Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anacostia Cleanup and Remington Ride

Saturday morning I drove down through DC to get to the Anacostia River where I'd be helping with a clean up program. I'd complained about its filthiness when I kayaked on it a few weeks ago so thought the least I could do was make an effort to help clear up some of the trash.
DC was busy, filled with people walking towards the Mall to take part in a march commemorating the 50th anniversary of MLK's speech. I spotted some flags piled up on the side of the road, probably waiting to be hung somewhere, but isn't that illegal for them to be treated like this? Seemed disrespectful...
We had a sizable group of volunteers, about 80, to help collect trash. This was being organized by United by Blue who pledge to pick up a pound of trash from the nation's waterways for every product sold. Here's their site, some cool stuff here.  They were being sponsored today by Suburu who had provided refreshments for all. All volunteers got a t-shirt and an aluminum beaker. Everyone was happy until the person above stuck his oar in by demanding to know if we had permits. Apparently he was having a family event in the park at 2pm and didn't want us around. How fortunate for him then that we were cleaning up the area for him, and maybe we should hang around to clean up after his get together too? I was having a hard time containing myself but the Suburu guy handled him superbly while I glowered as hard as I could without busting a blood vessel. Eventually he cleared off and went to sit his fat arse in the pavilion and smoke cigarettes while watching his family set up their event.
We all grabbed bags, for trash and for recyclables, and set off towards the river bank to begin our dirty jobs. Everyone got stuck in with gusto, even the kids, it was really quite admirable to watch them all. I found myself a nice thicket and battled my way in, wishing I'd tied my hair up as with nearly every step I took I was yanked back by a branch. But I got through and found the ground littered with trash, likely dumped by the high tide of a previous storm.
...and 30 minutes later. It was very satisfying to leave a lovely clean area behind and I moved on to the next
I found this government access card, I've blurred the name.
Even though there is so much trash here, the park is very pretty with jasmine and wild flowers decorating the banks, but the water was dreadfully murky and I couldn't see any fishes. We worked for about 4 hours and when we couldn't see any more trash we met back at the tent.
Our haul. Pretty impressive but disgusting that so much trash was dumped here and we'd only covered about 1 mile or so of the river bank. The organizers were weighing it as bags were brought in and reckoned we'd collected about 2894lbs.
This was deemed the weirdest find, a car boot clamp.
Our crew listening to the results. It was a worthwhile day and I'll definitely do it again. I found another kayaking/cycling buddy and on my way home I found 6 twigs in my hair!
On Sunday I decided to go cycling. I was feeling pretty disgusted with myself that I haven't been out on my road bike this year so I picked a local ride. In Remington, VA, the town has created 4 bicycle routes and supply the maps in the main street or online:
I chose the longest route, number 3, a 28 mile loop. This flower 'bed' caught my eye, looks like it's commemorating a cancer victim.
It was a beautiful day for cycling, sunny but with a light breeze and I reprimanded myself severely as I pedaled for leaving it so late in the year to do this, even though I did have a broken toe for a couple of months.
This made me stop on my ride, a memorial to 2 people who were killed in a car accident.
I stopped a few times on my ride to look at stuff as curiosity always gets the better of me. I passed a tractor and farm machinery graveyard, and quite a few gardens have used farm machinery as decorative objects.
This chap was guarding an old building in Midland.
An old farm shed in Midland.
There are a lot of markers on the map but I didn't want to keep stopping to find them all, as I had to stop often to check where I was going. But there was plenty to see and the scenery was beautiful.
I've not seen one of these signs before so I took heed. If I know the road I usually like to go as fast as possible, it's always fun to break the speed limit on a bicycle, but today I kept my brakes on, and it was just as well as there was a tight corner ahead on the decline.
At the bottom was a place called Kelly's Ford, which was a little off the track, but I wanted to check it out since it had a canoe ramp. Further research told me that put ins here are usually to continue downstream, this isn't a part of the river it seems where you can return to your starting point, probably due to the rapids. But it was very pretty.
By the time I got back to the car I'd done just over 30 miles, due to all the little detours I'd made on my way round. It was a great ride and one I'll definitely do again. I intend to do the other three Remington rides before the end of summer.

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