Orange Line Escapade, Part II

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

WHERE: The Sunday Source's Metro train trip returns to explore the second half of the Orange Line's 26 stops.

WHY: Celebrity sightings, downtown bowling and the spy who loved Vienna.

HOW FAR: 14.02 miles, or 30 minutes without stopping.

When riding the Orange Line, go ahead and name drop -- it's not every day (or on every route) you can "see" Sting, Chris Rock and Liza Minnelli all on one block. As you stroll the star-studded sidewalk by Metro Center's Warner Theatre, nose to pavement, take note of not just the famous names but also the remedial scribblings, such as Engelbert Humperdinck's smushed "K" (he almost typoed his own signature). And while Prince, formerly known as a symbol, left his square elusively blank, Ian Anderson had to explain his relevance, scrawling Jethro Tull beneath his Hancock.

You might not recognize the name Ben Glasgall initially, but bowl a couple of games at George Washington University's Hippodrome, near Foggy Bottom, and you'll become quite familiar with his record score. (It flashes on TV screens hanging above the 12 lanes.) The computerized scorekeeper will mind your math -- and keep you honest -- as you try to beat Glasgall's 255.

Rosslyn's Graham Webb International Academy of Hair can spruce up your roots once you're on the other side of the river. Student stylists rely on non-supermodels to practice their craft, and in return, you pay Hair Cuttery prices. In addition, judging from the alumni (two appeared on Bravo's reality show "Blow Out"), you could very well walk out with the next Rachel.

If you don't like your new 'do, you can hide it under a towering Marge Simpson wig, shield your face with a Donald Rumsfeld mask or bury your whole self in a radiation suit from Stein's Theatrical & Dance Supply in Clarendon. Throughout the month, the costume shop is floor-to-ceiling Halloween accouterments, such as Venetian masks, Hef bunnies and Mammogram Man. Come November, though, Stein's returns to its classical training in dance attire. In fact, the store outfits many of the big performing arts companies, and while shopping for buck teeth, you might just come across a Kirov ballerina shopping for pink satin pointe shoes.

When the clock strikes hungry, head to Ballston and hop aboard the Lunch Loop, a shuttle that cruises a route lined with restaurants. Stop 1: Mexican, sushi, upscale pub fare. Stop 2: Thai. Stop 3: Shield your eyes -- Gold's Gym. With no charge on the 10-stop tour and an official drive time of about 13 minutes, you can ride the bus until you are forced out by the smell of barbecue (Stop 9) or the bus driver, who wants to go home (2 p.m.).

With a full belly, you'll need some outdoor exercise -- and intrigue -- to rouse you from that post-lunch stupor. Just a skip from the Vienna station is the Fairfax Connector Trail, which leads to the W&OD Trail. On the way is a site worthy of John le Carre. At a footbridge near Nottoway Park, FBI agent and spy Robert Hanssen used to drop off classified government secrets in exchange for cash and diamonds from the KGB. Hanssen was caught, but snakes still slither around the area. King snakes nest in the trees, then fall to earth and shed their scaly coats. For some, reptilian epidermis would make an unforgettable memento from an Orange Line journey -- though finding $10,000 from the Russians would be much nicer. Andrea Sachs

Metrorail's One Day Pass costs $6.50 and is valid weekdays after 9:30 a.m. and all day on weekends and federal holidays, until the last trains depart. Passes are available online ( http://www.wmata.com/ ) or at the electronic kiosks in all Metro stations.

Road Trip maps are available online at www.washingtonpost.com/roadtrip, as are addresses and hours of operation (be sure to check before you go). Have an idea for a trip? E-mail roadtrip@washpost.com.


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