There’s nothing like a few days of sub-freezing temperatures to remind a girl how warm 40 degrees really is, and I was happy for the warmth on my free Friday afternoon. I took the Surly up the hill for a sandwich and with no other plans for the evening, I just kept going straight up the hill with the vague goal of going north and west enough to avoid getting caught in the Loyola parking lot. I know, I know, I could check a map and follow some directions, but where’s the fun in that? Instead I used my old technique of taking a street to the end to see where it would go. Turns out, though, that in Guilford all the streets twist around to dead ends or Ts or one-ways and DO NOT ENTER signs. This is one of the first planned neighborhoods in the area, a suburb of Baltimore in the olden days. And the planning totally works if you want a neighborhood that’s hard to get into and seems just as hard to get out of, where all the mansions appear to be on their own private lots. I stumbled on this one after circling a dead end street that I think was Charlocte Place, but I didn’t write it down, and the googleymap won’t let me zoom in on the facade of this particular corner, because I guess some people can get pictures of their front doors wiped off the internet–well, good for you. It was a beautiful, chilly ride around the neighborhood with some stops to look at parks and snowpeople and to watch birds against the cloudy sky, but as always when I’m in neighborhoods like this, I can’t stop thinking about the neighborhoods surrounding it, in some cases just across Greenmount Avenue or a mile or two down the hill, where houses are all lined up together, one against the next, so many boarded up ghosts of some other time and so few steps where the souls who make this place congregate–or will, in the spring. Same city, supposedly, but oh my, Baltimore, you sure don’t hide your massively unequal distribution of wealth, now, do you? Taking the bike out is the best way I’ve found to never forget that something is rotten in Denmark. And then I flew down the hill to home, happy to have sneaked in a ride between winter storms.