Monday, May 6, 2013

A Capitol Ride (with Breakfast and a Yarn Store)

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Morning chorus of gladsome birds
Fresh new green of leaves on the trees
Sunlight shining through yellow tulips

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After a cold, rainy week, the weather cleared to give us a glorious sunny weekend. Mr. M being out of town, my sister invited me to Sunday breakfast in Madison, with the added enticement of a yarn store visit. She drove her car, and I rode my bike.

On the road at 8 am, the air is cool and fresh, about 50┬║. I am lucky to have a tailwind for most of the ride (woo hoo!).

Trees are covered with baby leaves (very exciting after months of bare branches), and the air is full of birdsong.

The road to Madison is lined with picturesque barns, whose praises I have already hymned in a previous bike-ride-and-breakfast post, so I limit myself to shots of these two favourites:

While climbing a short grade, I see a "host of golden daffodils" in a field to my right...

...and snap them as best I can from the saddle. (Look for the yellow streak in the photo - they were much more impressive in real life.) I like the thought of someone planting daffodils in an empty field, and leaving them there to multiply for years to come.

After about 20 miles I stop to peel off my arm warmers (and show off a new bracelet).

Thanks to the tailwind, I reach Madison in decent time. My route takes me down East Washington Avenue, past some charming houses:

(Arched doorways and windows are so very appealing, aren't they?)

Madison is very friendly to cyclists, and provides large, well-marked bike lanes which make city riding a positive pleasure. Despite all the traffic, there's plenty of elbow room for riders:

"Yield to Bikes". Love it!

The Capitol building, seen above, is now dominating my view. I'm looking forward to getting some good photos there.

I cross the Washington Avenue Bridge, with its appealing lanterns reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of architecture:

A mile or so farther, up a short grade, and the very handsome Capitol building is before me. Time to dismount and take some proper photos:

(But what are the splendours of granite and noble architecture, compared with fresh-blossoming leaves?)

I get back on the bike and ride around the corner for more photos. A yawn sounds from my rear pocket, and Tallulah crawls out.

"Where are we?" she asks sleepily.

"Here," I reply, and hold her up to see the view:

She blinks a few times, then says, "What else did I miss?"

"Oh, pretty much the usual - barns, fields, trees, birds, blue sky. Nothing you haven't seen before."

"Well, I'm glad I woke up in time for this. What is it?"

"It's the Capitol Building, built between 1906 and 1917. It's even more beautiful inside, but I'm afraid we haven't got time for a tour. We have a breakfast appointment, you know."

We ride slowly down the sidewalk, pausing for photos here and there. The Capitol looks good from every angle:

Its famous tulip beds, though still green on the North corner, are blooming at the West and South sides:

Looking down State Street towards UW Madison:

Time is passing, and I have a feeling I'm late for breakfast. Just one more photo, of Forward - a replica of the original sculpted by Jean Pond Minor in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition (click here to read this statue's fascinating history):

Back on the bike, we navigate the maze of one-way streets surrounding the Capitol, and make our way down to Lake Monona and the Capital City Bike Trail.

I slow to take this photo...

...and an older man on a mountain bike passes me, pedalling furiously away in a low gear. I put the camera away and pick up speed again. He glances repeatedly over his shoulder and pedals ever faster. I could pass him, but decide to let him stay in front as he obviously wants to be there. :)

Another mile or two, and I turn onto Lakeside St., where I see, not one, but TWO purple houses. The first is a lovely blue-violet shade trimmed with green (perfectly matching Iris's colour scheme), but I pass it too quickly to get a photo.

The second is a rich lilac:

I want a house this colour!

The owners are obviously fond of this shade - even the fence is lavender.

Over some railroad tracks (with a lovely view of the Capitol)...

...and I have arrived at the Lakeside St. Coffee House. My sister is standing outside waiting for me (I'm 12 minutes late). People are sitting at tables on the lawn, enjoying the sunshine. A small terrace at the back of the building gives a lovely view of Monona Bay. We order our breakfast and take the only available table in a corner of the dining room, just opposite the door to the yarn shop.

Lakeside St. Coffee House is large, airy and light, with the high ceilings and wooden floors of a more gracious age. On the walls right now is an exhibition of photography and fiber art, each amazing photograph being mirrored in an even more amazing "thread painting" (which makes me think of Claire at Sweet Birdy Love).

We are sitting just below these:

Thread painting on the left, photograph on the right

The thread paintings have amazing texture. (As far as I can tell, they were done by sewing machine.)

Here's a handsome iguana for Snowcatcher (who is very fond of lizards):


Detail of the threadwork:

Tallulah, meanwhile, is becoming interested in my breakfast. She takes a passing sniff at the quiche...

...then heads for the salad. (She says she's watching her weight.)

Breakfast over, we have 45 minutes to pass before the yarn shop opens. Tallulah asks for a closer look at this photograph:

"Remind me never to go to the Galapagos," she remarks. "I might get stepped on."

A table opens up on the terrace, and we snag it. What bliss to sit in the sun, to look at trees and a lake and a pleasing skyline, with the thought of yarn to come.

A robin sits in the tree above us, looking as relaxed and sleepy as we feel:

Finally, noon has arrived. We leave the terrace and hover by the door of the yarn shop (feeling like Adam and Eve at the Gate of Paradise). An angel arrives, complete with keys, and invites us in.

Lakeside Fibers, like its sister coffee house, is large and light and full of loveliness.

Wonderful yarn, beautiful samples:

A fabulous ceiling:

Tallulah likes this little sweater:

I like the reading chairs at the back, with a tempting selection of knitting books on the table (as with most yarn stores, crochet is conspicuous by its absence):

The coffee house can just be glimpsed through the doorway at the left.

Tallulah has fallen in love with this Tahki Cotton Classic...

...but with admirable self-control we decide NOT to get one of every colour. (In fact I buy nothing, remembering the full baskets of yarn at home - but my sister holds up the honour of the family by selecting some yarn for her stash.)

Full of fresh air, breakfast, and yarn, we walk down the street to my sister's car, pausing to admire the view across the lake:

Iris is strapped to the bike rack, and I snap a quick photo of the new-leafed, tree-lined street:

Then it's time to head back across the lake and home.

The streets and trails of Madison are full of cyclists on this beautiful day, and I am happy to have been one of them.

A very good ride (with breakfast and yarn store). Thanks to my sis for inviting me, and for giving me a ride home. :)

35.7 miles
Miles this year: 316.1

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  1. What a beautiful day you had. I would love to visit Madison...I think I'd really like it.

    1. I think you would too, E. It's a pretty nice place. :)

  2. Looks like it was a great day to visit Madison! I've been to Lakeside Fibers a few years ago and I really liked it.

    1. It's such a lovely yarn store, full of tempting things and really quite amazing samples. Glad to know you liked it too. :)

  3. What an awesome ride! I am going to have to copy you now and find a route with a yarn store. On second thought, I better not. I would absolutely stuff my pack with yarn. I could even find other places to stash if needed. Yep, yarn stores are more dangerous than downtown denver for me!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those tulips!

    1. Oh, those tulips were like living sunshine. I loved the occasional peach one among the yellow....

      By all means visit a yarn shop on one of your rides. You don't HAVE to buy anything, you know.... ;)

  4. Oh, and I got so excited about the yarn, I forgot to say how much I like the lizard!

    1. Oh my gosh, he was gorgeous. $160 worth of thready amazement. I thought of you every time I looked at him. :)

  5. Dear Mrs. I LOVE Madison and loved riding along with you and Talulah. Love that she's on a diet of greens....

    1. Yes, she's afraid she might outgrow her shell. :)

      Madison is pretty nice. A large city with a kind of small-town feel. We like it very much. :)

  6. What an impressive post and bike ride. I'm jealous but I have been to the gym to do weights and ride the exercycle. I really enjoy reading your posts because they make me feel I'm there with you and Tallulah. Lea and I are now potting some daffodils and tulips for our new house we move to July 22nd. Keep up the great efforts in your biking. 35 miles is a fine effort!

    1. Thanks Paul - it really helps to have a goal. Otherwise I tend to be a slacker. :)

      That's FANTASTIC that you rode the exercycle! I hope it wasn't painful. And the weights will really help keep those muscles from atrophying. Keep up the good work!

      The daffs and tulips will be lovely.

  7. Waving to Miss T...what a journey you both had! I adore your posts like these. The photos are always so awesome and colorful. It truly is like being there with you. Thank you. :)

    Your city is so pretty. What a lovely day full of flowers, sister love and yarn!

    Thank you for making a point about the crochet. I think we get forgotten in some yarn shops.

    Hugs and blessings to you dear friend....oh, and Miss T is so cute as always. I can clearly see why she was so in love with the cotton yarn. :)

    1. Thanks Vicki - I'll be over in a few minutes to catch up on your posts.

      I kept thinking to myself, while in that yarn store, "Now in Vicki's dream store there would be TONS of crochet stuff!" :)

  8. Yes! I knew great weather and great biking were just around the corner for you. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm enjoying them as hard as I can. :)

  9. Ah, ha! I see the SPAMMERS have found you again. Unless, of course, you need a payday loan. :)
    I am still waiting for that tiny turtle shadow shot, though the woman-on-bicycle is rather a spectacular one.
    You go! All those miles! You are going to be in tip top shape for that Colorado mountain ride!!!!

    1. Gosh I hope so....

      The problem with a Tallulah shadow shot is that I can't hold her, hold the camera, AND hang on to the bike all at the same time. Something would have to give. I guess we'd better consider a stationary shadow shot.

      Don't need a payday loan just yet. :)

  10. As always, I so enjoy going on your rides with you. and, of course, the added joy of a meal and the yarn shop....seventh heaven!! Thanks for all the pictures of the reminds me of my last visit to Madison 3 years ago. What I'd like to know is.....did you lie on your stomach to get those views through the tulips or did Tallulah take them for you?! Joan

    1. Thanks Joan - it was a lovely day all round.

      The tulips were in a raised bed, so I just had to crouch a bit. :)

      Next time you're in Madison, let me know and we can meet for lunch!

  11. Wow, what a glorious bike ride you went on. 35.7 miles. Unbelieveable...I absolutely loved seeing all the beautiful photos along your way.. I am sure Tallulah The Turtle enjoyed every minute site seeing along the way.. I loved seeing all those old grand house and especially the Purple one.. I have Never seen a Purple House. VBG What a perfect breakfast you and your Sister had together..The Yarn Shop looks absolutely Wonderful..I especially like that Tahki Cotton Classic Yarn.. Your wonderful shades of Pink... Your Bracelet is fantastic.. Thanks for sharing your bike ride with us all. Hugs Judy

    1. Well, Tallulah slept most of the way. But she did find the Capitol most impressive and particularly liked the dome.... :)

      That Tahki Cotton Classic is gorgeous stuff, isn't it?

      Thanks Judy!

  12. I just love taking these tours with you. Showing me things and places that I've never been. It's so very different. And what a beautiful yarn shop. I just don't know how you resisted. I sure would not have.
    Rosie xx

    1. The annual income has its limitations, otherwise I'd have splurged for sure. :)

  13. What a day!!!

    Thank you for taking us along, on your delightful ride.

    1. Thank you for joining me, Auntie! It's always a pleasure to have you along. :)

  14. Awesome tour of Madison. Very cleverly written. Thanks for the ride!

    What is it about yarn stores and there reluctance to crocheters? Seems so strange as the crocheters I know are a lovely crew!

    1. I don't know why it should be so.... You'd think they were trying to give us an inferiority complex! But we ARE a lovely crew, aren't we? :)

  15. What a glorious day, so beautiful. Glad Tallulah is enjoying her time outside and in the yarn store. It looks like a fabulous place to be with yarn. Did you enjoy your time alone?

    1. Yes I did - and was just ready for him to come home about when he did. So it worked out very well! :)

  16. Fabulous post, Sue!!! I enjoyed every bit of it. You are very brave, strong, creative, gifted, generous, good-humored...lovely :-)

  17. Looks like a perfect day, sunshine, bike, breakfast, sister time, and yarn! Ahhh

    1. Yep - and my husband came home that night just when I was starting to miss him. It WAS a perfect day. :)

  18. Oh, I love this post. Madison looks lovely and I love that statue, I thought the background was interesting.
    The tulips make me sing! And that yarn store is to DIE for!!
    I LOVE that photo of your turtle posing with the big turtle! You are so funny!
    Gee, over 35 miles, someone would have to pick me up all right, off the ground!! Good for you!

    1. Thanks Kay! (A very tardy thanks.)

      It's a lovely yarn store - and I too thought Tallulah looked pretty funny with the Galapagos tortoise. :)

  19. Hey Sue, what a lovely post, great pics, just love those barns, never too many barn pics.
    All that traffic would put me off city riding (if I actually rode a bike!!) but it's good to see those wide bike lanes.
    Love all the Spring blooms....Daffodils, Tulips.....♥
    A cafe next to a yarn store.......perfect combination. The thread painting is just amazing, I shudder to think how much thread they go through. I know how much I use and I don't even 'fill in' my pics......thanks for the shout out.
    What a great outing, you got your bike ride in, lovely pics, breakfast out and a catch up with your sister, not to mention a visit to a yarn store.....what more could you ask for.
    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Claire x

    1. Thanks Claire. Years of riding in SoCal hardened me to traffic (a good thing too) - though you'd think I'd be spoilt by all the empty country roads around here that I usually ride on. :)

      The thread paintings are truly astounding - and you're right, tons of thread there!


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