summer of love – e & tj

Amidst all the chaos of this summer, we were delighted to attend a few weddings. It’s very nourishing to hear the vows again and witness such a holy union. And the classic phrase, “in sickness and in health” carries much more for us as a couple now!

Peace Hill

At the end of July, we cycled down to Williamsburg for the wedding of my old roommate from W&M, E and her man TJ.  The scenery wasn’t as lovely as our touring trip along the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, but we definitely enjoyed the flat terrain.  Thursday evening, we actually got a ride out of Northern Virginia with our CSA farmer, Matt. A complete post about our CSA is pending…. but suffice it to say Matt is a barefoot (no, not Vibrams, actual bare feet!) white Rasta who singlehandedly farms the acre by hand (no powered machinery). We’ve been eating tomatoes that are sweetened by sunshine to perfection!  We ate a few like apples before cycling off from Catlett, Virginia.  Friday we biked in record heat, dipping our bodies in the tepid creeks we crossed whenever possible. After passing through Bowling Green, Rt 301/2 became treacherous, with huge semis rattling our bones as they sporadically flew past us. But we found some safer and more scenic detours  before an anti-climatic finish to our 80 mile day in Mechanicsville – one of those poor towns divided into two: rundown walkable old town and thriving spread-out Walmartville. Saturday we arrived in the picturesque James River area where our friends C & S and their beautiful 3 daughters hosted us.

E & TJ

blue suede heels

The wedding was at Peace Hill, the extraordinary church I’d attended while at W&M. The wedding was quintessential E. She was stunning in a vintage dress sewn by her talented mother, with a hem short enough to show off her amazing robin’s egg blue shoes. The reception featured a knee-slapping blue grass band and a gorgeous collection of pies. It was a rich time of celebration and catching up with old friends.  What really blew my socks off were the wedding favors – TJ hand threw beautiful plates and E and her mutter made delicious home-made jams for each guest! How spoilt we were!

A taste of touring

Bit by bit, with the aid of some strong prescription drugs, the pain from Dan’s 8 root canals subsided.  So, the weekend of the 16th of July we were able to go on a mini-touring trip.   It was a fun weekend away, but bittersweet since we’d had to cancel our mountaineering trip to California that was due to depart that same date.  Still, even if Dan wasn’t up to tackle glaciers, it was brilliant that he was up for a weekend of cycling!

We packed a few items into our panniers and headed off from our front door on the W&OD path, stopping along the way for kombucha and chocolate covered ginger at the little natural food stores we love in Leesburg  and Purcellville.

Then we worked up an appetite for a phenomenal dinner at The Market Table Bistro in Lovettesville.  We both got salads, but they were more like edible artistic masterpieces.  The food was delectable and most of it hailed from local farms – we recognized many from our local farmers market in Reston.  The Chef and Owner Jason Lage even came out to chat with us about the food and assure me that the bacon on my salad came from “happy pigs” that forage freely in the woods of a family farm. But even with such gourmet fare, we were warmly welcomed in our sweaty spandex attire.

That evening my gracious aunt & uncle hosted us at their lovely home and also rescued us from a rookie mistake of not having the right attachment on our bike pump when we got a flat the next day.  With inflated tires once more, we crossed over into Maryland and took the C&O canal to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

 

The weather was glorious and we stayed cool with intermittent dips in the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Then we followed rolling hills south along the Shenandoah river. With the sun kissing the wheat fields, the wind cooling our faces and the front porches of old farmhouses greeting us, I feel under the spell of the pastoral idyll. But by the time we reached Front Royal, the gentle hills seemed more like rugged mountains and my legs ached and rebelled with every rise. But we made it to the cute cabin Dan’s colleague had generously offered us for a blissful nights sleep before setting back home again the next morning.

In the end we did about 50 miles Friday, 70 Saturday and 50 Sunday – not bad for our first foray into touring. And doesn’t it sound more impressive if I just say we biked through 3 states in 3 days? Despite our sore bones and muscles, we were already scheming on where and when to do our next biking trip!

Biking with Buddy

[Back in mid-March..] Buddy was curious at the contraption we were building…

At first he seemed to enjoy sitting in his “chariot” as I pulled him on my bike…

…but he started crying like a baby as we got on the W&OD bike path headed for Purcellville. We gave him a bone and cooed to him but to no avail. Plus it was hard to balance on the bike since he was moving around and making the one-wheel bob trailer wobble all over the place. This was not going to work for a 60 mile bike ride. Either he’d jump out and get run over by a hard-core cyclist or we’d get arrested by the RSPCA. So we took a detour to mis padres, said hasta luego to the perro and headed off once more.

A few days later, after recovering from a bruised bottom from our bike trip, we discovered an alternative method to biking with Buddy:

Yep! Our darling dog fits in Dan’s messenger bag! He loved the ride and so did all the cars D&B biked by.