Sunday evening after another long day working on the never ending deck project my dad left my house headed straight for his favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant; Shanghai Village. With my father gone I had a few things to put away then walk the dogs. Without much thought I figured it would be best for me to hop on the Single Speed and ride over to my dad's house as Lisa drives over with the kids. So, I helped load up the car then I took Roscoe and Brutus for a quick loop in the woods; hiking the dogs is a great way shed the day but riding the bike is better. Something about turning those cranks that really releases tension and allows the mind to wander. Once on the bike a glance at the time and I realized there was no time for elongated loops so I headed straight over to my dad's for a wonderful carry out feast. Upon my arrival I was saddened to see that the plates were full, some of the cartons were empty, and all of the soft shell crab had been devoured. There was still plenty to entertain my palate, but some soft shell crab would have been nice. The trip to my dad's house was a great escape from our Mt Pleasant house. We all love the change of scenery, especially Dean and Grant; they get so sick of those same walls everyday and every night. Everyone had already been swimming earlier that day so no one was rushing for the pool after dinner, there was plenty of entertainment with the Chinese food dinner, the assortment of Tonka trucks, and the popsicle desert. The cousins all bonded; 3 year old Dean and 4 year old cousin Eric fought over the big yellow trucks and toddler Conrad entertained infant cousin Grant with a set of multicolor toy bowling pins. The whole setting seemed symbolic of the pairing to happen in the years to come as Dean is a year younger than Eric and Grant is a year younger than Conrad. Once the popsicle had left all hands and faces sticky and nothing but a stick it was time to go home for a much needed bath. Again I helped Lisa load up the car and she was off, I headed back into my dad's house to put on my cycling gear said my good byes and head for home.
My path was through downtown Bethesda....oh how it has changed. Where did all these beautiful people come from? Where did all the warehouses and alleys go? Maloney Concrete is now a pseudo hipster Mexican hangout, Rio Grande, and the once dilapidated train tracks are now the well maintained Capital Crescent bicycle path, all the other landmarks are gone and forgotten. As I meandered through Bethesda I cut through a very familiar route in Chevy Chase where I would try to link up to the trails by Candy Cane City. My confidence was unfounded. I failed to recall the path that Les showed me 17 years ago, my route was inefficient, my road time was cutting into my trail time, a few too many wrong turns and cutbacks. Finally I was headed down Western Ave towards the Park, then with a right turn I was running parallel to the Park on Oregon Ave, perhaps I should have turned left. My light pointed to the woods rather than the road in front of me as I looked for a good place to dip into the woods.....no luck! There was the pleasurable site of 5 young bucks feeding on the landscaping of someone's suburban front yard, but it was single track that I wanted not venison. Eventually, I ended up linking up with the trails far further south than I had planned, no new or unfamiliar trails. The trusty old trails.
Either way I was on dirt. Nearly every car that passed me on this short trans-neighborhood excursion gave me fuel for rationalizing my scoff law adventure.
Once in the woods my energy change. I was invigorated. The anxiety of a geriatric unknowingly running me over as they head home from Bingo Night was gone. No more fears of some high school kid driving too fast and too furious in an effort to impress his or her adolescent cohorts. No third world transplant with their third world sensibilities and their lack of respect for the traveler on foot or on bike. Nope...no four wheel worries....just four legged worries...those glowing eyes that are hiding in the brush. Some eyes are high and some eyes are low...all eyes were on me. It must be a curious site to these animals.....this bright bluish light atop the helmet. Who knows what they make of it? Most people do not know what to make of it! The world will never know what they are thinking. Just the biologists and their love for anthropomorphism.
The dirt experience was short; more wide fireroad stuff than singletrack. And all the downhill stuff was taken at a moderate pace as I did not feel so good going over the water bars with my right foot coming disattached from the pedal at the precisely wrong time. No need to injure myself or my bike, no glory in spending the night lying facedown on a horse trail, bicycle by my side, waiting for the next hiker or jogger to find me exhausted and alone with a broken leg or back.
The highlight of the cross town trip was not the 5 young bucks, nor was it a fast sprint through one of the small sections of singletrack, it wasn't the glory of grinding up some climbs that I had to walk up in the winter. The highlight of the trip occurred when I was back on pavement running parallel to the creek on the bicycle path. I was on the bike path and all sorts of bats were flying in that seemingly erratic bat pattern above when what appeared to be a bat swooped down right in front of me. Then just when I thought this bat was going to slam into a large tree, this bat-like creature arced up slightly just inches before the tree and gently slapped onto the bark like it was made of velcro. But instead of sticking in place the bat turned out to be a flying squirrel and scampered up the tree with great agility and speed. It all happened so fast that it was hard to take it all in, but I am still confident in what I saw. Knowing full well that flying squirrels are indigenous to this area, but never seeing them, this was my first sighting. The wonder of nature made me feel all giddy inside. The smiles could not be contained within me, my teeth were open to the air as I rushed home to share my long awaited flying squirrel sighting with Lisa. Even after a few missions to see them, Lisa and I have even picnicked at certain spots waiting quietly for the flying squirrels to do their flying squirrel thing.
back to work
there were so many blogs in my head as I rode last night
but those ideas are gone and forgotten
if there were only a way to do a mental blog as I biked
guess that technology is around the corner