...was the song stuck in my head this morning. While I absolutely love riding around rural West Virginia, I needed something closer to home so southern Maryland was going to be my riding grounds today. It was a beautiful day: sun shining, clear sky, mid 80s at the house. I hadn't fired up the Triumph all winter and had drained the gas tank and cleaned the carbs months ago. A quick trip to the gas station with a can and I had some of the Liquid Gold that would make my day more enjoyable. After about a dozen kicks, I learned that it's better to turn the ignition on. Then it was a one kick starter.
I wanted to do a quick jaunt into town so I could stay close to home in case something went amiss. So I headed to the Bay. That's the Chesapeake Bay for those that aren't from these parts. Twenty thousand years ago, when the ice caps were significantly further south, this would have been the Mighty Susquehanna ricochetrider has shown us from up north. For centuries it was a vital line of exploration, communication and commerce. I live about 1.2 miles from the water's edge. It was a solid 85 degrees at home, and as I got closer to the 50 degree Bay water, the air temperature dropped a good 10 degrees.
There are also some beautiful overlooks! It was a bit of a hazy day; normally you can see the Eastern Shore, the far eastern part of Maryland across the Bay, from Chesapeake Beach. Or you can look up the Bay to Annapolis and see the Bay Bridge, which connects the Eastern Shore to the mainland. Not today!
Then it was downtown. I'd always wanted to take a photo at the old railroad station. Another little bit of history: Chesapeake Beach began as a resort town when the railroad completed construction in 1900. It was an easy getaway from Washington, DC, and several steamships brought people from Baltimore. There was a roller coaster, boardwalk and several hotels here, all of it gone now. The last train ride was in 1930. Unfortunately a couple of trailers were sitting right in front.
The Triumph didn't have any issues and was running like a top, so back to the country lanes. I wanted to take my time, so I stopped at several places to take some more photos. Camp Kaufmann Road was the site of a Jewish camp from 1952 to 1984. The reason I was interested in it is because the late author Tom Clancy bought the property and has a huge estate at the end of the road. I'm not sure who owns it, but it's pretty secluded according to Google Earth, and I didn't want to get shot for trespassing.
I really enjoy riding in southern Maryland. The roads are curvy and there is lots of terrain. My house is several hundred feet above water level, but we also have plenty of marshes and bottom lands.
I love riding among tree-lined roads and can't wait for the cold to really end and the trees to bloom again. Back to a bit of history. Southern Maryland, like North Carolina and Virginia, was a huge tobacco producing area. After the Civil War, southern Maryland began to diversify their agriculture and by the 1980s, the Maryland legislature instituted a tobacco buyout program. In the 5 years I've lived here, I have not seen one tobacco field, so I guess it worked. However, there are a lot of very old tobacco barns that are now in ruin. Who wants to keep up a several hundred year old barn if you can't use it? The state is realizing that they are losing a part of their cultural heritage and offer matching grants to repair/restore tobacco barns, but I think it's too late for this one.
While I was sitting there, I saw a house I had never noticed before. It looks like it was built in the 1920s and is now abandoned. I would love to go inside and do a bit of exploring, but there is a house immediately across the street and I'd rather not deal with the cops.
All in all it was a perfect day. The bike ran well, I got out for an hour, and it was nice to be back in the saddle after a very dreary winter!