Sand, Surreys, and Sunsets


“One thing for sure,” I declared, “I’m not renting one of these again.”
“Well, unless we can find one that’s adjustable.” Mark sympathized.
We took a last look at the surrey bicycle we’d rented from the Yellow Bicycle Company at Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania, before returning it after a two-hour spin up the peninsula and back. I realized early on that the bike had not been built for us – each on opposite ends of a height chart.
The two-person (or more) bike (we saw one packed by a family of five) was like two bicycles side by side. The yellow frame that made it into a four wheeler was shaded by a yellow canvas canopy with a padded bench seat opposite two sets of pedals. I could barely reach them without sitting forward so far that I rested on the edge of the seat, forcing me to bounce on the frame. Mark’s head was pressed against the canopy, obscuring his view a bit, and his knees almost bumped the steering wheel.
As Mark moved his feet from pavement to pedals, he mimicked some of Fred Flintstone’s fancy footwork and I imagined that I was in the Flintstone-mobile. I sang the Flintstone theme as we peddled along. In spite of our handicaps, we took in a beautiful view of the city of Erie as we rode along the shoreline.
Of the two steering wheels, only the left one worked. The right one (the one I held) was just for decoration. I kept reminding myself that my wheel did nothing but spin idly in my grip, but, throughout the trip, I couldn’t overcome my automatic reaction to move it as though I could turn the bike.
We took a break at the southeastern tip to take in the monument commemorating Commodore Perry who defeated the British in these very waters in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. Complete with fountains, we enjoyed their cooling spray and stretched our legs while reading the many placards filled with history of the area.
Luckily, my tailbone only bothered me the first few times I sat down the next day. We stopped in an art gallery across the street from our hotel, filled with consignments from dozens of local artisans. Mostly beach and water themes, everything made me think of my friend Nancy. Everything there would be an inspiration for her creative imagination and I wished she were there to look at it all with me.
Next, we spent more than a couple hours at Erie’s Maritime Museum appreciating ships in new ways and learning more of Erie’s history, then returned to the state park to walk the isle. Beautifully paved paths everywhere make the park a delight for walking, cycling, skating, and the occasional skateboard and a haven for picnicking, camping, fishing, sailing, birding, and more.
We enjoyed feeling the soft, cool sand between our toes on just a small section of the 11 beach areas (not all open for swimming at all times). We hiked a few of the trails (no speed records for us, compared to many we passed who looked like they enjoyed a workout here every day).
With so much more to see and do, we decided we’d just have to come back. A full moon brightened the night sky as we drove home remembering the sunset over the lake.


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