A rude awakening

For the first time since we departed Dallas six months ago on our Year on the Edges of America adventure I have an unobstructed view from the passenger side of our Nissan Xterra.

For all the wrong reasons.

It started out as a delightful Thursday morning….

We had pulled into the RV parking lot with Mom at the Tulalip Casino just north of Everett, Washington as prep to putting her on a flight home to Dallas the next day from Sea-Tac airport. The three of us slept well in our tiny comfort egg Casita travel trailer as it drizzled rain outside all night. Awake by 7 a.m., we savored our coffee together in the Casita and reminisced about the wonderful four days we’d just spent on picturesque Lopez Island in Washington state’s Salish Sea renewing a special set of friendships dating to the 1950s.

Here’s a view from one of our walks on Lopez Island, this one to Watmough Bay.

Mom, eager to stretch her legs, was the first to step outside in the damp dawn. She strolled slowly around the car and Casita.

Minutes later, she returned to the Casita door: What did you do with the bikes?

What do you mean, Georges asked.

The bikes aren’t on the front of the car.

You’re kidding, he said.

G quickly put on his shoes, stepped outside and walked to the front of the car. I followed, still in my pajamas and barefoot on the wet pavement.

Sure enough, our bikes – one 2010 Trek Madone 7.1 hybrid and one 2016 state-of-the-art Scott trail bike (the best-ever gift last year from my stepson) – had vanished.

A “before” picture, with the Canadian Rockies in the background:

The “after” picture, what Mom discovered Thursday morning:

Peaking out from the pavement under the front of the car was a large, heavy pair of bolt cutters. A pool of oil – not present the night before – glistened on the pavement nearby.

My heart rolled over. For a minute, I couldn’t breathe.

G pulled the bolt cutters out from under the car before we realized we’d probably contaminated the crime scene with his fingerprints.

The bikes were there the previous night when the three of us returned from dinner. We’d enjoyed hot sandwiches and cold drinks at the casino after taking the ferry back to the mainland from Lopez Island and beginning the 100-mile drive south to Sea-Tac.

They were carefully cabled and locked onto the bike holder on the front of our car, seats removed and seat stems carefully plugged with champagne corks to prevent rusting – just as they have been every night since we left Dallas on March 1 nearly 18,000 miles ago.

… and now they were gone.

Part of me wanted to cry. Part of me wanted to scream. Then I just felt dead inside.

I got dressed. Mom and I walked back to the casino to report the theft to security while G more carefully surveyed the situation.

We passed dozens of RVs in the parking lot on the short walk into the office. Why did their bikes all seem undisturbed?

A member of the casino’s security staff met us back at the scene of the crime. He took our information. Then he called the tribal police. (The casino is on reservation land in an urban area.)

It took nearly an hour for Officer Zoller to arrive. Bike theft understandably isn’t a high priority. He took another report.

Both men were professional, neither very hopeful.

This doesn’t happen very often….

We’ll put it out on the scanner….

We get a lot of bikes in this area….

We’ll be in touch if we find them….

Theft of over $750 is a felony; will you want to prosecute?

By 10 a.m. we were back in our car and on the road to take Mom to the airport. For the first time since March I had a near-panoramic view through the windshield – no bike handlebars splitting my vantage in half.

But I’d grown to love my split-in-two view. Mainly because I loved our bicycles. It had taken us a long time to figure out just how best to transport them on this trip. And it’s a good thing we persevered. We’ve pedaled several hundred miles on them since leaving Dallas – around Goliad, Texas; Gulfport, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; across St. Petersburg, Big Cypress, Key West, Miami and St. Augustine in Florida; around Jekyll Island, Georgia; Prince William Forest Park in Virginia; Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Noyan, Quebec; northern Michigan; Door County, Wisconsin; and more….

My eyes crossed watching the windshield wipers struggle to keep up with the rain….

We got Mom to the airport in plenty of time. I stayed with her until she boarded. By the time she’d landed some four hours later in Dallas, we’d purchased new bikes – cheap ones from Walmart that cost less than 10 percent what our other bikes were worth.

They’ll get the job done; we figured all those other RVs in the casino parking probably retained their bikes because they weren’t worth stealing. Neither are our new ones.

I know it’s silly to get all depressed over a couple of stolen bicycles. As G points out: The thieves didn’t snag our iPhones; our comfort Casita egg is intact, we weren’t mugged; neither of us has a broken leg.

But it’s creepy to think about somebody slinking around just a few feet from us as we slept and swiping our beloved bikes. Here’s hoping they try to ride them, sans the seats, which are still in the backseat of the car.

May the stick stick.

33 thoughts on “A rude awakening

  1. Ah the outrageous acts of the selfish. A priest once told me “its only money” it helped some. I think the hard part is the intrusion of your safety. No one can steal your wonderful memories though. Keep on riding, and relish in knowing the seatless bikes probably slipped right pass the thieves. take care

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s maddening, the theft and the pathetic unlikelyhood that law enforcement will be able to apprehend the miserable SOB who did the deed.
    I’m empathetic as about 5 years ago someone, probably a druggie, came here while we slept and drove our Kawasaki Mule off. The Deputy Sherrif was professional in taking my information but I’m skeptical that much of an effort was made to solve the crime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our sympathies re the Kawasaki, Bill. It’s spooky to think of people slinking around us as we sleep…!

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  3. Boo! Hate the mentality required to steal another person’s hard-earned property. Thankful none of you were hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are sorry to hear about the theft of your bikes. Hope all the good things about your journey will always be foremost in your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Roberta and John. So wonderful to hear from you! We have so many wonderful memories of our time at the cabin. Hope all is well with you both (and the “kids”)!

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  5. There’s nothing worse than the violation of theft. Whether it’s your possessions or your feelings, or your pride. I am so very sorry you had this disheartening experience. I am gratified you are unharmed and saddened that the Casino police were not more engaged. Be safe and continue your belief in the best of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Katy. Best to you and Ken!

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  6. I am so sorry to hear about your bikes. You have had good adventure on them and I hope that they are found, but that your replacements get you through the west coast

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BTW, parts of your column were in the DMN this morning. I felt superior because it was all old news to me!!! Carry in!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. May the Bird of Paradise fly up their nose!!! So sorry this happened to you. Low life, I’d say. Waiting eagerly for updates. Truly loving your travels, even when there are glitches…😎😎😎

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your bikes. We had a bike stolen when we were at Pecan Grove RV Park in Austin, but it was a pretty cheap one. In any event, it does feel so creepy and violative of your personal space. Glad it was not anything that slowed you down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Madeleine. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience at Pecan Grove. We probably recommended that park to you – we loved our stays there. What a shame. But punk thieves have no right to diminish the joy of life. So onward we all go…!

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  10. How disappointing, and infuriating!

    Being robbed, no matter the situation, makes one feel completely violated. Many emotions, indeed.

    May the thieves enjoy reaping what they deserve.

    Enjoy the ride in the…”cheap seats!”😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pam. Violated is right. Oh well, today we’re off to Olympic Natl Park so things most assuredly are looking up.

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  11. 18000 miles before a huge disappointment in mankind ( except the wonderful Canadian
    border patrol lady) .
    Glad you all are safe. Love the last line. You said it all in four words!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sorry to hear about this and, as you can imagine, I certainly understand your sadness. The thieves must have realized the value of your bikes since they picked yours out of many others and went to the trouble and risk. I have insurance on mine (a rider on our homeowners) which gives me peace of mind and it is not too expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. Yes, we have a rider, too. Only catch is that our paperwork is in a file somewhere thousands of miles from us. 😊 But we think Luc in Belgium can email us a photocopy…. fingers crossed.

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  13. I so regret your loss. Georges’ perspective is the most helpful; however, you have lost something dear to you for which we grieve along with you.

    Thank you for sharing the crummy stuff along with the wonders of your journey.

    B. J. Hoff said it well in her THORNS AND THRONES:
    “Peace is not a smooth, untroubled river
    Beneath a sunlit sky, serene and warm . . . .
    The peaceful heart is like a trusting songbird
    Who cling to hope and sings throughout the storm.”

    Travel on— we are eager for the next installment of your adventure, your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Larry. Such wonderful words and wishes. Much appreciated!

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  14. Giant bummer, but your quick recovery is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So disappointing that your beautiful visit with us was marred by a set of thieves. May your Karma always grow while their’s shrinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing marred our visit with you. It was perfect. Different town, different county, different world.

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    2. PS Bob, we enjoyed a most delicious crab and shell-pasta soup last night. Heart (and tummy) warming. Thank you!

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      1. Last night was a good one for hot soup. Glad you had the crab to help soothe. We got five more yesterday so Lynn’s cousins are well supplied.

        Liked by 1 person

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