Oh, it is good to be back home in Baltimore, especially after a 14 hour drive from St. Louis–that’s a lot of sitting, which leaves me even more sore than pumping my not-quite-enough-gears Brompty up and down the hills of suburbia. After a lazy morning of recovery and answering work emails I’d left for after the holiday I hopped on the Surly to enjoy this balmy 50 degree day. Being back in Baltimore means my how-you-doin’s get a nod and reply, folks are out on their stoops and corners enjoying the weather, and the hills are familiar. I zipped down the hill and up and around to McHenry Row to run a couple of errands, stopping at the entrance to the bike/ped path around the Inner Harbor to advise the woman parked there that hey–it’s a bike lane, not a parking lot. She rolled down her window: “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for my husband.” That’s probably the excuse least likely to elicit empathy from me, but I was feeling chipper, so I just shrugged, said, “It’s just this is all I have!”, thanked her for her seemingly genuine “I’m so sorry, darlin’,” and continued on my way after pointing out several other places she could “wait for her husband” without blocking my way. After my errands I rode on to Fort McHenry to fill out a volunteer application (that post-retirement park ranger career isn’t going to plan itself) and then headed down Hull Street to check out that part of the harbor. The air smelled of burnt sugar and the streets were quiet, and then the Harbor Connector, the free boat that shuttles tourists and workers around the harbor, pulled up. “Y’all take bikes?” I asked. She said, “Sure, where are you going?” “Wherever you’re going,” I said, and then I was zipping along the quiet water, eye level with seagulls and that ship waiting for sugar at the Domino plant, and oh, it is so pretty here. I disembarked, put on my safety vest and turned on all my bike lights, and up the hill I went to home, grateful that this is the place I’ve ended up. For now.
What a great ride!