Flowers, Biking, The Sea & A Scarf
Someone once asked me how we decide on what to do when we are traveling. The answer is simple, really. I throw out ideas until Dennis starts to laugh. That's when I know that I have found something that makes him slightly uncomfortable, yet intrigued. You see, what is waiting on the other side of that uncomfortableness is usually one of our best memories. Bike riding across Holland fit the bill....a bucket list item for me.
This is how I envisioned it would all go down. Dressed like Audrey Hepburn, chic sunglasses and classy scarf, I would pedal my black bike (with coordinating basket) across the countryside with my love leading the way. It's best that I don't navigate while on a bike. I know this even in my dreams. We picnic, walk through flower fields...yada, yada, yada. Goodness, isn't this a romantic thought? Just dreamy.
Sitting in my stylist's chair just 5 days before the trip, I was telling her about the plan. Miss Denise so sweetly asked if I had been training for this adventure. She knows me well, explaining the smirk on her face. I told her that I had inteneded on training but it didn't happen...but not to count me out. I mean, seriously. I still had 5 whole days to pull it together. Duh. Well, those 5 days passed lighting fast and I officially logged zero hours on my bike. Now that I think about it, I may have logged negative exercise hours before this trip and it's all Hilton Head's fault. With her lazy beaches and heavenly shrimp-n-grits, she's not to be trusted.
The big day came and I was as ready as I was going to be. Dressed like Audrey Hepburn (chic sunglasses and classy scarf) we made our way to pick up the bikes. They were orange. Like... flaming orange. Tourist orange. The kind of orange that says, "We are not from around here." Dennis, master navigator, pulled out the map and showed me what he had planned for this bucket list adventure. He said, "If we get in 35 miles today, we can make it to the sea."
Clearly, I had heard him wrong. Did he say "thirty-five" or "three to five?" I instantly regretted not training but would've never said it out loud. Dennis, grinning like a child, tucked the map into the inside pocket of his jacket and took off toward The North Sea. That's when I made a promise to myself that I would peddle until my legs fell off before throwing in the towel.
The ride was so gorgeous that I almost forget that I had lost feeling from the waist down around mile 15. We rode along blooming fields, through small towns, past windmills and next to some very lucky horses with the best view in The Netherlands. We picnicked next to a hyacinth field that was intoxicatingly sweet and watched deer frolicking in the grass.
At this point, I was drenched in sweat but happy. Sure my hair was in a ratty ponytail and my scarf was secured to the back of my bike...leaving me more middle-age-mom than Ms. Heburn. But I was in the moment. Soaking it in. Loving this day. Making those memories.
That's when it hit me. THE DUNES. At this point, I was being passed by cyclist teams (not joking), one very old man who was in freakishly great shape, and smarter people who decided to take their tour on scooters. Just as I was certain my pelvis would shatter, we made it. This is one of the only photos I was able to capture while riding my bike.
Isn't that beautiful? Dennis and I high-fived our awesome efforts and were just about to celebrate with ice cream when I noticed that my scarf was missing. Not just any scarf...my favorite scarf. I literally felt tears come to my eyes as I said good-bye to a trusted friend who had been around the world with me, covered cold babies at the beach and on boat rides, and warmed my shoulders through countless productions and dinners. And then the sweetest thing happened. Dennis said, "Stay here and enjoy the beach. I will ride back through the dunes and look for your scarf." I begged him not too, but he insisted. Off he went, peddling the most difficult stretch at the end of an exhausting day. I sat listening to the water and thinking about what a sincerely caring man Dennis is...my heart so full it could burst.
Some time had past when I noticed him headed toward me, descending the final dune. He didn't have the scarf in his hand but it didn't matter. I loved the gesture so much that the scarf was already fading from my memory. He parked his bike, put down the kickstand and opened his saddle bag. Sure enough, he pulled my scarf out and smiled. His 10 mile "tack-on ride" produced my scarf and my FAVORITE memory of the entire trip....one of my favorite memories ever.
*The scarf and my hero are pictured below.