Sunday, October 23, 2011

O-Party

Brandon as the game Operation.

Aaron was overboard and I was on fire!
Amber was Oriental and Arther made an amazing Oreo costume.

Ohio and Oscar the grench.


One of the most memorable parties of all times, for me, was in Asheville, NC right before a good friend moved to Oregon for grad school. In her honor an "O" party was thrown. Everyone was asked to dress in costumes beginning with the letter O.

The party was an amazing success! People went above and beyond with their costumes, and in fact, the party was so impressionable for me, I have always wanted to throw an O party of my own. So, finally 4 1/2 years later I did. This time the reason for the occasion was October, not someone moving, so their was no element of sadness just a fun filled evening of enjoying everyone's creative costumes. Just like "O" party #1 the costumes were dynamite.

Here are some photos: unfortunately, many of the amazing costumes were not properly documented!

Those costumes included: oragami, oragami paper crane, and an owl.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

home


It is good to be home.

Since returning from our summer whirlwind we've begun a different sort of whirlwind. Aaron and I have both been busy juggling life somewhere in the midst of our 10-11 hour work days. We've been have been thrown back into work, coaching, responsibilities we'd forgotten we'd ever had and those daily and weekly routines, but somehow we're managing. This weekend we even squeezed in a nice hike.

Aaron wanted to take me up Arrowhead, a hike that somehow even after 4+ years living here I had never climbed! And boy it was exactly what I needed. It was breathtaking up there crossing the ridge, tucked in between the countless mountain peeks.

The beauty touched my spirits, reminded me of the uniqueness of our life here and how good it was to be home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bikin' Down a Dream

video

Here is a four minute video Aaron made to give the appropriate feel to our trip! It is set to a tune that you most likely will recognize and one we found ourselves singing throughout the ride.

Monday, July 11, 2011

the final days...

Kristin and her folks at their beautiful home in Missoula!
Pete and Rachel came to visit in Missoula! Kristin's sister took this photo, we didn't really try to match like this.

Us at the top of the pass on our victory lap through Glacier National Park!Me and Aaron at the top of the pass!

The pickup! No more biking, Kristin's sister to the rescue (don't get me wrong we loved every minute of the trip) it was just good to be done.

We were picked up by the Park Rangers because we were 15 minutes late biking off the road, thank goodness no fine.

View on the bike ride up Glacier's Going-to-the-Sun road.

Aaron and David!

Kristin, Aaron, me, Shelly and David in Glacier, friends reunited!

We made it!

Me and my celebratory single scoop of ice cream.

One break we took somewhere on the road.

day 19:
We made it! We arrived in Glacier National Park on Thursday afternoon. Kristin biked with vengeance as we pulled up to a restaurant in Glacier that had a neon light reading CONES in big letters. "I think this is the place we used to come for ice cream" she stated as she walked right in and told me to order her a double scoop of Huckleberry ice cream. "Have you ever been her before" the soda jerk asked me. "This is one scoop" he explained to me as he continued to stuff more and more ice cream into the cone. When Kristin came back from the bathroom I asked her I asked her if she still wanted a double scoop. She looked at me and asked if I was getting a double, no way I said laughing. The single was HUGE!

After our ice cream we headed to meet the Kindigs, Shelley's family (who just so happened to be in Glacier for a family reunion) at the campground. They weren't there to be our greeting committee right when we arrived so we attempted to entertain ourselves, just as we were deciding to head down to the lake and take a swim they appeared. What a greeting we received, question after question was thrown our way as we all made our way down to the glacier feed lake for a swim. That night was a delight as we hung out with the family, played music and ate smores. Nearly 1300 miles later we arrived at our final destination and boy did it feel good.

The next day we made our victory lap. We took off bright at early at 7am to head up toward the pass on Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park. To our advantage the road was closed to everyone but pedestrians and bicyclers from mile 16 on so we made our way up the pass vehicle free from that point forward. At mile 25 they had the road closed to everyone and we sat and absorbed the beauty for quite some time before making our way down and to the very same restaurant we had stopped at the day before for ice cream for our final celebratory burger and ice cream. The next day we packed up to hit the road one more day. Thank goodness that same day for Kristin's sweet sister, Kelly, who rescued us from a crazy head wind and horrible roads with no shoulder to take us back to Missoula where we would hang out with Kristin's family and meet up with Rachel, a former roommate and dear friend, and her husband Pete, who now live in Boseman. It felt good to be off the bike and in the social zone after weeks of entertaining ourselves.

Overall I wouldn't do the trip any differently. Beautiful sites and people, the trip was a gift on so many different levels. Thanks for reading alongside me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

day 14 - 18!

Who's who?

Last night in Fort Steele :)

On the road again!
Hobos for the 3rd, a 93-mile bike ride for the 4th!
The sites... still gorgeous!
Our secret campground we chanced upon, our favorite one yet, plus it was free!



Yikes! We are on day 18! 1 more day until GLACIER, then no more biking! We have traveled 1170ish miles so far and only have 76 left!


A lot has happened in a little time these days. Saturday we left Lake Louise and headed off back into beautiful oblivion. We biked our little legs off and with a late start time (of noon) that meant 50 miles! It was delightful ride day and we landed upon the most perfect campground where I might have had the most random dinner of my life: canned ravioli we dipped with tortilla chips and cheese and salsa tortillas!

The next day we were off bright and early because we wanted to beat the heat. We did alright, we beat the heat right into a giant rain storm. Thankfully the storm came 4 miles outside of Raidum Hot Springs, (where we wabbled in frozen solid into the hot tubs). Here we were planning on taking a "rest day" however we don't rest so well. This so called "rest day" consisted of a 40-mile bike, a 2km straight uphill climb to our campsite, a hike down to the hot springs and back up, less restful. The night ended with hobos, yum!



Day 17, Monday was awesome. We biked a grand total of 93 miles, but 70 of them was done before our 2pm ice cream date in Wasa. We lounged in Wasa all afternoon at a lovely lake, took a nap, swam, and then another round of burgers before our 20 mile evening ride to our campsite.


We crashed hard last night and today, day 18, we ended back in the U S of A! Boy is it different than Canada! Just 9 miles across the border we landed in the biggest store we've been in the entire trip, plus we lost our wide shoulder and beautiful road and we had our first person yell at us from their car. Canada was good to us. Hopefully Montana will improve. We have another 16 miles to do this evening and then 61 miles tomorrow until we reach West Glacier and do our victory ride through the park.


Highlights on the trip: the people we've met, the stories we've made and songs we've sung, the surprises, ice cream shops and bakeries that have appeared along the way

Wildlife (so far): many a deer and elk, 3 black bears, 1 fox, 1 wolf and 3 big horn sheep

Road kill: 13 birds, 2 deer and a possum

Burger count: 27

Favorite songs to sing: Running Down a Dream and Into the Great Wide Open both by Tom Petty


Thanks for following along. Wish everyone could have been along for the ride. More to come...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rest Day! (and day 11-13)

Aaron and me at Earl's, a delicious cafe on top of the world in Jasper!

A fun shot of three mnts and three bikes. Who's who?

Kristin on top of today's pass!

Today on the bike.

Part of rest day fun... here is Kristin giving the slack line a shot.

Group shot! (they are hard to come by!)

Yesterday's pass!

Aaron and me at Lake Louise!

Lake Louise

First off, rest days have got to be the best days! On Tuesday of this week we took one. Who knew we were so wiped out. I was having so much fun biking I didn't know my body need to re-coup, well it did, big time. Tuesday we took a much deserved day off... a day of fun in Jasper. We wished we had a week of fun in Jasper, awesome town!

Jasper is a town much like Sitka (in my opinion). Nice people everywhere, tourist everywhere, fun things to do everywhere, unpredictable weather, plus yummy food. It was the best resting spot, except that we didn't rest much. We checked out the local bike shop, incredible! Then the brewery, delicious as well as ice cream and a sweet little restaurant that sat on top of the town as we watched the world go by. After leaving the restaurant we became friends with a group of locals, Eric, Jasmine and James who were slack lining. We all gave it a shot, Aaron was actually quite good, and thankfully no one got flossed! (There is a picture of slack lining above, and you probably won't have to think to hard to figure out what flossed means).

The following day, day 11 on the bike, was harder. After a delicious breakfast of huge tasty sticky bun (almost as popular on this trip as the burger) at the local bakery, The Bear Paw, we were back on the road. Magical morning tail wind did not take place and we moved like slugs. At mile 48 we called through in the towel and set up camp at a mosquito infested campground and cooked dinner as we swatted at bugs and pleaded with "the vampires" as Aaron calls them.

Day 12 was slow go as well. We were hoping for a mega day but it didn't quite happen that way, fortunately. The weather was against us, BIG TIME, and we found ourselves plopped down in the middle of a cafe, napping and drying out gear and eating over priced less delicious foods that at least weren't nuts and berries, power bars or peanut butter, foods we find ourselves eating more than we would like. After our 3 1/2 hour stint at the cafe we finally ventured out into the weather for one final push to the campground. We meet lots and lots of people at the campground and found ourselves laughing by huge, very warm fire for the remainder of the night hanging out with people from all over. It was a great ending to a long cold wet day.

Today we had a GORGEOUS day on the bike and off. Today we landed in the cute community of Lake Louise where the tourist almost out number the trees, but the beauty here is a strong reflection of why. Aaron made a comment at dinner tonight of where else on earth would you find so many people coming just to look at the natural beauty of a place. Maybe the Grand Canyon could compare?

The bike in today was quick, 38 miles total, Kristin didn't want it to end because of the beauty of everything. The morning started with us climbing a big pass in the snow (elevation 7,000ft), that ended up not being as scary as we had thought, and then a quick, cold descent into Lake Louise. We hopped right off the bike, and headed on a 11k hike up to a tea house. We shared the trail with horses, climbers and people from all over the world. In terms of beauty, this day took the cake. We can't wait to see what tomorrow is going to bring, but we are also really looking forward to a long hard night of sleep!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

day 8 -10 Sat., Sun., Monday

Aaron is an amazing photographer!



Burger time at crazy cones, this is our halfway point and we celebrated with burgers and ice cream!


This is the beauty I'm talking about!


Here is some more beauty...


And more loveliness, it keeps coming! And they say it is just going to get better!


Oops, wanted to state that I accidentally combined day 5/6 on my last blog, being a 86 mile long day I realized somehow in the blur of trying to blog quickly due to the time table allowed in the library. Anyhow, I think I have corrected the mistake.


And speaking of blur these last few days have been a blur of beauty. I can't describe all that we have seen and experienced but it has been breathtaking. Around every bend has been something more spectacular than the second before. We have been spending lots and lots of time on the bike. One day we were riding for 8 hours for a grand total of 100 miles. Yes, the burger count is growing, 22 patties, 20 burgers. And today we have found ourselves in Jasper, a quaint picture perfect town. Deservedly, we are taking a day off. A day of rest.


The hills, mountains are coming so wish us the best...

Friday, June 24, 2011

day 4 - day 7

Our campground at Mark's.


Mark the photographer, took this photo of all 3 of us, our 1st and only one.


Kristin and I trip planning.


Our campground last night, outside of Prince George.

Me and Aaron
What is Canadian Food?

How many burgers can one eat before becoming sick of burgers?

How is "Ah" supposed to be used ah?

If one (ah hum, Kristin) has to spend $550 fixing a bike that you are going to replace soon anyway, should you just spend $1000 plus %12 sales tax on a new one?

These are all questions that we are trying hard to have answered on this trip. So far we have one answered, yes, spend the money on a new bike! The others as of now go unanswered.

So the miles plug forward, the first 4 days were sunny and luxurious, these last few have been rainy and chilly, but some how we manage. The burger count is now at 13 total. Today we opted for a buffet, Aaron's choice, and now regret (he is currently lying on a couch in the Prince George Public Library.

Day 4 we departed Smithers, one of our many happy places and spent the night 67 miles later in Topley a cute extremely tiny landing where we became friends with maybe half the town, Leanne the Topley Grocery employee and Mark a photographer and kind man who let us stay in his yard, which he used to open as a campground.

Day 5 our sun ended but not before Kristin and Aaron managed to get a sunburn. Kristin looked very red and white, just like Canada (and her new bike!) with the combination of bug bits vs. sun burn. We also cranked out an 86 mile day and landed in the evening in Fraser Lake a community not much larger than Topley after getting caught in a big storm. Kristin and I ate Chinese food at a place called Tony's, bad idea. Not seconds after we set up our tent that night a massive thunder storm hit, we were warm and cozy in our tents. The storm was awesome, being able to count the number of times I've send lighting on one hand in Sitka, it was so wonderful to experience a thunderstorm again. In the morning something magical happened, something I call magical morning tail wind. We zipped out of Fraser lake so quickly. We were averaging 15+ miles per hour, very fast for our typical 12 mph maybe pace and ended up at the most lovely community of Burns Lake. At Burns Lake we realized the severity of Kristin's need to replace her bike part. Kristin and I discovery the most delicious organic restaurant where we got Portabella burgers (do those count as burgers?) and Aaron found a greasy burger spot where he became friends with Lyle and Lawrence, old loggers from the area.

Day 7 was the uneventful day. At least that is what I said it was, uneventful. Kristin and Aaron thought otherwise. I guess when I said uneventful I meant easy breezy. We just rolled out of bed, slowly, cooked up breakfast, again slowly, experienced more magical morning tail wind, hung out in Vonderhoof for 3 hours eating, you guessed it, burgers and Aaron paid a lady to do our laundry, biked some more and then set up camp before supper, fire and bed. Uneventful or easy breezy, you decide?!

Today is Day 8, very eventful. We had magical morning tail wind this morning, a Chinese buffet (every bit is eventful, what is it?) and Kristin just bought a bike! A beautiful red and white Canadian bike to serve as a trip momentum. No pictures as of yet because the guy at the bike shop who we are calling Bruce because we haven't figure out his name yet, is putting all her gear on it now, but it will come.

So overall, a delightful trip in every way shape and form.

And to sign off, an observation. I call the phenomenon "man conventions." These are very prevalent around here. In each restaurant we go to we find ourselves surrounded by large parties of 15-20 males. Is it Canada? Is it because we are in logging country? Is it the restaurant selections we have been making?

Odd.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

day 4 update

Me at Emily's bakery in Petersburg, AK. This is one of the towns where our ferry stopped. Adorable!

Me and Aaron taking a snack break!

Our campsite the first night in Terrace, 91 miles from the ferry terminal in Prince Rupert.

Me and Kristin following the Skeena River

Well Canada and Canadians are a delight. If you are every lacking on a vacation destination it comes highly recommended.

We are on day 4 of our bike trip since we arrived in Prince Rupert on the ferry.

Day one was delightful. We road 91 miles with a tail wind the entire day. We collapsed in our tents after gobbling burgers at Mr. Mikes. YUM! (My veggi ways have disappeared for this trip)!

Day 2 we were weary, sluggish but we plugged forward for approximately 60 miles before collapsing at the most beautiful campsite of all time atop a hill over looking the Skeena River.

Yesterday, Day 3, 60 miles later we arrived in Smithers and here we stay eating and swimming and saunaing and hot tubing and eating some more. We are waiting for a bike part to arrive for Kristin's bike and couldn't be more happy about it.

We hope to get around 60 more miles in this afternoon, it is the solstice after all so we'll be fine on light. I've coined the trip the burger tour and we seem to have never run out of room in our bellies. Aaron just bought a box of doughnuts, and I see him outside the window globing them so I am going to join him now. I hope to give a more detailed update in Jasper, so check back then!

Oh, and has anyone ever heard of the expression "muscles in your poo?" We were told that is what we would have after this bike trip... :0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Packing List

Aaron's bike

The trailer Aaron and I are going to pull

My bike

Tomorrow Aaron, Kristin and I depart on the M/V Matanuska ferry to Prince Rupert for a 1200 mile bike trip on the Yellowhead highway 16 where we will bike through Banff, Jasper and end in Glacier national park. This trip we have been planning and anticipating since last summer. We can't wait to begin. We will be our bikes for 3 weeks, 21 total days and are planning to average around 60-miles per day give or take.

Last year about this time my buddy Heang took a cross country bike trip. And though I was unable to go with him I enjoyed reading about his trip via blog. His initial pre-trip blog consisted of a packing list that I use in the early stages of forming my packing list for this trip. Using Heang's model I hope to give you an idea of the 45 pounds of gear we are bringing to make the trek possible.

Equipment List

Bike:
A beautiful orange Orbea that I bought with my first teaching paycheck almost 7 years ago!

Bike Accessories:

fenders
sweet handlebar bag (it is on loan from Bill the owner of Yellow Jersey, the bike shop here in town) and nice rear bag
fenders
tail lights
a reflective triangle

Trailer:

a two wheel cycle tote Aaron bought at a garage sale and paid $125 for last fall, it weighs approximately 25# but has an incredible breaking system so we don't have to worry about fishtailing when we cycle down the Rockies

camping equipment:

MSR hubba hubba 2-man tent with footprint
my dad's old down sleeping bag he bought after college in a new OR waterproof compression sack
Thermarest 2-lite (a wedding gift)
Coleman dual fuel stove (another wedding gift)
various quick dry towels
an old Petzl headlamp Aaron bought at a garage sale last weekend (thank goodness all our other ones have either disappeared or stopped working)
Pur waterfilter
nike running bag
1 large waterproof stuff sack, just in case
Chamious butt'er (for chafing)

Clothes:

2 cycling shorts
2 jerseys (Heang gave me one, Mike Pruett the other)
1 OR baselayer
1 OR rainjacket and rainpaints - both black
1 pair of nike running shorts and running shirt for when I am not biking
a skirt, great idea Kristin!
tights
1 synthetic hoodie
4 pairs of wicking underware
2 sports bras
3 bike socks
1 smartwool socks
1 tank top for sleeping
OR mittens
trek biking gloves
ip arm warmers
teva flip flops
ip biking shoes designed also for hiking post ride
some old sunglasses

Bike stuff:

1 spare tube
1 spare tire
patch kit
2 multitools
lots of zip ties
lube
break cable
gear shift cable
and a random assortment of other goodies like a trailer nut (this is not Aaron by the way)

Other items include:

Canon power shot SD1300
lots and lots of Clif bars, goos and shot blocks for quick energy
sports drink mix
other food items
hygiene products
Aaron's cell phone for texting and emergencies
leatherman
mini first aid kit

Partners in crime:

My wonderful husband
and dear friend Kristin

Now off to the races...