Day 010 – Ellicott City, MD to WA DC

By time I got up this morning it was just me and the cats, Sam Sam, Willow and Charlie at Stan and Jenny’s. I raided their coffee and Nutella stash. Nothing is better than hot coffee and 4 double slice peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches in the morning.

After giving all the cats their pets I explored Ellicott City for a bit and a few things stood out to me.

It was originally a mill town and there is still an active flour mill, which is pretty cool since it seems most towns built on an industry from the late 1700 no longer has that industry. The mill (pic) is just off main street next to the river with it’s own rail spur. Wilkins Rogers owns it having moved to this location in 1969 from Georgetown. They also have two others, one of which is in Mount Joy. If you have ever eaten Indian Head cornmeal than you know this company.

The other things that stood out is the transportation. Ellicott City’s train station was built in 1830 as the original terminus of the Baltimore Ohio (B&O) Railroad. It is now the oldest operating passenger station in the US. Ever heard of the race between the horse and the steam engine named Tom Thumb? This is where it happened in 1830 and even though Tom Thumb lost because of a slipped drive belt the steam engine took over as a means of moving train cars.

Ellicott City is also considered the start of the car vs train transport battle (pic). Main Street is part of the National Road – the first major improved highway built by the US government. It stretched westward from the Potomac to the Ohio River. While there is currently some growth in passenger rail service the car has clearly won the contest for moving people around. As a cyclist I benefit from many of the rail to trail build outs, but it would be great to see more rail service come online.

On my way out of town I was riding across the Patapsco River from a loaded CSX coal train heading south and an empty CSX crude oil train heading north, probably to North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, to get another load. (I tried to get it on my GoPro camera, but didn’t have the framing right – grrrrr). I couldn’t help, but think of all the carbon locked up in those trains that would soon be added to the atmosphere, or the accidents that have been happening with increasing frequency with oil trains – last April 13th in Lynchburg, VA an oil train derailed and it was the 6th accident in North America since 49 people died in a fiery derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec last July.

You may of heard of the Keystone XL Pipeline. It would connect the tar sands in Canada with refining capacity in the Gulf of Mexico. It would remove the dangerous oil trains from the rails (good), but increase the amount of oil mining (yes mining) happening in Alberta Canada and all the greenhouse gasses admitted by extracting it and then of course us using it (not good). Not to mention the huge fields in production in North Dakota.

The actual ride to DC was really nice thanks to the cue sheet Stan put together. I got a chance to ride on the Anacostia Tributary trail system right into the city and once there bike lanes all the way to Tina’s house. DC has a wonderful bike share program, the one installed in NYC is based on the same technology, so there are lots of people getting around on the red bicycles or on their own rides. I felt right at home.

Once I took a shower it was downstairs for some Mexican food and great conversation with Tina. The last time I saw her was for Obama’s inauguration. It’s great to be back in our Nation’s Capitol.








5 responses to “Day 010 – Ellicott City, MD to WA DC”


    How much longer will you be
    In the DC area? Memorial Day is coming up, I’ve rented a
    Car and can meet you somewhere?

    1. adampomata Avatar

      Hey Mat,

      I’m not exactly sure. I plan to stay at least two days in DC so leaving Thur morning, but I may stay longer. I’ll have a better idea tomorrow and will let you know.

  2. Alan Bundy Avatar

    Hey Adam, were the hills into Maryland as difficult as in Pa, or was I lying about that? Maybe its just been too long for me.

    1. adampomata Avatar

      The hills, the hills, why so many hills? Maryland has lots of hills and coming into Maryland was pretty hilly. Otter Creek Campground has a huge hill in and a huge hill out. Every day has been over 2K elevation gain.

  3. Penny Avatar

    I see you are in DC. Looking forward to hearing about the last couple of days.