Some friends and I did this a little under two weeks ago and the train ride was not a fun one. The train kept stopping due to mechanical issues and it made for a long, long ride. I remember sitting there thinking “why didn’t we just get a van and drive back?” The train left around 4 a.m. and we got back to PGH around 2 a.m.. I don’t know if it was I was so tired, but it seemed like it took forever to get the bikes off the train.
This definitely didn’t overshadow the awesomeness that was the ride to D.C.. Eastern Continental Divide to Cumberland = EXHILARATING.
i’ve done this twice this year, and will have another one under my belt by the time you guys take off, ask questions if you have them, i’ve done the train thing a couple times and had no problems… but I like the train so that’s just me.
Insects were not at all a problem for me on the trail last week. Never used bug spray and never got bit/stung. On the other hand, watch carefully for snakes…I almost ran over two that were sunning themselves on the trail.
I did the trip at the beginning of July. No insect problems to speak of. ==asobi; there were snakes sleeping on the C&O trail. Also, lots of horse droppings. Not sure how that maps to August, but I’d expect more snakes and horse droppings, at least.