Monday, May 28, 2012

I Need a Cabinet Bad

Today was what people from Pawtucket call a scorchah.  It was hot and humid and just generally unpleasant to be outside. It was the kind of weather my friend Flor loved to ride in. She however is freezing her rock climbing, biking, running, Thai massaging, acroyoga-ing butt off in Argentina, so I was left all alone to endure the inferno.

Actually, local bicycling superheroes @gypsybug and @dailyrandonneur asked me to come with them on a ride to the far reaches of the known universe (which ended up being Sugarloaf Mountain) somewhere beyond Poolesville. Poolesville is a 45 mile bike ride from my house - I know because I done rode it last year. Beyond Poolesville is what my body calls fantasy. By the time they left their place in the city (15 miles from the Rootchopper Institute of Bicyclist Slumber), I was just waking up.  So a gang of three just wasn't going to happen. I decided to head in that general direction and maybe see them on their return.

After an unsuccessful utilitaire ride to the dry cleaner (closed on a holiday, "Pshaw!" I say), I headed out.  The superheroes are no dummies. They were on the road during the relative cool of the morning. I, being a cyclist of very little brain, waited for the furnace to get good and hot. My delayed departure also meant that I'd be dealing with considerable traffic on the Mount Vernon Trail.  I made it 11 miles to Gravelley Point near National Airport in one piece and pulled over to check on the superheroes. They were apparently hammering the bejesus out of the roads of Monkey County Maryland because there were no traces of their progress in Twitterland.

After watching a plane land (it never gets tired), I headed out. I looked left, then right, saw nothing, and took off. Somehow nothing to my right was a speeding bicyclist. She yelled at me and I apologized. I do wish she'd ride without her invisibility cloak though.

As I came across the 14th Street Bridge, I did a switchback turn to get to Ohio Drive which runs along the river, Two Japanese (?) tourists had their cameras ready so I waved as Big Nellie and I swooped by.  They were very excited. They will probably post my stupid smile and wave on the Internet for all their relatives to laugh at. My work here is done.

The ride to the Capital Crescent Trail was uneventful, other than being slowed by the bike and pedestrian traffic and the gawdawful riding surface near the Kennedy Center.  At Fletcher's Boat House I stopped at the porta potties which were too disgusting to use.  Then I proceeded up the nasty hill to MacArthur Boulevard. Once on MacArthur and over the hill near the reservoir, I could finally let Big Nellie rumble. We took the downhill at 30 miles per hour and let the momentum carry us to the Cabin John Bridge.

Cars were pretty patient with Big Nellie and me. Thank you Monkey County folks. At the Old Anglers Inn,  the high speed fun ended and the 10 minute grind up a long hill began.  Recumbents don't climb hills very well, particularly when they are carrying a heavy, inefficient engine (that would be moi). This hill is mercifully shaded and windy and ideal for decending on a recumbent (see below).

At Potomac Village I stopped for lunch in the shade at Au Bon Pain.  After buying a water bottle I headed out, taking a little loop through Avenel, a golf course with a shitload of tasteful mansions sprinkled about. I worked my way back to the top of the hill I had climbed earlier. 

Time for some street luge.  Long wheel base recumbents are obscenely fun on down hills, especially curvy ones. For the next several minutes, Big Nellie and I kept pace with the cars and then some.  Swoosh! Unfortunately there are parking lots on both sides of the road at the bottom of the hill. A BMW driver in need of some situational awareness pulled out in front of me. I slowed to a crawl as he looked for parking along the road. I could have passed him on the right and was glad I didn't as he made an unsignalled turn into a parking space. Death to yuppies.

Once I got rolling again I  could tell that the heat was really building. About a mile after the Cabin John Bridge, I saw some parking that indicated access to the C&O Canal. I decided to ride back on the canal towpath in the shade along the river. I had to walk Big Nellie down a narrow dirt path and carry her over dozens of cross timbers. To get to the towpath I'd have to wrestle Big Nellie down a steep flight of about 20 stairs. They was a channel along the side to put the wheels of a bike on so I turned Nellie around (not easy) and carefully made my way down to the towpath.  Hill climbing is one draw back to long wheel base recumbents. Portaging is another.

Thankful that our little hiking adventure was behind us, we took off for DeeCee. The towpath was a muddy, rocky mess so it was slow going. I went through two groups of Canada geese.  Their goslings were much more mature than  the ones I've been seeing near my home.  They had tail feathers and were only a couple of weeks from fledging.

Somewhat desperate for a rest room, I stopped at Fletcher's Porta Potties. I was willing to deal with disgusting, but not with no TP. (There was no TP because this is a national park. National parks don't have money for TP because certain members of the Tea Party don't want to fund them. I invite the members of the Tea Party to come to Fletcher's Porta Potties with their kids. Enjoy. Especially the ride home. Use your imagination for this part. This is America. In America, we use toilet paper, you idiots. Fund the park service properly. A few bucks for some TP won't end the republic. End of rant.)

Miffed and uncomfortable, but undaunted I rolled out on the Capital Crescent Trail which runs parallel to the towpath.  At the end of the CCT I spotted some people with incredibly muddy mountain bikes taking their bikes apart for transport on a motor coach (a bus with nice seats, a porta potty, and TP). It was probably a group who rode the towpath from the other end in Cumberland Maryland, 185 miles west.  Judging from all the mud all I can say is "better you than me."

I slalomed through crowds of tourists all the way to Gravelley Point. Here, for some reason, nobody would move out of the way. Bell ringing didn't help. "Please" didn't either.  Next time I'm bring my bicycle death ray. Fair warning people.

By this point I was also out of water.  A cloud passed in front of the sun and the temperature dropped ten degrees or more. Wow, did that feel good! At Daingerfield Island I finally found a rest room. Wow, did that feel good, too!  And some water, too!. Ooh la la. Nine miles to go.

As I rode, I poured some of my now ample supply of water over my head.  Since my barber scalped me last weekend, I have been experimenting with ways to keep from getting sunburn on my now nearly barren head. Yesterday and today, I wore a baseball cap in stead of a helmet.  Taking my cap off now and then was refreshing. Spraying water on my head was doubly so. (I really hate bike helmets and wear one 95 percent of the time, mostly because that's where I mount my headlight and as an example to my kids. They don't ride bikes and don't listen to me anyway so it's kind of pointless setting an example.)

Despite the heat I had a good time.  Thanks to @gypsybug and @dailyrandonneur (they have real names, or so I am told) for giving me a nudge out the door.  

So what does this blog have to do with cabinets. In Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a cabinet is a milk shake. God only knows why.


  1. Hats off to you for riding in the heat yesterday! Whew! I was outside for a few hours cutting my grass...I called it quits by noon, when the heat advisory started.

    1. My lawnmowing service decided to stay at the beach. He's going to need a combine to bring in the crop when he gets home.

  2. I wasn't aware of the advisory but I am not surprised. I'm not feeling really spunky today. Fortunately we have ice in the kitchen next to my office. I'll be drinking gallons of ice water today.