Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cheesecakes & Characters

This morning is all about cheesecake. Passionate about cheesecake! It really isn't a cake: there is no flour: it is more of a custard. Creamy, smooth, dense, refreshing. Top with a tart lemon curd, sweet raspberry glaze, decadent chocolate ganache. Yumm. Two down, six to go. Dessert for a Lion's Club Dinner next month. They freeze quite well, if I can keep them hidden from the young men in my house. My favorite recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible. Simple, time consuming, wonderful. Recipe anyone?

Characters refers to the people we meet on the road. One of the greatest parts of what we do is the people we meet. I could talk (or write) for hours about the sixteen years of Adventure Cycling members that have ridden with us, and probably will at some point! (Names will not be named if you're worried!) But now I'll talk about some of the people we have met along the way.

Over the years we have managed to feed an estimated 6000 cyclists, (want to know how many meals that is?), as well as quite a few "strays", as I like to call them. (I will delve into the world of feeding critters tomorrow. I love to feed critters, much to the dismay of a couple of tour leaders. Sorry Tom and Tammy.) At least a couple of times a year I pick up a stray or two. Maybe for one meal, sometimes a couple of days. Examples:

Cycle Utah: GORGEOUS RIDE! One of my favorites. If you haven't ridden it: you need to. If I can ride Cedar Breaks, so can you.There is always a number of European tourists in Zion National Park. Every other year I find a German family that is really curious about what we are doing, and invite them, in my poor high school German, to dine with us. They are usually quite surprised, but do partake. Spreading the cycling good will one tourist at a time!

Montana Divide: Condon, Montana. A dot on the map. A post office, restaurant, motel/store/gas station, a community hall. And Bob. Bob wandered in for breakfast one morning and joined us each year for the next couple of years. Bob was in his late 70's and was born and raised in Condon. His family homesteaded there, and he lived in the cabin his father built. The only time he moved away was to serve during the war. He filled us full of family history and tales of grizzly encounters, (I quit running the back roads after that). One grizzly broke into his cabin and removed a barrel full of supplies. All that was left was a mangled barrel. I now know how to protect a cabin from a raging forest fire. The last time we were in Condon, Bob had checked himself into a retirement home.

Colorado Divide: Kremmling, Colorado. If I keep telling you that each ride is gorgeous, you may quit believing me, but I cannot lie...Gorgeous. Our riders were on the road and met up with a self supported Divide group from Adventure Cycling. We invited them to dinner, the courteous cyclist thing to do. When two of the riders were grumbling about having to borrow a car to go find a grocery store to get provisions for the next two days, I invited them to shop in my truck! I helped them plan the next two dinners and loaded them up with all that they would need. Probably the best couple of meals they had all week.

Plummer, Idaho. The family tour and the relaxed tour both start here. Again, a dot on the map nestled in wheat country. We had just begun serving dinner when an ancient member of the local Indian tribe wandered in looking for the community barbecue that took place the day before. Could not let him go away hungry! He kept a group of our riders entertained for an hour with the history of the tribe and the struggles of growing up and living on a reservation. When traveling it is so cool to talk to the locals: you learn alot!

And last for this long winded entry: Newhalem, Washington. Cycle Washington: yes I am biased, but the best of all the tours: mountains that mirror the Swiss Alps, orchards ripe with peaches and apricots, farmland bursting with strawberries & raspberries, fresh salmon and oysters and mussels, Puget Sound with the Olympics towering in the West. You have to ride here. Newhalem is a dot on the map: sensing a theme here? A little town owned by the power company at the base of Washington Pass. There is a grocery store, but it closes at 6:00. Enter, or ride in, two cyclists that have just begun their journey across country. Cycle Washington usually takes place in July: hint, a little late to be starting cross country. One rider has a flat: no tubes, no pump. No food, it's after 6:00, and no plans of where to stay. (I don't think much planning took place at all.) What is the probability that they would ride into a camp of 80 Adventure Cyclists, equipped with not only a caterer, but a bike mechanic?!! We fed them and fixed their bikes. The next morning provided breakfast, sandwiches for the road, a spare tube and sent them up the hill. Adventure Cycling's staff proceeded to pick them up about 9 hours later at the top of the pass in the pouring down, really cold, rain and shuttled them to our next camp. Again we fed them, and the next morning sent them on their way. I have no idea where they ended up. I hope it was on the East Coast.

Yes, I like to feed strays, but more than that I am proud to be part of a community of people who, as Jim Sayer recently wrote: "ride the healthiest, friendliest and greenest vehicle ever created".


  1. Kathy, you are the best writer. Keep writing! I think like you, but write little like you! I love reading your stories. Makes me think I'm more than ready for a career change. Something that feeds the soul and heart, not just the brain. Miss you and Jack, and hope we can see you soon. Love, michelle

  2. I love reading the stories. Thanks for doing
    this great blog. I can keep track of your travels
    and know what is for dinner.

    Love you and Jack,

    Marilyn and Mom