Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coffeneuring 2016 Finale - Duke's Famous Delly, US Route 1, Elkridge MD

For the Coffeneuring Climax of 2016, I decided to get serious with this and have my coffee with breakfast at an actual sit-down restaurant. Still keeping with the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme-within-a-theme.

So I present to you "Duke's Famous Delly".

Duke's is next to where the giant flea market is on Saturday, which is an amazing thing if you need more cheap stuff to clutter up your house. It's in the strip next to the historic Trinity Church where there used to be a Sunny's Surplus (I miss it so) and where there is now the Triple 9's Billiard Hall.

This stretch of Route 1 is pretty inaccessible by bike. I had to go the wrong way on Montgomery, then on 103 past the liquor stores to Uncle Grube's pit beef, then on Roosevelt Ave past where the mulch operation used to be, then cut through the Trinity parking lot. That's a 6.5 mile ride to get to coffee. But no riding on Route 1. Until you need to continue on, up Route 1 for about a quarter mile to get to Montevideo Road.

My coffee drink was "coffee", which came in a styrofoam cup. Breakfast was a ham and cheese omelet on a styrofoam plate, with cold toast and an orange juice from the cooler. It was very, very cheap.

I remember going to Duke's back in the 90s, when it was a more typical diner/deli, and claimed to be in operation since 1946. You could get a sub or an omelet made with what they call "debris" in New Orleans, which is the bits of leftover meat scraped off the grill. Nowadays, Duke's appears to be run by a very overworked Asian woman. The business is almost all delivery drivers grabbing takeout food.

Decor is amazing. You have this rose/mauve/turquoise color motif surviving from 1989, with Art Deco lettering on the back wall over a ginormous mirror with - get this - silhouettes of deer. WTF.

Services for bicycles include a big post in front of the building where you can chain your bike to foil any thieves who don't realize they can just lift your bike and chain over the post.

The visit to Duke's added 3.1 miles to my 10.6 mile commute, on mostly horrible roads.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Coffeneuring 2016 Ride 6 - 7-Eleven, US Route 1, Elkridge MD.

Can you believe it's week 6, and I still haven't had to go more than two miles from home to find a cup of coffee on Route 1?

This week on the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme-within-a-theme, it's 7-Eleven. This is at the intersection of Route 1 and Rowanberry Drive, across Rowanberry from the big pile of dirt and hole in the ground which is the site of our once and future library.

My coffee drink this week was "coffee". This was not just coffee, I suppose. It was 7-E's "Regular Exclusive" coffee, which pretty much covers all the bases. I mean I'm a pretty regular guy, and I am happy that 7-E has made some coffee just for me. You know, exclusive. For regular people. Like me.

Amenities for bikers include these steps here, where you can sit and drink your coffee. The Seven-11 also has a wall, which is the front of the building, which you can lean your bike against.

Access is easy from the west via Rowanberry, but to continue on you have to ride a bit along Route 1, which is never enjoyable.

I had a "breakfast bite" to go with my coffee. The checkout guy noticed me hungrily eyeing the cylinder-shaped meat products turning on rollers on the front counter, and talked me into buying it. It was pretty good.

I don't know why the breakfast bite is moving back and forth like this. I think it's probably a feature of my Google phone, which must automatically detect pictures of food and do this to make it look even more tasty.

This coffeeneuring stop added no extra miles to my commute of 10.6 miles, because I discovered a secret path through the bushes where you can carry your bike over the CSX train tracks. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 5 - Elkridge Deli Cafe, US 1, Elkridge Maryland

For week 5, I'm across the street from Cindy's Soft Serve, at the Elkridge Deli Cafe. The "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme is still going strong.

I've never been to the Elkridge Deli Cafe before. I'd never even noticed it until I searched on Google to figure out more places I could get coffee on the way to work. What we have here is a very small cafe in a strip shopping center, run by an Asian couple. Decor is worn formica as you can see.


My coffee drink was "coffee", which came with free refills. I got some oatmeal to go with it.

Amenities for bikers include a wall you can lean your bike against. Access is from Route 1, which is never fun, although you can cut through the parking lot of the shopping center across the street from Montgomery Road. 

This coffeeneuring event added 1.1 miles to my normal 10.6 mile commute.

There were three other customers, who were all old white men. I doubt they would have been there if the Legion Hall was open at 7:00 AM. One of them had a baseball cap with a giant handgun on it that said PROTECTED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

There are other handy shops in this shopping strip. You can get a tan, you can get your vaping supplies, you can go to the Oriental Spa.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 4 - Green Valley Market, US 1 Elkridge Maryland

For week 4, I'm at the cafe in the Green Valley Market, across Route 1 from last week's stop at the Snax Convenience Store. Continuing the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme.

Green Valley Market used to be a Super Fresh, which went out of business. For good reason. But we here is the Route 1 Corridor were very concerned that we would have no grocery store here any more, and a gaping hole in our neighborhood shopping strip. Happily, Green Valley stepped right up and it's a really nice neighborhood grocery! They even have Zeke's coffee, which is what I'm fueled by every day when I'm not Coffeeneuring. My wife buys Zeke's from their stand at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. But the farmers' market is closed in the winter, and GVM is a total life saver during those dark months.

GVM has a little cafe inside, and I had high hopes that this week I would have a nice fresh brewed cup of some exotic variety of Zeke's. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It's K-Cups.

This is sadder sad coffee than a Starbucks kiosk in a Safeway. 

There is a little counter you can sit at, with TVs playing informericals right in front of your face.

My coffee drink was "coffee", with a pistachio biscotti, as Cindy Crawford yammered away about something I don't care about over my head.

Other amenities for bikers include heavy metal barriers to keep people from driving their cars into the store, which you can lean your bike against.

The GVM coffee stop added 0.7 miles  to my 10.2 mile commute. Easy access off Montgomery Road.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 3 - Snax Convenience Store/Dunkin Donuts on US 1 in Elkridge, MD

Week 3 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge finds me at the Snax Convenience Store/Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins on US 1 at Montgomery Road, in Elkridge. The "Commuting in the Route 1 Corrodor" theme is going strong. This is 1.7 miles from home, by an indirect route so I don't have to ride on Route 1. It adds 0.7 miles to my commute.

Amenities for bikers include a window to lean your bike against, with seats to sit at on the other side so you can keep an eye on your bike. You can also fill out your lotto tickets, watch the simulated video horse races, and play Keno.

My coffee drink was "coffee", accompanied by a maple glaze and an eclair. The coffee was the usual pretty good Dunkin Donuts coffee. Not bad at all.


Other services available in this little shopping strip is the Main Street Barber Shop, which is nowhere near Main St., but is where I got this haircut I'm wearing a couple weeks ago. It was $17, no appointment, no waiting. I gave them $20, keep the change.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 2 - McDonalds on US 1 in Elkridge, MD

Continuing my theme of "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor", this week's coffee stop is the McDonalds on Route 1, near the intersection with Bonnie View Lane.

This is one hilly mile along Bonnie View Lane from my house, which probably not coincidentally is called "Bonniewood".

I went for the full McDonalds breakfast here, with a large coffee to have some left to fill my thermos for the rest of the ride to work. My coffee drink was "coffee". It was special because it had a bit of the flavor of dried up banana peel to it.

This stop at McDonalds only added .2 miles to my commute. Amenities for bikers include a wall you can lean your bike against. There is also a traffic light a half mile up the road, which will make an occasional break in traffic so you can scurry across Route 1.

I rarely eat at McDonalds, but when I do I like to eat at this one. Because of the sign below.

It seems when they put up the sign 15 years ago, the Burger King next door planted a baby pine tree in front of it. Then the pine tree grew up and nobody can see the McDonalds sign. So the McDonalds guys went to the county and said "Nobody can see our sign, we need to put up a giant 40 foot sign so drivers can see it all the way from the MD 100 exit two miles up the road."

Here in Elkridge, we have GECA, the Greater Elkridge Community Association. (I am the current president of GECA.) GECA put a stop to the giant sign right away. We want Route 1 to be scenic and lovely, not with 40 foot high McDonalds signs for freeway exits. 

Here is the scenic and lovely view across the street from McDonalds. The Terrace Motel there had a recent bit of notoriety related to this bit of news: 

What was that hotel the two men dressed as women had been partying at? You guessed it. The Terrace Motel. Yay Route 1.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Seagull Century 2016

Here I am at the end of the Seagull Century. I am so happy because this is the first time I have done a century in less than 5 hours rolling time! 

4:59:29 to be exact. The clock time was 5:04.

Here is the sun rising over the start at Salisbury University. 

It was supposed to rain all day from the remnant fringes of Hurricane Matthew, but for me it was intermittent light rain, no biggie. Temperatures in the mid 60s, light wind from the northeast. Which was great because it was a tailwind on the last 40 miles.

Here is my first stop, which was the second rest stop on the ride. I had a Kind bar, which was the only thing I ate.

I'm riding the recumbent, a Reynolds Weld Lab Z-Bone. I just got new wheels on it, which are amazing.

This picture of the ocean is why my clock time wasn't under 5 hours.

But you have to take a picture of the ocean when you do the Seagull. I think it's a rule somewhere.

Pretty great day, I beat the heavy rain, and feel really good.
Here is the Strava Page.

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 1 - BP at US 1 and Levering Ave

I have decided to attempt the Coffeeneuring Challenge!

I gather from the Coffeeneuring link above that this might often be about having a scenic ride on a beautiful bike trail to a quaint and charming cafe, where you imbibe some exotic coffee-based concoction.

I've decided to do my own theme, which might not be like that. My theme is going to be "Commuting to Work in the Route 1 Corridor."

We will start off with the BP gas station at US 1 and Levering Ave. in lower Elkridge. October 7.

What's nice about this coffee stop is it is 100% all downhill from my house, which is very nice when you have not had your coffee yet.

Other amenities of this location are a sidewalk you can sit on out front while you drink your coffee, which is sheltered from any rain. They only charge $1.16 for putting coffee in your own container. My coffee drink was "coffee". I had a blueberry pastry to go with it. 

This is also an excellent stop if you are going between the BWI trail and the Grist Mill Trail in Patapsco State Park since you will ride right by it.

The total mileage for the ride was 12.0 miles, which is 1.6 miles longer than my typical commute.

I felt invigorated by my coffee!

Here is a picture of this coffee spot on Google Street View.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

C&O Day 4 - Marble Quarry to Union Station, Washington DC

And the great adventure is now complete. Max and I have ridden the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

Seven days, 350 miles. Three hotels (Pittsburgh, Cumberland, Williamsport) and four nights camping. We never cooked for ourselves while camping, although I was prepared to do so.

Our last day was short because of the long day Max ordered up for the day before. Furthermore, Max also decided that we not dawdle around in the morning. So we were on the bikes at 7:00 AM.

This made for a tough day for both of us. Max had a lot of aches and fatigue, but he kept his spirits up and we persevered.

The first bit of good news was the cafe at White's Ferry was open for business, and we got breakfast.

Breakfast was a good thing, because there is nowhere else to eat along the towpath until DC, and the snack bag was getting pretty empty.

The towpath was still a mess of mud pits. I kept having to scrape the mud from inside my fenders. It would pack in there and act like a brake.  Max also is annoyed by mud, in the picture below he is knocking the mud off his bike with a stick.

Once we got near Great Falls, the canal has gates on the locks. We spent awhile here at Pennyfield Lock discussing how locks work in general, and how the water level in the canal is managed.

There are canal boats giving rides once you get to Great Falls, with real mules and guys in period costumes.

Here are a couple shots of the Great Falls of the Potomac.

 Max liked this because there are a lot of locks due to the drop in elevation on the river. He was measuring progress by counting locks as well as miles.

And here we are at the end of the canal.

Technically, it's a little past the end. It's where Rock Creek empties into the Potomac. The real end of of the canal is somewhere back in the confusing chaos of Georgetown, and we took the Capitol Crescent Trail the last few miles because of the smooth sweet pavement.

From here, it was just a few short miles through The Mall to the train station.

And then an hour later, we were on the MARC train home.

And the four miles from the MARC station to home finished it off.

Here are some overall thoughts:
* The bicycle service on MARC and Amtrak is outstanding.  It's easy to use, efficient, no problems, and removes much transportation hassle for bike touring. No need to box a bike, get a cab, or anything like that. Just ride your bike.
* This was a challenging thing for Max to accomplish. Max is 9, and very obsessed with bicycling. He pulled it off, and his confidence by the end is very inspiring. He's rightly proud of himself.
* My bike setup, a Velo Orange Campeur with Swift Industries panniers and bags was terrific. I could carry everything comfortably, it was solid and stable. I don't think I would ever need to carry more than I brought with me on this trip, even on an extended tour.
* I did have a lot of flat tires (5). The cool cream colored tires look great, but they are not that practical a choice on the towpath, especially when it is in a wet and muddy state. To be fair, the front tire, which flatted three times, had 2500 miles on it, and was worn out anyway. And one of my rear tire flats was a puncture which was actually caused by something sharp getting wedged between the tire and the mud caked inside the fender.
* Fenders are awesome in these conditions, even though you have to scrape the mud out once in awhile.

Here is the Strava page for the last day.

C&O Day 3 - Williamsport to Marble Quarry Hiker Biker

It's two days left in our bike touring adventure on the GAP and C&O, and Max takes charge. Doing this Dad Style would be hanging out at the hostel across the river from Harpers Ferry, eating tasty fried chicken at the restaurant up the road, having a good hostel pancake breakfast the next day, and splitting the final day into two parts if we go slow and feel like it.

Max isn't going for that. "We can ride after dinner until dark, and make tomorrow a shorter day. Then we will be sure to catch the train." Max has no problem at all with primitive camping at hiker biker sites. He also has a week's worth of Minecraft stuff to get caught up on.

OK. Fine. No hostel.

Breakfast was at the Waffle House in the parking lot of our motel. Max learned that pecan waffles with lots of syrup are good for many many miles.

The guys in the booth behind Max are all wearing the same T-shirt, which pretty much perfectly sets the scene for a Waffle House in Williamsport, MD. It an excavating company with the slogan "Living the Dream, One Septic at a Time."

Here's a scenic view of Big Slackwater. I still am not used to this being rideable, I expect to take the old detour.

Lava cake with ice cream makes a happy bike tourist. This is at the very awesome Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown, WV. It's well worth the climb.

It's hard to get moving when the after-lunch sleepy attack strikes.

Here are the bridges at Harper's Ferry. This is a nice place to sit and take a break.

There are lots of people taking walks on the towpath here.

Some guy: "How far does this path go?"
Me: "Pittsburgh."
Some guy: "Wow! You'd think people would take advantage of that."
Me, gesturing at my pannier-laden touring bike: "Works for me."

He was really amazed when I explained how Max had ridden from Pittsburgh too.

Here is our dinner spot, the Deli on the Rocks at Point of Rocks. This is at mile 47, and is the farthest restaurant we can reach today. It's mostly takeout/delivery, they are very busy, and there is no service to speak of for eating in. Or bathrooms. "Can we have some napkins?"

On the other hand, the fried chicken and pizza was very very tasty and delicious, and that makes it a big winner.

Here we are, ten miles later at the Marble Quarry Hiker Biker site, mile 38.

Max did his second metric century of the trip, all on the muddy and rough towpath. We did 65 miles, which is his longest ride ever. He's proud of himself, as he should be.

We got all settled down for the night right at nightfall. There is an owl out there somewhere.

Here is the Strava page.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

C&O Canal Day 2 - Indigo Neck Hiker Biker to Williamsport

It poured down rain last night starting around 4:00 am and continuing until around 7:00. We were dry, snug and happy in our excellent tent. We broke camp and got on the road by 8:00 no problem, but the towpath was mostly a mud pit and no fun at all.

Luckily, half the day was on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, which is paved and glassy smooth.

Breakfast was 15 miles out at Weaver's Restaurant and Bakery, total winner, in Hancock. No racists today.

Hancock also let me restock inner tubes at the bike shop. I lost another tube in the last part of the GAP due to a big pile of slate in the middle of the trail.

The rest of the day was me trying to take pictures of Max by cool canal structures where Max is not making goofy faces. And slogging through mud pits on the towpath.

This one is at Big Pool.

At Four Locks.

At Dam #5.

Our campsite tonight is the Red Roof Inn in Williamsport. Because I want a shower, that's why. It also has a Waffle House in the parking lot.

Max's attitude and demeanor has made a great change in the last couple days. He has learned what it feels like to ride long distances for multiple days in a row, when to rest, and how to eat. He is much more confident and happy. No meltdowns. This is great.

Here is the Strava page for today.