|Date||May 22-25, 2009|
|Hosts||Baltimore Bicycle Club|
|Where||Washington College, Chestertown, MD|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Van and George Connolly, Deb and Al Cudworth, Barb Flint and Neil McPhee, Pat and Ed Gifford, Martha and Jim Gullo, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Julie and Phil Latzgo, Nora and Paul Meixner, Renee and Fred Neubauer, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Pat and Bill Rock|
Kent County Spring Fling continues to be a favorite cycling event. The event is well-organized, Chestertown is an interesting and attractive venue, and the routes cover generally quiet roads. At this time of year, the scents from honeysuckle, wild roses, and wild blackberries are heavenly. Again, it's hard to find new things to say, and I refer you to last year's writeup.
Because of the delays, we stopped at a Subway in a strip mall in Middletown to grab some lunch. To our consternation, Al and Deb Cudworth sauntered in. Apparently they regularly stop here on the way to Spring Fling. Naturally we gabbed. They had been traveling in tandem (so to speak) with Barb Flint and Neil McPhee, but Barb and Neil decided not to stop.
Registration was again in the Casey Academic Center, and meals were in the temporary dining facility. The new student center and dining facility should be complete next year. It looks like they will be very nice, but the nice grove of varied trees in front of Hodson Hall was cleared as part of the construction.
When all six of us got settled in our rooms in Minta Martin, we headed out on the Old McDonald Had a Farm route, 15.5 miles, a nice warm-up. The weather was great, sunny to partly cloudy, about 80°. When we returned to the dorm, we cleaned up to prepare for dinner. We noticed the A/C wasn't working, although it had been when we left. Marji and I thought it was just our room, but others were having similar problems.
For dinner we decided to give Andy's a second try. Last year's outing was horrible, with long waits and poor service. This year everything was just fine, and the food was excellent. Thumbs up!
As we were walking back to the dorm and the ice cream social, Barb got a call from Brenda to tell us that Minta Martin had a power problem, and we all had to change rooms. (That explained the faulty air conditioning.) We needed to go to the Academic Center and exchange keys. The DOGS's new rooms were scattered around a bit, whereas they had pretty much been on the 3rd floor of MM. Marji and I ended up in Queen Anne House, which we decided we like much better than MM, and we'll ask for it next year. (Newer dorm, nicer facility, nicer bathrooms, quieter A/C.) We schlepped our stuff from one room to the other as requested, but only after gorging at the all-important ice cream social.
Note to geeks: There was no Internet access at all this year. The College has gotten really prickly about anyone using their network, and they apparently are even blocking some cell signals (which I think violates FCC regulations) that could be used to bridge connections to the Internet.
We decided to do the 47 mi. Rock Hall Ramble by ourselves, including the Tubby Cove extension. We noticed there were fewer osprey around than in previous years. A surplus of hungry bugs induced us to leave Tubby Cove moderately quickly. Although we fought our way into a headwind on the way out, we flew back toward C'town (for us, anyway). We stopped for lunch at Waterman's. Literally. We ate the peanut butter sandwiches there that we packed at breakfast. After that pleasant break, we completed the ride.
Once we got back to the dorm and cleaned up, we walked into town to browse the vendors who are in town to accompany the Tea Party reenactment. (If you haven't read earlier write-ups, Chestertown had a Tea Party similar to Boston's, but it was a few months later and mostly unknown outside the area.) We were late enough that we missed the tandem reception at the Elsberg's. But we ate dinner with a large crowd of DOGS, after which we (well, I) overdid at the dessert reception. This year's dessert array was a little less impressive than in past years.
Again -- we're such creatures of habit! -- we rode to Betterton Beach by ourselves, where we hung out until about noon, talking to other cyclists and gazing out at Chesapeake Bay. We then headed for the picnic and discovered we were fighting a bit of a headwind. The picnic was somewhat less organized than usual (they ran out of anything to drink for awhile!), but we managed to eat too much anyway.
We continued to struggle with a headwind all the way back to the dorms, although that was a relatively short trip. Along the way, we were passed by a tandem train comprising Mark and Cheryl and the Rocks, among others. We made no pretense of trying to catch/keep up as they steamed by!
Back at the dorm, I exchanged some gear and got my "bigger" camera, and we cycled to the Raft Race. We worried a little about possible rain showers, but none materialized. I staked out a good vantage point to take pictures. As usual, the race was a hoot: the rafts were imaginative, funny, and occasionally downright loony. This year was noteworthy for the fact that none of the rafts sank at the start. The winning raft, the Chester Jester, ran away from the field, but it had an apparent unfair advantage: It looked and paddled a lot like a canoe. I have to confess that, seeing the race for the fourth time, it's losing a bit of its novelty.
We returned to our room at about 3, got washed up, and... crashed! We awoke in time for dinner (of course), around 6. The A/C in the dining hall seemed to be out, so we ate outside, where it was pleasantly cool, with Neil and Barb, Bob and Helen, and Al and Deb. Dinner was good as usual, and there were fresh fancy desserts, along with some leftovers from last night. After we finished our meals, we just hung out at the table and yakked.
And then it was time to get ready to leave. We cleaned up, got lunch, plus leftovers for dinner at home, packed up and departed. Apart from the annoying congestion near the Delaware Memorial Bridge, our trip home was just the way we like it: uneventful. Once again we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly: good cycling, good food, good friends, good weather.