My rides around the DC area involve passing three golf courses. As any duffer will tell you, balls that are abandoned in the weeds beyond the course are fair game. Finders keepers and all that. I have made a habit of picking up golf balls when I spot them on the side of the road. When I get back home, I toss the balls into a cloth bag and forget about them,

Yesterday I rode on Fort Hunt Road for the first time in a few weeks. The road surface has been milled for repaving. This makes for bad riding (especially if you manage to hit an exposed manhole cover). Not having ridden by Belle Haven Country Club, there was an unusual bounty of balls along the road. I passed on the first one I saw because it was in an intersection. Then I saw another, and another, and another….eleven in all. I felt like turning towards the golf course on the opposite side of the road and yelling, “Hold your fire!!!”

The eleven was a sort of personal record for a single ride. I normally find multiple balls in the spring when the ground is hard and the golfers are rusty. Yesterday’s haul may be evidence that the pandemic has caused a secondary pandemic of lousy golfers.

In any case, I decided to empty the bag and see how many balls I have found this year.

123 and counting

Restored – Grand Staircase – Escalante and Bears Ears

My 2019 tour took me through some breathtaking scenery in central Utah. One of the highlights was a hair raising ride through Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. The day before I had ridden just south of Bears Ears National Monument. The pictures I took don’t begin to do this area of Utah justice, of course. It is beautiful but harsh terrain.

I took a break in Grand Staircase at a highway overlook. I was standing at a railing taking in the sights when a van pulled up behind me. A little old lady (I’d guess she was 80, at least) carefully stepped out of the van. She looked out at the landscape with an expression of awe on her face. “This is so beautiful!” she said to me.

She was wearing a MAGA cap. She had no idea her beloved president had recently downsized the two monuments to 228,000 acres from it’s previous size of 3 million acres.

National Monuments can be created by executive order. And executive orders are modified at the will of the president in power. Thus, the size of these monuments was reduced. Today, the White House announced that the two monuments would be restored to more than 3 million acres. I don’t know if the MAGA lady is still alive, but I wonder if she has the slightest idea that any of this happened.

As for me, I am thrilled. This area of the country has a surreal beauty that just blew me away. To think that it would be open to development and artifact hunters was really depressing. We owe the preservation of these lands to our descendants.