Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 2015 Part 2

Etienne finds a better angle to watch --- me ;'-)

I'll start with Etienne again ;'-) I botched PART 1 of May so badly that I could not get this photo into the spot I needed it to be. This was at the Mariners game.

My movie with Pat this month was "Age of Adeline". We each were not sure we would like this movie as it sounded a bit "bizarre", but it turned out to be a pretty good one.


My big adventure for this month was a trip to Idaho to bicycle the Trail of the Couer d'Alenes.


Six of us caravaned in two vehicles to the town of Kellogg, ID and our reserved accommodations at the Guest House Inn. We checked in, got our gear stowed into our rooms and walked to dinner.

Kathy (nor probably any of us) could not fit this bike we found on raffle at the cafe in town


The next morning we first proceeded to the Bike Shop ;'-) where we learned that Kathy especially does her part to support the local economy...


Fortunately this bike shop is nearby our hotel so we could return our purchases back to our rooms if need be. But, we fit them into our panniers and bags so carried them with us for the day's trip to Wallace and Mullan.

Some of us went on past Wallace to the trail's eastern end in Mullan, then returned to Wallace for lunch and a coffee stop. Mullan is nothing but a trailhead with a decent rest area and some small town above us. As we ate our snacks a woman with her two dogs drove down the hill to stop and tell us about the newly opened "Ernie's" cafe (read saloon) that she and her husband just opened. This "peppy little person" (Linda's apt descripton) chatted with us for quite a little while telling us about her dogs, the cafe and B&B they have developed. The only down side for this day was the woman at the very end of the trail telling each of us that we needed a bell to warn her and her dogs. As Linda said, we have a voice which works quite well.

The girls at our coffee stop
Downtown Wallace was a hopping place in its day

Some found gift shops and toured around the historic town of Wallace while the rest of us stayed put and relaxed with our beverages and treats.

On our second day we headed west on the trail for more and different scenery. Our hotel (and the bike shop) are directly on the trail and made it easy to hop on first thing in the morning. We each and all appreciated and enjoyed the cycling to Wallace, but the west end has a more remote riding experience.

A really nice bridge along the way crosses the CDA River
View from one side of the bridge
View from the other side of the bridge


View further along the trail

A nice attraction for us about this trip is that we each got to do our own "thing" -- ride short miles, ride long miles, make stops we wanted to do, end our ride earlier than others. This was a plus and put no stress on anyone. A perfect trip with very compatible friends.

On our final riding day we drove to a trailhead that would start in even a more remote part of the trail. It was about a thirty minute drive but well worth it. However!! Once we were unloading our bikes and gear, Kathy saw that she had forgotten her helmet!! We are all strong advocates for helmet wear, so Linda agreed to drive Kathy back to the hotel to retrieve her helmet (and where Linda could get the banana she had forgotten).

Three of us wait at the trail head
Suzie sits to appreciate the calm views
Bette-Ann take advantage of down time


I take pictures...

The retrieving team returned and we took off for another adventuresome day. First we saw our waiter from last night arrive with his wife who is not wearing a helmet. Dorothy does not hesitate to say "where's your helmet?". Dorothy tells her that one of ours forgot her helmet and we transported her back to town to get it. I guess that did not change her mind about wearing one however. Our waiter wore a helmet, and it seems to me that if one is not wearing a helmet, usually it is the (indestructible). Oh well. We rode on. Some of us were aiming for Harrison, some for Plummer (the western end of the trail).


Extensive horse ranch (empty of horses right now)


Osprey nest seen from one of our rest stops
The Ice Creamery in Harrison

As I was choosing and tasting ice cream at the counter, a woman with a camera approached me. Kathy Plonka was doing a promotional article for the Creamery for the Spokesman-Review newspaper. She loved my flower-topped helmet and asked if she could take photos of me for the article!! She snapped away as I ordered my salted caramel cone. She is not sure what they will choose to use in the article -- but I might be famous in Spokane!

Next goal for some is Plummer. Kathy had said right from the outset that she wanted to ride the entire trail. Fortunately I stopped her from doing that on the second day or we would have ridden 100 miles that day! But she was our first impetus to do the entire trail.


Bette-Ann climbs the step bridge
Linda makes it up the step bridge

I don't know if this bridge actually has a name, but we call it the step bridge for obvious reason (note the stepped terrain). It crosses Lake CDA and once opened for traffic, but no more.

Bette-Ann said she could not see turning around here as we were now only nine miles from the trail's end. We each agreed. About eight of those miles were UPHILL!! There was a mile marker each mile, and though the climb was gradual, it seemed to take forever to get to the next marker. Finally we hit "0" mile marker and Kathy was somewhat cursing me as I continued on because the bike trail did not seem to end there. It wound around some construction and under a tunnel before it came to an acutal trailhead.

The end of the trail in Plummer

We were each running low on water and our experience had been that there is no water at any of the other stops. Kathy immediately spotted a water fountain that was donated by the local casino. A little doubtful, we approached the fountain with near empty bottles to find that it actually did work.

We ate our packed lunch and headed "home" down the nine mile hill!! What a treat! The day before, Bette-Ann and I had seen a moose basically beside us off the trail, but by the time I got my camera and tried to quietly approach, she saw us and wandered into the forest before I could get a picture. Today, on the way back I was fortunate to see this one (and now we have each seen 2-3 moose).

We learned later that Dorothy had a very serendipitous encounter with two cyclists who were camping at Harrison. Dorothy had just reach our parking spot and was about to have her lunch when they came by and began chatting with her. The cycling couple told her of the penguins pelicans (thanks Linda) (without binoculars, we all thought they were snow geese out on that island) and the heron rookery back down the trail a ways. They invited Dorothy to come along with them to see. She did and used their binoculars to see these two attractions that the rest of us had missed.

All too soon it seemed, our trip was coming to an end. But what a great group of women to "trip" with. I asked for highlights and lowlights that anyone experienced. Each had lots of hightlights and none would call anything a lowlight -- neither the headwinds, hills, forgetting a helmet, being chided about not having a bell, nor pain made the lowlight list. These were all simply considered part of a fantastic time shared together. How could one ask for better cycling buddies!

The four of us in my van had one more adventure stop. When I first came to Washington ((30+ years ago) we made the stop here but it was no where near as developed as it is now. This is a fantasic stop in Vantage.


If you have not been here, go.


One of many petrified logs


Suzie is visiting from Michigan and has enjoyed our cycling adventure


Considered one of the best examples of petroglyhic art in Central Washington

These petroglyphs were originally along the Columbia River and wer moved to here.

So comes the end to this adventure -- weather was perfect, food was terrific, companions were golden, and the cycling was grand.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 2015 PART 1

This photo is actually from April, but I negected to include it in my last post. Jenny and Laurent invited Susan and me to come to their place in Indianola for breakfast. We took the ferry over, and Jenny picked us up on their side in Kingston. Laurent fixed delicious German Pancakes and we had a good visit with the family. Jenny and Laurent are taking six month old Etienne to swim lessons, and this photo is from one of their first days there.

Etienne on one of his first days at swim class


I regularly bike a few loops in my neighborhood, and always pass over the bridge over this culvert. This day I caught a quick glimpse of something blue out of the corner of my eye. I had to stop to see what it was.

Colorful graffiti mural painted from the culvert. Up in the right hand corner you can kind of see the road I ride on.

I leaned over the bridge, then got off my bike to walk to the end of the bridge span. It was hard to spot, but there was some artwork down there that looked like quite a challenge to paint.

Last year Jaydon did T-ball. This year he is getting the experience of soccer.

Jaydon poses for his official team picture


Jaydon is on the left, running toward the goal

Sarah is the coach of Jaydon's team, and has quite a few players who are very skilled. The games are held on the elementary school fields that are close to our house, and on the other end of a loop that I sometimes bike. So, I got to ride my bike to his first game.

We live close enought to the three grands that I get to see them in their activities. Besides the gymnasium romping from earlier and Jaydon's soccer games, there is swimming for these three as well as for Etienne.

Six month old Kaitlyn takes to the water


Lucy gets reacquainted with her love of the water
Jaydon pays close attention to what his instructor tells him


Kaitlyn loves it...

I was included in Mother's Day celebration and enjoyed my first live Mariner's Game at Safeco Field. Baseball is not my favorite sport to watch, but being with the whole family made it a special day. And we won! In addition, our star pither, Felix Hernandez, pitched his strike out #2000 which put him on a (I guess) somewhat famous list to join the few others who have reached this number.

The Smoldon's stay warm by the radiating heat from the building as we wait for the LaPortes
The teams warm up

I don't know -- the Mariners have a moose as the mascot

The cows learned of our rest (snack) stop and came to join in


Mount Baker
This one for Susan (and now for Brent)

On a ride in the area just a couple of days before, our SWS (Secret Women's Society) group enjoyed a fine day of riding as well.

A very rural, used mailbox.


May is National Bike Month, and May 15th was Bike to Work Day. When I worked, I would organize and lead a team of colleagues for their bike commute day. It was always fun. Since I am retired, I often bike to work with Susan to stay in keeping with the event.

Susan signs up to win something (and she very possibly will)


I got a lot of comments on my hat and several pictures were taken


Susan and I parted ways at the Interurban Trail for the remaining route to her school and my route home. I put in at least double the miles to home than I had on the way to "work".

This trail is basically a utilitarian way to travel


Not terribly scenic, and some of the trail runs right next to the Interstate. But I nice exercise ride to home.


My friend Lynne and I have discovered a delightful Tea House. It has been here for more than 20 years, but we just found it. I had bought one of those "Groupons" for dollars off your purchase and that led us here.

English style Tea House

The owner of Elizabeth & Alexander's lived in England for a time, and loved the tea houses that were unobtrusively located in small areas with barely a sign out to call attention to them. You had to look for them, and he created a similar tea house here. Though this one is actually on a main road with lots of traffic, it is set back enough so that you have to look for this one too. I did not get pictures of the inside, but it is quite "tea house-like" and lovely.

I had a group ride scheduled for one of the days in May, and many (most) emailed to tell me they would be out of town this weekend. I knew of one, and possibly two who said they "might" join me for the ride. The weather did not look all that inviting, and as I drove north to the ride start there were a few places with actual rain -- enough to use my wipers. Now I was all but convinced that no one would show up for the ride.

The community park where we usually park for this ride, and has never been busy, had a little league baseball game about to start and parents' cars lined the parking spots. I was huddled into a more hidden spot and at the appointed hour, when I saw no one I knew, I pulled out into a more conspicuous spot. And sure enough, Vernetta was pulling in, and Michelle had been parked near one of the parent cars. So we had our group of three.

A group of three was reminiscent of when I started this group fifteen years ago. I think on the first ride or two Susan and I were the only two who rode. Then there were a couple of rides when two showed up and we had a small group. Over the years the list of riders has grown and now our usual number is somewhere around 10-12, and there are times when we have had 18 or more. They are not always the same women, but we have developed a "core group".

The three of us got ourselves geared up and saddled up and off we went. Shortly into the ride Vernetta put out the challenge that at our lunch stop we would tell of two things we see on the ride. I said I had already seen two, so she increased my challenge to five things. Ok then, keep my eyes peeled. This challenge was not difficult for me, and I had a list of more than five. I always have my eyes and mind wide open for photo ops, and for things to tell my cyber bike club friends about. My mistake was to not stop for a photo of each of these things:

Chickens pecking around their coop; a lemonade stand made like one of those old wooden vegetable stands where you pay on honor system (not open for business, but a cute stand with hand lettered "lemonade"); farmer meticulously running his farm machine along the field creating perfect rows for seeding; a lone, empty tractor sitting in the middle of a freshly rowed field as if it was having the day off; tree play things -- quiet, old ladder half hidden in the tree leading up to ??? tree house???, ropes for swinging or climbing, swings; an old wooden sleigh nestled under the limbs of a big tree by the roadside; two cuddling sheep in the back yard; an old house with a smaller out building, abandoned and totally covered with thick moss; and all the barns and farm buildings that I do love -- some in good shape, some tumbled down.

I had been so engrossed in telling what I had seen along the way, I neglected to ask what each of them had seen. I guess I hogged the spotlight! Vernetta did say to Michelle "she saw so much more than I did". I will remember to ask them for their "treasures" the next time.

This month's post is getting rather long, so I will split it into two parts and end Part 1 here.