At Mount Vernon with Deb, our host and guide for the afternoon
The first 4o miles of our ride today were kind of bland. We rode in morning fog that turned to mist that turned to drizzle. We climbed plenty of hills and spent more time beside the rushing traffic on Route 1. Then we pulled into the little village of Occoquan to meet our new friend, Deb. She had read about our trip weeks ago and wrote to offer us her place to stay in Alexandria. She was able take the afternoon off, meet us for lunch, and ride the last 25 miles in to Alexandria with us so we didn’t have to navigate.
Everything changed when we met Deb. The sun even broke through; we haven’t seen the sun for almost a week! We had greenways and bike lanes for the rest of the ride. Soon after leaving Occoquan we rode on a greenway through a former prison in Lorton that is being converted to condos, artists’ workshop, and more — with a greenway running right through it. Very cool.
We had a long stretch up Route 1 again but we rode on a greenway beside it, imagine! Finally we hit the Mount Vernon Trail and rode it 10 miles into Alexandria’s Old Town. I was the 58-year-old lady grinning from ear to ear on that trail, feeling like a kid again. I’d heard of it through my work and seen photos. It was just as fun as I’d imagined. We rolled down the hill from the parking lots at Mount Vernon then along the Potomac and through picnic areas and woods, ups and downs and twists and turns.
Riding through the prison grounds turned residential community in Lorton
Deb and Dee on the Mount Vernon Trail
We are camped out at Deb’s place for two nights, taking a rest day tomorrow to visit Washington DC and such. We’ve known Deb for 9 hours now and she feels like an old friend. The kind of friend who takes good care of you — she gave us cold drinks and snacks when we got to her place, invited us to do laundry, and took us to dinner at Lost Dog Cafe (recommended, and with a good mission!).
We happened on the halfway sign for the Greenway at the end of our ride. Perfectly timed; tomorrow starts the second month of our ride.