Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The O-line

This is the road we would have needed to take to get out of the flooded sections around Paw Paw West Virginia so we had to bail

5 inches in a day on top of 10 inches in the previous weeks will do this

From the train station on the East side of DC, we crossed the mall to get to our trail from Georgetown we needed to take to my friend's in NW DC. This is the Smithsonian Castle

a cool building. I needed to pee so badly but they need to paw through every single bag to let you in. Again I had everything on me I needed for a week. An uncomfortable wait as I have lots of compartments

The big rain happened 6/3. Our path

So Wednesday, instead of riding, we walked around museums all day. My thighs were swollen from the 160 miles of riding so going down stairs was fun.

We spent a lot of time in the Museum of Natural History and that of the American Indian. Wanted to go into the National Gallery but ran out of time

American Indian Museum was very depressing. Broken treaties, genocide....soldiers shooting toddlers who were too big to carry but walked too slow on the Trail of Tears

lots of public art

Museum of American History?

this tree was all metal

I liked these caladium leaves

Georgetown Waterfront Park Sculpture. We went through this several times coming and going on our bike trips

tomb of unknown soldier, Arlington National Cemetery
Acres and acres of tombs

Mt the end of the Mt Vernon trail

slave quarters for the house servants at Mount Vernon. Washington had slaves but he did buy the freedom for several of his favorites

Alexandria two days before we rode through it. We still needed to make detours around the waterfront in Old Town

the rains plus a tidal surge left this at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. We rode through there two days after this picture and it was fine

same thing here

We went to the zoo to see pandas who were MIA. But they had this. I think the Orangutans can brachiate for a quarter mile 50 feet above us. If they were willing to fall, they could escape. Lots of videos on line with them taking their trips. One was about to start as we were leaving but he was taking too long and we had places to be

starting tower

this one was making faces at a kid inches away through the glass. Lots of fun expressions

lunch spot Friday near the Potomac. Real cute Irish pub

Glen Echo Park full of art deco rides. Howard students had a mass protest here in the 60s as Blacks were excluded

the merry-go-round still works

Just because we had to abort the second half of our ride didn't mean we had to hide in a corner and cry. We could still have fun and even spend the whole time riding our bikes. Lots of options. Or we could take the train back to Pittsburgh where the car was. But my friend was on vacation..yeah, let's have fun. We could stay 4 nights with my friend instead of the one planned. Nothing more fun than inviting oneself. He was busy but we would be gone during the day.. I was responsible for planning the first half and my friend the second half. Lots of cancelling on his part. We could have not gotten to Harper's Ferry as the bridge was out (that was the town I most wanted to see). Rumor has it that the Western Railroad Trail (paved!!!!) will extend all the way to DC and they will stop maintaining the towpath so when that happens, I'll be there.  The train was to leave Cumberland at 9:30 (ha!Amtrak is never on time, just the week before the whole line was closed down due to the other rains) so we had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast downtown. What could go wrong? Well at 9:10 our path was blocked by a stopped train. They switch cars nearby and block the main drag regularly. Lots of people cursing that train. So we did get stuck carrying the bikes under that sleazy urine filled underpass. The website now said the train was late. There are no train officials at the station nor any outside seating. I sat on edge of the tracks narrowly being missed when the train came whooshing in. There is only one luggage compartment that fits the 8 bikes And my bike ticket cost as much as my senior ticket though I guess it did take up more space than I did. There were several other bikers there in the same situation so we had lots to talk about. I made new friends. My friend went to sit in the back of the  caboose so he could see all the flood damage. My new friend said something about where was my husband. Back in Michigan. So you are sharing a room with someone not your husband. Yeah. So what? We both had our own floors in DC so there. I am not a cheater and biking doesn't make the situation any more tempting.

Where are our bikes? We thought it would be obvious once we were in Union Station. But no. And they don't number their cars logically like they do in Europe so we didn't the note the number  of the car. Zillions of school groups come to DC for their end of the year trip. The mall was so crowded.  with tourists, it was slow going. Taking the Capital Crescent trail took 12 miles total. It does go too far north but there is no easy short cuts. I assume if we just rode up (up being the operative word) Massachusetts Avenue, we could have gotten there in half the distance but risked our lives. Once we found the beginning of the Capital Crescent in Georgetown, it was easy going. Hardly any bikes either though I think it had been flooded that morning at high tide. Cold fancy beers and a nice dinner awaited us at the end of our ride. I got to meet their new Shibu Ino, much friendlier than their last dog. While we were there, DC was unseasonably cool until the last morning so that was great. And no rain. And my Michigan friend got along really well with my DC friends, which I had worried a bit about.

Wednesday was a rest day spent walking around museums. Thursday, we rode down to Georgetown, crossing the Potomac into Virginia to go on the Mt Vernon  trail along the Potomac. It would have been 55 miles round trip but as long as it isn't rush hour, you can put your bikes on the metro made easier by elevators. We stopped by the Arlington Cemetery, stood under the end of a runway at Reagan to have a plane take off right above our heads, lunch in Alexandria at a nice deli, up (also up a hill despite it being right next to the water) The swollen Potomac sometimes was just an inch away from us. We did have to ride inland in Alexandria to avoid the flooding. Love the colonial architecture. Also very expensive to live there.

It was so crowded at Mt Vernon with those school kids. We got there at 2 and the earliest we could enter the mansion was 5 pm. We did take a virtual tour. Not very fancy inside like the palaces built at the same time in Europe. We toured the gardens and farms with the same plants as he had. My rhubarb looks so much healthier.  Back to Alexandria. I went to the tourist info to ask about good happy hours. Oh you will be watching the game then? What game? It turned out to be the final game of the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals (We are all CAPS, I saw on signs later)versus some Las Vegas team. The only reason this mattered is when we had to transfer downtown to the red line from the blue, all these loud guys wearing red flooded the station hooting and hollering. I am not much of a hockey fan. DC has a huge black population but they don't seem to be into hockey either. We settled down to a sidewalk Irish bar and had very tasty food and beer. We would only need to ride about a mile or two to the subway station outside of town (and up yet another hill) We had to wait until rush hour was over so we took our time only to find a flat tire. Ugh. It was patchable but time consuming. With the transfers, it was dark when we returned to our friend's neighbor hood. Tennytown. Down the hill into the darkness. Fortunately I had packed my flashers.

We were mostly in the city the next day. It was suggested we go to a Japanese Art exhibit. Trust me, this would not go over well with my riding partner. We went to the zoo, then Georgetown , then we were going to ride the C&O canal but ended up on the Capital Crescent once again (Rock Creek Parkway, which we headed south on not so straight or flat). We got off of it to go to Glen Echo and the Irish bar next to it before heading up the hill from hell making me use the lower chair ring for the first time back into my friend's place. We took out our hosts to a really good seafood place nearby. That dinner cost more than the 3 nights of hotels I paid. DC is a very expensive place.

Woke up early to run in the now steamy weather before our long drive home, first in a rental car to carry our bikes, then in my friend's car back in Pittsburgh. We did stop for crab soup in Hagerstown Maryland.

Maybe someday the weather will co-operate.


Elephant's Child said...

Lots of lovely photos - but it is the rainfall which is blowing me away.
I just went and checked. We have had slightly over 12 inches of rain. This year.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

I think we average about 24 inches. It has been fairly wet here but not like the far east of the country. No floods here in Michigan

Teri Bernstein said...

Your adaptability is what makes you such a fabulous travel companion! What a great trip. Your Smithsonian Castle pic looks like a painting, BTW...

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Looking forward to when we can travel again together. How's that knee?


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