Baseball, Bike Shop, and an Invisible Totem Pole

The other night I went to the baseball game at Nationals Park with my daughter. She drove to the Metro; I rode my bike. On my way to the park I spotted three women approaching from the north on the Mount Vernon Trail. As we passed, the lead woman, who was wearing reflective sunglasses that obscured her face, looked startled, and smiled. Hmmm? It turned out to be my friend Emilia, who is back on the bike after a medical crisis. Seeing her, and her reaction when she recognized me, made my day.

The game was fun even thought the home team lost. Typically we try to go to games when there is no rain or sauna (DC summers, don’t you know) in the forecast. The weather on this night was perfect. The only sour note was an ongoing verbal scrum between a Nats fan seated in front of us and some Phillies fans off to our left. The Nats fan just wouldn’t quit carping at them and she really spoiled the end of the game for us. (They say you can complain to an usher but she was obviously pals with the usher who was standing nearby witnessing the entire thing.) No more Section 319 for me, even at $12 a seat. (For the record, we paid more to see the Class AA Hartford Yard Goats earlier in the summer.)

Nighttime at Nats Park

After the game I rode home in the dark. The Nationals traded away most of their star players last week so attendance was understandably low. That meant that post-game car traffic was light which made the first two miles of the ride not nearly as stressful as usual.

Once I got to the Jefferson Memorial it was all trails, mostly the Mount Vernon Trail, for five miles to Old Town Alexandria. After a mile through Old Town, I was back on the MVT for another five or six miles. Lacking street lights, the MVT makes for an interesting riding experience. I just follow the big white ball made by my headlight. There were no critters to deal with on this ride home but I’ve seen deer and bunnies (their bouncing eyes at least) in the past.

Today, I drove Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent, back to Bikes at Vienna for some follow up work. It’s getting a stem riser which we hope will make the steering more like it was before the fork broke. Dr. Beth is on the case. She’s going to replace the front brake pads because the old ones are causing much noise and vibration. On the whole, I am quite happy that the bike is working so well.

As for Beth, she is recovering from a nasty crash on her recumbent. After a few days wearing a full leg splint, she has transitioned to a rather sturdy looking knee brace. She’s using a folding wheelchair to get around the shop, stylin’ in her bike shop cap. It was good to see her doing so well. I am sure she’ll be back to her old self in a couple of weeks.

After dropping off the bike I rode my CrossCheck into DC to see a totem pole that was recently shipped her from the Pacific Northwest. My friend Joe Flood posted a picture of a bird’s head from the pole which was awaiting assembly and had been placed in pieces in a park near the Interior Department. We are having a rare nice-summer-weather wave hereabouts so the ride to DC into a headwind was delightful. On the way I rode past Belle Haven Country Club. Along the roadside I spotted seven errant golf balls. Rich people suck at golf, apparently. I picked up five and left two that were hard to get to.

All the way to DC the sky was filled with puffy white clouds and an unusual amount of haze, no doubt from the wildfires out west. The weather and the ride were so pleasant that I didn’t even mind dealing with tourists who were wandering around the Lincoln Memorial like they were stoned.

I rode around and around the neighborhood near the nearby Interior Department passing the Federal Reserve, the State Department, the Institute of Peace, the American Pharmacists Association, the Pan American Health Association, the General Services Administration, as well as the headquarters of both the American Red Cross and Daughters of the American Revolution. Yeah, this is DC. Alas, there was no totem pole. Nor were there any totem pole pieces. The parks interspersed throughout the area were occupied by a few dozen tents housing homeless people. I thought about asking them if they had stashed the totem pole pieces in their tents then thought better of it. Maybe the totem pole is invisible.

Having failed to find the totem pole I rode past the White House. Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the president’s house has been milled and will soon receive some fresh pavement. Maybe then they can take away the remaining “bike rack” security barriers so that people can see the White House properly.

I rode down the 15th Street cycletrack to head back home. Police had stopped traffic near the entrance to the Ellipse (and the south side of the White House complex) to allow a motorcade to come through. There must have been a dozen huge black SUVs, one with a film camera and camera person on the roof. There was no way to tell if the vehicles carried real politicos or actors.

Before heading home, I took a spin around Hains Point. It’s 3 1/2 miles down to the point and back with hardly any traffic. On the return from the point I picked up a sixth golf ball that had been sent amiss by a duffer on the East Potomac Park course. Near the tennis courts, I passed up a tennis ball on the side of the road. Although I rode by some basketball courts later, I didn’t find any stray basketballs.

I like the yellow one.

Once past the Jefferson Memorial, I had a tailwind all the way home. Just before reaching my house, I spotted a bicyclist coming my way in the middle of our quiet side street. He was riding along side a runner. As I passed them I could see that the runner was a teenaged girl in a serious running outfit. She was cruising and had perfect form. This kid obviously has talent! I yelled, “You’re flying!” as I rode by and she and the rider, who must have been her proud papa, gave me a big smile.

I added the golf balls to the bag of balls in my shed. I haven’t counted them in a while but I would guess there are 50 or 60 balls in the bag. Anybody want a dozen?

2 thoughts on “Baseball, Bike Shop, and an Invisible Totem Pole

  1. I believe you were looking for a vertical totem pole. It lies parallel to the ground directly across the street from the Interior Dept in Rawlins Park. You can’t see it from the street unless you are beside it. I saw it Monday and some friends were there today.

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