I haven't done a ride with Laura OLPH and the Hill Slugs in over a month, so I was glad that Laura had one planned for today, and that the weather was looking good (if cold), and that I didn't have a conflict. Another good omen was that, when I went to my other bagel place this morning, I found the glove I lost earlier this week.
Laura gave instructions for a 9:00 am start from Pennington, or 8:30 from her house, and since I'm chronically early (and you can read that in the same sense as "chronically ill"; it's not always desirable!), I decided to do the extra miles. Ed C also appeared there early. He and Laura's husband, Professor Jack (he's recently Dean Jack, but the spondee just doesn't have the same music to me as the dancing iambs of "Professor Jack") were discussing the university politics at Rutgers, which apparently has loony characters befitting our own House of Representatives, with even more byzantine machinations. Eventually, off went Laura, Ed, and I to Pennington...
... where we picked up four more: Jen (an occasional Slug), Cheryl M, Ron S, and Bob, a newbie with whom I'd ridden for a while a few weeks ago. He appeared a bit nervous about doing the ride, perhaps because of the hills and fearing we'd show him up and leave him panting by the side of the road (not the kind of thing the Slugs do), or perhaps because of not knowing any of us. He did fine, however, and chatted with many of us during the ride; I hope to see him on more Slug rides.
We did this route. Ignore the average speed, the Garmin shut off for a few minutes, and, after I got it back on, it was a bit wonky, although it saved almost all of the turns, and most of the distance. We went on to Lambertville on a route I don't remember doing before; longer on the way out, I think, but including a pretty stretch of Alexauken Creek Road (do I have that name right?). We stopped at Rojo's for coffee, which Cheryl thinks is upscale, but I'm just glad it's a place where I can order a large coffee without having to learn Italian, like I do at one coffee chain that will remain nameless.
After the stop, we went up to see the dinosaur head on (I think) Mt. Airy-Harbourton Rd (the new Bob saw the Snoopy head, but not the dinosaur), and then back a slightly longer route across 31. Route 31 is one of my bêtes noir; while it's not true that I nearly get run over every time I cross it, it is true that my closest calls have been crossing that road at intersections without signals, so I'm grateful we went across where we did.
Then back to Pennington, and, thereafter, back to Laura's. I forgot to call my wife from the car, as is my usual practice, and on the way back, I got a call from The Excellent Wife (TEW) asking (with a tremor in her voice) if I was OK. I was; I had just stepped out of the Stop & Shop where I had picked up a half-pound of roast beef for lunch (better than the potato chips and pretzels which were my previous post-ride repast), and was unpacking the car and kissing her hello a short while later.
Probably no ride tomorrow: weather threatens, and TEW is suggesting that perhaps we ought to act like married people and do something together; a suggestion with which I am hard-pressed to find fault.