Let me preface this by saying, i have no knowledge of touring, so please bear with me. I'm a racer with a bunch of bikes (alright only 3, but i live in a small apartment). I'm trying to get a small touring trip together with my girlfriend. We are thinking about doing the C&O canal from georgetown to cumberland, MD. Most of this ride is on crushed gravel road, and from reports i've read it seems like a bike running 700x35's would be ideal. This to me sounds like cyclocross bike territory to me. I've never raced cyclocross, but am somewhat interested in giving it a shot. I'd also like to have a winter beater bike that i could put fenders on, isn't running dura-ace, etc. So i'm basically looking for a complete bike that will handel all of these, a "jack of all trades bike". And i don't know where to start. I'm looking for any ideas for frames. On gruppos i'm pretty much thinking 105 10-speed stuff, because all my other bikes are 10 speed and i like to maintain similar parts. Basically the bike would need to be able to handle light panniers, because we would be staying in hotels/b&b's along the way, so no need for camping gear. I was actually thinking i would only need a seatpost rack, but that might be cutting it a little short on what i foresee as a 4-5 day trip. Since i'm a stronger rider than my girlfriend i figured i could put panniers on my bike and she could carry a seat post rack. Sorry for the long winded question, so basically i'm looking for a cyclocross bike that can do double duty as a touring bike, fire away, any and all opinions welcome. Thanks.