Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Bike, bags, bottles, coffee & a wee hangover.... Url ready to roll!
Cool Gary, Vashon Island, WA. As legend has it Gary was a life long islander who suffered from mental illness. Gary could often be found hitchhiking the island roads, somedays with a smile and a wave, others with a cursing fist. In any case, he was part of the Island Family and largely accepted by the community. Gary was killed when he stepped into traffic on a dark winter morning. This statue stands as a memorial to him and the unique community of Vashon.
Time warp. Vashon Island, WA.
Now that Rudolph is a celebrity, he hangs out on Vashon most of the year.
Discovered in 1792 by Capt. George Vancouver named for his friend Capt. James Vashon. Pioneering began in 1877 when Shermans came to homestead at Quartermasters Harbor: Prices, Miners, and Gimans at Paradise Valley. By 1878 all had settled on claims.
The Goldfish Tavern. Tacoma, WA. Had it been open, I would have likely stopped to fuel up.
The Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Classic Handlebar Bag. I love this piece of gear and affectionately call it my glove box. Maps, food, phone, camera, wallet and snowmen all at the tips of my fingers. With all seriousness though, I own several Ortlieb products and have never been anything but thrilled about the quality and function.
Jenny's homemade bike bars.
Visits to the emergency room will be in this one's future.
Taylor on the wake-up call.
Nature wins again. The Deschutes River at Pioneer Park in Olympia finding the path of least resistance.
Good clean fun.
Late morning snack.
Nylon pants and morning rain made for perfect sliding conditions.
It seems that that the future of Ursus maritimus is largely dependent upon our desire/ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the resultant impact on polar ice cap retention.
Pre-crash action shot.
The whole "keep your eyes headed the same direction your bike is going" hasn't really sunk in with young Carter quite yet.
Taylor, just happy to be included.
My ride home.
Train tracks are huge part in the history of both Washington and United States. I believe that they also are a key to our future.
Saturday morning came early with the echo of Friday night's beers tapping lightly, yet persistently behind my eyeballs. Can't do the time, then don't do the crime say I. An alpine start of 8:20 am and a a quad Americano got me rolling the now familiar route to the Fauntlaroy Ferry in West Seattle. I put in a phone call to my 4 year old nephew Carter on the ferry to Vashon.
Unlce Matt, I am coming to get you in a helicopter was about all I could decipher through heavy breathing and the pitter-patter of feet running across hardwood floors.
That sounds much more fun than spinning another fifty miles with a slight hangover, I thought to myself.
OK see you soon, bye! click before I could arrange my pick-up spot.
A spin in the foggy mist and tall evergreens of Vashon delivered me to an encounter of the Snohomish kind with a friend from the past. Sixteen years time and I recognized Sean on the sidewalk outside Harbor Merchantile in an instant. I wouldn't have had this meeting in a car.
A Rhododendron ride to Point Defiance and south through University Place. A 10 minute chat with the mailman saved me half an hour and got me off my donor ride to the refuge of bike lanes. South...Steilacoom, Joint Base Lewis-McCord, a secret passage through the twilight zone of Dupont, bike lanes in Lacey, destination Olympia reached.
The welcoming crew at my sister Jenny's house was 25% naked when I arrived on this particular evening, but offered food, water and shelter. Un-offended and hungry, I was thankful for a hot meal and a warm bed.
Jenny was pretty straightforward when I told her I wanted to come down and hang out for the weekend, You never know what you are going to get Matt, she warned.
I manage large groups of five year old children for a living, and figured hanging out with my two and four year old nephews for a day would be a cake walk. Mark Twain once said All you need is ignorance and confidence and success is sure. I have plenty of both, but Mark never met my nephews.
Super Bowl Sunday found the men at the pleasantly empty Pioneer Park on the Deschutes River. Forest hiking, rock throwing, spiral sliding and a short lived long jump competition carried the morning into afternoon. Carter ate bird shit, which was not nearly as troubling as the fact that he didn't seem to mind the taste. Skip made a smart Dad move and declared it lunch time before Carter got hungrier and found something more revolting to eat.
Load up the troops and off to the Cabela's in Lacey. If you have never been , it is quite a site to behold. Lots and lots of dead stuff, tools associated with the craft, and folks largely interested in killing more of it. I grew up in a gun family and have killed and ate more than a few animals in my life. I take no issue with hunting and do so myself. In fact I think that if all people who ate meat got a little "closer to the source" we might respect the life that ended to sustain ours a little more.
Sunday afternoon came to quickly. A break in the rain and an unfamiliar route to the train station motivated me to my bike. Carter helped me pack and Taylor, always happy to be included, followed close behind. The clouds parted for a moment and invited a quick ride with the boys. Helmets and boots, training wheels and laughter; a Front Door Adventure on the Lake Cove Loop.
Experience is the best teacher, and my nephews didn't really inherit the caution gene. Sharp turns at high speeds usually don't end all that well, and this was no exception. A respectable crash, a skinned elbow and an abandoned bike cut the adventure a little short but left a smile etched on my soul.
As I peddled away from Olympia I realized that five minutes on the bikes with Carter and Taylor was more fun than the 80 miles it took me to earn the opportunity. I love these boys more than words do justice and look forward to the day that the we shed the training wheels and stretch the adventure just a little further beyond the Front Door.
Livin' the Dream