Bikes were loaded and we headed to Cambridge, Maryland, for this year's Double Nickels Tour. Emily and David were in charge and they found a beautiful house on the Chesapeake Bay for our lodging. The house is near Hooper's Island and we hopped on our bikes shortly after arriving for a 24 mile ride from the house to the end of the island and back before eating a fine chicken piccata dinner prepared by Emily.
The ride with water on both sides of the road ( sometimes lapping its sides), two bridges and vast Bay vistas combined with a gorgeous sunset inspired David to tell me that he could see why "your people Tom" love this place. SAY WHAT? You know, your people....sailors!
At a civilized hour we took off to ride the 7 mile wildlife loop at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge includes 27,000 acres of marshland; a prime bird watching spot. This time of year Red Winged Blackbirds, Egrets, Herons, Ospreys and Eagles (7) were easy to find plus a lot of little birds unknown to most of us and a bullfrog that called "Gretchen, Gretchen" over and over and over. The Refuge has to be an amazing spot during the seasonal migrations!
Adjacent to the Refuge is the recently declared Harriet Tubman National Monument. She was born a slave on a plantation in this area, ran away, became a free women and returned to the area many times from her home in Philadelphia to help slaves negotiate the Underground Railroad on their flight to freedom. She was an extraordinary woman and the Monument will be a fitting testament to her life.
Following the ride, we quickly headed to Cambridge for a 1:00 p.m. rendezvous with "my people" ...a sail on the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester. The boat was built by volunteers in Cambridge who donated over 14,000 hours of labor! The crew does a great job of informing guests about the history of oystering on the Chesapeake Bay, how skipjacks evolved and how organizations are trying to reseed oyster beds today. They even dredge for oysters; of course returning the catch to the bed!
|Double Nickels plus the Helms friends Bob And Shelley|
After the cruise we stopped for some libations at a creek side pub. Two extraordinary events occurred. David got to see the drawbridge go up and down (several times) and Laurie liked her Orange Crush! Bob, however, was dismayed that we did not follow the local tradition of drinking a shot each time the bridge was raised!
|Tom and his people!|
Upon returning home, David convinced us to help him check off one of his lifetime to do list items....ride his bike to a restaurant. So we headed to Old Salty's, five miles down the road on Hooper's Island. It was a busy restaurant with great food, but for some unknown reason the kitchen was having issues and it took over an hour and a half to get our food. As we ate the sun set and darkness fell, but we feared not for we had a variety of lights on our trusty steeds. Heading back to the house with Gary in the lead, we looked like a rescue squad with red and white lights flashing plus a few neon green spoke lights. Well, it was enough light to draw the attention of a local sheriff out on patrol. He slowed to bike speed next to Gary and informed him that we should not be out at night on this road (intoxicated drivers and such). But after a few silver-tongued words from Gary, the sheriff pulled away and we pedaled on. CHECK OFF ITEM!
Back at the house we tried to list all of the tours we have taken together when we suddenly realized that most of our group is now half way between Double Nickels and Triple Quarters! Only ten more tours and we can rename our group.
The plan today was to ride a 40 mile route; first to the Wildlife Refuge, then around the loop we did yesterday (10 Eagles today), followed by a roll though more remote parts of the Refuge on our way home. All I can say is it was a great day to be on a bike; beautiful scenery, great weather and fine companions! Dinner at the High Spot Gastropub (fresh local food) in Cambridge topped off a perfect day!
|Can you say flat?|
Oh no, it is time to head back home! It was a great trip Emily and David. Thanks so much for all of your planning to pull it together. Good to see you once again Bob and Shelley. Glad you joined us.
|We ride to eat!|