Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hawkins Family Bike Tour: Day 1

Dear friends,This will be put into a larger format but yesterday was quite the shot in the arm.

Claire got slammed by work on Monday so we got a late start out of the house. We left around 3 PM for West Seattle and the Vashon Ferry. This was nice enough. The Paselas that many scoff at ride just beautifully in their 35 mm form, and the tandem seemed immune from the massive wind gusts along the waterfront as we made our way south through the industrial district.

Thorvald needed his seat adjusted so we stopped and moved things around only to discover that I had not pumped one of his tires up enough. I went to the location where the pump is held and lo and behold, it was not to be found!. What the....? Going on a bike tour without a pump? Crazy! There was still enough air to get places so we climbed into West Seattle and stopped in at Aaron's bike repair, and excellent resource by the way. They have more X-tra cycles and cargo bikes than anywhere I've seen and while in, Aaron was working on a customer's new X-tra as well.

I got a pump, and got it situated and we bounded off into parts unknown along Fauntleroy towards Lincoln Park. Upon arriving at the ferry terminal, I bought tickets and then we waited for the cars to load. Presently, up comes a very nice, be-tattooed young guy bearing my credit card. He had brought it down from the shop. Fantastic. We bid our good tidings and many thanks and then boarded, knowing full well that things were looking up.

Being last off a ferry is one of the nicest things to do. You don't get passed while trudging up the inevitable hill from the dock, and you never see any of those infernal motorcycles who seem to enjoy cutting lanes with cyclists. The hill out of the Vashon ferry dock is, shall we say, perfect for the contemplative. You just climb and climb; not letting any shoulders assist or passing dump trucks destroy.

We reached the top and looked for a fun little road which G-maps thinks is just dandy for bicycles, that being Burma Road. Now for the uninitiated, Burma road is an unused, twisty, west side road of Vashon that hooks conveniently into the West Side Hwy on the way to the Tahlequah ferry dock. To a fully loaded tandem with a trailer and kid, this is one of the craziest roads I've been on. We should plan it as a training ride, and no, I will not bring my fixie. No way. It's one 25% hill after another and it was hard on our gears. So hard in fact that I ran the chain into the spokes on one hill, and then two hills later, I broke the chain. You read that right. We sat there, three quarters of the way up a crazy hill, with the drag brake on, the caliper fully closed, incredulous.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I had brought extra chain, a master link, but no chain tool! How about that? Thankfully, Thorvald was still asleep.

So we pushed the bike up and down two more hills, pushing up, and then coasting down, until we reached Cedarhurst, where we climbed up to the Vashon Hwy. On the way up, we stopped a guy in a pick-up who offered some advice and some help, but we declined, thinking we would run into a cyclist who might have such a wonderful tool, and finished the climb up.

We walked along the Hwy into Vashon (the town) and and after about an hour, this same guy comes along and stops, waiting for us. At this point our determination towards self sufficiency had softened and we tore the rig apart and put it in his pick-up. (pictures are coming) His name was Gene and we soon found out that he had just moved out here from Wisconsin, was into living off the land, had 7 kids, and was pretty handy. When he mentioned that he had found a place to stay through church, we inquired and found that he is Mormon. Well, isn't that dandy?! A real mormon. Well, so are we! We had a good laugh about the lost missionary opportunities (we are, as a religion, famous for our missionary zeal), and then found our way to the south ferry dock.

We had a nice 20 minute wait for the ferry, and then pushed our still hobbled tandem down the plank and onto the ferry. The ride was nice and Thorvald had a great day with us. I might interject that while pushing the bike, Thorvald just giggled and gaggled the whole way. He though this was a fantastic game we were playing!.

I locked up the bike and trailer down in the marina, stripped it down for a night alone, and Claire's dad picked us up and we had nice Mexican at a place on Proctor, the Wallingford of Tacoma.

So now, I'm waiting around for the local bike shop to open where we can get a chain tool, and extra chain, and a ride back up north to the ferry dock.

Mileage for Monday: 15 out of a possible 34 miles. Special thanks to Gene, Chip, and the nice guy who brought my credit card down from the bike shop. We're off to a rip roaring start. Oh and I've got to say, the weather was fantastic!

Brad, Claire, and Thorvald Hawkins

No comments: