Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Capitol time

Although neither of the hockey games turned out the way we would have liked, we are still managing to have a good time in DC. It would seem that the rest of the fans in town are enjoying themselves as well. Careful research revealed a half dozen brewpubs and beer centric bars and we have noticed a disproportionate number of folks in various hockey related gear in those spots. We have also managed to see a good number of sights, between pints, and are planning on more today.

Woody and Davey wanted to hit the Air and Space Museum, which I had already toured. It was a nice day and I was more up for outdoor activity than looking at airplanes with a few thousand of my close friends. I had originally planned to rent a kayak and see the skyline from the C&O Canal and the Potomac but the outfitters apparently don't begin the season until mid April. My next best choice was to rent a bike and cycle the Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and the Tidal Basin area. It was a lovely ride and the cherry blossoms were still blooming, although near the end of their cycle. I had mentally prepared myself to not become pissed at the gawking and self absorbed pedestrians as I tried to navigate on two wheels and things went fine. I had not prepared myself for strollers the size of fishing boat trailers, complete with mountain bike tires and beaming parents who felt they had the right of way over bikes, wheelchairs, buses, and presidential motorcades. These contraptions are interesting on the Metro and its escalators as well. I did not ram any of the Yuppie prams though and had a wonderful ride. I did find myself a bit puzzled over the fact that all the gushing fountains and waterfalls were working perfectly but none of the drinking fountains seemed to work. Maybe its all part of the Street Vendor Stimulus Package to help drive increases in sales of $3 bottles of water. I was impressed by the memorials, statuary, and the sheer magnitude of our Nations 'front yard' and enjoyed seeing it with the upbeat Good Friday crowds, framed with the famous cherry blossums.

Cycling in warm weather develops a powerful thirst as does looking at static aircraft displays, apparently. The fellow at the bike rental place steered us to the Elephant & Castle on Pennsylvania Ave and we were surprised to find Fullers London Pride and their superb ESB available on cask, hand pulled as they would be in England. The Oxford U rowing scull was photographed from my comfortable bar stool and was as close as I got to a long skinny boat this weekend. I did see an army of paddle boats in the Tidal Basin but they don't count. As a historical side note, I asked a half dozen people if they knew where the Wilbur Mills/Fanny Fox Memorial Beach was on the tidal basin and none of them had ever heard of it. A sad note on our general historical knowledge.

After tearing ourselves away from the cask ale (not too quickly, mind you) we hunted down the obscure yet amazing Brickskeller bar near Dupont Circle. They handed us a 24 page small type list of the 1,000 beers they have available, cross indexed by brewery, country of origin, and style. As might be expected, tearing ourselves away from this ambiance saturated dive bar took far more willpower than we collectively posessed. We finally did wind up in Chinatown for a lovely dinner but need to invest more research time in the Brickskeller. Since its raining today my guess is that research will be ongoing.

It will take a ton of luck for Miami of Ohio to knock off Boston University tonite but I'm sending the best of karma in their direction. I have an early flight in the AM which will allow me to hear the VOR sing at 4pm mass and allow me to sneak off to Snail Lake shortly afterwards with GalwayGuy before he heads south on Monday. Its a busy weekend but thats the way I like em.

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