306181: Volunteer Update

It has been quite some time since I have blogged, so let’s start 2016 off right with a post!

As of the end of 2015, I have talked to 306181 visitors between the national park service, capital pride, Smithsonian National Zoo, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, etc.  This is on track with 35 years to meet my goal of 1,000,000 visitors!

  • 227272: Air and Space Visitor Services
  • 6923: Air and Space Education
  • 55445: National Zoo Interpretation
  • 198: National Zoo Tour Visitors
    • Tour Donations: $263.00
  • 5469: Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)
  • 10874: Other Events

306181 Visitor Contacts

2419.5 Total Hours


224934 Visitors and Counting

Okay, so as of late I have not been blogging nearly as much as I would have liked.  In fact, it seems that it takes a lot of effort to come up with grammatically correct posts.  No wonder people “tweet” so much.  LOL.  In fact, my last blog post was so long ago, I am sure some NY Times Best Sellers have published a book or two in the interim.  🙂


The number of people I have interacted with during my various volunteer activities.


  • 167664 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • 45132 Smithsonian National Zoological Park
  • 4918 Washington Area Bicyclist Association
  • 7150 National Park Service, etc.


The number of tours I have given at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park


The number of hours spent volunteering.  There are times when my volunteering does not involve interacting with visitors.  For example, this past December, I got to be Panda Claws at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

24 March 2013

Will mark the 6th year of my volunteering in DC with the Smithsonian.  I had originally thought it would take 35 years to make 1oooooo and it looks like it should take me 18 more years.  Nothing like having a long term goal 🙂


Being Panda Claws was really fun and I thought I would include some photos.  My friend Keith came to take photos of me and bought a panda hat to get into the spirit 🙂


Volunteer Update

5 Years

I have been keeping track of my volunteer contacts since 24 March 2007.  This was also the time I started to volunteer at the National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum.  It is amazing that I have been volunteering for such a long time.  I have been in DC for about 5.5 years now, since Sept 2006.


The number of people I have interacted with during my volunteer activities.  I thought a a goal of 1 million was not going to be such a big feat since 1 million dollars seems like nothing to some individuals, but it has taken a long time.


  • 140611 Air and Space Greeting
  • 1150 Air and Space Education
  • 37383 Zoo Interpreting
  • 49 Tours at Zoo
  • 4315 Washington Area Bike Association
  • 2859 Other (National Park Service, Zoo Special Events)
  • 1412.5 Hours
  • $135 in tour donations

My initial goal was 35 years, and I was able to lower that to 25 years based on a larger subset of data.  Based on a rate of 102 per day, it is going to take me 21.8 more years.

~21.8 years to go

While it does seem like a long way to do, I do enjoy volunteering and look forward to “clicking” 1 million times 🙂

2012 WABA Vasa Ride

6:00 AM Sunday Wake Up!

Let me start by saying that I normally get up for work at 8 AM..so getting up at 6 AM on a weekend….ouch! I volunteered to help with setup / registration as well as being a ride marshal for the 59 mile course.  There were 15 and 31 mile routes as well, all with the promise of warm blueberry soup which is actually made with bilberries, the “Swedish” equivalent.

8 AM – GO!

It was a bit chilly so only 275 registered riders showed up of the 400 registrants.  Additionally volunteer ride marshals such as myself were part of the group.  Since we were not on a closed course, we had some casual riders join in as well.

Starting at the “House of Sweden” at 30th and K Streets NW, which happens to be very close to Georgetown University where I spend 8 hours a day :), we headed out on K Street which is under the Whitehurst Freeway, a scene from Batman Begins I think, and then on the Capital Crescent Trail as we headed into Maryland.  We zigged and zagged and rode MacArthur Boulevard up into Maryland and then on Glen road.  On the way we had a Powerade pit stop and a turn around at a remote convenience store.  We traveled down the bike / pedestrian / horse only portion of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park.

Mile 50.8 BIG HILL

After a nice ride through Rock Creek Park, we see the sign for Brandywine ahead on left.  I signal and then my jaw drops….it is probably the steepest, longest hill I have seen in the District of Columbia!  I have to admit that I had to get off and walk a small portion as my knee was hurting me a bit.  Perhaps it would have scared everyone out of doing the 59 mile route, but an ‘*’ on the cue sheet would have been helpful!  Just kidding, though I think I would have rather had the hill early on 🙂

10 Minutes to spare…

So the group I was riding back huffed it as we were back on the CCT for the home stretch and made it back with 10 minutes to spare.  Just in time to enjoy some blueberry soup..in a cup.  Here are some stats from my bike computer. Unfortunately they include my limping ride home.

Travel Time: 4 Hours and 31 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Hours (Vasa Total. Does not include ride home)
Mileage: 61.59 Miles
Average Speed: 13.6 MPH
Max Speed: 30.6 MPH

While not as fast as my average speed for the Air Force Classic Crystal Ride from 2011, but this course was much more difficult as far as elevation changes and was not a closed or marked course.

Second Longest Ride

So this was my second longest ride.  I am not sure if I will do more of these as I should train for them, but find my bike riding to work quite monotonous.  I need to find more fun routes to go I think.

My good friend Shane was tempted me with Fondo’s in NY and other cities, but I think I want to do something local.  Last year the Gran Fondo DC was cancelled, and I am not confident in my swimming abilities, but would like to try a Triathlon one of these days so say I have done one.  Turning 34 this year, I think I better do it soon! LOL

History: Vasaloppet

Check out the event details at WABA.org.  Here are some details from the WABA page in case it gets taken down.

WABA’s Annual Vasa Ride is our bicycle-themed tribute to Sweden’s legendary Vasaloppet, the world’s longest running cross country ski race in Sweden. Since 1922, thousands from around the world participate in the 90Km cross country ski race the first Sunday of March. Vasaloppet commemorates the trail of renegade Swede King Gustav Eriksson Vasa, who led the rebellion to free Sweden after a long and dangerous pursuit on skis. So why the warm blueberry soup? To keep riders warm and energized of course. It’s as much of an institution as the race itself!  More info on the Vasaloppet.