Coming to America - Grampies Go Unhinged - CycleBlaze

August 4, 2017

Coming to America

Over the past few years we had grown increasingly leery about coming to the USA for cycling. At first it was the cumulating effect of gas station food, heavy traffic, lack of bicycle culture, and finally actually getting struck down by some of that traffic. Then came the election of 2016, and we began to edge America onto our "rogue state" - do not cycle there list. But some attractions remained. Of course the most powerful one is grandchildren in Seattle. And then again, we looked at photos coming back from a French friend paradoxically cycling in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and such, and it did look beautiful, at least in his photos.

So it was with some misgivings and trepidation that we headed for the border this time. The border guard, a tall, homespun looking fellow just looked at our passports and said "Ok, fine". He failed to rip apart our laptop or have a dog sniff the tail end of our suspicious German import car. Hmmm.

But half an hour over the border we faced our first hurdle - hunger. We avoided McDonald's and its fast food clan, and went to the sort of sit down IHOP (International House of Pancakes). We remembered some decent fare there in the past, and not just pancakes. But right out of the gate, the menu was showing us lunch choices that were all well over 1000 calories. Yikes, we had not started pedalling yet, so that was about double the needed power. We whined to the waitress about "seniors' menu" and she did come up with a seniors' version of pot roast and of turkey dinner. But both of these featured large piles of food, drowned in gravy, and accompanied by instant potatoes. Both selections were very "tasty", though. Oh,oh, it soon became apparent this owed a lot to favour enhancers - salt, probably MSG, and ?? Maybe we talked ourselved into its but we both felt spacey and ill for the next 3 hours.

I tried to put a good face on it. "Look", I said "This is 100% authentic local food". It only helped me feel a little bit better.

Once we got to Seattle, the question of supper came up. But now we were in an urban bubble. It was easy to go to Kalia's indian restaurant and get something tried and true. The Indian immigrant owner of Kalia's was also so sweet. Not to say that there was anything wrong with the wait staff at IHOP. But the man from Kalia's also knew how to cook.

So this brought our thoughts around to immigration, one of the lynch pins of the 2016 election and a big factor in whether or not or how much we will consider cycling in this country. Again, in Seattle, it is a bubble, but one that we appreciate. In Avi and Violet's neighbourhood there are lots of signs like this:

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But we are heading east, outside the bubble. We will see how it goes. Laurie says don't get into any discussions. You, the reader, are probably thinking - just cool it, it need not be such a big deal. Yes, maybe. And here at Avi and Violet's they have a new, super blood pressure lowering thing - have a look:

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