Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bike Report (3/5): "Still Rain, Still Riding"

Day 2 - Clatskanie to Cathlament Ferry in High Hopes, through Naselle and on to Long Beach in a Downpour 

A pleasant thought still the next morning, that easy ride ahead.  Though the sun forgot to shine, turning a cloudy shoulder.

But even under gray skies, Clatskanie has appeal. It's obviously a town with priorities in the right places . . .

Not just the eclectic charm of the Bike Inn with its offers (we see this morning) of syrup and homemade jam . . . and its own boat dock for the amphibious cyclist . . .

. . . and its wooden window frames each uniquely handcarved with Grimm brothers designs . . . not to mention its (apparently) multilingual manager.

But also flyers up all over town inviting everyone (families and fat tires to serious speedies) to the Freedom Ride this coming Fourth of July weekend - either 8 miles or 25 amidst the scenic beauties on the banks of the Clatskanie.

And all that before finding Rumi squeezed in between the coin-op laundry and the corner pharmacy on the way out of town.

That's half a dozen improbables and all before breakfast . . .

From Clatskanie, we biked 10 miles to Westport for breakfast at the Berry Patch.

Where we ran into good friends from the coast (one of those sweet serendipitous delights of going on vacation in your own neighboring county).  And ordered hot chocolate and eggs - scrambled, sunny side, and omleted (satisfying) - and a shared slice of pie (forgettable).

Middlest makes much better piecrust (which is true and also appropriately foreshadowing of more broken promises ahead as we listened to repeated assurances from our friends and the wait staff of sunshine and brief showers).
The gray-ponytailed waitress had told us the ferry left at a quarter past each hour and so, with a little flurry and rush, we jumped back on our bikes, down a short road and around the corner and got in line at the dock where the ferry was already pulling in. 

The guy in the pickup truck ahead of us told stories about being in Florida during the hurricane and working on deepwater oil rigs.  Short and pungent pithiness for BP's current stupidities, forecasting darkly to a time when "we'll all have to ride bikes."  Years, of course, since he pedaled his own, but he used be quite a rider and has been thinking lately it was time to get out on two wheels a little more.

The ferry operators, one tall and friendly, given to wide and large movement, the other short and self-contained, applauded our enterprise, ribbed us about the dangers ahead.

"It's an easy ride," I said. "Right?"

"Oh, sure. Mostly. Except for KM Mountain."

"Mountain?" I turned to Fritz.

He shrugged.  Their little joke.

"Have fun with that mountain!"they chuckled as the ferry pulled away back toward Oregon. 

We rode onto Puget Island through the usual beauties of farmland and forest then over a curving bridge into Cathlamet, another Northwest town worth more time some other day.

We stopped outside Bob's Market, considering our planned route. A lean and weathered man passed by, face like leather, and we asked him about KM.  "It's not bad," he shook his grizzled head.  "I ride it and I don't have those low gears."

Okay.  Not bad.  We can do that.  And at least it's not raining.

The market at Cathlamet has no public restrooms but a silent beckon from a bright-faced clerk to the back of the store, a door unpadlocked, and an outside flight of twisting stairs brings the seeker to the sought - though not without first climbing too high and landing on the private porch of a long-haired woman at her breakfast, a big orange cat at her feet, both of whom look up politely wondering how they can be of assistance to sudden intruders with alien helmets and funny looking life-support packs.

The woman points, with a practiced wave, back down the stairs.

And then through town to the open road.  We forget sometimes, living here, how gorgeous everything is - the green, the trees, the rivers. 

And then somewhere between here and the mountain, the rain.

The everlasting rain.

What memories I might have had, have now all worn away like dim pencil disappearing from bubbled-up rained-upon paper.  I know we stopped to put on woolies and rain gear.  Just in case.  Just in time.

And I can state that KM comes by its mountain status honestly.  Though the climb is nothing near so steep as others we climb, it is plenty long and plenty high a rise. 

Not so cold today as the first ride earlier this year, but surely wetter.  And so disheartening.  To be so wet and still so wet. And still so many miles away from warmth and rest.  And nothing to catch the eye in a landscape gray and darker by the minute.  And then towns we had counted on  for stops (Rosburg) apparently abandoned, only the old empty store boarded up and the fuel pumps yanked out like rotted teeth.

In Naselle, we slipped through the empty restaurant half of the tavern - three old codgers muttering together at the bar - weathered For Sale sign outdoors - to the welcome facilities.  Then emerged to find Fritz deep in conversation with a Harley rider, two thin Viking braids among his wild gray mane.  Viking Harley advised us to forgo our planned route on Hwy 4 up past Willapa Bay (Fritz had wanted to see the site described in Ivan Doig's true-life story of fur traders escaping from indentured servitude in Russian Alaska in early 1850s who made their way in an Indian canoe down almost the entire Northwest Coast).  Harley suggested  instead we drop straight down toward Astoria on 401, "It's mostly level and a nice wide shoulder."

And the rain came down in spate.

The shoulder was wide and clean but the traffic steady.  Cars kindly pulled to the right to give us plenty of room as they passed - except the steely-eyed senior citizens in  their motor homes who held to their lane with a righteous rigor.  I rode with eyes swiveling ever to the right, repeatedly working to relax the traffic-side shoulder hunched to block what felt like an imminent attack.

"I wouldn't have considered this level."


The sky darkened as the afternoon wore on.  My heart grew sad until there was nothing in me to continue riding.  I dropped back from leading (the slower rider sets the pace when we bike together- except for on hills when it's best efforts all around) and beckoned daughters to ride ahead just so I'd have some color to look at, their beloved selves a beacon to put some heart back in me.

"The other road would have been even worse."

"No doubt."

And still the rain fell with no let up, no blue corner.

"I don't think I can go on any longer."

"So get off and walk." 


"No, it works." 

And so we walked for a mile.  Staggering a little at first, ready to cry for weakness.  But it's true that a change can be as good as a rest.  Though the sky showed no signs of brightening, our moods did. 

Soon we were back on the bikes, singing, "If I had a million umbrellas . . . but not a real umbrella, that's cruel," and building fantasies about a sudden shining bus swooping into view, pulling up at our feet, hot cocoa bar on board, a team of personal masseurs . . . when out of the gray a city bus did indeed swoosh past in a spray, roaring away in the wrong direction. 

When the bus came growling past again half an hour later - this time heading towards Long Beach exactly as we were, but without even a pause for our soaked sakes - our loud and laughing lamentation was just as exuberantly fantastical.

We pedaled on.  Middlest offered to attract the next bus with the old Happened One Night  "lovely limb technique" - though to the rest of us it looked like she was just trying to tip water out of her shoe - which water ran out in a stream.  And never a next bus to try it on.

Nearing the bridge, with covetous eyes, we watched the opposite bank of the rivermouth, the faraway Oregon side where we would have rooms waiting in a few days.  But not tonight. We had to turn away, toward our last twenty miles, sadly saddle sore and weary. 

Twenty miles and more still to go before dark, and all of it along coastal 101 full of holiday weekend traffic.  All of us rode with shoulders hunched against the motor homes flying past thick and heavy now.  We biked past Dismal Nitch in the Lewis and Clark National Park, past signs for Cape Disappointment. 

Names all too apt.

Pedaling our way through small towns we wished we'd made reservations in - Chinook, Seaview,  Pedaling past any feeling but grim doggedness.  Until at last we rolled into Long Beach along its carnival-colored main drag, a little subdued in the rain, to our motel next to the road-spanning sign claiming The World's Longest Beach. 

We'd never actually communicated with a real human in all the automated reservation process and were a bit unnerved as we stood, exhausted, at the empty front desk, facing a mix of elegant Balinese murals and cluttered countertop with a large tower of unopened cardboard boxes next to us in the lobby. 

At last, a lone, anxious, and adenoidal young man, slim and graceful as the Buddhas painted on the wall behind him, came to check us in  - with much exasperated rolling of his strangely beautiful aquamarine eyes and nervous smoothing of his sleek and shiny black hair.  He announced tomorrow's continental breakfast flicking a long-fingered hand toward the mod black and shiny long-legged tables, still crumb-covered and smeared from the breakfast someone ate at the start of the day. And promised to bring some towels, " . . . because they hadn't done anything like they should have - nobody does . . . " which words did not reassure the weary traveler.

We were relieved to find the room clean enough.  Pretensions to elegance, a lumpy mattress, but  still, clean sheets and a great view of the promised beach. 

And roof's safe dry shelter overhead.

After 75 of the wettest miles we've ever ridden. 

Route map and other details here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

think green again

I've bought laundry line and clothespins more than once over the years.

But Fritz, my darling dear, has been dead set against clotheslines.

Muttering things like "Third World," before Middlest informed him that was inaccurate, that "Emerging Economies" is preferred.  Muttering thereafter "Corn Whiskey" and "Appalachia" and "Pet Chickens" instead.

And when I mutter back "Trellis" and "Honeysuckle, "  he mutters "Inadvertent Decapitation."

To which the only answer is a muttered, "Reasonable Attention and/or Intelligence."


And thus we have run the dryer day after day after hottest day of many summers.

But this, my dears, is another verse in the ongoing Paen to Hardware Stores, home of useful things.  For lo, Ace sells light, collapsible drying racks, cunningly and simply made (and in the U.S.) of wooden dowels and pegs and sanded sticks - and two blue rubber bands at the top on either side (as buffer?  to maintain proper tension?  for purposes aesthetical?)

And now our clothes come in from an overnight drying charmingly crisp and unwrinkled, smelling of whatever's blooming - lavender lately and ripening apples. 

And the dryer stays quiet and cool.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Bike Report (2/5): "Still Riding in the Rain"

Part 2 of 5

Okay, June is not summer until the solstice, right? Until it's nearly over.  I got that.  Anything before the 21st you're still taking your chances with Spring and her whimsies.

But July? 

What's more summer than July? 

Even if the unwary cyclist were to plan a route along the outer skirts of a temperate rain forest, summer still comes in July.

In July, even the usual pessimistic naming patterns of the Pacific Northwest coast will come off sounding . . . pessimistic, right?

But I precede myself. 

Rewind to sunshine and the promise of a week of warm weather . . .

Day 1 - Summer Cycling, northwest along the Columbia River

A beautiful afternoon pedalling toward the coast on Hwy 30.  Warm wind soft on bare legs and arms.  The nostalgic smell of summer.

Unlike our ride at the first of June, this time the bike trip to Astoria and the Pacific coast will be pure getaway.  No Biking Friends (lovely though they are).  No grandparents (dear as they are).  No motorized vehicle carrying campstoves (and by logical extension, no ambitious meal plans). 

Just five panniers and five pedalers and a new route out to Astoria before we complete the loop with the usual route coming home that we left undone when Middlest turfed it a month ago.

(if you're interested in the actual route map . . .)

We left our town in the afternoon after a birthday lunch for Fritz' mother.  Shedding responsibilities, loosing anxieties like streamers behind us, more and more (or less and less?) every quarter mile that we pedalled into the soft douceur of summer air.  

A relatively easy ride ahead of us - just 45 level miles and one hard hill by nightfall.  The girls took off at speed with Eldest's boyfriend who came along "just so he can fit in a training ride before the STP" later in the month (Right.  Of course that was his only reason).  Fritz and YoungSon and I followed at a more stately pace but we all met up at the foot of Rainier Hill.  One hard hill.

It's so impossible to back up a hill brag with pictures.  Maybe you could just take my word for it. 

Not quite halfway up I had to stop.  I wish I were stronger, younger, lighter, but I do love how intensely detailed and present the grass is along the roadway, swaying its heavy seed head in the breeze as if it were carrying out the secret and essential rituals of life (which it is), when I have to stop to breathe down deep lungsful.  And the way sugars taste when the blood drops low, the bliss of a honey stick, sending pleasure sensors into a tizzy, the shudder of relief and even bliss when the sugar hits your tongue swallowing down tiny fruit-shaped fruit snacks.  Like some wonder drug that only works at the altitude of a hard climb up.

"All I have to do is climb this booger of a hill, right?" I asked Fritz when he swung back down to check on me at my third stopping place.  "And then tomorrow is an easy day?"

We stood and looked out over the valley of the Columbia River, hands on hips, breathing deep, breeze drying our faces and shirts, lifting damp hair from my forehead.

"Tomorrow's long. 75 miles. But yeah, should be pretty easy."

Pleasant words to ride along with as afternoon crescendoed and diminuendoed into evening and we left behind the highway's wide bike lane and its constant roar of traffic for the quiet of Alton-Mayger dipsy-doodles, ups and downs through dappled shade.  No shoulder but also -  next to no traffic. 

Eldest's friend turned back to make his way home before dark.  And then it was just us.  Just our family.  A long lush glide down a particularly lovely shaded hill into the golden light above a drying field of grain, warmth beneath the breeze in the last lengthening sunlight caressing arms and legs as we rounded the curve.  "What a great hill!" 

"Wasn't it?"

The girls sang the bikely version of "Livin' on a Prayer" - i.e. "Climbin' up a Hill"  (whoa oh! more than halfway there . . .) as we climbed up and sailed down past low ranch-style farmhouses tucked beneath their trees, tidy gardens, old churches, enigmatic signs

abandoned stores,

and one canny survivor (in tiny Quincy) offering nearly every essential to the life worth living.

And with every pump of the pedal the refrain . . . the hard hill done and an easy day tomorrow . . . a pleasant thought to sing in my ear while riding on the ridge above a small rivery valley, while the setting sun shines through a golden haze of someone's sweet-smelling burn pile, picking out the silvery tracks of meandering streams, while staring back into the innocent eyes of white-faced cattle.  A pleasant thought, this easy ride tomorrow, so pleasant I keep it purring in my mind as we wheel into shelter. And as for shelter in Clatskanie, we are spoiled for choice: the Swiss-style charm of the quirky Bike Inn we discovered at the edge of town

(and which we'll have to try another time), or the exceptionally clean Clatskanie River Inn motel with its hot shower (that pleasure unmatched of hot water drubbing down on tired muscles, washing off road grit and crusty sweat) and saltwater pool - where we have already made reservations. 

The hard hill done and an easy ride tomorrow . . . a pleasant thought for the mind to float in while the body back-floats in a soothing not-too-warm, not-too-cool pool, lazily free-styling through greenish gold saltwater.

A pleasant thought to bubble at the back of the brain during a final poaching in the saltwater hot tub, dreaming pictures into the green-gray and black stone tiles around the edge.

A pleasant thought to tuck your dreams into while snuggling into welcome bed. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

partial answers


I'm looking for an answer. Or a question. 

I've been collecting them for years - Q&A, multiple choice, mix & match coordinates. 

I like questions and answers both - they offer different satisfactions, provide opposing pleasures.


A bird flinging out note after note, perched somewhere, in the moment. 

The perch changes.  The song does not. 

It's by this unrolling of its calling card that we recognize a bird, not just as itself in the instant,  but as an instance of the species, subspecies.  As if the repeating song were the unfurling of a spiral strand of DNA.


Sitting for the third time at the outpatient lab this week waiting for Fritz' mom, for the third day having driven her into the city.  Not quite the waste of a whole day though no other town-errands can be run as she will be tired, will need to get home as soon as we can.  Not quite a whole day gone.

And not a waste certainly.  But for the third day in five, this unavoidable, unproductive, undeniably necessary sitting.  Waiting. 

I've brought my own trashy magazine to read.  Vanity Fair.  There's an article about Angelina, of course - who says when asked if she'll do another movie with Brad something to the tune of Of course I love working with Brad.  But I am working with him all the time.  We're raising a family together.  That's the most important work. The writing is clever.  The gossip is the same. 

My mother-in-law has come in for bloodwork.  Nothing serious.  A base reading for the new doctor.  This is just part of caretaking aging parents.  Like listening.  Like making chat.   Like steering away from topics un-chattable.

YoungSon is reading about dogs while we wait.  A woman perches down two chairs away.  Her face innocent as a child's, simpler than a child's, chirupping towards us over the head of the well-groomed woman between us, "What's he reading?  What kind of dog is it he wants?  Do you like that bulldog?  I like bulldogs.  My sister Shelly she has a dog and he always wants to jump up on whoever comes in and one time, when it was Christmas . . . "  she giggles. 

I nod.  Try to respond without encouraging too much more of this spate of song.  But also try to avoid withdrawing, try to avoid denying kinship, try to remember how closely related we are.  

I recognize her song, this instance of our common humanity, this seeking comfort in connection.  The same song I sing here.  But I am tired.  Tired of listening to simple notes sung over and over - stories not in the service of truth or the exploration of a deeper understanding but just to be saying, Here I am.  Here I amHere I still am.

More, though, than that, I am tired of facing, day after day, the crumbling of that warm and kindly facade I've been living behind these many years. Tired of myself and disappointed with the way I fail over and over - this sad song I keep singing - the falling flat at that first, simplest, and yet so difficult part of the family motto Fritz and I agreed on some many years back. That simple and innocent commandment to Be Kind. 

In the waiting room, the sleek woman sitting between us - good nails, good hair, a scarf flung back over one shoulder - stands up, paces away, done with the chatter, the circular stories.  I recognize the irritation clearly on her face.  For a minute, part of me rises with her, tosses its own scarf back, shakes free.

The simple woman sings on, "Did your mother-in-law have to come fasting?  I had to come fasting.  Is she scared?  Where are you going for lunch afterwards?  I think I'll go to Cafe West.  It's here in the hospital . . . "

I nod, slick pages of clever unread words lying open in my lap. 


Last week I was away. Not exactly at a spa retreat but - change as good as a rest? - as cook, or rather sous chef and bottle-washer to an inventive, fastidious and accomplished all-natural cook - at Girls' Camp.

The plan had been that Eldest would come with me.  I'd had to make special requests, talk to people, get permission.  We thought it might be fun chopping side by side for a week together.

I had certainly been looking forward to it.  Middlest would be there as a senior camper - YCL, Youth Camp Leader - enthusiastic already over her small flock of younger teenage girls.  She'd be dropping in for hugs and quick hellos while Eldest and I talked for a whole week over our chopping blocks, one last week in this last summer before she goes away to college.

But the plan depended on Grandpa being available to pick up YoungSon each afternoon from Cub Scout day camp. And then, not exactly out of the blue, but almost suddenly, there was unfinished urgent business back at the old hometown. So Eldest stayed home to take care of Grandma, to pick up YoungSon in the afternoons.

And I went to camp without her, seeking an answer.


We pitched our tents next to the kitchen to save time stumbling from sleeping bag to stove and sink and chopping block.  We began at 6:30 or 7 in the morning until 10 or 11 at night and I never sat down except to eat, to pack baggies for lunch tomorrow.  We cooked meals and then we served meals and then we cleaned up and started cooking the next meal.

I had the small achievable challenge of providing alternate meals for our few Special Diets. My chicks, as they came to be called, showing up at the kitchen door for hot and frothy spiced rice milk when the rest of the camp had hot cocoa, for eggless blueberry pancakes or rice bread french toast (nutmeg and a pinch of lime and orange zest), potato casserole made with tofu cheese.

And I loved it. Mostly. Problems, personalities, cold nights and little sleep were all surmountable, hills to climb. Strengthening within themselves. And meanwhile, girls I've worked with in the past stopped by for a hug, for a smile, for quick sympathy. Needs easy to meet. And all day long talking with friends, our conversations companionably floating over our busy hands. The hours talking, the activity, the tidy and reachable achievement, the colors and scents of fresh fruits and vegetables as we chopped and minced: Cilantro and onion, red and yellow peppers and tomatoes, pasilla, jalapeno in the fresh salsa. The giving myself over to a master plan. The simplifying of self.

I came home with an answer ~  Industry! I could get so much done if I just gave myself to the writing like this. To the caretaking. To our simple meal-making. Just never sit down. Metaphorically. That's all it would take. I announced my plan for the coming week to the assembled family

"You do remember I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon? Will you still be able to drive me in?" said Fritz' mom.

"Oh yes. That's right. Well, the morning then. Bright and early, everyone? And the rest of the week." I back-pedaled, the way I balance on my bike at stop signs, trying to keep enough momentum that I don't have to put a foot down, trying to hover in a pause without falling over.

Morning comes, and a daughter finds me industriously! scrubbing stains from the carpet, "Can I get a ride to cross-country? Oh, and can we swing by the DMV so I can take the test for my permit?"

Of course.

And the afternoon and the morning were the first day.

Not unlike the second. Nor the fifth.

They also serve who stand and wait. 

Or sit, as the case may be.

And that was the first week of the rest of my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Bike Report (1/5): "Riding in the Rain"

Day 1

We've ridden in rain.  One does if one lives in the Great Northwest and wants to ride in any month other than August or September.  But usually the rain here is laidback and easy like a true Oregonian should be - Oregon rain a slightly more serious mist.  Not the deluge it has been this - do we still call it spring?  because it can't be summer.


Though some fools don shorts to tempt the sun to come out and play.

And the calendar did promise June. 

And sometimes clouds have been known to burn off later in the day. 

Though  many times they don't . . .

Twenty miles in (out of 80+), the glowering clouds opened up and poured down. 

Temperatures dropped below 48F. 

Wools socks - the night before scorned as hot and heavy bulk - now accepted like gifts.

The despised snow pants and parka  rolled up last minute in the place of missing rain gear suddenly a godsend.

No delight this year in the cool swoops downhill from the top of Monster Hill and Monster's Other Brother. 

For once, it was the long grinding up hills we looked forward to for the heat they generated. 

And at the top we didn't linger, but plunged down with teeth gritted to get the cold coast over and quickly. 

Middlest wrung her gloves out at every stop, prodigiously.  Streams of water poured out. 

"More water in my gloves than on the road," she shook her head, disgusted.

When my bargain-buy grocery-store winter gloves - rough wool on the outside, soft fleece on the inside - finally soaked through, I joined her, wringing my gloves with a more than matching glee.

"Makes you feel heroic, doesn't it?  Riding through rain like this?"

But then I was warm. 

And it's always easier to feel heroic when you're warm.  As resident pessimist I'd held no truck with smiling weathermen and their piecrust promises (easily made, easily broken) of warmer weather for the weekend.  Looking on the dark side, and the dark clouds outside, I had swathed myself in wool from head to toe - hoodie sweater, gloves, leggings, socks.   I have since gathered that it was maybe not entirely inspiring to hear me point out once again how the raindrops just beaded up on the surface of my fuzzy red sweater, hovering above the surface of black merino leggings, each glistening pearl a drop that didn't soak through to lucky lucky me.  I'm still hearing a snarky chorus of  I love mah red sweater! whenever I tell people the ride wasn't really all that bad, really.  So, not to go on too long about it, but if you plan to ride in wet, do wear WOOL.  Though even the less wool-endowed have admitted ~ 

There is a vividness to riding in bad weather. 

Not just the visual color-saturation as the world damps down.

But you never feel so much alive, never feel the visceral bodily rejoicing over every mouthful of a hot reuben sandwich at the Birkenfeld store, tasting the layers of flavor, the perfect melding of delicious and nutritious that will power you thirty more miles down the road and up and over Jewell hill.

If you stay comfortable only and never leave your ease,  you never know the delight with which the whole skin nearly chirps to sit for half an hour in the warm wooden tavern at the top of Olney hill, nursing a bowl of creamy hot chowder. A kind of bliss even in the sting of raindrops against your face, telling you again and again how alive you are.  

Sitting in the rain for ten hours would be a misery, a sad kind of masochism, but riding through the rain, lit with your own internal fire, that's a-whole-nother thing. 

And at the end, the golden lights of the Crest Motel at 9 o'clock at night dancing up ahead as the gray sunlight slips away.  Our Biking Friends waiting under the eaves, cheering us up the last rise.  Fritz' parents, worry draining gratefully from their faces.   

No other shower feels as good as the one whose steam you step into out of your cold and dripping clothes.

Day 2

We slept. 

Then coasted down into town and met our Biking Friends for lunch (and whipped milk with cardamom) at the Blue Scorcher Cafe.

There was no rain.

Until we came back to our motel. As the rain started up again, we ducked out to the campstove (carried up and over hills by Fritz' parents in their motorized vehicle)  where we'd rigged up a roaster to cook a local salmon.  

And ate it, crowded together in the tiny motel room of our Biking Friends.

Day 3

Minor catastrophe.

A rusty bolt tossed off in the gutter.  A moment of inattention.  And what was a Sunday coast into town for church turned into triage. 

Our Biking Friends had already gone on ahead, but other friends (also cyclists - funny how it works that way) recognized us, pulled over, offered alcohol swabs, medical tape, the scissors I'd decided not to bring this year because we never use them.  All that and a ride to and from church for poor Middlest, her bike strapped onto their bike rack on back. 

Abrasions and a jammed elbow. End of the ride for her.

Day 4

End of the ride for us all.  The whole point of a family ride is that the whole family does it.  We piled into the grandparents' truck, tossed the bikes into the back.  The sun shone.  We passed our Biking Friends as they pedaled their red tandem through a green meadow, red jerseys vivid against the fresh grass.

We were home soon.  And dissatisfied.

Route map and details here.
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