Inspired by the Flagstaff Farmer's Market, last Sunday the Planner Guy and I went down the very, very steep switchback to Oak Creek Canyon and picked blackberries. Enduring slippery rocks, thorns, and the possibility of rattlesnakes we collected a large kitchen bowl full of juicy, very black, blackberries.
As any berry picker knows quitting the harvest is hard when you find a fertile area, heavy with berries. Try as we might to turn around and head to the car (yes, we drove and if you knew how steep a pedal back it would have been on the way home you would agree that we made the right choice, plus we were in our Honda, so there!) but the lure of more blackberries kept pushing us forward. Plus, when you are eating the pickings you have to re-stock.
It is true that we would have liked to bike to the blackberries but for normal bike riders, on commuter bikes, not lightweight racing bikes, it simply was not possible. Does that make us bad people? I don't think so, merely disappointed that I don't have great pictures of us parking our bikes along Oak Creek and packing out with our panniers stuffed with berries. Ah, yes, those would have been charming pictures - had pictures even been possible, as I got blackberry juice all over the camera, so succulent were they. Considerable cleaning was required back at the homestead.
We ended our outing with tasty cucumber and cream cheesesandwiches from the back of the . . . car. I agree that it would have been more romantic to have been able to pull the cucumber sandwiches out of a rear wicker basket attached to the ruby red Breezer but you must believe me that it simply wasn't possible.
So while we did not bike to Oak Creek Canyon, we did pick enough blackberries to make four pies. Planner Guy, aka Chef Bob, baked his beloved (me) blackberry pie. With homemade crust. And it was fabulous! I am quite sure the flour traveled from the grocers by way of the Schwinn Jet Star, making the pie both tasty AND mostly sustainable. We have about three more pies to go, or 2 pies and 4 - 6 turnover, I'm not sure. Unfortunately, we ate the pie before we were able to clean the camera and to take a picture. If you can find a blackberry pie on the William Sonoma website, I am sure you'll get an idea of how delicious it was. Topped with homemade whipped cream, BTW.
So, in summation, we aren't on our bikes all the time. Sometimes, when we have a need for which the bikes are not practical, we give ourselves permission to be imperfect and just take the low-emission vehicle (which we someday hope to sell because public transit has some to Ponderosa Trails). But isn't it okay just to try and do the best you can? Yes, I believe I am sort-of a bike advocate but I don't want to be a extremist about it - how much credibility do any of us have when we just go beyond common sense? Flagstaff is an Olympic training ground, and I can promise you that I have never seen any gold medal hopefuls tackle Hwy 89 to and from Oak Creek Canyon. I'm pleased knowing that the school teacher next door just got a bike and is going to wear her Nutcase helmet on "crazy hat day" at her school.
More Flagstaff Mountain cycle-chic next week, I swear.