Thursday, April 5, 2012

A "Tri-"ing Adventure!

Spring Break brought about the opportunity for us to embark upon our next Christmas gift adventure: a "tri"ing overnight in a hotel in Northern Virginia. We biked. We swam. And we hiked - our tri-sport adventure.

On Monday morning, we loaded up the van and headed north. Despite the fact that we've traveled this same route dozens of times, and despite the fact that even I, the directionally-challenged one, could get us from point A to point B with no problem, Jeff decided to use his new Garmin, whom he's named Michelle. Apparently, a Garmin and Common Sense are mutually exclusive. Jeff ignored what he knew was the right road to take because "Michelle didn't tell me to go that way," and ended up adding 10 minutes to the trip - plus enduring endless harassment from me, along with a lot of whining that his detour caused us to miss out on one of my favorite little towns. Wisely, he turned Michelle off for the trip home.

The first stop was for fuel - the food kind of fuel. Our lifelong friends the Thieles had us over for a feast of sandwiches, salads, chips, cookies, and more. We loved having the chance to visit a bit, and the kids loved playing with their sweet dog, Sydney. After explaining for the umpteenth time why we could not, in fact, take Sydney with us (the Thieles were absolutely no help here - they sided with the kids completely) - we headed toward the trail.

The W. and O.D. Trail runs for many miles through Virginia. Originally, it was the railroad track, but it was later converted to a trail to be used by bikers, walkers, runners, and roller-bladers. As children growing up in Northern Virginia, Jeff and I both rode this trail countless times with our own families. So it felt very full-circle, very complete, to bring our own children back here for our first long bike ride together.

What I loved best about our time on the trail was how many memories it brought back from my own childhood days. I love that I have ridden or walked or run on that trail with every beloved person in my life - my parents and my brother; my grandparents and my aunt; friends, boyfriends, my husband. And now, our children. The beauty of the day - warm breezes, blue sky, puffy white clouds, budding trees, newly green leaves, and plenty of sunshine - mirrored the beauty of the moment.

After our ride, we headed to our hotel and cleaned ourselves up for dinner. I don't know if it was because we were starving or if it's because the food is as good as we remember, but P.F. Chang's delivered that night. We came back to our hotel and swam for awhile before bed - the second sport in our "tri" adventure.
A dip in the chlorinated pool doubled as bath that night, and we tucked three very tired but very contented little boys into bed. But since it was still rather early, Jeff built a little fort using the curtains and a side table, and we played gin rummy and drank wine and made up stories about the traffic violations we witnessed from high above in our window overlooking the busy road....

In the morning, we noshed on Dunkin Donuts before making our way to Great Falls Park. The park is among my favorites. As college students, Jeff and I used to visit the Maryland side to go rock climbing. Other times, we'd head to the Virginia side for picnicking, hiking, and playing frisbee. Now, we return with our children to show them the powerful water, find wildflowers growing along the path, explore deep holes in trees, and hike along paths filled with wonders just waiting to be discovered. In truth, Aidan and Leo were crabby and tired. Yet the lure of the views, of the path through the woods, of hidden treasures in nooks and crevices, proved to be powerful antidotes to their weariness.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." -John Muir

1 comment:

Susan said...

If I had two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy a hyacinth. To feed my soul.