Day 3 - Vienna, Va

Bicycle touring is about independence and self reliance. Some things that are not about independence and self reliance are having your wife give you a ride over the Bay Bridge, and, especially, having your wife rescue you when your hub breaks.

I felt like I needed to return bike touring to what it is supposed to be about, so I decided to ride from home in Baltimore to the west end of the Bay Bridge, and then ride to where I planned to camp in Beltsville, MD. That would be compensate for being rescued, since it's 30 miles from home to the Bay Bridge.

Today was a perfect bike touring day. The bike was flawless, and the weather was ideal, clear sky and 70 degrees. I got to where I was going to camp, and it was only 3:30. I felt great, and I wasn't hungry.

Tomorrow's ride was going to be 100 miles to Front Royal, VA. I couldn't find anywhere to camp in swanky overdeveloped northern Virginia, so I was going to ride through it all in one day on the W&OD trail.

Well, the weather for tomorrow is a 60 percent chance of rain. I decided I'd rather ride until dark today and get a motel room, in perfect weather, than ride all day tomorrow even if it rains.

So here I am in Vienna, VA. I rode 103 miles. It took me 11:15 on the clock, and 8:08 of pedalling on the trip computer. I burned 8247 calories. I feel great, although a bit wiped out. I bet none of those Seagull Century riders had a 90 pound bike. I ate like a pig dog. Breakfast was the standard, Jimmy's Restaraunt at home in Fells Point. Lunch was at the Middleton Tavern in the center of Annapolis, and dinner was next door at the Tequila Grande Mexican restaraunt. When I rode into Vienna, I was amazed to see the Vienna Inn is still there and in business! The Vienna Inn was a favorite dive of some friends of mine in the mid-80s. I was really tempted, but I decided Mexican food would be better for riding than hot dogs and Natty Boh.

So the highlights of the day were I rode the Baltimore-Annapolis bike trail towards Annapolis. The B&A is a great rail trail. The park office is an old station.

BandATrail (318K)

Then I headed east to the west end of the Bay Bridge.

Bay Bridge (170K)

Then into historic Annapolis for lunch. If if wasn't for the power lines, it could be the 1700s. That's our State Capital, which is also on the Maryland quarter.

Annapolis (267K)

It's always tough getting out of Annapolis, except via the B&A trail. I was about 10 miles west of town in strip mall hell, when I looked up and saw a stunning pair of bald eagles circling high overhead. Very cool. Their white heads and tails were gleaming.

I went through Bowie, and then through the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, which is a great place to ride your bike. Can you believe this is only five miles from the DC beltway?

BeaverDamRd (233K)

When I got to Beltsville, I decided to press on until dark. Since I was on a mission, I didn't stop for any more pictures, except for really important stuff like state lines. I did take one of the T-Bone in DC.

TouringWithTBone (286K)

I got out of DC on the Teddy Roosevelt bridge. This is totally confusing. If you ride on the westbound side, it's really easy to get on the Mt. Vernon trail. But I can never figure out how to get on the westbound side. I went on the eastbound side, only to find the bike lane dumps you out in the middle of a freeway interchange. I could see the Mt. Vernon trail right there across the George Washington Parkway, but there were two lanes of high speed traffic each way, and a three foot stone wall between. I crossed anyway. I had to lift the 90 lb bike up on the wall, balance it while I climbed over, and then lift it down. Then scurry across the traffic. Horns blared. The bikers and runners on the trail were in awe of me.

From the north end of the Mt. Vernon Trail, you pick up the Custis Trail. I don't know anything about the Custis Trail, but it is definite not a rail trail because no train ever went up hills that steep. It basically runs alongside I-66, but it crosses back and forth all the time, and each crossing is a really steep hill. I had to visit grandma a lot. It was quite trying when you've already ridden 90 miles. At the end of the Custis Trail, you pick up the W&OD trail, which is a rail trail thank goodness. I rode until I hit 100 miles, which was just after sunset, and then asked other bike riders where a motel is. There was this one, the Wolf Trap Inn, not outrageously expensive at $67.00, and just a couple miles farther down.

Here is a map of the whole amazing day.

Actual03 (199K)