Finally, a day without rain! Yay. I hopped on Big Nellie and headed south for the village of Occoquan on the Occoquan River. I was looking forward to riding the 20+ miles there and settling in with a book and a cup o’joe.
The Mount Vernon Trail was a bad choice for the ride. It is covered in wet leaves. Big Nellie does not like slick surfaces because her weight distribution is skewed toward the rear, resulting in the front wheel skidding out and the engine (that would be me) hitting the ground. I managed to avoid crashing but it made for a slow and tense trip.
At about 7 miles, I was supposed to turn into Fort Belvoir. Traversing the fort is necessary because US Route 1 through the fort is a high speed four lane road with no shoulders. When I made the turn, I was greeted by a big electric signs advising that the entrance was closed. Bummer.
I decided to ride across Route 1 and head back north on neighborhood side streets. It is a boring, flat ride and you can get lost easily. I’ve done it a million times though so no worries. Once back in my neck of the woods, I headed north on Fort Hunt Road, thereby avoiding the MVT’s leaves. I took a side trip to Spokes to cash in a coupon for a free tube. And who said ad mail was junk?
In the store I chanced upon an old friend Jeff who was buying pedals for his bike. Jeff’s son has a habit of appropriating bike parts from Jeff’s bike for his own bike. What are kids for, right? Jeff and I traded furlough stories for a good half and hour before heading our separate ways. I went north on Fort Hunt Road to find some coffee. I ended up at Misha’s Coffeehouse at King and Patrick (US 1) Streets in Old Town. The Route 66 blend seemed appropriate since I was getting my kicks. I also bought a macaroon-type food thingy. The coffee was tasty, but the macaroon left me wanting more eats.
I rode Patrick Street north through Old Town. I then turned off onto Potomac Avenue, a new road that runs parallel to US 1 and that seems to avoided detection by 99 percent of drivers. Several miles later I stopped at the Pentagon 911 Memorial, to use the rest room. It is a moving memorial that you should check out if you haven’t. There is ample bike parking at the entrance.
A mile further on I rode in front of the Lincoln Memorial where I was surprised to see tourists all over the place. I guess the Park Service has given up on the silly barriers it was putting up all over town.
I rode Constitution Avenue the length of the Mall and up Capitol Hill. Then I hopped over to East Capitol Street and rode that due east to RFK Stadium. The signage for bike routes around RFK leaves a lot to be desired but I managed to find Oklahoma Avenue which led me to the Anacostia River Trail system. I crossed the river and rode the trail to the streets of Anacostia, because you can never climb Martin Luther Kind Jr. Boulevard enough times. I improvised, using part of the 50 States Route, and wended my way to Valley Drive which dropped me one block from the DC-Maryland line. I took a left and was soon riding merrily through strip mall bound traffic on Indian Head Highway. I moved to an access road to avoid the loving embrace of a steady stream of SUVs and ground up a long hill. Soon I was enjoying street luge on the streets descending to National Harbor.
I crossed the Potomac on the fab Woodrow Wilson Bridge trail and headed up the MVT for home. I arrived without any lead induced mishaps and congratulated myself for snatching a 48 mile ride from the clutches of the nonexistent biking infrastructure of southeastern Fairfax County.