The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail is a volunteer organization recently started to help the National Park Service with the trail. (The NPS has very little money so it needs all the help it can get.) Today, Judd, one if the group’s founders, led a bike ride from DC to Old Town Alexandria. It being Presidents Day, Judd guided the group to points of interest having to do with George Washington.
I started the day with a CT scan. It took much longer than planned so I didn’t have time to ride 14 miles to the starting point of the ride. With some logistical help from my friend Erin, I rode 12 miles to the 14th Street Bridge and waited for the riders to come across the Potomac from their first stop at the Washington Monument.
There were over 20 of them. They came down the ramp for the bridge and headed south along the MVT. After National Airport they headed west on the Four Mile Run and Washington and Old Dominion Trails. About six miles later they stopped at a marker indicating the northern most point of George Washington’s land. Judd explained how Washington personally took a block of granite and, with his bare hands, tore away chunks of rock to create the marker.
I made that up.
Did you know that George was a dog person? He had a dog named Sweet Lips.
I did not make that up, but its the kind of bizarre info that Judd had discovered in his research.
We backtracked along Four Mile Run, an old trail that meandered along the creek of the same name. I hadn’t ridden this section of trail in over 20 years. It was in surprisingly good condition.
Our route took us to the riverfront near Old Town Alexandria. I missed the turn and tool a few riders about a half mile out of their way. We made it back in time to see the very end of Judd’s remarks.
Judd led us to Christ Church, after some detours caused by the Presidents Day parade in Old Town. Christ Church dates to the 18th century. We went inside and were treated to a presentation by Dell, a church docent. Some of us actually sat in George Washington’s pew (actually, it is a box with a pew facing forward and back). Robert E. Lee also had a pew there. The place just oozed colonial cool. Amazingly none of our group were kicked out for being heathens.
From the church we rode west about a mile to the George Washington Masonic Temple on Shooters Hill. The highlight of the visit was going to the top and walking around the outside. The views were terrific. So was the gale coming from the west.
After our tour, we all headed to Whole Foods for beer and food. It’s a good thing because I was starving.
Judd explained how George Washington shopped in this very store.
I made that up.
When I left, I found that my Krytonite U lock refused to open.
After scores of tries, I gave up and called Mrs. Rootchopper. She brought my spare key to the lock but it didn’t work. So we drove to a hardware store and bought some WD40. I squirted it in the lock. Waited five seconds, inserted the key and rejoiced as I freed Little Nellie! Yay.
By this point the sun was setting and the beer was beering my brain, so I folded up the bike and popped it into the trunk of the car.
We drove home. Our home is on property that was once part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.
I did not make that up.