Posts Tagged ‘dc’


It's coming down by Dave Kleinschmidt

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or, you know, don’t obsessively follow weather-related news), DC got absolutely clobbered with about two feet of snow this weekend. Well, okay, maybe more like 18″ (at National), but that’s enough to rank something like the fourth or fifth biggest snow storms in recorded history down here.

Fun fact, the last time I heard the phrase “potentially historically significant” being tossed around regarding a snow storm, they were forecasting six to eight feet. But that’s New England.

Anyway, I’ve been absolutely over the moon, what with all the shoveling and tromping around and midnight snow-biking (see below). This weather seems to bring out all the Northerners in DC, and to whip them into a little bit of a giddy frenzy. You can identify them by their goofy grins and non-beleaguered looks, or, you know, by the fact that they’re jogging down 13th St carrying a pair of cross-country skis (and exclaiming “good choice” over the six-pack of Bell’s you’re carrying). My downstairs neighbor (an Alaskan) and I bonded over how much we love shoveling out our three-house-long stretch sidewalk for our building (which he did in December, when we got 16″).

I do have to admit, DC weather is pretty nice. Right now it’s spring, as far as I can tell: the sun is warm, temperatures hover around freezing, and there are occasional snow storms. I’ve even started to see robins here and there. Having an actual spring (instead of the muddy mess that passes for spring in New England) will be great, too.

But nothing compares to getting absolutely walloped by a couple of feet of snow and all of the shoveling, trudging (biking?) fun that ensues. Part of the fun is undeniably seeing the absolute panic that this weather sends people from less snowy climates into. There are literally runs on the supermarkets around here at the threat of snow, with people—I shit you not—buying up toilet paper, milk, and canned food. As one Wisconsonite on NPR put it, this kind of weather brings out the survivalist tenancies in people who don’t have to deal with it on a regular basis, which is pretty entertaining for people who know that life will go on, a little messier and a little more fun.

(Link: photo from flickr)


Snow biking

Snow bike by Dave Kleinschmidt

Last night I went snow-biking. I finally got my hands on the requisite tools to crack open the bottom bracket on my fixie and get it cleaned out, repacked, and beautifully adjusted. I was anxious to take it out for a spin, and was feeling undeterred by the late hour and the two feet of snow on the roads. Hard-packed snow—courtesy of the lack of plowing and stubborn DC drivers—is actually pretty good riding—not too slippery, no slushy sliding around, not too rough when it’s fresh—and riding a fixie in the snow is quite nice, since you can feel exactly how much traction you have at any given moment, and adjust your speed intuitively.

I cruised down Georgia Ave/7th St NW, soaking up the snowed-in-Saturday-night Chinatown scene, and then rolled down to the mall to gawk at the empty streets, snowy trees, and impressive obelisks. By the time I made it to the Lincoln Memorial I was pretty cold and my mittens had actually frozen, being still wet from the afternoon’s shoveling extravaganza. On the way home I got stuck behind a convoy of snow plows (one usually does the trick, guys), got stuck in too-much-snow on Vermont Ave, and got stuck behind homeward bound revelers on U St. All in all, an absolutely fantastic night.

Biking today was slightly less pleasant but still awesome. A little bit of sun, a little bit of traffic, and a lot of salt produced a bumpy, slushy, slippery mess on Georgia Ave, but I was out of coffee and determined to make it to Qualia. A couple of cops in an SUV asked me if I had snow tires “on that thing” after seeing me plowing through a pile of slushy snow. Had I been thinking a little more quickly I might have made a crack about only having one-wheel-drive, which I guess is all you really need.

(Link: photo from flickr)

Washington, Washington

Washington, washington by Dave Kleinschmidt

This isn’t about Washington, per se. What it is is a non-exhaustive list of things that I love that I’ve discovered or re-discovered (etc.) since moving here. Consider it a sort of belated New Year’s retrospective/thank-you.

  • Learning. In particular, language, sounds, and computers. Also, brains.
  • Bikes, especially my fixie, now that I am finally strong enough to ride it.
  • Biking. Note that loving biking is actually different from loving your bike, although they are of course related. Being able to hop on my bike and get to work, or get coffee, or go to the store, or go anywhere, really, is quite exciting.
  • Public transit. Because, let’s face it, sometimes the weather is shitty, and sometimes there is awesome people-watching to be done on the 90/92.
  • Ruth.
  • A good, sharp knife.
  • Beer, wine, coffee, food.
  • Having more than one place to go for all of the above.
  • Having people to do all of these things with.
  • Live music.
  • A medium-sized city. At least this one, anyway. Especially when they have both Civil War-era row-houses and all of the, you know, things that come with being the national capitol.

That is to say, I’m having a great time in DC, and this whole “being a Real Person” thing has worked out a lot better and a lot more easily than I could have hoped.

(Link: photo from flickr)

From this morning’s Post, a delightfully breathless story about how cold it was this weekend:

Many Washingtonians exulted in a sunny Saturday, but their delight came on a day that could also be described as the coldest since March.

But about eight hours earlier, the mercury had dipped to 35 degrees. It had not fallen so low since March 25, when it was 34. The 35-degree reading was seven degrees below normal and eight degrees above the record for the date, 27 degrees, which was set in 1930.

While I do enjoy a good chilly New England fall day as much as anyone, I also enjoy that reasonably temperate (aka bikeable) weather like this lasts until the middle of November, and I’m especially stoked for spring, which from what I’ve heard is actually a Real Season here, not some godforsaken mud/snow/rain event that happens sometime between April and June.

There are more concrete benefits, too.  The combination of temperate weather and our row house apartment which has all of two dozen feet of walls exposed to the outside air also means that we haven’t had the heat or AC on for a couple of months and are basically paying nothing in utilities.  Win all around.

The downside, of course, of the mercury never dipping below freezing for fully half of the year, is that there will be very little real, snowy winter weather. You can’t have everything weather-wise, I suppose, so I’ll just have to wait until the holidays to get a dose of Maine winter.