Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh Danny Boy

Ah, Tropical Storm Danny. You were supposed to swing by tomorrow. We'd already planned our day of huddling indoors and hoping we won't get washed away. This was an unforeseen downside to having a rental literally right on the water.

On our way to said rental, we planned to rent bikes and ride the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I was very excited about this. The CC Rail Trail was smoothly paved and car-free. I love to bike, but hate having to negotiate trafficked roads. I find it stressful which erodes those feelings of rhythm and wind and freedom on a bike.

The bike rental went smoothly. We attached the girls' Burley from home, and off we went. The first part of the ride was perfection. The trail was almost completely flat. There were lots of fellow cyclists and some walkers, but the trail was in no way crowded. The weather was a wonderful mid-seventies with an ocean breeze.

We arrived at our first stop, the Cape Cod National Seashore's Salt Pond Visitor Center. It's a short detour away from the trail, but the roads were very well marked. The two-mile ride to the beach from the visitor's center was a bit trickier with tight curves and elevation changes. But to someone used to the Austin hills, it was fine. We arrived at the beach. Bikes filled racks. A parking lot of bikes! I don't think I've seen so many bikes in one place since my triathlon.

As we locked up our bikes and headed down the path to the beach, I noticed something odd. Folks were heading in droves in the opposite direction. Families. Surfers. Away from the beach. Was there a notice? An evacuation? We had barely sunk our toes into the sand when the first drops fell. Then more drops. Tropical Storm Danny may not be here yet, but his approach seemed to be felt early.

Well hell.

Quick rustling up of the little ones. Loading back up. Back down the two miles to the visitor center. The center was the perfect place for a rest stop and snack, looking out to its lovely view. This, by the way, is a kettle, a pond created by a glacier 18,000 years ago. It's physically connected to the sea so it's saltwater.

I had hoped to continue on the trail as far as the Marconi Station, site of the first transatlantic wireless station on the US mainland. But as the rain continued to spit down, sometimes in light drizzles and other times in frank showers, we changed course and headed back to the rental place. It was a good decision. Mid-seventies on a bicycle feels lovely. Mid-seventies on a bicycle in the rain feels cold!

This may be the last year we're able to do this as a family for a few years. The girls are already cramped in their double Burley. We have a trail-a-bike for Claire, but I think it's asking too much for her to ride it for 10+ miles. I'm so glad we got to do it this year.

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