A Beautiful Cycling ‘Escape-Room’ Challenge on the Eastern Shore

Tunis Mills Route Near Easton, MD

This route offered by the Chesapeake Cycling Club is like the cycling version of an escape room, solve the puzzle of the next turn or add a few miles if you get it wrong. However, I found that fun.

This route is not for speed or endurance. It’s simply a beautiful ride.

Details

The Ride:
  • Approx. 28 miles loop
  • Hills? – Relatively flat
  • Type of Roads? – Mostly county lanes, some highways (with & without shoulders)
Difficulty:
  • Easy

Overview

The route begins in Easton’s close-by public parking, but you can easily add about ten miles by starting in St. Michaels.

Whether arriving from Easton or St. Michaels parking, you begin on a state highway with shoulders.

This description starts from Easton, in a generic strip-mall parking lot just off Easton Parkway. You make your way to Glebe Road, and across Easton Parkway. From there, Glebe is a highway with small shoulder. Just enough to give cyclists room.

Glebe Road shoulder

When you turn onto Unionville Road, you lose the shoulder. But once you turn onto Miles River Road, traffic lessens and you get to cross the Miles River Bridge.

After that, about five miles in, you’re on rock-and-oil county lanes. The top of the road can be jiggly in spots, but good for not-quite-asphalt.

Marengo Road

Marengo Road goes through frangrant pine wood and around the Marengo Woods Sanctuary.

When you turn on Marengo Road there’ll be a bit of a zig-zag before you cross Leeds Creek with it’s wooden bridge and ride through Tunis Mills, a quaint village with the pretty All Faith Chapel.

Leeds Landing bridge over Leeds Creek

After that little bit of cycling zen, you hit an intersection where all four roads hitting that crossing has a different name. A Cycling-Escape Challenge!

If you solve it correctly, you go through sections of arching tree canopies.

Then another challenge, when the route flows into “V” intersection. On a road map, it looks like an obvious “V”. On a bicycle, it’s more like a loose “U”.

You also notice on this section that you’ll cross over roads that you were on, or went by, earlier. Cycling-Escape Challenge!

It’s not a wrong turn somewhere, it’s simply the roads looping around Talbot County.

Copperville Road takes you to Bruffs Island Road, which seems like a cool adventure until you realize that you’re not on the island-end of the road because, without any seeming turns, it changes names to be Todds Corner Road which, ironically, is in the shape of a big “C.”

After a route shimmy, you arrive at Presquile Road. Cycling-Escape Challenge(s)!

Things go through your head when cycling. Such as, how do you pronounce ‘Presquile’?

“Do you think it’s, ‘pre’-KWILLl’, or ‘press-KWILE’?” I shout out to my cycling buddy and wake him out a reverie.

He’s no ‘lifeline’ on that one, so I spell it out, “P-R-E-S-Q-U-I-L-E,” and sound it out like on a spelling bee, as if that’ll actually give me the real pronunciation.

By that time, we were at Presquile Cycling-Escape Challenge #2?

There’s so many “Presquile”s on the cue sheet that I’ve lost track which Presquile I’m on. Presquile Road runs into Presquile Drive North and Presquile Drive South.

This situation always leads to a discussion with the cycling buddy and a cross check of one or two cycling apps as well as Google Maps because it’s been a while since we looked at the route map, forgetting there’s a arm shooting off the circular route.

Eventually, the challenge is solved and on we’re onto Presquille North with tall corn fields and fields of wildflowers and views of Quart Cove, an inlet to the Wye River.

Field of wildflowers
Quart Cove on the Wye River

Presquile Drive North dead-ends at homes curving around the end of the former farm’s peninsula. Causing another Cycling-Escape Challenge.

The dead-end explained why the cue sheet said to take two back-to-back lefts onto Presquile Road, which had also caused cycling-buddy debate and another cross-check between the route map and Google. To make it even more obvious, the road ends with a little turnaround spot.

So back you go, and ride past the Todds Corner Road that you came down earlier.

At the Pickering Creek Audubon Center entrance, Presquile turns into Sharps Road.

That’s the last of your Presquile challenges!

Sharp Road

After a bit of Sharp Road, with it’s beautiful tree canopy separating you from the sun like a covered-bridge through farm fields, you come across the T-section with a shot-up Stop sign and the road sign that tells you “To Route 50” rather than a road name.

Trust me, I looked it up, that’s also Sharp Road after you make a right at the “T”.

Sharp Road turn onto Sharp Road

The cue tells you to next turn left onto Forrest Landing Road a lightly used county ‘highway’. It’s a little wider than we’d been riding, giving it room for yellow lines down the middle.

That takes you to an intersection of what looks like a former village with St. Matthews United Methodist church still remaining, with white chickens running around the churchyard.

That’s where you make a right onto an actual state highway, 662. The cue sheet calls it Old Wye Mills Road.

It’s a busier road with no shoulder, but for a little less than a mile before you turn off back to county roads, through farm fields, past the Easton Airport and back to the starting point for lunch or dinner in Easton or St. Michaels.

I ride a lot of bike paths or highways with shoulders. I felt comfortable riding these roads. Route 662 (Old Wye Mills Road) had more cars, that were a bit closer than I like, but it didn’t feel dangerous and the shortness helped. Our bicycles were lighted back and front, and we wore easy to see clothing.

There are no convenience stores or other places to stop at along this Tunis Mills Route and certainly no restrooms. You’re going by farms, woods and homes — that’s it — throughout the ride.

The Tunis Mills Route is courtesy of the Chesapeake Cycling Club.
Chesapeake Cycling Club information
Chesapeake Cycling Club, started in 2019, is a social-recreational cycling club that rides the Eastern Shore and aims to include all talent level. They "aim for the quieter country roads" and ride weekends, as well as Tuesday & Wednesday evenings as long as there's daylight. 

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