Monday, May 17, 2010

A Cycling Weekend

Saturday was a wonderful day for a bike ride and although there were a couple of other things I could have gone to, both involved standing around and with my back hurting, I thought a cycle ride would be easier since the weight would be off my lower back. Barb and I need to start training for our 100 mile ride in October so this was an excellent opportunity.
We started off on the W&OD trail in Fairfax and headed towards Arlington. We soon took the Four Mile Run Trail and came across a training ground for American Corps. Stopping to watch a while, we were amazed at how many different things were being done, from vehicle runs, marches, bands, and some awesome drummers who I would've loved to stop and listen to all afternoon.
The drummer dudes with Barb disappearing off into the background.

We then came across a wetland area filled with wild irises, weeds, fish, turtles and huge bullfrogs. We carried on through pretty park areas and alongside a rocky creek. There was a cooling breeze which constantly wafted honeysuckle perfume past our noses and I felt as though I never wanted to stop; I was running on Duracells.
Barb asked me to take a photo of this diner as it has apparently been there forever; well since 1950. It marks the end of the W&OD trail in Arlington and serves some of the best hot dogs around. It also has the Ten Commandments on the side of the building in English and Spanish. Really? 
FYI - Dave Grohl, frontman for the band Foo Fighters, is a DC area native who has recently lived in Alexandria, VA. Weenie Beenie is a song by the Foo Fighters on their first album.
We crossed into Arlington, dodged some traffic and finally got onto the Mt Vernon Trail and back into pretty landscapes again.
I didn't take many photos here as I'd posted a few of this trail back in October 2008
Following the trail to Key Bridge, we crossed into Georgetown and headed up the steep hill to Wisconsin Ave where there were restaurants local to Georgetown University. I had a wonderful egg and sausage sandwich with potatoes cooked in marjoram and parsley washed down with a pint of Guiness. When leaving I was amazed that I didn't feel drowsy and was actually raring to go. 
We took a lazy tour around the campus, watching as students dragged belongings to waiting cars, and we also had a quick nose at a lacrosse game. Afterwards, we headed back to Key Bridge and cycled into Roslyn.

 Over the bridge, a boat shop below was busy renting out kayaks.
 We saw a couple of interesting sights in Roslyn. The first was this church with a gas station underneath.
We also spotted this homeless guy who was singing loudly to something on his laptop with his foot furiously tapping along to the beat, and completely oblivious of spectators such as us. Finding the metro station, we left the bright glare of sunshine and rode the elevator down to the dismal dusty station below.
Waiting on the platform, I quickly snapped this before the train arrived but had to add some color while editing. We emerged back into the sunlight at Falls Church and cycled the last leg back to the car, having covered a respectable 21 miles. We then visited our favorite thrift store and found this rock as Barb parked the car.
I'd love to know how long it had been there.
Sunday was another fabulous day and so the bikes came out again, this time riding out from my place to do a circuit in the Centreville area.
We were going to ride along Rte 7100 but after a mile or so of constant noisy vehicles and sucking in exhaust fumes, I suggested we get off the beaten track. We decided to check all the little side roads on the way back to Centreville and found some wonderfully rural areas.
The noise of traffic died away and all we could hear were birds and insects. I could smell the plants and grasses on the verges and marveled at how quickly we had escaped into tranquility.
This old tractor was down the bottom of a lane and I texted a photo to Rob who told me it was a Farmell H built probably built around 1940 - 1950.
Here's an image of one working.
We puttered up and down the lanes enjoying the solitude when suddenly we stopped in our tracks. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was my first ever sighting of a bluebird. It was standing in the road, its blue feathers gleaming. I didn't even bother to reach for my camera despite this being a Kodak moment. For years I'd wanted to see one of these beautiful birds, birds that I'd only read about and seen in fairy stories. I was covered in goosebumps and ecstatic that we'd found a place where bluebirds lived. I shall be back here with my 50D and tripod to get photos in the near future.
Coming back into Centreville, we weaved our way along winding paths through housing communities until we reached..... Dairy Queen! After 15 miles, we felt we deserved a treat and I relished every mouthful of my Reeses Peanut Butter Blizzard.

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