"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reflections - Year 2:)

Another birthday passed last week!  They seem to be coming closer and closer together.   My new friends here made it a special day.  Kathy and Jeff took me out for Mexican food the night before and Cathy and Ted took me out to dinner on my birthday.   When I look back on the last year, I am truly amazed.  It has been a great year!  I love living in Tennessee.    Franklin is such a wonderful town with lots of things to see and do in the area.  And, we have four seasons!!!   Seasons are new to me and I love seeing all the changes.

Janet and Nick are too funny - they recycled
the candles from one of their "26th" birthdays
for my birthday!!!
I have made new friends, learned my way around the area, gotten a part-time job, had my first date in 35 years,  and had lots of fun visits from family and friends.  Living near Nashville is a definite plus in the visitor department.  In the traveling department, I have been to see Doug and Leigh Anne in NYC twice, spent the Christmas holidays in Ireland, been back to Houston several times, biked the Katy Trail in Missouri, and spent many weekends with Janet and Nick.   It is wonderful living close to one of my children again.  They had an Open House at their new home this weekend and it was such fun to be able to go.

The coming year is already full of promise!  The most exciting will be the addition of a baby to our family in February - my first grandchild.   This weekend I'll be going back to NYC to drive Doug and Leigh Anne's car to Houston.  Ardell will be joining me and we will visit a cousin in the DC area and our aunt and cousins in Staunton, Va.  A childhood friend is coming to visit in mid-October.  My sister Barbara, long-time friend Ann, and I have a weekend planned in Charleston, SC at the end of the month.  Janet and Nick are hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner at their new home.  Lots of fun adventures in the days ahead.

I am happier than I have been in a long time!

There is joy,

Biking the Katy Trail - Part 3

I made it!!!!!
Day 6:  Augusta to St. Charles:  Our final day of biking!  Today's ride was only about 28 miles - our shortest day on this adventure.  We took our time this morning over breakfast, coffee drinking and to wait out a passing shower.  By the time we got on our bikes, it was 10 a.m.  We thought our other groups would have left us behind but we saw them all on the trail and made plans for the big celebration in St. Charles.

Octoberfest - my beverage
of choice.

Since it was Saturday, there were lots more bikers and joggers on the trail today.  As we got closer to St. Charles, there were more services available as well.  I think this end of the Katy Trail is used more frequently.  As the three of us approached the end of the trail, Jim and Linda were there taking our picture! We all had such a feeling of accomplishment!!!  WE DID IT!!!

After getting lost in St. Charles, we finally found the Bittersweet Inn B&B.  We left our bikes there and headed back to the Trailhead Brewery to celebrate!!  Jim bought the promised drinks and we had fun talking with them.

We made it!!  Thanks Jim and Linda!!
Jim and Linda had barely left when Kyle shows up.  So, we joined them and celebrated some more!

Peggy, Ardell, Sara, Drue, Andrew, & Kyle

Our motto!!
Day 7:  St. Charles and Getting Home:  Our original plan was to move cars every few days so we would have one at the end.  We quickly figured out we were too tired after a day of riding.  Second plan was to hire a shuttle driver to take us back to our cars.  While we were waiting for a call back from a shuttle driver, we headed over to the Ameristar Casino for a little blackjack:)    Even though all the info we had said it would be easy to find a shuttle driver, that was not the case.  No calls came so over lunch we had to "regroup" and decide how we were getting back to our cars.   We ended up calling Ben (Ardell's husband) and he reserved a rental car for us.  We took a taxi to pick up the car and headed out.  My car was in Herman about an hour away.  Drue's car was still in Sedalia which was over three hours away.   That birthday present Ardell gave me turned out to be the best ever - I was back at the B&B watching the Emmy Awards before they were in Sedalia.  They had an awful trip back to St. Charles in the pouring down rain.  

Monday morning I left St. Charles about 5:30 a.m. to avoid the morning rush hour in St. Louis and was home by noon.

Reflections:  We went into this trip pretty naive.  We all thought we would have time to visit the little towns and site see along the way.  Not:)  The Katy Trail Guide Book says to plan on 8 miles an hour.  We found that was pretty close.    Even though we went faster than that most of the time, with stops and rest breaks, etc. that was pretty accurate.  Riding on crushed limestone is not like riding on pavement - it is definitely slower.  Wednesday when it rained all day, the surface was really sloppy!   Services such as restaurants and bike shops were few and far between - and not always open.  There were more services available at the St. Charles end.  The scenery was probably the prettiest on Wednesday but we missed it with the rain.  Missouri is really scenic and I would like to go back and site see and visit the wineries.  I didn't even know they produced wine in Missouri but the two I had I really enjoyed.  It is amazing how focused you get on "riding the trail".   We all have such a feeling of accomplishment!!!

We liked this!!!

Bikes:  Drue and I both rode hybrids (Trek and Cannondale).  Ardell rode her Bike Friday World Traveller.  All were well suited to the trail.  We had all the supplies we needed.  I'll be adding lights to my bike even though I don't ride at night.  If we had gotten stuck on the trail, we would have needed them.  Also, I am going to practice tire changing!!!  And, yes, I am going to do this again.  I'm thinking next time will be the Pittsburgh to DC Trail!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Biking the Katy Trail - Part 2

Lots of Lewis & Clark
historical sites.  We
nodded as we rode by.
Day 4:  Jefferson City to Herman.  After yesterday's hard ride, Ardell decided she would get Randy (shuttle driver and B&B owner) to take her back to Sedalia to pick up my car as an early birthday present for me.  I was not dumb enough to believe that excuse.   After a wonderful breakfast, Randy took Drue and I back to the trailhead and we headed out.  Of course, we had these big ideas on how we were going to knock today's 43 miles off pretty quickly.  Wrong again!  Our first rest break was at 3 miles:)  The headwind was a killer!!  We were lucky to be going 7-8 miles an hour.  Exhausting but by this point we were determined we were going to finish.  Stubborn?  Me???  Drue????  Ardell picked up my car, went sightseeing and bakery shopping (but not for Drue and I) and met us at a trailside restaurant for lunch.  Another great hamburger  was waiting for us when we rolled in!  Drue and I offloaded as much as we could from our panniers to the car and headed out for the rest of the day's ride.  Ardell picked us up at the trailhead and drove us to the B&B.  We were that tired!  We stayed at the Harbour House B&B in Herman.  Simon's Bar & Grill was a short walk away and we had an excellent dinner.  I even had prime rib for my early birthday dinner.  Jim and Linda (we met them the first day and saw them every day) were also there and we made plans for the celebratory drinks at the end of the ride.  Jim keeps telling us he is buying the martinis!!!  What's a girl to do?

Missouri River

Ardell & Drue
Day 5:  Herman to Augusta.    After a pretty pitiful breakfast at the B&B, we parked my car at the trailhead and started out again.  Today's ride was only 35 miles but once again there was a headwind.  Ardell was back on the trail with us.  We ran into Jim, Linda, Andrew, and Sara around lunch time.  Jim and Linda kept riding but the rest of us headed to the trailside cafe for burgers.  Fun time!  Before we were finished, we were joined by Kyle.  Andrew and Sara had shared a camping spot with him the night before.   Great guy so we adopted him,  too.
Lunch time!

 Another group of bikers were also there refueling for the afternoon.  We had quite a few rest breaks in the afternoon simply because we were running out of steam - and the dreaded headwind.  All afternoon, the different groups would pass each other on the trail.  We rolled into Augusta around 4:00 to find our great B&B was at the TOP of a hill.  All three of us hopped off our bikes and walked:)  Our b&b was an old log cabin and our favorite of the trip.  We walked across the street to the Ashley Rose for a great dinner and bottle of Missouri wine.  Andrew, Sara, and Kyle as well as the other group from lunch all arrived before we finished.    The owners of the B&B were going to light a fire for us in the outside fire ring but we were too tired:)  We hit the sack about 8:00 p.m.

Loved this B&B in Augusta!  Would love to go back for a few days.

Biking the Katy Trail - Part 1

We're off!!!  (Drue, Peggy, Ardell)
I left Franklin Saturday afternoon for the "epic" bike ride.  First stop was Henderson, KY to visit/spend the night with David and Barbara Lionberger.  It was great seeing them and they fed me well.  Sunday I met Ardell (my older sister) and Drue (my college roommate and Ardells's former boss) in Sedalia, MO to get ready for the ride.

For those not familiar with the Katy Trail it is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the U.S. and stretches from Machen, MO to Clinton, MO.  More information can be found here (Katy Trails State Park).    The section from St. Charles to Machen just opened recently and we did not ride that small portion.  Our ride from Clinton to St. Charles, MO took six days and covered 225 miles!!!  By bike:)  The surface of the trail is crushed limestone.

High point on the trail.
Headed down the trail (crushed limestone)
Day 1:  Clinton to Sedalia.  We spent the night at the Hampton Inn in Clinton on Sunday night and started riding Monday morning.  We were nervous to say the least - reality was setting in:)  Three 60 somethings riding our bikes over 200 miles??  What were we getting ourselves into?   We left Clinton at 8:10 a.m. and arrived in Sedalia at 12:30 p.m.  Our total ride was 38.38 miles!  We were amazed - the road was packed hard, the weather perfect, and we just flew into Sedalia.  We all had separate rooms at the historical Hotel Bothwell.  After napping, we headed back to Clinton (my car was in Sedalia)  to pick up Drue's car and then ate at Ryan's Steak House.

Mileage for the first day.  Personal best.

School House B& B, Rocheport, MO
My steed:)  Loaded and ready!
Old signal along the trail.
Day 2:  Sedalia to Rocheport.  After parking the cars at the Sedalia Trailhead, we headed for the trail about 7:30 a.m.  This was to be our longest day of the trip but we were still pumped from the great day we had Monday.  The morning's ride included some really long inclines - not very steep but we knew:)  We had decided to take our time and stop for lunch along the way.   The Palace Cafe in Boonesville was recommended at the Visitors Center and we headed there for the best burgers ever.  After loading up on ice, we started pedaling.  First thing we had to cross the Missouri River - on a long scary bridge.  Eyes forward and keep pedaling!!!!  The afternoon's ride was long, long, long!!!  The pedaling was doable but it was really hot - this stretch was out in the open with no shade.  Very draining!!!   At the very end of the day, we had to ride through a really dark tunnel.  Another scary moment.  (Note to self:  get lights on your bike!!!)   We stayed at the Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast in Rocheport.  Wonderful!!!  It was a converted schoolhouse and was beautifully decorated.  Ardell caught a ride to the (only?) restaurant and brought food back to Drue and I.  We were too tired to move.  I think we were all asleep by 8:00 p.m.  We are beginning to realize how naive we were going into this adventure!

"Road Angel" alias "My Hero" alias "Andrew"
changing my flat tire.  I took notes!
Day 3:  Rocheport to Jefferson City.   The day started with a delicious breakfast at the B&B about 9 a.m.  By the time we got to the trailhead, it was 9:45.  The rain started at 9:50 and it rained ALL DAY LONG!!!  We rode 37 miles and 35 were in the rain - cold, wet, miserable!  You really have no choice except to keep pedaling.  One of our many breaks was at mile 17 - my front tire was flat.  After using one of my CO2 canisters to fill it, I road as fast as I could until it was flat again:)  Repeat!  Repeat!  Front tire was finished.  Still being naive, Ardell rode ahead to check for a bike shop in the next town (about a mile or two) while Drue and I started walking.  A young couple rode by and asked if we needed help.  Still naive and thinking there was a town a short distance away, we told them we were okay.  When they saw Ardell, she told them we could use some help changing my tire.  Our first Road Angels!!!!  We all stopped at a "off limits" pavilion to get out of the rain and Andrew gave us a tire changing lesson while he changed my tire.  I had all the equipment just had not ever actually used any of it.  (Note to self:  take a bike maintenance course).  The silver lining?  We met Sara and Andrew and spent some fun times with them along the trail and celebrating in St. Charles.  We finally reached Jefferson City around 4:00 pm and were met by Randy to shuttle us to The Briar Rose (B&B he and his wife own).  He also took us by a bike shop where I had my front tube changed and we stocked up on some more CO2 cannisters, etc.  Fortunately, there was a sports bar right across the street for dinner.  That was about as far as we could walk:)  Another in bed by 8:00 night!!!!
Sara and Andrew - we liked them so much we
just "adopted" them.  They are in the process of riding from
Oklahoma City to NYC!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Labor Day Weekend in NYC

For the past couple of months, I have been trying to schedule a weekend with Doug and Leigh Anne.  Between their schedule and mine, it wasn't happening.  Doug found me a great rate for a last minute ticket to NYC for Labor Day Weekend - $226 round trip!!!!  Yeah!

Doug and I on the Brooklyn Bridge
Doug and Leigh Anne with our tickets.
When I arrived at Newark, Doug and Leigh Anne picked me up in their new car:)  I am so impressed with my son being able to drive in the big city.  Definitely nothing I am brave enough to tackle.  Saturday morning we headed out for brunch at Nice-Matin.  It was a beautiful day and we ate outside.  Next up was a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - another bridge to add to my list.  Lots of other people had the same idea and the bridge was crowded.  It was lots of fun!  Brooklyn was a really neat place and we walked around a bit and then took the ferry back across. We went to the Half-Price Ticket booth to see if there were tickets to any plays we wanted to see.  We scored tickets to see the Sunday matinee of "Million Dollar Quartet".

Sunday morning we had another great brunch at Doug's favorite brunch spot.  Sangria was involved:)  Of course, I can't remember the name of the restaurant!  Then we headed over to see "Million Dollar Quartet".  It was great fun and we all enjoyed it.  That evening we went to Cafe Lalo for dinner and dessert.  Cafe Lalo has been in several movies, commercials, etc.  "You've Got Mail" is the one we all remember.  Amazing number of desserts.  Leigh Anne had cheesecake and I had red velvet cake.  Yummy!!!

Doug at work.
Monday we had a little bit quieter day.  We went walking in Central Park, did some shopping, and went to see "The Help".  Doug got a phone call and needed to go to the office for a few minutes so I got to see where he works.

Sunday Farmers' Market
Tuesday morning it was back to work for Doug and Leigh Anne.  I rode on the subway with Leigh Anne and she gave me directions to get to Mood (fabric store famous from Project Runway).  My first purchase was an umbrella-it was pouring.  Mood is so big with so much fabric it is overwhelming!!!  Second time I have been there with no purchases.  After that, I headed to Penn Station for the train back to the airport.  There were a few rain delays but I got home Tuesday evening - a few hours later than planned.