Saturday, November 21, 2015

Now we can bike any day in November

Some days are just perfect and this was just such a day. I could almost be converted to getting up early on weekends if days like this are the result. Oh, the fact that it was gobsmackingly beautiful weather probably contributed a great deal. Maybe having an actual plan for the day contributed as well.

 We were up before 8:00 a.m. (which counts as shockingly early, yes) so I could dig up the geraniums and get them--and the lawn furniture--shifted into the garage for the winter. Some of the geraniums live in pots; one of those pots is more than two feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. That one requires some clever Scott engineering(tm) to shift from the patio in the back, across a stretch of lawn on the side and then some sidewalk in the front, and down the driveway into the garage. I always feel like we've worked a mracle when that particular item is shifted successfully. Scott swapped out the screens for storm windows too so we're truly prepared for winter now. Take that most efficient neighbors!

 But all the domesticity was done before 10:00 and a few hours later we--and our bikes--were on a bus heading for Ballard and the bakery case at Besalu. Oh, Besalu! How I miss you!

 After stocking up on ginger biscuits and croissants, we set out on the Burke Gilman for the UDistrict and the Fill. It was ever-so-exciting to encounter Madi Carlson leading a bike tour en route, though not so exciting as practically crashing over my handlebars several hours later at nearly the same spot.

Trusty steeds parked by the CUH
The Fill was fabu! The coots are back in the thousands and while there weren't thousands of cormorants, there were at least fifty, which I call a pretty good cormorant count. The water, the trees, and the light were all gorgeous and while there weren't a ton of species to be seen, what there was was cherce. The birds who like to winter over water in the area seem to be making their return: I'd practically forgotten that things like buffleheads, wigeons, and hooded mergansers existed so they were a lovely combination of new things and old friends all together.
Speaking of old friends, we met up with Alex who was out with Truman which was also quite fine. It's handy having a bird expert with you when you're trying to work out what an odd duck might be. (It turned out to be a male merganser with his hood down.) Truman is a handsome and well-behaved dog too, though when he's had enough, he's had enough. It could be that he didn't care for being used at bait to attract the red-tailed hawk.
Red-tailed hawk showing off the red tail
After bidding adieu to Alex we decided we weren't really all that cold so we took a stroll through Yesler Swamp where, again, the light was gorgous. We saw a ruby-crowned kinglet, more song sparrows, another kingfisher or two, as well as another great blue heron, plus a bald eagle which you would think would be plenty. But then, as we were leaving, I noticed something darting under a bush; after a moment the sweetest little bunny came back out to pose for some fading light photos. We warned it to watch out for raptors and then returned to our bikes.

The light was definitely fading, but we decided that riding back to Ballard for dinner at Oaxaca would be a good plan. Oh. Scott's front light turned out to be very weak and there was that "almost-over-the-handlebars" screeching to a halt business when I was trying to ride too far to the right on the Burke Gilman because some east-bound riders insisted upon riding two-abreast and there turned out to be a a pallet jutting out into the path but Bessie's brakes were up to the task and, odds are, the weight in the basket helped keep her from flipping. We stopped off at Gas Works and declared that it was some beautiful, this Seattle of ours.

Oaxaca was fabulous as usual and our Metro karma held as a D came along pretty quickly and contained no crazies. While the mileage doesn't get counted in my bike-in-the-rain stats, we're calling it just about 15 miles of biking and, as I said at the start, a simply marvelous sort of day.

Female red-winged blackbird in the blown cattails


  1. Fabulous weather indeed, and a fun Fill outing. Glad we got to meet up, and glad you got a bonus bunny. Probably a very good thing that Truman didn't go to the Swamp -- he's seen bunnies at the Fill before and shown a considerable interest in them. But as you witnessed, when we reached the parking lot, he was GOING HOME DAGNABBIT, regardless of rabbits!

  2. What I want to know is how long it took Truman to escape from his fan club by the CUH . . . "It's a dog, and he's in a stroller!!!" Thanks for making the rounds with us.

    1. They had a frisky dog who kept trying to butt in, so Tru got away after being fondled for just the few minutes it took to make the IT'S A DOG IN A STROLLER girl very happy. Goodness, maybe I *do* need to write a "Travels with Truman" blog!

  3. Or maybe you need to unexpectedly show up at places and events with Truman-- FLASH TRUMAN!