December — a month of Christmas and Family and Friends

Our month of December was very full as usual and we had the additional joy of having the Smoldon family come up from Sacramento for the family weekend in Leavenworth. For the past several years Mary and Phil have hosted us, as many of the family that could make it, for “Mary’s Little Christmas” at their homes. in addition to tree decorating, cookie decorating contests, Christmas carol singing, and wonderful meals shared together, we had other activities to enjoy.

There is the annual tree lighting event that lights up the entire town.

There is Father Christmas who rides in the horse drawn carriage down Main to greet the children and hand out golden pears.

Some years we have a lot of snow, some we have a little snow, and some we do not have snow. We had just a dusting of it as we were all preparing to drive home on the last day. Four year old Andre wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but loved it once he started playing in it.

And who needs snow to enjoy a playground?

We took walks around town to enjoy the festive feel of the season.

And my favorite…

As usual we all had a fun and warm time together. The following weekend we would be having fun with friends for our annual Rainbow Rider Christmas Weekend. We have gathered for this weekend for at least 12-15 years, and for the past 6-8 it has been on Whidbey Island at Fort Casey. We rent a few of the military houses and have a grand time together.

This year we took a different route for our ride which involved catching the ferry to Port Townsend. We cycled on the Larry Scott Trail which connects to the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Through town, under tunnels and back to the ferry for our return trip and more Christmas celebrating.

Christmas Eve found us at Jenny’s for the family gathering and gift exchange where I did not take photos this year!

And then there was my December Bicycle Ride & Seek Challenge…

One more ‘celebration’ that I had was our November Ride in the Rain team hosted by Dan and Elaine for dinner.

One more photo for this month is one very dear to my heart. My nephew posted a photo of his PopPop (my Dad) taken on Samso Island, Denmark — my Dad’s birthplace and home as a young man. He was 67 years old when this photo was taken, and I am happy to be carrying on his legacy. I was riding with him that day and I do recall thinking how great it was that he was cycling at his age (funny to me now as I continue biking at 10 years older than he was here). I will miss him every day of my life.


An Historical Ride …. and SNOW

The 50 year old Seattle Viaduct will be destroyed. A new tunnel into town will take its place. It is a HUGE deal around here. The tunnel opens today (2/4) for auto traffic. This weekend there were 30,000 walkers/runners allowed for part of it on Saturday, and 12,000 cylists to ride the entire tunnel and the viaduct on Sunday. We did the bike ride.


I didn’t take many photos, or very good ones, as I was attending to other riders, many of whom were NOT attentive. It was an ‘adventure’ that I am glad to have done, but riding with that many cyclists (some quite inexperienced) is a risk!!

Our intent was to ride to Seattle on Saturday and stay at a hotel for two nights and ride home the day after the Tunnel Ride. WELL!!! SNOW had us change our plans, and fortunately so. Halfway home the snow started.

Here we are on our way to the city on Saturday.

A little blue sky when we got there.  

The next day (Sunday) we left our hotel which was located right at the start of the ride (good planning).

After the ride (no snow, no rain — YAY!), we returned to our hotel and watched the impending snow news. It kept getting worse so we started packing for our departure. We were a little disappointed to have to shorten our adventure in town, but knew better than to stay another night.

We were fortunate for the first half of our return trip, but soon the wet frozen water starting hitting us. It was not that nice, soft, fluffy stuff. No, it was more like pinging needles hitting your face.

We got home in some accumulated snow and felt fortunate to have made it! Near home it did become soft and fluffy and since we were now only blocks from home, we started to enjoy it!

It is still snowing this morning with expected 5-6 inches by the end, and SeaTac Airport has canceled flights!! This is our first snow of the season and it is a good one.

Good to be home safe and warm! Had we not ridden when we did, we would be stuck in Seattle for a few more nights with low temps turning the streets into sheets of ice!

Here it is at our house with about 4 inches and more still falling …

A ride in some rain

Believing the forecast for ‘overcast with some sun breaks and little to no chance of rain’, Cindy and I met up for a ride on the Burke Gilman Trail. In that anticipated weather we would ride across the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington, or ride to Lake Union in Seattle, or at the least ride to and around UW campus. Depending on our destination we would amass anywhere from 20-30 miles for the day. HA!

On the trail for about ten minutes, neither of us wanted to say the ‘R’ word as we separately felt the first few misty drops. This was bound to change right? They said! We staunchly continued on for yet another ten minutes before deciding we would stop for tea at the nearby Starbucks. Approaching our tea stop, the rain seemed to be stopping, so on we went once again.

But alas, we were getting wetter and colder as we went. Time to abort our original idea and return to our cars.

All was not lost however as we had a decent adventure for a cold and rainy day.

I found a couple of walls for my ‘Walls Challenge’. The walls of the bike tunnel are whimsically painted for our enjoyment.

A bit further along, in the now actual rain, I stopped to catch this wall.

We had made a stop at the very beginning of our ride and learned some history about the Red Brick Road that we visited.

Note the writing at the bottom on this next poster about the high school students creations,

Here are those sculptures..

We learned quite a bit of history here at the preserved little piece of the Red Brick Road.

By the time we got back to our cars, as Cindy had predicted, the sun was peeking out from the clouds and the rain had totally stopped! Oh well, so be it. We had a good day together and got in a lot in a ten mile ride ;’-)

First Bike

I have not been able to find exactly what I wanted for this post, but I think you will get the idea.

I grew up in a rural part of Baltimore County, and I don’t ever remember having or riding a trike. I remember having a four wheeled something. Not exactly a car, and not exactly a cart. This photo is the closest I could come up with though it is much bigger than the one I had. I know mine did not have a hand brake either. But it did have four wheels ;’-)

Most children seem to learn to ride a bicycle at around the age of 5 or 6. When I was just under 9 years old and still not riding a bike, my Dad said if I learned to ride he would buy me a new bike. Me being born a bit late in their lives, mine were older parents and less likely to be out in a field teaching a child to ride a bike. At least in that ancient day!

My only siblings were two sisters who were much older than I. Several (at least 5) of my cousins lived very close by and I had a favorite one who at the time was my best friend. John. When he learned of my Dad’s ‘deal’, John put me on his bike and, running along side of me, taught me to ride.

This photo is not the same as his bike, but as close as I could come up with.

John’s bike was older and not in nearly as good shape as this one. I was soon riding John’s bike and rode past my house to wave to Dad who was sitting on the porch. He was probably as proud as I was.

The next day, true to his word, my Dad arrived home with my new bike in the trunk (trunks were big back then!) of his car. A JC Higgins.

Again, this is not the exact bike I had, but comes fairly close to that one with horn in the down tube and a light on the front fender. And mine was blue. I don’t really recall my first solo ride, but more than likely it was to ride up to the store to get something my Mom needed. Long before anything like ‘panniers’ were even known about, my Dad bought me a ‘saddle bag’ so I could carry things with me. I felt pretty cool on this bike with saddle bag (I loved horses at that age and would often pretend this was my horse).

I have said, though I was late in learning to ride, I am probably riding much later in life than anyone I knew back then in my childhood. Thanks John, you were my hero. Well, you and my Dad! There are those who think they had the best dad in the world. Mine WAS the best dad in the world.

November Was Full of Challenges

As many know, I like doing “challenges” from the saddle of my bike. By challenge, I do not mean competition. Well maybe one of the challenges was just a bit competitive ;’-).

TEANEURING. My first challenge is one I have already blogged about, and one I have done every year for the past five, and have the ‘badges’ to prove it ;’-)

I don’t drink coffee, so my challenge is “teaneuring”. HERE is all about it. Imagine the challenge to ride my bike to 7 different places over 7 weeks of mostly beautiful fall weather for a cup of tea ;’-)

Having already posted about my 2018 challenge (I have yet to get my badge for this year but it is on its way), here is a collage of my stops. Most of my tea shops were in Elk Grove CA while visiting the Grands.

BICYCLE RIDE & SEEK. Next challenge was one I do every month as Randall posts, on facebook, a list of twelve things to find and take a photo of with your bike or part of your bike in the photo. I look forward to the list each month, and have recruited a couple of friends to be my eyes for some more difficult ones to find. I especially thank Cindy for finding quite a few for me each month ;’-)

This is the list from November. Finds need not be in order (thank goodness), and my collage follows this list.

I found them all, and am now on the hunt for December.

RIDE IN THE RAIN. November is notoriously the rainiest month here in the Pacific Northwest. The organization ‘Washington Bikes’, has posted this challenge for the past several years. One can do it as an individual or as a member of a team. Our BIKES club formed a team that we dubbed “The Rainiacs”. This was the one challenge that became somewhat competitive ;’-). Keep in mind that the only thing to be won here is pride in the placement on the leaderboard!

Many members of our team aimed to ride every day of November for this challenge. I succeeded in all but one day and took a photo of something on each day I rode.

Some of the photos disprove that November is FULL of rainy day, and indeed each of us rode in only one day of real rain, and only a few others with semi wet weather.

We did not “win”, but came it second of a whole bunch of teams. The list here shows that we had a moment of glory being in first play just hours before the end of the challenge! This list shows only a few of the 480 organizations (I assume that means teams). There were 3,428 participants for the challenge.

OUTDOOR ART. On another cycling site that I have joined, there are more challenges ;’-). November was to find outdoor art. I include here, most of the art I found while on my bike.

CRANKSGIVING. There is a movement in many states for bike clubs and individuals to participate in this giving challenge. For many years, Susan and I have hosted our Rainbow Rider group for a pre-holiday celebration that includes chili feed, games, socializing, and hiking or biking. This year I introduced CRANKSGIVING as an additional part of the event. Many participated and my hope is that it will grow each year. I took the bike group on a ride and we stopped to deliver some goods; Susan took the hike group and they stopped to deliver as well.

So — November was FULL of challenges!


As I have mentioned in other posts, Sarah and family have moved to Sacramento for what we hope is a temporary move. But, that meant we would not be seeing that family this Thanksgiving. Jenny, Susan’s older daughter, invited us to join them for a family holiday time together. Visiting this family is a little more involved as they live a bit away which includes a ferry ride. So — The bicycling Grandmas start over the river and through the woods to grandchildrens’ house they go.

Deteriorating weather had us change our plan of biking to Edmonds for the ferry. We drove there to avoid potentially stormy weather in both directions.

Waitng for the ferry… bikes go to the head of the line to be loaded first. We (by we I mean Susan) sure are loaded up with stuff for one overnight!

We enjoy some views and water fowl while waiting.

It’s a smooth crossing and within the half hour we are on the road to their house. The road has little to no auto traffic and when we get to the part that is curvy with no shoulder, Susan takes me on a paved trail through the Golf Course.

The trail has me just a touch intimidated! So I walk way too much of it. But the leaves, needles and moss across the curvy path with hidden sharp uphills and down hills, in the very wet conditions spell ‘disaster’ to me. Chalk it up to my accident last spring that involved a fractured pelvis I guess.

We both walk down the hill to cross the slippery bridge.

The trail is just over a mile and a quarter long and we are soon, blessedly, at the end and fairly near their house.

Though I did not take any photos of our delightful dinner that Laurent had lovingly prepared, I did get one of our baker.

Four year old Etienne helped in the kitchen while his two year old brother Andre napped.

We had a delightful Thanksgiving day and evening with family and returned home the next day, reversing our route.

The “shortcut” trail through the golf course did not feel as intimidating this time and I rode just about all of it. Now I knew what to expect around curves and up and down some steep slopes!

Arriving at the ferry a little early, we watched as they were setting up the town Christmas tree in the park.

Then got in line for the ferry that would take us to our car for the drive home.

This was the day after Thanksgiving. I could not resist taking the photo of this when we arrived in Edmonds.

Already ready for the next holiday.

We were glad to have driven to the ferry. We missed the rain in each direction as we rode in the morning. And on each end, the rain began in earnest just an hour after our arrival. A big thank you to Jenny and Laurent for a wonderful family time Thanksgiving.

TEANEURING #7 — Back home ;’-)

I had the plan to finish up the 7th, and final, teaneuring outing today and the weather forecast was dismal. My very good friend Cindy agreed to ride with me and we would keep our eyes on the weather, making our riding decision in the morning (today).

It poured buckets of rain in the night and early this morning, as we each checked our neighborhoods for the weather. Waiting a bit longer we saw the ‘sucker hole’ (a ray of sunshine that calls you out to ride and then possibly (often) gets taken over by rain clouds, and you get drenched). We took advantage of that sun and I pedaled over to Cindy’s house to gear up for our plan.

There was this delightful scene just around the corner from me and I took it as a sign of great riding weather. I was not wrong.

We made our way from Cindy’s house to the Interurban trail which we would ride for a short distance. See the shadows from that sucker hole…

Another challenge that I do is a FB challenge called ‘Bicycle Ride and Seek’. Each month there is a new list of twelve things to find on your bike. You must take a photo of each item listed, and be sure to include at least part of your bike. Cindy is always a spy for me for the month, and she helped me find a few items today:

“Something Bath Related” was right in her garage:

“Veterans Memorial” was not far from our tea stop so we wandered over to it and then went for tea:

We had had such a fantastic day of it and mostly in the sun. After tea the clouds started getting thick and seemed foreboding of rain to come our way. We finished up our tea and headed for home.




ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA — tea bag tea that was so-so.



We had locked our bikes to the outside bench, and took an indoor table where we could watch them. A glorious day with a fantastic bike buddy — life is good!!!