Day 8: Making it into the Capitol via John Waters

Even though I made it further into Maryland than I thought I would, I still had a long way to go to get into DC. Thankfully Stephen shared his excellent route into the DC Metro area from Joppa to Greenbelt. 

It didn’t take me long to realize Maryland wasn’t done throwing hills at me:

But I also realized I was out of the countryside and getting back into urban areas, and that was the theme of the day. 

One of those urban areas was Beverly Hills, founded 12 years after its more famous Californian counterpart:

As you can see, the nice thing about Stephen’s route into the Capitol is that I had bike lanes much of the way. Always a nice thing. 

I took a nice ride around a large pond in a park, sensing that I was nearing Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (yet another day where I don’t really know where I am at any given time but figure it out after the fact). So I decided to do some digging… This being Baltimore, I had to make some sort of John Waters pilgrimage. I’ve loved his movies forever (especially Pecker and Serial Mom) and he is of course Mr. Baltimore. I was able to find that the house from Pink Flamingos was just north of Johns Hopkins, and right off my route! I was tickled by this and had to make a stop. 

I pedaled up Greenmount Avenue with an anticipatory smile on my face, and sure enough, there was the house of the Marbles, which apparently Waters and Mink Stole lived in during filming. I wish I thought to get a bike portrait here but a house portrait will do:

In short order I made it south through Johns Hopkins, and the campus was beautiful. I passed a lot of students moving out for the summer and actually thought to myself “why not just pack up a bike?”

I stopped in a park that had an impressive monument:

But I was more impressed with the outdoor ping pong table:

I made my way into downtown Baltimore…

…when I got hit with some great luck. I found two $5 bills on the road, and instantly I had free lunch! It pays to be focused on the pavement right in front of you.

Before long I made it by Camden Yards, and apparently the Orioles were having a day game. 

Right after the stadium I joined the Gwynns Falls trail that took me out of Baltimore. It was a great, well marked trail with a fun bridge laid out right next to the Horseshoe Casino:

And it gave a great view of the tangled interstate highways over the Parapsco River:

Before long I was out of Baltimore and into Brooklyn, MD. It was very satisfying to think that just seven days ago I was in the other Brooklyn in New York. 

After that I made my way to the BWI Trail that goes around Baltimore’s airport, which was lovely:

And it gave a nice view of the airfield…

…which that picture doesn’t do justice of. 

I was roughly halfway done wth the day into DC and I was getting tired. I didn’t like being tempted by the light rail:

But I kept on soldiering on. The trail dumped me out at a nice deli which hit the spot for a lunch break:

The second half of the day was rougher than the first half. I was riding back roads with no shoulder and the hills were picking up again. I was getting excited to get into DC; I had been chatting with Chuck, my host in the city, quite a bit via text and knew we’d have a good time. But time was dragging on and I felt I’d never make it in. But you have to just keep moving, and that’s what I did. This eventually brought me by a bingo hall:

Maryland seems to have a lot of bingo halls. 

I eventually made it to Montpelier, MD, with a sign worthy of a bike portrait:

And apparently George Washington spent some time here:

I weaved through a residential area and made it to a beautiful meandering road with a most welcome reminder to motorists:

In short order I made it to Greenbelt, the end of Stephen’s route into DC. But I was awfully tired. By this point I had been on the bike for 60 hilly miles, and I was spent. But I still had a ways to go to get to Chuck’s. Thankfully, the earth flattened out for me the closer I got to DC, and I took the Anacostia trail system south to DC proper.

It was great, but needs a little work. I didn’t really understand why the trailbuilders made this particular decision, but whaterver:

I couldn’t help but notice that every cyclist I passed and waved to didn’t wave back. I really don’t understand this behavior. I feel we all need to stick together out there but maybe DC riders are of a different mind. Anyway…

I felt a great sense of satisfaction when I made it to the sign saying I was entering Washington. These placeholders have become monumental to me.

I made it to Chuck’s place and although I assured him I didn’t need the red carpet rolled out for me (which he responded with “good, I don’t have one”, a joke that made me laugh so hard I swerved in the road riding when I originally read it), he has absolutely outdone himself. He ordered me a pizza (which I devoured. Every last bit), gave me a shower, and the best part… Free beer, as he works for a brewery. I couldn’t ask for a better place to stay for a couple nights. He’s been an amazing host, and we’ve had fun talking about all the adventures ahead of us. We talked a bit about starting the C&O… The plan was to start tomorrow but there is a call for rain, and the C&O isn’t paved. So that means lots and lots of mud. I’m considering taking another day in DC because of it. Wouldn’t be a bad idea at all given my rockstar treatment with Chuck and all the stuff to do here. We’ll see.

And oh! Great news! The cable I got in Delaware ripped apart after a day. The two I had with me have corroded. I’ve gone through three iPhone cables and I’m getting very unhappy about it. So today it’s off to get a fourth one. Yay. At this rate I’ll blow my budget for this whole thing on iPhone cables by the time I get to Iowa. But I’m thinking its time to put the thing away. More on that later.


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