Friday, August 11, 2017

It Aint Over

Vacation.  Still talking about it.  This time though, it's all about bikes.  After spending some time in Northern Virginia, Lunchbox and I visited with some family (and had a great time) before we headed down to Richmond.

Richmond?  Yeth.  They haz awesome trail system.

We've been there before but it's been a while.  We took off out of the parking lot, climbed a ramp, and found ourselves on a pedestrian/bike bridge underneath the Lee Bridge that crosses the James River.  It provided an excellent view of the city.

As soon as you cross the river there is a most excellent skills park under the bridge.  We rode around for a while and had fun, but Lunchbox really impressed me with his bike handling skills.

He may be big, but he can ride.  He haz skills that the super skinny dirt roadie folks don't.  Yeah, I said it.  Who gives a shit.

On the island (Belle Isle), we rode some of the trails that wind around through some historic shit.  We stopped at an old power plant and explored a bit.

Then we rode some more trails...

We crossed another bridge over the rest of the river and rode some more singletrack.  We made sure to take in the views, especially when we saw some kayakers going out to brave the rapids downriver from us...

We rode some more trails, crossed another bridge, and ended up on some really flowy singletrack.  It was fast AF, but I stopped anyway to take photos...

And I just had to take a photo when we got up near the historic Hollywood Cemetery.

Then it was back to the flow stuff...

I forgot to mention I had a pretty bad crash at the beginning of our ride.  While goofing around on one of the many pump tracks under the bridge, I took a hard spill.  I twisted my ankle and landed on my back.  I also scraped my elbow, which turned out to be the most painful part for some reason.

I'll live.  Hell, I finished the ride with no issues.

I also forgot to mention that Lunchbox did a little product testing on our ride.  You see, since he knows some people he got his new socks a week early.  Yes folks the Lunchbox socks are out and he was the first one to take them on a mountain bike ride...

I know most of you that ordered probably have them by now.  The pictures have been coming in like crazy.  Facebook posts, Instagram, and even some text messages of happy customers with the greatest sock that DeFeet has ever produced.  Okay, maybe that last part was made up, but I know you folks are happy to have them.

Lunchbox is a cool kid (well, man) and we really appreciate those of you that threw your support behind him.  Most of you have watched him grow up (even if it's just here on this blog), so the fact that he has a few fans out there makes me a proud dad.  I've been a supporter of DeFeet for a long time now, and this just reinforces that.

Oh, and Richmond is pretty damn rad.  If you ever find yourself in the area (or with a free weekend), definitely check it out.  Just like those cool new socks you have, the trails up there in RVA are "Lunchbox Approved" too.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Vacationed Out

I've been back for a couple of days, but I've been sorta worn out and had some catching up to do.  Like I mentioned last week, Lunchbox and I went on our annual "Mancation."  It was awesome as usual, but I am le tired.  It all started when we left Charlotte after work on Thursday...

We arrived in Manassas, VA (my family's hometown just outside of Washington, D.C.) late at night.  We both had worked the full day, so it was rough.  And after driving for about six hours I still felt like I was moving down the road.  The next morning, I felt like I'd been up all night drinking.

Saw this the next morning outside the hotel.  I feel ya, buddy.

We slept in a little and grabbed some breakfast, hoping to miss most of the horrible rush hour traffic from Virginia to DC.  We did okay for the most part, and about thirty minutes later we'd arrived at the Metro station to ride the rest of the way into DC.

We had quite a few plans for the day, but we started off with some sadz.  We decided to drop by the Pentagon to check out the September 11th Memorial since we'd never seen it.  I hadn't been to the Pentagon in close to thirty years (not much to do there unless you're in the military) so we hopped off at the nearby Metro stop and walked to the memorial.

It was very moving to say the least.  The layout was pretty awesome, even though it was sad.  They had these benches representing each person that lost their life that day...

And they were arranged depending on where the person was at the time the plane crashed into the building.  The benches facing away from the Pentagon were those that were inside, and the ones facing the building were people on the plane.

Like I said, sad.  But very respectful.  I'm glad we stopped by.

Anyway, we hopped back on the Metro and rode to the next stop.  More sad, but also respectful.  We spent some time at Arlington National Cemetery to pay our respects and take in some history.

We walked around there for quite a while, eventually spending some time at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

We watched the changing of the guard ceremony (twice actually) and it was awesome.  Between the two we watched I was explaining to Lunchbox how sometimes the sentinels have to yell at the crowd when they won't shut up (that's disrespectful.)  I told him that there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that show it and we would look at them later.  Well, we didn't have to.  It happened three times while we were there.  It amazes me that people don't know how to show respect, but whatever.

Anyway, I wasn't taking any video, but here is a link to one that someone else filmed...

We eventually got out of there, but no doubt the sentinels had to yell at the crowd again after we left.  We hopped back on the Metro and headed up to the National Zoo to take a quick stroll.  We mostly just checked out the Pandas...

And we spent a good bit of time with the various Great Apes.  

That was the end of our "planned" activities.  We did what we always do when we exit the zoo, and grabbed a few bikes from a nearby station to explore the city.

It's quite a long ride back to the heart of DC from the zoo, but we made it in no time (probably because we are experienced cyclists.)  We grabbed some lunch, then continued our exploring on foot for a while.  We headed down Pennsylvania Avenue and happened to catch some street performers doing crazy shit in front of the Treasury Building.

Then we tried to hang out in front of the White House, but there was some shit going down (a regular occurrence for sure) and we couldn't get close.

To me, it doesn't matter who lives in that house because someone will always be upset with them.  It's been going on since this country was founded.  Who gives a shit.  I love history and I love this country, so no matter who happens to be in that building I still respect the Office.  There is a difference, so take your political beliefs somewhere else.  I still enjoy visiting the White House.

Anyway, we stayed on foot and explored the National Mall.  The Washington Monument was closed for elevator repairs, so we just looked at it.

Then we walked down to the Lincoln Memorial...

And sat on the steps to watch the sun go down...

We talked to a Park Ranger for quite a while, and that dude really knew his history (some of them don't by the way.)  Once it got dark, we grabbed some bikes again and rode over to the Jefferson Memorial.  I didn't take any pictures of it (Google it), but I did get a photo of the Washington Monument at night from across the Tidal Basin.

We kept the bikes and took off towards The Capitol.  It's always neat to see at night.

We were running out of gas.  We'd been out since early in the morning.  We decided to get out of town at the last minute (the Metro stops running at midnight) and headed back to the station where I'd parked.  It was a long day, but fun as usual.  Like I said before, I really dig history.  And despite problems within our government, Washington, D.C. is still my favorite place to visit.

And it's easy to see it all in one day if you can ride a bike.  You should try it sometime.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

On The Road To Vacation

Wow, three days in one week.  I'm not sure why, but...

Who Give A Shit.  I'm trying to make a regular habit of this (again) I guess.

I'm here to tell you that I'm leaving.  The man child and I area heading out on another adventure starting a little later today...

See?  I got my trip planned out and everything.

Actually, we're heading up to Washington, D.C. for a little while on our yearly Mancation.  Last year we went down to the swamps of Florida, but D.C. is our usual destination.  You know, history, family, and all that stuff.  Anyway, I'll be back doing this thing sometime later next week and hopefully I'll have a few things to write about (we are bringing bikes.)

So until then, I'll leave you with something.

Remember when I was almost too late to beg you to buy some socks?  Well, I wasn't and it worked.  Thank y'all so much for the support of my son and my favorite cycling company, DeFeet.  My desperate sounding (sorta) blog post got a few more sales and we well exceeded the goal.  For those of you that ordered, go wait by the mailbox.  Your Lunchbox socks will be here any day now.

Moving on, I'm gonna ask you to buy shit once again.  Not out of desperation though.  And they are socks of course...

Tacos?  You betcha.

Finally, us mountain bike folks are getting what we want.  No snobby stripes or plain ol' roadie style socks this time.  Nope, cool stuff.  Like tacos.  Who TF doesn't like tacos?  Just about every mountain biker I know goes out for Mexican food after a ride, so this sock is appropriate AF.  Pair it up with a cold beer and your post ride refreshments are complete.

Want some?  Yes, you do.  Go here:

Click that link.  It's easy.

At the time I'm posting this, they are sitting at 40% funded with plenty of time left.  So, no begging from me.


And while you're there, check out the other projects they have going on.  You might find something else you like.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Like A Fish

There aren't enough hours in the day.  That is especially accurate on weekends.  Still, that doesn't stop me from trying to squeeze every second I can out of any free time I have.  Sometimes though, it catches up to me and I feelz ded.

Where am I going with this?  Out on the water of course.  Even though I'm riding more (finally), I'm also trying to spend time on the water with the kayaks.  Since we'd planned an urban ride for last Sunday we pretty much had all day Saturday to be out on the water.  So, the little lady and I loaded up our kayaks and headed north to put our little boats in Mountain Island Lake.

She was so excite about it that she almost didn't wait for me.

While it's called a "lake", it's really just a dammed river (like everything around here.)  But, it's still pretty rad to paddle around and explore.  We've been putting in at the same spot the last few times because the options for exploration are plentiful.  We took off in a different direction this time and found some big ass rocks.

And lately I've been bringing my snorkeling gear so I can explore underwater too.

Photo credit:  Little Miss Sunshine

I spent quite a bit of time in the water growing up in Florida and I missed it.  It's nice to be able to do this stuff again, even though up here in North Carolina it's quite different.  Instead of alligators poking up their heads in the water, there are rocks.

And you just can't plant your ass on an alligator and drink beer.

Buying a couple of boats turned out to be a really good idea.  I've missed being out on the water, but more importantly I enjoy the exploration aspect of it.  That's what I love about being on my bikes too, so I can say for sure that I will be making time for both of these fine hobbies.  I'll even cram as much shit as possible into my little bit of spare time so I don't have to choose one over the other.  

You know, because I'll get all the sleep I need when I'm dead.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Urban Fun

I actually got out on the bike again over the weekend.  If I keep this up I might be able to call myself a cyclist again.  This ride was sort of a special occasion.  Some of our friends just moved to the Queen City from the Lowcountry, so we decided that an urban ride would the best way to get them familiar with their new surroundings.

We met up near the Sugar Creek Greenway and shot the shit while we got our bikes (and ourselves) ready.  There were a few flat tire issues that eventually got resolved, but not before the parking lot was splattered with sealant.

Yes, that's the only photo I took of the fiasco.

I didn't mind waiting around, because it was nice that for once I wasn't the one everyone was waiting on.  About forty five minutes after we met in the parking lot, we finally hit the greenway.  It was just a fun ride, so we cruised around with no particular destination in mind.  We eventually ended up on a bridge in Freedom Park.

Photo cred:  Punky

Our friends were having a blast, enjoying our awesome network of greenways around town.  We decided to give them the full tour, so we stopped by one of the coolest bike shops in town, BikeSource.

I spy DeFeet socks in the background...

We shot the shit with some folks that I hadn't seen in a while (because I'm a recluse these days) and eventually got on our way.  We shot across town and caught the next greenway by the light rail.

Even though I haven't told much of a story up to this point, we'd actually been out for quite a while.  It was time for food and beer.  We turned around and headed back toward the city, looking for a place to take a break and get some grub.  We found such a place and parked our bikes.

We decided to try a new place (new to me anyway) that showed a little promise...

They had good beer, and the food was excellent.  The service though?  Shitty.  I mean, really bad.  We waited forever to get our order (it wasn't very busy either) and our server had less personality than this thing:

I won't be going back.  Ever.

We were there for what seemed like hours, which cut into our ride time.  We got back to it, enjoying some cool water on a hot day.

After that it was time to go into the concrete jungle...

And I rode through the Disco Chicken:

We even did some gravel grinding...

I still don't get it.  Maybe I'm not doing it right.

We'd been out for hours.  Our city's newest residents were having a blast, but it was time to head back towards our vehicles.  We made one more stop at the Government Center, where they have some fun shit to play with.

That stuff was for kids.  Probably.

What an awesome day.  I hadn't been on an urban ride in a long time so it was extra special for me.  It was also nice that when our friends left us they didn't have to drive all the way back to Charleston.  

I can't wait to do it again.  Hell, I can't wait to get back on my bike again.  

Which will be sooner rather than later I'm sure.