Sunday, August 7, 2005

The Princeton Event 2005

Perhaps it should first be noted that The Princeton Event yesterday did not actually take place in Princeton, but was a tour through the surrounding prosperous farm country of central Jersey. Instead of glimpses of dreaming spires and historic homes, there were endless fields of beans. This is, after all, the Garden State.

Photo of green beans

DH had hoped to ride, but had to work. Our plan was to meet up with a friend who was another no-show. However, after the ride I did find Tom and his friends Ray and Jon, who ride recumbent biycles. Tom is holding the Sockapal-2-za sock.

Photo of Ray, Jon, sock, Tom

It turns out the guys are well trained in husbandly encouragement of the fiber arts – Ray's DW knits, Jon's needlepoints, and Tom's weaves. Our paths have come close to crossing before now, including at MDS&W. If that weren't enough cosmic oddness, while we were getting acquainted during lunch a woman none of us know plopped herself down and started chatting amiably. She seemed very interested in Jon and Ray, less interested in Tom, not at all interested in me. On a bike tour a 'bent bicycle is a sure draw for gearheads, but who knew it's a chick magnet as well.

My pre-ride jitters may have been unfounded, but the ride was not without difficulties. About half a mile out, I discovered that my bicycle rack had come unbolted from its rails in such a way that the rack would flop backwards, causing the rack trunk to drag on the ground. There's nothing like a slow return to the car while happy riders are whizzing by in the other direction to sour one's mood! After much improvising, the rack could be jammed forward onto the rails, but it could not be stabilized enough to carry the trunk. The most essential things I usually carry in the rack trunk (sunscreen, cell phone, spare inner tube) had to be hurriedly crammed into my jersey pocket and everything else stowed in the car. In the flurry of repacking, I'm afraid the Crème de Marron was left behind. Sigh.

Back on the road, things improved immediately. The ride was well-organized and a lot of fun. Besides all the green beans, I saw a stand of black walnut trees with a fine crop coming along (make a note of that for later!), some mutant corn with ears where the tassels should be (eeeeuw – shoulda taken a picture, but didn't), and this charming mailbox.

Photo of rooster mailbox

I love the unexpected touch of violet. Across the road are yet more green beans. Why did the chicken cross the road?

There were some picturesque farmstand signs. That's non-mutant corn in the background.

Photo of signs

The signs were advertising the most enticing small farmstands. This one is on the honor system, with the price list on the blackboard and moneybag in the white basket.

Photo of farmstand

After the ride, the guys could not be convinced to go to Princeton with me and instead went to Economy Bike Shop in Hamilton Square. Perhaps it was the puzzling lack of vendor exhibits at The Princeton Event or maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that Glenmarle Woolworks and Pins and Needles are in Princeton. As DH would advise, "Run! Run far, run fast – don't look back!!"

My objective this time was to try the ice cream at the Bent Spoon, a relatively new place that received excellent reviews from the Munchmobile. Their ice cream is a luxurious cross between premium ice cream and gelato and it comes in made-fresh-daily artisanal flavors such as honey sage and cucumber mint. I had chocolate tangerine, which was heavenly. The legend is growing that the place is named for an episode in The Matrix, but their logo is a recumbent spoon – a 'bent spoon, there is no spoon with a bend. Alas, no pix here as the place was thronged and I didn't bring enough model releases.

Speaking of which, it would seem the sock is a bit of a diva. She categorically refused to pose with common green beans, but consented to be photographed with the cute mailbox, while jauntily perched on the bicycle seat. The bike has an orange cue sheet clipped to its handlebars. Also notice how the bike rack is tipped forward, sigh.

Photo of Sockapal-2-za sock

That about sums up the day.

[Added 8/8/05] Tom says Ms. Mystery turned up at Economy Bike Shop! At some point cosmic oddness segues into synchronicity - perhaps we'll be seeing more of Mystery in the future.

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