Leader: Debby Bowman
Members: Walt Roscello, Janell Saunders, Sue Gunter, Tasha Harris, Fred Robbins
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30962913 - 61 miles, 2300 feet of climbing. A longer version of the C ride led by Steve, starting at the Northern Senior Center and adding a few miles between rest stops. From the Senior Center we crossed Three Notch Rd for a loop on New Market Turner Rd on our way to a stop at Laurel Grove Park, where we met up with the Cs. From there our plan was to take Morganza Turner Rd, turn left onto Point Lookout Rd, then left again onto Busy Corner Rd. However Walt suggested a slighly longer alternative that avoided the difficult turn onto Point Lookout, with its bad sightlines due to the hill to the right. This alternate route, which added less than a mile, took us into the Grandview neighborhood so that we turned onto Point Lookout on flatter ground before the hill. After turning onto Busy Corner we continued south on Bishop and Jones Rd -- which is easier going south than north because the big hill is more gradual -- and then took McIntosh to Hollywood and a stop at McKays. From McKays we tried something new (to me), by taking St Johns Rd out to Three Notch Rd on our way to Sotterly Rd. After the down and back on Steer Horn Neck we had our third official stop at Sotterly Plantation. Then we headed north on Three Notch Rd, took Sandgates to the river and back and had our final stop at Laurel Grove Park. Officially we turned from Three Notch Rd to Loveville, Kavanagh and Laurel Grove Rd, but two of us took a shortcut by staying on Three Notch Rd all the way to the park. From there it was all Three Notch Trail all the time, with its welcome shade and flat surface.
Weather: Hotter than expected, near 90 by the end, with a bit of wind from the NE.
Average mph: low CC at the back.
Mishaps and mechanicals: The ride leader misplaced the sign-in sheet after the ride, causing a delay in writing the report.
Flora and fauna: The corn and soybean plants are full grown and a few pumpkins are dotting the ground with orange, but more than a few crape myrtles are still showing blooms. Though we didn't ride past the miniature donkeys on Old Hollywood Rd, we did see a few at a farm next to the trail, along with some horses.
Socializing: Once again our plan worked well and the Cs and CCs met up at all the rest stops. The CCs were spread out on the road for the most part, but the faster riders stopped to allow regrouping along the way. After stopping at Sotterly, Janell and I were feeling the heat so we slowed down, took a break in the shade on Sandgates Rd and the shortest route to Laurel Grove Park. When we arrived there we found that Walt, Tasha and Fred had continued on to the finish but Sue was sitting in the shade at the picnic tables. While we rested and cooled down the Cs arrived at the park. After bidding them farewell, the three remaining CCs rode together to the Senior Center.
Sotterly stress: The woman at the plantation visitors center suggested to one of our group that we should pay the admission fee. Later it appeared that this was because she thought we'd be touring the grounds rather than just stopping for a break. Nonetheless, most if not all of us bought bottled water and I left some money in the donation box. (I also bought a jar of cherry butter which I haven't tried yet.) Since it is privately owned and we do use their restroom facilities, it's only fair that we contribute something in return.
Despite the heat, the ride was fun overall and the company was excellent as usual. St Mary's County offers excellent opportunities for different groups to ride longer and shorter routes while meeting up at rest stops, thanks to conveniently-placed ride start locations. Many thanks to everyone who joined me!!