6 July 2002
It was the perfect day for a family bike ride.
I actually had time to take a pre-bike ride bike ride, when I went to make coffee at 7 a.m. and couldn't find the coffee filters (Walt's sister is not a coffee drinker, and I searched every cupboard before I finally found the coffee pot itself!). I decided that the early hour and somewhat sunny sky would make it wonderful for an early morning bike ride to Albertson's.
The round trip is .9 mile, so it's not far. While there, I also ordered a birthday cake to take to the barbecue on the beach tomorrow. I was home and had coffee made before anybody even knew I was gone.
We sat around waiting for Tom and Jeri to arrive, which they finally did at 11 a.m. I got antsy waiting for them, though, and went on another ride up to see this incredibly gorgeous jacaranda tree, which appears to be one tree grafted on another, because it is just one gigantic riot of two different colors of purple. I'd show it to you, but...you know...there's that problem with reading the smartcard while here. You'll just have to wait.
The kids came and we all posed on our bikes for a photo (I'd show it to you but.... etc.) and then we headed off in the direction of the University. It's not far--just a few city streets, up a slight incline and then past apartment buildings Jeri has lived in when she was a student here.
We picked up the "coast bike road" at the entrance to the campus. It's this great two-way road which circles the campus and brought us to a cliff that overlooks the beach where we will be picnicking tomorrow. I took a few pictures en route (I'd show them to you, but...etc.)
We then took the long moderately steep hill down to the beach. I knew that the thrill of that downhill ride would be balanced by knowledge that what goes downhill must then go back uphill again. We rode around the beach for a bit, took a potty-stop, and then turned our wheels in the direction of the hill. I had taken two hills already on this trip, but they were preceeded by downhills, which allowed me to build up some momentum. This would be starting from essentially no momentum whatsoever.
"Just downshift, Mom," Jeri told me.
I made a gallant effort, but was only able to get up halfway, pooping out before the steep part, and while the others sailed past me, I got off and walked the last bits of the hill. But that was the only spot where I was not able to keep up.
Jeri wanted to ride past some of her old buildings in the drama department, so we broke several campus laws by riding in "walk your bike" zones (but it is summertime, and campus was pretty deserted) and we biked defiantly at the "walk your bikes in the crosswalk" zones, but we weren't arrested or cited--or hit by motorists or irate pedestrians.
We then turned our wheels toward home. It wasn't a long ride--under 10 miles--but Tom had a lot to do to get ready for tomorrow's BBQ and he had a 2 p.m. golf game, and Jeri had an appointment to have her hair cut, so this short ride would have to be it.
I had such a fantastic time. It was fun being out with the family, for the first time, doing something athletic.
There were several hours to wait before we were meeting the others for dinner, and so what was left of the family (after the golf contingent went to the golf course) sat around visiting. I'm afraid I got terribly claustrophobic and finally couldn't stand SITTING here, so I picked up the camera and went for another bike ride.
I didn't find a lot of photographic subjects, but unfortunately (or fortunately), I did come across an Internet cafe with high speed DSL connection (those in the family who read my journal will be surprised to hear this, since I didn't tell anybody when I got home!). I didn't spend a lot of time on the computer, but enough to get a quick fix, check e-mail and check some web sites (like the I'm a Boob message board). Then I hopped back on the bike again and explored a new mall which I hadn't seen before.
I'll tell ya, this was the first time I'd attempted to ride through a mall parking lot on a busy afternoon. I'm sure there were lots of motorists who were swearing at me, and I had a few uncomfortable moments, but we all survived.
On the way back to Walt's sister's place, I stopped to photograph more jacaranda trees (I'd show you the pictures, but...) and then back to change clothes and prepare to meet the rest of the family--all 20 of them--at the restaurant for dinner.
All together, we were at the restaurant for four hours, but Tom was fetted well for his birthday and everyone had a wonderful time.
But as I write this it is 12:30 a.m, and I'm doing it half asleep.