There's a chance you may have heard the story of the time my friend Caitlin & I decided it would be a brilliant idea - and an easy adventure - to ride our bikes together to Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived and is now buried with his dear Martha. The 38 miles round-trip were extremely difficult, full of sweat and strained muscles, but lots of laughs. I like to alteast think that the difficulty was in part due to our bicycles - they are "cruisers" not meant for speed or endurance. (much like myself.)
Well, you'll probably think I'm crazy when I tell you about how this past Saturday I rode roughly 30 miles with 3 other friends in the opposite direction outside of DC. If you have a moment, I'll tell you the tale... Genie Thompson and Lauren Simpson came to visit my roommate Katherine for Colombus Day weekend here in this district. I was lucky enough for them to let me follow them around for most of the festivities. (Dinner at a gay sports bar on Friday night-that's a whole different story.) They all were close friends growing up in Memorial. And - Genie is my "big" - big sister in kappa from TCU. She is absolutely one of the top five funniest real people I know in the WORLD and she's currently teaching middle school in Houston.
Lauren I didn't know as well (before this weekend) but we also went to high school together. I remember two things about her: 1) we had a few math classes together and i hardly got any work done because she, like genie, is very entertaining and 2) she was obsessed with LSU. apparently not much has changed...
So, Dr.Katherine, Lauren, and Eugenia and I went to safeway saturday morning for gatorade/picnic grub. We then headed down to the potomac river where the 3 of them rented bikes and I got on my craigslist deal of the century bike. i call her "eleanor." We took a quick picture, the four of us and our bikes, and decided we must send it in to the Kappa Kappa Gamma alumni magazine - we're 4 kappas from 4 different schools! we're sure to get in...:)
We rode for about 30 minutes when Katherine, being the smart med student that she is, realized we were on the wrong trail. I uttered a four letter word, we told Genie and Lauren, and we turned around. The six mile detour wasn't that bad and we were quickly back on the correct path - gravel "towpath" along the C&O canal that parallels the Potomac river. We thought we had about 10 miles to reach our destination: Great Falls! (Good sized waterfalls on the Potomac north of DC.) Seriously my abs have never hurt so much from laughing. By the time we reached the falls, my cheeks hurt from constant laughter. (no, not those cheeks, get your mind out of the gutter.)
After being on the trail for a few miles, Lauren was ready to turn around. "I'm sorry, I'm not
trying to whine, but this suuuucks. How much farther?" We pulled over for some water and quick break. When I asked an older couple walking by how much farther, the man said "ONWARD!" and pointed his hand in the direction we were headed. Yea, but how far? He told us about five miles, and seemed to know what he was talking about. Then we rode for 45 minutes and had been at least five miles. We asked the next sane looking person. "Five more miles," they said. We trudged on. After 2 hours total on the canal path, we asked a third passerby. Of course their answer was... "Five more miles!" Lauren's reaction was priceless.
The view was beatiful, tall trees leaning over the canal, no cars or city noise. Red leaves, orange leaves, the crunch of gravel under our tires, the occasional view of the Potomac to our left. When I tried to point this out to Lauren, she responded. "oh, yea, gorgeous. Breathtaking. I could be seeing stuff like this on TV right now."
At one point we stopped for Genie to trade bikes with Katherine - Genie's bike seat was pointed towards the sky in a very uncomfortable and unadjustable position. As we were getting back on, Lauren was like, "Okay, once we make it to the falls, i am NOT kidding you, i'm taking a cab back. or calling a helicopter." and Genie said "I'll just pray for some angels to come flap their wings and carry you back." Lauren: " They better be some big freaking angels. And you better start to pray now." So Katherine, smiling, starts to pedal off in the lead. Then Genie starts off, yelling, "I will pray. I will pray to Jesus. JESUS! JESUS! We need your help." And then she began to sing the Lord's Prayer Opera style. (she has a beautiful voice.) Next came Lauren, grunting and yelling and singing in a not-so-nice voice "God Bless America" at the top of her lungs. I brought up the rear, trying so hard not to fall off my bike from laughing so hard.
Eventually, we made it. The views were great. The falls were awesome. Sitting on a rock by the river eating lunch was awesome. Seeing Menonites was awesome. The ride back was awesome - including a lecture from a national parksman about how we had crossed over the orange caution tape where they were repairing the trail and put ourselves "in very real, very serious, danger. you could have died." lauren later said, "don't worry man, i will NEVER do this again."
apparently long bike rides are good for my abs - i laugh ALOT. these three were hilarious. katherine calmly directing us onward, genie providing lots of "oooh, my leg!" and "oooh, lord jesus" outbursts, and lauren saying "i don't hate you, i just hate my body. this sucks. i hate this." and at the end saying "well, that was fun. lets' go home." then we went home and collapsed on the couches. eventually we made it to the showers and out to capitol hill for dinner, drinks, and some LSU football. (they lost, but lauren was too exhausted to be really mad.) fall leaves and good friends - probably one of the funniest and most beautiful days i've spent in this district!
thanks for reading and hope your day is full of laughs, too!