The Plan That Went Horribly Wrong: part III

We rode back. It wasn't too far to the Marina, and our eyes combed the other side of the trail for the set of keys with a red tag on them. We looked all over the deck, asked the store, checked the grass and even checked the bathrooms. No luck. Where could they be? Dave unlocked our bikes right there, and I guess the problem is we didn't know if he'd put them in his pocket or the backpack (which he hadn't, because we'd looked everywhere). The only other choice is that they fell out of his pocket onto the trail. So we said a prayer (an addition to our silent prayers) and headed down to Alexandria to look for them again. No luck. It was so frustrating. It's like someone picked them up and threw them in the trash. They had to be right there! We even stopped because we saw red, but it was only a wrapper. I mean, it won't break my faith or anything, but I do not understand why we couldn't find them. The point of borrowing bikes was to cut down costs. Now we were up to $70 (aka we might as well have rented bikes...which we had already decided we should have). How could the keys have just disappeared? Why couldn't we see them anywhere?

Ryan called--he had another flat tire (from being parked outside...). They were heading home. We were going to the Metro in Alexandria to do the same thing, more disheartened than ever at our lost keys and unsuccessful attempt to find them. On the way into Alexandria, you can cross over railroad tracks to a different part of the trail. We did that earlier, so we wanted to go down there to look for the keys. Here comes a train. A long, slow-moving train. While it blocked that entrance, it stopped in between the first and another crossing point. So we quickly crossed the tracks up ahead and doubled back that portion of the trail -- no keys. However, as we are riding down to cross over the tracks (you have to now)...the train is crossing. So we join the 15 other bikers waiting for it to pass. It paused-just in front of us. A few smart bikers took the risk and hurried across. Dave was on the phone (about an apartment we wanted to get...which we didn't, of course). Then, people, after all this mess the train caused, it BACKED UP to where it was before EITHER of the entrance points. POINTLESS. GAH!

We continued our search to the candy shop, and after no luck, headed towards the metro. It was 15 blocks away and we went five in the wrong direction. We always do that. So we just turned around and headed back. Ryan and Emily called- no bikes on the metro during rush hour (which is like 4 to SEVEN), so they were going to take a few buses home. We were going to meet them when we stopped to think about it. We didn't have my metro card, not enough cash for more than one bus ride, and I didn't see the point of trying to take a bus when we could wait an hour and a half to take the metro right home.

I mean, think about it. All four of us want to sit down and cry. (ok, well, at least I did). We wanted to go home more than anything. But the trip home was almost more effort than it was worth. I really thought we should just find somewhere to eat (the med. restaurant was five miles away...and with a flat tire, no way we were walking that) and wait until 7. Eventually we all agreed and we walked up Kings street while Ryan and Emily came from the metro. We looked for a place and finally found a place called Cafe Salsa. Ry went inside to ask if they had free chips and salsa (which we desperately wanted) and to our relief, the guy said "of course". People in the restaurant urged us to come in and try a drink that would surely take the day off our minds...and we headed into the restaurant (though we weren't going to try the drink).

Cafe Salsa was excellent. It was one of two bright spots in the day and we really enjoyed that hour and a half we spent there. (Also, our bikes didn't get stolen, though at that point, we really couldn't have cared less). And it was 7. So we hopped on the metro and took the long ride home.

As we got off the foggy bottom stop, my tire went flat. The circle of damaged bikes was complete.

We went home, cleaned up, Em and I went right over the Trader Joe's and bought some mint chocolate chip ice cream, and we watched Ocean's 11 while eating it straight out of the carton.

See? It was pretty bad. I mean, yes, we really do know it could have been a lot worse. But really, the day went pretty wrong in every way that it could otherwise. At the time, it was almost more than any of us could take. It was funny as we were walking to the Metro we were talking about the experience our paper (Ryan and I have to write an enrichment paper on the experience) and we mentioned our spiritual thoughts for the day. I was reminded of Elder Holland's talk/video about not quitting and Ryan thought of a scripture in the D&C. I am grateful for the foundation that we have to make this day not as bad as it could have been and being able to shake it off (not without a bitter laugh).

heh, heh.

next time, folks...just rent bikes.

Actually, some luck was found, after all. Or perhaps a Divine intervention: the guy whose bikes we borrowed checked with the shop that he bought the locks from. They just replaced it because he was a good customer for many years. yeah! In my book, that is as good as an angel putting the keys outside our doorstep. Which I was secretly hoping for.

Well, thanks for reading! have you had similar experiences?

post script: a few days later, we were emptying dave's backpack. the keys fell out. of where, you ask? there is a space between the body of the backpack and the waist belt. and they were just sitting there. held by some elastic force. for all of our alexandria wanderings (back and forth 3x) and the metro ride home. I mean, GO FIGURE.


Lulu said...

Sounds like one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
but you are right... maybe something worse could have happened and that is why it didn't work out.
You'll never know but maybe its better you don't! And i'm sure you'll laugh one day! :)

Jody Lynn said...

how horrible! i agree, you definitely weren't meant to bike to mount vernon. glad you guys were safe. that's the most important thing. :)

Kristen said...

Wowza. That sounds like an awful day! I think I would have been brought to tears after the first few mishaps. I'm glad you lived to tell us the tale!