The bottom line: don’t mess with Sandy.
I’ll be honest and say that on a ten point scale of concern, Sandy brought me to a whopping two. Yes, I went to Safeway (just in case) and stocked up on all of the essentials: some Spaghetti-O’s and a bottle of wine. But I didn’t take Sandy too seriously.
This morning, I looked outside. This was it? A little rain and a lot of leaves? I wasn’t going to let this keep me inside – no – I was better than the storm.
I packed up my gear bag with a washcloth, my camera equipment, a pair of construction goggles and my cell phone. I threw on my helmet and climbed on my bicycle.
I biked around the ‘GW Loop,’ a collection of streets that goes around and through campus that I would use to assess the state of our living area.
Deserted. All of it. Again, this isn’t breaking news – there’s a damn hurricane going on. It is odd, though, to see Kogan Plaza completely deserted. It’s startlingly large when it’s all cleared out. All of the streets look wider, the sidewalks look longer and the area simply feels bigger when there’s no one to occupy the space.
To get the photos of Gelman and Kogan I had to somehow find a way to stash my bike under some form of cover, remove my camera from my backpack without massive water damage and put it all back again. I used Phillips/Rome for the cover and did all of my backpack digging in the stairwell, a brief reprieve from the wind that was turning my hands into numbed-out balls of red skin.
I only had one stop left to cover before I headed out into the actual ‘workout’ phase of this excursion: the Georgetown Waterfront. This is, I apologize, where my camerawork gets a little shoddy.
The worst thing about cycling in Sandy wasn’t the rain, but instead the wind. I felt like I was kite-surfing downtown. Every gust pushed me in another direction and I had to throw my body against it just to even out. I didn’t really think the flooding was too bad where I biked, though some of the puddles were incredibly deceptive: what looked like a few manageable inches turned into potholes on a few occasions.
I parked under the K Street overpass to try and salvage what little lubricant my bike still had on the chain (I could hear it squeaking in pain) and I struggled to hold my pack in one hand and dig through it with the other.
Camera in hand, I headed across the grass – a rookie mistake that ended up taking my halfway-soaked shoes and turning them into floppy pancakes. I turned to get a shot of the waterfront, the stone benches and the abandoned walkways, but I was downwind. I was hit by a torrent of rain and my lenses were blurred in under a second. I struggled to wipe away the lens while shooting, but this failed miserably. I snapped a few frames that were remotely usable, but nothing of note.
I ran back to my bike, feverishly wiping water from my camera which I assumed must be completely ruined at this point (it’s safe and sound now, working like a champ). Unlocked and ready to roll, I snapped on my goggles and set my workout timer to an hour. I plugged my headphones into my ears, set myself up with a killer playlist and headed back to the city streets. It was going to be a long ride.