Hurricane Irene

With great fanfare, Hurricane Irene arrived at my location late Saturday morning.  After a 5.9 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, this promised to be an exciting end to a week of odd weather in our part of the world.  We haven’t had a hurricane visit us since 2003, and that one (Isabelle) did a great deal of damage.  After 20 hours of solid rain and 30-40 mph winds, the excitement was over a little after daybreak on Sunday.  Peaking out my windows, the storm didn’t appear to do much damage.  After cleaning up my own yard, I decided to break out my hybrid and have a look around.

Having seen first hand the devastation at Homestead, Florida, as a result of Hurricane Andrew, it seems inappropriate to call what I witnessed “hurricane damage.”  There was an occasional fallen tree and lots of branches/leaves in the road.  That’s about it.  A better phrase would be “strong storm damage.”  The eye of the hurricane stayed next to the Virginia coast, about 100 miles from where I live, so my area got off quite lightly.

There are reportedly hundreds of thousands of people without power in the DC area.  I’ve had no problems but four miles into my ride I caught a glimpse of the challenges faced by the local utility companies.  Northern Virginia Electric Company (NOVEC) was working to fix a downed power line near the Dale City Moose Lodge.

I was happy to have my hybrid (aka “Old Ironsides”) out with me.  I haven’t ridden it in over three months and it was good to take it out for a spin.  With its flat pedals, its easier to hop on and off while investigating things and the fatter tires make handling the road debris a little easier.  And if I break it, it’s a lot less expensive than the Trek!  I was particularly happy to be on it as I passed under Waterway Drive, using a cart path for the local golf course.  I almost became mired in some nasty, wet goo at the bottom of this dark passageway.  I am certain the Trek would have become stuck, forcing a rapid unclip followed by a dismount and trudging through ankle-deep muck for 30 feet.  Not cool.  As it was, Old Ironsides plowed through it in good form and I emerged with clean feet.

I wandered through some side streets and found nothing out of order.  People were outside, picking up twigs and blowing leaves with their leaf blowers.  That’s as exciting as it got, I’m afraid.  I paused on my way back for a pic by a damaged pear tree on Waterway Drive.  These trees are notoriously weak and any strong storm usually claims at least one of them.

With the temperature at 90 degrees, I pulled back into my drive after a refreshing 10 mile pedal.  It’s good to know Old Ironsides is still ready to serve.  As the weather turns in the next few months, I’ll be reaching for it more often.

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6 thoughts on “Hurricane Irene

  1. It’s nice when things turn out not to be exciting after all. I’m glad to hear that you didn’t get hit hard by the storm. Regarding Ironsides, it’s good to have the right bike for the job.

  2. I was glad to hear the hurricane turned out to less exciting than expected all round. My daughter lives up in New Jersey, just outside New York city. Short of a cancelled camping trip, and a flooded basement they were very much spared from the whorst of the storm. I will be out there towards the end of the month, just have to squeeze a London to Paris ride in before. Take care.

  3. Thanks, everyone. It is definitely nice to not have anything dramatic to report. There’s a great argument going on in the media as to whether this hurricane was “over hyped.” For folks such as myself, it would appear to have been. For the hundreds of thousands of people who are still without power, perhaps less so. And for the dozens of towns in Vermont and New Hampshire that are currently cut off from civilization due to flooding, definitely not.

  4. Glad you were okay and had a hybrid to explore. I know of a few people who are still struggling with the storm. One friend just told me that he will be out of power for a week and has to flush toilets with pool water (ugh!). I’ve heard from others as well who had it a lot worse. It sounds like anyone at all inland just experienced a big storm, like you.

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