Wednesday, April 8, 2015

C+O Canal Run, In Which I Nearly Trigger a Road Rage Incident

Below photos are the highlight of my run yesterday.  I parked in Williamsport, MD at Cushwa Basin, ran the JFK road course in reverse for a couple miles, then cut down Falling Waters Road to reach the Canal.  All told about 6 miles road + 5 Canal (this makes an interesting loop as opposed to the typical out-n-back run along the towpath).

Flowers along the embankment; image credit Gary

Close-up, I don't recognize these guys and have not keyed them out yet; flower head is approx 2"-3" across.  Image credit Gary.

But you're wondering about the road rage, aren't you?

Whenever I run, which is frequently along rural roads, I am always amazed--in a negative sense--at just how much litter adorns the roadsides.  I usually flatten and carry home about 6 aluminum cans, though I'm more worried about the glass bottles I see.  These pose a hazard to the road, and to the food supply should they be processed into bales of hay, or be plucked up by a combine and wind up in corn, wheat or soybeans.

Can't carry bottles easily so I usually pick them up and deposit them at the next mailbox, trusting the resident to finish the Good Samaritan act that I started.

So...there was a funky, muddy beer bottle on the gravel just off the edge of the macadam that I picked up and carried up to the next house like I've done a thousand times before.  I glanced at the house: curtains drawn, a pickup truck in the driveway but no one in evidence, so I drop it beside the mailbox and run on.

I get perhaps 100 yards away and I hear some yelling from behind.  I ignored it for a sec, then realize it was probably the homeowner.  Yelling at me.  The guy continued to yell vociferously (I could not make out his words beyond "Hey!") so I just decided to continue running rather than try explain my litter control solution.

By now I'm a couple hundred yards away and the guy is now screeching.  That's the word that comes to mind, a screech, because the volume has not diminished despite me being twice as far away.  I accelerate a bit.

As I approach a full quarter mile, the screech becomes a full-blown scream, for the volume still stays level; I am imagining that this guy is now purple-faced.  I think of the scene in Blazing Saddles where the old codger is repeatedly trying to tell the townspeople that the approaching sheriff is black (he used another term), but a tolling bell kept drowning out his words.

Thankfully the road bends, I'm out of direct line of sight, and I take my planned right turn onto Falling Waters Road.  My back feels open and vulnerable; I'm waiting for the pickup truck to come roaring up behind me.  I get out my cell phone out of the pocket in my shorts, set it to Video and keep my finger in the button.  I'm ready to start instantly recording any encounter that might occur.

Then...nothing.  The guy was either not motivated enough to pursue...or perhaps he picked up the bottle, realized that it could not possibly have been one from which I had been drinking and tossed aside indiscriminately onto his lawn, and figured out that I was merely policing the roadside.

At any rate I didn't feel safe until 15-20 minutes had passed, and did not feel relaxed until I actually reached the C+O Canal towpath.  Then the soothing effect of the forest and river calmed my psyche.

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