Liberty Reservoir Ride

Map of the Liberty Reservoir Ride

Many of my rides start out with a run westward toward the lower population densities found in central and western Maryland. One of the best riding areas closer to Baltimore is around the McKeldin Area in the Patapsco State Park. I have included directions starting and ending at Bob's BMW. The total distance of this ride is approximately 100 miles, and the level of traffic we usually see is pretty low. The sections on the highway have volumes of traffic that are typical for highways, but most of the mileage is on back roads.

Patapsco State Park McKeldin Area

After heading west on Route 32 and exiting on Route 108, a number of restaurants are available if a lunch stop is needed before the ride. Katie, Alan, Al, and I have often stopped in the River Hill Grill (located to the right in shopping center just passed the Sunoco), Pasta Blitz (left side), El Azteca (left near the Freestate Gas Station), and others.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Stop Near Soldiers Delight R1200GS 
	  and F650GS

We leave Route 108 on Sheppard Lane and head into the shade offered by the trees along the road. There is some new home construction along this road, so I expect to see more changes on this road. I suspect the news on the foreclosures and credit crunch have contributed to the overall slowdown of new construction.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Stop Near Soldiers Delight F650GS

Continuing on our ride, we cross Route 70 on Marriottsville Road. The Howard County Landfill is located on the left, so watch for the extra traffic and potential for dropped items. This ride spends a lot of time in the shade and along rivers and lakes. This drop in temperature is obvious and pleasant in the hot summer months. We pass the McKeldin Area of the Patapsco State Park. This area has a number of nice hiking trails, a waterfall, many picnic tables and pavilions.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Repaving Railroad Tracks R1200GS

The ride continues northward, out of Patapsco State Park, and toward the Liberty Reservoir. The trees change from the deciduous trees of the Patapsco River valley to the pine and grassland similar to the Soldier's Delight Park that is located to the South on Deer Park Road. This area has poor, sandy soil, so that the rainfall drains out of the soil quickly making the pine grow slowly and have more knotted appearance. Since this area dries out quickly, the region has experienced regular fires preserving the grassland environment. This type of grassland in not normally found in Maryland and is more often seen in the Great Plains. With our modern fire control capabilities, we have prevented the fires that had previously cleared the area. The deciduous trees are making progress in this area as a result. This issue has gained local interest and preserving this local grassland has been discussed.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Slick Road Surface When Hot

The Liberty Reservoir is managed by the City of Baltimore, Public Works. This reservoir supplies the Ashburn Water Filtration Plant using a ten-foot diameter tunnel. Baltimore City operates the Liberty, Pretty Boy, and Loch Raven Reservoirs and they provide 265 million gallons of water per day using three water filtration plants. Thinking about this amount of water is stunning. The Liberty Reservoir has hiking trails, shore fishing, non-motorized boating, and horseback riding. The City of Baltimore is very concerned about preventing the Zebra Mussel from entering this water supply. All bait must be certified zebra mussel free and all boats used on the three reservoirs may not be launched in other waterways. The reservoir is stocked with many warm, cool, and cold-water fish species. Many have formed breeding populations. A trail map is available here.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Slick Road Surface When Hot zoom in

We continue along around the reservoir and follow my original route using Mt Zion Road. This road no longer connects since the bridge has been closed and reconstruction has been completed. There were a couple of fallen trees on this road and several corners with limited visibility. There are detour signs marking the alternate route that we used to continue our ride. This leads through several fields. I have been on this route several times, and on hot days the tar on the pavement becomes slippery like giant tar snakes.

We enjoyed the rest of the ride around the reservoir. There are several railroad crossings on this ride and some have been recently repaved. The others are often bumpy for motorcycles. My buddies on sport bikes have noticed this far more than I do on the R1200GS. After crossing back through the Patapsco State Park, we turn left (east) on Route 99 and head to the snowball stand at the intersection with Woodstock Road (zoom in map).

This is my first ride with a new windscreen. The extra air feels good on the hot days of summer. I also have additional zoom in maps of the nothern section and southern section of this trip and the Garmin file is available here.

Liberty Reservoir Ride Stopped in the Shade at the snowball 
	  stand R1200GS and F650GS

Liberty Reservoir Ride Snowball Stand