Day 9: Silver Spring to Lorton, VA

Yesterday morning, I woke up with loud sneezes. Consequently, I woke up Brandi. After taking an anti-allergy pill I felt better. Brandi and I chatted a bit in the morning, and I had another slice of her amazing banana and strawberry bread. After we bid farewell, I started my ride to Chevy Chase, hoping to get breakfast there.

I caught traffic with the morning commute. When I arrived at a bagel shop in Chevy Chase I wasn’t hungry so I decided to keep riding. The tricky part was getting on the trail to Bethesda. There was a sign at the gate on the trail that said “No Trespassing, Trail Closed”, but the gate was open. I decided to give it a shot and see if I can just ride it anyway. The trail was very muddy and bumpy so I had to go slow. By the time I arrived at the end there was another gate, only this time it was locked and I couldn't get out. I was disappointed and thought I might have to ride my bike back to Chevy Chase and find another way. But then I saw a side gate and it was unlocked for some reason. So I opened it and got out of the closed trail. I guess sometimes when one gate is closed, another one is opened. Such is life.

When one gate is closed...

...Another one is opened

In downtown Bethesda, I ordered a hotdog wrapped in a bagel at Bethesda Bagels, a place recommended to me by Brandi. After this quick breakfast, I found the nearby Capital Crescent Trail and rode it all the way to DC. The trail was nicely paved. There were lots of joggers and bicyclists in the morning. I stopped by the Lincoln Memorial for a photograph then continued on the trail to Alexandria. It was a beautiful to ride along the Potomac River. I rode on some wooden bridges over some marshes. Around 12:30 PM, I arrived in Old Town, Alexandria, VA.

Bethesda Bagels in downtown Bethesda, MD

Lincoln Memorial

At Thanida Thai restaurant, I ordered a plate of spicy Drunken Noodles. When the dish came out I thought they didn’t give me enough, but with the spiciness of the noodles I was glad to have finished the whole thing.

I then went to the Wheel Nuts bike shop around the corner of the restaurant. Not really sure what I needed, I asked the owner a bunch of questions regarding chain repair and bike shipment. He told me to not worry about the chain since it will most likely not break. I just have to change it every 2000 miles. He recommended a service called Bike Flights to ship my bike once I get to California. I’ll have to look into that later.

I decided to check out downtown Alexandria, even though I’ve been there before. I saw a CVS so I printed out additional postcards to give out to my Warmshowers hosts. I had to get going since I want to be at my host Adrian’s place by 5:30 PM. Alexandria is a nice town to vacation in, I just don’t have enough time to spend anymore there today.

One of many wooden bridges I rode on the trail

After getting off the trail at Mount Vernon, I biked mainly on the sidewalks or on the shoulders. I had to cross a six lane road to get the trail on the other side. I thought I would never get across since there wasn’t a traffic light. After I finally made it to the other of the road I walked my bike up a hill, and to my surprise there is a Wegmans grocery store. I used to love Wegmans before they increased their prices. I bought a bag of beef jerky, some dried fruits, and granola bars. That’s about all I can fit in my panniers. Then I rode off to Adrian’s place.

I arrived on time at 5:30. Adrian greeted me and showed me his minimalist apartment. Adrian is a helicopter mechanic in the army. He has been to a lot places and loves to bike, hike, scuba dive, and climb mountains. He and I talked a lot of biking, how to repair things, and even how an emergency blanket works. That would have came in handy during my camp out behind the fire station a few nights ago. Adrian told me he will retire in a few years, in his late 30's, then he will do more bicycling and hiking. I couldn't believe how early a person in the military can retire. They also get free healthcare during retirement. I'm a bit jealous to say the least.

Me and Adrian

Adrian cooked some salmon, rice, and broccolis for the both of us. After taking a shower, we talked more into the night. I ended up going to bed at 10 PM.

That night I didn’t sleep well since I was cold in my sleeping bag. Not as cold as the time I spent behind the fire station, though. So this morning I told Adrian that I need to buy a better sleeping bag since the one I brought is basically a fleece blanket that has a zipper. He will take me to REI later today.

We just had breakfast, which consisted of coffee and oatmeal. Not sure where I will be staying tonight, I’ll probably camp out somewhere.