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Bicycles, In An Adventure With Pirates! - Elf M. Sternberg
Bicycles, In An Adventure With Pirates!

Flee, Eagle, Flee!
Omaha, Kouryou-chan and I have a weekly bicycle ride on our calendars. Storm can't ride a bike and no amount of cajoling will convince her to try and learn. We decided today to ride from the West Seattle Overpass to Alki Lighthouse Point, a trip of about eight miles total, there and back. At the halfway point there are shops and there is ice cream.

Our timing couldn't have been better. The weather hit a high of 79F (26C), there wasn't a cloud in the sky. But as we headed down toward the overpass we started to notice an excess of automobiles headed in the same direction. Today was the first "beach weather" day we've had here in Seattle, so that was partially understandable. Police guiding traffic, however, was not.

The lot was empty, but it's always empty on the weekends: it's a commuter lot for weekday businessfolk coming in from the West Seattle peninsula who catch buses into downtown. I unloaded the bikes, we slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and headed out. We rode in along the industrial side of Puget Sound, then rounded the jut that sticks out into the sound and points toward the Space Needle.

That's when we heard the first explosion. "Oh crap," I told Omaha. "It's going to be packed when we get there! This is Seafair Pirate Landing Day."

You see, SeaFair is an attempt to remind the citizens of this biotech and software development mecca that, no really, we were a port of call once upon a time. We have Pacific Fleet boats come in, do hydropower boat races, marathons, and a variety of things to celebrate the approxmately ten weeks of sun we get before the Great Grey Lid closes down and we go back into our forty weeks of doom, gloom, and darkness. One of our mainstays is the SeaFair Pirates, a year-round organization of men and women dressed in outrageous piratical gear which raises money for various charities. Usually it's a toys-for-tots kind of thing, but their focus this summer appears to be a charity to help kids who need feeding tubes.

There are several SeaFair "kickoff" events, but on is The Pirate Landing, which is mostly an excuse to remind people that Seattle has beaches. The Pirates light off loud cannon, wade up onto the beach and... that's about it. People get together, barbecue, drink beer, and watch this silly parade without a trace of irony.

We decided to head on. As we came around the tip of Alki Point, we spotted a bald eagle being harassed by seagulls. Apparently he'd flown in to take something, and the locals had objected. My camera is getting balky in its old age, and I had only one chance to snap this picture as he flew all the way across the Sound without stopping, from Alki to Queen Anne, in one go.

We rode into Alki proper, and sure enough the place was packed. A local band was playing, local restaurants had set up catering stations where you could buy Thai, Hawaiian, Chinese, along with the usual fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, and grinders. We rode past the festival, reached the lighthouse, then rode back and went in.

Our timing was perfect: we arrived just in time to watch the Landing, which was silly beyond words. The dredger boat they use came up, they lit off more loud explosives (I wish I'd gotten a pic of the two dozen or so pirates with their hands over their ears, waiting for the ka-boom), they waded onto shore and the general announcement to drink beer and donate generously was given over the loudspeakers to much cheering.

We went and had lunch at some of the stands. Afterward, we escaped and had ice cream at the little shop across the way, then rode home, which was fairly unremarkable. An easy ride over faintly rolling territory.

I got some sun, but not much. Omaha and Kouryou-chan both had a great time. Poor Storm; she missed the pirates, the festival food, and the great weather.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
resonant From: resonant Date: July 8th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
It got as hot as 26 C in Nova Scotia, and a cyclist died ... be careful!

dougs From: dougs Date: July 8th, 2012 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
> Storm can't ride a bike and no amount of cajoling will convince her to try and learn.

I have some sympathy -- I can't ride a bike, there were many attempts to get me to do so in my early/mid teens, and all failed. When I was in my mid-thirties, a doctor (an anaesthetist, as it happens) was trying to teach me to juggle, and we discovered that I have a significant defect in hand-eye coordination in the left half of my visual field. We suspect that this was the culprit, rather than any intransigence on my part. I'm significantly more right-handed (or, more accurately, significantly less left-handed, less ambidextrous) than the mean amongst right-handers.

Edited at 2012-07-08 08:45 am (UTC)
2 comments or Leave a comment