DartreDame had a work retreat in Bremerton, WA beginning Sunday morning, so we hopped on the ferry boat Saturday afternoon to see whether we could wedge in a quick ride. Above, Dartre poses in front of the General Store in Seabeck. Last time I visited I was on my first brevet ever, the Tahuya Hills 200k put on by the Seattle International Randonneurs in July of 2008. I had no idea what to expect. My ride report is here.
Above is a local fisher describing the size of the Silver Salmon he'd been catching. Honor system here so you can subtract the usual fisher brag factor. But then again, he was such a sweet soul I'll bet you could add a little back in and get pretty close to the size he demonstrates. His smile's a keeper, for sure.
When he inquired with some indication of awe whether we had just ridden up the hills then down again to get to the beach, we used a little inverse fisher factor to slough them off as nothin'. They probably weren't nothin', but then we didn't get to actually see his Silver Salmon either.
We liked this gate.
Dartre absorbs the mountain/cloud drama at Scenic Beach State Park.
The biggest hill, Anderson Hill, is steep and long. Here's Dartre's first attempt of the famed Anderson Hill Road. When I road the brevet last year one experienced randonneur told me of his walking up old Anderson Hill Road the year before. He was quite pleased to have made it when we rode it.
Darte feeling like she'll make it.
Happy Dartre at the top of Anderson Hill Road!
This is looking back down to the "belly", if you will. The cruelty of Anderson Hill Road is that you climb steeply for a while only to go back down losing all you've gained so you can start back up again. Dartre claims she reached 47mph at the belly, but that's only a claim because if she were going 47mph she was probably violating the speed laws. She wouldn't do that.
We rolled back into the Comfort Inn, showered and hit the Boat Shed for a nice meal of steamers, pasta, and pan-fried oysters. Another post-ride yummerific meal!
Next day, Dartre went retreating as per her plan and I lazed around and worked my way back to the Bremerton ferry terminal for the boat trip back to Seattle. The sun is warm, the day is fine and I get hailed from the pedestrian walkway overhead: "Hey randonneur, who are you?"
I was wearing my SIR wool jersey (so comfy) that announces my rando-ness. Turns out it's none other than Eric Vigoren, Treasurer of BOTH Randonneurs USA and SIR and Maggie Williams, SIR Newsletter editor (and funny writer).
They had spied me en route to the ferry and wondered who I was. Last time I saw them I was in the middle of the March 8, 2009 100k Populaire to which I had dragged DartreDame, much to her and my chagrin. It was snowing the hugest snowflakes ever seen at the start. I was fixing my second flat when they pulled alongside in their warm car, and Eric told me I could still make the controls in time if I hustled.
As it turned out, Poor Dartre had to abandon, and I was Hors délai. I think that technically means that I finished, but not within the time limit. I don't quite understand that distinction since the whole idea is to finish within the time limit. Seems you either do or don't. In any event, I didn't. After that miserable experience, it is truly amazing that Dartre even rides with me anymore.
I just have one thing to say to Eric and Maggie: Thank you for all your volunteer work that makes our sport possible!
Today, however, the skies were end-of-September-in-Seattle blue.
Looking back toward the inlet to Bremerton and the Olympics from the ferry.
The good old Walla Walla carried me back to Seattle where I wove my way among the Seattle Seahawks fans.
I finished my part of Dartre's and my adventure with a final post ride delight: grapes from our backyard arbor.
It was under this arbor that Datre and I wed two years ago. I've never seen the vine so full.
I like them best when they are blush, less purple than these. Yum!
And so these fabulous Fall grapes mark the end of riding days like this weekend. Not many more crisp, cobalt blue-skied days, but that's OK.
More adventures to come around this turn of seasons.
Keep it bittersweet,