Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's My Party & I'll Kayak If I Want To!!!

This week was my birthday.  Last night a group of friends & family went out to Lake Hefner for a fun night of kayaking.                    

Christopher & Andrea, David & John & Ernesto & me on our way to the lake

Jamie & Mom ready to paddle
 Of course it was amillion degrees out so I was a little nervous if we would just get out & cook in the little plastic boats.
Why I love life jackets!

 But, happily once we launched the temperature seemed to drop significantly & there was a slight breeze.  We spent two happy hours on the water with our guide, Adam, from OKC Kayaks.  (Ok, another crappy picture disclaimer, the phone was in a baggie to protect it from water.)
The Flotilla

Christopher & Andrea

Jamie, Adam & me

We know how to have fun!

La Mama!!

John & David

The big treat of course was the sunset.  We paddled over to the east side, near Stars & Stripes Park, turned our bows (we had a brief lesson on boat anatomy before we began) to face west & enjoyed the show.

 OkC Kayak is out @ Lake Hefner Tuesday evenings for a social paddle.  You can call & let them know you are coming & they'll bring a boat out for you.  I spent some time searching their website & it seems they organize trips too.  Currently they are in Alaska & earlier in the season they went to Greece.  I, for one will be keeping an eye on their future destinations!!!

 OKC Kayaks-235-2925 -

Friday, July 6, 2012

(1/2) Oklahoma Freewheel 2012

Hey Friends,

 A couple of weeks ago Ernesto & I participated in a border-to-border bicycle ride across Oklahoma.  As many of you know, Ernesto has CRAZY riding skills and about a year ago I made the leap to a road bike.

 < < <

< < < Me; First day with new bike :D

I can't remember who told us about Freewheel but for the past year I've had it in my sights to attempt it.

  Freewheel has been running for 34 years.  It is a TOUR, not a race.  800+ riders from all over join together for one week each June to trek through some of Oklahoma's most beautiful & charming communities.

  Ernesto's schedule only allowed for us to do the second half.  Since it was my first Freewheel & the farthest I'd ridden prior to June 13th (when we began) was 50 miles (our longest day would be 78 miles) half seemed like a sane way to give it a go.

  We caught up with the group in Watonga on Tuesday night.  It was tempting to wait & go early Wednesday b/c the Thunder had their first finals match with Miami that night.  However, Watonga set up a TV in the armory so we were able to see the Thunder win!!

(Disclaimer-Photo quality is not so great.  I am shooting with my "vintage" iPhone.)

Freewheel is primarily a camping tour.  Most participants are in tents.  A few roll out in RVs but that requires having someone drive the vehicle from site to site.  And some go the "luxury" route & stay in hotels.  We utilized a camping concierge service; The Shuttle Guy. 

  Every evening we would arrive in camp to find our tent set up, air mattresses inflated & luggage placed out front.  They also had shade areas with comfortable chairs & cold drinks available.  Most important of all, in the morning we would awaken to a huge vat of hot coffee.    As soon as we would have our bags packed and out of the tent they would be breaking it down & transporting it to the next town.

                    Our tent city in Guthrie > > >

 The Shuttle Guy, Tim is a high school English teacher.  Each summer he hires former & current students to man this awe-inspiring operation.   These kids worked their butts of from 5 in the morning to 9 at night insuring that we were comfortable & had everything we needed.  AND did it all with smiles on their faces!

  From Watonga we rode to Guthrie.  This would be a 72 mile day.  As I mentioned I'd only ridden 50 miles up to this time.  Not enough to prepare for 4 gruelling days in the saddle but I figured since I had all day to make the journey I'd be okay.  Mostly I was right.  I can't overstate some of the physical discomfort but I WILL say it was far outweighed by the overwhelming sense of joy at being with this group of new friends, seeing some truly beautiful pockets of our state. and pushing myself to the unknown.

  Guthrie really rolled out the red carpet for us.  The Boy Scouts prepared a spaghetti dinner; all you could eat for an $8 donation.  That would be the case for most meals, we would discover.  Church groups, high school teams, scouts would provide meals for a donation.  Next morning Girl Scouts would provide breakfast ;)

  The best thing about our experience has to be the interesting people we met.  All kinds of people.  I was surprised at & inspired by the amount of retirment age people participating.  There was a woman who was 6 months pregnant riding a recumbent bike.  There was a family on a 4 person tandem, a couple of guys all the way from Germany,  whole families. a dad pulling two little ones in a trailer.  A real melange of folks all out riding!  I met some lovely women from OKC who told me about the Oklahoma Bicycle Society who has weekly rides scheduled back home.

< < < Ernesto with Nikki who is 81 on her 8th Freewheel.  Her goal is to do a century ride on her 100th birthday!!

Next morning had us up for an easy (LOL) 55 mile ride to Drumright.  Anyone who thinks Oklahoma is flat has never ridden a bike from Guthrie to Drumright!!!  That evening "Speedwheel", a series of races was scheduled.  We thought it was a little friendly competition arranged for our group.  Ernesto is such a strong rider I was really encouraging him to race.  "You've got this!!!"  There was even some prize money at stake.  Ernesto had a good amount of energy left at the end of the day so we thought, "What the hell?"

   Well, turned out a bunch of racing teams who weren't even on our tour rolled out for this.  While Ernesto was slugging it out in the heat & hills they were presumably resting & enjoying a/c.  Well, NEXT year we'll know better!!!  Still is was fun & Ernesto made a great effort!

                               Go Papi GO!!!   > > >

We made a really great new friend this day.  Bucky is a cattle rancher from Arkansas.  We hooked up with him for the rest of our week & really hit it off!  We hope our paths cross again soon friend!!

< < < Bucky & Ernesto

  The Nazarene Church in Drumright put up a big blow-up screen & sold popcorn for the second Thunder match up with Miami.  We found out later that with the money they raised they were able to send 8 more kids to camp this summer!

< < < Sorry, another bad shot.

  Around 2:00 in the morning we were evacuated to the high school basement next door.  There was an impending storm with hail predicted.  So we dragged ourselves over & then an hour later, back to our tent.  One nice thing about a storm in the night, it makes for cool riding in the morning!

  The next day we were off for Ponca City.  This was some of the prettiest scenery of the tour, I thought.

Beautiful old bridge on the way in to Ponca City > > >

  The Ponca City finish seemed to get farther away the closer we got!  It was a long hot day but finally we pulled into a big park next to the high school.  We had a big end-of-tour farewell dinner.  There was a concert by Grammy award bluegrass fiddler, Byron Berline & his band.  Lots of exchanging of information with new friends and then one last night in our tent before our ride into South Haven, Kansas.

  The next morning the skies were purple with an impending storm.  So, it was a quick cuppa, a stop at the local doughnut shop for some carbs & off we went.  It DID rain but it was refreshing.  We tucked into a convenience store just as the bottom fell out of the sky.  A few minutes later the storm had passed & we were off again.  South Haven is only 38 miles from Ponca City so this day was more of a victory lap/photo op.

< < < 250 miles later...

  What an experience we had!!  We will definitely want to do this again.  Now that I'm home & researching I am realizing there are similar tours all over the country & even the world, time & budget permitting...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greetings from Ghettodise

Hey Friends,
  For several years I've been posting in the lazy girls blog AKA Facebook.  Here lately I've noticed none of my posts are visible to anyone but me.  In the past I've toyed with the idea of a proper blog but questioned do I want to dedicate the time?  Now that I'm essentially ostracized on FB I've decided to give it a go.

  So, the name?  A lot of you know about "the Wayback", the property we own behind our house, I sometimes refer to as "Ghettodise".  Our neighborhood, to put it mildly, is "transitional".  WE'VE always seen the potential here.  We are just waiting for the property values to catch up.

  And quesadillas?  Well, I have a fantasy.  It involves me floating in the pool while Ernesto fixes quesadillas in our poolside cabana.  So far the parts of that fantasy that are in place; Ernesto, check, pool, check, cabana, well, that is our next project looming...

  And, the intent of this blog; documenting our day-to-day lives, projects, travels, accomplishemnts etc...

 I hope you enjoy, and I will try not to be boring or negative. Not sure how regular I'll be.  I won't post unless it's worth posting about (IMHO).  So, here we go!