Thursday, October 9, 2008

Trick or Treating for Wine, Cycling at Night

Halloween came early this year, we decided. Last weekend we had visitors from SoCal: one of Mrs Elliott's sisters and one of her friends--a friend since childhood. My guess is that they came to make sure that Mrs Elliott was doing all right this far away from home, in this foreign country. 

Of course, what do three women do on a weekend, especially when one is decorating a new house? On a Friday when the downtown merchants keep their shops open late, and when Bend has its Fall Festival and the streets are invaded by peripatetic festival gypsies who set up booths to sell trinkets?

Shop, of course.

And shop and shop and shop.

After about the third free cup of wine, they decided that they were trick or treating for wine. 

And after following them as they slowly poked through their third shop, exclaiming over every little item they found, after watching them group and re-group to discuss whether some candleholder or hassock or bit of fabric would look good in the house, I decided that I had wearied of the hunt. 

Taking pity on my male inability to work up any enthusiasm over the fiftieth wall sconce or some bejeweled shower curtain, they left me at that nice wine shop a couple doors down from Thump Coffee. What's the name of that place? Google isn't helping. Nor is my memory. [Update October 25, 2008: The shop, of course, is The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar. I have no idea how or why I was unable to find it Googling, but last night we stopped in for a glass of wine and Melanie Betti found it with a Google search in about 10 seconds. Anyway, I like the place and they do have an awesome selection of wines by the glass as well as 2 oz tastes.]

Anyway, I recall a nice dry Riesling, and an interesting Muscadet. There might have also been a Pinot Noir, but the memory is a bit vague about that detail. The shop had quite a fair selection of wines by the glass, both local and imported. The woman who was serving me (named Tammy, as I recall) said she normally doesn't work in the shop but the owner was out of town. 

Somehow I managed to end up at the Deschutes Brewery pub where the ladies found me. As it was getting colder and the booths were shutting down we decided to call it an evening.
Though they had driven into town in Mrs Elliott's little station wagon, I'd ridden my town bike and wanted to ride it back home after dark to try out its new nighttime rig lighting rig: a red strobe mounted on the seatpost and a Lowe's 3-watt LED flashlight clamped to the handlebars.

Nightime riding is a new adventure for me. One doesn't ride bicycles after dark in SoCal: drivers are never prepared for cyclists even during the nicest afternoons, and seeing one at night might cause a driver to accelerate directly toward the oddity. But Bend is far more cycle-tolerant, and cyclists are actually more visible at night than during daytime hours, as long as they are well-lit and reflectored. 

I figured that the two lights, plus pedal reflectors, a reflective vest, and reflective ankle bands would make me nice and visible to drivers, so I reckoned it was time for a trial run.

The rig worked great: the flashlight provided plenty of light for navigation when I was riding through Drake Park and across the footbridge, and because the cars coming from behind gave me a wide berth it's clear that they noticed the strobe and reflective bits.

Either that or it might have been my erratic weaving while singing Ninty-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall. 

Whatever the reason, I found the experience to be refreshing and fun and satisfactorily safe-feeling. 

So on Monday night my son and I rode to the Old Stone Church for a meeting, and last night I rode home from downtown after buying produce and cheeses (and a scone which is tempting me even as I write this) at this year's last Drake Park Farmer's Market, which was followed by an excellent meal at Staccato at the Firehall

Oh -- I almost forgot to mention: another of Mrs Elliott's sisters  along with her husband blew into town yesterday and they had dinner with us.  They're spending the weekend here and have rented a sweet little cottage on Riverfront Street, right on the river. 

My Magic 8-Ball is telling me that there is more shopping in my immediate future. 


  1. Hey! Brendan's wife here! sommer.. I laughed out loud with the thought of you merrily singing and riding your bike all warm and fuzzy from drinks. But be weary... we have had numerous friends pulled over here for drunk riding. Yes.. Drunk riding. Since so many of us live close to bars and the such those pesky police people like to pull you over on bikes. Stupid I know. Just thought I should let you know!

  2. @ Sommer: Hey -- thanks for the head's up on the risk of being pulled over and getting an "RUI."


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