On a recent Sunday we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and head to Poolesville, Maryland for a bike ride. With the assistance of the Bike Washington website, we mapped out a 30 mile out and back ride along the C&O canal towpath. Forget fancy gear and an irritating bell, the most essential thing for a long bike ride is lunch. I plan bike rides around lunch. Yeah, I said it.
So it was a bit of an adventure for us to set out on the ride without a solid lunch plan. We figured we'd just find some food at the 15 mile mark in Point of Rocks, Maryland. After bumping along the beautiful towpath, we crossed a bridge and the (active!) railroad tracks and saw this:
Fabulous. A broken-down old gas station next to an equally broken-down old liquor store. We stopped to assess our options. B pulled out the Droid and checked all of our restaurant-finding apps while I said a silent prayer to the food gods. I was starving and not looking forward to eating at a gas station. After striking out with the apps, we decided to pedal into the "center of town" figuring that there would be additional food options. Unfortunately, the center of town was up a hill (boo) and contained nothing more than a community center. The uphill trek was not all terrible because at said community center we got to watch a peewee soccer game being refereed by a very serious eight year old in a very serious ref outfit. Not seeing any culinary options at the soccer game, we resigned ourselves to gas station food.
We opened the door and saw the usual: chips, sodas, sunflower seeds, bait, and motor oil. However, the smell permeating the store was ridiculously, amazingly good. Our eyes grew wide as we realized that the smell was coming not from heaven but from the pile of fried chicken being kept hot next to the register.
I'm the first to admit that I was on the verge of a pity party when I realized that we'd be eating at the gas station. Whoever first said that appearances can be deceiving must have eaten the fried chicken at Kerrigan's Corner Deli. Holy eff that was some amazing fried chicken! My pity party turned into an all-out high-fiving party after one bite.
We pedaled back to the car with greasy smiles on our faces and dreams of chicken legs dancing in our heads. The chicken was so awesome that I almost didn't freak out about the ginormous snake we saw on the side of the path. Almost.
I don't care how you choose to get there (bike, kayak, train, car, snowshoe, or camel) but just get thee arse to Point of Rocks, Maryland and pay a visit to the crumbly old gas station that doesn't sell gas but does sell chicken sent from heaven.
Second Thoughts from B
We've written about the wonderful biking options in the District and our affinity for mixing in a meal during our rides. We've also mentioned the fact that I can't keep up with my wife who has added 6 a.m. spinning to her weekly routine.
So Kerrigan's fried chicken, using the Irish theme, was really the pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow that kept my pedals turning. J even joked that she could hang the last piece of chicken from her bike to fuel the trek back to the car. Clearly, the carrot is a better motivator than the stick, especially when the carrot is a piping hot, juicy, wonderfully-flavored piece of fried chicken.
There were three reasons why I had high hopes for Kerrigan's (beyond the hunger that I had developed chasing down my wife for 15 gravelly miles). First, when we pulled within 30 feet of this gas station, it smelled like fried chicken. What a huge improvement over the usual fumes and stench, and a telling preview of great things to come. Second, when we entered, the gentleman behind the counter said he was about to make a fresh batch. Sometimes timing is everything. And third, on the grease-stained wall, I saw this article that identified our cook as, "the best 'chicken man'... in the business." Sure the quote came from his business partner, but after tasting the goods, I can't disagree.