Friday, July 31, 2009

Meet Tuli

This is Tuli, my new best friend in Anacortes. She is an Electra Amsterdam cruiser bike, true to her name with tulips painted on the bright yellow surfaces of the chain guard (which you can't see because I had her facing the wrong direction for the photo.) And isn't it an appropriate bike to have in Anacortes what with the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival happening each April!

Just like the initial encounter with Danny my mule, Tuli came by way of a serendipidous meeting. Crystal and I were heading out for a walk downtown when Mom and Dad's neighbor, Tuli's previous owner, came riding up the alley on the bike.

I immediately began enthusing over the bike's graceful lines and bright paintwork. This is the sort of bike I've longed for since I began to get wrinkles and cellulite, one that calmly states, "I'm not in a hurry and I don't do hills." After she thanked me, the neighbor mentioned that Tuli (my mom suggested the name, by the way) was for sale.

The next morning Goddy and I were walking up to get the Sunday paper from the corner 7-11, and I was telling him about this beautiful set of wheels, wondering to myself how many Nugget articles it would take to earn the $200 that the neighbor wanted for her. Meanwhile, Goddy had already decided that the cash he'd recieved shearing alpacas the day before would make his little woman's dreams come true.

(Just so you know, I do wear a helmet when I ride but for vanity's sake I took it off for this photo shoot. P.S. My mother took these pictures - Good job, mom!)

In short order, I handed over the cash, the neighbor handed over the bike and off I went. What glorious freedom there is in pedaling serenely down the bike path, passing walkers and joggers, smiling at other bike riders and knowing that I'm looking and acting my age.

I had a bit of fun teaching Henry to trot alongside, though I don't plan on taking him for regular spins down the bike path. He's not fit enough, and I don't like the thought of what might happen if he did one of his little spooks at something.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Post Vacation

You've already read about what I did on my vacation. So here are a few things done since then...

My mule, Danny, got a new saddle made while we were trekking cross-country, so I've gotten out on him a few times. I come home with a grin on my dusty face saying, "I love this mule. He's the best one ever!!" This makes my husband smile, possibly because he didn't have to shell out lots of money for this wonderful animal but more likely because he's the sort of man who gets a kick out of seeing his wife happy.

Goddy and I went to an investment meeting last week. Well, ok, it wasn't really for investment purposes but the races in Prineville were a heck of a lot of fun.

We studied up the form, watched the horses parade around the paddock, then headed off to the betting window to put $3 on the one with the brightest silks or shiniest coat. Well, I did anyway and made a return of $3.60 on one race.

Our $20 stake ran out about the time we were feeling pretty tired from all the excitement, so we headed home before all the patrons in the whiskey bar hit the road.

Today my friend, Becky, and I hiked up Iron Mt., a small hill (compared to say, Mt. Jefferson) in the Cascade foothills west of Sisters.

We'd heard that the wildflowers there were at their showiest. We sure weren't disappointed in God's landscaping plan.

What a treat for the eye, and the nose too as we hiked through the perfume of old growth forest. Neither of us could believe we've lived here for 10 years and not made this wildflower pilgrimage. We vowed to reform and wear out our hiking shoes.

Summer in Sisters is here at last, and I'm ready to enjoy it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

We Touched the Atlantic

I dabbled my toes and Evan swam for a while. Coming from Oregon, it's still a novelty to see people on the beach in attire that isn't made of neoprene. There sure wasn't a body image problem at this beach on Isle of Palms! People of all ages, shapes and sizes were cooling off. Although swimming in tepid water is hardly cooling off. But the breeze was pleasant and the fact that we were looking toward Europe was fun for us west coasters.

This morning I toddled around historic Charleston, making a well-earned blister on my little toe. All worth it for the pleasure of wandering down lanes that echo history. I started off with a carriage ride and our guide thoroughly loved her job and appreciated us tourists. After all, we're the reason Charleston has recovered some of its former glory. Most of the buildings in the downtown have been lovingly restored and are a treat to look at.

Did they forget that trees grow quite a bit in 300 years?

There weren't many old cobbled roads left. I'd never seen one up close. Bless the man who invented paving.

After the ride, I set off in the general area we'd toured, pretty sure I wouldn't get lost in the 90 square blocks of historic city.

Charleston Harbor, a small part of it. It's huge!

Meanwhile, Evan and Ryan were sweating out on the golf course. They came to get me after lunch and we headed out to the beach. I admit I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was out there. I think I expected the heat to beat the breezes. Don't get me wrong - it was still stinkin' hot but bearably so.

The beach 'cottages' were pretty amazing. They're all really tall, to accommodate the tall ceilings, I guess. Which nobody needs any more because all the houses are air conditioned. But it looks impressive. They didn't appear overly hurricane-proof either, but (thankfully) what do I know about that?

Ramsey stayed home today. Ok, I admit it - I forgot him. But I promise I'll make it up on the next road trip, to...?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Charleston or Bust

We've made it to the end of the road! I'm tucked up in a hotel in historic downtown Charleston and Evan is with his friends, who live about 18 miles out of town. I wanted to be able to explore before it gets unbearably hot tomorrow, which will be for about 15 minutes between 7:30 and 7:45 am. Just as well I brought nifty cool-max clothing to wear.

Evan has done the bulk of the driving and I've knitted. I decided to knit a "something" with each state's colors. Upon discovering that only about four states actually have official colors, I went to a Crayola website where they've assigned a color to each state. My finished "something" depicts our journey in chronological color and size, though Montana (sky blue) looks disproportionally large because of the yarn I used. At the end of the Montana day, my backside thought it was pretty dang large too (the state, that is!) My very clever daughters-in-law will no doubt have excellent suggestions as to how I can display this project.

Our day yesterday, through Ohio, West Va. and halfway through Virginia wasn't one of our most stellar. Evan was tired from too much socializing so I drove most of the day. It rained, the only time on the trip of course, so hard I couldn't see the road at one stage. Must have stayed on it ok because we're here to tell the tale.

Tobacco fields in Ohio

Virginia farmland

I confess to being cranky, so by the time we got to our lovely stop in Wytheville, VA, we were barely speaking to each other. But, a good nights sleep worked its wonders and we're back on good footing today.

It took forever, but finally there was an overlook to take in the vistas of the Appalachian hills. They were every bit as spectacular as we expected. We were looking over the Bluestone River in West Va here.
Tunnel in West Virginia

I was amazed at how like New Zealand the part of Virginia is that we zoomed through. Green pastures, hills, and leafy trees. And cows too.

North Carolina was mostly trees-lining-the-highway pretty. I'm sure there was other land out there but we couldn't see it for the trees.

We crossed into South Carolina, ready for lunch and stopped at a busy exit. We were pulling in to the Burger King when I spied this across the road...

Wouldn't you stop there to join the locals for home- cooking? I had the best beef-vegie soup ever and a grilled cheese sandwich and Evan had a prime rib sandwich. These are the stops that make a journey's shining memories.

So now we're done, almost. There's a day of sightseeing tomorrow in this most historic of cities...