A Weekend Five Years in the Making

The Mechanic and I just celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long, and yet it seems like we’ve always been together. Is that how marriage works?!

We haven’t done much to celebrate in the last few years since they’ve seemed a bit anti-climatic. I was in New York last year with a friend, if that is any indication of our attentiveness. But five years seemed like a big deal so we made some plans.

First up, we splurged on a fancy dinner at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a plant-based restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s been on my list for a while but due to it price and exclusivity (Friday and Saturday night seatings only, wine pairings an extra $60 per person), we hadn’t been. But it turned out to be the perfect anniversary dinner.

Violet Moon cocktail and an empty first course dish – as the dining excitement begins!

Although we passed on the wine pairing, we did order cocktails. My Violet Moon appeared more gray than violet, but the vodka, kombucha, creme de Violette, and Freixenet Blanc de Blanc combo could possibly be my most favorite cocktail ever. I had two – just to test the consistency, of course! I can’t even begin to describe the food, it was so amazing. So many wild and different flavors in one mouthful! The Mechanic and I, not being foodies, credited our years of vegan Green Chef meals with introducing us to the possibilities of flavorful, exotic, and adventurous dining – if it hadn’t, this meal might have been a great shock! I didn’t take pictures of all seven courses but I did take a few of the more picturesque ones.

One of seven delicious courses at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Also, I wore my new Vogue 9091  linen culottes and the Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which I cropped into a top. I love this combination so much!!! Expect to see me in it alot – and sorry for the bathroom photo….

We balanced the fancy experience at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw the following day with a road trip to Shepherdstown, WV, where we had gotten married five year previously. We rented a (ginormous) pick up, and The Mechanic managed to nicely arrange our bicycles in the back so we could take them with us. Once in Shepherdstown, we started with a casual lunch at our favorite place, the Blue Moon Cafe. The food is always good, with plenty of vegetarian options, but the highlight is the outdoor seating with a small stream rushing through it. We love this place so much that we made it part of our unofficial wedding reception (we had a lunchtime wedding and reception, so everyone who stayed joined us at the Blue Moon for dinner that evening). We continued our wedding anniversary tour with a stop at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, where we had ordered our wedding cake. We purchased a slice of cake that was almost identical to ours – this was almond cake (instead of the lemon we had five years ago), with a raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. Just as delicious as we remembered!

Biking has always been a large part of our memories of Shepherdstown – we first encountered the town when we signed up for the CASA River Ride seven years ago. We also used it as our starting point for a bike camping trip down the C & O Canal that same year. We’ve returned over and over, since it is a perfect day trip destination. Luckily the weather this year was dry enough for us to squeeze in another bike ride down the canal tow path. It was so lovely and just perfect, and we agreed we need to do more of *that* sort of biking – adventure travel biking, casual, gravel roads, nature, trees, etc.

Our last anniversary-related stop was at the Bavarian Inn, where our wedding had taken place. We were one of the first weddings held overlooking the infinity pool, and there had been some question as to whether or not it would be ready for us – but it was, and provided a lovely backdrop of just nature and the Potomac River. We visited a few times since then, but not for a few years, so we were completely surprised at the remodeling they had done when they added Bavarian Brothers Brewery to the site last year. Walls were changed, decor was modernized, fixtures were new, the bar was larger, and there was an entire new dining area where our reception patio space had been. Wow! It looks amazing! We had a flight and some fondue, then took home a growler – which I had to bike back to our rental truck, since we’d gone there on our bikes. What’s more bike-y than beer and cupcakes on a bike?!


Part of my wedding reminiscences included pulling out my wedding skirt, which I made from my wedding dress. It’s a bit too small for me now <ahem> but I would still love to have a reason to wear it somewhere. Someone, invite me to a garden party!

So many changes since 2014!

Who knows how many changes there will be in another five years!!! We have enough to keep ourselves busy until then, so check in with me in 2024!

Reflective Pants and Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown, WV, is clearly turning into our (well at least my) favorite nearby getaway destination. It was only 2012 when The Mechanic and I first participated in the CASA River Ride, and then two years later, we got married at the Bavarian Inn. This past weekend we decided to go stay at the Bavarian Inn again, and just relax. Every trip to Shepherdstown since our engagement a year ago has been for wedding-related meetings and appointments – not a bad thing, just not casual, random fun. So it was nice to return and be random! IMG_2422

Conveniently, I had just finished my latest reflective fashion project – Butterick 6028 Katherine Tilton pants made out of snakeskin-print corduroy (my favorite fabric of all times!) with of course reflective bias trim in the seams. They were trickier than they should have been – I’m pretty sure the pattern instructions were wrong regarding the zipper fly and the facing. So the inside is not perfect, but whatever. They fit pretty well, despite the high waistline, which I am not used to, and are very comfortable. I wore them to get dinner Friday night, but they officially debuted on Saturday.

It is not quite full autumn colors, but there were enough, plus coupled with some cooler weather and rainy clouds, it felt like fall. So we were appreciative of the fire in the fireplace at Hillsborough Winery, where we stopped for wine tasting. This winery is on the road to Shepherdstown, and every time we have driven past, I have said, “We should stop in some day.” So this time we made a point of starting our trip there. The wines were different and good, but the scenery won the prize.

We watched a bit of the Shepherd University football game, where The Mechanic coined the phrase “artisanal football” – small, local, excellent, not found all over. Come on, you know it’s the next hipster thing! Then an excellent dinner at The Press Room, and a stroll around town in the dark (ooh spooky…), then going to bed early and sleeping late. Ah…. relaxing….

Sunday highlights were stopping at the farmer’s market so I could buy flowers from Megan Webber Flowers, who did our wedding flowers, and whose work I really truly love (She just has such an eye for flower arrangements!), as well as biking on the C&O Canal. We were a bit dismayed to find some construction along the trail around Mile 74, and really hope it is not going to be parking spaces. No cars! Keep it wild and wonderful, and free of too many people! I got a flat tire as we were headed back to Shepherdstown, but luckily I married a bike mechanic, who happily patched up the tire.

It was so nice to feel relaxed and peaceful and very zen, but after our dee-lish vegetarian sandwiches and a WV beer at Domestic, we sadly loaded up the bikes and dove back into the traffic to return to our normal lives. Time to face another week.

C & O Canal zen

C & O Canal zen

British Blog, Wedding Bells, and Elly Blue

It’s hard to keep up with a blog when so much stuff is going on all at the same time! So many things I wanted to share, but don’t have time to create their own post, so I’m cramming three great things into one!

First, I am very pleased that one of my product reviews was published on The Discerning Cyclist! I had read an interview with founders Ste Johnson and Peter Reynolds in Momentum Magazine, which ended with a call for more people reviewing stylish bike fashion. So I sent a link to my website and offered my services. The end result is a custom review of the REI Novara Whittier Bike Dress! Be sure to check out the rest of their website. Their goal, as is mine, is stylish clothes you can bike in. (I just happen to like mine to have hidden reflectivity as well). I’m very excited to share this with you, and hope that it is, in the cliched words of Humphrey Bogart, the beginning of a beautiful friendship! And now I have an excuse to buy more stylish garments that just happen to be bike-friendly or bike-specific. Huzzah!

The Mechanic and I got married this past weekend. Yep, that was a pretty big deal! It was a four-day event, starting when we biked to Gerald Williams, one of the County suggested “civil celebrants” and a celebrity in his own right . We didn’t want a stranger conducting the actual wedding, so we opted to have a civil ceremony before the wedding. Initially we thought we’d make it casual and just bike there, but as it turns out, we had 6 other family members with us to capture it the entire way.

Our wedding took place at the Bavarian Inn, in Shepherdstown, WV, and couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather turned out to be perfect, the reception room looked perfect, the wedding cake was perfect, I loved my dress, and although I cried on and off the entire day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am now Mrs. The Mechanic.

And to round out a few weeks of fun, last night I got to chat briefly with Elly Blue, famous bike author of Taking the Lane, who was in Arlington for a Dinner and Bikes event. We didn’t chat very long, but since we’ve communicated via Twitter, I wanted to say hi; she was, after all, in my office. I’ve worked with many celebrities in my life (ask me about my Hugh Jackman story the next time you see me), but I feel like Elly is a real celebrity – she is out there making a difference for everyday people, getting them on bikes, and getting them to think about bikes in different ways. I wish I had time to read all the publications she had with her, but I’ll have to wait until I have more free time.

I’m really still basking in the afterglow of the wedding weekend, and now I’m beginning to pack for the honeymoon, so this could be the last blog post for a while. I will try to blog from Europe but I can’t promise anything. However, I can promise lots of bike-themed blog posts when I get back!  Elizabet3580347

I Become Mrs. Wheeler

Have you ever seen the 1950 Disney short starring Goofy as Mr. Walker/Mr. Wheeler? Goofy is mild-mannered, polite, conscientious Mr. Walker – until he gets in his car. Then he becomes angry, aggressive, rude Mr. Wheeler. It’s pretty hilarious how, in 1950, when mass, obsessive automobile ownership was in its infancy, even Disney knew how things were with people behind the wheel of a car.

Goofy as Mr. Wheeler (Image from TheWeeklyHubris.com)

Goofy as Mr. Wheeler (Image from TheWeeklyHubris.com)

Okay, maybe I wasn’t that bad, but a chance to drive to Shepherdstown, WV, in a rental car last weekend showed a side of me that only seems to come out in a car. The Mechanic was a bit surprised at the words coming out of my mouth, words I rarely ever use. In my defense, transitioning from a bicycle rider to a car driver is not an easy thing for me to do!

We went to Shepherdstown to do wedding planning stuff, and enjoyed perfect weather and the on-the-verge-of-peak-fall-colors countryside.

Overlooking the Potomac towards Maryland

Overlooking the Potomac towards Maryland

We enjoyed the farmers market, the Bavarian Inn, the Blue Moon Cafe, and the Sweet Shop Bakery, favorite haunts that are all being incorporated into our wedding. It was a lovely day.

Nevertheless, we still actually had to get there. I drove, and found myself reacting to things on the road as if I was on my bicycle. The first incident came when we were going up a hill, and the car in front of me started slowing down. “Don’t make me slow down going uphill!” I yelled. Any cyclist knows that if you have to slow down, or stop, going uphill, it’s not easy getting started again. And yet… I was in a car…. not a problem here.  Oops.

Proof that I can, and occasionally do, drive!

Proof that I can, and occasionally do, drive!

Another time was driving down the steep grade on 9 into West Virginia. Seeing the steep downhill, I automatically wanted to upshift onto the big ring… but that wasn’t really an option. It’s not as if I reached for the gear shifter, but my brain thought it sooner than I could physically react. I didn’t have a choice! Then there was the first time I went over the railroad tracks. What, do you slow down when you bike over railroad tracks?! Okay, maybe a bit, but no, I just kept going! The Mechanic just shook his head while I said, “Oops” again. I managed to slow down a bit for the next one I saw. I wasn’t exactly Mrs. Wheeler, the female Goofy, but I did have a few moments…

A Twitter conversation the next day proved that I am not alone in my inability to transition smoothly between vehicles. I can only assume that people who rarely ride bikes instinctively react like car drivers when they are out for their Sunday jaunts. And maybe this is one of the problems with shared use roadways and transportation habits. We all know how you get out of a habit when you don’t do something regularly, sort of the way I know I’m losing my German language skills since I’m not really practicing (vielleicht uebe ich mein Deutsch hier, beim Blogpost…).

Bike racks in front of bicycle-friendly Shepherd University

Bike racks in front of bicycle-friendly Shepherd University

If we can convince more people to spend more time getting around by bicycle on the weekends, will it make them better drivers? Possibly. It might make them more aware of bicycles on the roads around them, I think. So maybe our tactic should be focused more on encouraging everyone to bike those short 3-mile trips on weekends, rather than commuting to work. Maybe once they get used to bicycle behavior, it will lead to awareness as drivers, and eventually even bicycle commuters. No guarantee, of course, but I’d rather be on the road with a car driver who bicycles regularly on the weekends and knows to look out for me, than someone who hates cyclists and refuses to share the road. No one really wants to be a Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, do they?

Being Zen in nature before getting back in the car

Being Zen in nature before getting back in the car

Bike Camping – Should I Be Scared?

I ended up in an Aerosoles shoe store today, someplace I haven’t been in years, and was pleased to discover their luscious fall collection. Merrell needs to take lessons for their bike heels from these!

Aerosoles Sweet Escape – not only are these luscious, the gold piping reminds me of my lovely reflective dress.

Aerosoles Role-By – love the two tone design with the snakeskin. So office perfect!

Aerosoles Temahawk – A flat I can actually wear, with a mini wedge heel. At last!

But I should be getting ready for my first ever bike camping weekend – am I in denial that this is what I’m actually doing this weekend? Am I so worried about it that I’ve completely blocked it from my mind?! Or maybe I’m too clueless to realize that I should be more concerned? (Or maybe just obsessed with shoes…)

This weekend is The Mechanic’s birthday, and he wants to bike the C&O Canal. We are going to start in Shepherdstown, WV, about 75 miles away from DC. We did the CASA River Ride in that area this spring, and have been looking for a chance to go back, so this is it. A small group of us will meet at the Bavarian Inn for lunch, then stroll around town, have an early dinner, then the kind friend who is loading our bikes in his truck will drop us off on the Canal, and abandon leave us.

Shepherdstown, WV, in May

We’ll camp the first night, bike about 50 miles the next day, then camp again and bike the remaining miles. It’s an easy ride, but I haven’t been camping in a few decades, and I have no idea how I will do. Cooking on a camp stove, baby wipes for a shower, unknown noises in the middle of the night… This will be a true test of our relationship.


Now this could be fun! Or scary.

I have no idea what to take, and don’t want to take too much. At least we won’t be out in the total wilds, so we can swing into towns along the way, if we need to. And I guess I’ll be off the grid for a while – I still haven’t found the perfect battery operated phone charger (why does everyone assume that you’ll be charging your phone in a car or from a laptop?! I guess I need one of those fancy solar-powered chargers). I’m taking the real camera though, so I should get some great pictures. And I’m taking my super huge bicycle poncho, just in case Hurricane Isaac makes his way here this weekend…

Ha ha ha – yep, I’ll feel like a dork in this! But if it keeps the water off me, I’m not complaining.

Anyone have any last minute suggestions or advice? If not, wish me luck, and look forward to stories later!

Looking downstream from Shepherdstown