Monday, August 1, 2011

Biking Adventures: Right in Our Backyard

As planned, Josh and I went for a nice, hot bike ride on Saturday. We started on Macomb Street and rode south to Woodley Park, along the Rock Creek trail, into Georgetown, across the Key Bridge, and along the Scenic Potomac River until we arrived at our destination, Gravelly Point. I have long wanted to plan a trip here, complete with a long picnic and some football or frisbee tossing under the planes. But as soon as we dismounted our bikes, I proposed that we chill for twenty minutes or so and then ride back to a more pleasant, shady spot along the river before we start eating. Josh agreed, gladly. We weren't the only ones with such a sentiment, either. This massive field, normally alive with people sunbathing, snacking, running around, and playing, was all but deserted. Though it wasn't the best day to be there, it was quite a treat for Josh and I, who have yet to see the planes taking off in our direction. We agreed that it is cooler to see them land, but this really was a nice change. We watched plane after plane, comparing the differences in their direction, size, and height overhead. We timed a plane to see how long it was before it left our sight- 2 minutes, 43 seconds. Then we watched another plane fly west, north, and then east, doing a giant loop around the city, amazed that it was still in view, despite its being at least 12 or 14 miles away over Maryland. It was actually really fun. And as a memento, I think it is really cool how apparent the gross heat is in these pictures of the runway. They are way better looking on Josh's blog so I recommend checking them out there.

We rode back to a shady spot and sat on the dry and itchy grass to eat this delicious picnic...

With this as our view...

(that's the Washington Monument, if you can't tell)

I failed to mention that, on the way down, we took a wrong turn and ended up on a random bridge that led back to the city. We turned around to continue on our route but it got us thinking that there must be more bike routes home than just across the Memorial and Key Bridges. DUH! So, during our picnic, which took place just North of the 14th Street bridge, we made a plan to ride across it and up to the Jefferson Memorial. I hadn't been there in at least ten years and Josh, ever. Another marvel of this city but one that, I'll admit, is even more beautiful from a distance. Having spent a good few hours lounging on Lincoln the night before, it seemed so small. But the peace of fewer tourists was hard to beat. I mostly enjoyed reading the great, enlightened words of Jefferson engraved inside. And sitting with Joshua and looking out at the White House, the paddle-boats, and the military helicopters flying by.

As we stopped a few more times, I got a sweet candid photo of my photographer. And another one of this bridge that made me wonder whether we were truly in DC and not somewhere along the River Seine.

As we left, we passed a family that asked, "Are you from Iowa or do you just ride Ragbrai?" So, time and time again, it pays off to wear a Ragbrai shirt! And especially on this special last day of the ride, as my parents approached my mom's roots in Davenport. We learned that they are from Des Moines and that their daughter is interning in DC. We smiled and waved them off, then laughed as we observed the very vintage cricket match going on across the street, and sweat our way home.

With the rides Friday and Saturday, and the Nats game I attended on Sunday, I had a weekend filled with DC Loving. And it made me think about how lucky I am. That I can spend a whole week dreaming about Ragbrai but that I don't need to look far for scenic bike riding, great company, and people from Iowa because they're all right in my backyard.

I hope you all had active, sweaty weekends like mine and that you don't need to look further than your backyard for all the adventure you've been seeking!

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