Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Report: Floating and Biking

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer and apparently DC listened, bringing us the kinds of temperatures that say It is summer and you will rue the day you thought living in a mid-Atlantic swamp was a good idea.

Oh well. Sweatiness aside, I still love my city. And on Sunday of this most glorious 3 day weekend, a group of my friends and I went “floating” at Harper’s Ferry to take full advantage of the summeriness. (In my family we call this activity “tubing,” but apparently to southerners it’s all about the float.)

(This isn't us - I didn't bring my camera on the river.)
We drove out to Harper’s Ferry, where a very bossy and militant “trip leader” herded us onto a bus and drove us to the Shenandoah River. (So much stress to go relax!) But once we were butts-in-tubes on the water it was pure floating bliss.

I am an experienced tuber – my family has been floating down the Truckee River and bobbing in tubes in Tahoe for years. There is nothing better than laying back and enjoying the sunshine on my stomach, gunshots in the background and tree branches falling into the river. (That just took a turn for the unexpected there, huh? I’m not even kidding – gunshots in the distance - we were in West Virginia - and a huge tree branch almost took out LOTR-Emily and her boyfriend!!!) But despite those mild hiccoughs at the beginning, it was a glorious couple of hours in the sunshine.

After tubing we headed into the town of Harper’s Ferry (I’ve been hiking around there before). We sat outside for lunch, then explored the historic town, complete with reenactors and ruins and everything.

(It took all of my will-power NOT to climb to the top...)

We concluded that next time we'll be a bit more prepared and pick a place with a longer float.

In other weekend news, I needed exercise like woah, so the other outsidey thing I did was take SpeedyKate’s bike for a couple rides. Saturday morning I had a limited amount of time, so I biked to Alexandria and back (about 23 miles). That was just a warm-up for my Sunday ride, which I couldn’t start until 3pm at the height of the heat.

The nice thing about biking though, is that you can do it when it’s hot. Running yesterday afternoon would have been absolutely impossible and I would have melted into a puddle of misery. But biking has an inherent breeze-in-your-face factor that keeps me normal-temperatured. I peddled my way to Mt. Vernon, listening to music in one ear and singing along when appropriate/able. Every park I passed through was full of Memorial Day celebrants out enjoying the day, odors of charcoal and bar-b-q wafting along the bikepath and kids all over the place.

I had a headwind on the way there, so I was pretty tired by the time I arrived at Mt. Vernon. And then the sad fact of out-and-backs hit me – I’m tired and thirsty and now I need to get home! 

On the way back I cut across the George Mason Bridge in the interest of avoiding tourist-covered traffic-y Mall. Clearly I made it and was fine (40 miles!!!!), though I definitely drank about a gallon of water and had to lay on my floor for a bit the moment I walked in the door.

I ended the day as all summer days should end – eating (well-deserved?) Fro Zen Yo with LOTR-Emily. Ummm hello new non-fat butter pecan flavor!

And that, my friends, was that. Happy Memorial Day to you all!