What is that SMELL?!

C&O Canal

C&O Canal

Originally uploaded by alberto238
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Well, with all the traffic woes of this morning, I decided to hang back a bit and delay my entry. Now with the American Legion Bridge work entering it’s supposed final phase, that backed up traffic quite a bit even in the later morning hours… what is a motorcyclist to do, but hit the Cabin John Parkway and the Clara Barton.

Now, I haven’t been on it in a while, and think the tree lined canal area is quite nice and tranquil. Motorcycling in the morning is nice, and in general, you get fresh air, natural air conditioning, and the smells of the day. Normally, the latter is a good thing, except this morning. About C&O lock 8, my nose said to my brain:

“What in the holy mother of christ is that smell?”

Now, I would think, maybe, just maybe, there is the random effluent from DC making it’s way to the Potomac. But, at each successive C&O Canal Lock, as well as some of the closer bits of the canal to the road, my nose caught that scent. The scent of the worst spoilage imaginable… some worse than dead bodies and spoiled milk. (And yes, I’ve even been around a blooming corpse flower)

What’s the deal? I think it’s the last bits of last weeks heat finally releasing the brew of rotting algae, and other garbage that’s in the canal. I would suggest, to the National Park Service, if possible, to try to flush that canal at their earliest convenience, or I fear, if we get another week of heat, that brew in the C&O could turn deadly, knocking bicyclists off their seats, joggers out of their shoes, and us motorcyclists tearing up in our helmets. (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be “natural” in setting, but that’s an “unnatural” smell)

2 Comments so far

  1. Radman (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

    Just drove down that road into dc and back to md and yes it stinks !!!

    I am not sure, but I believe that they block the flow of water upstream into the canal during the summer months and it is the stagnant water that you are smelling.


  2. Don (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

    It’s pretty rank midway up Rock Creek as well. I presume it’s the dying kelp & algae on surfaces that used to be underwater, pre-drought.



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