Frequent Flier Miles are Supposed to be for Fun Stuff…

But not this time. Jim’s mom died on August 22, just over a month after we got going on our travels. We are flying back to KC from Philadelphia  for the services this Labor Day weekend. Maybe not the best way to spend the holiday weekend; but appropriate too, since she always assumed the entire family would gather at the lake for this (and every) holiday. She had a good long life, well lived. We are sorry to see her go and Jim’s dad will be affected the most. But I am also thankful; that she is not living with the low quality of life she had for the last year or so. She was 91. So back we go.

We had been here about a week and were planning to move on to DC in a few days when we got the news. Fortunately, we are parked in some good friends’ driveway and they have graciously allowed us to not only leave the bus here while we are gone but they offered to look after the cats too. The services weren’t until ten days after her death so we have squatted here longer than we planned. What did we do to deserve such good friends?

Before we got to Philadelphia, where we are now, we stopped in West Chester, Pennsylvania to have a nice evening and dinner with old friends from Columbia. They made roast chicken, salad, corn on the cob and sweet potatoes. We have been eating like kings! We enjoyed catching up, dinner and seeing pictures from their recent bicycle tour of Austria. They took a tandem which broke down into two suitcases. Jealous much? I have never ridden a tandem but would like to try. Thanks Janice and Gary!

IMG_6515

Getting to the Elks Lodge in West Chester was a little tricky. We mistakenly took the bus right through the quaint downtown and missed our sharp right turn into the lodge which necessitated driving down some very narrow streets with cars parked on both sides. Why does all this high anxiety stuff always have to happen when it’s my turn to drive? Once we got to the Elks, we had a very nice spot to park.

IMG_6517

We drove partway across Pennsylvania on the Turnpike, not even across the whole state and our toll was like $63.00! Yikes! Some cool tunnels on the way.

DSC_0110

In the time we have been here I visited my sister who lives very close by, we have ridden bikes, I got some work done and we went to the beach, besides having some great meals and pie.

IMG_6542  IMG_6529
Sister Tina and me. We had a great visit and I ate more pie.

IMG_6547  IMG_6548
The day at Sandy Hook was absolutely worth the long drive. We picked up sandwiches at Edie’s in Sandy Hook and spent the day playing in the waves, reading The New Yorker and people watching. Oh and drinking beer.

DSC_0178  IMG_6524
IMG_6522
Our quiet and colorful surroundings and a delicious tomato pasta dish Michael concocted.

We are humbled and so very grateful for the good friends and the blessings flowing our way. When we get back, we will stay another day or so to ride the trails and to downtown Philly and then we will head for DC before swinging south for the winter.

 

Fallingwater…And The Kindness of Strangers

While we were in Confluence, we discovered from the map that Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, was nearby. According to our calculations, all we had to do was ride 12 miles on the Great Allegheny Passage to Ohiopyle, then just another four miles to get to Fallingwater. We knew it would be hillier than the trail, but how bad could it be? HA!

I got tickets online the day before and the day after my birthday we headed out, giving ourselves plenty of time for our 3:00 PM tour and a picnic lunch. It was a Saturday and the trail and the river were busy with bicyclists and kayakers.  We got to Ohioplye just fine and headed up the road to Fallingwater. The first uphill stretch wasn’t too bad and we persevered. The next hill was longer and steeper uphill as we should have realized by our drive in to the campground with the eight and 10% grades. Doable in the bus, not so much on the bikes. We pushed the bikes uphill and then started to descend. OH. MY. GOD.

I have been down plenty of steep hills on my bike before but they didn’t go straight downhill for miles on end. You can’t use your brakes too much or you will heat up the rims and give yourself a flat. Jim said he didn’t let himself get over 30 MPH but I was too terrified preoccupied to even look at the speedometer. Just trying to stay upright, not go too fast and not kill myself or get a flat.

By the time we made it to Fallingwater, I was shaking all over. 35 MPH downhill for what-seemed-like miles was a little disconcerting. We walked the bikes into the parking lot and started investigating the grounds, which were extensive.

IMG_6498
There was a beautiful cutting garden and rhododendrons everywhere! Supposedly no photography was allowed inside the house but we saw people doing it anyway. I would have liked to but respected the rules. For once.

IMG_6500  IMG_6505

Untitled-3 copy
Above pic from the Interwebs, scaffolding and people when we were there, above. Interior pics from the web too.
Untitled-1 copy Untitled-2

We had a very good guide who explained the history and design of the house in a knowledgeable and unhurried manner. The descriptions of the way Frank Lloyd Wright dealt with the Kaufmans, the owners, was interesting. Apparently he was very dictatorial, positioning the house in a completely different place than the clients had anticipated. They thought they would have a view of the falls; instead he positioned it so the falls became an integral part of the house itself.  Steps from the living room descended into the stream above the falls, forming a little pool. The rock floors and walls brought the outdoors in and integrated the building into the site.

IMG_6507 IMG_6506
Large boulders in the mountain itself anchor the back of the house, snugged into the rock face.  Wright had the furniture built right into the house, per his style, and dictated the colors of accessories throughout the house, although it was up to the Kaufmans to choose the textiles since they traveled extensively. Wright refused to build a garage, all practicality aside. Garages were pedestrian and not in his vision for his grandiose crowning jewel of 1930s architecture.

The guest house above the house appears to be part of the main house upon approach, sort of a spire or topknot. This was deliberately planned by Wright (of course!) and gave a taller, grander appearance. The whole afternoon was completely enjoyable and took our minds off the fact that we would be riding back on the bikes the same way we came. The downhills would just be in the opposite direction this time.

In the parking lot, on the way back to the bikes, we saw a couple and I said to the guy, “I don’t suppose you have a pickup truck, do you?” He said he did and was heading to Ohioppyle and would be happy to take us and our bikes back to the trail. WOO HOO!

But then his girlfriend reminded him that they were in her truck and it had two kayaks in the back. Oops! Back to the road. We were able to ride a little ways then had to start pushing the bikes uphill again. That is a lot of work. Not sure which is worse, plodding uphill or flying downhill. At almost the top of the first big hill, I looked back and an empty full size pickup approached. I stuck out my thumb just for the heck of it; I was resigned to walking and flying by this time. He drove by. Oh well. A few minutes later, we saw him coming back! He pulled off, turned around for us and said “You guys broke down?” I should have just said Yes. I’m sure these western Pennsylvania folks think it’s crazy to not ride the hills. Maybe if I was Lance Armstrong…

Anyway, he gave us and the bikes a ride back to the trail which took like two minutes, it seemed after the long slog in the other direction. We tried to give him some money but he refused. I was very grateful.

The 12 miles back to Ohiopyle were easy and uneventful. Mostly.
IMG_6513

 

The Great Allegheny Passage

The Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trails were beautiful and fun to ride, but it was time to move on. We had scoped out the Great Allegheny Passage, a rails-to-trails path that runs 134 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. It hooks up with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath and you can ride to Washington DC. The whole trip is about 235 miles, minus side trips. We planned on just riding some sections. Jim found a the Outflow Campground, so we GPSed the address (and iPad mapped it) and headed out for the banks of the Youghiogheny River. The what? How the heck do you pronounce that?
Ya-ka-kay-ney.

First the roads were fairly straightforward highways while I was driving but soon we got into the mountains. With Jim at the wheel, the bus was routinely pulling(and descending) 8 and 10% grades. Jim drove like a champ. Thanks to Captain Ted, and our own experience and education, the key is to go SLOW. If that doesn’t work, go SLOWER. We went up and down several hills in first gear. Thank God for jake brakes too. As Jim said later, “That terrain really increases your pucker factor.”

We came to what we thought was our final turn to head a very steep downhill into where would land in the campground. Just as we crested the hill, a guy going the other direction waved us down and said, “You don’t want to take that down there.” Jim asked about the campground and it turned out it wasn’t at that address. Thank goodness our guardian angel showed up when he did. Trust the loving universe, as my friend Connie would say. And she is right.

So we had to back it up into the roadway. At least we were right at the top of the hill. I asked a passing driver and he told me how to find the Outflow Camping. Then he blocked traffic for us, not that there was hardly any, and we got turned around. More hills ahead and we weren’t sure now where we were going. We don’t like to have to turn around or back up if we don’t have to.

We made it to the campground and got to choose between two remaining sites. I don’t know what we would have done if they were full. We got set up and all plugged in and settled in for a few days of riding. Oh and my birthday. I put out my hummingbird feeder and they came right away.

Confluence is at the confluence of the Youghiogheny and Casselman Rivers and Laurel Hill Creek. They call it the Turkeyfoot Region because of how the waters converge. It is a town of about 800 people, very bike oriented with bike racks at all the businesses around the town square.

bikes

The trail runs along the Youghiogheny River with the train tracks on the other side of the river.

DSC_9993 DSC_0083 DSC_0045 DSC_0004 DSC_0010 DSC_0001
The Pinkerton Tunnel above was closed and they are soliciting funds to re-open it. Of course. But here’s the deal: for every dollar you donate, they will chip in $17! I am sending them some money. You can too.

Somerset County Rails to Trails
P.O. Box 413
Somerset, PA 15501

or online at:

atatrail.org/pinkerton

The tunnel didn’t look that bad inside so hopefully it won’t take much. They had a bypass and we went on to Markleton before we turned back.

We rode about 25-30 miles a day. We don’t get up that early, take our time in the morning and hit the bikes about noon for four hours or so. That includes lunch, either homemade or not. In Confluence, we found the River’s Edge Cafe and it was excellent. The view from our table on the porch.
DSC_9978  DSC_9987  DSC_9988
Sitting on the porch sipping wine, having lunch and traveling around by bike… I told Jim I felt like I was on vacation every day. This (semi) retirement is growing on me. We went to River’s Edge again for my birthday celebration, which was lovely. We sat at the same table by the river and the flowers and toasted our good fortune.

Jim took a rest day from the bike the day after we went to Fallingwater and I rode about 20 miles scoping out the best places to take pictures of the trains and the rolling art they display. I know it’s vandalism but my artistic hat is off to those guys. They work fast, have great use of color and sense of design and are really creative. I found a couple of good spots to have close access to the trains without obstructions, one in Harnedsville and one in Confluence right on the square.

Some examples:
DSC_0052
This is the train approaching in Harnedsville. I waved when he went by and he tooted two sharp blasts on the whistle at me. I’m not sure why but I was thrilled.

DSC_0063

DSC_0076 DSC_0074

More photos on Flickr.

Next: Fallingwater and The Kindness of Strangers.

 

15 Years on the Erie Canal…

DSC_9947

One of the first songs I ever remember learning:

I had a mule, his name was Sal
15 years on the Erie Canal.
He’s a good ol’ worker, he’s a good ol’ pal.
15 years on the Erie Canal.

We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal and hay.
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down.
Low bridge ’cause we’re going through a town.
And you’ll always know your neighbor, you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

At Rocketfest we talked with Andy Platko and he told us about the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trails. They run up into the Cuyahoga National Park and through Cleveland but there is no overnight parking in the park. When we were on our Seville/Westfield Center tour with Franklin, we stopped at the trailhead at Sterling and talked to some folks who told us we could pick up the trail right around there near Canal Fulton.

Jim went into action and found a spot at Clay’s Park, just two miles from the trail. We motored over there and got set up so we could ride for a few days. Our view from the bus, not too bad…
DSC_9969

The next day we took off on the bikes for a nice 20+ mile ride. As soon as we had gone about 10 miles and turned around, it started just pouring down rain. There was nothing to do but keep riding, so that’s what we did. By the time we got back to the bus, we were soaked and the bikes were soaked. We were so dirty from the chat on the trail making a stripe up our backs and all over our packs, that we hosed ourselves off in the outdoor shower at the bus, bikes, clothes and all. Good thing we have that shower, it has saved us a lot of black tank fill-up. We used it all the time at Marni and Eric’s.

The next day rain was also called for but not as likely. We took off in the other direction and after our picnic lunch, it started to rain a little, exactly like the day before. You think, “Oh, this won’t be too bad.” Next thing you know, you are inundated. We headed back. I don’t mind getting wet all that much, but two days in a row was a bit of a stretch. We made it back to the bus and the weather was beautiful the whole rest of the day. Go figure.

The towpath ran between the canal and the Tuscarawas River so we got to see some of both. The remains of the locks at Canal Fulton and Clinton were really interesting and made you feel like you were back there in time with the mules hauling the barges. .

DSC_9927

The remaining canal boat, the St. Helena, was at Canal Fulton but out of the water. The canals were really narrow, probably dug with not much clearance on each side. No margin for error.
DSC_9935

Tusawara River and the Ohio-Erie Canal.

DSC_9960 DSC_9964
DSC_9934

The sunflowers, Joe Pye Weed, rudbeckia, echinacia, liatris and other flowers made for a  glorious mid-August display.
DSC_9957 DSC_9939 DSC_9954
Thanks to Andy Platko and Franklin and the people at the trailhead for the suggestions. We have other towpaths on our radar now.

 

17th Annual Rocketfest!

DSC_9830

DSC_9744
As host Franklin Graf says, “Rocketfest is not a car show; it’s a picnic and get-together.” Ever since I have been NAOC Editor, I have heard great stories about this legendary one-day event in Westfield Center, Ohio. This was the year to attend and check it out.

Franklin arranged great parking for the bus, right across the street from the event, which is held on the property of his shop. We were in a private, shady spot that used to be the parking for the ball fields. It was nice and level too. He had cleared it with the Police Chief so we headed over on Friday.

DSC_9782

We ended up getting kicked out a day early because somebody called to complain that the bus was parked on public property, even though we had already gotten permission. That turned out to be OK though, since we needed that extra day to squeeze into the state park in Pennsylvania where spots are first come, first served. More on that later.

The show is always on the second Saturday of August and we had fine weather. What is so famous about Rocketfest? Besides celebrating the Rocket engine made by Oldsmobile from 1949-1959 (in any make of car), the food was always described as fabulous. My first question when investigating an event, “Is there food involved?” was answered with a resounding YES. So. Much. Food. And so good too. Franklin and his well-oiled helpers grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and Italian sausage with all the trimmings. There was Italian tomato salad, corn casserole, a delightful bleu cheese and pecan salad, green bean casserole, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, baked beans, ham and asparagus wraps, fried chicken, shrimp; the list goes on and on. And that doesn’t even include the desserts!

My plate. And yes, I ate it all.
DSC_9778

We ate at noon and at 3:00 PM there was a parade around Westfield Center, a very quiet and well kept town dominated by what Franklin called The Company, Westfield Insurance. There is no real business district, just the Company buildings, the Westfield Inn and the civic building.

The Oldsmobiles and Rocket-engine powered other brands were out in force. There were probably 50 cars at this one day, not very publicized picnic.

My goofy friend and NAOC Membership Manager Paul, whose 1962 Starfire turned over 100,000 miles on the way to the show. It was good to see him again.
DSC_9705 DSC_9760

There were five very rare fastbacks there too.
 DSC_9789 DSC_9842

Franklin’s self created panel wagon. Olds didn’t make one, but he did!

DSC_9709

And Tony won Franklin’s Pick with his Rocket engine powered 1929 Ford Model A.

DSC_9907

What a great day it was! See more photos here, and look for an article with lots more pictures in an upcoming issue of Runabouts to Rockets. Many thanks to Franklin for his hospitality and the local tour he gave us the next day, which helped us zero in on the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trails. Andy Platko had mentioned them at the show but overnight parking wasn’t allowed in the Cuyahoga National Park.  We zeroed in on some that were a little further from Cleveland and some folks we met at a trailhead with Frank during our tour helped us pick our next stop. Since Rocketfest was our last planned destination, we decided to check them out.

The Blessing of Friends

We finished up our High Trestle Trail Tour in Iowa with a lovely ride to see the bridge lit up for evening. It was definitely worth the 33 miles we rode that day.

DSC_9596

The next day we headed for Dayton. Why Dayton, you ask? We were definitely on the Trail Tour now and enjoying riding the bikes 20-30 miles a day. That might seem really boring to some people, but to us, it is the ultimate in relaxation, exercise and sightseeing.

Jim had struck up a conversation at the FCA convention in Kansas City with Ed, who lives in Dayton and he said “I think the bus would be really cool in our driveway for a few days.” He lives near two trails we wanted to investigate, the Greater Miami and Little Miami River Trails, and we did some research. I’m not sure if he realized we would take him up on it, but after Iowa, when we contacted him, he gave us the go-ahead.

I don’t know what we have done to deserve the kindness that has been flowing our way, but we made our way to their house on a quiet cul-de-sac and Jim backed it into the driveway perfectly, right next to Cindy’s beautiful side garden. After we backed the bus into their just-long-enough driveway, we proceeded to get to know them better. And boy, are we glad we did.

We knew we would have a good time with them; when we arrived, Ed came out to the driveway and said, “You know you’re crazy!” We laughed and the visit got off to a good start.

DSC_9682

Cindy has beautiful gardens, full of all the plants I left behind at our house; hosta, phlox, black-eyed-Susans, surprise lilies, along with a lot of others. I enjoyed every minute of our borrowed bus garden. Their neighbor, Nit also had phlox, cannas, balsam and lots of hummingbirds.

DSC_9676 DSC_9605  DSC_9628

And the hospitality! They were so kind and Ed even lent us his truck to get to the trails with the bikes. This turned out to be a real blessing as the traffic and route may have been a bit difficult on the bikes. The first day we parked at Carillon Park and rode north toward Dayton. The trail was immediately closed due to construction so we turned around and headed south. There we also encountered many ROAD CLOSED signs on the bike path but we just rode around them.

DSC_9625

After that, when we came to the CLOSED signs, we just kept going past them and the way was clear through to Miamisburg, where we had lunch and toured the town.

DSC_9627 DSC_9629
DSC_9633

DSC_9631

The day was cool enough but it was humid. Once we got back to Cindy and Ed’s place, we treated them to dinner but they cheated us! We went to a famous local pizza place, Marion’s Pizza, where they were celebrating their 49th anniversary with a 49% off offer! They do this every year and discount the pizza as many years as they have been in business. We chowed down on two delicious pizzas with thin crust, loaded with toppings and a pitcher of Yuengling beer, an Ohio product. Ed and Cindy are both Ohio natives and gave us the scoop on all the local sights and attractions. Gracious Hosts and Tour Guides  all wrapped up together. And friends extraordinaire. How did we get so lucky?

Ed has been retired for eight years but he still works for some local businesses. One of them is a high-end funeral home where he serves as limo driver and doer of all necessary tasks. He is an extremely personable guy, perfectly suited for the job. When Jim was getting stuff out of the bays on the tight side, Ed commented that it was a good thing that we were skinny. He said something that really stuck with me; “Being in the funeral business, I have buried a lot of old people and I have buried a lot of fat people, but I haven’t buried a lot of old fat people.”

Cindy is a retired school superintendent and an accomplished musician, besides being a very good gardener. She is second chair violin in their local orchestra and has an amazing singing voice. She had a performance coming up and was practicing into the night for it. We enjoyed visiting on the deck of their beautiful home and, at the risk of repeating myself, we were awash in friendship and hospitality. Their driveway was also the perfect length for the bus. Nice and level too.

DSC_9668

The next day we explored the Little Miami River Trail and rode from Xenia to Yellow Springs, the home of Antioch College and a cool town “stuck in the ’60s” as Ed and Cindy described it. Not such a bad thing. On the way we rode under the Hyde Road Covered Bridge. Built in 2014, it is a testament to the commitment of the community to the bike trails.

DSC_9637 DSC_9640

More Yellow Springs:

DSC_9646 DSC_9643

DSC_9634

On the trail on the way back this lady was chauffeuring her two terriers on her recumbent. I must admit that when I came up behind her, I thought there were three dogs, but the middle one turned out to be her…

DSC_9648

This day was cooler and much less humid. We rode about 26 miles, a few extra since I missed a turn on the way back and Jim took a while to catch up to let me know of my error. OOPS!

DSC_9650

The trail head had a beautiful garden attached and I got to enjoy more August beauty.

DSC_9663 DSC_9658

We had breakfast at The Golden Nugget the next morning where we saw a lot of people that Ed will probably be burying before they get old… Note to self: Don’t eat there too often.

Before we left, Ed had to go and drive for a funeral, but as he was saying his goodbyes in the driveway, he took both my hands and said “I hope you don’t mind…” and said a heartfelt prayer blessing us as we had told them that our bus had been blessed by Deacon Scott in Farmer City last year. So touching and added to our gratitude for these fine folks being our friends and coming into our lives.

Ed and Cindy actually thanked us for allowing them along on our adventure. We can’t even express how thankful we are… We love you guys!
DSC_9608

On to Rocketfest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodward, Iowa and the High Trestle Trail

We rolled into Woodward, Iowa late Saturday afternoon after a rather longish day. Due to our new ‘full slack policy’ (as in “everyone must have slack”) we seldom plan to drive more than 250 miles a day.  However, we actually have a deadline (Oh,no!) to meet and we really wanted to check out Iowa’s High Trestle Trail. So we rolled almost 350 miles and we’re now parked in an old defunct trailer court behind the Whistlin’ Donkey Bar and Grill. We’re a few hundred feet from the trailhead and in complete shade in an otherwise empty campground – how sweet is that? Last night we just stayed in. I did walk over to the Whistlin’ Donkey to pay our campground fee and the ‘too cools’ tried to overcharge. I got that straightened out and we enjoyed a lovely and quiet evening. Even got droned’ by some ultra-lights!

DSC_9498DSC_9505

It seems like the entire state of Iowa is under cultivation in corn, beans and wheat. We drove for hundreds of miles and were surrounded by neat rows of crops in all directions. A few small towns and then just more corn. More than 99% of the original prairie is gone and Iowa used to be nearly all prairie. Still they call it the Bike Trail Capital of the World and if the High Trestle Trail is any example, it is.

IMG_6404DSC_9526IMG_6407DSC_9538

We rode about 26 miles today and it was an absolutely gorgeous summer day. This trail runs for 25 miles between Woodward and Ankeny, Iowa on an old rail bed. It is smooth, solid concrete that makes for a quicker pace than the MKT. Of course it runs through farm country and on Sunday, everybody and Grandma is out on the trail. We saw everything from hikers to recumbents to road bikes.

IMG_6410

IMG_6420

 

It was such a pleasure to roll along under your own power in such a beautiful place, so you will surely understand my dismay at (Warning! Rant Ahead) the new trend in cycling:

Every third or fourth biker that passed us had to have their own personal radio blasting away at top volume, I mean, you could hear them coming and going forever!  Most of them were tuned to some golden oldies station playing the same tired stuff we’ve heard for the last 30 years.  So if  you are just now discovering this new fad or perhaps have been trailblasting for years, take a hint – you have the right to tune in to your favorite rock ‘n roll or country tunes or swing or jazz – even TALK RADIO?  Such a downer to hear Rush rant as you ride through God’s country on your bicycle  but why do you think its OK to make everyone else in the vicinity listen to it too? Now I love music of nearly all kinds and today I even heard some Hip/Hop with something to offer, but haven’t you heard of headphones or ear buds?  “EFFF EMMMM… No Static at ALLL,  EFFF EMMM” Sheesh.

And something for the car guys…

IMG_6422

 

 

Not in Kansas Anymore…

We have been in Mitchell, South Dakota establishing our official South Dakota residency status. We planned our trip according to the fact that the license office is only open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We found a nice deserted campground where we could plug in and give the batteries a good soak and fill our fresh tank. And boy, did we fill it. OOPS!

wtaer-bus

We also rented a car since the license bureau is in Mitchell, our mail service is in Emery and the registration office is in Alexandria, all about 20 miles apart.

In spite of the fact that we had to drive all over, we got our mail, got driver’s licenses, registered the bus and got plates, opened a bank account, registered to vote, got library cards and had lunch in less than four hours. As Jim told the people in the license office, it was the most painless licensing process, ever! There were two windows at the driver’s license office and both of them were manned! In Kansas there were about 25 windows and maybe three were open. You could easily wait hours for just that part, never mind all the rest. It was usually a nightmare.

The next day we met with a lawyer and started the process of South Dakota-izing our wills, power of attorney, health care directives, all that good stuff.

Our new “neighborhood” although we will probably never go back there…

This is our physical address; it is actually called My Home Address. They were very helpful with helping us make sure we had all the right documents to get things rolling. Thanks Susan and Betty!

IMG_6400

Across the street yard art:
IMG_6401 IMG_6402

Next we are headed to Woodward, Iowa to ride the High Trestle Trail.

Columbia Katy Trail Wrap-Up

 

We wrapped up our visit to Marni and Eric’s with more trail riding, a lovely dinner party on a beautiful night and a visit to Pete Anger’s newly hung art exhibit of his light paintings at Columbia College. Then lunch with the group, including Marni’s mom, Jane, who is a delightful lady who lives there too. She is full of fun and appreciative of life. Oh yeah, and a once-in-a-lifetime event: the release into the wild of Sticky, the hummingbird whom Eric had fastidiously rehabilitated in their house for about 12 days. She actually turned out to be a juvenile male but Eric said they were going to refer to her as “she.” Here she is in the house before the release.

DSC_9470  DSC_9490
And upon imminent release.

Marni hates, absolutely HATES having her picture taken. I got one anyway.
marni
DSC_9431  DSC_9436  DSC_9441  DSC_9437  DSC_9446

The trail riding was awesome, as usual and we put about 150 miles on our bikes during the time we were there. We really like them. The last evening I rode I came upon a good-sized red fox on the trail. He had his back to me and turned and ran across the trail, exhibiting his very large and lovely bushy red tail before he disappeared into the brush. It was a joy and a pleasure to see him; I didn’t even try to get a picture. I also got to meet up with my friend Anne and we had a delightful visit at Cooper’s Landing. She even made me a necklace.
DSC_9465  DSC_9460

The dinner party was amazingly delicious  with practically everything picked fresh from the garden, potato salad, kale salad, zucchini and pepper with tofu plus an outrageously sweet dessert made by Dana, one of the attendees. And wine. Of course.

During the time we were there we feasted on fresh corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, blackberries, eggs, you name it.

DSC_9451   DSC_9457  DSC_9454

 

Pete arranged a private viewing of his show of Light Paintings that was opening the next day and we enjoyed the very large colorful prints produced with neon and open shutter.

IMG_6382 IMG_6387 IMG_6391 IMG_6395

Jim and Eric upon our departure. We had a great time, a most excellent parking spot and so much fun with such good friends. Can’t thank them enough.

IMG_6398 IMG_6399

Our parking spot was well shaded and about 30 feet from the trail. Let’s ride!

On to South Dakota to establish residency and get our driver’s licenses and all that good stuff.

 

 

Breaking in the Bikes

We are parked in a lovely quiet spot right next to the trail on friends’ property. This is our view from the bus.

DSC_9354

They garden seriously and extensively and pretty much feed themselves year round with the bounty of their very hard work. Some of the goodies we have partaken of…

IMG_6363
Sweetest corn so fresh.

IMG_6365
New potatoes
DSC_9421
Zucchini grilled to perfection on our little Hibachi

Along with tomatoes, cucumbers and tonight a delicious offering of Marni’s famous hot slaw. We ate the entire container.

They feed the birds all year long and when I saw all the hummingbirds, I dug out my hummingbird feeder (yes, I brought one), filled it up and within minutes the familiar little birds were buzzing about. We hung it on the awning right in sight. Pretty sweet.
DSC_9402

On to the biking. We are really liking the new bikes. The Katy Trail is a great place to get used to a new bike and we have put about 100 miles on them since our arrival. Yesterday we rode into Columbia and rode around town a little. It is a lot different than when I was a bike commuter there, but the routes and distances all doable. More traffic though. Also, more bike lanes. Many more.

IMG_6360

Some scenes along the trail; Hartsburg

DSC_9383 DSC_9389

Toward McBaine. Everybody knows the Big Tree. It has changed over the many years I have visited it but still standing, with fewer branches. It was 150 years old when Lewis and Clark came through these parts in 1804.

DSC_9412
DSC_9392

Providence
DSC_9407
DSC_9410
Helping a fellow traveler
DSC_9418

Near Easley
IMG_6362
In Wilton
DSC_9363
IMG_6374
The day before we arrived, Eric rescued a hummingbird who had gotten caught up in Tanglefoot and damaged a wing. They have nursed her back to health and both she and Eric have succeeded in cleaning her wing. She lets Eric take her out of her box. After six days, she has progressed enough that she is flying around their house. We went up and hung out while she was out flying around and feeding inside the house. He is very excited, with good reason, since a couple of days ago, she was starting to fail and not feeding. He moved her box over by the window so she was stimulated to feed and now she is queen of the kitchen. So very cool.