Search for the cabin

Years before bikes were a thing for me, I fixed up cars and had developed a skillset surrounding that. A friend I worked with at the time noticed some project pictures and said “oh, you weld? I’ve got a project you might be able to help me with…” Long story short, I worked with her that fall to build the railing that led up the hillside to a cabin near Dublin, MD. It turned into a challenging project that was a fusion incorporating existing parts with new materials. Some of the crooked posts drove me crazy for the first 2 months. We used slabs for the stairs along with mortar and the existing stones in the hillside. Some of those had to be turned by hand with a giant pry-bar to use the flat side for a step. In the end I was really happy with the way it turned out. It was rock solid too. I also learned a bunch of valuable lessons such as “never weld joints over your head while wearing a flammable polyester shirt”. I stumbled across photos of it while digging through some archives this winter and started wondering what ever became of it.
IMG_3606-railing-2-900px
IMG_3608-railing-3-600px
This was 15 years ago. Did it rot? Was the land sold and built on? Who knows. Not much energy in my mind was devoted to it but every now and then when I was surfing the net I’d open up a tab and start scanning a map of the area to try and locate where it might be with the intent of riding (not driving) out there one day to look for it. All I really remembered was the cabin was farther up route 1 than the intersection with the welding supply store, it was a few 100 yards down a gravel road, and up a hillside across the path from a stream.

This Monday I took my best guesses, loaded them in a gps and gave it a shot…

  • Late getting out of bed and even later getting out of the house.
  • As usual, I went South then North because I like riding down near the valley in Gunpowder when I can.
  • Experimented with crossing Bel Air north along trails. I’d noticed a trail that connects with the Ma & Pa. That would allow for traffic-free passage from Edgeley Grove Park off of Connolly Rd. with downtown Bel Air.
    Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.10.17 PMSuccess, although it did eat into my average with slowing for all the foot traffic.
  • North on route 1. FAST traffic but with a huge shoulder so all is good.
  • Turned left on Hughes Rd. it was my best guess to start looking. I struck out and the only thing I found in the valley was what looked like a sawmill and a cleared but undeveloped patch of land next to it.
  • Moving on, I found what I thought I was looking for along Route 440. I turned in the drive and started following it back past an old wooden sign with 2 families names on it. 100 feet in it looked like I made a mistake because I was approaching someone’s house on their drive. I remember there being some confusion about where it was located and getting directions there that stated something like “go up this drive, not that one”. There was another drive next to it so I went there next. Nothing but a house so that it wasn’t that one. In the moment I thought “well, that’s that”. The combination of feeling rushed by my lateness and unsure of where I was made me turn around a little prematurely. I didn’t feel regret about it until I was 5 miles in on the return trip.

The ride home was really quick by my standards. There was a headwind that I chose to ignore on the way there. It’s tailwind counterpart was a nice boost. I was missing shifts all day and it started to get really bad in the last 10 miles or so. When I got home I broke out the repair stand and found this:
IMG_3595-chain_bk
Glad I haven’t been doing too much ‘out-of-the-saddle’ sprinting lately. Still amazed that it held together for the trip home because I was hammering on it pretty hard.

Nice ride and I’m going to give it a second shot on some other day. I like the idea of going on these rides to search for some thing in a distant memory that may or may not still exist.

43 miles & 3200′ @ about 14avg. No new photos as I was pounding on the pedals pretty hard to push up that average after my soft-pedal through the Ma & Pa Trail section.

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2 thoughts on “Search for the cabin

  1. Nice write up, Dave. “never weld joints over your head while wearing a flammable polyester shirt” If I were in a band, that would be the title of our next album. -PJ

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