WITh a background that includes growing up in San Francisco, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica and working as a naturalist in Yosemite, I always believed that I was keenly aware of the relationship between geography and the natural environment. After all everyone knows that on any given summer day driving 30 minutes in any direction from foggy San Francisco means dry grass and cloudless skies. Still so far one of my biggest revelations of being on a bike day after day is that I find myself hyperaware of my surroundings and the subtlest changes that can only be perceived one pedal stroke at a time. Not just the big changes like rainy Anacortes compared to the hot and dry basin east of the Cascades, but the tiny things that can only be appreciated through hours on the saddle. On day four, slogging through the endless hot and dry Okanagan river basin on the relatively busy route 20 in a steady and protective paceline, the slightest breeze and miniscule drop in temperature let’s the five of us know our path must once again be coinciding with the river. As we’re moving steadily around the next bend Arleen (beekeeper hobbyist) lets us know “...it smells like bees?”, sure enough a quarter mile down the road, we come upon acres and acres of pear trees. Just in case the long flat miles lull us into complacency, Bill’s multiple daily wardrobe adjustments to match our ever changing microenvironment demand that we wake up and smell the bees!!