(Picture – Rib dinner, Dixies Bones rib restaurant, Woodbridge, VA. An exhausting but tasty meal!)
Date: 25 April 2011
Woke up in: Rockville, Maryland
Fell asleep in: Woodbridge, Virginia
Miles ridden today: 58
Total miles ridden so far: 328
Weather: Hot and sunny.
Wow. I. Am. Tired.
Today has been pretty action packed, from when it started in Maryland, to our ride through Washington DC and then on into Virginia, and what feels like the start of ‘the South’. Or maybe that’s just my ribs and cornbread dinner talkin’…
We rattled through our first 18 miles pretty quickly this morning, thanks to a DC cycle commuter we met around five miles into our ride, who let us follow him to the Maryland / DC border – thank you ‘yellow cycling top’ man! Half an hour at the post office later and we’d mailed home yet more of our worldly belongings, and then it was on to downtown DC (where we got a little lost…) and across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. We were very disappointed that there was no sign welcoming us to Virginia on the other side; I’m trying not to be too offended but I expect better of North Carolina when we finally get there!
The 16 mile Mount Vernon Trail took us along the side of the Potomac River for what seemed like ever – and through pretty and historic Alexandria. I got the distinct impression that I couldn’t afford to buy in that town. A couple of miles out of Mount Vernon took us through Fort Belvoir Military Reservation; a strangely quiet place but much, much posher (and bigger) than anything similar we’ve ever seen in the UK. We had to show photo ID to go in but nothing when we were leaving: how do they know that I’ve gone? I could be camping by their arms store for all they know. Except, of course, I’m not. I’m in yet another motel and looking forward
to when we can start camping more – not because I particularly want to, but camping is cheaper, and I haven’t been paid since November!
Lesson from today?
If you’re ever in DC for more than a day, grab a hire bike (just like the London bikes except they are red and aren’t emblazoned with sponsor advertising) and go for a ride. There’s something really cool about cycling past the famous spots on a bike; and if you have the time, check out the two great walking/bike trails that we took on our way in and out of the City – the Rock Creek Trail and the Mount Vernon Trail. Seriously good bike paths, both leading right into the heart of the US capital – very impressive.