Subway Series (for Howard)

150918: Mets 5, Yankees 1; 150919: Yankees 5, Mets 0; 150920: Yankees 11, Mets 2

ph_citi_field_ext_night_480x200Behind the plate
A veteran starter

Conjures dog-time adagio
Against the jack rabbit allegro of his moundsman

Number two
Backstops

Number one’s
Action

A catcher and a pitcher
In a bandbox

image

Batterymates
making chin music

Leaned forward
They anticipate

Life in the hot corner
Just ahead

image

The control artist’s
Bazooka

Tossing aspirin tablets
12-to-6

In the show

Fêting Fatal Fantasies: How abnegating agency is assimilating abeyance

Who is playing the game?My inventive friend Tom placed Lawrence Kuhn’s ‘what if’ piece in front of me. It appears to be science and fiction. More or less the article asks if we, like Neo and Agent Smith, are pieces in a grand simulation, elements in a Gamer’s gambit?

While Kuhn ultimately rejects the idea that the earth’s population is the equivalent of Sim City for higher life forms he somehow feels beholden to acknowledge that the scenario does “seem to work.” I vouchsafe his existential position as a scientist and question his priorities: just where the heck is this guy’s head at?

Is Kuhn a proxy provocateur? A messenger for meta-magnitude tinkerers? Or is the fake fakes universe precept just more mental masturbation, an alien gambol, a human end run around a crowded conclusion: the earth is fucked.

It is lovely to think that somehow a race track has been created and that all of the actors at the track are infinitely malleable. Imagine that kind of endowment. A collective ‘we’, each with a bonnet to be lifted by one or more mechanics and messed with; a desire stroked, an excuse invented, a compassion curtailed, a notion enlivened.

Document4Ariana Page Russell DermatographiaHaving encoded us inside and out our betters become our bettors. Like the pygmy at the Bronx Zoo, we are an object of transactional interest, something to be placed, positioned and prodded.

And once we’re in play we gain access to a tiny war chest of inversions: Man Ray, Noire et Blanche, 1926, copyright man rayfight and flight, affability and insufferability, mania and quietude, curiosity and disinterest, ignorance and ambition. Whether we’re Dead or Alive we never ever really know where we’re located: on the rail, 2 furlongs behind, under the stands lighting a wick… Perhaps some gin-swilling poseur has abstracted our noesis and made dadism faceless after all.

What great fun the speculative worm hole presents. But is it reasonable at this climate-changing moment for the Scientiferatti to propose that our heart beating hamster wheel can be reduced to a mortal coil app for Others to shuffle? And if so, should we assume that when meta-multiversalist players roll the brontobytes there is – could be – even the slimmest possibility for us – nay, for just one of us – to influence positive change? Can we humans outwit the house? Might we register parsec level gains? Or is our due the simulacrumbs that fall from the table?

imagesIt may be that I discovered human agency too late in life. I adore the mystery that we’ve invested in being and becoming: a clumsy spiral of unintended consequences emanating from simple questions. “And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. And you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?” But in this particular ring of hell you may well not ask.

Gerhard Richter, Brigitte Bardot's lips, 1963The maw on our modern content hole is fabulously large. It’s a demand algorithm inviting polyglottalists to make shit up and an error-inducing dome of silence that tastes and replicates its own leavings. Kuhn’s academic authorities – you will note no philosophers in that gaggle – speculate about interventions by otherworldly civilizations with the same kind of reverence as biblical scholars who suggest a heavenly puppet master.

simulacrumI see a fascist inclination in both views.  Simulationism and creationism are stories that insist on  a higher form maintaining control. Us? Endless copies. No fixed address. No capacity to perturb.

Whether its for Gaming or Evangelizing, the Fundamentalists who advance these views share an overpowering nihilism. They let us off the hook. “To hell with the planet,” they seem to say, “the next level looks really cool, four horsemen and an apocalypse!”

 

 

Heat…for M

This Heat
(July 23, 2015)

This heat
Persists

Into the evening
At night
When
The moon orbits
Among icy stars

Into the morning
As sunrise
Calls
Single birds awake
In cool branches

Into the moment
After noon
Where
Late July confesses
Between us

Into the water, the muck, the universe

This heat
Persists

Let’s Talk About Helmet Use – Sharing Safety Strategies with the Condom Crowd

Glory! The policy wonks at Statistics Canada have opened their 2013-14 data vaults and issued a pre-summer presser that highlights safety.  What’s most interesting about the Community Health Survey is how the data mine in Ottawa has serendipitously linked use of helmets by cyclists and use of condoms in the general population. First a quick summary:

Just Cyclists

  • 11.9M Cdns (12 or >) rode a bicycle
  • 42.5% say they always used a helmet
  • Compliance lowest among 18-19 yr olds (20.6%)

helmets

Everybody Else

  • 11.8M Cdns (15 to 49) had sex with 2 or more partners
  • 57.5% used a condom
  • Compliance highest among 15 to 19 yr olds (70.8%)

15-19

What does this data tell us?
Many young people routinely make good choices before having sex whereas many of those same young folk make poor choices when they hop on a bike.  It’s a little confusing. Unlike helmets, condom use is not mandated by law. Still there has been a consistent and widespread public health campaign (in the media, in schools, among families) that condom use – while only one of many strategies – is an easy and effective way to prevent procreation and sexually transmitted infections. Cultural messaging emphasizes that using a condom won’t make the wrong impression with the person you’re – er – trying to impress.

And despite medical evidence that wearing helmets is positively associated with injury prevention  (e.g. reducing brain trauma), the upsides of helmet use are hotly disputed. Judging from the data, parents neither believe that the helmet laws are legitimate, nor accept that their kids need to wear helmets. Only 37.5% of 12-17 yr olds said they always used a helmet when cycling. A stunning result considering that all Canadian provinces with the exception of Québec, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland require helmet use for this age group.

Cultural messaging about helmet use seems to be governed by cosmetic rationale: talking points emphasize the impact of helmets on personal appearance. Aesthetics trump prevention! Simply put, helmet use is seen to be uncool. They muss your hair, collect perspiration, make your head look really big and, generally, fail to impress  colleagues, peers, and potential mates with whom you might share a condom one evening.

elasun-cyclingFrom a cycling point-of-view, these data tell us plenty about lifestyle choices. Presumptive measurements of risk based on individual helmet use disregard a key element of condom use. It’s not just an individual’s decision to wear one or not: couples share a common concern.

However the intimate social nexus that governs sexual engagement doesn’t exist for cyclists. Here we speak only about individuals and their right to choose one way or another, an approach that  excuses a panoply of road users from a public dialogue on cycling safety. The braggadocio of helmetlessness extinguishes factors like human error, congestion, road rage, blind spots, speed, and the multiple distractions that plague modern motorists. It reinforces a logic that crashes and their consequences should be assigned to individual cyclists.

On top of that there is no coordinated public health engagement with cycling safety (in the media, in schools, among family members) that rounds out preventive strategies when cycling in traffic. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a commercial advertising a brand of helmets on a major media channel? Or for that matter, when was the last time your North American government released a well produced public service announcement like this one from the UK?

Looking at these Statscan survey results shouldn’t we wonder why our transportation safety choices are so naive, careless, adolescent even. Clearly, youth understand the relationship between unprotected sex and suffering: the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases or perhaps worse, pediatric parenthood.

conFrom an early age kids are taught how to fit rubbers on bananas, told where they can acquire condoms for free, and learn a range of safe sex practices to help them “love the one they’re with.”

And yet parents and the North American institutions that support their interests have neither associated helmet use with injury prevention, nor have they taken steps to augment physical protection with awareness measures and skills-based programs promoting safe cycling. As a result we’ve amplified helmet trash talking and – unlike our sexual educator friends – we’ve diminished our capacity to support a comprehensive approach  to cycling safety. Whether you put a prophylactic on your penis or your head the fact is that protection begins before you go for a ride.

Feedback (for Lydia Davis)

Under aged

at the Michigan Palace in dirty, beat up, downtown Detroit
Bagley and Cass, 1975

…saying…
:…doing…:

…aching…
:…cooing…:

…shearing…
:…rooing…:

…watching…

detroittwo men in tights
fighting loudly

Frank Marino, guitar God
Pining a wall of Marshall amps

Ted Nugent, Motor Citiot
Gaining on him

Two groins creasing
High boned hips

Stacked like humbuckers
Contrapunting

Inner and outer space Ö Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles (Number 11, 1952)In the side box, a casual distance from the stage

Facing splinters of an exploded Gibson Byrdland guitar

My eyes widen
To hastening at my feet.

To perfect sweat
Drawn into piss-soaked carpet

To sweet backtalk
Swallowing some of all the noise and darkness

To hot headless shadows
knocking up

CadillacRanchThough I have no real memory of the show

Or how I crossed the border that evening

I do recall feeling
that they came

Reasonably close
to having empirical proof

That my generation
was capable of erotic love

And I saved      16_antistatik-morik
that scent

Taking Great Joy

A friend recently wrote “There really is great joy in everything provided one’s heart remains open to life’s possibilities.” It made me recall my brief stay at the UBC residences in summer 2011. The weather was exceptional. During evening walks I encountered pacific-softened breezes that would touch and skirt around the fabric of my body. The livin’ was easy.

My room was located in a large block of older residences that the university rented to itinerant workers – such as myself – and that accommodated camps and conventions held on or near campus. In close proximity to meeting rooms, sports  facilities, and nature trails, the place where I lived was a hub of international comings and goings. It was conspicuous and enjoyable precisely because of its ill-defined demography.

As my stay was coming to an end, an unanticipated and wholly wonderful event occurred. Hundreds of brown-robed Buddhist Nuns appeared. The volume of adherents was impressive and their appearance and disappearance into the many portals that the university offered made residential life feel a little like a video game . It was a blasterless version of Invasion of the Buddha-Snatchers accompanied by a soundtrack of multiple murmurings invoked by meandering dyads and triads of pleasant-faced people.

Although the nuns were clearly in the majority their presence was by no means hegemonic. This distinction fell to the gaggles of young men and women who emerged each evening from the Fir forested trails leading to and from Wreck Beach – a clothing optional strand situated within easy walking distance of the main campus.

For most of these folks evening wear appeared to be a requisite afterthought rather than a decision and their mostly beautifully tan bodies shouted at us like a Dianetics display in a Scientology storefront. “Look, we’ve gone clear” they seemed to say, “you can too!” But their meat bodies were mostly a little overwrought. Some were drunk. Others were stoned. Still others were sick from too much drink, weed, sun, and so forth. Thus too they were loud.

As dinner hour passed and the sun ceded east for west many yoda-like figurines featuring short-cropped hair and spectacled eyes, seamlessly merged with the sun-bleached and beach-breached blather of boys and girls – and former boys and girls for whom adulthood stood in shadowless light. One part of the dancehall sustained by protocol, the other gerrymandered by a barefoot pirate known for blunt touch.

Robert Johnson, while he stood alone at the Crossroads, is said to have sold his soul for a bottomless understanding of blues guitar. Had he stumbled across this crossroad – where Nuns co-mingled with Knowns – there mightn’t of been a King of the Delta Blues.

No ache of melancholy boiled in this collective belly. No misery, sorrow, gloom or despair crackled underfoot. Here lay the lotus on its dirty pond. Prayers asked and answered in the sweep and flow of human contact. Here, with debauchery saddled on a donkey, I sat in the stillness of thrilling contradictions, my heart opening to more of life’s possibilities. Not long afterward I wrote this poem.

Ists

She was a buddhist
A raw foodist
The crudest
And rudest
Rufous

Whoever walked away from it all

A Hedonist
an Atavist
Revisionist
Recidivist

I saw her standing there about to fall

She was a nudist
A shootist
The loosest
And lewdest
Judas

Whoever had the dignity to crawl

She was a…
Diarist
Contortionist
Collectivist
Somnambulist

Whoever built and shopped in her own mall

She was a buddhist
A raw foodist
The crudest
And rudest
Rufous

Whoever walked away from it all

Originally, I performed this as a song. This is how it sounds.

A Beastly Night of Poetry on #Saltspring

Webb-Phyllis-by-Diana-Hayes-805x1024ARTSbrett1Phyllis Webb spat blood. Brian Brett hissed at the sunset. Sandwiched between these two poetic powerhouses Lorraine Gane and Diana Hayes grounded 60+ audience members by unearthing selections from Webb’s vast new collection, Peacock Blue. The April 15th reading was hosted by the Salt Spring Island Library and sponsored the Association of Book Publishers of BC.

It was an evening of places and beasts. We watched as Brett’s ashes scattered then sank to the seafloor at Rebecca’s Spit, his “toxins and dioxins” building cities for his beloved from lumbering cedar. The centre-piece of his performance was a libretto for Yukon watersheds.

Brett takes us to a place “where stones are born,” where uranium conspicuously lazes amongst its cousins, and where He – a puny-handed shadow in a grizzly’s print – tracks Himself into a chain of previous inattentions: of fox to mink, moose to fox, wolf to moose. Oh woeful moose!

It is a simple truth that Phyllis Webb’s physicality is waning. Yet as she rounded the lectern and aimed herself in our direction out came a basso profundo of crimson vitality: “I am wearing absent-minded red/slippers and a red vest -/spots of blood…”

We sit with Webb in front of her radio, listening to Dracula recount disappointment. We regard Webb’s proximity to “14,000 rats and the citizens of Delft,/for the women of the world and their menses” and watch in awe as our soul of the universe stands “Breathing poppies. Thinking.”

The strength of her voice lifts us out of our chairs and onto a beach. Webb, who for many years held ‘deep-south’ Saltspring status, is intimately familiar with the eccentric and predictable comings and goings of this little community. They share the stage with her.

“Four swans in Fulford Harbour…” In a miracle of movement her words locate a creative, resilient space between wind and wing that resists being named as either. “Uprush of inspiration brush past the broken shell of my ear.” Indeed.

Karl Ove Knausgård: An Avalanche of Presence

KOK1With the April release of Karl Ove Knausgård’s Dancing in the Dark tens of thousands of English-speakers are, or soon will be, reading the fourth installment of his Min Kamp series. The first three, A Death in the Family, A Man Alone, and Boyhood Island have whetted a massive appetite and inspired numerous and particular critiques. Why, I ask, should so many be so true to a 3,600 page project that so thoroughly conflicts with the inattention and micro-forgetting that characterize these days of ours?

Formally, Don Bartlett’s translation is delicious. He presents a flank steak marinated in runic contingencies that is both tender and tough on Anglophones. North Americans are effectively gang-pressed into dire straits: we meet the Norwegian inside his speech acts and the human outside his transnational comfort zone. The copy editing is fantastic.

Narratively, the books are less delicious than nutritious. They are three rucksacks each packed with enough brown cheese, apples, and flatbrød to sustain long journeys. Knausgård faithfully shoulders each sack. As he makes some distance we feel footfalls, smell ripe whey,  hear howls of wind and children. Then he finds promontories on which to pause, relieve himself and share what’s left with those who are still with him.

Speculatively, his writing unleashes an avalanche of presence. There is a torrent of unusual coming-together in his work. He locates vulnerabilities within cornices of cultural tension and places them within our reach by triggering – sometimes skilfully and sometimes mistakenly – a slide. When, the human detritus and social debris eventually resolve to a common historically contingent nuisance ground, he clambers over exposed shards of everyday life to revisit and rehearse their meaning and return their investment in his own becoming.

kok4With each avalanche we ask our proxy “how do you survive with everything falling apart?” Karl Ove’s anxiety is partout, partout, partout. We see it in the boy who is perpetually constipated, in the young adult who can’t get enough alcohol, and the in the grown man who somehow musters a shame-faced personal apology to the motive forces of industrialized civilization.  Early on in A Death in the Family, Knausgård presents traffic as a wholly mechanized avalanche on pedestrian values. He observes a “huge articulated truck coming down the hill with its chains clanking” behind “tails of swirling snow” left by passing cars.

it braked and just managed to shudder to a halt before the crosswalk as the lights changed to red. I always had a bad conscience whenever vehicles had to stop because of me, a kind of imbalance rose, I felt as though I owed them something. The bigger the vehicle, the worse the guilt. I tried to catch the driver’s eye as I crossed so that I could nod to restore the balance.

The Norwegian landscape as a physical and social-economic beast, is well-suited to his thunderous provocations. For villagers, like his mother’s family, tucked as they were into the base of a steep fjord, their vulnerability is an outfall of centuries-old relationships and stewardships, tasks and duties, knowledge and dialects. For beachhead estate-dwellers like his father’s family, their proximity to near modernity places them at risk of being buried beneath the unresolved contradictions of 19thC anomie and the institutional determinations and 20thC conformity.

kok3The presence-availability of Knausgård’s family – one in the back region, the other in the front – gives him plenty of room to roam. His paternal grandfather’s career in accountancy distinguishes precision and exactitude. Meanwhile, the land-based phenomenologies of his maternal grandfather’s farming life engages flexibility and embraces the wheel of fortune. Knausgård uses these dispositions to demonstrate impact and differentiate outcomes. Fishing trips with his father and his maternal grandfather are one case in point.

In his father’s view Karl Ove must perform on the first pass. The offspring’s inability to lift the line and the prize is tantamount to filial disobedience. The anger and humiliation that his father heaps on him immediately produces tears and, over time,  contributes to widening doubts that his father has any skills whatsoever. In an almost identical scenario, Karl Ove is asked to reach out and pull on the line by his maternal grandfather. Here he relates his grandfather’s quiet coaching and – having missed on the first pass – in situ encouragement that he will succeed.

Like a neutron bomb that leaves buildings standing but destroys all life, the avalanche happening in each and every home is wily, insidious, lethal. By the time we get to Boyhood Island we know for certain that his father’s class is in ascendency. His mother’s way of life is in decline. There is no reversing aspirational civilization in Norway. Adding insult to injury, his mother is a mental health professional who is living with a man possessed of more than one undiagnosed psychiatric disorder. At a minimum Karl Ove’s father engages in child abuse and is an addict/alcoholic. The interim remedy is for the father and mother to gain distance on each other. They are apart for longer and longer periods of time. A less than perfect solution for Karl Ove and his brother Yngve.

kok6Familial proximity joining the unwell suggests sickness and inertia will prevail.  While making funeral arrangements, the brothers sense logical gaps in their father’s demise: “Surely we couldn’t leave Kristiansand without knowing the circumstances of his death, could we?” But sickness, like an oil slick in the North Sea, spreads. The only one who really knows the truth is Grandma and the truth is that Grandma’s “a little off.” All that’s left for Karl Ove to do is speculate and clean up the mess: “how come [she] hadn’t said anything about the blood? Because something must have happened, he could not have died peacefully in his sleep, not with all that blood there.”

Despite Knausgård’s perilous experiment in the avalanche zone, he removes himself from immediate  danger time and again by conspiring to initiate an earthfall of beauty. While a plaintive, blubbering, perpetually adolescent voice resonates throughout the three books, he tempers his own narcissism by bravely pointing up a transfiguration of sorts. This gives him a pleasant christ-like visage and lends him a prescience – such as the moment he is certain his wife has been impregnated – that makes him reliable, trustworthy, safe, sure. His hybridized station as saint and sinner also contains abstractions and the intellectual excesses of art critical commentaries. Instead, references to the Frankfurt School or Rilke are gently passed our way like a basket of bons bons.

kok7Knausgård’s children and wife Linda are the ultimate rock slide. They crash into him and knock him over. They rouse and hound him. They smother him. And they commit him to their woeful purgatory of ceaseless co-presence. His regard for the “little trolls” is charged with a suddenness of joy. Through them he seems to overcome the limitations of a life-time. In this particular debris field, Karl Ove rises up from a childhood legacy punctuated by loud voices and aggression and confronts his capacity for love. At this point, his struggle is simply to reap what he has sown: “”Can you see Vanja,” I said, “the donkeys are refusing to move.” She laughed. I was happy because she was happy.”

Springing into Action – Cycling M&J’s SW British Columbia/NW Washington Circle Route

Margaret and I were a little surprised when REI told us that they wouldn’t ship our new tent to us in British Columbia. “Yep,” the chipper young man said, “you folks are gonna have to come on down and pick it up.” It’s not that the Bellingham store was so far away, just that we didn’t want to go through the hassle of waiting in a sometimes near endless lineup to clear customs.

peacearch-bordercrossingThen we put our thinking caps on. We could pedal down! Bicycles (like pedestrians) go right to the front of the line at border crossings. What if we left Salt Spring Island on Easter Friday morning and gave ourselves a little cycling holiday? How great would that be! And the planning began:

First Consideration: Time of year. Yes, it had been a mild winter, but it was still early April and that meant cool weather and high probability of rain. We talked it back and forth until Margaret looked at me with a gaze of utter certainty and we both resolved that no matter how cool or how wet, we would be just fine. Silly us!

imageSecond consideration: Wind direction: The prevailing winds are from the south. Yet, we determined that starting in the north was our best bet: the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles left too late in the day; the ferry from Sidney to Anacortes wouldn’t be running yet; and, we didn’t want to be anywhere close to REI on Saturday April 4th – it was their Garage Sale day.

image5Third consideration: Out and back or Circle Trip? At the beginning of the planning cycle, we were pretty pragmatic thinkers. We figured that if the weather was just terrible on Friday, we could go as far as Bellingham, stay over night, and return to Canada through Blaine. Then we somehow became magical thinkers. “Psssha!” we thought. “We’ve never explored this part of the NW on bikes!” “It’s an adventure.” “Look, only 30% chance of rain by Sunday.” And, without really saying so, we pretty much commited to riding from Tsawwassen to Port Angeles, to Victoria and home.

The Short Story

We figure the distance at about 100 kilometres per day or a total of 310 kms (193 miles). On Friday we got as far as Bellingham. On Saturday we got to Port Townsend. On Sunday we pedalled down to Port Angeles and, following a lovely trip on the Black Ball Ferry, headed back to Salt Spring Island from Victoria. The picture below outlines the route we took. The thick blue lines are ferry crossings, the black thick lines are where the rubber hit the road and the thin zig zaggy line is our crazy border.

Circle routeA Longer Story

By the time we left to catch our 0615 ferry from Salt Spring to Swartz Bay, we were all but chuckling about the rain. Earlier forecasts of 60% chance of rain had been revised to a 100% chance by the time we got to Bellingham. And, if that wasn’t enough, Windfinder was showing 20knot (37 km/hr) winds from the South South East. Still, the morning sky was clear and we were warm, well-fed and keen to go. If you want to skip the narrative an annotated version of the circle route is available here.

image4We changed ferries at Swartz Bay and arrived at Tsawwassen about 0840. We noticed that the windsock on the most easterly dock was unusually straight. Only a nervous ripple of torn threads indicated that it wasn’t a frozen solid object. Sudden moment of awareness: that wind was coming from where we were going. So much for Consideration 2. Still, the sky was filled with billowy white clouds and large blue patches. Off we went, arriving at the border about 1100.

1176a76936cb9767eb2f8ddb1ea9a124-d2yf6aoThe winds really didn’t start to torture us until about 1245. We had a bite to eat in Birch Bay and had just finished enthusing about BP’s granting cycling & pedestrian access to its Point Whitehorne property when the first of many long gusts visited upon us. Yet, we were beautiful about it. I tucked down, Margaret snuggled in right behind me and we assumed our 8 km/hr grind into one sick wind. This is what it felt like.

indexJust after we turned south from Ferndale, WA, the wind was joined by heavy rains. We were so wet. And we hadn’t considered what zillions of little raindrops would feel like when they were tossed into our faces by a 50 km/h headwind. They hurt. Just like “no-see-ums” in the summer, each little prick found its place on the podium of pain and then moved over to let its compadre step in. Oh, and there was the thing about the temperature. It kept dropping? Blaine = 11C (52F); Ferndale = 7C (45F); Bellingham = 4C (39F).

When we finally walked into REI with our shopping cart full of panniers, we were accompanied by a distinctive squish-squash soundtrack. The greeter was marvellous and a little amused. We stripped down right there in the tent section: coats, micro-fleece, turtle necks were all gone. We stood there in technical Ts and rain pants, searched out the warmest areas of the store (Women’s & Checkout), then picked up our tent. By the time we arrived at our BnB the rain had stopped, we were packin’ a hot roasted chicken and a bottle of wine and we endlessly thanked our host as we tossed our wet gear into the dryer. Tomorrow, we thought, would be better! And it was.

image6Up at 0630 and on the road by 0730 riding the beautiful Bellingham Interurban Trail paralleling Chuckanut Drive. We dropped out of the mountains and into hip little Edison about 0930 (country cafe on east side/hipster artisanal roaster west side). After java, we revisited the wind tunnel on Farm to Market Road. Unlike Friday, we were ready for it and after 10kms of gradual incline we arrived at cycling purgatory: Hwy 20. Loud, Loud, Loud. Fast. Fast. Fast. Lucky for us we had a beautiful tailwind pushing us over the bridge to Fidalgo Island. After we turned south away from Anacortes there were fewer cars. Still Hwy 20 to Coupeville was our least favourite section to ride.

image3After having had a glorious lunch well-off-the-road,  and surviving a close encounter on the Whidbey Island bridges we paced ourselves through to the ferry terminal south of Coupeville. An hour later we were in our budget accommodations and on the prowl for the best burger in Port Townsend. We found it at Doc’s.

ar118669827576332M and I were very curious about the Olympic Discovery Trail. We’d heard lots about it and were keen to experience it on a bike. Someday it will be a great trail. Today it is a very good trail. Starting with the Larry Scott trail in Port Townsend, it takes you mostly off-road and close to natural values. Signage is sometimes ambiguous and so it’s best to go to their excellent website and reference their downloadable section maps. We loved riding it. We loved thanking the volunteers we met along the way. We even kind of enjoyed the unexpected 9km detour at Dungeness Creek just outside of Sequim.

image2When we rolled into Port Angeles, we had been bone dry for two days. Our faces were wind- and sun-burned (gotta remember that sunblock!) and we knew we’d had a real adventure. Almost no one was on any of the trails so we had lots of tiime to ride together and chat. After arriving in Victoria, the trip home was like reading an old book. Sitting in the living room with a glass of wine, we both were exhausted, though neither of us were tired. We just didn’t want it all to end.