Just Another Bike Commute: Not!

It started out like any other day. I rode my bike along the Potomac River with a nice tailwind.  It being Friday and a day on which my calendar at work was empty, I didn’t go very fast.,  When I arrived in DC I figured I could take a few minutes to check out the newest (although officially still unopened) monument.  The Martin Luther King Memorial is nicely designed.  The man himself is carved out of a giant block o’rock like some sort of Mount Rushmore in miniature.  He looks out over the Tidal Basin more or less toward the memorial to that noted slave owner Thomas Jefferson.

Some think it is odd that the King Monument is carved from white stone instead of black.  I think it is a good choice because otherwise it would look like Boba Fett had frozen King in carbonite a la Han Solo at the end of the Empire Strikes Back (by far the best of the Star Wars movies, by the way.) 

The memorial includes some stone walls that showcase some of Dr. King’s inspiring words.  I couldn’t see much of them because the Park Service had erected an attractive chain link fence to keep me from enjoying the memorial too much.  I am sure there is some deep meaning in the fence keeping me from fully appreciating the memorial.  I trust they will remove it soon.

Having escaped the imaginary clutches of Jobba the Hutt using my frame pump as a light saber, I made it to work with 15 minutes to spare. Tailwinds are grand.

The ride home took on a quite different flavor.  It was super muggy and  a steady wind was in my face.  Preparations for the arrival of hurricane Irene were visible here and there.  The tennis bubble in East Potomac Park had been deflated.  I think this is a shame because I’ve always wanted to see what one of those suckers looks like when it is airborne. Oh well, another time.  As it is, it looks like a giant came along and was preparing to fold his bed linens.

In Old Town Alexandria, the shop keepers on Union Street had spent the day preparing for the usual flood.  Union Street is one block from the Potomac and it sits at the base of a hill down which storm water cascades. Basically it’s a mess every time we have a big storm or a snow melt.  The first floor of the Virginia Store, which sells stuff made in and about Virginia, is several steps below the sidewalk. These folks were nearly wiped out when hurricane Isabel came through a few years ago.  This time they moved all their wares to the second floor BEFORE the storm arrived.  .  

Across the street the Firehook Bakery took advantage of the sandbags provided by the city.  This is pretty typical for shops along this street.  I hope it does some good.

For many years one of my favorite book and music stores, Ollson’s, occupied two stories at the corner of Union Street and Wales Alley. Amazon.com killed them and the property was recently renovated into a spiffy looking saloon.  Having spent several hundred thousand dollars on the endeavor, the owners (who own several other Old Town establishments well away from the river) faced Irene with tongue firmly in cheek.  Their plastic, sandbag and plywood barricades posted signs of wit and whimsy. (Okay, that’s the last time I use “whimsy” in this blog.)

If you’re facing an utterly miserable couple of days, you might was well go with the flow, so to speak, and have fun. This saloon is throwing a hurricane watch party. Let’s hope the revelers have dry feet when the party ends.

I arrived home to find this interesting looking gizmo in my backyard. We are having our deck replaced and the work was supposed to start tomorrow.  That’s been postponed until next week in deference to the wrath of Irene, which augers well for the project. (Sorry,  I couldn’t help myself.)

Good luck all you East Coasters.  Let’s hope Irene is as interesting and innocuous as the Mineral Virginia earthquake earlier this week.

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One thought on “Just Another Bike Commute: Not!

  1. Great blog post! 🙂 I think I'll lead a Brompton ride next month to the new monument. 🙂 Too bad they had to postpone the festivities due to the hurricane. Hope Old Town Alexandria fared okay in the storm….

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