The weather around the mid-Atlantic has been unreal lately. Warm. Gently breezy. Not at all typical of early November. The good weather resulted in an extended fall foliage season, a real feast for the eyeballs.
With a forecasted high temperature in the high 70s I was planning on driving away from the city and doing a long-ish ride, maybe on the C&O Canal or on the eastern shore of Maryland. I turned on the TV to confirm the forecast. It was then I learned that the cable TV remote wasn’t working properly, which is to say at all. No bueno.
So I contacted tech support at the cable company. There is probably a way to get a knowledgeable human on the phone but I couldn’t find it on the Cox Communications website. So I used the company’s online chat feature. This involved two minute lags between questions and responses that dragged on for an hour, at which point the technical support person advised me that my remote was kaput. (This all could have been done in ten minutes on the phone but that’s so 1990s!)
The hour that I spent “chatting” would have been spent driving somewhere bucolic but, thanks to Cox Communications, that idea was dead and gone, kind of like my remote. So what’s a bicyclists to do? Ride to the cable store!
The closest retail store to my house is in a development called Kingstowne. This area was designed and built about 20 years ago. The roads have no shoulders and no bike lanes. There are paths meant for an evening spin around the townhouse developments but there are no wayfaring signs on them. On the way I had to ride on South Kings Highway, a car sewer with two steep hills. The county bicycling master plan had included a flat trail on the perimeter a wildlife preserve that would have allowed me to avoid this hellscape. Alas, the trail – which would have followed an existing utility easement – was removed from the plan at the last moment because it supposedly would have disrupted the wildlife. (If you want to go to this pristine environmental area you have to drive. Wildlife just love oil, gas, and other toxic fluids, Who knew? Welcome to Fairfax County, Virginia.)
So, I made it to the cable company office without being run over by a big metal thing and headed home. On the way I stopped at a big box hardware store to pick up some paper bags for leaf disposal. They were all out. It seems that our super nice fall weather caused a community-wide rake-o-rama.
Another mile or so later across the car rapids of U. S. 1, I arrived home. To my surprise the new remote worked so I wouldn’t have to go back through car hell to get another. Yay.
Noon time. I snarfed down a PB&J. Then I headed out on the CrossCheck for some more miles in my neck of the woods. After about eight more miles the CrossCheck turned 25. Woot!
I headed for Fort Hunt Park. This park has a loop road lined with trees that, up until this weekend, were a riot of fall colors. There is a half-mile bulb out along the loop road on which cars are prohibited. It’s a favorite of walkers. I took the bulb out and came upon a few people walking their Fidos. One of them said “Look at that buck! He’s an eight pointer!” I stopped and after a while and with some help from the Deer Spotter I saw the buck about 50 yards into the woods off the pavement. Wow. “There’s another. And another. And another.” Deer Spotter had great eyes because these deer were seriously camouflaged. Only when they moved could I see them. The eight-pointer was the boss. He was shooing the other three buckaroos to the right. Deer Spotter said that there were some does lying in a swale to the left. Only their heads were visible but I couldn’t see them. This time of year is mating season, the rut, for deer around here. Eight Pointer was having himself an orgy.
If I had gone out into the boonies on my bike I’d might have missed quite a show close to home. As I write this I can hear through an open window a fox barking outside. It’s a jungle out there.
Tomorrow promises more abnormally good weather. After I pick up the leaf bags (a new shipment arrives at the hardware store tonight) I’ll see about going somewhere with fewer cars and big horny critters.