Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Safari

I may be an unemployed slacker girl, but even folks like me get breaks and we get to go somewhere exotic and exciting. My exotic destination may have just been down the street, but I was transported to the African Savannah, Asia, a tropical rainforest and even transformed the day into night.

The plan was to get to the Woodland Park Zoo right when it opened, at 9:30, so as to avoid the crowds of screaming children and righteous stroller-pushers (oh, come on, you know exactly what I'm talking about). We were in line with only about 7 children and, spread out over the entire zoo, that wouldn't be much.

As is the case with many zoos from my past, a lot of animals were snoozing. Granted, on this sunny February day, it was prime nap-in-the-sun time, but some animals looked to be nearly unconscious from boredom. We moved on.
In the African Savannah, we had a close encounter with a giraffe who was curious about us and who made eye contact with me. "Hey, buddy, I know how you feel, standing head and shoulders above everyone." We saw jaguars who were new to their exhibit and we listened to the narrative of two zoo keepers as to how the big cats were handling their new home and each other (1 male, 1 female with territorial struggles). We watched as otters joyfully dove and swam, sometimes deftly swimming on their backs underwater. They always know how to have a good time- just hit the water. We read that the eagles were brought to the zoo because they had been injured so we didn't feel too much sympathy for them being in an aviary since the alternative was probably death (survival of the fittest).

Honestly, the kid situation wasn't so bad. The birds in the birdhouse screamed louder than they did and I felt myself feel like a kid again when we were approaching the elephants, feeling the earth thunder with their movement and hearing their trumpeting cry. Suddenly, I had a craving for cotton candy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sweating never felt so good...

It wasn't just that it was a warm day in February, a day when the mercury would rise to 55 degrees, at least. This was the day that I was able to go for my first honest-to-goodness, bonafide, hills and dales RIDE. No more recovery ride on the Burke-Gilman trail, no city cruising on my Surly with a pannier on the rack. This was a real ride, on the Litespeed, the kind of ride with long stretches of no stops, with heart-pumping hills and twisting descents. A ride with a group of twelve COGS, using the corner system for the turns (which was mostly successful).

A coffee stop but no pie at a new (for me) cafe that Larry, our sweep, introduced us to. Thanks Larry! Views of the Olympics on this bright and sunny day and twelve bicycles with happy riders getting their caffeine fix at Walnut Street Coffee.

The return from Edmonds was cobbled together from poring over bike maps, Google terrain maps and street views and from a long-ago route of the RSVP event. First we went south, then east, then south, east some more, north, etching and sketching our way to Perkins Way, easily the best cycling road in the area, and back to Logboom.
And I sweated on the bike for the first time in a long time and damn, it felt good.

We did the following route, with a little 5-mile loop added in. Most people, following their leader blindly, weren't aware of it.