Excursion Washington DC – Fairfax, VA

 Fairfax, Washington  Kommentare deaktiviert für Excursion Washington DC – Fairfax, VA
Okt 022015
 
Excursion Washington DC -  Fairfax, VA - Oct 1st, 2015 My plan to cycle on to the Virginia coast is off for the next few days! Although Hurrican "Joaquin" was probably not going to hit the coast directly it did bring along a huge amount of rain- see maps below. So I informed my warmshowers hosts for Friday evening (100 km in the rain was definitely not appealing!) and decided to wait for dryer times. I took the metro to Washington DC, instead, accompanied by Tove, my friend Omar's wife. We walked from Smithsonian Station to the National Gallery of Art where we spent some hours. Similarly to my visit to the Art Gallery in Cleveland I had a good look at the American Landscape collection and enjoyed paintings by Bierstadt, Turner and Cole and all the others who had their part in mystifying and popularising the American West through their paintings. After a stroll along Constitution Avenue past many government buildings down to the White House in the pouring rain we finally got to that point in the gate from where you could see the White House best. We lined up with a million Chinese, Indian and European tourists just like us and awaited our turn to take the pictures. "Ladies and gentlemen", we heard, "please move back to the entrance, your time is up!" We hadn't even noticed that we had obviously walked into a group with a certain time allotment! So we quickly took our two pictures - none of which were particuarly good (see below!) because we were rushed out while we were taking them - just too bad. On the  other hand it was really raining, so I doubt we could have taken any better ones given more time. When we passed the Washington Monument Tuva reminded me that we had tickets to go up for Oct 13th - so we would hope for better weather then. USA_CAN_gesamtV1 Joaquin2 Joaquin3 20151001-DSCN6744       20151001-DSCN6773
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"Sunrise in the Catskills", 1826, by Thomas Cole

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Another painting by Thomas Cole

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A reproduction of this painting called "The Jolley Flatboatmen" by George Caleb Bingham hung in my living room for many years ...

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This "Cottage Scenery" (1845) by Bingham has an interesting background. Cottage Scenery is one of four paintings by George Caleb Bingham accepted for display at the 1845 exhibition of the American Art-Union, a pioneering organization in the promotion of contemporary American art. Bingham’s first submissions to the Art-Union, these works also were among his earliest forays into the western subject matter that would preoccupy him for more than a decade; the group also included the iconic river picture Fur Traders Descending the Missouri (1845, Metropolitan Museum of Art). The bucolic scene of farmers before their cottage—sheltered by leafy trees and overlooking pasturing cows, a lake or river, and distant hills—resembles the rustic settlements the artist knew as a youth in rural Missouri. In composing the work, Bingham seems to have taken to heart a statement in the Art-Union’s 1844 annual report. Encouraging American artists to create landscape paintings in order to satisfy the organization’s largely urban membership, the document stated that “those who cannot afford a seat in the country . . . may at least have a country seat in the parlors; a bit of landscape with a green tree, a distant hill, or low-roofed cottage.” A largely self-taught painter who began his career as a portraitist, Bingham here blends landscape and genre, and as such hints at a transition occurring in his career. The trio of figures in conversation enlivening the picturesque view suggests his growing interest in genre scenes, developed as a result of his contemporary William Sidney Mount’s success in that arena. Like his masterpieces The Jolly Flatboatmen and Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, Cottage Scenery was purchased by the Art-Union directly from Bingham. Through a lottery, the progressive organization guaranteed its members a chance to win one of the original paintings featured in its annual exhibition. It also popularized those paintings by distributing thousands of prints of them to its members across the country. John D. Carhart of Macon, Georgia, was the recipient of this canvas, which remained in his family for more than 100 years. (source: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.166430.html)

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... at least here I got to see the Niagara Falls! Frederic Edwin Church "Niagara", 1857

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A funny picture: "Hound and Hunter", 1892, Winslow Homer

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Taken in a hurry; "Come on, let's move"! the official called.

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 Posted by at 6:05 AM

Excursion Washington DC – Fairfax, VA

 VA, Washington  Kommentare deaktiviert für Excursion Washington DC – Fairfax, VA
Okt 022015
 
Excursion Washington DC - Fairfax, VA Sep 30,2015 On this planned day of rest in Fairfax I did the usual thing a long-distance cyclist needs to take care of when he has the opportunity. Here is a tentative list, incomplete surely but it will give you an idea ...:
  • air and dry wet tent
  • enjoy luxury of shower and warmth
  • wash clothes - all of them without going naked 🙂
  • eat, eat, eat good homecooked food
  • work on my blog (well, I let that slip a bit because I was with friends and we had so much to talk about ...)
  • go through gear for the umpteenth time ... this time I can experiment a bit because I know I am going to come back to DC and fly home from here, so I will try a different and  leaner gear setup for some days.
  • study maps and weather forecasts ... more on that later!
Fairfax has an REI outdoor store which I looked up - an outdoor person's candyshop!! I bought a replacement spoon for the one I lost and a new merino wool first layer shirt which feels so good plus a waterproof phone holder. Why didn't I have one already? Well, I usually plot my gpx-files on komoot using the laptop and then transfer them to my waterproof Garmin etrex 30 . But I have come across the situation in which I spontaneously need to do some re-routing and in my experience the OSM-maps I have been using on the Garmin tend to lead me astray whereas komoot is more reliable in keeping me on cycle roads or trails. And then again I realized it was raining. Si I looked at the weather forecast and saw a huge hurricane system moving north towards the coast from the Bahamas to the US ....
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An Outdoor store wth a huge variety of "toys"

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Fairfax has several malls which offer all kinds of goods but - as in many places - strangely does not include grocery shopping. You need to drive a car to the next "real" supermarket!

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A popular restaurant - some people are really excited about the good quality of the food served here. I will check it out!

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Inside the mall ...

 Posted by at 6:04 AM
Sep 302015
 
Day 76 - Chisel Branch Hiker/Biker Campground, (C&O) to Valley Ridge Circle Fairfax, Sept.30, 2015 In Safe Hands My last night at one of the "primitive" but very enjoyable campgrounds along the C&O was over and my old friend Omar in Fairfax was expecting me "for lunch" so I set off on the last 75 km around 7 am. When I reached Chain Bridge across the Potomac the quiet rural and wooded times were over. The path itself had shielded me from DC traffic for 30 km but now I climbed up from the river to Arlington and on to Fairfax in quite steep inclination. After 3 days riding very flat this was a welcome change in exertion! I got onto the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Track which took me further southwest to Fairfax which I reached just hours before the rain set in. ... Seeing old friends again after more than 20 years is a happy moment! At this point I was looking forward to a day or two with rest, good food and showers and then was hoping to continue my trip to Fredericksburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown, to tour the old heritage sites of the Founding Fathers of the US. Let us wait to see how the weather develops.  
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Some Early Bird-Watchers ...

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The closer I get to DC the better is the state of the locks on the C&O, in fact this one looks fully operational.

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8 bunk beds in this "romantic" lockmaster's house for 100$ a night seems like a nice adventure. The two people in the picture arejust coming out after having spent the night there.

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One of wuite a few herons on the canal

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The last miles of calm wooded serenity before DC

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The guesthouse near the Great Falls on the Potomac ...

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For tourist purposes only but a hundred years ago coal boats clearly dominated.

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These falls of the river Potomac formed a serious challenge to the engineers who were trying to construct the canal.

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During the ice age the river changed its bed more than once and left very uneven terrain

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Leaving the towpath at Chain Bridge to turn upwards to Arlington and Fairfax

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Back in the city ...

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... with a little respite provided by this Rails to Trails - Track

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A very warm welcome by old friends

 
 Posted by at 6:10 PM