Day 11: Alexandria to Prince William Forest Park

This morning, I woke up at 6 AM. The earliest on this trip so far. Liz had told me the night before that she’s an early riser. Didn’t know she’s that early!

I packed my belongings, had a cup of coffee, and bid farewell to Liz around 8 AM when she had to go to work.

I rode on King Street one last time and decided to stop by King Street Cafe. A man named Inti started asking me about my bike tour since he saw the GAP stick on my pannier. I told him briefly about my trip to Florida and my worries about Central America. Inti actually thinks I might be fine since many cyclists and bikers go through there. Now I’m getting conflicting information from Judy and Inti. I guess I’ll have to see once I get down there. Inti ended up paying for my sausage breakfast burrito. What a nice guy! Again, I forgot to take a photograph of a road angel.

A delicious burrito paid by Inti

I rode on the Mount Vernon Trail one last time down to Mount Vernon. Soon, I was riding on route 1 to Lorton. There was a bike path parallel to the road and I took it all the way to Lorton. This part of the ride reminded me of the road out of Philadelphia, but in a better condition.

Bike path next to the main road

I arrived at Panera Bread in Lorton around 11:30 AM. As I was waiting in line for seemingly a long time, I decided to not order anything. Instead I checked on Yelp to see if there’s any local restaurants nearby. I’d rather spend my money there than at a chain restaurant. I found Gyro Factory about a mile ahead so I rode over there.

The guy at Gyro Factory was impressed by my Florida cycling tour. His name is Edris and told me that he came from Afghanistan about a year ago and was a translator. He confessed that he wish he had a bike to travel as well, but he has a wife and two children. I think life is series of decisions and circumstances. He might have done it when he was younger, but the war made things very difficult for the Afghans. I’m just grateful that in my life I didn’t live through war.

Edris of Gyro Factory

After a huge lunch consisting of a lamb gyro, fries, and a drink, I got going around 12:45 PM. I cycled by Occoquan then biked on route 1 to Dumfries. At one point, there was so much construction that I had to cycle up a hill onto the opposing traffic. After I got over to the other side, I breathed a huge sigh of relief!

I'm on the wrong side!

The bike path sometime became a sidewalk and sometime became nothing. Komoot took me through a couple of residential neighborhoods to avoid the parts without the sidewalk or bike path.

Once I got to Dumfries, I saw an ice cream place called Jimmy T’s. I pulled over immediately to get myself a root beer float. It was the drink that I needed. While I was enjoying the ice cream elixir I saw McDonald’s on the other side of the street. I decided to get a McChicken sandwich and refilled my water bottles since I know I’ll be camping tonight.

Root beer float at Jimmy T's

Twenty minutes after leaving McDonald’s, I arrived at the visitor center in the Prince William Forest Park in one piece after cycling on a busy road. It was a little after 4 PM.

I asked the ranger if I can camp underneath the pavilion nearby. Surprisingly, he said no. The only place for me to camp is at a campground that’s 6 miles away, uphill, on the other side of the park. I told him I will go there after I take a break, but what I’m really thinking is to camp under the pavilion after the rangers leave. I cycled closed to 39 miles today and just don't have the energy to do 6 more miles.