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.
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!
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.