An extraordinary day.
It’s yet another business trip. However, Steven timed the trip to include an extra day in Washington, DC, to go bicycling with Hilary, older sister of Jadin’s friend Kara, daughter of Michelle, now residing and working just outside the enemy-occupied federal district.
Steven rented a bike from Conte’s Bike Shop in Arlington, VA., which delivered extraordinary service — from the first email query, to the phone conversation where Charles Conte asked questions about the ride we were planning, to the bike that Steven currently rides, to size and comfort and equipment — before anyone talked pricing. And … his pricing was ride in line with what other stores charge. Then, despite a busy store Saturday afternoon, Stephan rolled out the rental wheels and spent about an hour fitting the bike to Steven, to make it comfortable, efficient. Along the way, Hilary learned a bit about how to fit her new Fuji, purchased used on Craig’s List — along with lessons about pedals, shoes, safety equipment, pumps, wrenches … Charles and his team run a super store and deliver extraordinary service.
We kicked out of the hotel driveway in Arlington at 8 am, traveling 18 miles down the Potomac to Mount Vernon. DC was across the river. It was cold — temps in the 50s. We reached the house that George built about 10 am, taking our time to sightsee and snack along the route.
The route is mostly flat. We sailed …
In one of the parking lots we borrowed a three-way wrench and lowered Hilary’s seat by about an inch. She swung back in to the saddle to meet an entirely different and far more comfortable bike — no stretching to reach the pedals, and reaching past the stem to the handles was no longer stressful.
On the way back, we stopped in Alexandria at Virtue Feed & Grain for lunch outdoors. At the table next to us, two other bike riders exchanged contact info with Hilary; they’re looking for more people to ride with. Bikers are friendly people!
18 miles down to Mount Vernon, then 18 back, with that stop for lunch, we opted to cross the bridge for Steven to sightsee. This is when a special day became an extraordinary adventure.
We crossed at Georgetown, carried the bikes down flights of steps to cross the tow path, and into history.
We looped around the tidal basin across from the Jefferson Memorial and arrived at the FDR Memorial.
And then we visited with Martin Luther King.
As we walked our bikes up to the four stone mountains, the Jefferson Memorial is visible through the rock. The two great men stare at each other across the Tidal Basin, at opposite ends of history, slavery and freedom.
From there, we went to see Mr. Jefferson.
And Mister Washington.
Steven rented a hammer drill from Home Depot and learned how to drill concrete. Four holes, less than a minute each. Not so difficult, if you have the correct tool. Steven’s hand drill, even on hammer settings, would not cut the mustard.
Bolts inserted, post fitted, washers on, nuts wrenched down. Post up.
Then it took another hour to drill out the concrete from around the existing/old mailbox post. The post would not come free. Steven texted Gilsa Concrete for assistance winching or cutting the old post. They opted to cut. Turns out the post is solid steel, not hollow, mounted in place with a second ball of concrete at least two feet down; that sucker is not coming out, and we will leave a segment permanently buried.
Jacquela and Steven rode with Team Schwab — 20+ people.
Several hundred bikers turned laps.
Steven’s third ride of the year. Jacquela’s first. Still breathing heavy the next morning.
And COTA is apparently doing this every Tuesday evening for several weeks!
Steven was not about to allow the team from Gilsa Construction have all the fun when finishing out the driveway.
The first concrete mixer is scheduled for noon. The team from Gilsa arrives at 8 am to prepare.
Steven met at the landscaping yard with Mauricio from Gilsa Construction to pick out the rock to use in the drainage channel down the center of the new concrete driveway.
We picked a “Santa Fe” mix of reds, grays and browns, 1-3 inches. The colors will complement the red cedar privacy fence at the front of the house, and the gray paint on the body of the house. The size should be large enough to not shift when rainwater travels across the rock.
And … Steven asked Jacquela to marry him while visiting Santa Fe and Taos. So … the Santa Fe mix is an easy decision.
Bahne and Aaron from Central Texas Custom Cabinets kicked out the near-final punch-list repairs on the kitchen cabinets. There’s one last corner to patch.
This gives you an idea of how much muscle, art and toolwork is required just to screw an end panel correctly into place.
Alejandro and Juan from Gilsa Construction arrived to regrade the roadbed, prepping it for concrete — and to build the lumber forms.