Provincetown, 2009

A livejournal post by rufus/Jen led to us planning a group trip to Provincetown on Cape Cod. It was my first time setting foot on the Cape, every other attempt had fizzled. We recruited her sister Maureen, my SO Cris, and our friends Paisley/Lee and Su. Cris and I decided to take the Fast Ferry to avoid the traffic jams inherent in getting to/from the Cape. This turned out to be a great idea when we found out that the Pan Mass Challenge was ending in P-town that weekend as well.

Friday July 31/09

I had packed up my clothes and stuff the night before, filling my bike's waterproof panniers, and strapping the rack trunk on top of everything. As I came around the side of the house after locking the front door, I saw my bike lying on it's side, the kickstand had sheared off under the weight. The kickstand had been moved from bike to bike as each one wore out, and it finally gave up the ghost. I rode to work and propped the bike up, unloaded, in my office, planning to run out at lunch to get a new kickstand. The skies opened up and the rain poured down as I was thinking of going out, and work got busy as well, so I ended up leaving a few minutes early in the afternoon instead. I stopped by Back Bay Bikes to get a new kickstand, and stuffed it into the top of the rack trunk. I was a bit worried about making our planned meeting time of 5pm for the 5:30pm ferry, due to carrying extra weight and feeling slower, but I was there on the dot and Cris rode up soon after. He picked up our tickets and cautioned me not to lose it, as it was also our return ticket. We'd paid an extra fee to bring the bikes on, and they had racks in the bow where we locked up. A tandem bike and another one fully loaded with panniers were propped up on the other side of the boat.

We went inside to try and find seats together, but the enclosed area had filled up. I left my panniers there and just took the rack trunk upstairs to the open air, but mostly covered seating. The rain had started again as we were getting settled, and my rain jacket was inside. We were told to move the bikes and unlock them so that more bikes could fit in the racks and the crew could tie them down, we got a bit damp doing that and then I moved my bags upstairs to our seats there, putting them in a luggage rack that was getting a bit of spray. The rain tapered off as the crew got ready to cast off, but the seas were a bit choppy. Cris had picked up some take out sushi for us, and we ate with the containers balanced on our laps. I finished up quickly so that I wouldn't have to be eating while we were moving. I kept my eyes on the horizon and enjoyed the fresh air, it was still really warm if damp. At one point, a mother holding a child pointed and yelled something, and everyone rushed to the side of the boat. I saw a few spouts in the water and then a fin as a whale crested the water. No flukes, but the dark grey back and small fin were exciting to see, usually you have to pay a lot to go out whale watching and we got it included in our crossing fee. :) The whale was swimming back toward Boston, so we passed it fairly quickly. The seas got rougher as we approached Cape Cod, probably due to it getting more shallow, and we had to hang on tight to our seats so as not to be thrown around. The double hull catamaran was pretty stable, all things considered, though. We really couldn't see much, even though it wasn't raining, the mist was really limiting the view. We could just make out the land as we moved around the curl at the tip of Cape Cod to get into the harbour. We were fairly close to last off the boat, as we had to get our bikes out of the racks and packed up again, but once we did, we got on and rolled into Provincetown proper.

And right back out again on Bradford St/6A. We followed that out toward North Truro, reveling in the smooth roads, if worried about the non existent shoulders. We had docked at a bit past 7pm, delayed by the rough seas, and the sun was heading down in the sky. We had a pretty sweet tail wind, though. We climbed a pretty big hill, and I thought I saw our hotel, the Outer Reach Resort, on the crest of a hill nearby, but the directions I'd written out said not to turn yet. But after encountering a second road with the same name, Cris whipped out his google maps enabled blackberry and double checked our position. We ended up doubling back a little and turning on Firehouse road... which ended up being a dirt road. Oops. We made it over to 6 on it, but then turned the wrong way (not sure how I got the direction wrong - ah, right, looking at google maps again, it located the hotel too far down the highway). Cris called the hotel after we reached Highland Rd and got us back on track. Every time we stopped to consult a map the huge mosquitos would descent - we were running warm after biking over 5 miles and the sun was almost gone now. We turned on our generator powered lights and scooted back along 6, though the shoulder was half slanted to help keep cars on the road. One last hill up to the resort office, and we were checked in at 8:30pm. I'd gotten texts from rufus and Paisley giving their room numbers, so as soon as we got ourselves and our bikes inside and safe from the mosquitoes, I gave Paisley a call. Rufus was with her, so I popped over to consult while Cris took a shower.

I asked for a few minutes to clean up and then we met up again at 9pm to head out to eat. Jen and Maureen gave us a ride in their car, we followed Su and Paisley onto 6, away from P-town to where they remembered seeing a lobster shack. Nothing for a while, so we turned around and ended up back near the resort at an Italian restaurant, Montano's, sneaking in just before closing I think. We were all pretty punchy, it was a fun meal with lots of laughter, and we closed the place down. Everyone was pretty tired from getting there that day, so we ended up just splitting up and heading to sleep after getting back to the hotel. Rufus and I made plans to meet for breakfast at 8:30am in the restaurant, I had to eat relatively early since I was on medication for shoulder pain that had to be taken every 12 hours.

Saturday August 1/09

I ended up not sleeping all that well, as I kept half waking and checking the clock, having not set an alarm. I got up at 8am and peeked out to see what our ocean view was like - stunning. :) The sun was up! The sky was blue! It was going to be a perfect day after the rain of the day before. Rufus and I sat on the covered deck with the same view as our rooms and had a nice relaxing breakfast, with tea. :) The huevos rancheros were a bit thin for my liking, but that could have been due to the potatoes I chose instead of the beans. I think Lee joined us, and we sorted out our itinerary for the day. Rufus was set on visiting the graveyard, Lee and Su had to hit the post office in P-town, Maureen was still resting, and Cris was just stirring, so I grabbed him and we met up with Jen to go into P-town.

Cris went off to find breakfast and Rufus and I wandered around the cemetery. I liked the hollow metal gravestone that we found, as well as the greenery covered crypts. There was one very involved headstone that listed a captain and his four wives and four children, and we spent some time figuring out the time line. :) I vetoed wandering into the active part of the graveyard and Cris found us soon after. We popped into the multicultural festival by mistake (I thought it guarded the path to the Pilgrim Monument), but I got a bottle of water and a chopstick holder. We eventually found the entrance and browsed through the museum. Rufus had to leave to go and pick up Maureen for lunch at 1pm, so Cris and I used our slack time to climb the tower. Nice views from the top, the air was pretty clear. After coming down, we were set on getting some ice cream, so we made our way to Commercial Street and made our first visit to the Purple Feather. Their gelato was beautifully presented and the mint + chocolate chip was good (though not as fresh minty as I'd hoped for). From there it was only a few doors down to the Governor Bradford and we snagged a table for 6 outside under an umbrella. Everyone congregated fairly quickly, and we shared tips on which were the best drinks. :)

From there, Jen and Maureen wanted to wander for a bit, but Paisley and Su went directly to the beach at Race Point. We stuck with Jen and Maureen, liking their plan to delay until after 4pm before hitting the beach. Commercial Street is very vibrant, full of people, pets, bikes, drag queens, and the occasional car inching through. We stopped in quite a few galleries, I really liked the exhibit in one gallery that had almost photo-realistic still life paintings, as well as modern Chinese works. I think we stopped for more ice cream, this time at Twist'd Sisters, sitting at a table in the back away from the families. Despite the crowding out on the street, the businesses were relatively quiet, we never had a problem getting a table. We stopped in at a hardware store to get insect repellant and anti-itch stuff first, though. Rufus also found a sun hat, a lovely floppy thing in black, red and white. :) I picked up a cheap but pretty ring in the same store. It was getting close to 4, so we went back to the car and Jen drove us to the beach. Cris and I had thrown our beach stuff in the back, so we dug that out and changed in the stalls at Race Point. We had no cell signal, so Cris and I set off to find Paisley and Su with instructions to report back. Paisley found us and pointed out their red umbrella. I ran back to tell Jen and Maureen, but they didn't quite make it up to us (the sand was really soft and difficult to walk on). I was seriously over heating by this point, so I went right into the water and stayed in until I felt my body temperature drop back to normal. I spotted Rufus's head bobbing in the water and tried to swim over to her, but the current was against me. I played for a bit, then noticed that she was drifting closer so I swam over this time. The water was so buoyant, it's been a while since I've been fully immersed in seawater. It was lovely to lay back and drift for a bit, keeping an eye on the red umbrella to make sure I didn't go too far down the beach. Rufus came up on the sand with me and we all took advantage of the shade. It was very relaxing, I made a pillow out of sand under my blanket and lay back to read. Su, Paisley and Rufus all went back into the water, but Cris and I lounged around. I was actually getting a bit cold in the shade, and was happy to head out and get into dry clothes when everyone came back up from the water and dried off. We picked up Maureen on the way, and agreed to meet up at 8pm to go for dinner back in P-town. Cris's co-worker had given him a list of places to try and we were working our way down it. :)

We drove back to the resort, all feeling very relaxed. We were able to get cleaned up and dressed for the evening by 7:30 so we met up then instead and headed back into town to have dinner at the Surf Club. It was a bit of a comedy of errors trying to get everyone in, I ran off to get money at an ATM that was out of cash, Jen and Maureen went in to snag a table on the deck, and Paisley and Su missed Cris waiting for them on the corner. But we all got there eventually. I had a fruit-light white sangria and a seafood heavy pasta dish that was delicious. Looking out over the anchored boats, we were all glad that we'd paid the $15/car park use fee and gone over to the clear beach on the other side of the Cape. Everyone was flagging a bit, but Su and I twisted some arms and got people to go for one drink at Waydowntown (black and white). I was foiled yet again in my quest for an Aviation (no maraschino liqueur), but I got them to sub in Hendrick's gin for the rum in a cucumber basil drink and was happy. :) Back to the hotel and I fell asleep while trying to read my book.

Sunday August 2/09

Cris and I went for breakfast at Adrian's at around 9am, and Rufus joined us a bit later. The blueberry pancakes were perfect, I loved them. Back to the room, packed up all our gear and made sure I had biking necessities in my rack trunk. We dropped our panniers off with Paisley to keep in the trunk of the Element (they were checking out tomorrow), checked out, and hit the road for "a little bike ride" at around 10:45am. 46 miles later... :) The map we had wasn't quite to scale, so the projected 12 mile ride to the rail trail head turned out to be about 20 miles, including headwinds and rolling hills that steepened enough to drop me into my granny gear. I'm getting better at spinning up hills though. It was heart-warming to see all the groups out cheering the incoming Pan Mass Challenge riders. There was also a group of young teens riding heavily laden hybrid and mountain bikes, wobbling up the hills in too high of a gear, and being passed by the stripped down road bikes of the PMCers. We stopped in Wellfleet at Winslow's Tavern and had a delicious and leisurely meal outside. A French family was near us, I'd overhear snippets of their conversations and flash back to our trip to Montreal the weekend before. The pressed panini with chicken curry salad was very good, and I stole some of Cris's salty fries. Drank *lots* of water, it was hot since the sun came out after a grey start to the day. We stopped at the supermarket and I picked up a big bottle of vitamin water and stuffed it into my bike's bottle cage. We were passing lots of Pan Mass Challenge riders before lunch, but they petered out afterward. We had some people mistake us for riders, though. We got over to Ocean View drive and were disappointed that the mist had closed down again and we only saw grey, no ocean. The wind was nice though. We made it to the rail trail, and went 20 minutes down it before my legs started shaking during a rest stop and I called a turn around. Except for a brief bout with a contrary headwind, we had tailwinds on the ride back - score! We stopped at the beach to use the rest rooms there, and again as we got back on 6A at a convenience store for more water and a packet of cashews for me, and an ice cream sandwich for Cris. We made it into P-town proper at 5pm, right on Cris's schedule. We went to a public restroom first to sluice off the sweat a bit, then locked up the bikes near the Gov Bradford (where we were to meet the others at 6), and wentn back to the Purple Feather for a post ride treat. I got the cream + chocoalte this time, but found a hair and got a new small sized one. The chai latte was from a mix, but the warmth was what I needed then.

Paisley and Su met us with our bags at our bikes (I'd meant to go with them to their car to pick them up, but this did save us time), and we hooked them back onto the racks. Rufus joined us and we walked up to Napi's for dinner. Maureen joined us soon after, but the server waited a bit long on putting in all our dinner orders and we had a long wait after eating our clam chowders (light, with lots of clams), etc. Cris and I ended up eating quickly and heading out at just after 7 to get in the line up for the ferry. We'd changed our shirts before dinner, it was nice to be warm and dry again. Not too many bikes in the line up, and a different ferry, the crew were passing bikes up to the bow. We were too late to get a seat in the enclosed lower deck again, nor in the enclosed upper deck, so we sat outside again. Luckily, despite the clouds closing in, it didn't rain, though it was windy. I was pretty tired, and I huddled down into my wind proof jacket, and half napped most of the way. I had to put a sweater down to sit on, as my thin pants were providing no insulation agasint the metal bench. Lesson learned, arrive 45mins before sailing to get a decent seat. :/ Not much to see, it was misty and then dark. The crew handed our bikes off the boat again, not until I was on the dock did I see the open water they were being passed over. Luckily, both our bikes were fine, and we loaded them back up, changed to our night riding vests and were off. It was much more humid in Boston, we'd noticed the change as we were coming in past the harbour islands. I commented to Cris that I knew we weren't dealing with Randoneurs after the PMC riders were seen all walking their bikes toward parking lots instead of riding them home. :) We made it home okay, though I was really sleepy. Cris did laundry, but I basically had a snack to take my pill and then fell over. I was fine the next day, though, a full night's sleep sorted me out.

Overall a great trip, though I could have done with a bit more relaxing. I can't complain too much, though, I'd been going light on bike riding this summer, and 53 miles in a day including the ride home was just about right to re-start my exercise regime. I was also really happy with how stress free it was (barring both Rufus and I forgetting our cell phone chargers), the group split apart and came together hassle free, dependent only on what each person wanted to do. It was reminsicent of our trip to NYC with my sister a while back, even all the restaurante bills worked out with no shortages. It probably did help that we all booked our own hotel rooms, though.

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