I get dressed, we put the bike rack on her car and the bikes on the rack, and we're off to downtown. We park, unload the bikes, load up the basket with Gatorade and a six-pack of Pepsi, and start riding.
Keep in mind that if the day had stopped right there, I would be happy. I love to ride my bike, and anything more than a slow cruise around the neighborhood is a good trip in my book. However, the day was just starting.
We rode over to the zoo, locked up the bikes, and head on in. It was the baby elephant's birthday, so it is crowded. We had a great time looking at the animals, and Kat has a way of finding simple things that are fascinating. While we're staring at the Kodiak bears, she happened to notice a nest of birds in a tree next to the bear pit. I spent a few minutes being less than two feet away from a family of sparrows, probably the closest this city boy ever gets to real wild animals.
The aquatic exhibits were really cool. Literally. After being in the hot sun for a few hours, walking into that air-conditioned building was heavenly (Actually, we weren't all that overheated. We went through the Gatorade and a bottle of water as we walked through the zoo, and we were just a little warm instead of unbearably hot and thirsty). The dolphin show had ended, but there were one or two still swimming around. This was the first time I had actually seen live dolphins, and they were as sleek and graceful as they look on TV. Finally, we went to the arctic exhibit, and watched a penguin zoom around the water like he was on speed.
After the zoo, Heather gave in to one of my whims, and we rode our bikes along the canal. It wasn't anything spectacular, but I really enjoyed just pedaling along by the water and seeing the progress they've made since I worked by it.
The next order of business was lunch. There's a Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant downtown, but we got there about 45 minutes before it opened. We locked up our bikes and walked over to TJ Maxx. Without even looking hard, we found a service for 4 of our flatware, and at a great price. We snatched it up. We killed some more time by looking in the mall for a dress for Kat to wear to my friend's wedding in October. We saw some nice ones, and before long, the restaurant was about to open.
Lunch was marvelous. We started off with a tomato, mozzaralla, and roasted pepper salad that could have been a meal in itself. In fact, if we go back to Buca, it probably will be. We followed it with chicken Marsala. Kat thought the sauce was a little too sweet, but that didn't stop us from sopping it up with our bread, after we polished off the chicken. Fresh brewed tea, freshly baked Italian bread, and the meal was complete.
Unfortunately, that pretty much did it for us. We rode around a little bit longer, but after a half-hour, we decided to call it a day and head on home. We got home, cleaned up, and relaxed by watching Caddyshack.
This was probably one of the best days I've had in years, and I am so glad I got to spend it with Kat.