Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’


Debbie and I decided to take a quick Sunday morning motorcycle ride this past weekend.  Our ride took us to three national parks in about 5 hours!

Leaving home about 8AM we headed out to the George Washington Parkway (a national park). It took us about an hour to get to the southern terminus which is also Mount Vernon home of George Washington. Riding north on the parkway gives the rider a wonderful, at times panoramic, views of the Potomac River and surrounding country.

Coming abreast of Washington D.C. the view is remains panoramic as well as breath taking. The Washington and Lincoln Monuments clearly in view, the Kennedy Center and the spires of Georgetown make the few minutes you ride past the city quite awe inspiring.  Just past those sites you come across Theodore Roosevelt Island.  This is an often a much under looked memorial to a great president.  Take the time to walk across to the island and view this memorial. We did not stop this time…the parking lot was full, otherwise it would have been 4 national parks in 5 ½ hours.

The second park of this motorcycle ride was the C&O Canal National Park.  If you follow this blog you will see that I am attempting to get to all the motorcycle accessible stops along the canal.  I have knocked out a few but there is a lot of stops remaining.

Lastly we stopped in and took a look at Glen Echo National Park.  Just a short distance from the Clara Barton Parkway (named after the founder of the American Red Cross) this National Park started life in 1891 as a school and in 1911 transformed in to the premier amusement park of the great D.C area.  In 1971, shortly after the amusement park closed the Park Service took over and it is now a national park!  The park is an easy motorcycle ride coming out of or into Washington D.C.

Leaving Glen Echo we returned to the Clara Barton Parkway and headed west towards home.  All in all…a great day for a motorcycle ride!


Location – Lock 10

Mile Mark – 8.8

Historical Comment – One of the few locks to use the Drop Gate Lock system.  See the picture below for details.

Ride to the Site – Very easy.  This point on the canal is near Washington D.C.  Although traffic might be an issue during the “rush hour” phases of the work day.

Amenities – There is a picnic area but no rest rooms.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road. 

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing. 

Parking Lot Condition – All paved with about 10 parking spots.

 Main Attraction – The Drop Gate Lock system.

The view of the show from up high

Debbie and I went to the Washington DC International Motorcycle Show on the 8th of January.  But before I tell you about the show I have to tell you about the adventure we had just getting to the show. 

On a Sunday morning, barring accidents, it can take about 45 minutes to get to the Washington DC convention center from our home by car.  The problem is that parking in DC is very bad on the very best day, so we elected to take the metro/subway instead.  That was a big mistake! 

First and foremost we forgot that system was undergoing major overalls on the rail lines.  Second the trains are less frequent on weekends and third it was 12F and windy.  Sooooo, we quickly learned that we should have just driven in by car.

 The long story short is that we changed trains 5 times had to leave the subway to take a bus for 3 stops and walked several blocks to wait in stations for the next train to arrive.  At one point I think we were within a mile of convention center but at 12F the remaining 30 minute train ride was a better deal.  All in all just over 2 hours after boarding the first train we arrived at the convention center where we then had to walk to blocks, in doors, to get to the exhibit center. 

Well once there we had a great time.  This here the show was a bit smaller than those of the past.  Honda and KTM were not present thus the number of makes were down by at least two.  Last time we were there on a Saturday so I do not know if the crowd was smaller but it felt well attended to me.   

We wondered around the exhibits looking at the new bikes, checked out the JP Cycle motorcycle show contestants (I should enter my Army bike) and talked with the representatives. I had a nice conversation with the CEO of Southeastern Virginia Indian out of Newport News about what he and Indian are doing.   

I also had a good conversation with the marketing director of Royal Enfield USA.  She knew about the DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio show and stated that if any of us got to Milwaukee we had an invitation to ride the new Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike.  It is not yet available in the US but of course the HQ of Royal Enfield has a few on hand! 

After about 2 hours we knew we had to pack it in, even if we were not ready because we had a 2 hour train/bus/walking trek ahead of us.  So we packed our swag and headed out. 2 hours later we were in our car warming up and head to the house. 

All in all this year’s IMS Washington DC event was worth the 4 hour travel!

This past September I rode in the Washington DC DGR ride. I wrote about the event and ride in this post.

A few days ago I received a letter, Air Mailed from Australia; from the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride organization (a motorcycle inspired charity). It was a thank you letter for the donation I made to the organization. It also contained a patch and a couple stickers because of the amount of money I donated. While I was not expecting anything in return it was a nice surprise (I went back to their website and yes if donate more than $100 you do get tokens of appreciation).

I really like the patch and it will make a fine addition to my vest and the stickers will go on my tool chest with all the other motorcycle related stickers. Maybe this winter I will do a post on my tool chest LOL!!


DGR, distiguished gentlemens ride

On the 28th of September I and hundreds of thousands of other around the world rode our motorcycles in support of and to raise money for prostate cancer.  WAIT that did not sound right let’s try it again… We rode in a “dapper and genteel” manner to raise awareness of and money in support of the fight against prostate cancer.  The ride was part of the world wide phenomenon known as the Distinguished Gentleman’s ride. 

The Washington DC DGR began in Georgetown at the Exxon gas station near the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the famous “Exorcist” stairs.  This was my first ride with the DGR, and I cannot state how different it is from any other event I have participated in to date.  Riding in from Leesburg to Georgetown in jacket and tie I received more than a few double takes… but that is part of the purpose of the ride right?

From my research on last year’s DGR in DC I assumed that there would be a similar number of riders and bikes in attendance about 50-60. Well, there was, in my estimation, double that, at one point I noticed a thoughtful gentleman counting the bikes at the first stop (Belle Haven Park on the George Washington Parkway) he was at 102 when I moved to take pictures.  

Due to the greater number of participates the organizers had to make a few “on the fly” changes as we progressed.  An example of the changes was the revamping of the route to loop around the front of Mount Vernon instead of riding through old town Alexandria.  That was a very wise decision as it would have caused a lot of traffic issues, which should not be gentlemen’s first choice.  The riders took it all in stride and things worked out well, kudos to the organizers.

For the record I had two items that I was disappointed with during the DGR, both were my issues not the ride itself.  First it was at Mount Vernon that I had to drop out from the ride.  I missed the stop at the US Capitol and the hoisting of pints.  Not something that I will miss next year!  Second I am only contributing $100 to the cause, I just did not have time to get out and look for sponsors.  I am making a calendar event now to start that process in early August for the next ride.

Please mark your calendars for next years ride!


2014_zero-s_product-page_overview-imageI have been reading a lot about electric motorcycles lately.  About how they are getting improved performance, more versatility and better range. But here in the metro Washington DC area there will have to be revolutionary changes to range and attitudes before they can even begin to be discussed in the same sentence to their fossil fuel brothers and sisters.

Depending on which building I am working my commute is either 25 miles or 36 miles in length, one way, which can translate to up to an average of an hour and thirty minutes.  My commute is average a best and great compared to some of my neighbors.

The range on most of the bikes indicate that I would have no problem getting to work but as for recharging the batteries while at work, it is not going to happen.  At one of my buildings, I drove through the entire parking garage and found no outlets, let alone a dedicated charging station.  At the other, there is a conventional outlet but I would have to carry a 100 foot extension cord to connect the bike.  I did not ask the building owners if they would let me “plug in”, but I think the answer would be no.

So that would leave the trip home.  According to the propaganda/literature (Zero motorcycles claim that their range is up to 171 miles in the city) I should be able to make it home with out a recharge.  But, that assumes the temperature is not to hot or too cool, that there are no hills (there are) and limited stop and go traffic (DC, LOL)!  I would need Xanax every afternoon to cope with the range anxiety….but most drivers in this area should be on that drug!

Now with all that being said I will stick with my Harley but, if one of these companies would like to me to test a bike come spring I would consider being a test subject.

2 million

The ride occurred, as you know, yesterday amid controversy.

While I did not participate I did watch the TV news coverage throughout the day. I was quite dismayed by the reporting early in the day. Several of the local DC news stations continually portrayed the event as “angry” (showing one of the organizers, mid-sentence, saying he was angry but with no context), and “anti-Muslim” (the reporter making that statement juxtaposed with a biker wearing a Confederate flag patch).

BUT, as the day went on there was a surprising twist to the reporting. Angry and Muslim was dropped nearly completely replaced by “patriotic”.  By the end of day, the reporting was much like this from ABC Channel 7.  Read in the change in reporting tone what you will.


2 million

Permit or not it is happening.

FOX 5 TV has covered the ride on their website.  The still pictures are the riders outside of Fort Washington Harley Davidson, which is just outside Washington DC.

The Facebook page for the rides sponsor, 2 Million Bikers to DC, is also being updated.


This past weekend the wife and I took a short ride.  We have several “reoccurring” circuits that we enjoy some go north into Maryland, others west into West Virginia but this ride features the George Washington Parkway.

We left the house and traveled east on Route 7 until we reached the Fairfax County Parkway (for this road “Parkway” is derived from the fact there are over 50 stoplights between where we got on and the end of the road).  Luckily, we hit very few lights and reached US Route 1 quickly.

From the Fairfax County Parkway to the turn for the GW Parkway Route 1 runs though Fort Belvoir.  Ft. Belvoir was the last posting (4 years) my wife and I had before I retired from the Army after 25 years.  The Fort holds a lot of special memories for us.


Mount Vernon Visitor’s Center


View from the GW

The GW actually starts at the Washington’s home Mount Vernon and heads north along the Potomac River.  There are many overlooks and scenic stops along way all of which have great views or historic importance.  On this trip we did not stop but I would highly recommend (beside Mount Vernon) a quick look at Fort Hunt.

Shortly past Fort Hunt you will enter the city of Alexandria and the first thing you will notice is the very old cemetery on the right.  The cemetery (St. Paul’s) holds the “Grave of the Female Stranger” which is one of the more interesting stories of old Alexandria.  If you are riding the GW you need to make time to visit “Old Town” Alexandria.  There are lots of small shops, taverns,

Torpedo Factory

Torpedo Factory

restaurants and art galleries.  The largest gallery is the “Torpedo Factory”, named that way because during WWII it was a Torpedo Factory!

The next major landmark on the GW is Regan National Airport, while not a tourist destination for bikers, it does make for interesting views as large jetliners fly just a couple hundred feet

View from the GW

View from the GW

overhead!  Almost as soon as you see the airport you will catch a glimpse of the Washington Monument over the trees. A few moments and a left hand curve later you will see not only the Washington Monument but the Jefferson and Lincoln monuments across the Potomac.  But, because your eyes will be drawn to those major attractions, you will miss the Navy and Marine Memorial,

Another GW Pic

Another GW Pic

LBJ Memorial Grove, and Lady Bird Johnson Park!

Now is the time to decide if you want to go downtown DC or not, if you get in the left lane you will be directed towards the Arlington Memorial Bridge and the back of the Lincoln Memorial.  Stay in the right lane and you will pass under the bridge and continue upriver along the parkway. As I mentioned

Arlington Memorial Bridge

Arlington Memorial Bridge

earlier we were out for a scoot and did not stop very often nor did we go into the city on this trip.

One of the most invisible but one of the most powerful presidential monuments is the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island.  This is my favorite monument in the National Capitol Region but it is a bit of a hike from the parking lot (which is right off the GW), to the park at the center of the island.  If you have the time I think this is well worth the stop.

While there are several minor attractions and overlooks the remainder of the GW is just a smooth tree lined ride…..until it ends on I495 exit 14!  The GW basically throws you out on 5 lanes of beltway traffic that is normally bumper to bumper at any time of day.

Luckily our route leaves us in the right hand lane and exits within a ½ mile onto the Clara Barton Parkway. We normally turn left and continue to follow the river upstream but there is good reason to head down river and visit the home of Clara Barton (founder of the Red Cross) and take in parts of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.

Debbie at the Old Angler's Inn

Debbie at the Old Angler’s Inn

Rolling past the US Nave Surface Warfare the parkway soon ends and we decided to have a light lunch at the Old Anglers Inn.  The Inn is Zaggat rated and the service was spectacular!

Old Angler's Inn

Old Angler’s Inn

After our meal we followed several different roads ending up at White’s Ferry.  White’s Ferry is the only ferry currently operating on the Potomac River, having started in the early 1800’s.  One of the interesting parts to note about the ferry is how deep the flood waters have been over the years. With different flood stages marked on the building, it is remarkable sight to realize you are a dozen or more feet below the surface!

Taking the Ferry across the Potomac to VA puts us about four miles from home and is a fun way to cap this ride. As we were nearing home I got an idea for another ride…tracing the route of the C&O Canal, maybe we will be able to slip this one in sometime in the near future.