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  1. #1
    Old School
    Reputation: Joe Steel's Avatar
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    Family Tortured -- Summer '05 (tongue in cheek) [O] w/pics

    Monterey, CA (AP)
    A seemingly benign family outing turned horrid this past summer. The small family of four began their Sunday jaunt from the small seaside village of Marina, California. Clear skies and a mild breeze accompanied the foursome as they happily departed on their old school relics -- a pair of 1970's era Schwinn Twinn Delux 5-speed tandem cruisers. The foursome journeyed south along a smooth paved bike path, oblivious as to what the day ahead would bring. (Everyone oblivious – with the exception of the evil father who apparently hatched this wicked plan to lure the unwitting subjects into a torturous adventure that no one would soon forget.)



    Over the rolling dunes and past the hamlets of Sand City and Seaside they cruised. After one hour and forty-five minutes and nearly ten miles of pedaling, the foursome wheeled into the Monterey Bay Fisherman's Wharf. The victim’s worried blank stares and diminishing smiles were rejuvenated by the sights, sounds, and smells that the wharf had to offer. Bowls of clam chowder, barking harbor seals, playful otters, and saltwater taffy seemed to momentarily distract the naive little group.



    Temporarily sedated, the small group continued to meander south through the throngs of tourists along Cannery Row. The family pedaled on, past historic sights made famous through the pen of Steinbeck. Past the Monterey Bay Aquarium, past the house of Bubba
    Gump Shrimp, past the Green Gables they rolled.



    Concern once again began to take hold. A realization that every pedal stroke south meant an additional pedal stroke north. The fear that a seemly endless, slow, and torturous death by bicycle may soon be their fate began to overwhelm them. Panic struck the group as they lie recovering on the beach of the ominously named "Lovers Point."

    "How far have we gone?", "How will we make it back?", "Will we live through this?" , "Is there any ice cream?" -- These and many other thoughts raced through their little heads as they frolicked in the icy waves of the protected sanctuary.

    The sun continued its westward arc and the afternoon breeze began to pick up. The realization that this torture must continue if the group is to survive became evident. The fear of nightfall setting on the dunes and a blind crawl back to Marina motivated the young group. They longed for the safety of the family vehicle where warm blankets and soft pillows beckoned.



    With renewed vigor and a will to survive, the subjects rallied northward. A strong sense of pride and a dose of what we call, "back to the barn syndrome" stoked their fires. Miles rolled by much faster than before. Favorable winds guided the group as they hurdled dune after dune.



    With fuel stores depleted, they managed a weary shout of joy as the last rise was conquered and squealing brakes brought the wheels to a stop. Nearly 24 miles had rolled under their tired souls since they were here last -- many, many hours ago. Helmets discarded, the sufferers wandered in separate circles -- much like the champion marathon runner gasping for air, hands on hips, head down, searching for the answer to the question, "Why did we do this?"



    After clothing exchanges and the tending of saddle sores, the stage was set for the final act. The grill was primed and hot dogs were grilled. Root beer flowed and chips were consumed as the victims managed a few more weary smiles before bowing their heads and slipping off to "La La Land." Wearing an evil grin amidst a symphony of snoring cherubs, the disturbed father figure guided the family vehicle back to the homestead -- one more evil plan carried through to completion.
    Last edited by Joe Steel; 01-04-2006 at 01:32 PM.

  2. #2
    life is a barrel o'fun
    Reputation: Christine's Avatar
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    And what fun is a family if you can't torture the kids now and then?

    Lovely story (and photos!)

    P.S. Did you rent a tandem? The last time my father rode a bike, it was about 20 years ago and it was a family outing with tandems.
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  3. #3
    Old School
    Reputation: Joe Steel's Avatar
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    Thanks....

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine
    Did you rent a tandem? .
    Thanks Christine -- glad you enjoyed the story.
    Regarding the tandems -- much to my families dismay, I own two of the old Schwinn 5 speed tandems (secretly they really love them). At Christmas time, I wrapped battery powered Christmas lights on them and then we don Santa hats and ride around the neighborhood looking at lights. It always turns into a race at the end...

  4. #4
    life is a barrel o'fun
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    For some reason lately I'm fascinated by tandems, I guess it's the only way I can picture getting any of my non-biking friends/family to ride with me (maybe)
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  5. #5
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    Reputation: KRob's Avatar
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    Great story. Almost all of my family is on to my evil schemes now and refuse to go with me anymore. Your ride reminds me of a beach jaunt I talked my wife into several years ago now. We rented a tandem cruiser in Manhattan Beach and rode up the coast on the bike path towards Santa Monica. I had to do most of the pedalling on the return trip but I think we put in around 20 miles round trip.

    Great times. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to remember that bike path when we get out to monterey sometime. Maybe she'll go again if I promise to pedal her home. What's it called and where's the best place to pick it up?

  6. #6
    Old School
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    .... I had to do most of the pedalling on the return trip but I think we put in around 20 miles round trip.
    Great times. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to remember that bike path when we get out to monterey sometime. Maybe she'll go again if I promise to pedal her home. What's it called and where's the best place to pick it up?
    Me and Mrs Steel know all about "doing most of the pedaling..."

    We started off of hwy 1 in the town of Marina.
    Take the Reservation Rd exit and head west about 400 yards. Park at the free beach parking lot at the end of Reservation Rd. (Sorry, don't know the name of the beach).

    When the bikes are unloaded and you're ready to roll, head east -- back under the freeway on Reservation Rd. -- until you hit the railroad tracks. The bike path parallels the tracks at this location. Head south on the bike path. The path eventually crosses back under the freeway, then your rolling along the dunes.......

  7. #7
    Just another Homer
    Reputation: Pain Freak's Avatar
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    A man

    after my own heart.

    I still get my family once in a while. I think they know it's going to happen, but the pot I put at the end of the rainbow (usually ice cream or a video game store) is enough to get them there, the hard part is putting up with all the complaining on the way back.

    Loved the story, I had to call my wife in to read it and she thinks we are related.
    I may not be as good as I once was.
    But I'm as good once, as I ever was.
    Toby Keith

  8. #8
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    That was great . In spite of all the complaining, when the kids are older and you're sitting around the dinner table, these will be the memories they bring up. Good to see families having fun together!
    [SIZE="1"]We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.[/SIZE]

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  9. #9
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    Great story, Joe. We have 2 tandems in our family too. The 5yo has kiddie cranks, and the 8yo can fit on the back of the other. Had a pleasant outing on the weekend, lunch in town for my sister's birthday, then visits to a few of the Christmas displays spread out across the town which would have been a pain to get to all of them by walking, in the car or by public transport.

    We've been doing an annual ride the last five years or so with a number of other families. It's about 40km one way along a local rail trail. We stay in cabins at the end, then turn back the Sunday. It's been great watching the progression of kids from trailers, tandems, trailer bikes, bike seats, through to their own bikes.

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