We’ve just heard some great news from our friends the Apple family who live in Anacortes! They’ve been tuning up their touring bikes and are almost ready to roll on a family biking adventure.
We met Jude Apple by the side of the road on a rainy Saturday as we were riding towards Anacortes. He was driving by in his friend’s pick up truck with a giant load of mulch in the back and stopped to see if there was anything we needed as we were looking at a map and trying to figure out how to get to Deception Pass State Park. Jude said he and his wife rode across the States for their honeymoon and then he said he was amazed when he watched us cross the bridge because Jasper was standing up on the back of the tandem putting his whole heart into it.
After a few moments chatting, Jude said if we would rather come to his house and meet his family instead of riding on to the park, we were very welcome. We all said yes right away.
The day had been very up and down. The campground didn’t have showers so we had to do our best with spot washing using our macaroni salad buckets the night before. We packed up in the rain that morning which was also a drag. But then we found a super clean, cozy laundromat in Sedro Wooley where we washed all our clothes and were entertained by a group of teenagers running a garage sale across the street and enthusiastically accosting passers by to go shopping. As a bonus, Derek and I both got our hair cut while our clothes dried and had fun chatting with our new friend Teri, the stylist. But as we were riding along, the tandem had at least three flats, including one in front of a lawn that had warning signs about waking sleeping Dobermans. (Did I mention I’m afraid of strange barky dogs?)
All that to say even though the ride towards Anacortes was along a path through a beautiful salt marsh, we were scrappy and finding it hard to enjoy the scenery. So Jude’s offer came at just the right moment.
As we rode towards his house, excited to meet his family, suddenly we were in great spirits and everything was beautiful again. It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it. You can be riding the same ride, but if you have a positive attitude everything feels like a downhill with the wind at your back!
Once we arrived it didn’t take long for our two families to get to know each other. Jasper found a cozy spot on the sofa to read. Anna Sierra was in heaven with two fun four year olds – Gianna and Isaiah – to play with. Derek had fun joining in with the mulch project with Jude, Carrie and their 14 year old son Gabriel, a super friendly guy and an amazing mountain biker.
And after Carrie was finished with the mulch and Derek and Jude had gone off to the bike shop for a new tire and some new rim tape, she and I settled into making a big supper for everyone and chatting with Gabriel, who spent part of the evening wearing his little sister Gianna in an Ergo backpack after she took a nasty tumble on her bike and needed some extended cuddles. Even though he doesn’t remember it, Jasper spent a lot of his first three years in the exact same carrier, so it was quite tender and nostalgic to see Gabriel and Gianna use it. As we chopped veggies, we heard a lot about 12 year old Micah, who was away on a trip with her Grandma – who has a tradition of taking each grandchild on a special trip to a destination of their choice in their 12 year! We all thought Anna and Micah would have had a lot of fun together, but I have a feeling they’ll get a chance to get to know each other another time.
It was an absolutely delightful evening. We felt so blessed with all these new friendships. The Apple’s friend Sylvia came over and we had an amazing dinner full of stories of bike adventures, marine biology, Chuck Norris jokes and riddles. There’s no better way to bond!
As I was putting Anna and Jasper to sleep later that evening, I could hear Derek and Gabriel playing guitar together. Such sweet music.
Jude and his family had lots going on that weekend and all kinds of chores on their whiteboard, including drywall the kitchen island, as they are in the middle of renovating their home. But even though they were busy they made space for us as we rode into their lives and we all had such a great time together, connecting. I hope when our family returns home and gets back into our routine we remember to always make room for sweet new friendships and spontaneous special times, just like the Apple family. It’s a beautiful way to live!
The next morning (after eating eggs from the backyard hens!) our dear new friends saw us off with big hugs and warm wishes and we rode to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.
Sending our best,