It is a tradition of mine to avoid the malls on the day after Thanksgiving. This year Jimmy Livengood and I ride mostly on trails and gravel roads to Calligan Lake.
The day is clear in Issaquah, but misty in the mountains, so Jimmy has to take my word that the Weyerhauser clear-cuts open great vistas that allow the eye to roam all the way to Seattle. We climb slowly and lunch beside the quiet shores of Lake Calligan. Aside from a couple of hunters scouting in the four wheel drives and wondering why they're not seeing any game (hint: elk have ears and trucks are loud), we are the only humans here.
This trip gives me my first chance to really study Jimmy's Traitor Cycle, a fine and noble beast. Fat tires (which perhaps could be a bit fatter given the roughness of the roads), fenders and a nifty gushing oil well paint job make for a fine looking bike. Jimmy's cargo solution, a broken, re-purposed rear rack grafted to the front with a "bag, radio, cotton duck" from the army surplus store gives the bike classic porteur look and function without the hand-crafted price tag.
A swift and steep descent, past white, foaming streams that pick smoother lines than we do makes us appreciate the virtues of disk brakes and warm gloves. Jimmy pinch flats his front tire on the trail and a second slow leak in his rear tire gives me an excuse for a coffee stop in Snoqualmie. Here in this small town, at the foot of the mountains, people are strapping trees to the roofs of their SUVs. It's impossible to keep songs out of your head, "it's comin' on Christmas, they're cuttin' down trees..." We don't skate away on the rivers here, it's too warm and the water is too swift to freeze. We follow the road that follows the river down to Fall City.
It's dark enough that we turn on the lights for the climb up and over the plateau. The evening skies are clear in Issaquah and at home Christine confirms that it's been lovely here all day. It is lovely in the mountains too, in a greener, grayer way.
It's the time to give thanks, for family and friends. For warmth on cold days, for coffee shops, green trails and the time to ride.
Keep 'em rolling,