Saturday, June 22, 2013

ON TO OREGON!

We are packed up and heading to Oregon for the Gorge Tour: many great days of riding, fabulous scenery, and really good eats.  And, really good eats. So sorry you're not here!  

I was quite surprised that this ride did not fill!  The Oregon Gorge is a fabulous tour!  We are looking at a week of good weather, great riding, great ACA staff and a small group of cyclists that will be spoiled rotten. 

Jack and I are looking forward to feeding this tribe and hopefully getting some ride time in for ourselves  as well!  

We will have limited internet access on this tour, but I hope to keep you up to date the best I can.  We are going to kick off the event tonight at Oxbow State Park just East of Portland with our first map meeting and dinner.  We are hosting a salad buffet with a tossed green salad with all the trimmings, a honey chicken salad, tuna salad, Orzo pasta salad, an amazing Quinoa salad with fava beans and fresh asparagus in a spicy fresh lemon dressing, and home made cookies for dessert.

We have some surprises along the way this trip:  YUMMM!  We will celebrate the Pacific Northwest one evening with a happy hour consisting of smoked salmon pate & crackers, (Jack caught and smoked the salmon!), grilled Olympic oysters on the half shell, Bourbon salmon as an entree and chilled dungeness crab to set off the meal.  I am so so sorry that you are not one of the lucky 27 that will be feasting on this meal!  (The rest of the week should be pretty good, too.)

So we're off on another adventure!  We will keep you posted the best we can.  Happy trails!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Last Three Days, Y'all!















Snacks!  They love the dates!
Scary electronics.
Our water stop guru giving directions to the "restroom", of sorts.
Our circus tent at Pedernales....where are the clowns?  Send in the clowns!
What a plate of food!
Jack's new apron....he has an attitude.
Our fearless leader, Greg, ready to take on the last map meeting.
The staff leading the sing along...and the words to the tune of "Let's go to Luckenbach Texas..."
A field of bluebonnets.
Pres. Johnson's boyhood school house.
Cool trees.
The goat on Johnson's farm wanted to eat my shoelaces.

I get so frustrated with technology...or the lack there of.  The wireless at the campground failed and I wasn't able to update my blog until Jack got home with the laptop and the big yellow truck.  ARGHH.

So, I need to catch you up on the last few days of our ride.  What a great time it was!
Wednesday was another layover day in Fredericksburg.  This was to be our ride day too....but the weather did not cooperate.  It was mega windy and the riders that headed out early to Enchanted Rock weren't quite so happy they did.  It is a tough ride to begin with, but with the wind it made it not too enjoyable.  Many chose to hang around town and explore the museums and  restaurants, or just hang out at camp.  We went in search of chicken fried steak and quilt shops.  I know, what a combination, but I have a weakness for both!  I have challenged myself to find the best chicken fried steak in Texas.  And LORD they have some good chicken fried steaks.  AND I found a chicken fried pork chop that was even better!  Oh I should weigh 300 pounds.  Jack says I am lucky to have the metabolism that I do.  YUMMMMM.  

Wednesday nights dinner was pasta with meat sauce, a pesto & artichoke sauce, baked polenta (this tribe is polenta happy) and salads.  

Thursday the weather shifted back to gorgeous and the tribe had the most beautiful ride day on the trip. Rolling hills and incredible fields of wild flowers.  We followed the tribe, with no off road mishaps this year, and enjoyed the flowers!  We stopped at the water stop to view the dent in the pavement that we left last year and catch up with the tribe.  Our water stop guru instructed me that if I needed the facilities I was to walk under the overpass on the main road.  On a rock was a roll of toilet paper.  If it was not there, someone was at the other side of the underpass visiting mother nature.  If it was there, it was my turn.  I passed. 

We headed into Pedernales State Park to set up for the last supper.  Greg had rented a circus tent and tables and chairs for the tribe to sit under and on.  We were blown away that the tent crew had that thing up in less than 1/2 an hour!  Some locals walked by and asked when the clowns would be arriving.  Someone commented, "look around, they're on bikes!"

We prepared the final dinner of honey spiced pork chops, salads and such and watched the tribe over indulge!  This was a tribe that could put away the chow.  The staff put together a great final map meeting, reviewing the local slang and teaching us all that y'all means everyone and all y'all means everyone plus some.  Then they presented awards and led the tribe in a rousing rendition of "let's go to Luckenbach Texas....but with a biker twist."  Our leader, Greg, donned his cowboy gear and spun a big yarn about bikers in Texas.  It was great fun.

Friday morning we bid farewell to our tribe...many new friends were made this week.  The tribe headed back to New Braunfels to find their way home.  We spent the day with our dishwasher/attorney friend Jim searching for a new chicken fried steak and exploring the Lynden B Johnson Ranch.  What an interesting piece of history.....in the six years that I have been working this tour it is the first time I was able to make time to visit.  If you're there, it's a must.  Just beware....the goats like tennis shoe laces.  

Well, another wonderful tour is over.  I can't believe how quickly they fly by.  And speaking of fly....I made my way back to Austin and flew home.  Yes, I abandoned Jack and made him drive the big yellow truck 4 days home.  Bad me.  I don't think I will get away with that ever again.

SOOOOOO:  those of you that have not signed up for a ride: the Gorge in June needs a pick me up in participants.  It is a great ride.  Leader Pete has made a couple of changes to ease it up a bit...and the weather should be awesome.  That said, hope to see you on another ride!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Buzzards In My Tent











Truck wars between the ACA staff.
Bikes in Blanco.
A house in the trees on the Blanco river.
A serious beer drinking cyclist.
Hillary and Marty.
A few of the tribe in Blanco. 
My kitchen window in Blanco.  Yes, I'm sunburned.
A Texas gate pole.
Hans and his styling helmet.  Yes, it's a helmet.
The tribe in Fredericksburg.

The first ride morning of the Hill Country Tour broke with overcast skies and a cool breeze.  The day looked promising for a great ride, with the haze burning off early afternoon and moderate temperatures during the day.  The tribe migrated out of their tents and circled for a hearty breakfast, loaded up their gear and got on the road.  The local buzzards, on the other hand, decided it was time for nappy nappy.  In my tent.  Jack, laughing, told me to look at my tent.  The brazen buzzards were on their way in.  Guess I found reason number 432 to not leave the tent open.

The ride Sunday morning was a lazy 39.4 miles into the little town of Blanco.  We camped on the banks of the river at Blanco State Park and had use of the breezy pavilion for our meals.  Fortunately there were no creepy crawly red headed centipedes to welcome us!  We dined on a fabulous meal, if I do say myself, of blue cheese wedge salad, coleslaw, mesquite smoked brisket, grilled red fish, yellow potatoes and homemade brownies.  The red fish was a huge hit!

About that red fish!  I learned my lesson last year about buying the scaly little devils.  Red fish filets, boneless, NO SCALES!! I swear there  are still red fish scales on the ceiling of the pavilion from last year

Ride day #2 was 40.2 miles from Blanco to Fredericksburg.  The tribe wandered through the hill country to Lyndon B. Johnson Historical Park , through Stonewall and into camp on the edge of Fredericksburg.  The route the tribe takes is different from the one we take.  They showed me pictures of gorgeous blue bonnets, a fabulous old church, Spanish moss balls in bloom, and centipedes with green spots and evil horns.  I swear they grow the scariest critters I have ever seen here in Texas.  And, they're big.

Dinner this night was a fajita bar with beef, chicken and tofu, with all the trimmings.  The tribe did a great job of consuming massive quantities of fajita!  As well, they finished off a record number of cookies for dessert.  They are also setting a new record for beer consumption!  It's a tribe of records! Speaking of beer, I found a great t-shirt for our dishwasher/lawyer who excels at beer consumption.  It reads: In dog beers I've only had three.

Tonights map meeting was quite fun with our leader, Gary, running a road booty competition.  The goal is to see who can find the most unique piece of booty that they find as they are riding along.  I hope they are watching where they are going!  The winner tonight was the finder of a deer skull.  Other entries were a Texas license plate, a Texas A&M banner and a red French beret.  Can't wait to see what they found today!

Today's ride was the Little Switzerland Loop consisting of 38.2 miles of up and down.  I think there was 2300 feet of up and down.  They all got in around lunch time and shuttled in to town to explore the brew pub and shops in Fredericksburg.  Jack and I took off and trucked into Kerrville to visit one of my favorite quilt shops. Good Jack.  We then headed to Opa's Sausage Factory to procure the yummy sausages for tonights dinner.  They will be accompanied by homemade potato salad, broccoli salad, sauerkraut, creamy polenta, bbq'd pulled pork and ice cream for dessert.

This seems to be a happy tribe: they are all getting along well and are into exploring everywhere they go!  We'll see where they end up tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

SIGNS

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So here we are...another bike trip in Texas!  After a week on the road Jack made his way to San Antonio and I flew back in on Wednesday.  We spent to crazy days re- outfitting the truck and getting ready for a great week of feeding the tribe!  During our stay in San Antonio I got to visit the Bistro on Broadway, a great venue if you get the chance, and sought out some great sushi.  On Friday we made a final run to Costco and head to Sysco for a HUGE order!  This tribe is going to have to have an appetite.  The weather is looking to be good for the week, not too hot, not too cold!

So I have to fess up to a little boo boo on my part.  Jack had booked a rental car for me as I flew into Austin and wanted to have a car for the week to be able to run around, pick up Jim, and get back to the airport.  All went well, I got into Austin, found the Hertz desk and picked up the phone as you don't get to talk face to face with a real person anymore.  I finalized the details and said sure to the question posed, "Do you want insurance on the car?"  Mistake.  They hit me with every possible piece of coverage available.  When I got into San Antonio I told Jack that with the insurance the car was expensive: twice what I though it was going to be.  No, he said.  The car is already paid for.  UhOh
The insurance was twice the price of the car.  I think we need to dent it to get our moneys worth.  It's the last time Jack lets me get a car.

Our leader and staff on this trip, all but one, are new to us.  So, it will be an Adventure for us as well as them!  We have a pretty large percentage of new riders to us as well, but our dear friend Hillary is riding!  Yeah Hillary!  Our friend Jim, from Baltimore, has joined us for a week of dishwashing....I don't know many people that would take a week of vacation to wash dishes!

On our way to set up at the Lazy L&L campground we stopped at a little corner burger joint...oh my gosh the burgers were good!  The signs above were on the outside wall... I thought they were cute!  We met up with our new leader Greg and his staff and got the truck ready to roll.  The trip started on Saturday with the first map meeting and introductions all around.  Our first ride day is Sunday and I will post more when we get into Fredericksburg on Monday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The week that flew by!















Oh my gosh the week in California went fast!  I was not able to write the blog as we did not have internet access but for one day!  So a quick review: we had a great week with great weather and great riders and staff!  Jerry kept us entertained with nightly dance lessons and a talent show the second to last night.....one tribe member can do a killer Woody Woodpecker imitation! Joe kept every one safe and sane with his side kick "Spanky".......which by the way is his new nickname!  Bob kept every one rolling along taking care of the bikes and Tammy led a great ride! Our great friend Michelle brought a group of newbies to ACA touring from her bike club....they were a hoot and had a great time!  

After a first long day from Chula Vista the tribe got to relax in beautiful hotel rooms and explore Julian. The second ride day was DOWWWWN the hill and up and over to Borego Springs where the tribe spent  three days riding, hiking, chilling by the pool and eating!  The second to last day was back up and over and UPPPPP to Julian for another night in the hotel.  We had a fun last map meeting and bid everyone goodbye on Friday morning.  Jack and stayed in Julian an extra day and explored town and spent a better part of the afternoon at the Blue Door Winery...it was a fun time!

After a day off I flew home to work for a week and a half and Jack headed East to spend time with friends and work his way to Texas, where we are now kicking of the Hill Country Tour.  I promise to do a better job of blogging this next week!  If you were on the CA tour, I would love to have you post some of your best memories of the trip!  

Monday, March 18, 2013

6th Grade or Bike Trips?????

That is the question!  Should I stay in the 6th grade or cater the bike trips.....hmmmm.

 Well, tonight I have deduced that the two are the same.  Thank you Jerry for your let's get acquainted, let's get to know everyone's name........let's jump back to the 6th grade.  (To explain, Jerry (ACA staff) led a  group warm up  exercise that was really  a lot of fun and we actually did learn a  lot of names.  I tease him about this because at the summer camps I have worked at, we do the "I'm going on a camping trip and I'm going to bring a.......and each person is required to remember the whole list. " His name game was pretty similar, just with names.

I have spent this winter working in the 6th grade; one on one with an amazing young lady and also with her peers: so it was tough: do I stay in the 6th grade or move on........Jack will tell you that I am stuck in the 6th grade.  So Kaylen, Meggy, Deanna.....I hope that you read this and know how much I miss you.

So...With that all said.....we are off and running on the Spring Fling.  I AM SO HAPPY that ACA moved the trip to a little bit later in the season: we have great weather and no snow and it's above 19*F in the mornings!!!

We began the trip yesterday in Chula Vista...We had a great day of sun and warm weather.The first tribe of the year gathered  together and feasted on a meal of Greek Lemon Chicken, sprouted rice and quinoa, green salad, grilled tomatoes with sautéed onions and mushrooms, and home made cookiees for dessert.    After dinner and Tammy's map meeting everyone turned in for a good nights sleep.  They needed it to face today's ride!

Today was a long......long ride up from Chula Vista to Julian.  At the lunch stop about half of the way through we met up with Pete (who leads tours for ACA) and he was psyched that the rest of the ride wasn't so bad.  Sorry Pete.  Many miles of up and around and up and around.  But it is gorgeous!  And you did all make it!

And you were rewarded with a dinner of curried chicken, peanut yam tofu, rice, sautéed snow peas, spicy cabbage salad,  and of course, Nana's rum cakes.  91 and still baking those rum cakes!

Highlights today for me:  picking up the yummy baked goods that I ordered from the Candy Apple Bakery in Julian.  OH MY GOSH they do an amazing job.  I am so excited to share these with tribe.  Hint: tomorrow's breakfast is chef Charles' apple raisin French Toast.....YUMMMMM

So tomorrow we are on to Borrego Springs for 3 days.....sunny and hot and an opportunity to get some ride time in and maybe a hike or two.....

So if you haven't chosen your ride for this year let me tell you that the Oregon Gorge and the Oregon Coast should be on you must do list.......

Hitting the sack and getting up to prepare that yummy French Toast.........Night all.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

2013 Here We Come!

RIP Ruby Dew We loved you so much




It's time to rock and roll and get ready for the 2013 season!  The tours have been posted and they are filling fast!  Texas is ALREADY full........get on the ball and get signed up!

Last year was a great year of cycling and eating!  Many changes in our household.....Matthew is home from Afghanistan and coaching the high school wrestling team and back to school himself in January. Aaron is in his 2cnd of 3 years of grad school: when he's done he'll be able to tag along as the physical therapist for the tours!  Scott is graduated and through Marine Corp boot camp: he is stationed in Mississippi for his schooling to study weather.  They are all home for the holidays, as is the grandpuppy Baker.  Quite a household!

We had a tragedy this fall: my beloved Ruby Dew, whom many of you got to know on the tours, was taken during the night in October by what we believe to be a cougar.  She went out at 1:30, there were two yips and she was gone.  It was a very difficult time.....I have so many fond memories of her on the tours....she loved to go in the big yellow truck and explore wherever we landed.....but, we do have a new addition that Jack gave me for my birthday.  Her name is Pumpkin Patch and she is a darling little Cavalier.  Hopefully you will get to meet her this next year.

So for next year this is where you can find us:  The first tour in Southern California in March, Texas in April (sorry slow pokes, it's sold out!), the Oregon Gorge, the Oregon Coast, Sierra Sampler and the Wine and Harvest in California.  These are for sure.  And, we are still working on the logistics of the Idaho Relaxed and Idaho Family.  No, I will not be in Utah, as many of you have asked.  I am saddened by this because it is one of my favorites, but maybe some time in the future.


So get signed up and on that bike and we will see you in 2013!  Happy holidays to all.......Kathy