Off to a rather unfortunate start this morning

The Tulip Inn at Mount Vernon was nice – a spacious room, en suite bathroom and free wi-fi, so Mike could get a Radio 3 fix. Unfortunately, BBC iPlayer doesn’t permit the listen again service overseas, (bloody hell – we are licence-fee payers) after all!), so we’re denied our daily visit to Ambridge, courtesy of Radio 4 – although we think that there may be a daily podcast of The Archers that we can download, so all is not lost. Also at the Tulip Inn … complimentary continental breakfast … But as they’re a motel and don’t have a dining room, it was necessary to go and collect coffee and breakfast provisions and then bring them back to our room. Not wanting to appear greedy, we went separately and both brought back sufficient for two! It was all good food though … including porridge oats, fruit, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese … guess who had which! There was fruit and yoghurt too. We’d bought some soya milk in Wal-Mart last night, so it was a perfect breakfast.

When Mike went for ‘breakfast round 2’, he started chatting with the proprietor, a lovely, elderly German lady whose family came from Bremen. She said that she was planning to sell the business and move back to Germany in the next two years. We were in Bremen on our trial long-distance ride to Hamburg at Easter. It’s a beautiful place – Mike remembers the grand square, enormous cathedral with two high west towers topped with huge green copper pyramid roofs, the elaborate facade of the medieval town hall with gilded carvings, some stunning art nouveau buildings tucked down a little lane … Matthew remembered the ‘ice cream incident in Bremen’, when our orders arrived Mike was alarmed that there was so much, but that didn’t prevent him from starting to eat Matthew’s as well as his own – just to try it, you understand!

Just after we left Mount Vernon there was a rather unfortunate incident – we rode past a Jiffy Lube garage. Matthew screeched to a halt, shouting “I’ve got to get a photo of this.” Anyone of a sensitive disposition should stop reading now*

*Aunt Janet, this mean you!

… by way of explanation, there’s a brand of condoms in the UK called Jiffy and they’re heavily marketed to gay men with slogans such as: ‘Real men come in a Jiffy!’ So, there you go … The tone for the rest of the day was established right there. Hopefully it will be raised somewhat when we get to Seattle – but do watch out for posts in which Mike reminisces about Frasier!

Janet can restart reading here.

Oh, we also had an email this morning from George our Warm Showers host in Portland. We were planning to stay with him on his boat for two nights next week … but he explained that he’d called away by work, so couldn’t host us after all. It’s a shame – we were looking forward to staying there. We spent an hour or so looking through the Warm Showers listings for Portland and e-mailing some people to plead for shelter! Warm Showers has lots of amazing stories of people being rescued and accommodated by other members, and we’ve done a fair share of rescuing people ourselves when we’ve taken in cyclists at the last minute. Cyclists are a ‘good sort’ by and large, so we have high hopes … and of course if we don’t find anyone, we can always stay in a hotel.

In Marysville now, having lunch. Marysville is yet another loaded name that has Matthew giggling. In the UK Mary is an archaic, gently derogatory euphemism for gay men. So someone might be ‘a bit of a Mary’ – or even a ‘Mary-Ann’, they’d be a little bit effeminate (camp) and probably somewhat self-absorbed. I remember being at a Bristol Labour party meeting sometime in the 1980s or early ’90s, chaired by Brian Richards. The Bristol Labour party had (still has) lots of gay men as activist members. There was a particularly heated discussion going on about something or other – lots of people were wanting to say something in any case. A woman called Mary indicated and was called to make her contribution to the debate. Unfortunately, sitting a couple of rows behind her, was another woman called Mary Harris, who thought she’d been called and stood up to speak. There was some confusion as the two women were on their feet, and speaking at the same time. Poor Brian – he explained who he’d called, then complained, rather innocently and by way of explanation: “There’s too many Mary’s in the room.” well, most of the many gay men who were present (and some others) understood the unintentional double entendre immediately and there was gales of laughter! Brian had no idea what he’d said that caused the uproar and looked completely baffled – which just added to the mirth, really!

Anyway, back in Marysville, there were lots of yard sales and swap meets going on in the small towns that we’ve ridden through this morning. We’re off into Seattle, the roads are beginning to feel quite busy, glad it’s Saturday at least.

1 thought on “Off to a rather unfortunate start this morning

  1. Glad you’re having a good time. Matthew I did exactly the same when we were in LA taking pictures of a Jiffy Lube we drove past. That kind of American innuendo sign is just way to good to pass up! Keep pedalling and stay safe you two. x

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