Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Rivers and a Frozen Crow

I finally managed to ride a permanent this weekend. I joined Robert, Chris, John, Jeff and Alan for the "Three Rivers Cruise" out of Arlington yesterday. The Three Rivers Cruise is one of the most popular SIR permanents and it's easy to see why. The scenery is beautiful, the roads are mostly smooth with light traffic and the ride has very little climbing. It's almost too perfect for Randonneuring. Seems like it needs a rough section of road construction or maybe a steep mountain pass or two to make it feel more official. In spite of the lack of suffering and hardship, we had a great ride that even featured a sitdown meal in Concrete.

Starting the day by scraping frost off the windshield had me a little concerned about the weather. And then about a mile into the ride I nearly ran over a dead crow on the side of the road covered with frost. It was kind of beautiful in a creepy sort of way, with the white frost on the jet black feathers. But, even though it was pretty cold throughout the day, I mostly managed to keep all my bits warm enough.

Here's Chris and the rest as we're just getting started, a few miles out of Arlington. Chris selflessly got the lone flat tire of the ride shortly after I took this picture.

Hay, Robert! (get it? heh, heh.)

Heading east on hwy 530 about to cross one of the three rivers (don't ask me which one). The snow was low in the hills around us. For a while we even saw some snow along the side of the road between Darrington and Rockport. The temperatures were in the low 30s for the first three or four hours.

Robert, Chris and a nice shot of my ear as we were approaching Darrington.

The sun peaked out a few times throughout the day, though it never offered much warmth, nor did it stick around for long.

Somewhere along Hwy 530 I stopped to deal with some "mechanical issues" behind a tree. Here I am trying to catch the group again as they try to hide from me in the fog.

The road between Darrington and Rockport was a classic biking road. Smooth pavement, no cars, moss covered trees. It could only have been better if there had been shot blocks growing on the bushes.

Here's the group riding on Hwy 530 trying to pretend like they don't know me as I almost become the hood ornament on a minivan coming the other way.


Hwy 20 is closed for the season so Marblemount is literally a dead end town until the road opens again next spring. Still, they have a bike rack in front of the Shell station!

Snow in the hills.

We stopped at the Red Cedar Cafe in Concrete for a good hot sitdown lunch. Picking a place to eat wasn't difficult since some guys milling around in the streets told us that the Red Cedar was the only place in town that was open. One of the nice things about long bike rides is that it's impossible to find bad food along the way. Whatever you find is fabulous. Halfway through this meal, we started talking about what we were going to have for dinner.

I have a hunch that if this place had been open they would have told us that we weren't the kind of biker they were talking about. Not twenty feet from this sign, there was another sign on the street that said bicycles, skateboards and rollerskates were prohibited.

Here we are with full stomachs, moving a little slower now along South Skagit Highway.

Not sure what to make of this...

("I'm a lowlife. My name is asshole" is painted on the side)

Unfortunately the last little stretch is a busy section of Hwy 9 that's not terribly pleasant, but it's hard to complain since the other 90% of the ride is near perfect. We made our way back to Arlington at about 5:00pm, more or less in one piece and already talking about the next ride. Thanks for letting me ride with you guys!