Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rain in Vancouver

Thursday, 5/29/2014

I had forgotten to write about the eagles in yesterday's post. As we headed north yesterday, and I think we had just gotten into Canada, there were "swarms" of bald eagles along the beach -- standing on the shore, perched on logs, soaring low above the water, and flying right above us. We felt as if we could almost reach out and touch them. There had to be hundreds as the scene lasted quite a while as the train rolled past them. Neither Lynne nor I have seen this many eagles in one place.


The forecast was for "light rain" this morning, clearing by mid morning. Imagine our surprise when, walking out the door to find a breakfast place at 7:00 this morning, we were greeted with heavy, hard rain. What a total weather reversal from yesterday's sun and clear day!

We dodged rain drops and darted from store front to store front, taking advantage of each canopy along the walk to breakfast. Retracing our way back to the hotel, the rain had not yet become "light". We packed up our luggage and relaxed a little in the room before heading out for the Big Bus and today's adventure.

The bus let us off near the ferry landing for the boat that would take us to Granville Island (ticket fee included in our Big Bus cost).

Interesting bridge arch
Making our way in the rain -- Seattleites always come with rain gear.
Our captain


I guess it is more a "water taxi" than a ferry
Fleet of these cute water craft

Wandering around the Island and visiting the Market and shops unearthed a pair of knee socks for me (thanks Lynne for finding these great socks), and a grocery bag for Lynne. Our tastes are minimal ;'-), and a cookie and scone for a later treat!

After scouring Granville Island we found our way up to the Big Bus stop with only a little challenge. Though our water taxi ticket was good for a return trip, we opted to get the bus on the other side so we could explore that side of town that we had missed yesterday.

Yesterday we passed by the Public Library that resembles the Roman Colesium, and today we took time to walk through and around that area.

Inside the Library Square. Library on the Left, shops on the Right.
I have not before seen the pigeon memorialized.

At the Square, I found the greatest tea shop and spent lots of time talking with the two women there and learning yet more about tea. Just by purchasing a cup of tea to enjoy at the outside table (with Lynne over her Mocha, and the treats we had bought at the Market), I got a coupon (attached to my cup) for 25% off a purchase of their bulk tea. Need I say that I used that coupon?

Lots of time talking and some tasting at the "LOOK" tea shop.

We gradually made our way back to Robson Street, and to our hotel to retrieve our luggage. Along the way we stopped for Lynne's Birthday lunch at the crepery suggested by our bus driver, and had a great lunch and fine time. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYNNE.

Came across some music in the street


The best I could do at getting a photo of our hotel


Our hotel was not one of the high end places in town, but more than adequate for our needs; reasonabley priced; has great, free, fast internet; and is right in the middle of Robson Street, a major downtown area. We would recommend it as a place to stay for anyone looking for a hotel in Vancouver.

Train station in Vancouver

The walk to the skytrain was in "almost" no rain, we had no problems with the ticket machine this time, and found the correct stop for the train station. Time to go home.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vancouver B.C. By train

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I had wanted to and talked about doing this trip for a long time. When Lynne invited me to join her for the adventure, I said yes!

She would get the train in Seattle, her new residence, and would save a seat for me for when I picked it up in Everett.

YEE HAAAA, an adventure.

The three plus hour trip seemed to fly by as we chatted, looked at Lynne's maps and guide book, and made plans for our first moves once we hit the city.

Perhaps the recent holiday weekend made for fewer travelers this day
Lynne does her magic plotting for sights not to miss

We disembarked the train with our completed declaration form and passport in hand to be quickly checked through the line. We were stopping only briefly at the nearby table (seemed like a likely spot to us) to put away our passport and change our pull along suitcase from one hand to the other. Before we could complete our maneuvers, the securtiy guard was at our side telling us we could not stand there. Ok then, we will move over here by the benches and rearrange ourselves. No sooner had we closed our purses and headed toward the exit when there was another security guard standing in our view waiting for us to depart. I guess he figured we were not a threat as he moved out of the way for us to get to the exit door.

Safely on the street (!) we found the skytrain that would take us within a few blocks of our hotel. The challenge was to buy the tickets for the sky trian. Lynne conscientiously had the exact change, in Canadian coin to plunk into the machine, but I would have to use my credit card for a mere $1.75 fee. At the first machine we saw a family move away to a different one across the hall. Thinking they were surely local people and knew much more than we did, I asked what the difference was between the two machines. "This one works" was the answer.

But.... I have exact, Canadian, change for the ticket

Well it worked, but not for coins or money of any kind. Everyone all around would not easily accept the reality, but after several -- many -- tries, it was deemed true. Credit card only. (Finally) ticket in hand, we could not find a place to use it. The stile had no slot or reader and we were not too comfortable simply walking through the open gate -- after all, we had just been scrutinized by security guards. Soon someone told us that the stiles were not yet working, so just carry your ticket for if you are asked to show it.

Eventually we got to our hotel. It was too early to get into our room, but we dropped off our luggage and began our tour of the city. We had bought a "Hop on Hop off" Big Bus ticket that would take us around the loops of town where we could get off anywhere we wanted to visit and get on the next one when we were ready.

One of the first things that struck me was the bicycle on just about every street sign
Were we in Canada or in Rome?

The Library reminds one of the Roman Coliseum, and appears to be an interesting place to explore. We will return there tomorrow to get a closer look.

Are we in Canada or Mississippi?

Old Gastown holds a lot of character and interesting buildings and places to see.

Whiskey Jack at Gastown


Where Whiskey Jack stands, Vancouver was named


Interesting building


Water Street Cafe was a perfect lunch spot

The quaint and cozy tearoom tucked away down a hidden, winding mews that we had found in the guide book, wasn't. Disappointed but undaunted, we soldiered on to find an even better place on the corner across from the steam clock and enjoyed, not only a fine lunch, but delightful people-watching.

Steam works the whistle on the quarter hour, but the clock runs on electricity.

After a harrowing experience of thinking I had lost my credit card(!!!), we boarded the Big Bus for our next adventursome stop. (I am making so little of this "lost" credit card thing, but it was HUGE for about half an hour when Lynne finally, calmly, assured me it had to be on me somewhere. It was. Tucked into a place I don't ever keep it. Good thing for level heads like Lynne's.)

Our next stop was Canada Place where we spent a good time walking and galking.

It was the second flag I was interested in Canada Place


Neither of us had ever been near the landmark sails and enjoyed our time walking all around the square
Bicycles are ALLOWED here. At the waterfront around the Convention Center. Their track is much wider than that for pedestrians.
The Olympic Caldron -- next to the Convention Center, near Canada Place
Lynne & me being the tourists we are

Back on Big Bus toward our hotel, but first through Stanley Park. Our bus pass includes a change to different sightseeing bus that took us on an hour long tour around the entire park with narrative and brief stops at a few places.

A different perspective of Canada Place sails from Stanley Park


Circle of Totem Poles in Stanley Park

After this full day, the bus dropped us off right at our hotel. We had had fantasies of going for tea and crumpet somewhere nearby our place, but once in our rooms and seated, we each realized that we were tired. We had had a late and filling lunch, so we were not concerned about not having a dinner this evening, and all of a sudden going out of our room for anything seemed impossible. Up and out early tomorrow to pick up a few more sights before catching the train for home, so we will rest up tonight.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

They call the wind Mariah

Saturday, May 3,2014


After the hotel-provided breakfast, we geared up for the ride of the day and walked our bikes down and out to meet up with the trail that connects UI with WSU. Upon setting foot and wheels outside the doorway we realized the folly of this intention! COLD, WINDY, HEAVY DARK CLOUDS. We immediately turned around, returned with our bikes to our room and changed clothes. This would be a driving and exploring day!

I may get to do this trail another time -- each time Susan and I came here while Jenny was attending WSU, I thought we could perhaps ride this trail. It does not look all that interesting actually, but it is a bike trail I have not been on!


Another school, another banner
To add to my banners, but also for Jenny

We walked around WSU campus, found Ferdinand's (the dairy that has scrumptious ice cream) to be closed, but did find the Bookie open. This made a good coffee stop and pick up a few books opportunity. This is the last week of school and is known as "Dead Week", so there was not a lot of activity. We passed a group of sorortity gals having their picture taken and when we asked "Are you graduating?", the all yelled and waved an enthusiastic "YES". Then one nearby at the end quietly said "I hope so".

The sorority gals happy to be graduating, and one hopeful


Here's your cougar Jenny

We came across this heart that is made up of all brass "junk" imbedded into it.

The "Technicolor Heart"

See how we are bundled up a little today -- after practically melting in yesterday's 80+ degrees. Changes happen fast around here.

We had a relaxing afternoon back at the hotel reading, napping or wandering about. Turns out we all agree that a "rest" day was a good idea -- even if imposed. We did need to rest up for a "late" night of entertainment. Keb Mo performed at the Beasly Colesium and we had tickets. Great concert and a wonderful way to end our "vacation".

We head home at around mid-morning today (Sunday) AND LO!!! Vickie has just joined me at the breakfast table at 7:15!!! She and Gerry are never up much before 8:30-9:00 (they sleep while I do my morning rituals of stretching, breakfast and blogging). Must be anxious to get home!

So, unless we do something extremely interesting on the drive home, this will be my final post for this trip. Those of you who have followed along, thanks for joining me. If you are not familiar with the email notices (if you want them), you can sign up to receive and email that will let you know when I am blogging -- see the top right of the opening page and put your email address in there.

See ya next time.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ride Spangle WA

Friday, May 2, 2014

Don't believe everything you read! The book said "...nearly level romp through the fields ...".

This may not look like much of a hill -- until you are on it, and you do several of them.

Granted our book was published in 1998, and we anticipated there may be some changes in the route like more traffic, different roads or differently named roads, but the terrain would not change without some catastrophic happening (like Oso's mudslide). The book also noted "...without challenging the cyclist...". Except for WIND! which we had plenty of, and seemed like a (strong) headwind for more than half the loop ride. The only tailwind we got was within the final five miles. And it was the kind of tailwind that makes you feel oh so strong, and like you could now ride on forever with such little effort!

Oh, and nothing has changed in these towns since at least 1998.

There was very little green so this farm building stood out!
This is more the color we saw most of the day.

So -- riding up hills -- fairly rolling but some very long -- into a headwind and with very limited (as in none) scenery did not make the most interesting ride today. We all are glad we did it, but will not do it again. I guess the glad to do it part is because we bested a challenge and felt accomplished afterward.

"Wuthering Heights" type trees

We started and ended our ride in Spangle and joked of trying to find some new fangled, spangly, dangling bangles. But we did not. The other "town" the route took us through was Plaza. Turns out that is mainly a grainery town.

Grain loading in Plaza

The only thing the wind did in our favor was to keep us from frying in 80 degree heat of the bright sun. Our stop at Spangle Foods refreshed and replenished us with cold drinks -- chocolate milk and cans of Starbucks beverages.

We chatted briefly with a woman here who said she had gone to school in Plaza. So at some point it must have been more than a grainery.


Oh yeah -- this morning. We took our regular morning walk to the latte place, but I took my bike with me for a visit to the bike shop (fortunately right on the way and open at the time we were passing). During loading of the bike onto the bike rack at the end of our ride yesterday, we had somehow messed up my front brake cable and could not figure out how to fix it. They fixed it (at a cost) immediately and I was good to go, thankful that this had not happened at the beginning of a ride somewhere.

One more day and night and we will be heading home. How time flies!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Bike Ride to Coeur d'Alene

Thursday, May 1, 2014 (May Day)

Our normal start of the day is a morning walk to a coffee shop where Vickie can get her latte.

After the latte and then breakfast, we drove to the state line where we had turned around from yesterday's ride. I/we were so thrilled to see state line signs, I took a photo of every one.

Off the trail and on I-90 but a sign!
On the trail at mile 0
Actually leaving Washington

And indeed, the trail continues to be named "Centennial". This part is not as nice a ramble as the miles we did yesterday along the river. The first few miles run right next to I-90 and the remaining miles wind through some neighborhoods -- some low income, back yards in disarray with "junk" strewn about, and some that seem to have been farms or small ranches gone to the development of the area and left to decay.

One farm building in decay

I almost want to say this is a "bikeway" rather than a bike trail as it detours to connect through neighborhood streets. Those streets are lightly trafficked, and have nice wide shoulders for bikes. We believe this to be the most well marked trail we know of. I like getting off the trail for some of the riding as I think it adds to the adventure.

Good clear directional signs at every intesection

I like when towns put some artwork into their manhole covers.

Post Falls is an outskirt of Cd'A

The butterfly bench was interesting, as well the bike hill % sign.

Butterfly bench shows more colors in person


This is really good news when one is heading down hill

The trail today has a few hills that were not part of yesterday's miles. They are not bad hills, and you get to coast down and then up most of them. Also, they are present for only a few short miles as we approach Cd'A.

About a mile before entering Cd'A we entered a busy beach area. The traffic was one way only (except for bikes), and the bike lane was wide so we enjoyed being close to the lake (Lake Coeur d'Alene). This is the part of the trail that Susan and I biked (years ago) with the trike club tour. And lo! I should see we are riding through, or by, yet another college.

Another banner -- I got to go back and collect all of these.

As soon as we entered the lake area we could of course see the huge resort and hotel of downtown Cd'A (sorry, not photo) AND the huge amount of construction going on here. Walking our bikes on the sidewalk allowed us to stop into a few (bike) shops but we made no purchase -- until Vickie found a tee shirt she could not live without at a kayak and outdoor shop. We secured a recommendation for lunch at the tee shirt counter and headed down the street to "Scratch" to dine outdoors at their sidewalk cafe.

Moose (and mouse) sculpture near "Scratch"

The trail does not end here in town, but we did. I think it may go on for another 10-15 miles but we were done, and retraced our route back to the parking lot.

Another delightful day.