Follow the Yellow Leaf-Lined Road, Wondering Around Oz and The Journey Home

So you might ask, what do two people do after having ridden their bicycles 340 miles? You eat a large delicious hamburger, of course(at least Dear Husband eats a hamburger). While we searched for the zero mile marker, we put the “Wizard” in charge of finding a place to eat lunch. Having arrived at our meeting spot at 1:45 pm, we were all very ready for something to eat. The “Wizard” used his magic powers to locate a great burger joint and a parking garage.

Burger Tap & Shake in Washington, DC

Burger Tap & Shake in Washington, DC

Dear Husband and The “Wizard” enjoyed the Six Buck Chuck burger while I expanded my horizons trying the Upstream Run, seems like the perfect sandwich for a sewingupstream kind of girl. If you like salmon, Asian Slaw, Sriracha Aioli, and mixed greens, this would be a good choice for you too. Delicious! After having a relaxing meal in a real chair with a back(8 days of a bicycle seat and picnic table, need I explain more?) we headed back to the car to finish marking off the final “to do’s” on my bucket list.

When planning this trip we decided a person shouldn’t leave Washington, DC without a trip to the National Mall to see several of the monuments and memorials. And it just so happened that The “Wizard” had never visited any of the monuments(a good sign he is a fake). The National Mall was just a short walk away, so off we went.

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, just before I give my

steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, just before I give my “I have a dream” speech 🙂

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

looking out from the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

looking out from the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

reflecting pool, Washington, DC

reflecting pool, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

view near the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

view near the WW II Memorial, Washington, DC

base of the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

base of the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

Washington Monument, Washington, DC

Washington Monument, Washington, DC

view from the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

view from the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

view from the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

view from the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

I was surprised at how full of people The National Mall was for a Thursday afternoon. I wished we could have spent more time showing The “Wizard” other things in Washington, DC, but with a six hour drive ahead of us and one more stop to finish off my bucket list, we needed to tap our heels and start the journey home.

More than 30 years ago, before Dear Husband was a husband, he went in search of the perfect sewing machine to give me as a Christmas gift. A friend of his recommended he look at Bernina sewing machines and spoke of a great fabric shop in the Washington, DC area that sold the Bernina line of machines. After doing his research, he did in fact purchase a Bernina sewing machine for me that I still use and love today. Buried in the back of my mind for all of these years was the desire to visit that fabric shop in Washington, DC that his friend had mentioned. And so the final stop on our journey was G Street Fabrics.

driving out of Washington, DC

driving in Washington, DC

G Street Fabrics, Rockville, MD

G Street Fabrics, Rockville, MD

The drive to the shop was about 20 minutes from Washington, DC and happened to take us on the street that all the foreign embassies are located. It was a fun surprise to see the interesting architecture of the Iranian Embassy, the South African Embassy, and the Embassy of Great Britain. Sorry, no pictures, I was driving.

It was a perfect night to visit G Street Fabrics, there were only a hand full of customers, so the store was quiet and for this girl who had waited so long to get there it was “heavenly.” I know for those of you who aren’t sewers it would be hard to understand how a fabric store could be “heavenly,” but for me seeing, touching and even smelling fabric(I know that is really weird) brings a sense of peace and quiet and lots of creative ideas start rolling around in my head.

my souvenier material from G Street Fabrics

my souvenir material from G Street Fabrics

I left the shop with only three items in my bag, but more importantly I left filled with peace, joy, and thankfulness for the opportunity to fulfill a dream and share it with loving family and friends all along the way.

Dorothy: But it wasn’t a dream. It was a place, and you [Hunk] and you [Hickory] and you [Zeke]… and you [Professor Marvel] were there. [Everyone laughs] But you couldn’t have been, could you?
Auntie Em: We dream lots of silly things when we…
Dorothy: No, Aunt Em. This is a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice. But most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, ‘I want to go home.’ And they sent me home. [Everyone chuckles again] Doesn’t anybody believe me?
Uncle Henry: Of course we believe you, Dorothy.
Dorothy: Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home! Home! And this is my room – and you’re all here! And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again because I love you all! – And oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

No place like home…at least until the next bicycle trip…Hmmm?

Follow the Yellow Leaf-Lined Road, Day 8, October 15, 2015

After 311.59 miles traveled and 33:05 hours pedaled, we woke up on day 8 to face the reality that our journey would be over soon. Horsepen Branch camping area is only 26 miles from the end of the C & O Canal Path. We had spent some time the evening before making the phone calls home to finalized the arrangements with our nephew to bring our car to meet us. He would be leaving our house at about 8:00 am with a six hour drive to Washington, DC. That would leave us time to pack up our things and ride the last 26 miles.

Horsepen Branch camping area at mile marker 26.1 on the C & O Canal Path

Horsepen Branch camping area at mile marker 26.1 on the C & O Canal Path

Once again we were blessed with a  beautiful day for riding and lots of natural and historic sites to see.

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path near mile marker 25

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path near mile marker 25

View of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path

View of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path

lock house on the C & O Canal

lock house on the C & O Canal

lock on the C & O Canal Path

lock on the C & O Canal Path

C & O Canal Path

C & O Canal Path

C & O Canal Path

C & O Canal Path

lock house on the C & O Canal Path

lock house on the C & O Canal Path

lock on the C & O Canal

lock with intact gates on the C & O Canal

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path

more turtles of course

more turtles of course

At mile marker 14.4 is the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. This tavern marks the beginning of Great Falls Park and the beauty of this area was well worth the 320 miles I rode to get here. Yes, it is that good! Especially on this picture perfect autumn day.

“The Great Falls of the Potomac displays the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any eastern river. This dramatic scene makes Great Falls Park a popular site with local residents and tourists from around the world.”

“Great Falls became a popular destination. A decade of prosperity for both the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Tavern followed the Civil War. Over 600 boats a year carrying coal, lumber, grains, and other raw materials passed the Tavern on their way to the ports of Georgetown and Alexandria.”  Trail Book 11th Edition

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Great Falls Tavern

Great Falls Tavern

Great Falls Tavern

Great Falls Tavern

Barge at the Great Falls Tavern

Barge at the Great Falls Tavern

barge at the Great Fall Tavern

barge at the Great Fall Tavern

view around Great Fall Park

view around Great Falls Park

view around Great Falls Park

view around Great Falls Park

view around Great Falls Park

view around Great Falls Park

View around Great Falls Park

View around Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park

The Canal from Great Falls Park toward Washington, DC was also breath-taking. For most of my ride on this final day a hymn kept filling my head and my heart with song;

For the beauty of this earth, For the beauty of the skies, For the love which from our birth over and around us lies: Lord of all, to thee we raise this our joyful hymn of praise.”

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal below Great Falls Park

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

view from the C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

view from the C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

view of the Potomac River from the C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

C & O Canal Path near Washington, DC

Finally, near the 1 mile marker we had our first look at the city of Washington, DC. We were surprised by how close to the city we had to travel before getting out of the glorious tree-lined landscape. We had visions of riding into the edges of the city before getting to the end of the trail, but that wasn’t the case.

our first view of Washington, DC near mile marker 1

our first view of Washington, DC near mile marker 1

Washington, DC near mile marker 1

Washington, DC near mile marker 1

From this point the trail was a little difficult to follow and the residents of Washington don’t seem aware of the official end for the trail either. We navigated the best we could from the directions in our Trail Book and stopped to ask a few people along the way. Luckily Dear Husband has a good sense of direction because the directions we acquired from asking people ended up leading us in many wrong directions.

First we had to push our bikes up a ramp to a footbridge to cross the canal and return to the path where it narrows and navigates between a brick wall and the water-filled canal.

footbridge over C & O Canal in Georgetown area

footbridge over C & O Canal in Georgetown area

footbridge over C & O Canal in Georgetown area

footbridge over C & O Canal in Georgetown area

C & O Canal in the Georgetown area

C & O Canal in the Georgetown area

From here we entered the Georgetown area of Washington, DC where the Canal and Path run right between the quaint streets and buildings of this quiet suburb type area. The homes and shops take you back in time and are beautifully restored. We had to push our bikes through much of this area because we were sharing our path with pedestrian filled sidewalks and crossing several streets.

C & O Canal and barge in Georgetown

C & O Canal and barge in Georgetown

C & O Canal Path in Georgetown

lock 1 on the C & O Canal Path in Georgetown

After navigating through Georgetown, we were on the look out for the Thomas Boat Center. As we rounded the corner to enter the Boat Center we heard a familiar voice call out to us. The “Wizard” had arrived about 15 minutes before us…pretty good timing.

With a quick greeting, we informed the “Wizard” that to make this trip official we needed to put our hands on the zero mile marker before we could tap our heels to go home. He granted our wish, but finding the marker is not as easy as it would seem. Again, the people walking around this area seemed to have no idea what we were looking for and the few that did seem to have an answer sent us in the wrong direction. While searching we did wander through a very up-scale riverside shopping/restaurant area.

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

yacht parked at the riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

yacht parked at the riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

riverside area near Thompson Boat Center

Finally, Dear Husband and his good sense of direction led us to the official zero marker of the C & O Canal Path. Instead of turning right out of the parking area into the fancy riverside area, we needed to turn left and around a very ordinary looking garage housing boats for the rowing teams, go around a tall wooden fence where you might find an outhouse or something unpleasant like that, where you will at last throw up your hands to the heavens and exclaim, “There it is!”

“You’re out of the woods
You’re out of the dark
You’re out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light
Keep straight ahead for
The most glorious place – on the face —
Of the earth or the sky
Hold onto your breath
Hold onto your heart
Hold onto your hope —
March up to the gate
And bid it open—”

song from The Wizard of Oz

zero mile marker on the C & O Canal Path

zero mile marker on the C & O Canal Path

Dear Husband, it is official!

Dear Husband, it is official!

I DID IT!  insert happy face here

I DID IT!
insert happy face here

339.15 miles traveled

36:10 hours of pedaling

2 very blessed and joyful people

stay tuned for “Wondering Around Oz” and “The Journey Home”