Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Feel It in the Air, The Summer's Out of Reach.

Hey, Kids! Did you miss me? I'm just doing a quick little photo post today. My friend Sarah D. came to visit us last Friday and took a bunch of photos. So, I got to check out how someone else saw my life...And ride a little bit of RAGBRAI on Saturday with her. With the exception of the top black and white photo, this post will be all of Sarah's pictures that she took while she stayed with us.

This first photo is pretty much spot on. I am always saying things and John has no idea what I'm talking about. I get that look from him a lot. Poor guy.

Apparently, I'm still talking and John is (fortunately for him) going deaf in his old age and can't hear what I'm saying.

Wow. Still talking. At least the rest of my family knows how to shut-up and smile for the camera...Even the grandpuppy.

Here is my reading room. It is the only room in our house that has air conditioning, so it's the perfect spare bedroom for guests in the Summer. It's also a wonderful place to read a book before bed. My haven.

Here is me, trying to get the blighted leaves off of the tomato plants. Luckily, I'm still getting tons of tomatoes, but I am annoyed by the late season blight all the same. I have many batches of pesto to freeze and tons of fresh salsa to make in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, this guy was needy and waiting for us after RAGBRAI. He was well taken care of while we were gone, but nobody is going to put up with his crap and give him as much attention as we do. Sigh.

As I often say, I am not a big fan of Winter, and Fall is just okay. So, I will relish the last days of late Summer and get as much as I can out of them.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Take Me to the River, Dip Me in the Water.

John riding with his cup of coffee.
There was such a big build-up to my special day, that writing about my actual birthday seems kind of like an after thought.

We woke-up and packed up our campsite and headed to Prairie du Chien. We decided we were going to ride as much of the Great River Road as we could. We had read that it was beautiful and scenic and not too scary with traffic. We found out that it wasn't really the case, but we started with high hopes.

We headed out North on the Great River Road. At first the traffic wasn't too bad and there was a pretty wide bike lane. As we rode, the traffic got worse and worse the bike lane got skinnier and it was half on pavement with big gauges on it and half on cement with big grates every half mile. We had semi's zipping past us at over 55 miles per hour and so John had us pull-off.

We stopped by some railroad tracks while John tried to check things out on his phone. It didn't look like the traffic was going to get any better, so we decided to turn back and give up on the Great River Road. It was just too dangerous.

It's too bad, because it was really beautiful and the other side of the road had a pretty nice bike lane and the traffic didn't seem half as bad going back into Prairie du Chien.

There were also big beached boats on the way back. We got in 15 miles on the bike, so I guess that was something...

We weren't sure what to do instead of riding, but we saw that the town of Manchester was on the way back to Iowa City.

I have wanted to go there for a while. They turned the river that runs through their town into a white water park and it was so damn cool.

We thought about getting some tubes to float down the river, but the rental place wasn't open for another half hour, so we just swam instead and got lunch at a deli.

Old people using technology out in the sun...

We were both kind of antsy to get back home, so we made our way back to Iowa City.

The cats were waiting for us and extremely needy. We unpacked some and I worked in the garden some, but then we decided to go see the new Jurassic Park movie. It was entertaining, but not all that believable. We went to Shorts for dinner and I was so exhausted, I fell asleep watching Ballykiss Angel on TV. Looking back on my big, birthday, weekend, I was reminded of how extremely lucky I am. I have the privilege of turning 53 years old and a life that I never knew I could have when I was younger.

So, next week, we head out on OOBRAI.  I hope to have plenty more adventures to write about on the blog.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sometimes I Wonder If the World's So Small, Then We Can Never Get Away From the Sprawl

Blogger is being annoying and I can't get it to work very well, so I'm leaving out a bunch of pictures and we'll have to deal with what we have. Sigh.

My birthday weekend was lovely. I feel lucky and happy to have such a terrific immediate family. We took the girls up to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin with us and played and played. We stayed at Wyasuling State Park and it was so great. It was pretty and clean and our campsites were quiet and private.

We got there later in the afternoon on Saturday because it rained up until about three o'clock up there. We got to the park, set up our tents and then went on a great hike with incredible views of the spot where the Mississippi meets the Wisconsin river.

We found a cool cave and had a great talk.

We went back to the campsite where I made quesadillas that we had with the guacamole and de gallo salsa that I made at home and it actually turned out really well.

We heard that they were having fireworks that evening in Prairie du Chien to help celebrate Crazy Days (Hey! they finally named a holiday after me), so we went to Lookout Point to wait for them to go off.

It was nice. There were a bunch of other people waiting and everyone was really festive. Of course, they didn't go off until almost ten o'clock and most of the kids that were there didn't get to see them all, but us old people got to stay for the whole thing.

I slept in in the morning and John went on a long run. When I woke up, I got to hang out in my new hammock and read a book and get some alone time, before John got back from his run and the girls woke up.

We decided to go canoeing and kayaking for our first activity.

The place we went was so pretty and the water was like glass, for the most part.

At one point, John told me he had a visitor. I figured he meant a dragonfly, because they were all over the place. He said, no. He had a snake stow away in the front compartment of his kayak. He slithered out of the hull and started to move toward John. John gently took his paddle and used it to move the snake into the water and he swam away. If it had been me, I probably would have pooped myself. We looked it up later and figured it was probably a black rat snake. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been a water moccasin.

After all of the excitement with the snake, John took us to a hiking trail that led to another cave.

It also had a cute, little, waterfall.

We ended up hiking farther than I thought we would and after that and the paddling, I was starving. We headed to Prairie du Chien for lunch and the girls were sweet enough to pick up the tab. It was very nice.

After lunch we headed to the Indian Burial Mounds.

It was hot and the hike was uphill for most of the first part and I was exhausted from all of the other activities we already did, but it was worth it.

The view was stunning here too.

As long as you were careful enough not to tumble over the edge.

We went to the town of McGregor next. It was adorable there. We hung out with the girls for a bit before they headed home. I was so lucky to get to spend the weekend with them.

John and I went to a Mexican restaurant for a drink after the girls took off. Our bartender was a very nice woman who made us a nice margarita...Or two. Hey! It was my birthday eve.

The smartest thing I did on Sunday evening was order some delicious shrimp and tortillas and rice and beans take-out before we left the Mexican restaurant. The rest of our evening was spent eating and talking and laughing by the fire. It was the perfect birthday eve.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Something Touched Me Deep Inside, the Day the Music Died.

We went to fabulous Clear Lake, Iowa last weekend and it was, fun, fun, fun, and our daddy didn't take the T-Bird away. We went so John could race bikes there. I always used to race too, but this year has been to hormone roller coastery for that, so instead I played and it was just grand.

We drove there after work on Friday and met our friends. We went to the little brewery in a house and sat outside until we got eaten by mosquitoes.

We also got to see the sunset over the lake. One of my favorite things to do in Clear Lake.

I woke up at about 6 the next morning. John had his first race at 8:45, so he got up early and headed over there to warm up.

I went for a lovely morning run, and checked out the lake again and met some lovely King Charles Spaniels and got some dog petting in.

I like to explore a town by running, because I see things I've never noticed before. On this run I found a putt-putt golf course and some wetlands.

After my run I went to the donut shop across the street and got some goodies. John normally won't eat sweets, but I got him a raspberry cream cheese danish, just in case and what do you know, he ate it after he got back from his race.

John decided to take a quick nap, so I rode my bike to the South beach and read my book for a while. It was so perfect.

I got a call from John. he had just woken from (awakened?) from his nap and wanted me to meet him and our other friends for lunch.

After lunch we went back to the beach and swam and watched other people swim and play.

John was supposed to race again at 3:15, so he left to get ready and warm-up before the race and I went on a little bike ride.

We originally thought that the nice road with the fat bike lanes went all the way around the lake, so I figured I'd ride that little route and end up in Downtown Clear Lake in easily enough time to catch John's race. Unfortunately, we were wrong about the road. I ended up out in the country, on the road race course they were going to use on Sunday. Then I found myself in the town of Ventura, next on a bigger highway with very little shoulder and FINALLY back in Clear Lake. At least I got to ride past the Surf Ballroom.

I did make it back in time to see John race and talk to some friends I hadn't seen in a long time and get a great deal on some sale bike clothes, just in time for RAGBAI this month.

It was a great day of racing and John did pretty well for not really racing since the end of May.

After the races, we headed back to that bar/restaurant to get a drink and watch the sunset.

Moscow mules were the perfect choice.

It was a very nice last night in Clear Lake.

The next morning, I got up and headed to the beach to hang out while John did his road race. It was so nice.

Our friends came out and joined me and we sat on the dock with our feet in the water and just relaxed.

John finished his race and joined us. He said it felt pretty good to jump in the water after riding his bike so far.

We were all starving, so we headed to lunch where John and I ate a bunch of appetizers: peel and eat shrimp, crabmeat Rangoon nachos, bruschetta, and fried cheese curds.

Before we headed back  home, I made John stop at the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper Crash Site.

Do these glasses make my head look small?

It was a little underwhelming, but it was only about a ten mile drive out of town (like John said, they didn't get very far). So, now I can say I saw it.

I'm hoping this weekend is just as fun.