On the Road: Day 7

Computer access two days in a row, oh boy!!!

Day 7: Tuesday, May 16 – Hot & Hilly
Leisurely woke up when my gracious hosts were getting ready for work. After a comfortable night’s rest and weirdly doing laundry at 11:30 pm, throwing things in the dryer at 1:20 am, all personal belongings were spoken for. Stephanie and Mike had coffee, candy and eggs available. I dabbled in each as Monday’s lengthy post was written. I then showered took a family portrait with my hosts and took off to see the Washington DC Mall. Thank you, Stephanie and Mike for making me feel like family for the brief 10 hours we spent together. Hope to see you in Cape May in late September!

I forgot to take a photo with Stephanie and Mike. So here is a makeshift family portrait with teenage mutant ninja turtle “Fat Ass”. He is lovely.

Made my way down 14th street, dodging the many people that used the bike lane as an opportunity to double park. It took no time at all to arrive at Pennsylvania Ave. I headed towards the Capitol Building. It looked close from a far, but did not seem to get much closer as I road towards it. I doubled back to go towards the Washington Monument to round out the “Monuments Ride” beginning in Baltimore.

Washington Monument – DC.

The weather was beautiful in the mid 80’s, but didn’t feel the heat while riding. I then checked out the WWII Monument, which I visited in the winter of 2006. It was nice to see with the fountain in full swing. No other cyclists were riding in this area, unsure if I was breaking rules, I continued on and headed towards the Lincoln Memorial. Behind the Lincoln Memorial was a bridge that leads to the Arlington Cemetery. I shot over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which I later found out you are not supposed to ride on, rather use the massive sidewalk on either side. What a novel idea.

I then planned to double back to the day’s planned route using the Curtis Trail, which eventually takes one to the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD). Fortunately, a local cyclist saw I was out of my element and guided me back to a route along the Potomac that would avoid heavily traveled roads. Dan is a freelance journalist who previously worked for CNN for many years. The trails were easy enough to find, but extremely hilly while close to the city. At this point, I could tell my knee, not the weather, would slow the day’s pace.

DC and Northern Virginia have an incredible system of trails. Many of them are used for travel in and out of the city, neighboring towns or for exercise. People of all ages were out. Each trail was tree lined which provided some much needed relief from the sun. After completing 10 of 20 or so miles on the W&OD, I needed a restroom. I did not see any opportunities for rest stops until the next mile. A sign indicated restrooms. And food. AND BEER! I stopped at the Caboose Brewery. Many bikes had been pulled up for a break, even two horses were tied up. After losing my wallet in the restroom, I decided a beer, some water, fries and time off the saddle would benefit me greatly. I chatted up a oceanographer who lives in the area.

Hopped back on the bike after a half hour break and continued on. The next few miles were almost exclusively downhill. About 5 miles out from Eric and Elise’s, the route took me back onto the streets. It was roughly 6 pm, prime time rush hour. This would not have been bad except for the lack of shoulders, which, constantly stopped momentum as I waited in line. Eventually small trails lined some of the roads and got me off the street.

I made it to Eric and Elise’s place just after 7 pm. Originally I thought my arrival would have been around 5. My estimation of time is a bit off, I will likely be starting my days off a bit earlier each day. The neighborhood has beautiful homes and quiet streets. Eric was just leaving his office, so I had time to catch up with Elise and meet the twins! I cleaned up and by that time Eric had gotten home, Taco Tuesday officially started! I ate probably half of what was available then scavenged for more snacks. With the kids asleep, old friends were able to chat while watching hockey and basketball playoffs. I was informed that the local Friendly’s was recently shut down which was NOT what I wanted to hear during my rest day(s).

For the next few days I will be spending time with the Boutcher’s, checking out the NoVa scene, resting the leg and planning my trip. More to come…

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