It’s All About the Grands

This post is more a photo gallery and will most likely be of more interest to me and family than to others, as it should be, since we want to recall every moment.

Our first real full day with the family was Friday. Susan and I loaded up Kate for a ride to the local market while the other two were in school.

We need to load up on experiences and time with these loved ones ;’-). Our first weekend here with them has done just that. The three of them had a Halloween festivity to attend at their school on Friday evening, but of course gathered around me for a story before heading out for their party. They are each and all, story addicts.

The costumed Grands…

The next day we packed up for a drive into Sacramento for the Rio Velo Fest on the river. Amazingly Susan packed all this into and onto our van so not to have to drive two vehicles . Six people, six bikes, and all the accoutrements that go with it.

This is the second annual Rio Velo, and Susan found it on the internet while we were at home prior to the trip to here. We had this plan all along.

Lots of booths of vendors with demonstrations and give always.

And some entertaining happenings.

The Grands rode their bikes through an obstacle course at the Bike Rodeo Station and were rewarded with prizes from the policemen.

The big attraction was the BMX trick riders. Rapt attention by all, and some wanted to hide their eyes at some of the tricks. The performers went on and on for quite a while with each pass mounting to a bigger, and scarier tricks.

They got autographed posters from the daring riders. We took a short ride on the paved bike trail, had lunch from the food truck, and before you knew it, it was time to pack up that van again and head home.

We had another day before they would be going to school on Monday. Susan, Jaydon and I rode from home to the start of a trail, and Sarah drove her van with the others to meet us there.

The trail part was great. Then we got to the not so great highway!! Of course we stayed on the sidewalk to ride, but there was lots of traffic passing us and we had to be very alert for turning traffic. All did extremely well, and we finally reached our destination, the mountain bike obstacle track.

It is a very extensive track. This one is for the big kids…

This one is for the smaller kids…

Jaydon mounts up for the challenge of the big one…

We watched Jaydon ride many successful rounds and he did extremely well. Then —- he took quite a fall, and we heard some crying and yelling. Sarah ran to him and made sure he was basically alright (could walk, etc.) and brought him and his bike off the course.

Jeremy had driven with the family to the trail start and continued on to the ride park so he was there for the rescue. They all piled gear and selves into their van and drove home while Susan and I took a more direct bike route home.

Jaydon has several bruises and scrapes, and a sore mouth around a cut he got near his nose and upper gum. Poor kid! But he asked when he can ride again and has a very positive attitude as he repeats what he has heard from Grandma Susan, that this was a learning experience and will make him better at riding! Amazing kid. He also has learned how important a helmet is!! They all, always, wear a helmet without complaint, but he now has first hand experience as he looks at his scraped up helmet, with a couple of dents in it (those could be unrelated to the fall). Susan has ordered him a new helmet which will arrive here on Tuesday, and he is excited about that.

What a day !

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We Hit Pay Dirt ;’-)

We discovered a delightful place for breakfast. The best meal we had had on the trip.

This natural cafe is much like one I have been to in Bellingham and is a vegetarian place with fresh and wonderful food. Outside the cafe I tried to fix a flat tire.

We picked up our Bike Fridays in the early afternoon and took off for Elk Grove, California. And look who we found!

Jaydon is a new piano player and shares a few of his songs with us before heading over for his weekly lesson.

Lucy and Kaitlyn and I shared a bedtime story.

Those are our first hours at our destination. Susan will have her photos with them sometime later. She is a little under the weather with a cold she has been fighting for a week. Hopefully that will not be passed on to me, but just in case, I am getting out for at least a short bit of riding around this morning.

Catching Up on September

This post is out of synch in time, but I know I am the only one who cares ;’-)

After my fall to fracture my pelvis on May 28th there was a lull in bike riding and a slow re-entry. It was mid-July before I even started any bike riding, and those rides were slowly built over time. August saw me getting stronger with more rides — short and slow! By September I was really ready to get back at it. So I called on some of those friends and went biking. This will be mainly a photo post of some of what I did in my full ‘come back’ month.

With MY biking friends there is always time to stop for berry picking …

I led a ride for the BIKES club to Mount Vernon (WA) on a sunny Wednesday,,,

I took a couple of solo rides around our neighborhood…

Cindy took us on a ride near UW where we roamed around Magnuson Park …

Susan and I took a drive over to Vashon Island for a visit with our friends Maridee and Laura. They took us on a ride that included a look at the ‘famous’ bike in a tree,,,

On one of the rides I did with Cindy we came upon an obstacle in the trail. Cindy wanted to detour around this fallen tree but I said no! We could make it through. And we did.

Raquel, Cindy and I rode into Everett on the hunt for a Superhero. A photo of a superhero with my bike would complete my Bicycle Ride and Seek challenge for the month. We found him at FUNKO.

Finishing up the superhero ride, we came upon a true tree house …

It had been a grand month and Fall became full bloom…

On Our Way to Sacramento

Going to visit those ever so missed Grands (and their parents) who moved to Sacramento area near the end of August. OH HAPPY DAY!

On our way south we have stopped in Eugene Oregon (Oregon — where there is no sales tax, and they pump your gas!) to take our folding Bike Fridays to where they were born — the Bike Friday factory. As folding bikes, they are easier to take with us on camping and other travel adventures, so we are having ours “electrified”. Now they too will be pedal assist electric bikes, but with the option of not using the motor (replacing the motorized front wheel with the regular one) with no extra drag as on the BULLS bikes.

Too much information here, let’s move on.

Susan found us an Air B&B in Eugene for the two (or maybe 3) nights we would be here waiting for our bikes to have their overhaul. It is difficult to impossible to get a good photo of the house as it is somewhat like being in a tree house. Susan met the young owners while unpacking some of our stuff and says they are really nice people.

After dropping off the bikes, we wandered around looking for — guess what! – outdoor shops and bike shops. Recall — no sales tax. After we found and purchased a few items we could not live without, it was dinner time, time to retire to our B&B (I cannot yet figure out what the second B stands for), time to watch a video on Susan’s computer, and time to go to bed.

Next day:

A bike ride! YAY! We drove the 30 miles south to the town of Cottage Grove to bike the Covered Bridges tour. We did not dance but we could have. We had sandals.

After parking the van at Bohemia Park, I did some practice loops in the large parking lot. Though I have been biking a lot, this would be my first time on my electric bike since my accident on May 28th. Remember that? I was a little uncomfortable at first pedal, was jerky at stopping, and needed lots of space around me. I gradually became accustomed to the feel and off we went.

Crossing the street from the park is the beginning of the Row (sounds like ‘cow’) Rider Trail that would take us to see four covered bridges.

Starting from town the trail was typically boring as there was not much to see. But soon it opened up a bit to some farmland, the lake and other views.

Eventually we got to our first bridge, built in 1925. Although this bridge was open for us to ride on, it is closed at the other end so is not a usable bridge.

Finally we got our first view of the lake. I do not know the name of this lake, but there is a dam at one end.

In the 1940s a small town of 450 people was moved. The Dorena Dam was one of several dams constructed at that time to prevent flooding of the Willamette River basin. The railroad tracks were also removed and the rail bed is now the Row River Recreational Trail. Read about it here, and look closely at the bottom sentence of how Row River got its name.

The dam is down there…

The other end of the lake…

We had almost an interesting encounter along the trail. Fortunately I avoided eye contact.

We started seeing these signs that said ‘Row River Trail closed ahead’. We met very few others along the trail but no one indicated a closure, and we could not see any actual closures so we kept on — for at least another eight or nine miles until…

Looking at our insufficient bike map we could not tell if the road up there would parallel the trail or go off into the wilderness. With Susan’s gps and my asking an exercise walker, we determined that the Row River Road would skirt the construction and take us to where we needed to be. No shoulder on this road had me a bit concerned at first glance. But we soldiered on and had not one car on the road in the two mile ride to rejoin the trail (through a broken fence line).

The road did parallel the trail and as we looked down on it, we could see the huge hole with a tractor working to repair damage on the trail. Good work folks.

Where we left the trail to continue the loop on Shoreview Drive we got to bridge #2.

It looked big and beautiful as it crossed over the river… but was under construction. Nice to know that these bridges are being saved and will stay around for the future.

The next two bridges would come up soon after. The first one is also closed to traffic, even foot traffic. It crosses a short distance over a small river arm.

Near to town was our final bridge and the only one that was in use for traffic. Bike traffic as well as automobile traffic.

A few short miles back on the trail and we were at the finish of this fine day. Yesterday we had lots of rain and could not determine what today would bring. It brought lots of blue sky amongst some clouds that cleared later in the afternoon to allow us some beautiful sunshine.

Entering back into the town of Cottage Grove, and near our parked van, there was this to greet us.

Beautiful end to a beautiful day. And a very successful day on my electric bike ;’-)

Embracing Fall

Both of these signs were on the fence of the parking lot where several of us gathered for our day ride. And what a day it was! Not a cloud in the deep blue sky, temps in the 70s, and very little traffic on these country roads.

So nice to see the animals too — horses lazing, sheep grazing, cows chewing and alpaca viewing. Oh, and the chickens liked seeing us too! I am trying to embrace Fall as I hold tightly by the skin of my finger tips, onto summer! And this week has been a fine transition to another season. Fall colors are just starting to show, fields are being plowed over

in preparation for different crops, and the pumpkins are appearing. The air is cooler but not quite crisp yet, so we still have a few more warmer bike rides to fit in.

I have the best of friends to bike with, laugh with, and share time with in any way possible. This helps make that transition from my beloved summer a bit easier.

As we rode along on today’s route, I got to stop at a place I have often wondered about. It looked like a gravesite for a family. Today I got a closer look.

Maybe a family. All very young children, each with a different surname. I would love to know a bit of the story behind these over 100 year old graves, and one day may just have to knock on the house door and have a chat! This wasn’t that day.

There were other fall-flavored photos I would have taken, but on a group ride it is about impossible to stop as often as I would want to! There will be other fall photo opportunities on other rides, so I am happy with the day and the friends I got to be with today.

Difficult Closure

We are at home now and I have been struggling with posting a closure for this trip. We had a great time with family in both places — Nebo, NC and St. Louis, MO — but each place had it’s tearful moments.

Saying goodbye to the Grands was difficult as they would be moving to their new home in California.

Saying goodbye to Johnny and Phyllis was equally hard as Johnny struggles with health issues which will only have him decline further with time. Living so far away, I am not sure when I will see them both again, and if I do, how he will be doing.

Part of our last day in St. Louis was a visit to Grant’s Farm. It is operated by the Busch Company and is the place where we saw the Clydesdale Horses on our walk a few days ago. We were not sorry that we made this visit, but as Phyllis said …. we were glad it was free.

The bridge on entry was nice…

…and the macaw was colorful…

…the highlight for us was the snow-cone Stand!

Then it was over. We had a nice dinner at home and then got packing.

The next morning I had huge, deep, meaningful, tearful hugs from Johnny at the house and then at the airport. They are both stuck close in my heart. Phyllis is a gem and I am fortunate to have her in my life as well.

The (Mississippi) Riverfront Trail

The four of us had breakfast at their local favorite diner which seemed right out of the sixties. After getting directions from Phyllis, Susan and I drove off to an Outlet Mall!! Susan loves to do this at least once when we are on a trip, and we each found a couple of needed items during our shopping adventure. And nothing frivolous ;’-).

We had a slight intention to drive across the river to Illinois for me to bag my 31st state bike ride. But the time was inching into mid-afternoon and the sky was rather dark and rain was threatening, so we opted for the Riverfront Trail in St. Louis.

Our first view of the Mississippi River…

The ride was very short, but was filled with interest. We soon joined Lewis and Clark to the entrance of Missouri.

Susan and I had each, separately, been to the Gateway Arch decades ago, but I had a mild interest in taking a photo of it this time. With all the other things we would be doing while here, the Arch got put way down on the priority list — after all, we have visited sometime in our past lives ;’-).

Lo and Behold — this day’s bike ride would take us right to it.

We took the winding off shoot trail that led up to the Arch and we got close and personal with it. The Arch is so big that it is impossible to get any other perspective of it in a photo. Susan did capture me with a piece of the Arch in the background.

Continuing along the Great Mississippi River, we got a glimpse of the big paddle boat (or whatever they are called) that takes tourists on sightseeing trips.

The other end of the trail had different interesting, and a bit sad, things to see. This was what seemed to be an abandoned industrial area of some sort, although there was a small door or two open at one corner with what appeared to be workmen doing something.

We came to an abrupt end to this spur of the trail and were turned back.

That gave us the opportunity to note a few points of interest that we may have missed had we not taken this route.

This one has been defaced and looks like it was once a very creative sculpture. This area is in a depressed section of town.

This foot bridge is unique… and indeed creative…

With a light rain starting, and clouds getting darker, we made our way back to the car and thus ended our bike ride today. Illinois bike ride will have to wait til another time.

I wish I had found this tee shirt when we were on our shopping outing, or that Susan had found it somewhere on line and had ordered it for me. But she at least sent me the picture she had found somewhere on fb I think.