Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little Nellie Set Me Up

Sundays in November with temps in the 60s are rare birds. I'd kill myself if I didn't go for a ride.  So, finding suicide distasteful, Little Nellie and I lit out for parts unknown.

We began by meandering around the Fort Hunt area. This is you basic plain vanilla suburb. I contemplated riding down to Fort Belvoir but this being Armistice Day I figured there might be formal ceremonies or something. I turned to the north. I followed East Boulevard Drive on the east side of the GW Parkway. I much prefer riding on this stretch of road to the Mount Vernon Trail. It gets very little traffic and the houses are interesting and varied.  Some of the smaller ones probably date back to the 1930s when this was considered remote from DC.  These modest old frame houses are being knocked down and replaced by mansions. 

The Mount Vernon Trail was uncharacteristically uncrowded for such a nice weekend day.  I decided to take the Woodrow Wilson Bridge trail across the river to Maryland.  My legs, having had an easy day yesterday, had no trouble climbing to the top of the bridge.  The corkscrew ride downhill on the far side of the trail is always fun. The climb up to Oxon Hill Road wasn't. I have to say that I was impressed with myself as I reeled in a bicyclist and passed him near the top.

Once at Oxon Hill Road the options for further riding are pretty limited. I could go south on OHR and dance with the church going traffic or turn north and head to Oxon Hill Farm. I decided to do the latter. There is a pretty serious downhill next to the farm and it's usually thick with deer.  Oddly, today there were none.  The road gives way to a poorly paved trail around Oxon Cove.  This trail dumps out into a utilitarian area where there is a job training center, a Police academy, some greenhouses for the Smithsonian and other oddities.  I found a paved trail that headed away from the main trail and followed it..

Barn at Oxon Hill Farm
This side trail dropped me in a neighborhood of modest frame houses along side Indian Head Highway.  I took a left on the access road that runs parallel to IHH and headed toward DC.  Had I taken a right I could have climbed back up to Oxon Hill Road on a brand new (but not yet officially opened) access road. 

The access road gives out after a few blocks and I was forced out onto IHH.  There was plenty of room for Little Nellie and me since this section of the road has three wide lanes and several traffic lights to calm the autos down.  

I crossed into the city and spotted a big campaign sign. Marion Barry, the disgraced former mayor of DC, is still extremely popular in this corner of the city. He was re-elected. I wonder how the president would feel being put on a sign next to him.

Chutzpah: The Man in the Middle
IHH intersects the hilly and bumpy section of Martiin Luther King Boulevard. I decided to improvise a new route.  There were no street signs so I have no idea what roads I was on. I eventually intersected Mississippi Avenue which I am familiar with from the 50 States Rides I've done.  There was little traffic, a smooth riding surface and one big hill. 

My ride took me across the South Capitol Street Bridge depositing me at the home plate gate of Nationals Park.  The Nats were fun to watch this year even though I didn't go to any games. 

I made my way through southwest DC and across the Potomac River on the 14th Street Bridge.  Instead of taking the Mount Vernon Trail home I cut over to Crystal City and took roads that had very little traffic back to my house. Just before arriving at home, I stopped off at Sherwood Hall Gourmet for a Gary's Lunchbox sammich.  It tasted great after riding 34 miles in the sun.


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