June 20th, 2010

storyteller doll

Two Steamy Walks

One thing that the Washington, D.C. area lacks compared to southern California is decent traffic reporting. In Los Angeles, pretty much every radio station (including NPR stations) has traffic updates during station breaks. Here, there is one news radio station with traffic reports every 10 minutes. Unfortunately, it is also a station whose other programming I don't much care for.

Before somebody kicks in and suggests google maps or the like, I was driving alone. I don't have a smart phone and, even if I did, there wasn't really anywhere to pull off and use it. The particular mess I was caught in was on route 4 just outside the Beltway yesterday, coming back from Solomons. After not moving for a while, I decided the best option was to go the opposite way around the Beltway, even though that's a longer drive. Once I was on the outer loop, I quickly found out what the problem was. The inner loop was completely shut down for a motorcade. I was a bit puzzled since a presidential motorcade would normally just go down Pennsylvania Avenue (which turns into Route 4) to Andrews Air Force Base, not the Beltway. Due to the lack of traffic reporting here, I had to wait until I got home to find out that it was actually the funeral procession for the Maryland state trooper who was shot while off-duty, working security at a restaurant in Prince George's County. The Washington Post had reported that the Beltway would be shut down for 3 hours for this - but only on the Dr. Gridlock blog and not on the traffic page. And they'd claimed it was going to be closed just to Pennsylvania Avenue, which shouldn't have affected my route. Sigh.

The only real impact was that I didn't have time to bake, so had to run into Pie Gourmet for something to bring to a story swap. (Hardly a sacrifice, since their pies are wonderful.) And I got home too late to nap and do laundry then, having to defer both of those essential activities to today.

I had been out that way for a volksmarch, by the way. This was the first one ever in Solomons and it covered the town and the island, as well as a nature trail along the salt marsh and through a native tree arboretum. It was really quite a nice route, but the directions were a bit confusing at times. They'd put up flags and ribbons on the nature trail, but not on other parts of the walk. It was also way too hot out, but that just meant drinking plenty of water.

I did another volksmarch today - the year round event at Mount Vernon. Due to the searing heat, I just did the 5 kilometer estate trail, instead of adding on either of the other two loops that are available. It's a spectacular route, worth the $15 admission to the estate. But I'd recommend going in much cooler weather, especially since the trails are fairly steep in several places. Avoiding the summer would also probably cut down on the number of tourists around.