Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blue, Big Red & Green Genie

Saturday was a spectacular warm autumn day and perfect weather to be on the water. Barb and I headed down to my favorite place, Pohick Bay, for a day of kayaking. Today would be exercise for upper body and core while tomorrow's cycling would be for lower body and core.
There were only a few other cars in the parking lot but no one to be seen on the water. There was evidence of the recent flooding and high water; weeds covered the usually clean gravel and branches floated in the water.
The wildlife was abundant with constant sightings of blue herons and egrets while the fish jumped continuously out of the water.
 We pointed our boats towards seclusion leaving civilization behind and basked in the hot sun and the noise of nature. After a while we parked in some lillies for a break and contentedly drank a beer as we soaked up the solitude.
We paddled deeper into the bay and started heading towards the creek. The water was higher here than I'd seen it before and after battling against the current and eddies, we pulled into an inlet for lunch. Barb had a little trouble maneuvering her boat...
After we'd finished laughing we continued to fight our way upstream and it was tough. The current was strong and cascaded quickly over fallen trees, submerged trunks and rocks and other obstacles which had been carried downstream from the recent flooding. But it was a great work out and after battling a couple of small rapids we turned our boats and let the current take us downstream again.
 I had often wondered what happened to Wilson, the ball in the movie Castaway, and here he is. We found him in the weeds!
Barb had definitely got the hang of kayaking in a very short time and was feeling pretty confident about going into deeper water. We headed back to where Stuart was parked and I left Blue on the roof and put Big Red into the water. This is my new baby and I was anxious to see how this bigger sleeker craft would fare cutting through deep water.
 It was comparable to driving a Mini and then getting into a Rolls Royce. A little bit of a wobble as I adjusted to the narrower longer body and I had to work a little harder to compensate for the additional length and weight but it handled like a dream. I felt like I could paddle forever.I'd like to use the term 'precision engineering' but that's a bit silly with just a plastic hull, isn't it, but the chines made all the difference (watch the video on Big Red).
We crossed the bay and I noticed how easier it was than when I paddled in Blue although it couldn't turn as fast as my smaller boat. After exploring the coast a little on the other side, we realized that it was nearly 6pm so headed back to Stuart.
 The sun was starting to drop towards the horizon and I still needed to get 2 boats up onto Stuart's roof. The water was like glass as we pushed towards the coastline. We had been out on the water for 7 hours. I still wanted to stay out but fatigue was overtaking me.
I'm extremely pleased Barb has caught the kayaking bug as we are now planning trips to paddle and take photos of the fall foliage and even trips in the snow. A twilight or moonlight paddle could be fun also to see the night wildlife and cook dinner over a fire on a beach. Can't wait!
Round 2 started early on Sunday. I blended myself a banana milkshake before meeting Barb for our cycling trip. We were starting from Ashburn and cycling to Purcellville and back. I didn't take many photos on this trip because it was all about the exercise rather than being a tourist. 15 minutes into the ride, we came across an ambulance on the trail and some poor cyclist was slowly being edged onto a stretcher. Oops!
The scenery was pretty and we were soon into the countryside. Here's Barb's bike and my Green Genie which I've pimped ready for our 100 mile ride next weekend. We only stopped occasionally for water breaks or to stretch our backs and before I knew it, we were cycling across Charles Town Pike. That hammered it home how far we'd ridden out. 
At the end of the WOD trail is Purcellville and we decided to stop here for lunch. But no beers, or we'd never make it back.
We ate in the White Palace which was one strange but friendly little place. From the outside it looked like it had been dragged here from Arizona or New Mexico. Inside, the decor was very old fashioned family diner style with country and western music. Yet on the walls were some atrocious modern works of 'art' from local 'artists' and the owners were latino. It was awesome. The food was plain but good and hit the spot, while the service was fast and friendly. We left satisfied and glad we'd not been tempted by alcohol. We'd managed to refuel in about 30 minutes so we hopped on the bikes and got going immediately before we started feeling that 'need to nap after a meal' sensation.
We pedaled quickly as dark clouds were starting to gather and rain was expected by around 3pm. It was close to 2pm and we still had over 20 miles to go. We barely stopped on the way back as it seemed that the trail on the way back was downhill. I was surprised how fast we traveled and we beat the rain and the clouds back to Ashburn. With a distance of 43 miles notched up we felt great. We both managed to get home and snuggled inside our warm houses before the rain finally fell from the sky. What a fabulous fit weekend. I actually think I'm ready for our big ride next Saturday.

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