Leader: Debby Bowman
Member: Randy Sim, Ron Altemus
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29406621 - 39 miles in Charles and St Mary's County, only about 1000 feet of elevation gain overall (though it felt like more for those who haven't been riding much lately). The inspiration for this route was (1) change up the classic Hidden Amish route for an easy short winter ride and (b) hey, there's a Wawa on Three Notch Rd at Point Lookout Rd, will it work as a rest stop? The first half was all on roads, taking Oak to Keech and Rt 6, then Dubois, Meredith, Trinity Church, Ryceville, Dixie Lyon, Thompson Corner, Lockes Crossing and Old Village Rd down to Point Lookout Rd and the Wawa. After the rest stop we did a small loop to the south to add a few miles. We retraced on Point Lookout Rd and turned left onto Harper's Corner Rd, rode briefly along the shoulder of Three Notch Rd and turned onto Morganza Turner. Then we turned left onto the Three Notch Trail, took Laurel Grove Rd to a right on Morganza Turner and circled back to the trail. We took the trail north all the way up to Oaks Rd back to Oak Ridge Park.
Weather: Cloudy in the mid 40s for the first half of the ride. Then the wind changed from the east to the west, bringing blue skies and sun. But the wind also became stronger, adding a chill to the air and making us work harder on return trip.
Pollen: It has arrived! Juniper/cedar trees have started to pollinate, and the increased wind in the latter half of the ride was enough to trigger a certain ride leader's allergies on the way home. Itchy eyes are no fun but on the other hand SPRING IS HERE.
Four-legged friends: dogs barking as we passed by, horses placidly watching as we passed by, some cattle on a farm next to the trail.
Rest stop assessment: The Wawa at Three Notch Rd and Point Lookout Rd (Rt 5) is conveniently located, especially with parks in the area closed for the winter. However traffic is a concern. Making the left turn from Old Village Rd to Point Lookout was okay, but making the left back onto Point Lookout after the stop was challenging for us -- with cars on Point Lookout stopped at a red light, it was difficult to see traffic approaching from the right. There is a Sunoco on Old Village Rd just north of Cedar Grove Rd, which might be a better alternative. I'm curious to know if the AAs and Cs had any trouble getting to or from the Wawa.
Report: Weather-wise, it wasn't the best day to be outside but it was definitely better than the cold rain and wintry frozen mess before and after, and we were glad to have a chance to get out and ride. After brief pre-ride chit chat with the AAs and Cs, the three CCs headed out and rode pretty much together for the entire ride, sometimes spreading out a bit but staying within sight of each other and regrouping often. Civilized Conversation topics included plans for cycling trips and how cycling clubs have changed (or not) over the years. The Cs arrived at the Wawa just as we were leaving, and they returned to the Oak Ridge Park a few minutes after we did. Despite some headwinds it was a nice ride overall. Thanks to everyone who came out for it!