Our Nation’s Capital

21Oct09

Washington DC has been a lot of fun. The weather wasn’t the best for our time there but we had a lot of fun in the museums. Our stay at Chris and Bill’s was very nice and comfortable. Thanks again you guys! From there house we were able to travel by foot, bus and then the red line Metro into downtown. The first day we soaked up some sunshine and wondered around the Mall and went to the Lincoln Memorial. The whole place is quite stunning and a bit surreal. I hadn’t been there in 20 years. The days following were wet and cold (in the 40’s)  and we spent the our days in the museums. We visited the American Indian Musuem, Hirshhorn and the East wing of the National Art Gallery.  The modern Art and Contemporary at the National Gallery was amazing. We were able to see more of Andy Goldsworthy stone work and a few more Chuck Close pieces. Lots of Picasso, Ernst, Johns and Miro too. Quite a collection indeed!

We did get to see a lot of cool homes under 800 sq. ft that were on display on the Mall. These were put on by the Dept. of Energy and a lot of Schools participated. One of our favorites was the Silo house from Cornell University.

We left the Capital building to Bernie Sanders and did not make it to the White House but we felt we saw a lot. The Metro is easy to navigate and the buses were not too bad either. One fun part of the trip was that we were able to visit Bill at his office at the Dept.  of Energy.  Nice view from the office! We took a quick trip through the African Art Museum too.

Our last day in DC was raining and we managed to pull off 33 miles in the rain. We had a successful exit through a series of bike paths and local roads which eventually led us to the Capital Crescent trail. We popped out in Bethesda, MD and rode directly into a downtown Art and Music festival (still 40 and raining). We looked for you Judith but didn’t see you there! A quick cup of coffee and then a speedy descent down to the C&O canal. The C&O had varying conditions and my favorite was I call pumpkin mud. You can imagine. Lots of grit and beautiful scenery. We camped at Swain’s lock just north of Great Falls. We spent all of Sunday in our tent waiting for the rain to stop. Zero miles that day. On Monday we traveled 17 miles further up the towpath to White’s Ferry where we boarded a cable actuated ferry to cross the Potomac. Bicyclists cost one dollar. We met a very nice woman on the ferry named Sara Lee. Happy 80th Birthday Sara Lee!!! After the ferry we had a quick trip into Leesburg, VA and then about a ten mile roll on the Washington and Old Dominion Rail Trail to Purcellville, VA.

Tuesday, we had awful time riding and got stuck on a State secondary highway with no shoulders and fast moving tractor trailers. No real love in VA yet – hopefully, the roads will improve. After the highway we were able to get on some real rural roads that followed the Shenandoah river valley which was truly stunning. The day was improving dramatically. Actually, the Shenandoah valley has proven to be some of the most exciting riding we have done. We managed to eek out 39 miles with some huge push/climbs and made it to Front Royal, VA. Not a very exciting town but we managed to find a nice coffee shop and are looking for a bike shop to get some bike route maps for VA. Today we will be climbing up onto Skyline drive and will head 22 miles to a campground. Anyone thru hiking the AT at the moment? We hope to stay in a couple of trail shelters too.

Here are some pics so far….

The Capital Building

The Capital Building

Bryan reading the front page of the Burlington Free press at the Newseum

Bryan reading the front page of the Burlington Free press at the Newseum

The Silo House on the Mall - Cornell University

The Silo House on the Mall - Cornell University

Stunning flower outside the  Smithsonian Castle

Stunning flower outside the Smithsonian Castle

Debi within the Hirshhorn grounds

Debi within the Hirshhorn grounds

Tunnel to the West wing of the National Art Gallery

Tunnel to the West wing of the National Art Gallery

Campsite on the C&O Canal - free for hiker/biker folks

Campsite on the C&O Canal - free for hiker/biker folks

Great Falls on the Potomac River

Great Falls on the Potomac River

C&O Canal

C&O Canal

Sunset on the Potomac

Sunset on the Potomac

One of the many hazards on the roads are giant black walnuts, acorns and whatever these grapefruit sized things are..anybody know what we have here? Pete K. do you know?

One of the many hazards on the roads are giant black walnuts, acorns and whatever these grapefruit sized things are..anybody know what we have here? Pete K. do you know?

Cable actuated ferry across the Potoamc to Virginia

Cable actuated ferry across the Potoamc to Virginia

Rural road in the Shennedoah valley

Rural road in the Shennedoah valley

Like Vermont but paved - Debi called it the roller coaster road

Like Vermont but paved - Debi called it the roller coaster road

Happy trails!

Bryan and Debi

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29 Responses to “Our Nation’s Capital”

  1. 1 Chris Doyle

    Hey guys,

    Glad to hear you haven’t drowned or frozen. Is that frost on the trees along the canal? Or maybe just a black and white image? Also, I’m so glad you got to see the crazy LED moving sidewalk between the East and West wings of the National gallery. I love it! According to my friend and coworker Gace, the green brain-like things are called osage oranges. I hear they make a nice fruit compote, not! Keep on peddling!

    Chris

    • 2 thrubike

      Thanks Chris!

      Osage Orange it is. We had about eight people tell us what it was which was pretty funny. I have since learned that the Osage Orange tree wood was very highly prized by native Americans for making bows. They would travel hundreds of miles to get it.
      Sad to have missed you when we left. Thank you again for your hospitality! DC was a lot of fun for us. The day we left your house we rode 33 miles in the rain and then camped out near Great Falls. When we reached Bethesda they were having an Art fair of some sort and all the streets were closed to vehicular traffic. That seemed like a busy area with all kinds of stuff to do.

      Take Care,

      Bryan

  2. 3 Pete Kochalka

    Hello Bryan & Debi, That strange fruit is from the Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)tree. Check out the info in Wikipedia. It’s an amazing plant. I always wished I could grow it in Vermont. I’m so glad you have this blog site. I really enjoy reading about your travel and are always excited when you make another post. Pete

    • 4 thrubike

      Pete,

      Thanks for checking us out. We are having a pretty good time of it so far. We actually just broke a 1,000 miles yesterday. I am reading a book by Stephen Ambrose titled Undaunted Courage. It is the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Thomas Jefferson. Just last night I read in it that the Osage Orange tree was highly prized by natives for making bows. They would travel for hundreds of miles to get it.
      I hope all is well up there – I would imagine the mountain has a little snow up on it? I hope so. We saw a little on the sides of the roads in Shenendoah National Park but that was about it. We are getting further south everyday which feels pretty good.

      Take care,
      Bryan

  3. 5 Marlys

    The big green fruit is an osage orange.

    • 6 thrubike

      Thanks Marlys!

      We may have more Q’s as we go. We are not carrying any plant or tree books with us – just a bird guide. Every few days we see more kinds of plants that we don’t recognize.

      Hope you are well and your year is off to great start!

      Take Care,

      Bryan

  4. 7 Justin Kuryloski

    I believe that you have crossed paths with the fruit of a Osage-orange. Just discovered your site today. You guys rock!!

    Justin

    • 8 thrubike

      Justin,

      Thanks for checking us out! We are having a pretty good go of it so far. We get our buts kicked hear and there but we get through.

      The Spot tracker you guys hooked us up with is working great. On the blog there is a track us page and then there is a link to our shared map. As long as it isn’t too cloudy or forested it works awesome.

      Hope you guys are having fun and keeping busy!

      Take Care,

      Bryan

  5. 9 leslie

    hey debi and bryan! the brainy looking thing is the fruit of the osage orange tree (i am 80% sure about this). It is a shorter tree with orange roots!

    • 10 thrubike

      Thanks Leslie!

      Osage orange it is. Hope you two are having fun and getting some local rides in!

      Stay well,

      Bryan and Debi

  6. 11 Kate Cross

    The “grapefruit size” ugly fruit are Osage oranges. I live off of Osage Drive and my neighbors have an osage tree in their backyard. The boys used to use them as softballs when they dropped to the ground in the fall. They make a mess when hit with a bat! I just throw them into a pile for the squirrels to nosh on all winter. Martha Stewart sprays them gold and hangs them from ribbons for Christmas. Or, you can just pile them up in a basket on your porch. Their bright green color is lovely!

    • 12 thrubike

      Thanks Aunt Kate!

      Osage Orange it is. We are learning more and more about the tree all the time. We have found them dangerous if they are littered across our path.

      Bryan

  7. 13 Cousin Peggy

    The blog is really enjoyable for all of us wannabe travelers! Thanks for keeping us with you on the journey!
    I’m a Andy Goldsworthy fan also; and how fortunate that you got to see the exhibit of the 800sq ft houses. Makes me want to show you the Montreal stone dwelling where our nuns lived and thrived in the 1600’s. Maybe some day!

    • 14 thrubike

      Peggy,

      That sounds interesting. I would love to see it some time. Thanks for keeping tabs on us. We just broke a 1,000 miles yesterday! We need to get a little further south still before the temps are where we want them.

      Hope you are well in that great, great city.

      Bryan and Debi

  8. 15 Mom

    Absolutely awesome pictures…….need to take more of you and Bryan…
    xxxxoooo

  9. 17 Terri

    ditto— awesome pictures. Love reading about your journey–be well and take care and Sioux says “hi-woof” he is an amazing dog and we love him!!!
    hugs T

    • 18 thrubike

      Terri,

      We are so glad everything is working out with Sioux! He is something else that is for sure.

      Hope you and your whole family are well.

      Take Care,

      Bryan

  10. 19 Gretchen

    I’m so enjoying following you both. Keep on truckin. Lots of love.

    • 20 thrubike

      Gretchen you are awesome!

      Thanks for keeping tabs on us. We hope you and your whole family are well! Say hello to Michael and any other stray cats in the vicinity!

      Much love,

      Bryan and Debi

  11. 21 keri

    each day you’re moving closer to ME — ta he he he. I hope you made it to the Friedrich’s homestead and all is well. We’re ready for you… muah, k

    • 22 thrubike

      ME as in you or ME as in Maine – just jokin’

      The Friedrich’s were wonderful and we even got a couple of rides in with John. We will see you soon!

      Bryan

  12. 23 Leyna

    Such lovely photos! I’m really enjoying your blog. So…when exactly will you two be biking through Seattle? Much love and happy riding.

    • 24 thrubike

      Funny you should ask. We thought we might try to catch some cargo ferry from Panama to Anchorage and then ride south. We are not sure how long that will take but we are open for anything1

      Thanks for reading!

      Bryan and Debi

  13. 25 Jean Findlay

    I’m the friend (and driver) of the great 80-year-old Sara Lee whom you met at Whites Ferry! She thanks you for your kind birthday wishes. She enjoyed visiting with you two most attractive people. She also is very impressed, and so am I, with your travel plans and sense of adventure. Thanks for mentioning her in your blog, Debi and Bryan. I agree with those others who knew the mystery plant as an osage orange. Jean and Sara Lee

    • 26 thrubike

      Jean,

      Thanks so much for checking out our site! That means a lot to us. We found Sara Lee to be an inspiration. Best of luck with all your adventures!

      Take Care,

      Bryan and Debi

  14. 27 Kate Cross

    This is SO fun! I want to know Frank the Cop, Sara Lee, Frederieck (sorry if I misspelled that one), Sandhi, and all the interesting people you’ve met–and in this way, I can!! Keep up the good work (and good play!)

    • 28 thrubike

      Thanks we will! We have truly met some great people on the road. Oddly, enough all the wonderful people we have met have approached us on foot.


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