Wednesday, April 26, 2017

colorado is the real promised land

i did it.  it was fun.  i want to do it again.

my inaugural cycling tour is in the books.  on thursday of last week i worked my part time job getting my favorite 14 teenage dudes ready for school.  when they headed off to school instead of coming home and beginning my other job for the day as i usually do, i jumped into my loaded up lucy (the soob) was en route to fruita, colorado.

the plan: thursday, drink lots of beer and eat lots of pizza at the hot tomato and camp at james robb state park.  friday, pedal our loaded touring bikes (that's bicycle, not a motor bike) from our campsite in fruita to and through the colorado national monument and into grand junction to camp the second night.  saturday, ride bikes from grand junction to palisade via a magical route through the rural countryside with only the cows, orchards, and winery's to keep us company.  needless to say, we were not lonely.

So excited for dinner at the Hot Tomato!
on thursday we converged on the james robb state park campground in the evening and immediately got down to business with pizza and beer at the hot tomato.  we told a lot of stories and laughed a lot.  after dinner we all hunkered down in our tents as rain was on the way.  "rain" ended up bing hail, snow, rain, wind, and very cold temperatures.  we all survived.  i even slept through most of it...until i had to pee really badly smack in the middle of the hail storm.  i waited until the hail stopped and peed in the rain, i survived.

friday morning we woke to the sun and a majestic bald eagle circling the river next to the campground with the sun drenched national monument in the background.  it was picturesque and an inspiring way to begin the day.  inspiration was good, i needed all of that i could get in order to muster the motivation to pedal myself and all my gear up the steep, 15 mile climb through the monument.  we set out from the campground.
So it begins...the climb.

we entered the monument in the first 3 miles of our ride and thank goodness we did.  the beauty was on every side of me was so great that i ALMOST didn't notice the steep, never-ending climb.  and if i'm being honest, the climb wasn't as bad as i had hyped it up to be, thankfully.  alas, i summited.  it was a fantastic feeling.  i had pedaled every inch of the climb and i had an incredible feeling of victory.
I summited!

 at the summit we stopped to layer up in warm clothes as the next 12 miles were a fast, steep descent.  the descent was fun, the nerve-wracking kind of fun.  once at the bottom we stopped at the lunch loops to use the potty, rest, and make a plan for dinner in grand junction.  at the suggestion of a trustworthy local we decided on the alehouse brewery.  i was willing to pedal for good food but that was the longest 6 miles of the day!  that being said, it was worth every pedal stroke.  the food was great and just what i needed.  after dinner though, i was beat and ready for bed.  we still had to pedal 6 more miles to the campground.  ugh.  we made it.  and by now i was a pro at setting up my gear so i got my tent up and gear unloaded in no time flat.  next was a nice, hot shower.  after a snack and some discussion of the next day's agenda i crawled into my sleeping bag, got really cozy, and was out in no time flat.

saturday morning i woke up freezing and cite that as the reason i was last to leave my tent that morning.  not only was i last out of my tent but cyndy was pretty much packed up and ready to roll by the time i left my tent.  she's an animal.  we all eventually got our shit together and rolled out of camp earlier than we had the day before...there was wine in our future, that helped.  we followed the colorado fruit and wine tour map from grand junction to palisade.

We rode the southern route on this map.
 it was truly something out of a movie.  we rode over 20 miles of (mostly) flat rural colorado roads through orchards, cow pastures, fields of grapes, wineries, lavender fields, and very little traffic.  if those wineries had been breweries i could have ridden out there all day.

Wine tasting and cycling to together like bacon and eggs.
we made it to our finish point, rapid creek cycles, in palisade in the early afternoon on saturday.  i felt victorious.  i pedaled the entire way and had a total blast!!!  as we stepped into rapid creek i flippantly commented on a the shirt of a man who was on his way out the front door of the shop, "nice shirt".  it was a "Floyd's of Leadville" shirt.  chris and i are big fans.  his response, "thanks, don't go anywhere.  i've got more in the car and i'll bring you one."  as he walked out the door someone in the shop looked at me and said, "you know that's floyd, right?"  i didn't have words.  i know, this never happens to me.  well, it really was floyd and he really did come back with swag, as promised.  as he handed me an armful of good branded with his name floyd asked about our tour.  then i asked him about his ventures.  things are going great and he's got something big in the works in palisade.  cool.  my natural next step was to ask for a photo.  floyd graciously agreed and asked dave zabriskie to be in the photo as well.
One of my coolest moments.
man, i sure was giddy between those two bookends.  they really were so humble and a blast to chat with. after all that excitement i needed to chill out with a beer for a minute while the rest of my group finished shopping at rapid creek.  while lisa and i shared the only brew that was left in the back of my car when we dropped it off on thursday who came spinning through the parking lot but dave z while floyd was finishing his riding prep.  they were headed out on a mountain bike ride.  after 3 days on a road bike i was jealous of their mountain adventure.  eventually they headed out on their ride and our group headed to palisade brewery for a mid-afternoon lunch.  boy was this place a little slice of my own heaven.  dogs were everywhere on the patio.  we had a couple of beers and i made my way around the patio visiting every pup i could get my hands on while we waited for our food.  the food was great.  after we ate we made a quick stop

at the grocery store for the last few provisions we'd need for our last night of camping.  after loading the groceries in my car the other three got on their bikes and headed from palisade out to the campground just east of town.  i made one quick stop at the liquor store for some good beer and met them at the campground.  once there, we each performed our daily ritual of setting up our tents and getting cleaned up.  we enjoyed the rest of the evening over food, a fire, good brews, and great stories from the trip.

this was the perfect first tour for me.  i had a great time and there was plenty of fun and laughter to go along with the plentiful food and libations.  thank you diane!!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

there's a new wild feeling dancing in the air. there's a new wild everywhere.

i got to facetime my two favorite iowa littles last night.  they talked to me for two whole hours.  i love and miss them.  my g-man is growing up so fast.  he told me all about school, hanging out with nanny, his trip to kentucky, and all his sleepovers with his friends lately.
i caught them fresh out of the shower for the night.  they were cleaning their ears and being aliens.  we all laughed really hard and had so much fun together.
remi was really into her cowgirl hat after her shower.  she wanted everyone to wear it and made her mom wear it for part of our facetime call.  

i love my kiddos.  sometimes when i see gavin and he appears to have grown up 5 years since the last time i saw him i get a little teary.  i miss him like crazy.  he's a good buddy, one of my very best.  i will always love him and I look forward to him growing up...i just hope he always thinks that aunt b is cool.

oh, and remi calls me "b" now.  not aunt b yet, just b.  i'll take it for now.

Monday, February 20, 2017

there are times when you might feel aimless and can't see the places where you belong

and when that happens to me, a road trip is in order.  so this summer, at the end of may, i set sail on what a friend a co-worker dubbed my odyssey.  i left with a car full of adventure gear and my sweet adventure pup.  kenai and i said goodbye to chris early on a thurdsay morning.  we cruised from ogden all the way to denver that day.  the ride was pretty relaxed and enjoyable...until we got to the pass in colorado on i-70.  we drove through some of the hardest rain i've ever experienced.  we had to pull over at one point because the rain was falling so hard that i couldn't see.  we got through it.  we are skilled and experienced road trippers.  although this was probably kenai's most stressed moment of the entire two week adventure.  poor guy.

when we got to denver we landed at the home of my dear friend natalie and her husband, mark.  they are the absolute best and it was so great to spend the evening with them.  first, we went to dinner.  boy was i ready for food and a beer after that rain storm.  they delivered.  after dinner, we took kenai on a walk to a great park where he and mark bonded over a game of frisbee.
natalie told us about the pond at the park and how she mapped a run around the pond once.
then we headed back to their place, snuck kenai in (their apartment isn't pup friendly), watched a few episodes of broad city, and of course i crashed pretty quickly.  i recall my alarm going off at an ungodly hour the next morning.  i think it was 4am because i'm pretty sure the goal was to be on the road by 5am.  ugh.  it was painful.  nat and mark woke up to see us off and even helped carry bikes back out to the car for me.  i told you that they are the absolute best, i don't lie.

after saying farewell to natalie and mark we began the second portion of the journey to iowa, the boring part across the plains of nebraska and iowa.  after many rest stops and endless games of frisbee, we finally made it to iowa city around 8pm friday night.

i made the necessary stop at the coralville hy vee for sterzings, dip, and beer.  with the necessary provisions  acquired we made the final sprint to winfield where three of my greatest life friends were waiting up for my arrival and some backyard beers.  man, what a night.  there couldn't have been a better committee and setting to welcome me "home" for a visit.  abby, leslie, and kendra had been waiting up for me to get to town.  remarkable because they are all moms with kiddos who need them yet they all made time for me.  i can't express what that meant to me and how much i loved it.  kenai came to the party too.  he tried to kill baby bunnies.  you see, it turns out that late may is baby bunny season in the midwest.  so the tiny little critters were just being born and
they were literally everywhere.  i stepped on one for crying out loud.  that was traumatizing.  kenai was chasing baby bunnies and grown-up bunnies alike.  it was making me crazy.  after a few hours of catching up, reminiscing, and laughing until our guts hurt and our eyes were crying it was well after midnight and we all decided we should turn in for the night.

saturday was a pretty special day.  my sister and i threw a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom at the twin lakes country club.

 it was a total blast!  we met at the club early to set up and decorate...i think i might have spent more time hanging with my gav man though.  i had missed him and this was my first chance to see him since i'd returned to iowa.

he was a big help getting the party ready though.

the party was a hit and  my mom felt so loved.  success.  it was great to see family and friends in such a fun celebratory setting.  and it was great to see my mom smile and laugh so much.

sunday i headed north to minnesota to work for the week.  as always, i drank a lot of good beer and spent time with all the best folks minnesota has to offer.

i got to shack up at the ommen house again.  they are the absolute best.  this time i brought gifts to thank them for the last time they let me stay.  e got a sweet new unicorn pillowcase.
 kenai loved the girly stuff in e's bedroom when it was time for stories before bed.  he shoulda been a lady.

he was also super duper excited to hang with his pal otis for the week.  they always have so much fun.

 Marian took me to this crazy place on prior lake called Charlie's.  best gouda hashbrowns ever to exist.  you should definitely get some.

AND they allow dogs on the deck!  needless to say i was an instant fan.

 after a week in minnie my adventure pup and i headed south again to iowa.  there was more fun to be had.  on our way back we stopped in cedar falls to have dinner with al and jake.  man are those two the cream of the crop.  i'm so excited for them to get married soon.

i got to spend the next few days in iowa just enjoying the country.  that right there is therapy enough for me.  

i took my favorite dude camping at lake darling.  i had never been, at least not that i remember.  we had so much fun!
the kiddos got to meet a milk snake that the DNR ranger brought by our campsite.  brantley was way more into the snake than gavin at first.  even remi gave it a shot. 

kenai got to chase some toads.  that was fun for him...and very stressful/gross for me. 

saturday morning before i took the kiddos home we went for a hike by the lake.  it was no hike in the mountains but we had just as much fun.  i wouldn't have traded that night of camping with the boys and my niece terra for anything.  we all had so. much. fun.

saturday night was my 15 year high school reunion.  yes, i said fifteen year.  that's real.  doesn't matter how old we are.  i was still a complete nerd and had the time of my life.  some things NEVER change.

the trip was a total blast.  i want to do it again this year.  it's good to go home and take the time to smell the roses and love my people.  see you all in 2017.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

when the raindrops sting my eyes i keep them closed

well, it's been 18 months since my last post.  rest assured, i'm still alive.  not just alive but on my way to thriving again.  having said that, 2016 was a challenge.  a challenge i met and conquered, though not always with grace.  in september of 2015 we made the decision not to move to reno for Chris to work with QBP.  it was tough.  we had been very excited about the move.  ultimately the housing market there was impossible to say the least.  perhaps that is why the majority of people who moved there from UT live in rv's.  their sense of adventure must be greater than ours.

with the reno decision finally made we started settling back in to our permanent life in ogden.  just as we began to relax and get comfortable again, in december of 2015, QBP announced that they would be closing the ogden warehouse and opening one in denver colorado.  we certainly had interest in moving to colorado, but their inflated housing market made that a poor financial move for us so we chose to stay in ogden.  this meant that i would be working from home full time and chris would no longer be employed when QBP closed in april of 2016.

that's what happened.  the nine months between now and then were crummy.  shitty.  hard.  i cried.  i got mad.  but the important thing is that i'm here, on the other side.  things are looking up.  and i'm doing the work to keep the momentum moving in the right direction.

chris got a job at the very end of december with big agnes.  he is happy to remain in the outdoor industry.  that was one of his greatest hopes.  and it came true.  i am so very happy for him.  for us.  the only bummer is some days i feel like the amount of time he spends commuting to SLC is more than i get to see him in a day.

as for me.  i've been working at home full-time for 9 months now.  it's going really well.  better than i expected.  i thought i'd go crazy without seeing other humans all day.  it turns out skype video is magical and really gets the job done as far as making me feel connected to my people.  i'm still learning a lot about credit, financial statements, and bankruptcy.  i've got so much to learn and that's what excites me about my career.  keep on keepin' on.

in a nutshell that's been our world for the last 9 months.  i took the plunge and got a new mac so i'm definitely spending more time on my computer these days.  you can probably expect to see more from me here.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 (so far) in 83 pictures...

2015 has been an interesting year for us.  It's been good, but it's keeping us on our toes.  All the same, we are having an incredibly fun year.  We have been able to do some cool things, we've adventured with our dogs, and we've been riding bikes together.  The other day I was browsing through the pictures that have collected on my phone since I got it in February.  I had forgotten how many cool things I've done and seen this year.  I've also been pretty sentimental the last few weeks so this post came from there too....

There was a killer weekend of sun and warmth in February this year.  We took full advantage.
 That afternoon we rode bike and drank #coffeeoutside.
And that morning I took Goose snowshoeing at Snowbasin.  He was in heaven.

January 5th I began an accounting class.  It's the first in a series of courses I am taking to earn a certification as a Credit Business Associate.

We bought a new Subaru Forester in November of 2014.  My friend Gage bought my old Subaru Outback.  After making a few repairs Gage started driving the Outback to work.  Sometimes the Subarus hung out together.  Old and new. 

 When I was working on my Accounting class Goose was always a GREAT study partner...

This guy is a lot like me.  He just likes to part wherever he goes. 

In February I got to to go to Minnesota for work.  It was a whirlwind trip.  Short.  Busy.  Fun.  

I got to go to dinner with one of my most favorite Minnesota kids.   

There was a Yak at Frostbike. 

Some of my other Minnesota favorites.

And then on my last night in MN I was surprised by my sister who brought my niece and nephew to see me from Iowa.

I hadn't met my niece Remilyn yet.  That became the highlight of the trip.

Kenai and I have done a lot of hiking this year, like all the other years.

In early March I was pretty sure that winter was done with us so I bought a lift ticket to get at least one day on the mountain this year.  That was a Sunday.  It was sunny, warm, and fun, but a little to spring-like.

48 hours later.  On a Tuesday.  It dumped.  My boss gave me a powder day...and he doesn't even live in Utah!

I rode Powder Mountain that day with Dawn and John.  The snow was deep.  The company was tops.  The beer was cold.  What more could we ask for?

And after a long day of snowboarding I got to soak in their hot tub for fabulous conversation...and more cold beers.

As is customary, we had this two fun buckets over for a spring break sleepover.  We had a blast.  As always.

  I made them buckets of sidewalk paint and they used it on our garage and driveway.  

Rayah got a Weepies tat while she was with us.  We had tats in the same place on our arm.

We hiked Indian Trail up Ogden Canyon with the kiddos and Goose.  We all had a blast.  My facial expression in this photo can only be explained by the fact that Rayah had just repeated something I said...and of course there was a "shit" in it.  A laugh a minute with these two.

She's beautiful and has a style all her own...but I loved it whenever she tried a bit of my style on for size.

For Easter I got to spend a long weekend in Moab.  I took 4 autistic teenage boys camping.  That was a real adventure, and a challenge.  We all made it out alive and had a great time in the process.  

And by Sunday morning I was really ready to get home to Chris and the puppies.

Kenai wasn't exactly "eager" to have me maul him upon my return from Moab.  At least he tolerates me.

The first week of April we set said on our first exploratory trip to Reno, NV.  

These two were not excited to see us packing.

After a day of driving my tummy was craving a fresh salad.  Great Basin Brewery delivered.

And their brews were above average as well.

Sparks Marina.  The place we called "home" for our visit.  We fell in love.

Chris won big.

We tracked down some very tasty pizza at BJ's Brewhouse.  Again, good beers to go with it.

We spent a day exploring Tahoe, mostly by car but a bit by tastebuds as well.  We tracked down this AWESOME sandwich shop after our first two attempts were not open on Sundays.  We were lucky that the other two places were closed.  This place makes it taste good to eat healthy.  I had smoked tofu on cheesy jalapeno bread.  YUM!!!

This day was one of those that was next to magic for me.  My love was by my side wearing as many smiles as me throughout the day.  We were surrounded in epic beauty in every direction for as far as the eye could see.  We were preparing for our new life adventure together.

So much beauty.  I felt like a little squirrel when I was playing with these rocks and pine cones.  But I was happy.

I heart bikes.  And Tahoe.

Until we meet again...

Then we were home again.  In the car after picking these two up from Grandma and Grandpa's.  As you can see, they had fun and were quite worn out upon our return.

Mid April brought perfectly mild temperatures and weather that was perfect for mountain biking.  Goose and I explored Shoreline hoping to check out some of the new portion of the trail.  

Alas, Goose has a terrible mother who let his poor little paws get hurt while he was too busy running his heart out to notice.

Later that week Chris and I participated in the Burrito Project in Salt Lake City.  It's a moving organization.  Do yourself a favor and watch this: 

Do yourself a favor and watch this:

Then that boyfriend of mine talked me into buying that new road bike I'd been wanting.  Meet Victoria.

Mother's Day happened and I got a couple of really awesome presents for being a dog mom.  

Chris's mom and dad gave me this cute doggy pillow.

Shalyce, Jason, Camden, and Rayah gave me these dog butt magnets for our fridge.  I LOVE THEM!

Well, a girl who gets a new bike obviously needs new bike shoes too, right?

 I finished my accounting course with a B.  I even have a certificate to prove it.  I framed it.

I finally got to play cards against humanity.  It was exceptional considering the company...

Over Memorial Day weekend I took a ladie's trip to Moab with Cindee and Hillary, meeting up with a few other people once we got down there. 

Clearly he didn't know we were headed for Moab right after work.  We was way to relaxed.  I, on the other hand, couldn't sit still to save my life.

In every attempt to make this car ride induce as little anxiety as possible we prepared ahead for all scenarios.  It seemed to work.

We finally got to pick up the rest of the girls, both human and K-9.  Meet Hillary and Daisy...

This was definitely Lucy's (the Forester) greatest amount of cargo hauling, by far.  She rocked it.

Morning one I didn't have the patience to wait for my coffee to drip at the campsite so Cindee and I drove into town to get some coffee and a few other necessities.  While there, we met the fine folks who are currently traveling in and living in this converted short bus!  They were as rad as they sound.

This is a sweet panorama that I sent Chris trying to capture the magnitude of the amount of people camped out on the BLM land.  So. Many. People.

Saturday we rode the mountain bike trails at Klondike Bluffs.  I was having some mechanical difficulties.

But when I was upright, it was a blast.

Even when Cindee got a flat we didn't have to try hard to have a great time.

Cindee loved her first mountain bike ride.

Our camp neighbors brought their ferret camping.  She was awesome.

We got back to camp just in time to relax for a few minutes and watch a great big rain storm roll in.

This guys does not clean up well after a desert rain storm.

Quality time with Stella the ferret.

I'm convinced that having previously been the brother of a bunny is what made him so good and careful with her.  I was proud.

Daisy feels full of shame when her mother dresses her.  Even if it is really cool outdoor gear.

Meet Camp Chef (aka: Cindee) 

I wanted a good beer so we hit up the Moab Brewery for lunch.  It hit the spot.

Then we made a stop at the winery on the Colorado River.  We hung out with the ghosts of John Wayne and the like for an enjoyable afternoon.

The pup knows I've always loved Native American culture.

He was on a horseless carriage with no way out of Dodge.

Then lady Daisy joined him.  I love how they look like an old divorced couple in this picture.

He's always been one of the coolest dudes I've known.

One last goodbye to my favorite dish at Pasta Jay's.  I enjoyed it while sitting around the campfire.  It was perfect.

Dead Desert Dog.

On the cruise home from Moab traffic was backed up in Spanish Fork Canyon.  Kenai was enjoying some fresh air while the car was stopped.

The bruise that resulted from my mechanical failures on the Klondike ride in Moab.

First thing was first when we got home.  This guy needed a bath.

OMG, then this happened.

The Weepies came back to SLC for their Sirens tour.  It was more magical than I could have imagined to be there with Chris.

On the tails of the Weepies concert was Little Red 2015.  Our last one for a few years while we are living in Reno.  :(  It was a great year though, and perhaps a good time to find a new organization in Reno to donate my time and efforts to.

Set up on Saturday with Diane was fun, as usual.

We got to see our friend Allie again this year.

I loved how the sky behind us looked.

Little Red Morning.  Getting pumped to ride.

Finished 50 miles!  Loved having this guy there to greet me when I came in.

In the last couple of weeks I have ridden the Sardine trail at Snowbasin 4 or 5 times.  I'm actually heading there as soon as the bell rings at 5pm.  :)  I'm going to miss this place.

I got to hang out with Zade and look at lots of bugs.  He and Chris found an albino earwig!  Really.

Last weekend Kenai's sister Ellie came to stay with us.  Everybody had a lot of fun and Chris and I accomplished a lot around the house.

I was standing in the garage after coming back from a mountain bike ride on Sunday and noticed that my whole quiver was in one frame so I took a picture.  These bikes sure do bring us a lot of joy, happiness, adventure, and fun.  And bikes ultimately are what brought Chris and I together.

So in a nutshell that's how 2015 has looked for us so far.  It's been wonderful.  We're looking forward to the adventure ahead that is quickly approaching.