There's something really lovely about being ridiculously backlogged in a blog that is about active living. "Get outside!" I say. "Go ride your bike!" And then I do, and then I eat, nurse, and sleep. And then the blog gets neglected. No apologies, but as I sit here and tickle Jasper and stretch my aching hamstrings, I'll try to tell you a story.
About a month ago, before Tacoma, we took advantage of some beautiful weather to have an adventure. We could have just gone exploring, but we like trips with destinations (and needed an excuse to get it together) so we set our sights on that great Scandinavian edifice to the north, Ikea.
We actually started the morning with a smaller trip: out for brunch at Zell's, by F. H. Steinbart for some brewing equipment and some hop rhizomes, and then by the Urban Farm Store to pick up some seeds for the garden and contemplate tomato staking methods. Before we headed home from there, we had to change the baby:
Next, I did some planting and some weeding, and then, later than we should have, we restocked the diaper bag, grabbed the cargo straps, and rolled out for Ikea.
Now, it is possible to get nearly all the way from our place to Ikea via off-street trails, but it adds a significant amount of milage to the trip-- increasing from 10 to 17 miles each way, or from a 20-mile to a 34-mile roundtrip. So we opted to ride the first half of our adventure on bike boulevard, a trip that took us farther east than we'd ever biked in town before.
I was surprised by how rapidly the infrastructure deteriorates as you head east: roads badly in need of maintenance, poorly-designed crossings, and above all, an increase in scary large vehicles driven by people who either don't know or don't care about our right to the road. But that said, it's still Portland, and we didn't have any particularly ugly run-ins on the trip. And I was reminded of how much I love being in the parts of the city where you can see Mt. Hood:
We made it safely to the highway 205 bike path and headed north. We'd not yet been on that path, and were surprised to learn that while it looks pretty smooth on the maps, it in fact zigs and zags a bit, and is less well-labeled than one might hope for... and eventually, we missed our turn entirely and could see, but not seem to reach, the big blue-and-yellow box that was our destination.
We also found the Columbia River and a nice view of Mt. St. Helens, and so took some pictures before stopping to regroup, nurse, and get our bearings:
It was at this point that the previously-sleeping Jasper awoke and announced his need for immediate attention, and I snatched him up rather abruptly and took off down an embankment to nurse with some shelter from the highway noise. Dave creatively solved the problem of joining us without abandoning either bike on the trail:
After everyone had a snack and Jasper had his second outdoor diaper change of the day, we re-re-checked the map and figured out how to get from the river to Ikea, along a road that cut along the back edge of the airport.
We were the only bike there, but there was no shortage of bike parking should anyone, or a hundred anyones, suddenly decide to join us.
Creative bench placement:
Shopping carts impersonating bikes:
And with that, we locked up the bike and engaged in a bit of mainstream consumerism.
I try to be very specific about the stuff that we bring into the house. I'm uncomfortable with the assumed disposable-ness of things, and I try to buy only what we need, and of a quality that will last. I spend a lot of time on craigslist and in second-hand stores trying to buy the things we want used so that new materials don't need to go into them.
Sometimes, even a quasi-minimalist lifestyle needs stuff; with a baby in the house doubly so. What did we pick up on our Ikea quest? Mirror tiles, art, and a rug for Jasper's play spaces. Some child-proofing gear for the toddling phase to come. And some new canisters for the kitchen. So: lots of glass, and some hefty cotton. You know: dense, heavy things.
The bike was notably harder to move when we loaded and started back. And a stiff headwind had blown up.
Jasper was fussy as we started home. A change and nurse didn't fix it.
Singing loudly and continuously helped a bit, but was hard to sustain with the exertion.
I was really, really tired, and after a few miles Dave and I switched bikes so that he could haul for a bit and I could rest. (Note to self: I am not a single speed sort of girl.)
Jasper continued to fuss and cry as his bedtime came and went, and the gathering darkness was also raising our stress level.
And then I crashed. But that's a whole other story, really.