little Debbie’s).
Eventually done I ordered Uber for my ride back. Bad bad Surprise! Message said “payment method not authorised” – it worked on my way to the store but now it was blocked., We have been having problems with credit cards here: many systems don’t ask for a PIN and when the transaction gets to the SA bank without a pin it declines it. Must have been something like this causing my problem but why it worked the first time I don’t know!
Anyway this was reason to panic. I couldn’t walk 5 miles on a highway (with 4 bags of groceries) and I couldn’t Uber and Trevor really couldn’t do anything either….. Day was saved when I called Mathilda and she gave me her credit card detail, which I loaded and the Uber ride was authorised against this card.
We eventually left Columbia at 12h and arrived back in Washington just before 1h30. As our train was departing at 4h and boarding half an hour before that, we had 2 hours only; not enough to be running around museuming, so we just hanged around people watching in the food court…. making (I’m sure) interesting material for other people watchers: eating our way through almost everything the food court had to offer (okay I am exaggerating but we did give it a good try).
I am posting this now as who knows if we will have cell phone reception later tonight on the trail.
I have to admit after three days off I feel a bit lazy to hit the trail again. Will let you know by tomorrow night (if we have cell phone signal) whether the break was good or bad for the legs&mind.