October 4: Aberdeen to Owings Mills 38.1 miles
Summer weather -- 65 degrees as we exited the motel after breakfast and into the 80s before lunch!!! Just about a perfect as one could have -- and it is October! And the route had no major turns for the first ten miles -- another plus to the day. What it did have however were hills. We are now south of the Mason-Dixon Line and headed toward the coast, so we all assumed the terrain would level out some. No such luck.
Note: The Mason–Dixon Line (or "Mason and Dixon's Line") is a line of demarcation between four states in the United States. Properly, the Mason-Dixon line is part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, surveyed when they were still British colonies. After Pennsylvania began abolishing slavery within the Commonwealth, in 1781, this line, and the Ohio River, became most of the border between the free and slave states. Popular speech, especially since the Missouri compromise of 1820, uses the Mason-Dixon line symbolically as a supposed cultural boundary between the Northern United States and the Southern United States.
The route today is set up to begin our circumnavigation of the city of Baltimore by way of the back residential roads. Like many in Pennsylvania these roads traversed through woods, along ridges looking down on streams tumbling over boulders, and over farmland that has been in use since the founding days of this country.
Maryland was originally declared a Catholic state at the time of its charter into the USA. That heritage can still be seen in the many Catholic schools, convents and churches that dot the countryside. As we rode along the winding road of MD 22 we passed through the old crossroads of Carsins, Bodt Corner, Fountain Green, and Bel Air. Today they are suburbs marked with expensive homes, glorious lawns, and manicured gardens. In the early years of our history they were settlements that supplied the colonists with their needs.
Further on down the route we left the marked highway and climbed and coasted through farmland that was checker boxed in appearance as a result of sections already tilted for the winter. Brown, tall stalks of corn covering several acres surrounded by fields of brown earth plowed under in regular rows drew one's eye away from the pavement and the sight of an approaching hill. The leaves continue to fall like rain, but now only the oak have turned. We are below the "Colorama" area and too early for this "turning time". No matter, the trees are still beautiful, the panoramas spectacular, and the route fun to cruise.
Today was to be short mileage day so a lunch stop at a nice restaurant overlooking the valley was a reality. It was situated on a ridge off the beaten path, but obviously very popular by the number of cars in the lot. We settled in to a table on the porch outside overlooking the vista below and relaxed knowing we were over half way to the motel and it was only a little after noon.
Finishing our rest break and again up and down the country road burning off any "extra" calories, we continued to enjoy the sights. The homes here now are old and big. Many of them are original to the early days of our country when slavery was the norm. Large master homes sit high on the hills far from the road with gated entrances with white fences or privet hedges guarding the perimeter. The "yards" go on for ever and at one time were probably covered with tobacco plants, corn or wheat. Today, they may house a horse or two, but for the most part are just huge estates standing proud.
Greenspring Valley is today the home of many of these beautiful mansions. While the homes are situated too far from the road to get a good look, it still was quite evident that they were all very stately and proud of their past.
We are now well within the NYC-Baltimore-Washington, DC corridor, so traffic is tremendous. Many of the people who live in the area work in one of these three cities with most in either Baltimore or Washington, DC. The main roads are six lanes deep with exit lanes that can stress a bike rider. Cars don't always look to see if there is anything along side of them when they want to make a right hand turn. The need to be extra alert at all times is a requirement of "traffic riding". Fortunately, the shoulders are generally wide and clean, so pedaling in a traffic jam can be done with little fear. Just an healthy amount of fear to keep one attentive of a 360 degree vista around the body is all that is required!
Home tonight is Owing Mills, a northwest suburb of Baltimore. Tomorrow we continue around the city and head toward Washington, DC.
Jan at Her Second Home!
Nancy, Jan, and Frankie Enjoying the Sunshine
The Line! Sue, Peg, and Jan Trying to Stay Within the Speed Limit!