Sunday, May 30, 2010

On Saturday, I rode to Old Town with my parents and Josh. We left around 10:30 and got to Georgetown for coffee and breakfast burritos around 11:30. We rode on and low and behold, when we crossed the memorial bridge into Virginia, there was a long parade of motorcyclists, "rolling thunder"ers, crossing in the opposite direction. Here is a picture of Josh and my dad crossing the bridge, bike v bike.

Once we crossed the bridge, it was a little complicated getting back onto the bike path, we had to sprint across a few lanes of parkway traffic and hope for the best. We all survived. Once on the path, we rode right alongside the river for a few miles. It is great, biking along the potomac overlooking all the sights of the district... just another Saturday morning. This path is a nice change from the one between Bethesda and Georgetown which I've done countless times and know like the back of my hand. Unlike the capital crescent trail, the Virginia path has little rolling hills. At times, it did take us right alongside the parkway which is kind of dangerous and not the best for my paranoid nature. Focus pocus as my brother circa 1996 would say. A portion of this path guided us through the great expanse of National Airport which isn't the prettiest. But that was well worth the awesome experience of riding by the end of the runway and watching planes land right over our heads. Unbelievable. It took like three plains flying overhead for my mom to get a decent picture. This is the best we got but you can see how close they are. It was really cool, and so loud!!

About five miles later, I was drafting Josh peleton style when he slams on his breaks and says "rattlesnake!" I am terrified but strangely intrigued by snakes so I screamed but proceeded to get off my bike to see more. We decided that it wasn't a rattlesnake and must be harmless so he got up really close to it with my camera. Later, he did some google exploring and deduced that it was indeed a water mocasin! Good thing it was moving away as he took this picture. And good thing I didn't know that at the time!!

We made it to Old Town hungry and ready to sit for a while only to discover that my dad had much more in store for us. We were to ride our bikes on the beltway! That's right, the beltway. Apparently the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, which carries the traffic of I95 and I495 from Alexandria, VA to Oxon Hill, MD has bike lanes. Not just lanes but a path along the northern side of the bridge that is pretty wide, has benches and binocular lookout stations, and a walled barrier between bike and car traffic. It is 1.3 miles long and is a drawbridge. While we were all ready to take a break, we were happy to have done this. It was really cool to bike 15 or 20 mph alongside 12 lanes of cars going 60 or 70 mph. Here's Betsy on her way back across the bridge.

We made it back to Old Towne and ate on the roof of an Irish bar/restaurant. Riding through Old Town, I marveled at the pretty houses that reminded me of Charleston, SC. I was curious about real estate prices thinking, 'this is Virginia, it can' be too expensive'. Later, I overheard our Irish waiter telling another table that his Bulgarian girlfriend looked at a 650 sq foot one bedroom apartment in old town that was going for $1950/mo. At that price, I'd much rather live in DC.

Last stop of the trip: Cheesetique, a great little cheese shop/cafe started by this young woman from Alexandria who quit her office job one day to devote her life to cheese. Their assortment is amazing. There was a 20 year aged extra-sharp cheddar for $39.99/lb!! I got a guiness veined cheddar and a rosey goat, both unbelievably strong and delicious.

Josh an I, apparently weaker than my parents twice our age, had tailbone and foot pains so we rode to Crystal City and took the metro home from there. We got lost trying to find the station and were highly unimpressed by the unpleasant, empty feel of the area. It is just a bunch of tall buildings and busy roads, there weren't even many people on the streets. Eventually we found the train and made it home. 35 miles later.

Trying new cheeses, biking unfamiliar interstate territory, avoiding lethal snake bites, and coming home with sore legs are truly the marks of a good day.

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