Saturday, March 19, 2005

You're telling me there's civilization south of the mixing bowl?

Today was the first day of what might be many for me as I explore the hiking trails in the MD/VA area. My friend and I went south of the mixing bowl in Virginia. It's the meeting point for 495 (DC Beltway), 95, and 395 (an interstate road running from DC to 495). We visited Leesylvania State Park for the relatively easy Lee's Woods 2-mile trail. It was a nice scenic walk with some Civil War relics, Lee family cemetery, and the remains of some old homes from back in the day.

After we started our drive around 4, we noticed a really bad accident on 95 north with a crushed car, a jack-knifed trailer that appeared to have been on fire, as well as a huge hole in the sound barrier. So yeah, it wasn't a pretty thing to see. We figured it would be cleared off the road by the time we made our return trip, but boy were we wrong. We almost got stuck on the HOV lanes going north, but "managed" to get on the on-ramp to the Potomac Mills Mall. The traffic report at this time said the backup was from Franconia all the way to the mall, and as much as I enjoy hanging out in my car wearing out the brakes for at least 10 miles, our stomachs had a different idea.

We scarfed down some IKEA manager's special meals and walked around the mall until things cleared on 95. It turned out really well for me since I brokedown and visited the Linen's N' Things and bought the cast-iron skillet I've needed and good-sized pot for some chili, chicken soup, etc. Believe it or not, I made it out there without any new bedsheets.

The area including the mall and its surrounding stores takes up a huge amount of space. It was my first visit there and still can't get over the amount of retail options. We walked the entire mall, but would have appreciated a circular mall like Arundel Mills so we could just make one nice big loop. No real complaints though except many of the major stores were outlets and not the real deal, but nevertheless, it would be easy to drop some cash there. And of course, wouldn't you know it, both malls are owned by the same managing group. It should be noted that the crowd's walking speed and lane changing went very smoothly compared to the Arundel Mills.

When we hit the road around 9, traffic flowed as if there was no accident except for the hole in the wall. My legs (and most importantly my right knee) aren't hurting now, but tomorrow morning will be the test as always. Ultimate may not happen tomorrow with all of the college hoops on, but I've been stubborn before about my knee.

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