#336 – Chevy Chase YMCA, Maryland
There are 50 states in America – everyone knows that. But on my previous visit to Washington, I swam a pool. Good for you, I hear you say. But this pool was in DC, i.e. the District of Columbia which really isn’t in any state. It was carved out of Maryland, but Maryland it no longer is (and to remind everyone of the point, DC license plates read ‘Taxation without Representation’ as there are no Senators representing the residents of DC, but you can sure they get taxed).
It never felt comfortable with me and while it’s a stretch to say I tossed and turned at night over it, I knew on my next visit to Washington, I’d have to duck across to Maryland and swim a pool. And so I did.
Now both Maryland and the District of Columbia are conquered.
And it feels good.
#337 – Harlem YMCA, New York City
One adopts a no-nonsense look in these nooks. Don’t know how I missed this pool, which is very nice and not that far from my home on West 85th Street. I got there not long after 8 am – the neighbourhood was still waking up – did the K and was back out in the sunshine before I could blink.
So, I wandered around watching the shops opening up around 135th Street. A barber caught my eye. Now, I’ve not been inside a barber’s for a long time (no need to explain why) but this morning, why yes, I think I’ll have my moustache trimmed.
And so I did. My man was on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and to be frank, he seemed he’d had a heavy night and was having trouble concentrating and kept asking his offsider for advice. But it all ended well, and headed out into the sunshine and trotted south, back towards the park.
#338 – Newport YMCA, Rhode Island
I must admit there’s a touch of the NY arrogance in this shot. Spot it if you can. You see, Rhode Island ain’t New York. In fact, nowhere else is New York and what I’ve found is New York ‘identifiers’ e.g. Yankees gear; Giants gear; Rangers gear; or in this case, Mets gear, draws attention to oneself outside of the Big Apple.
So this is me looking NY Smug.
This YMCA is in a beautiful, extremely wealthy town famous for (among other things) hosting the America’s Cup yacht race. Up until they lost it, of course. It has mansions galore (more like palaces, really) lovely shops and restaurants and a very nice beach.
But I know you don’t care to hear about any of that. ‘Just give me the pools!’ you cry. So be it.
#339 – Kingman, Arizona
Kingman is on Route 66. We drove from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and passed through this place just after lunch. Perfect timing for a swim.
The countryside in north Arizona changes every 30 minutes or so quite markedly. Desert near Las Vegas, rocky hills, dry scrub and farmland, pine forests, then desert again. Kingman’s surrounded by rocky hills dotted with boulders the size of houses.
It was warm. I was the only one doing laps, but that never bothers me, of course and by the time we headed out back towards Las Vegas, another pool – and another state – was conquered.
#340 – Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Man this place gets hot. Vegas in summer is brutal; you can feel the skin peeling off your head. We stayed at the Stratosphere which, it has to be said, isn’t the choicest part of town, but it was dirt cheap. Something silly like $30 a night. I think you’re expected to support the place through the gaming tables.
Not me. Instead, I took to the pool. I’d already researched the nearby University pool and was all set to head there when I thought, why not just do the K here? By the time I worked that out, however, a pool volleyball game was in full swing.
However, I wasn’t to be thwarted and swam back and forth under the net weaving in between players as necessary. Yes, not even a game of pool volleyball will get in the way of The Quest.
$341 – Dodge YMCA, New York City
Back in New York and yet another pool in yet another YMCA and unfortunately, almost zero recollection of the place. Look at the photo. Look into my eyes – I don’t even seem to know where I am.
I do remember though that my YMCA membership was due to expire but the nice chap on the front desk waved me though regardless. There are times a charming accent can work wonders.