My cousin Elizabeth was one of the many riders at the Wild Goose Chase event at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge this past Sunday. She’s the one holding the bouquet. No, she didn’t dress like this for the ride — this photo was taken at her wedding on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in July, 2003. As I told her on Sunday, she planted the seeds for the Wild Goose Chase.
When I was invited to her wedding, I knew I had to go. One more missed family event and I would be out of the loop forever! But I needed an incentive to coax me all the way down to Maryland from upstate New York.
That meant only one thing: I had to find a good place to ride my bike. So, I hauled out Delorme’s Atlas & Gazetteer of Maryland and looked up bicycle rides. There, just 30 miles south of the wedding site was Blackwater Refuge and what looked like good riding. I had the route and the bike. My cousin said I could wear whatever I wanted to the wedding as long as I showed up (the family is desperate, with good reason), so off to Maryland I went.
Wedding morning dawned clear and warm. Breakfast with the family? No. Must go on bike ride. Must go now. So I headed south, quickly leaving the hustle of the tourist traps and soon arriving in the most incredible country I think I’ve ever seen. Dead flat. No traffic. Just miles and miles of loblolly pines and marshes and heady fragrances that took me back to my childhood in Alabama. Remember that line from a John Denver song: “Coming home to a place he’d never been before”? I had come home, although it took me a few years to figure that out.
So, if you rode the Wild Goose Chase and loved it, you can thank Elizabeth.