Ringing In The New Year

Snug HarbourNew Years Day requires a fair amount of housekeeping for my cycling records.  First, I must turn the blog’s odometer to zero and place the previous year’s number below it.  THEN (as if that wasn’t enough) I must create a new worksheet on the Excel Spreadsheet I use to keep track of each and every ride I conduct.


Since it is extremely embarrassing to have a zero next to your annual odometer, I once again felt compelled to rectify the situation by heading out on a New Years Day Ride.  Unlike last year’s balmy 61 degrees, today was a much cooler 39 with cloudy skies and the threat of rain.  It was necessary to turn the lights on and don some reflective materials to make sure the handful of cars on the road could see me.  Fortunately, they all did and I am thus able to render my report.

My objective was a little-known body of water with the appropriate name of Snug Harbour.  Located at the mouth of Quantico Creek outside the town of Dumfries, Snug Harbour was once one of the more bustling ports in Colonial America.  Eventually, the creek silted up and shipping moved to other ports, leaving Dumfries to languish as a small afterthought in American history.

Today, the “harbour” (you can use the British spelling without sounding pretentious because it harkens to a time when it was under the Crown’s domain) is a quiet wildlife refuge, bordered by Marine Corps Base Quantico to the south and some upscale homes on Possum Point to the north.  The ride was pleasant without a single car for several miles.  The below pic was taken looking south toward the military base.  In the distance you can see the Virginia Railway Express line leading to Washington from points south.

Duck Blind

At this point, alert readers will be saying, “Steve, what a fantastic photo!  You’ve never brought us such high quality imagery before.  What gives?”  To those readers, I say thank you for noticing.  Everyone else needs to step up their game and pay attention.  This is a group project, after all.

The picture was taken with one of my Christmas presents, a Canon SX-260HS camera, featuring a 20x zoom which blows away my humble (and now deceased) Casio Exilim’s 5x zoom.  Here’s hoping I can keep the new camera operational for quite a while.  I’m still learning the gizmos on it but can already see great potential for improved photography.  You’re welcome.

A couple miles past this bucolic splendor one begins to see an ever-growing collection of pipes and power lines.  These emanate from the Possum Point power plant, operated by Dominion Power Company.  This is a gas and oil powered plant which supplies electricity to much of Northern Virginia, most likely including my house. I took this shot as the plant loomed into view.


Upon reaching the plant, a left turn leads to a difficult but not tortuous climb for a mile.  The resulting view is pleasant and signs indicate this is a nesting area for eagles.  I was eager to use my new-found photography powers to capture one of these birds, but they were all sleeping off the New Year’s Eve parties, or so it would seem.  I settled for this more traditional pic of the Trek as it overlooked the vista.  I apologize for the power lines but you will recall I mentioned a power plant was located in the immediate vicinity.


And with that, it was time to beat a hasty retreat to the house before the forecasted rains came.  As it turned out, there was no need to rush; I am typing this post over five hours after I returned and no rain has fallen yet.  Another success for our local weatherman!

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year and hoping you have not yet failed to keep your resolutions.

15 thoughts on “Ringing In The New Year

    1. PS: I’m not so good at remembering numbers, so I just nudged my cat off my lap to go get my almost new camera. It is exactly the same model as yours, how cool is that!. I replaced my tiny little beatup Canon with an SX 260HS before my trip last September. Hope you like it as much as I do!

      1. You have excellent taste! 🙂 Based on my cursory research, this seems to be one of the better rated cameras in the “travel zoom” category. I’m a little nervous hauling it around in my jersey pocket, but hopefully I can keep it safe with a proper camera case.

      2. For what it’s worth, I’ve been carrying mine in a jersey without a case, thinking that I’m more likely to use it if there is no case to fuss with. So far, so good. On the hand, it does make me very careful when pulling things out. But one of these days I will get a case for carrying it around with me offbike.

  1. Beware the camera! You will find yourself considering whether a ride will offer good photo opportunities rather than fulfilling your training needs. Routes you have ridden with pleasure for years will seem mundane. Sometimes you will even stop and turn back to see if that potential shot really was that good. Your average speed will go to pot and soon you will be considering yourself as an artist rather than an athlete. Throw it away now before it is too late.

    Nice picture of the lake. You will find the zoom an unmixed blessing. Good pedalling and good snapping in 2013. (No mystery pictures please.)

    1. You may be surprised to learn that all of those things have already occurred with my less powerful camera! I have already tested the zoom on a bird feeder in my front yard and can report good initial results. I now need to figure out how to increase the shutter speed and I may begin to approach (approach only, mind you) some of your pics.

  2. Congrats on the camera–it’s the same camera I got before a trip to England this September…have had a lot of success with it, even with the video side of it. It’s pretty nice!

    Got out today, too, and noted the same thing–last year, 58 degrees, this year, 38. Needn’t tell you which one worked better for me.

    1. Well, it certainly seems to be a favorite among folks around this blog! I haven’t tried a video yet. You know me – always being cautious and not wanting to take on too much too fast.

  3. Steve, you are the fourth cycling blogger to mention feeding the birds. I am starting to think that we cyclists are well versed in taking care of our wild neighbors. All the best in 2013 and I look forward to great pics!!

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