Planned ride for today:
60 mile fast group ride.
Reality: Broken road wheel. No go.
Take a family ride at the Somerville Lake trails.
Reality: We ready ourselves, a little cooler of lunch goods, the diaper bag, our bikes. Great! We're off.
5 minutes down the road me: "honey, we don't have the multi-tool..."
Jared: "ooooh, we better go get it."
So we do. Good. Whew.
Per usual on our family rides, we stop to get donuts beforehand. We don't "looove" donuts or anything, we just like kind of trashy, cheap places with interesting people. So places like "Donut Palace" out in Skook Texas makes for a delicious 3 person $2.15 breakfast. I mean, REALLY, where else can you get breakfast for a price like that? Benjamin thanked the donut princess (it was a donut palace... and she didn't look quite old enough to be a Queen... perhaps she was just a palace chef...?) about a dozen times which made her just about pee her pants with happiness and we continued on.
We made it to the lake and as usual at state parks there is an entrance gate of sorts where you have to park and purchase a day pass. Upon getting out of the car, we see a mom, dad and child (8 or so? 9?) on bikes. So I ask them if they knew if we had to pay to get in and where the trails started.
The mom says "yep, you get a pass in that building, the trails start down thattaway."
So we go inside, the family following behind us, a group of boyscouts in front of us. As we wait, the mom says "We have a season pass, you should let us get you in." So we did, and as the cashier drills her on how many of us there are, how many vehicles, the colors, our ancestry, rate of inflation on a cup of coffee if it originally cost $.75 in 2001 and today costs $1.13......... Okay, those last few were a lie, but she asked a lot of questions. Then proceeded to charge the mom $28. We asked her how much we owed her for our portion and she refused. Nice! We ask where we should park and the mom points us to either the visitor lot, or to their campsite which was right at a trailhead. So we go for the campsite.
Their son's bike had gotten a flat on the way back to the campsite, and the LEAST we could do was offer up our bike pump.
So we load up and carry on, but the trail was mostly just sandy, mowed grass. Too much work for Jared who keeps spinning his rear tire out and barely any work for me. So we scratch this riding plan too.
New new plan:
Ride on the road until we find another road to ride on and ride on it until we feel enough time has passed. WHAT CAN GO WRONG!??!
Reality: We cruise along some delightful roads, windy and slight rolling hills. Rolled past ranches, oil rigs, dogs chasing us. A wonderful time.
Me: "hmm, I think my cleat on my shoe has come loose or something...feels weird..."
Jared: "uh oh"
**~90 seconds later...
My lady business is on my top tube, my elbows are cocked backwards as my chin is just about resting on my stem. My toes are dragging along the ground in some attempt to both maintain my balance and stop me. Now I know what kids on those Strider bikes feel like!!!
Jared looks back as this MUST have sounded and looked AWFULLY confusing. //really i was just trying a new, more aero position...//
It would appear that a very important bolt had been wiggling itself loose.
They aren't the Avid BB7s I'm used to on the El Mar but amazingly, they did the trick!
Good thing we went back for that multi-tool...
All better-ish! Good enough to get us back anyway. FIRST things first, some lunch.
Now, usually when we get back from adventure around a park, we let Ben play at a playground, load up and head home. Today however, those nice nice people from the beginning of the story were at their campsite. Their son had received another flat tire so they gave up for the afternoon and in the meantime had unloaded Literally as much food as we probably have in our house. And it was all Great. I mean.... those fancy Terra chips, Kettle chips, a Huge sack of "organic" oranges (whatever organic means these days), sandwich materials, grape tomatoes, jugs of water and iced tea, and on and on and on. That wasn't just it, they also had 2 fans plugged in and going for under their shade tent thinger, an iPod speaker music playing contraption, and a Suburban filled with other mystical, entertaining things. They had this camping business down. And and and they offered every morsel of it up to us in that fashion that was almost awkward seeing how we had Nothing to give in return. Nothing. Would you like a smelly sock that has been roaming around in the back of our car for 4 months? And we sat and chatted with them at their loaded picnic table for the next 4 hours about little tidbits of nothing, museums, camping adventures, raccoons, food, etc..
The hospitality of these folks was ...unheard of. We arrived as complete strangers and left being treated as if we had been their life-long, loyal friends.
We drove home in the late afternoon, after a week from hell, reminded that there is good in the world. That was better than any ride either of us could have possibly planned.