Sunday, April 18, 2010

Epic Bike Rides and Unique Work Schedules

So this last Wednesday I awoke about 7:00 AM to find an absolutely beautiful spring day that was simply begging for adventure. And since the day before had been cold and rainy I simply had to oblige! So I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do one of the things I was really wanting to do while here in DC, to ride my bike along the "Mt. Vernon Trail" from Theodore Roosevelt Island all the way to Mount Vernon. That particular trail follows the Potomac for 18.5 miles, winding through the historic community of Alexandria, VA and then through the trees and extensive flora on the approach to the home of George Washington. It was an absolutely splendid and beautiful ride, and I picked the right time to go! There was green everywhere and flowers and all sorts of color surrounding me on the journey.

I actually rode from my house which added a little more than 6 additional miles to the journey, totaling just shy of 25 in about two hours and twenty minutes (including the necessary stops at signs and lights in both DC and Alexandria). Since I had made such good time I had the chance to explore a lot more of Mount Vernon. The gardens were splendid and full of flowers and you could really appreciate the diversity of Washington's planting in the many different trees and plants surrounding the estate. I also explored the re-creation of a frontier farm including Washington's unique threshing barn as well as a bit of the forested area of the estate. Quite the lovely place! Alas, I failed to locate the secret passageways and tunnels pictured in National Treasure 2! 

Then it was time to turn around and ride back home, which I miraculously managed to accomplish, thus completing a circuit of nearly 50 miles, definitely the longest distance I have ever traveled in a single day via non-motorized (or enginized) transportation! It was a glorious adventure, though a very tiring one!

On Thursday I rode my bike to work (5.5 miles) then to the discussion/small group I have started attending (5 miles) and then back home again (10 miles) for an additional total of a solid 20 miles, thus compounding the effects of the day before. My legs were very clear that they would likely stage a revolution if I were to subject them to further torment, so I have used the metro to get to work the last several days!

I actually drove to work today because I came in quite early today, arriving at 5:30 in order to load up, transport, and set up the necessary materials to clean the Vietnam Wall. I have volunteered to help supervise weekly wall washings of both the Vietnam and Korean memorials over the course of the next five months. I will be going out about once a month, early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday so that all the cleaning is done before visitors start to arrive. It is a pretty sweet deal actually. I get here between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning, but then get to leave between 2:00 and 2:30, so I get a lot more time at the end of the day! It was actually really neat to be a part of cleaning the wall and to see the volunteers come out and give there time early on a Sunday morning to help keep the memorial looking the way it is intended to look. And today they didn't have any specific site that I needed to be at so I actually had time to work on my special talk on Joshua Chamberlain which I am giving in a few weeks! (my advertisement for the talk is attached) And I can make it even better because if I wait and take a 1:00 lunch (which would be about the time I normally do take lunch) I can just leave at 1:00. Hence the reason I am writing this email on Sunday afternoon! I have spent the morning in the bowels of the Jefferson Memorial at our secret ranger library, and I figured I would just stay and use this computer while I was already here.

Now I am off to find a spot to sit and read about Colonel Chamberlain for a while. I am thinking I may go try and find a sitting spot in Rock Creek Park so I can enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

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