Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday work day

So it was a beautiful day today, Kathleen went off to do a century at the crack of dawn whereas I slept in then rode my bike into work.  I have a busy 4th coming up, I am doing the National Park Service's 4th on the National Mall, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 4th at Oregon Ridge Park here in B'more, and Philadelphia's 4th of July party on Ben Franklin Parkway.   Lots of details to get in order, so I took the opportunity while the office was quiet to get ahead of the curve.   The ride in was uneventful, and I did get what I needed to get done done.  So I decided that I would chronicle my ride home on the Gwynns Falls Trail for today's blog post.  

It all started right here, at my total disaster area desk.

Then I packed up my stuff and got going, this is the start of the Gwynns Falls Trail, about 200' from the bridge to our shop.

This used to be through road, but now it's just a path for bikes, joggers, dog walkers etc.

A quick, but dicey cut across Windsor Mill Road leads to the next section of the trail.

At the far end of that, there is about a mile on Franklintown Road, this can be avoided if you take the other branch of the trail, but the other branch is crusher run (rocks) and sucks on the road bike.

But then back on the trail for the first park of the trip, Leon Day Park.

After that more bike path along the Gwynns Falls River.

We had a bunch of heavy rain a couple of weeks ago, there was a mudslide on this part of the trail, the city seems to have come through with a bulldozer to clear it, but it's still a little sloppy.

Next is cross Baltimore Street to get to the ostensibly closed section of the trail, but as I noted a couple of weeks ago, it's not that big a deal.

The big black pipes are still here, I can't figure out for the life of me what they are doing here.

Then there is another little park, but it has been taken over by the bridge reconstruction project.

More giant black pipes leading towards the bridge under construction.

On the other side of the bridge is Lower Gwynns Falls Park, the two kids there are getting ready to go down a pretty steep hill into the lower part of the park.

Then a quick jaunt on Wilkens Ave before cutting back down along the river.

This is the bridges and grades section, there are a series of bridges that cross over the Gwynns Falls and the train tracks through here.

After the bridges is this tunnel, it's a bit of crapshoot, if it's been raining a lot the other side can be super muddy or sandy, and since you are going downhill all the way to the entrance you can be carrying quite a bit of speed.  I wasn't too worried since I had rode out this way on the way to work as well, so I knew it wasn't a problem.

Then more trail next to the river headed towards the golf course.

A quick selfie here :)  You'll have to excuse my gloved hand on the left side.

Then up a little grade to street level which dumps you out into the parking lot by the golf course.

Now the trail is a big sidewalk along Washington Boulevard, the big building to the left is the Montgomery Park office building, it used to be the Montgomery Wards headquarters/warehouse for their catalog business.

At Wilkens & Monroe is the entrance to the last park of the ride, Carroll Park.

Through the park to Bush Street, from here on out it's mostly surface streets.   The sign said the road is closed, but of course it wasn't.

The view down Bush Street.

This is a new thing along Bush Street, STX makers of Lacrosse equipment has located their headquarters here, they are in a couple of buildings right along this stretch.

Then a turn up Ridgely Street towards the stadiums.

Then a right on Ostend and over the bridge in the distance.

Which takes you into Federal Hill.

Down to Light Street and hang a left.

Now back on bike paths around the inner harbor, that's the Maryland Science Center on the right.

They redid the bike path through the Inner Harbor, unfortunately they made it look just like the rest of the plaza/sidewalk so it's pretty perpetually clogged with people now.  It's so stupid that I can only assume that it was some sort of political payback.

Following it around onto the Pratt Street side.

Past the National Aquarium, then a quick right along the driveway here next to the USCGC Taney, which was at Pearl Harbor in 1941 when it was bombed.

Through the Pier 5/6 complex and across President Street to Eastern Avenue, in the home stretch now.

This is the segment of South Collington between Fleet & Eastern, closed off for a block party today, complete with live music.

But for me it's up the hill on South Collington to the house.

Then up the alley to the garage and voila! another commute completed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

End of an era

Todays ride was under gorgeous sunny skies, and low humidity.  The last week has been muggy and thundershowers all week, but Friday night a front blew through and pushed all that out.   I went out for a ride today with no particular plan, but I ended up at Sparrows Point Steel Mill.  The mill has been closed for about a year now, the last owners were unable to find a buyer for it.  Once upon a time it employed tens of thousands of people, had a shipyard (that my Dad's first ship he captained was built at, he was telling me about going out there to pick it up in the 70's), and was a huge economic engine for the area.  At any rate, they are slowly demolishing it now, and since there was no security there, I threw my bike over the jersey walls that block the entrances and went to have a look.

Demolition is moving right along, as you can see.

One of the buildings was open so I went in to have a look.

These are enormous generator parts, that's my bike sitting at the foot of one of them.

I am assuming that this once was someones means to get around the plant.

More generator parts here.

The plant is huge, it covers an area about 2 miles by 4 miles, and is slowly being brought down.

This is the galvanizing line, soon to be scrap.

It was mostly me and the local bird life, now that things are quiet they are making nests.

Hard to tell the scale here, but these are 3" diamater steel cables just laying in the dirt.

This is the blast furnace, shut down now.  When they were trying to sell the plant still they had a skeleton crew on to keep this running, once you shut it down it's ruined.

I am not sure what this building did, but the towers with the spiral staircases were pretty cool looking.

More bird life.

The blast furnace from the other side.

This gives you an idea of how big and busy the plant used to be, they had their own traffic lights.  They are still running, but nobody is there now.

Then it was back to the house to clean up.