Not often enough, we escape as a family for a little cycling weekend. You may or may not know that our family [of four] cycled from Amsterdam to Paris the summer of 2009. We like the time of discovery and exercise, exploring little towns and soaking up scenery at a bike’s pace. Besides, then we can nosh without guilt. Bike trips fill us with memories and stories, popped tires and fun finds—crabby moments, card games and family time. We love creating ‘new’ memories in the midst of routine and are ever-hungry for adventure and togetherness.
Last Memorial Day we cycled from Seattle to Portland… we still tell the story of our 70 mile day (our longest day—the total ride was 200 miles) full of hail and pouring rain, numb fingers and flooding. Although it was awful and freezing, by the end of the ride we were laughing at our bad luck. And I will never forget the random little Chinese restaurant—a midpoint on our 70 mile day—where the owner came out with laundry-hot towels to wrap around us. We warmed up and played cards, wrung out our clothes, ate to the gills then braved the weather again. We joke that we popped more tires on this weekend ride to Portland than we did riding an entire summer in Europe.
This Memorial Day we took a shorter trip, cycling from Port Angeles to Sequim and back—two towns we hear about but rarely visit. Quaint towns dot Washington’s Olympic Peninsula; we were inspired to take this ride by a recent article in Sunset Magazine. James had a great time researching where to stay, where to eat and what trail to cycle (check out the Olympic Discovery Trail).
Once we have our loosely held plan we head off and follow our noses. A garage sale? A cute store? Antiquing? Not to mention enjoying ducks waddling their way across the path, greetings from fellow cyclists, breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and happiness at well-groomed trails. Rain-dodging. Bathroom-finding. Stopping to take photos on a bridge (see above).
A favorite find this trip: Agnew Grocers. It was along the trail, and we were drawn in by the antique truck (you may not know this, but we are looking for an [urban] farm truck of our own). Caleb stands by for a photo. The truck may have been the bait, but the catch was worth it: a farm store and tiny grocer, a goat and chickens, rabbits and a picnic bench for the taking. It was a little gem—and a perfect lunch.
Beyond the trail, we spent time in both Sequim and Port Angeles. Sequim is a bit of a retirement community, quite small and with a restaurant worth mentioning: Alder Wood. Sequim was quiet and peaceful. But since it was our swivel point, we actually spent more time in Port Angeles, picking our way through antique stores (I bought a ‘vintage’ potato ricer that is in my drawer for use—not on the wall for decor) and finding some jaw-dropping restaurants. You know when you go to a restaurant, not expecting much and then are wow’d? That happened twice in Port Angeles: our first night we enjoyed dinner at Bella Italia. They had a good wine list (ask for the cellar list), and good Italian food—and having lived in Italy for 9 months, you must realize we are Italian food snobs. The second happy find was lunch at Next Door Gastropub. GO. Just go. It is fantastic: live music, brilliant food, artisan beer. We will be back ASAP.
Best moments of the trip: 1. impromtu breakfast: pastries from Port Angeles farmer’s market and coffee from a stand at the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, 2. picnic lunch and animal petting at Agnew Grocer, 3. spending unadulterated time with family, 4. no rain. or hail. or floods, 5. finding boutiques and antique shops (like Fiddlehead in downtown Port Angeles).