Saturday, July 24, 2010

Up up and away!

A pooped out Ruby Dew: bike bridge across the lake, last day.

Today the tribe was rearing to go bright and early. Headed home to the barn! Hash browns, fried potatoes and mexican scramble provided fuel for the short jaunt up the hill.

We broke camp and Jack and I hopped on our bikes. The ride along the lake provided us with head winds around 15 mph: we were looking forward to those as a tail wind on the way home. No such luck! We passed a few of the tribe on the way: had a nice climb of 2-6% up to Plummer. Met up with the tribe for the last time and headed back to Harrison. (One of the tribe couldn't quite understand why we rode to Plummer. I LIKE to climb!) I hope to see more of this tribe on tours next year: I think they're hooked!

We headed to Spokane to spend our off days at a KOA: R&R, some time on the bike on the Centennial trail, someone else cooking dinner (SUSHI!), Scott has a paint ball tournament and we will spend the day garage sale-ing Eastern Idaho and Western Montana!

Next trip: Idaho Family. I will blog about the trip, but probably not a daily run down. The same route: different riders. I'll keep you informed.

PS: the day of garage sale-ing was a success: 1950's pink glass vase for $4.00: set of 1950's Hull soup bowls w/ sandwich plates $3.00 for 4 in awesome condition: pewter serving platter $1.00: great cast iron skillet for Katie: $2.00 . We met a lady in Heron, Montana: Judy is 93 this year. Her grandmother delivered her! She married a jocky that rode all the big tracks in the 40's & 50's. Danced with Dean Martin & partied with all the big names of the time. She is retired in a great little cabin in Heron, about 5 miles down a back road that turns to dirt. It was fun trying to find her garage sale! She had some beautiful costume jewelry from her hay-day. The people we meet! See you in Idaho!

The last two days

Camp in Harrison: Lily pads next to the trail: dinner in Kellogg.

The tribe got an early start on day 4 of riding: long day back to Harrison: a little town on the Southern leg of Lake Coeur d'Alene. A beautiful ride along the river then along the lake. We got set up in Harrison and rode back along the route about 16 miles and then back to camp. What a great ride!

Harrison is home to a couple of great restaurant/bars: an ice cream shop: bike shop/espresso stand: and a great t-shirt shop. We picked up a couple of shirts for Jack and Kevin to wear on the Idaho Family ride this week. Sorry Tammy. I have to poke fun sometimes! Pics of them will be posted next week. Suspense! The park that we stay at is right on the shore of the lake: waterfront property!

After a dinner of herbed burgers, veggie burgers, yellow potatoes, corn on the cob, green salad & cake & ice cream for dessert, the tribe pow-wowed for their final map meeting and prizes from the Great Chief, Bill. It was a long day, but everyone did great!

Tomorrow's ride follows the Eastern shore of the lake, across the old RR Trestle and up about 6 miles back to Plummer. We will ride tomorrow and give you an update!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Evil Sprinklers

OK: let's talk about sprinklers. You know, the things that water the grass? That keep our lawns and parks green? The things that kids like to run through? The evil things that go on at 2 in the morning and wake us up, soak our tents & all of our belongings; the things that send us running for higher ground. I have learned to NEVER trust a grounds keeper that says, "of course I turned the timer off for the sprinklers". I can imagine many a chuckling grounds keeper heading home to a nice warm, comfy bed with no sprinklers to rudely send him flying out of his tent.

Last night was no exception. Other than it was about 10:00, not 2:00. I didn't wake up, of course. Jack reached out and zipped the fly and went back to sleep. Sprinkler drops falling on our tent! The tribe members around us were scurrying around finding rocks to put on the sprinkler heads, moving their tents to higher ground. Isn't that what a rain fly is for? Unless of course you're camped on top of the sprinkler.

One year in Chelan, Linda, Scott and I were camped at the City Park. 2:00 am and the sprinklers hit full force. These were mega sprinklers. We pulled up stakes and headed for the pavilion. Sleeping on cement is really not nice. We have had many, many a sprinkler issue. Setting up camp in Bisbie, Arizona last year the sprinklers went off in the afternoon. Tribe members were hauling our mixing bowls and putting them over the sprinklers. Flying bowls, anyone? Montana one year the whole tribe got soaked at the school in Missoula. Watch out for those evil sprinklers.

Today the tribe headed up the mountain to the Hiawatha Trail. Shuttle up, ride down, shuttle up, then back to camp. I have not done this ride, but have heard it is awesome. You have to ride through a long tunnel, a couple of short ones, over a few trestles. The tribe did great: only one casualty: a faceplant over the handle bars: what a trooper: got cleaned up and continued the ride!

Jack and I had the time to take a ride. We peddled back to The Cataldo Mission. On the way we encountered the big guy pictured above. A great moose sighting! A couple miles past the moose we stopped to take the picture of the river. The other side of the trail is a tall rock wall. As soon as we sat down the chipmunk brigade began. Chipmunks scurried out of every nook and cranny you could see. All in all I think we had 14 little critters running around our feet begging for our salty nutty granola bars. You don't think I shared, do you? We found that the chipmunks also like to line up on the cliff side of the path, wait till you're about 10 yards for them, then run into the trail in pairs and come to a dead stop. They wait until you're about 3 feet away and then they split and scurry off of the trail. Chipmunk Kamikazes. !

Another highlight of our day was the Snake Pit. If you're driving across I-90 in Idaho, you must stop at the Snake Pit. It is the exit past Cataldo, take a North turn. It is a charming old log building: restaurant. They have a pacman machine! The best huckleberry ice cream I have ever tasted. The Snake Pit is a must.

Dinner tonight will be the Honey spiced pork chops, Indian curry, a yet to be determined salad, boiled new red potatoes. I'm going to have to come up with new recipes again: don't want to bore you!

Well, time for a nap or a good book until the tribe returns! More tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Way Relaxed!

It is going to take the whole trip for me to gear down to this relaxed stuff. I am still up at 5:00 for breakfast now at 7:00. I am still cooking too much food: albeit we cut down on the coffee today because we threw away 2/3 of the pot yesterday. Of course: what did we run out of first today? AHHHH. Sandwiches are done before breakfast and we have broken camp before the last dozen tribe members. Way too much time on my hands. Must get in trouble! Joking. I would never do that.

A Denver scramble, hash browns & breakfast potatoes fueled this tribe the whole 20 miles to Kellogg. 1/2 way there was the water stop: oops. Water stop grabbed lunch stops goodie box. Lunch stop had granola bars & bananas with their sandwiches. The poor tribe was confused. I'm munching on chips and cookies: aren't I at lunch? Am I there yet?

We got into Kellogg: a whole 7 miles on the freeway: did a quality control check at the local Subway, then headed to the local bike shop. New riding shorts for me, shoes & clips & pedals for Scott. This is going to be hilarious: Scott's first clips. Can't wait to see him screaming down the trail: and it won't be screaming fast! We also hooked Scott up with the son of the bike shop owner to go mountain biking tonight: another first on the tour! My only worry: one more expensive hobby. Ugh. Oh! I almost forgot to brag: Aaron took 2cnd in his age class and 15th overall at the Chelan Tri-athalon. Good job Aaron!

Dinner tonight is: caesar salad, fettucini with pesto chicken & artichoke hearts, eggplant marinara, sauteed zucchini, garlic bread & Oreo surprise for dessert.

Not too much else happening today: many moose sightings on the trail. The tribe is beginning to bond. More tomorrow. I'll let you know how Scott makes out.

Mooses, Turtles, and the flat.

Day 2: Idaho relaxed. Today is a beautiful day of riding: 40 miles to Cataldo, home of the Cataldo Mission. Task for the day: moose spotting. I have never understood the grammar of the English language. A goose is a goose: more than one goose: geese. So, a moose is a moose: why is more than one moose not a meese? Or mooses? Why are mice mice, not meece? or mices? Why is a mouse multiplied not meeces? I am so confused.

Anyway: after a breakfast of french toast with fresh strawberry rhubarb sauce, scrambled eggs, and all the trimmings, the tribe was off to their first day of riding. 40 miles on Washington was an easy day. 40 miles here; we have a few nervous tribe members. One rider was overheard saying that she had never ridden 40 miles on her bike! No fear fearless tribies: you'll do fine.

I love moose spotting while riding in Idaho. When we got into Cataldo and got set up, Jack and I finally got to ride. We back tracked the route and not a mile down the road: MOOSE! Whohooo! I saw a moose. Then, 2 1/2 miles down the trail: MOOSE! A big cow in the middle of a pond munching away, oblivious to a gaggle of ogling tribe members. Two moose in one day: a record for me.

The next record for me, or milestone as it may be, was my first flat tire in all my years of riding. NO lie! I have never had a flat. 1/2 mile from the last moose; a blow out on the front tire! Well, never having had a flat means that I have never had to fix one. Fortunately for me I persuaded Jack that this was a good time for a lesson on fixing a flat: he fixes it and I would learn. I learned. Another hour of riding and we turned home to feed the tribe.

Tonights dinner was; spicy cabbage salad, teriyaki chicken, basmati rice, peanut yam tofu, sauteed snap peas, brownies and cookies for dessert. I have new followers, thank you peanut yam tofu! Everyone made it into camp and had a great day of riding.

An after dinner stroll down the path yielded a box turtle digging out of his hiding space to cross the trail. Why did the turtle cross the trail? We shall never know.

Tomorrow a short ride into Kellogg where will will spend two days. A great ride tomorrow on the Hiawatha trail with options for other rides as well. See you tomorrow!

The Camp Ground?

Morning came way to early today: the first day of Idaho Relaxed. Up at five and on the road at 6. Into Spokane for a quick stop at Cash & Carry, then on to Plummer, Idaho. Plummer is the beginning of the Coeur D'Alene trail. The trail was originally a railroad that was built in the 1880's. The Railroad used mine tailings to bed the track. These tailings were contaminated with arsenic. Subsequently the ground and water adjacent to the track were contaminated. In the 1980's the Coeur D'Alene Indian Tribe settled with the railroad for this contamination of their land. Part of the settlement was the creation of the Coeur D'Alene trail. It runs from Plummer to Mullen, Idaho. It is a gorgeous trail: running along rivers, through woods & ponds. A max of 3% allows for some pretty relaxed riding.

We didn't have an address for the "camp ground". Just told that we were a couple of blocks from the community center that we have used the last couple of years. No problem: Plummer is small. We spotted the luggage truck as we came into town. Followed a paved road to a oiled dirt road to.....hmmm. Not quite a camp ground. In all the years I have been working the tours, this is the most primitive that we have had it. One field, not quite a level spot to be seen; a parking area freshly graded out in the dust early that morning, two port a potties and a handwash station. Hmmmm. Oh well: it's an Adventure, right? I'll post pictures when we have better internet service.

Everyone was a good camper and rolled with the mole hills. We set up on a little road close by, and fed the new tribe a feast of chicken fajitas, fish tacos, veggies fajitas, Italian caesar salad, all the trimmings, homemade cookies and fresh watermelon. It is pretty hard to gear down from a ravenous Washington tribe to this relaxed business! Way too much food: they will live daily by the adage of: "what you don't eat for dinner, you are going to see in a wrap". Not quite that bad!

A walk on the trail this evening filled my critter fix with the cutest little weasel ever to be seen. Now I understand, "pop goes the weasel!".

Up early, well, not quite: breakfast at 7 and then on to Cataldo tomorrow. Many new riders: it will be a great week.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bunnies by the bay!!!

Ranger Tommy in a drive by: camping at the fair grounds: a good bye to Ruby Dew; until next year!

Bunnies! Bunches and bunches of bunnies greeted the tribe upon their arrival at the Fair Grounds in Langley! Somewhere along the line some little 4-h'r had her bunnies get loose at the Langley Fair Grounds. Now: b'zillions of bunnies. My little Ruby Dew, following the tribe with us for the summer, could not get enough of the bunnies.

So: quite a long day: around 70 miles of ups and downs: unfortunately the ups can be quite steep on the islands! Around 10-12% grades. OUCH. I'm walking. If you have never been to this part of the country you can ask any tribe member on this tour how breathtaking it is! Deception Pass is a wonder of wonders. Until you have been here and experienced it you would not believe how amazing it is. The currents through the pass are so strong that there is a window of time that you can get through. Marine scientist love this pass: the largest octopus in the US live here. But: there is a very small window of time that anyone can dive here to find them. The views are amazing: the Olympics to the West and the Cascades to the East. And: Whidbey Island is the longest island in the US. It is also home to the Naval Air Station: their Wart Hogs flew over us until 10:00 pm. As they say: pardon our noise: but it is the noise of freedom.

Dinner tonight was fast and furious. We had to be home to gear up for the Idaho relaxed tour that kicks off tomorrow night. We served smoked chicken lasagna: vegetable lasagna: pasta putanesca: chicken fettuccine: green salad with garden vegetables & Caesar dressing: french bread: fresh peaches & lemon cake. Breakfast & lunch are set for tomorrow: my oldest son Matthew, (many of you may remember him from past tours!), is setting up breakfast with his girlfriend Zanna as we head East to Plummer, Idaho for the Idaho relaxed tour that starts tomorrow night.

Good job Cycle Washington Tribe Members. You were all amazing. A special hug to Art and Judith from Port Townsend, WA. I hope to have the zeal for life when I am your age. Also, to Pete and Isabelle from Boise: you hung in their every day and enjoyed every minute. We should all learn from you!

Safe travels home to all: I will try to blog while in Idaho: Internet service is sketchie. But: follow us on tour and we hope that you will join us on a tribe tour soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Feast

Oh: how we love seafood. How we love Washington State seafood! We harvest, what I consider, the best mussels, clams, dungeness crabs, oysters, salmon & halibut there is to offer. And tonight: the tribe gets to feast on some of the best. Tonights menu is: fresh greens with blueberries, strawberries, & raspberries, (fresh from Sakuma Farms here in the Skagit Valley), tossed in a raspberry dressing with feta cheese: grilled bourbon salmon, (right out of the waters just south of us), curried lentils & rice, AND Nana's famous rum cake for dessert. Oooops: forgot the appetizer hour. Penn Cove mussels and Manila clams from the Olympic Peninsula steamed in a white wine garlic butter w/ fresh basil, as well as Olympic oysters grilled on the barbie. 15 dozen oysters, 15 #'s of mussels and clams each. Talk about YUMMMMM! You should have been here.

Today's ride was pretty relaxed after yesterday. The hit of the day was the Farm to Market Cafe in Edison, as well as the bakery there. Some of the tribe had lunch at the Farm to Market and were completely thrilled when ordering a salad the owners daughter went out to pick the greens from the garden. Bob, one of the tribe members, ordered pesto tortellini and was floored when the owner informed him that she was out of pesto, but could whip together a dish with fresh basil from the garden and pine nuts. We're heading to Edison when the tours are over!

Dad and Mom made it out, with their little sausage of a Cavalier: Scamp, to help with the appetizer hour. OF COURSE! Bob & Linda had guests from Arizona for dinner that just happened to be old customers of my dad's when he had his meat shop. Go figure! What did I tell you? I can't go anywhere with him.

So: the tribe members slurped up oysters, downed dozens of mussels and clams, cleaned up the salmon, and hit the beach. A happy tribe if I do say. Don't you wish you could have been here? Maybe next year!

Tomorrow: on to Deception Pass and Whidbey Island. The really cute little town of Langley and we will say goodbye to the tribe. (There's a great chocolate shop that is a must do when in Langley!!) We are headed to Idaho for the relaxed tour early Saturday morning: my son Matthew and his girlfriend Zanna will be there to kick off the last breakfast of the tour. Aaron is off to Chelan for the triathalon: (good luck Aaron! ) It all goes so fast. Another week with this tribe would be fun.

So: we'll report in tomorrow night with the finale and off to Idaho!

The Big Kahuna

As Ranger Tommy stated: today was the BIG KAHUNA! The tribe wandered along the west side of the Methow Valley for about 12 miles, then a gradual climb that transitions into the Big Kahuna. 6 miles of 6-7% grade up to the top of Washington Pass. Absolutely the most breathtaking climb that you can imagine. At the top the tribe could look back at their great accomplishment! Then, down down down to the base of Rainy Pass and back up over the top and down down down for about 30 more miles to New Halem, then 17 miles to camp. 98.5 miles in all. AND EVERYONE MADE IT! A few did extra laps around the camp ground to get the infamous century! The last of the tribe made it to dinner at 8:00, cheered into camp by full, tired tribe members.
Dinner tonight: green salad with beets, gorganzola cheese, snap peas & bleau cheese dressing; honey spiced pork chops, russian fingerling potatoes, Indian curried vegetable stew, brownies & sliced fresh cantaloupe. The salad was amazing, and yes, I will post the recipe for the vegetable stew. Yummm. The tribe ate quite well and hit the sack early.
If you're making the loop: the BBQ in Marblemount at the BBQ train is really quite good. We stopped for lunch and had the brisket sandwich & coleslaw. Funny: the boys stopped there too before us and had the teriyaki chicken and loved it.
Tomorrow's ride is a pretty easy 50+ miles. They will ride in my sister's back yard! Mom & Dad will come out to help grill oysters & provide the famous Nana's rum cake. Mom & Dad have been helping with the tours since the get-go. They have followed us through Washington, Utah & Montana. Dad is infamous for his salmon & grilled oysters: Mom for her homemade cookies, fruit sauces & rum cakes. They too have made lasting friendships: one special gent from New York, Ed H. They touch base a couple times a year: usually when we are on a ride and his name comes up or we are somewhere that triggers him into Dad's memory! It is pretty funny: we cannot go anywhere, and I mean anywhere, without my dad knowing someone!
So: on to Bay View State Park and the feast of all feasts: the dinner everyone has been waiting for. Wish you could be here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pasta and entrepreneurs

Pasta putenesca: Yumm! Dessert: Scott's bike cleaning business: Scott & Aaron hard at work.

Ride day #3 found the tribe winding along the Methow River, up the valley to Winthrop. Not too hard of a day: slight climb, some head wind. Acres and acres of orchards: apples, peaches, cherries & apricots. Through the little towns of Methow and Twisp and into Winthrop. The brew pub is closed on Tuesdays: of course! Plenty of time for R&R gearing up for the big Kahuna tomorrow. It is a big one: a few worried riders, but they'll be fine! The climb is not that long and only 6% grade: the downhill is about 40 miles! It will be a fabulous day.

Dinner tonight was caesar salad with cherry tomato medley, chicken fettucini with roasted peppers, white bean putanesca with pasta, sauteed zucchini and pound cake with fresh rhubarb sauce and fresh raspberry sauce right out of garden! Top it all off with hand whipped cream! I'm too cheap to buy a mixer: the boys need the exercise anyway! A few of the tribe said this was the best dinner ever: wait till they get to Bay View in 2 days for the seafood feast!

I have, my whole life, been quite creative in the art of earning money. As far back as I can remember I was peddling veggies from Mom's garden in my little red wagon, selling seeds from a catalogue, hocking yoyos at middle school, helping my sister in law make neck ties and pawning them off on my 8th grade teachers, mowing lawns, babysitting, restaurants, hotels, catering, and look where I am now! A pretty unique, odd way to make a living: feeding a tribe of peddle pushers decked out in the latest, greatest spandex they can find! And, this talent has rubbed off on my boys!

Scott's latest capital venture is cleaning bikes on the tours. He started 2 years ago in Montana. He does quite well with it now, and he does a good job! His first attempt at a career was at the age of about 5: it involved his big wheel trike and a few bottles of beer. He would tootle around camp and deliver beers to the tribes tents. I know: not the greatest thing to have a 5 year old doing, but it was cute. He tried the tent setting up business for awhile, then on to a snow cone machine. Didn't do too well there, but he made a great friend and customer with Karl from Virginia. Karl has since retired to Wyoming and still stays in touch! As I have said: we make such great friends on these tours!

So, Seth did meet up with us today. Provided the tribe with a few bottles of wine to compliment dinner. His wife sent me a great package of fresh avocados from their ranch. Did you know that to ripen green avocados you put them in a box or paper bag with banana peels and they should be ripe in a few days! I would never have guessed! Thanks you two for the goodies! I hope to serve them soon.

So: tomorrow's the big one. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smoothie Power!

Top: chow line at Alta Lake. Bottom: Seth with a Rest Awhile Scone!

If you ever want to know where to find the best smoothie, the best coffee, or the best ice cream while on a tour, ask Ranger Tommy. It is his mission in life to resource all of these before each ride. And he succeeded. Utah: the ice cream shop at Rubies Inn; the fruit stand in Rockville. Oregon: the coffee shop in Trout Lake for coffee, ice cream AND smoothies. Fresh wild mountain blueberry smoothies. Washington: The Rest Awhile fruit stand in Pateras for fresh peach smoothies; the Cinnamon Twisp bakery in Twisp for coffee & cookies; the Organic Fruit stand in Concrete for fresh raspberry smoothies; Sakumas fruit stand in Burlington for ice cream and fresh strawberry smoothies. Today, day #3, ride day#2, is the Rest Awhile. You can get everything from fresh peaches and cherries to lunch, a smoothie, jewelry, hats, local jams & jellies. If you go through it's a must stop!
Today was a smoky ride up the Columbia River to Alta Lake State Park. Smoky 'cause of the wild fire. About 5000 acres currently burned. We could see the fire line break over the East Ridge when we got to Entiat. Wild fires are unfortunately not uncommon during tour season. We have been re-routed & cancelled due to wild fires. One year the wild fire and the hot shots were just feet off of the road coming up Rainy Pass.
Alta Lake State Park is a great destination! The lake is a fabulous green because of the minerals in the water. We had a little creek running through the camp ground. A babbling creek!
Dinner tonight was Rock Cod Tacos, lime & cilantro coleslaw, tossed green salad with lots of veggies & even some fennel, tofu tacos w/ peppers, onions & mushrooms, all the trimmings, cookies & fresh sliced peaches from the Rest Awhile! Yumm.
We had a guest rider with us for dinner tonight. An older gent from Seattle riding our same route in reverse order. He had a loaded bike: 60 pounds of stuff on it! I can hardly peddle my behind up these roads, let alone 60 extra pounds!
Tomorrow is the ride into Winthrop. Winthrop is an old western theme town with a great brew pub that I hope is still open and a great ice cream place! We shall be joined by our dear friend, Seth from California, who has been peddling around the mountains until the Winthrop Blues Festival this Friday to Sunday. Another must see! The Blues Festival I mean.

Let's talk about luggage!

Today's topic, after the ride overview, shall be luggage! We do have luggage stories, believe it or not!
Day #2: ride day # 1. The tribe was hot to go this morning: French toast & scrambled eggs to fuel them down the mountain to Leavenworth and on to Wenatchee. The ride through the canyon to Leavenworth is so pretty! The river is extremely high this year: some of the rapids looked to qualify for cat 5! This is our first year staying at the State park in Wenatchee and it is a hit. Situated on the Columbia River, it is a large, clean, beautiful park.
Dinner was Broccoli salad: you're welcome Linda!: Greek lemon chicken, fresh, local sweet corn on the cob, basmati rice, teriyaki vegetables with tofu, fresh local Rainier & Bing cherries, brownies for dessert. Quite a feast! A note about the broccoli salad: it was so popular every time I made it there were always many requests for the recipe. After dictating the ingredients year after year I wrote the recipe as I made it on the side of my truck. All the tribe had to do was take a picture home with them! Oh yes, reduce the quantities to fit their needs. Recipe:
1 case broccoli cut in small pieces, 3# raisins, 3 # salted, shelled, sunflower seeds, 12 large red onions sliced, 5 # shredded mozzarella cheese. Dressing: 1 gallon mayo: 2 cups cider vinegar, 1 cup sugar. Have fun with it!
So let's talk about luggage. Adventure Cycling puts a limit on how much luggage you "should" bring. 1 bag not exceed 40 or 50 pounds plus your bike. How creative can people get? There was a garbage can, 30 gallon, with much needed wines & Dean & DeLuca specialty foods. The significant other had to reduce her luggage to accommodate his clothing. There were the "Chardonnay Sisters". They are such a hoot to have on the ride! I think there may have been a couple of extra bags, but these ladies are so gorgeous I don't think the luggage man cared. Lawn chairs, yard art, wine glasses and cases of chardonnay. Well, maybe not cases. They set up their own party pit every night and thoroughly enjoyed life. One luggage story Ranger Tommy likes to tell goes like this: Tom reminds the riders that before their luggage is loaded on the truck every day it is a good idea to remove necessary items for the day. Sun screen, cameras, the usual stuff. This alleviates the scramble through loaded bags to find things. So, one morning after delivery this note of wisdom, a rider came up to Tom and the luggage guy saying he had to get in his bag. The truck was loaded at this point. Tom, ever so willing to be helpful, suggested that whatever was needed Tom could pick up for him at the store and deliver it on the road. He was thinking along the lines of lip balm. The response sent bags flying out of the truck: "you don't understand. I need my nitro pills."
Picking luggage up at the hotels can sometimes be tricky. One tour group staying at the same hotel as a couple of our riders picked up our luggage and off it went with them. The wrong way. It was returned, but what a fiasco.
One luggage story pertains to the luggage guy, not the luggage. Luggage handler extraordinaire, Will from Florida, (hi Will! We miss you!) liked to sleep in the luggage truck. Most of the guys do, don't have to set up a tent. So one night in Colorado he shared the truck with a fellow staff member. Somewhere around two in the morning Will woke up to something running over his face. Field mice. Cute, cuddly little field mice. Not to Will. I think the scream could be heard over Rabbit Ears Pass. Of course Kim, my helper at the time, and I picked up on the field mice theme. The rest of the ride as well as the rest of the summer, we found toy mice everywhere we could. They would show up in the lunch cooler when Will was on lunch. The snack cooler while on snack duty. His sandwich. His vehicle. We even found a remote controlled mouse to run around the camp the last night of Utah. Fun times!
So off to more fun! I'll blog tomorrow!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cycle Washington & tents

Yeah! The first day of Cycle Washington, and I must say it was a rocky start. All went well this week: planning, prepping & shopping, until yesterday. Yesterday was Jack & my day to run all over the country and pick up our supplies. All went well until Jack decided to take a dive off of the back of the truck. One aide car, 3 hours in emergency, a really big bump on the head and I have never seen such purple in my life. Good news: he's fine. The tetanus shot caused him more pain than the goose egg on his head. Evil goose egg.

So: we kicked off Cycle Washington with Herbed grilled hamburgers with mango salsa and spring greens. Not your ordinary burger! Homemade potato salad and homemade pasta salad, followed with a huge pile of double chocolate chip cookies. Yumm! Aaron and Scott are working with us this week. Good thing: Jack's a little tender.

The weather here is hot: unusually so. The ride tomorrow is a shuttle to the top of Steven's Pass and then a gorgeous ride past Lake Wenatchee, into Leavenworth, (the little Bavaria of Washington), and on to Confluance State park in Wenatchee. This is an absolutely fabulous ride.

So: I was going to spend some time talking about life in a tent. Afterall: we spend around 140 nights a year in a tent. Some of the highlights? Hmmmm...... There is the time I left my tent fly in Hatch, Utah. 4 days until I could fetch it. Of course, it rained during those 4 days. Blue tarps do not substitute for a rain fly. Then, I think the next year, it poured in Torrey, Utah. Scott and I woke up at 2 am to 2 inches of water in the tent. Really sucked. Hey Jim: remember sleeeping through the tail end of the tornado in Fredericksburg, Texas? I know you don't! You had no tent stakes for the tajmajal of all tents, the tables and chairs were flying away, and I had to haul a cooler full of food into your tent to keep you from playing a part in the Wizzard of Oz. And, you did sleep through it! We won't talk about the fact that I was disoriented and couldn't find my tent: thought it got blown away! Then there was the time Aaron and his buddies didn't wake up on time for breakfast in Marblemount, Wa. I collapsed their tent around them. Didn't score points. Or the time in Montana that I zip tied their tent shut. Hilarious. We have seen some pretty amazing tents: the self expanding tent that really didn't want to un-expand. I think it took 4 people to wrestle it into submission. And then there are the air matresses that go into the tents. Queen size, 6 inches high. One rider deamed that that was not enough to ward off the cold. Do you really think putting a space heater in a tent is a good idea? The picture that is shown is what happens when you forget your tent stakes. Scott: happy you didn't end up in the lake! One poor little lassie got blown across the baseball field in Idaho 'cause she wasn't staked down, trying to change out of her bathing suite! Tumble tent. In Arizona the first year I gave up on the tent: 27*F: I slept in the truck. I have been through amazing lighting storms, snow, floods & wind living in a tent. And, no, I did not sleep on top of my tent in California when the staff decided it was tequila night. I was on time for breakfast, so no problems there. My oldest son, Matthew, as I have stated before, doesn't bother with a tent. Piece of real estate and a pillow is all he needs. I haven't had any critters in my tent: but you should have seen me hide in Montana when the skunk was exploring dinner options around 3 am! All in all, life in a tent is not bad. I sleep better than I do at home: and I get up on time! Amazing. Have you any great tent stories?

So: on to Wenatchee. The World Cup final is tomorrow: going to miss it! Dang! But the tour ison and we shall be watching. I will post the recipe for the burgers soon: they are amazing. Looking forward to fresh peaches, cherries and apricots on the East side of the state. Follow us this week! It will be yummy.