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Columbia to Brunswick via Monocacy

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 121 miles / 194.7 km
  • Ride Time: 4-6 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $9.20
  • State: Maryland
Submitted by:

The weekend of Memorial Day 2010 was a great time for riding. On Sunday the 30th, of course, was Rolling Thunder. That's something I want to do someday, but it just hasn't pushed to the top of my list yet. KarenSue & I had been planning on riding on Memorial Day itself for a couple weeks so as the weekend approached, I was doing a lot of looking at the map and thinking. Gettysburg was and always is a possibility, (as is High Rock) but as KS pointed out, we'd done that before. I did want to visit some place Veteran-related since it was Memorial Day, so I considered the Monocacy Battlefield just south of Frederick. On Sunday, we went on a bicycle ride out on the C&O starting at Point of Rocks and turning around at Brunswick (more on that later) so I decided that we'd visit Monocacy then roll on to Brunswick before looping back around toward home.I posted a note on Facebook that KS & I would be at the Chick-fil-A on Johns Hopkins Rd. (just south of Columbia off of Rt. 29) at 9:30am on Monday morning and invited folks to ride along with us. Monica B. chimed right in that she and Shawn would be there, as did Chuck R., and right about 9:30 in they rolled along with Darrell B. who we'd met last year on a CMA ride. Shawn prayed over our ride and asked the Lord to keep us safe (which He did), and we mounted up and headed out on our trip.We started out riding through the new development of Maple Lawn before turning right onto Rt. 216 heading west. We crossed over Rt. 108 at Highland and continued on to Brighton Dam Rd. where we turned left. Crossing the Tridelphia Reservoir on Brighton Dam, we shortly came up to Rt. 650 (Damascus Rd.) where we turned right. 650 basically ends at Etchison where it runs into Rt. 108 coming up from the south, and we continued on in a westward course the whole way to T's into Rt. 27 at Damascus. Coming across 650 and 108 is a beautiful ride through the countryside spotted with very nice homes, horse farms and sod farms. The only 'problem' is that the speed limit is mostly between 35-45mph which my beloved Yamaha Raider just does not like to do. It brings to mind that one horse on Ben Hur that wants to leave the rest of it's team behind (don't worry, I'll tie in Ben Hur in a moment). KS kept - uh - lovingly whispering in my ear (via our helmet comms) that I was leaving the group behind, so I relinquished the lead to her more stable pace. With four of the six riders wearing CMA back patches, we endeavored to follow the traffic rules to the best of our abilities, and I think we did a pretty good job... as difficult as it was for some of us!So with me lovingly whispering directions into KS' ear, we moved north on Rt. 27 for a short piece until turning left on Rt. 80 (Kemptown Rd.). Kemptown Rd. becomes Fingerboard Rd. (still Rt. 80) as it moves on to Urbana where we turn right (north) on Rt. 355 (Urbana Pike). From there, it was a fairly quick ride up to the Monocacy Battlefield where we pulled in to the Visitor Center for a break and a chance to pay respects to a particular group of Veterans.The Monocacy Battlefield is probably one of the closest battlefields to our local Columbia area which it seems very few people know about. It wasn't an epic battle like Gettysburg, Antietam, or Shiloh, but it was epic enough for the thousands of casualties that day. Outside of the Visitor Center, there were rows of flags (KS thinks she counted 20x24 rows) stuck in the ground to commemorate each of the men on both sides who were killed in action that day. The Confederate Army carried the field when the fight was over, but they'd been beat up badly enough by a Union force a third of it's size that they their movement to Washington was delayed long enough for General Grant to rush reinforcements to the threatened city. The Union commander that day, General Lewis Wallace, said that 'These men died to save the National Capital, and they did save it.' This is where my earlier Ben-Hur reference ties in; after the war, it was this very same Lewis Wallace that wrote the novel, Ben-Hur.After the battlefield visit, we moved right up the road about half a mile to have lunch at a Chick-fil-A (no - they're not a sponsor; I just like their food, their organization, and I'll give them a free plug whenever I can!) before heading back down Rt. 355 a mile or so before turning right (west) onto Araby Church Rd. We were only on that road briefly before turning right onto Baker Valley Rd. That was a fairly brief ride as well before we turned right on Rt. 80 again (still called Fingerboard Rd. at this point) and proceeded west before coming to a 'T' on Rt. 85 (Buckeyestown Pike). We turned left and rolled on for a few miles until we came to Rt. 28 near Tuscarora. Turning right onto Rt. 28, we proceeded on to Point of Rocks where we turned right on Rt. 15 and moved north for a mile or so before turning left towards Brunswick on Rt. 464. We hit Brunswick after several miles and rolled through town before making our second stop of the day at a little gem that KS and I discovered just the day before called Beans in the Belfry.Beans in the Belfry is my idea of a great ride destination. It's in a smallish town, serves coffee, milkshakes, sandwiches and desserts (among other things) in a cozy, relaxing atmosphere. As the reader may deduce from the name, this establishment is housed in what was once a church - and they even still have a few pews in there for seats among some other items left over from it's original purpose - which makes the conservative Christian in me cringe a little, to be honest. Oh well.. at least it's not a bar - else it may be named 'Pint in the Pulpit' or something similar.We decided to head on home at a little faster pace then we'd previously been on, so we pulled out of town on Rt. 17 north (Burketsville Rd.) briefly until proceeding straight onto Rt. 79 (Petersville Rd.). That was a fairly brief ride as well before we connected with Rt. 180 and turned right. Again it was a quick ride before we jumped onto Rt. 340 (which merges with Rt. 15) toward Frederick. The rest of the trip was what one would expect on I-70 on a holiday weekend. It was heavy but moving fast, so we rolled up to Rt. 32 and broke off toward Columbia and home after making that last leg of the trip.Apart from the slow speeds rolling through the countryside, this was a fabulous ride. Lots of great scenery (that you are able to appreciate more since you're going slow) and excellent roads and top-notch destinations made for one very enjoyable ride. One thing I liked about the course was that the various intersections we hit were situated in such a way that there was plenty of visibility to allow for perfectly safe egress onto the new route. There weren't too many traffic signals either, nor did we hit much construction. Those facts, combined with the great time of fellowship with friends served to make this Memorial Day ride one to be remembered!

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Maryland. This motorcycle route has 6 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by cndean in June. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by cndean

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Columbia to Brunswick via Monocacy

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesParksFall ColorsRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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