Well after the snow and hail of the past couple of weekends, Spring is clawing its way into the Northwest. We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon yesterday, and I headed up to the tulip fields with some friends for a bike ride.
Roughly 60 miles north of Seattle, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is celebrating its 25th year in 2008. It runs through the month of April, though the recent cold weather may push the harvesting into May this time around. The various tulip fields are spread out in a roughly 15 mile radius area that is wonderfully flat for an early-season bike ride.
Our friend Gerry used to put together these rides, and Jeanette carried on the tradition by organizing this year's excursion. We all met in the town of La Conner and headed out in a group of about 15 riders. We even had our own Metal-Cowboy-like rig riding with us.
We took our time pedaling the country roads and drinking in the scenery. Last year many of the fields had already been harvested, so the variety of colors this year was a treat. We stopped at one of the more popular growers, Rozengaarde for a half hour of photos. Rozengaarde sounds a little Tolkienish, and it did not disappoint.
Our one mishap was when Jeanette lost the key to her bike lock. Before we could raz her too badly, she reminded us of the wonderful maps she had printed out for all of us. Fortunately one of the people from Rozengaarde came to our rescue with some bolt cutters. Those tulip stems must be pretty tough to cut through.
One more quick stop at the side of the road to get a few tulip field shots. Jennifer took this great shot of our youngest rider.
After our bike ride we met back at the La Conner Brew Pub for a great lunch on the patio. Afterwards we wandered down the street for a little ice cream. We know Gerry would've wanted us to. And to him we offer our toast for starting this traditional bike ride.