The Fourth Day of Furloughmas: Say Goodbye to My Little Friend

The alarm went off. I stayed in bed still tired from yesterday’s climbfest. I missed Friday Coffee Club and from the sound of it I may be the only bike rider in town who did.

I spent the morning like an old retiree: read the paper, watched some telly, did a little laundry. Then my body said, “Get outta here.” So Big Nellie and I did.

It’s eerie riding around here during the furlough, a bit reminiscent of the days after 9-11.

I watched a Park Service officer give a ticket to a driver who had parked at Belle Haven Park which is officially closed. Better to have people park across the Parkway and walk through high speed traffic, right. I think the Park Service should stand down and leave people alone. Put up signs that say Park Closed – Use at Your Own Risk instead.

I rode up to the 14th Street bridge past an empty parking lot at Gravelly Point. I am sure that blocking off the lot will solve a lot of problems. Somehow.

Near the DC end of the 14th Street bridge I encountered about 10 people riding Bikeshare bikes heading my way. They didn’t seem to get the idea that you ride on the right. Maybe they were Brits. Maybe they were clueless. Fortunately they moved to the right before crashing into me.

I rode over to East Potomac Park to check out Hains Point. The road was barricaded but the sidewalks weren’t. There seems to be uneven enforcement of the closure of things. I think the Park Service should close everything including the GW Memorial Parkway and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. This will piss off the Republicans in McLean and the Democrats in Bethesda, not just the tourists and bike commuters. Share the love, NPS!

I headed for home past the Pentagon which has a suspicious number of cars in the parking lot. Lots of essential people here.  Didn’t the evil doers get the memo about the government shutdown?

I stopped at Long Bridge Park to use the facilities. They are clean and open. Thanks, Arlington County.

In Crystal City I watched some workers painting a brand spanking new bike lane green. This is the finishing touch to making Crystal Drive a two way street. Now cyclists can ride directly from Long Bridge Park to the trail that connects with the Mount Vernon Trail. Why this took over decade to do is beyond me, but thanks again, Arlington County. By the way, Crystal City no longer is for mole people. There is actually a bona fide street scene with storefronts and pedestrians.

I rode back through the new city in Potomac Yards. A guy in a sports car buzzed by me in my lane. He was in a hurry to catch the next red light. Dude, it’s not a race.

At the south end of Old Town, I was riding along Washington Street when a car came up behind me and started beeping. I was in a good mood so I kept my middle finger on the handlebars. A few minutes later I was at a right angle to Washington at a stop light when the car came by. It was a little old lady who was barely tall enough to see over the steering wheel on which she had a death grip. I hope I have enough common sense to know when my driving days are over. (My daughter would say they already are! Yes, she’s the one who accounted for scraping up both sides of her mother’s car in the last 18 months.)

I arrived home to a celebratory Dove Bar – it was pretty hot out. After that, I conducted a silent funeral for an old friend. In 1991 B. K. (before kids) I rode Bike Virginia where I picked up a bike hat. I’ve been wearing it off and on ever since. It’s falling apart and appallingly scuzzy so I gave it the heave ho. Adios, amigo.

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