Santa Fe and Show Low

Before I start today’s Blog, I want to share one last photo from Denver. As Bill and I left One Barrel, we walked past a, not to be missed, photo op.

Does this need a caption?

Our drive down I-25 from Denver to Santa Fe took us through an area known as El Llano, which means The Flat. This high plains area was given this name during the Santa Fe Trail times. It was the relative flat area between the southern Colorado mountains and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, just before arriving Santa Fe. I have always enjoyed the high vistas and distant mountains of this area of New Mexico. The largest town is Las Vegas (New Mexico, that is.)

We arrived at the KOA Journey, southeast of Santa Fe. We chose this well run park, because of its close proximity to Ed and Joe. It is in the valley just below where we lived on Apache Ridge. I realized I didn’t take any park pictures.

That night, Bill and I went to dinner at Harry’s Roadhouse, an iconic SF eatery. We have many fond memories of eating there.

On Friday, while Bill had a Spa Day, at Ten Thousand Waves, I, not surprisingly, went on a nice bike ride along the Santa Fe River Trail

Well maintained Trail along the river
The term River might be a slight exaggeration

I then biked streets across Santa Fe to Posa’s and had their Green chile Bean and Cheese Burrito, with a side of Calabacitos. I was in heaven!

I then headed down the Sante Fe Rail Trail toward El Dorado.

Unlike most rail trails, this one was built alongside the, then active, rail spur from Santa Fe to the Atchison, Topeka snd Santa Fe depot at Lamy. I have always thought it ironic that the Santa Fe Railroad didn’t actually go to Santa Fe. There is a big geographical reason for that. La Bajada.

There was no way a rail line was going to cross that. So they didn’t. Even today, the New Mexico Rail Runner makes a miles long sweeping curve to avoid it.

Here you can see the bike trail along side the narrow gauge rail tracks. After years of use as a tourist train from Santa Fe to Lamy, the tracks are not in use.

One thing worth noting: this ride stretched the limits of my hybrid bike tires. Had the trail been muddy, I would not have been able to make it.

When I reached El Dorado, I headed back toward our RV park, a nice five miles downhill ride. It was a sunny and warm day with a nice breeze for my total 32.77. This was the last ride of this trip, making my total miles, over the two months, 655 miles. Not bad for an old man!

On Saturday, we joined Ed and Joe at the Santa Fe Horse Shelter’s annual “Gimme Shelter Trainer’s Challenge.” Seven trainers are given a horse, who has never been ridden, 100 days to train for the show. Afterwards, the horses are auctioned for a fundraiser for The Shelter. The Shelter currently has 70 horses, needing over $100,000 annually for hay alone.

Our favorite horse, Kai and trainer Roberto
They look alike because they are Father and Son.

Bill and I also checked out this statue of a American Bison made of adobe. Sort of ironic, a near extinct animal presented in an almost extinct building style.

We had a nice dinner with Ed and Joe on their portal, that is porch for most of the country. Fajitas, salad and the last of the wines I had shipped to Brian and Gary. We had a nice last evening in Santa Fe

Bill showing Ed and Joe how to use the voice recognition on their phone

On our drive to Show Low yesterday, we drove through El Malpais National Monument. Malpais means badland, but the land is anything but bad.

Last night we had dinner with Bill’s cousin Susan. You will remember that we had dinner with her in Casa Grande during our first stop and now, at our last, we had dinner with her again, here in Show Low, fitting bookends to our trip. Here is how the town got its name

Susan and Bill at here home in Show Low
The three of us at Torreon Grille

Today, we will drive home. It will be a long driving day, but we are ready to be home! If only for a couple of weeks. We head to Oregon to spend time with my brother, Keith and his wife, Joanette. Check out their travel blog at

Well, that is it. See you in August!

Denver, A couple of Bike Rides and catching up with a good friend

We arrived in Denver on Monday afternoon, staying at South Park Mobile Home and RV Park, a large mobile home 55+ community with a few transient RV spaces. The huge advantage of the park is that it right on the Bear Creek, which links it to Denver’s extensive bike network.

Denver’s skyline, with the South Platte River and bike trail in the foreground

After getting settled (and set-up), we met our friend Robert Guschewski for dinner. We first met Robert over 20 years ago, when we lived in Santa Fe. Robert moved to Denver during our time in Santa Fe, but we have stopped by Denver several times to see him, as well as having traveled with him. He was with us on the 2010 RSVP 25th Anniversary Eastern Caribbean out of Ft. Lauderdale. He also joined us for our wedding in 2008.

We met Robert at Denver’s True Food Kitchen location in Cherry Creek. We had a great time catching up, since it has been several years since we have seen him. By the way, True Food Kitchen is a health conscious chain, with regularly changing menu items. The food was fantastic.

On Tuesday morning, Bill and I took a nice bike ride along the Bear Creek trail to Morrison and back. We planned to have lunch in Morrison and there a several restaurants to choose from. But I chose Red Rocks Grill as as a special treat for Bill.

It was around 11.5 miles each direction, so a relatively short ride.

Denver’s trail system is extensive and well marked.

Along the way, we were near Bear Creek, a good sized tributary of the S. platte River.

But we also, rode through several large adjacent parks.

Bear Creek Lake Park, part of the dam in the background

We finally arrived in the small town of Morrison

It has a mining history from late 19th century, but today is a tourist destination

I mentioned a surprise for Bill. Back in the early years of our relationship, we frequented a bar and restaurant in Milwaukee call M&Ms. A particular favorite menu item of Bill’s was the Monte Cristo, double decker ham, turkey and Swiss sandwich dipped on beer batter and deep fried. Clearly not on the healthy eating scale. M&M closed while we still lived in Wisconsin and Bill has been in search of the perfect Monte Cristo ever since, with many disappointments.

Red Rocks Grill was the first I looked at online and this was the first sandwich item listed.

I knew we didn’t need to look at any others.

Doesn’t that look delicious!. Bill is not smiling because he thought I was only taking a picture of the plate.

After our ride, we went to the Denver Swim Club for some warm pool side lounging, a dip in the hot tub and some time in the steam room. Afterwards, I was ready for bed.

This morning, I took a long ride, 55 miles. Along the South Platte River and Clear Creek Trails to Golden, Colorado, home to the original Coors Brewing.

There were lots of small falls on the river

After about 17 miles, I headed up Clear Creek toward Golden.

I actually have been to Golden before, in the mid 1960s with my Dad, his wife Sylvia and My Brother, Keith. We were visiting one of Sylvia’s brothers. It seem much bigger back then.

One of the manyCoors buildings, with the mountains in the background.

The trip to Golden was 35 miles along the two trails. For the return, I used bike lanes and bike ways to get back to Bear Creek Trail and made my way back to the RV park. That was only about 20 miles. making the days total ride 54.99 miles.

After getting back, I took a quick plunge in the pool. For dinner, we chose One Oak American Bistro and Wine Bar, a place I noticed when I went to the BofA ATM, not too far from us. The food and service were excellent. We tried a wine blend from Paso Robles ( where we will be on August 9-12), called Troublemaker. I don’t know about the name, but the wine was fantastic. I am so glad I noticed the restaurant on my way to the bank.

Bill at One Barrel American Bistro

We leave for Santa Fe tomorrow, where we will see our good friends Ed and Joe, and hopefully, Chuck and Donald. Until then!

Nelson Dewey State Park, Cassville and the Mississippi River

Our final stop In Wisconsin was at Nelson Dewey State Park, near the Village of Cassville, right on the Mississippi. The park is named after the first Governor of the State of Wisconsin and the park is on his 2,000 acre estate.

Here is a picture of the Historic Marker in Cassville.

The camping sites are high up on the bluff, but don’t have views due to the dense vegetation. Tuesday, we took it easy, after the almost non- stop activities on the Wolf River.

Planning a bike ride at Nelson Dewey was challenging. There are only two highways into the area and neither are appealing for riding bikes. So we decided to do a short 15 mile ride along the river.

Village Park In Cassville right on the river

You can see the ferry in the background. That was to have been our route out of town, but they suspended operations the 5th due to high water levels, so we stayed on the Wisconsin side until Dubuque today.

Bill wasn’t sure that our truck and trailer would have even fit. (It would have.)

On our ride, we did see areas that showed the high water levels. One camp site had moved all their camp trailers up to the road and just parked them there.

Here you can see the river ride right up next to the rail bed. The actual river is about 150 beyond the rail at this point.

After our ride, we did go back to the overlook for the daytime view.

Southeast view. That is Iowa on the other bank.
Northwest view.

After getting back to camp, Bill, Mouse and I had a nice quiet afternoon.

He doesn’t do this often, so I just sat back and enjoyed it.

Mouse on his perch in the tent room.

You can see that Mouse is quite comfortable. Today, on the drive he slept the entire time in his bed between us We are so lucky he travels so well.

We are now at Prairie Flower Recreation Area, about 15 miles north of Des Moines, right on the DM River. We will be here 3 nights and plan on a couple of rides.

Bag Boil Breakfast, 44 mile Bike Ride and more River/Lake Fun

My friend Brian is always looking out for my best interest when comes to my “no brown egg issues”. So he assured me, the Bag Boil Breakfast at the Marina was a perfect event for me.

I wasn’t so sure. The thought of soggy eggs in a wet paper sack did not seem appealing, but I was willing to check it out. Well, apparently, I didn’t understand the process.

You start by adding your non-egg ingredients to a zip lock sandwich bag. I chose ham, onions, tomatoes and peppers. I had planned on cheese also, but forgot.

I then added the egg mixture. And wrote my name on the bag and dropped it in the boiling water. The organizers used a turkey fryer. The guy watching is actually the egg timer. He knew exactly when to pull the bag. Some tongs would probably been beneficial, but he used his fingers. I guess they are used to the heat.

While the eggs boiled, I prepared the rest of my plate and this was the result.

The potatoes are Brian’s sister-in-law, Jerri’s recipe. They were great and the eggs were perfectly cooked and looked like a folded omelet. But, as you can see, I was prepared, just in case. I had a nice Bloody Mary to either accompany breakfast or replace it, if it wasn’t edible. It was fun. The other boaters were a very welcoming and everyone had a great time, even though it was a little drizzly. Is that a word? Well, it fits.

The afternoon turned sunny and warm, so we took the boat out again.

As you can see, we were not alone.

Lunch was on the back of the boat. Well, the food was on the boat, we were in the water.

Gary, Brian, Bill and their friend Tom, plus an unknown photo bomber

You can see Brian and Bill clowning around in the background
Bill resting on the boat and getting a little sun.

It was another great day on Lake Poygan. Some have asked about Lake Poygan.

Lake Poygan is a significant widening of the Wolf River as it makes its way to Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh. It is very shallow, a maximum of 11 feet. Boaters can navigate from Partridge Lake, north of Fremont down the river, through Lake Poygan to Lake Butte des Morts and unto Lake Winnebago. The marina and Hahn-A-Lula Resort are near the town of Orihula, on the map.

On Sunday, I got up early and headed out on a planned 40 mile ride. I planned to meet Bill, Brian and Gary for breakfast around 10.

Most of the ride was on low traffic county roads. Part was on the Wiouwash State Trail, a former railroad bed of the Central Wisconsin Railroad. You might think the name of native American origin. But it is actually named after the four counties it passes through: Winnebago, Outagamie, Waupaca and Shawno. My only comment is, that the Winnebago section is far better maintained than the Outagamie.

The Wolf River, Looking South from Hwy 110 bridge in Fremont

On Hwy II, I passed this marker. Inquisitive John will never pass up an opportunity to educate himself.

I did not pass any horses, but saw plenty of evidence they use the trail.

The trail was either this:

Or this:

Here you can see the classic evidence of a former rail trail: mounded road bed, straight and gentle incline. This is in Winnebago County, thus my earlier comment.

Back on the Wolf River, at the Pine Grove Resort, north of Fremont, where I met Bill, Brian and Gary for breakfast.

I did have an egg moment. I thought I’d play it safe and ordered poached. A few minutes passed and the waitress told me, “we can’t make poached eggs, we don’t have the equipment.” I was good! I didn’t say, “you mean you don’t have a small sauce pan and water!” I just looked at Brian, who knew what I really wanted to say, and ordered soft cooked with no brown. A bit later, I turned to Brian and asked, “what kind of egg did I order?” He said that I didn’t specify fried or scrambled, so we would have to wait and see. Well, my perfect fried eggs over corned beef hash were great. Almost, no egg drama!

On Sunday we went out on the boat again had an early dinner with Brian and Gary, before they headed home. Monday we broke camp and drove diagonally southwest across Wisconsin to Nelson Dewey State Park.

Set up camp.

After pizza and a salad, we went to see sunset. Well it was a bit hazy.

But pretty, nonetheless. We are here for 3 nights before heading for Des Moines.

High Cliff State Park and The Wolf River

After leaving the Nicolet Forest, we drove to Appleton, Wisconsin, Brian and Gary live right on the Fox River in Appleton. But since we are in our travel trailer and traveling with Mouse, we decided to stay at High Cliff State Park, on the shores of Lake Winnebago, about 20 minutes from Brian and Gary.

If you look closely, you can see we were on quite a slope, in fact on the top of a mound. it sloped down in all directions. It was so bad, in order to get level we had to go to a nearby Walmart and buy two sets of blocks. But, once finally level, we realized the front was so high off the ground that the tent room could not be set up.

After getting set up, we went to Brian and Gary’s for Ribs. Brian makes the best ribs! IT was a nice evening, including a dip the hot tub.

The next night they came to our camp for dinner. Although there were some bugs, the mosquitoes were manageable. We went to a local store and and bought already assembled, read to cook, shish-kabobs. They were great and Bill even cooked them on the camp fire ring, using real wood. Of course, it only took $15 of wood to get the coals just right. They were perfect. This is something that I definitely can not do. Propane yes, wood, not so much.

Highcliff is a very nice state park on the shores on Lake Winnebago. We were close to Appleton, so it made spending time with Brian and Gary easy.

These last two were taken on a bike ride, high up on the cliff overlooking Lake Winnebago. The good news is just after the ride, I went to a salon and had a much needed grooming appointment: hair, mustache, goatee. Etc. Much better now.

You know I can’t resist these photo ops.

Highcliff also had a marina and swimming beach down at lake level.

After three nights at Highcliff, all four of us drove out to the Wolf River about 20 miles west of Brian and Gary. We are spending 5 nights at Hahn-A-Lula Resort, right on river.

While Brian and Gary are sleeping on their boat, at Anchor Point Marina, less than a mile away.

Bill and I are with the boat in the background.

Our plan for the 4th were to spend the day on the boat at an area on Lake Poygan called The Silos, because of the nearby farm. The day was beautiful and the very quick ride over was fun. The boat can go quite fast and Brian opened it up.

Once there, we spent the day with other boaters in the fairly shallow water. It as a fun and relaxing day.

After a while in the water and sun, and after having eaten lunch, I was ready for a nap.

Brian also took a nap inside the boat. Bill was reading his book and Gary just chilling out. I woke up and noticed some ominous clouds heading our way. I woke Brian and asked him to come up and look. He decided it was time to go. But by the time we were free from the two other boats that we were tied up with, the storm was on us.

We could not get the windows snapped into place, so Bill, Gary and I just held them down as Brian headed back to the marina.

Just as quickly as it arrived, the storm passed and left us a beautiful gift.

You can barely see it, but there was a very slight 2nd rainbow.

We made it back safely. Even though it was a potentially dangerous situation, I felt comfort in the sturdiness of the boat and the Brian’s boating skills. It will be a 4th to remember.

Last night, we drove to Rustic Woods for a Wisconsin Fish Fry. Huge portions, great food, fun atmosphere. But, look at what they are planning today.

Check out 4th of July Weekend, Saturday!

We have two more nights here. I hope to get time for a bike ride. Today we are going for a bag boil breakfast. Brian promises, “no brown eggs!”

We are enjoying our time with Brian and Gary, but are also looking forward to heading toward home.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Coon’s Franklin Lodge and the not so much Surprise

Before I begin today’s adventure, I want to answer a question from my cousin Lorene, who asked what book is Bill reading in this picture.

Well, the answer is:

David Eddings, along with his wife Leigh, wrote several Epic Fantasy series beginning in the early 80s. Bill has them all, in single book formats. After we were already on the road, Bill thought it would be nice to revisit these books. We checked Kindle and none are available in digital formats, but I did find two volume sets of both the Belgariad and the Malloreon on Amazon. So, we had them shipped to an Amazon locker near Kansas City.

Back to the trip. We left Sturgeon Bay for the three and a half hour drive. Although it is only 109 miles, as the crow flies, the drive was 195 miles, down the Door County peninsula, through Green Bay and back up to the Northwoods.

On the drive, I caught Mouse sleeping in one of his favorite places while riding in the truck.

We arrived at Franklin Lake in The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. A little about the name: Chequamegon is derived from an Ojibway word meaning place of shallow water and Nicolet is named after Jean Nicolet, a French explorer and the first European to set foot in what is now Wisconsin, in 1634.

When we opened the trailer, we found our mascot, Trailer Trash Barbie, did not have a good ride.

Our camp is in a dense forest on an isthmus between Franklin and Butternut Lakes, about 10 miles east of Eagle River.

We are encountering a lot of mosquitoes, for the first time on this trip. Although there are no hookups, we do have access to drinking water just down the hill.

There are trails along the lake and around the forest. Bill and I took a short hike along the lake trail yesterday motning.

After our hike, Bill and I packed for a surprise day trip to Coon’s Franklin Lodge on Trout Lake, about an hour away. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that Bill’s family spends a week at Coon’s every summer. We thought it would be nice to surprise the family. Well, it would have been a surprise, if the lodge staff had not set the dinning room up for two extra on Wednesday night, and put a note in the registry, “Jacobs Surprise” or if John, my Brother-in-law, hadn’t read the blog and noticed we were no longer in Door County, but much closer. That, of course, was my timing error. I should have held the blog post.

In any event, everyone was happy to see us and we we especially happy to see Bill’s nephew Andy and his wife Julia (and their new baby, Alexis). We had not seen them in Milwaukee.

It was a fun afternoon filled with beach, sun, a not quite sunset boat trip and dinner.

Here are a few highlights.

Water Activities area on the lake
Jeremy and daughter, Lucy, also known as Birdie
To Linda (Jeremy’s mom in Kentucky): This picture is for you!

Brad with Teddy

Brad, holding Rilee, and Jeremy watching the water action
Jeremy on the boat. A-OK!
Jill and Bill, on the boat
Our new captain, CJ. Well at least one is watching where we were going!
Brother – Kip

Clearly having a nice time.

You may wonder, what is up with this picture. Well, it is a picture, taken with my iPhone, of a Polaroid that Jeremy took with his modern version of the iconic Polaroid instant camera. I remember having a polaroid camera in the 60s.

Our day ended with a nice dinner with the family and a little birthday celebration for Kip. Even though the surprise might have been spoiled, we had a great time. The weather was perfect and it only added to the day. As I looked through the pictures, there were several people that did not make into one. Sorry I missed you or maybe you were a little camera shy.

Thank you to all of you. Bill and I feel blessed to have such a wonderful, loving family and we so enjoyed spending the day with you.

Door County Stopover

We arrived in Sturgeon Bay on Sunday afternoon, set up camp and had a quiet evening. Our plan was to take a bike ride on Monday and replace our failing fresh water pump on Tuesday afternoon.

Well the weather had other ideas. We woke up to rain on Monday and it rained off and on throughout the day. So, we sat in our tent room, reading, enjoying the sound of the rain.

As you can see, with the flaps down, we stayed nice and dry. The good news was, there was little wind with the rain, so the tent stayed mostly still. It can flap around in high winds.

Tuesday brought us a beautiful sunny day with highs in the 70s, so Bill and I planned a nice bike ride along the Ahnapee State Trail, which is a rail to trail conversion following the former path of the Ahnapee & Western Railroad from Agoma to Sturgeon Bay. The railroad ceased operations in 1986. I love riding rail to trail conversions and I am a member of the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

On our ride, we rode round trip from Tranquil Timbers to Forestville. We decided not to ride all the way to Algoma, since we needed to be back to deal with our water pump.

Even though it had rained the day before, the trail was dry and easy to ride. Although both of us agree, there is more resistance than on pavement. This is good practice for the C&O Towpath ride we are doing in the fall.

The trail shares the path with the Ice Age Trail, a long hiking trail that goes from Sturgeon Bay in the far northeast corner of Wisconsin, down to Janesville in south-central Wisconsin and then back up to St. Croix Falls in far western Wisconsin.

It looks like a lake, but is called Forestville Flowage, created by a dam on the Ahnapee River

A nice lunch at Clark’s Bar and Family Restaurant gave us a break and then we headed back.

We passed this typical small Wisconsin dairy. There are thousands of these small dairies still operating across Wisconsin, resisting the trend toward corporate owned massive dairies. Although I suspect the corporate dairies are putting pressure on, even here.

I particularly liked this section of the trail with the wildflowers and reeds on one side. Here the trail is up high ground, surrounded by water filled marshes.

We made it back to camp and shortly there after the water pump arrived UPS. Installation was not particularly difficult and we got it all set and tested. The results were not particularly impressive, a slow flow. I got the instructions out to troubleshoot and noticed something very important. They sent (or I ordered) a park model version, designed to run on 115 VAC. No wonder the pump was running slowly on 12 VDC. I quickly drove to the local RV accessory store to see if they had the right pump. They did. So, as I was standing in line, one of the sales people noticed me and came over and said be sure you check that pump carefully because the 12 V model and the 115 V model carry the same model number. I chuckled and said, “yeah I learned that the hard way.”

Back at the trailer, it was quick work to install the correct pump and everything’s working great.

Yesterday was another nice day, sunny and low 80s. Bill and I went into town for lunch and then went exploring. Amazingly there is a “Door County Wine Trail.” Several wineries only produce fruit wines, particularly Cherry and Apple. A couple produce wines from grapes shipped in from various wine growing regions. But one, Door 44, grows hearty varieties right here in Door County at the 44th Parallel, thus the name.

We purchased several bottles, a Rose’, a Sparkling called Bubbler, for those of you not from Wisconsin, that is the colloquial term for drinking fountain and a couple of red blends. We look forward to sharing these with Brian and Gary next week.

It is another nice sunny day this morning as we pack up and head to Franklin Lake in the Chequamegon-Nicolet national forest.

Final Day Milwaukee: Lakeshore Ride and Greek Fest

All of our family that lives in Milwaukee and St. Louis all headed north today to go to Coon’s Franklin Lodge in northern Wisconsin. Bill and I could have planned our Milwaukee stay better to take this into account. So, we were on our own for the entire day.

While I was riding along the lakeshore on Thursday, I thought Bill might enjoy this. So, Bill and I set out heading east on the Hank Aaron Trail and then made our way south along Lake Michigan.

Our route from the Strava app

Shortly after leaving State Fair Park, we passed through the VA Hospital property. On the property are several old buildings from the VA, that are registered historic buildings. Three are under renovations to be used for veteran housing. The most impressive of the three is “Old Main.”

Old Main

Opened in 1869, the building housed Civil War Veterans, who needed both housing and continued care. The old Soldiers home closed in the 1970s and the VA used the building in various capacities over the years. I actually was in the building several times when I was participating in a VA medical research study on high blood pressure. Undergoing a renovation, it will again provide housing to veterans in 80 planned apartments.

We headed toward the lakefront. Milwaukee has a series of parks along its lakefront, making it accessible to the public from Bradford Beach in the north to Grants Park in the south.

Bill as we approached South Milwaukee Yacht Club

We continued down the lakeshore, stopping to try to capture a selfie with the city in the background.

If you look closely, you can see downtown Milwaukee between us.

Our turnaround on this ride was Sheridan Park. We had lunch at Lakeside Pub and Grill, a neighborhood bar and grill, a very popular concept in Milwaukee. There must be hundreds small corner bars that also serve food, the most obligatory meal is Friday Fish Frys.

Here I am a little closer to downtown.

We retraced our ride and stopped for a picture of the Polish Moon.

This 4 sided clock tower was the largest in the world until a recent tower opened in Mecca. Officially, the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, now part of Rockwell Automation, was completed in 1962. Because of its close proximity to the lake, it serves as a navigation aide. Called the Polish Moon, because of the ethnic makeup of the neighborhood. Although today, it could be called the Mexican Moon, because of changes to the ethic makeup of the area.

On our way back along the Hank Aaron Trail, we passed The Twisted Fisherman, a local bar and entertainment center. Bill could not resist the photo op.

We chilled for a while at the trailer, took Mouse for a walk and headed to Greek Fest, which happened to be right here in the Fair Grounds Park. When we lived here, it was down on the lake front.

We walked the grounds, watched the dancing and Bill had a quick ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl

I was content to watch. That last ride in San Antonio Sea World left a “lasting impression” on my lower back.

We bought some Greek Bread to have with our left over pasta. The woman at the stand, could not understand why we would waste good Greek Bread on Italian pasta. She thought we should buy some “greek” lamb instead.

On Sunday morning, we packed up and headed north. Driving along I-43 north of Milwaukee was a drive through memory lane. Bill and I drove this daily from 1989 until 1998. We lived off I-43 near Cedar Grove for our first 9 years.

We did not drive by the house. We both don’t really like doing that. But, we did stop for lunch in Belgium at Hobo’s Korner Kitchen, a place we frequented. It hasn’t changed, except that most everyone that works there, were not even born in 1989.

We are now settled in at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay. No, that is not a cemetery. It is an RV Resort.

We will spend the next few days exploring Door County.

Milwaukee – Quality Family Time

Bill and I arrived in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon. We got set up in the RV Park at the Wisconsin State Fair Park, the only RV park in metro-Milwaukee. You can only imagine what an RV park run by an organization, whose primary responsibility is to run the state fair, might look like.

But here we are all set up in what I am sure was just another parking lot of the state fair.

After getting settled in, we drove to Bill’s sister’s house to see her and her husband, John. Bill and I thought we were having dinner with Kathy and her family, but as it turned out, the dinner was with several 1st cousins and all but one spouse. Kathy, Kip and Bill were joined by cousins Fred and Tom and their spouses and Anne, whose husband Vijay was back in Portland.

On the way to dinner, we stopped and picked up Anne, Over the years, Bill and I have visited Anne and Vijay in Portland. We have seen them more than any of the other cousins.

Me, Anne, Kathy and Bill

This was a very nice surprise. Bill and I enjoyed seeing Anne again, and spending time with Fred and Tom. Our little dinner with the Jacobs/Housiaux clan turned into something a little broader. We all met at a Mexican restaurant called, Los Paisa. Someone with better spanish will have to explain the meaning and the grammatical construction of the name. Rest assured, there is a lot going on in that name. The food was good, and everyone seemed to like it. It is located in the space that was an old Milwaukee Speakeasy.

Me, Jill, Kip, Anne Kathy and Bill

We arrived in town the same time the annual class reunion for University School is being held, so there is lots going on, so to see everybody, we had breakfast with Kip and dinner with Kathy, both at our trailer, then breakfast with John Housiaux this morning.

Breakfast was at a place called Blue’s Eggs. I misread it and thought I had found a solution to my long standing “brown egg” issue. Go to a place called Blue Egg, there shouldn’t be any brown egg issues there. In any event I had a fantastic dish called “Creamy Polenta,” which was polenta, roasted mushrooms, braised kale with fonduta sauce, topped with two poached eggs. Yummy!

Of course, what am I likely to do when I am in a place for a few days? Go for a bike ride. Yesterday, I rode the Hank Aaron State Trail, which passes right by State Fair Park, to the Root River Parkway, then across town on the Drexel Connector, with a stop at Water Street Brewery, Oak Creek for lunch with Bill, and then up the Oak Creek Trail to Lake Michigan and finally up South Kinnickinnic and 2nd Ave back to the Hank Aaron Trail

All told, 43.84 miles

The Oak leaf Trail System refers to a county managed trail system,joining most of the trails in Milwaukee County.

Root River Parkway, sections very wooded

Lake Michigan
Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee in the distance from Southside Lakeshore

I haven’t mentioned Mouse recently, but know he is great, taking it all in stride.

This is how Mouse likes to travel in his bed on the center console

He doesn’t ever seemed stressed by the driving or changing scenery. Although there is not a lot of interesting trees and plants here.

Bill and Mouse on a morning walk

This evening we met Charlie and Erin and their kids CJ and Eliza and Julie and Jeremy and their two, Lucy and James at Estabrook Park Beer Garden and adjacent playground area.

Left Bill, Charlie and Erin, Right me, Jeremy and Julie

We had fish and chips, hotdogs, healthy snacks from home and beer. It was nice chatting, but soon the real reason for being here was apparent.

Bill with James on the swing.
John and CJ
Bill and Lucy
Bill and James

Checking out the Milwaukee River

We had a great time with the two families. Since Bill and I don’t have children, it is especially satisfying to spend time with our nieces and nephews and their children. We experience great joy when we get the chance.

Last Day in St. Louis

For our last day in St. Louis, Bill and I planned a ride in Madison County, Illinois, which is just across the McKinley bridge and later dinner with Sarah and Brad.

We started our day with breakfast sandwiches at the trailer. Then we made the short drive across the Mississippi to Madison, IL. Today Madison county has a network of bike trails that run along the paths of the former East St. Louis and Suburban Railway, as well as other regional rails.

Today, we rode a part of that network.

Our route was 35.88 miles along the outer most red line trail, encompassing the Schoolhouse, Goshen, Nature and Nickel Plate Trails. The trails were totally protected from traffic and ran through parklands, rural and suburban areas.

Trail map at the beginning of the Schoolhouse Trail

Our first stop was at Horseshoe Lake, which is a remnant of a Mississippi River meander. The lake is very shallow and is drained annually to provide habitat for shorebirds. Over 287 different species are known to inhabit the area.

Overlooking Horseshoe Lake

Because the trails are former rail beds, they are gently sloped and either straight or slightly curved.

Bill on a straight section of the trail

We stopped in Edwardsville for an early lunch and then finished the ride. We were back to the car by 1pm, making this a very quick ride with an average speed of 12 mph.

After spending the afternoon relaxing , we drove to Olive + Oak in Webster Groves, Sarah and Brad joined us and we had a fun time. Food was great, service by our waiter, Brian, was perfect and the company the best.

After sharing desserts, we were done. The good news is we will see Brad and Sarah in a couple of days in Milwaukee.

Tomorrow is a travel day. By tomorrow afternoon, we will be set up at the RV Park at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, the only Rv park in Milwaukee.

It has been a week!

As I mentioned in my last post, we were in a cell and wifi dead zone for the last week. Our week at MMNG was fun. We connected with friends, met new ones and enjoyed some of the activities at camp. Bill and I were a little more low key than in prior years.

It might have been something to do with the weather. It rained at least a little most days and a couple of days were complete washouts. We did notice that Gaea is showing its age. Some TLC is in order for most of the buildings. In years past MMNG members have contributed labor and/or money to upgrade the facilities. it is probably time to do that again.

I did leave camp for a bike ride last Wednesday. It was challenging logistically. Bill drove me about 1 1/2 hours from camp to a point in eastern KC Mo. He headed back to camp and would pick me up later. I began a planned 55 ride along the Bush Creek, Blue River and Indian Creek Bike Trails. My planned end point was in Olathe, KS. Early in the ride, I was riding over dried mud on the asphalt trail. At one point, I approached another section of dried mud, but I realized too late that there was surface dried mud, but underneath was still very wet mud. My tires lost contact with the asphalt and I went down, hard. I was OK, but my Iphone hit hard and gave up the ghost in a couple of minutes. So, I was 50 or so miles from my end point, no way to contact Bill and frustrated. But, I had a general idea of my planned route, and with only a few unplanned detours made my way along Bush Creek and the Blue River and onto the Indian Creek Trail.

Here you can see some of the mud/dirt on the trail. Just past that bridge is where the trail dipped down and the mud was thick. This was along Bush Creek. As I made my way toward Olathe, KS, I realized I was running out of time, so I spotted a Jimmy John’s near the trail, headed for some lunch (great sandwich, btw) and asked one of the workers to let me use his phone to call Bill.

Bill drove to pick me up and we made a, not so quick, stop at the phone store to get a replacement phone.

Final notes: It was a great ride, even with the fall. I’d like to do again sometime in drier conditions and I am really glad Bill was able to help me get through it. The above picture is the only one from that day, since my phone is also my camera.

Saturday night during the awards ceremony, Bill and I noticed several people outside the pavilion looking up to the sky. There was also an odd color in the sky. So, I went to check it out.

The sun was reflecting off this fun cloud formation shrouding us with this strange color.

Yesterday morning, we packed up and headed to St Louis. Here too the rivers are out of their banks, so no Mississippi River Trail ride this trip.

Last night we had Dinner with Brad and Sarah and spent quality time with their 1 year old twins, Teddy and Rylee.

Watching the dinner process for the kids was fun. Lots of healthy veggies, beginning with one of my favorites: Sweet Potatoes. They both put away some food, but Teddy really impressive. That kid can eat!

Afterwards we took a couple of Uncle shots.

We enjoyed both dinner and time with the young ones, and tomorrow night, we are planning dinner with the grownups, so a baby sitter is in order.

Today, Bill and I biked to Kingside Diner for breakfast and then biked the perimeter trail around Forest Park before the skies darkened. We have eaten at Kingside diber before. I love their Quinoa Pancakes, but the service has been slow both visits. I am going to work on making Quinoa pancakes at home.

I like the diner interior.
Bill at western entry of the park

Right at the edge of the park was this BP gas station. I was intrigued at both the size and historic nature of the sign. BP merged with Amoco in 1998 and the Amoco brand disappeared in the years following. Of course, some of you may remember that Standard and Amoco had the same logo back then, but that is another story.

The World’s Fair Pavilion, built in 1909, from proceeds from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, formally known as The Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Just after this was taken, the skies darkened and the pending rain moved closer. We headed back to the trailer and arrived just as the first drops began falling. So now you are all caught up!

Bikeride, Dinner with Patty and Phil and one last ride this morning

Friday morning, I wanted to take a bike ride using the Osage Prairie Trail from Skiatook to Tulsa, and then the Midland Valley and River Parks Trails back to Dad’s house. It had rained pretty hard the night before and I was concerned about standing water. But, I decided to give it a try. I did have a logistics issue. Bill did not want to ride, so I had to take the truck with the bike in the back, drive to Skiatook, leave the truck at the parking lot. After the 35 mile ride, we drove back up to Skiatook, to pick up the truck.

But, it was worth it. A very nice ride.

Trailhead in Central Park, Downtown Skiatook

The trail is 14.5 miles long, ending at the OSU -Tulsa Campus. Because it is a converted rail trail, the trail is elevated above the surrounding land, and is higher than the adjacent water levels.

You can see the various conditions. Some sunny open area others a forested canopy.

Near the end, you can see the downtown Tulsa Skyline.

After exiting the trail, I took low traffic streets for about a mile to the beginning of the Midland Valley trail, which would connect me to the River Parks Trail near The Gathering Place on Riverside Drive

This trail actually runs through the neighborhood I lived in, in the mid-sixties, so it was a little ride down memory lane. Once I got on the River Parks Trail, I headed down toward 121st Street, with a slight detour around the closed section near River Spirit Casino. They still are recovering from the floods. This was another 20 miles after leaving the Osage Prairie Trail.

Arkansas River still running high.

After arriving back, Dad, Bill and I drove to pickup the truck in Skiatook. Then we rested until it was time to meet Patty and Phil Hershberger for dinner.

Patty and I dated during high school. In recent years we have reconnected and the four of us enjoy meeting for dinner when we are in Tulsa. Last night during a surprise rain storm, we met at Maryns Taphouse in the Jenks Riverwalk. Patty chose this, because we would have the option of outside or inside seating. Well the rain took care of that.

But we had a fantastic time. Phil and I shared a dozen oysters on the half shell (yum) and we all sampled the Bacon Flight, bacon with four different coatings, black pepper, chocolate, hickory smoked and cinnamon crust. A bit decadent, but very tasty.

We had a great time. I was amused at Patty, she could not wait to ask, exactly how much luggage we had on the cruise. All four of us love to travel and we enjoy sharing experiences. Maybe sometime we can meet on one of our journeys.

Luckily the rain stopped and we took this outside picture.

Today was a travel day, but before departing, I got in a quick 12.5 mile ride in Bixby using the Fry Creek and Washington Irving Trails. It was a nice but quick ride.

I did have a mishap. My wallet fell off the bike. When I realized it was missing, I had no idea where it fell, so I cancelled my debit and credit cards. Just as we were leaving Dad’s, I received a call from the Cathedral City police advising that the police in Oklahoma were trying to contact me. They had my wallet. Well it was too late to stop the cancellation of of the cards, but at least, I got my Drivers License back.

On our drive to Iola, KS today, we stopped and had homemade ice cream and apple pie with my Cousin Jeanne Eck and her husband, Herschel and their children. Also my Aunt Silvia was able to join us. Nice seeing them and catching up.

We are in Iola for the night, heading to Camp Gaea tomorrow.

We are going dark. The lack of Wifi or cell service at Gaea will make posting difficult. So until next week.

Lake Texoma, Guthrie and Bixby

After leaving Crawford, we drove to Lake Texoma, on the Texas/Oklahoma border, near Madill, OK. We had planned To spend 3 nights, but soon realized, this was not a good fit. We don’t fish or have a boat and the high and muddy waters did not make either of us want to go for a swim. So, we decided to drive to Guthrie, visit Summit View Cemetery, where my Mother and other family members are buried.

We stopped in the little to town of Waxahachie, TX for lunch. We chose a pub lunch at College Street Pub. Bill had Fish and Chips and I chose Shepherds Pie. Very nice.

College Street Pub. By the time our food arrived, every table filled.

On the way back to our truck we passed the Ellis County Courthouse, a turn of the 20th Century building, completed in 1897. The building went through restoration early in this century as part of a plan by Governor George W. Bush to restore many of the historic Texas County courthouses.

We spent the night in Guthrie and paid a visit to Summit View. Mother has a new neighbor, who apparently loved birds, so there is a pole with feeders and bird houses hanging just over Mother’s stone.

I think she would approve.

As we packed up yesterday in Guthrie, the motor on the slide out stopped just as the slide was completely in. We decided that Tulsa would probably offer more repair opportunities and the slide was safely in, so off we went.

We checked the fuses and manually extended the slide (only after having to fix the manual crank rod – cotter pin stripped). We called a local mobile RV service. Once he checked it out, he found yet another fuse, one that is not documented in the manual. 15 minutes later, all fixed.

This Morning , Bill and I took a nice ride using the Mingo Valley and Creek Turnpike bike trails. we met Dad for breakfast in downtown Jenks, and rode back. We tried to ride up the Riverside Parks Bikeway to The Gathering Place, but the trail is still closed due to recent flooding.

I did take a picture on the old 96th Street bridge, which is a bike/pedestrian bridge today, but when I was a child, was one of my favorite bridges across the Arkansas River . I liked, and still like the iron arches.

We have a couple of more days here. We are having a great time and Mouse is really traveling well. He does like his daily walks,

As usual, he walks us,

Waco: Bike Ride, flooding rivers and Family Dinner

We have spent 4 nights at The Homestead at 3218, a guest house near Crawford, TX. In addition to the interior rooms, there are 10 or so RV camp sites. They have a nice pool and rec room room with a large steam room. But, there is not a lot to do around Crawford, but Waco is only 20 or so miles away.

I thought it might be nice to do a bike ride along the Brazos River bike trail. Bill elected to remain at camp, and I drove to Waco, with my bike in the truck bed. I parked on the Campus of Baylor University (Go Bears!) and headed out.

Robert Baylor, co-founder of Baylor University

I had planned to ride North, along the west bank of the Brazos River. Not 1/2 north, here is what I encountered.

I knew there were several times along the river trail that the path went under street bridges, so I decided to ride back to the Umpfrey Pedestrian Bride, which connects the main campus to the sport facilities on the East-bank and trip my luck there.

Bridge with McLane stadium in the background.

I road north on the east-bank trail, past McLain Stadium, where the Baylor Bears play, to here,

Not even a barricade! So, I sat down, checked google maps and planned a route that did not involve riding the river trail.

Originally I had planned to ride the river trail up, cut over to the Waco Lake Dam Trail and come back down the river trail on the other bank. You can see that I made a wide detour, away from the river, but made it to Waco Lake.

The nice thing, is the spillway is several feet below the trail, so no water on the trail.

Before heading back to Baylor, I spoke to a another rider and he told me there were several places that the trail was underwater, but the parallel street was clear and had marked bike lanes. So that is how I made it back to the truck, completing almost 26 miles on a sunny, warm and humid day. Did I mention humid? This desert rat is not used to that.

Last night, Bill and I drove to my Uncle Leland and Aunt Barbara’s home near Lorena, TX for dinner. We were joined by my Uncle Loren Vance and Aunt Maxine, who were spending the night there. It was nice to spend some time with my family.

Loren Vance and Maxine on the left, Leland and Barbara in the middle

Today, we leave for Oklahoma, where we are planning to spend a couple of nights at Lake Texoma, on the OK/TX borfer, before heading to Tulsa. They have already moved us due to hifh water, so we don’t know what we will find, once we are there.

Stay tuned! Well that shows my age.

Good Morning from Crawford, Texas

Our last full day in San Antonio was a day at Seaworld. Luckily, our RV resort was only a few miles from Seaworld, so we were able to ride the bikes there and back. Although we did have a Google Maps hitch. GM showed a short 2.5 mile ride from our camper trailer To Seaworld. Well, that would have been great, if we were employees, because the map app directed us to the employee parking area, with no access to the entry gate. After heading back out to the street and finding our way to the main gate, we clocked 4.19 miles.

Full disclosure: Bill loves amusement parks and their rides. I enjoy the sensations, but am always thinking about the consequences, if the car were to leave its track.

Our first ride was one that ended with me being soaking wet.

I did get in a selfie, before stowing the Iphone in anticipation of the moist end of the ride.

And this what the ride looks like at its end.

Well, we ended up riding all of the major rides. The last one was challenging because gravity pulled us off our seats and them slammed us back down. I was done with rides for the day. Bill went for one last ride.

After that, we had lunch, then went to two marine mammal shows. First up, Beluga whales and white sided dolphins.

A Beluga whale greeted a young girl from the audience

One of the dolphins showing off

We also dropped by the Turtle Reef.

Getting a shot without reflections from the glass was impossible.

The last show we watched was at the Orca Pavilion.

You can get really wet if you sit poolside. We opted for dry upper seats

We had a fun day, a nice mix of rides and Seaworld shows, and a short bike ride.

Photo op leaving the park

Thursday morning, we packed up and headed north. Our route would take us right through New Braunfels, TX. We decided to stop and have lunch. An internet search brought us to Krause’s Cafe and Beer Garden.

So when in a Beer Garden, what does one do? Order a Maß!

A Maß is a full liter. Luckily, Bill was driving.

Krause’s has been around for years and regularly has entertainment in the beer garden, but not at 11AM on a Thursday morning.

But, boy do they have bier!
Complete with the requisite long tables and benches of a German Beet Garden

After lunch, 2 3/4 hour drive brought us to The Homestead at 3218, Crawford, Texas, right next to George W Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch. I don’t really know what to say about that! We are here for 4 nights and then on to Oklahoma.

Home Sweet (Mobile) Home!

San Antonio

After 3 driving days, we arrived into San Antonio on Memorial Day. Luckily the traffic wasn’t bad and there were no accidents or construction issues. Since we only stayed one night in each of our stopovers, my primary criteria was proximity to the interstate. Our first night was at Mission RV in El Paso.

Notice the tree covered spaces and the view of shipping containers

Clearly, not my best choice. Our second night was in Ft. Stockton, close to the freeway again, but we did have some trees and grass.

The challenge here, was we were so close to the freeway, that the noise bothered Mouse and his walks weren’t much fun for him or us.

In San Antonio, we are at an RV resort, with lots of space, grass and trees. It is very nice, with a large pool area.

Monday, after arriving, we spent a quiet afternoon. I went to the hot tub, while Bill stayed in and read.

Yesterday Morning, we went on a bike ride along the San Antonio River. There are five Missions in a relative short distance of 10 miles along the River. Two, Mission San Antonio de Valero (1718), known today as The Alamo and Mission San Jose (1720), about five miles down river. The other 3, Concepcion, San Juan and Espada, had been established in East Texas, near French Louisiana, and moved to San Antonio in 1731 to avoid harassment from French incursions along the border between French and Spanish controlled areas of North America.

We drove to the Southern most of these missions, Espada, parked and headed north along the river.

Amazingly, other than the Alamo, these missions are still active Parish churches and had regular services.

Arbol de Vida: Voces de Tierra statue , along the river, near Espada

The ride is a part of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, and is incorporated into The San Antonio River Walk.

We went to only three of the five missions. We hope to get to the Alamo on its own. And we had planned to go to San Juan on the return bike trip, but ran out of time.

and our final stop, at Mission San Jose

Of course, the Missions were not the only sights, along the river.

We had a fun time. Luckily the day was mostly to partly cloudy and it wasn’t too hot. We returned to Espada, and headed back to Blazing Star RV Resort. We met Andrea for dinner. She was my manager when I worked at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells, back in 2005-06. She is Director of Human Resources at The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country. We had lots to catch up and dinner took over three hours. Great fun.

Today, we are going to Seaworld, which is very close to our RV park.

Quiet Day in Bisbee

We had little planned for yesterday. I got up early and worked out with my TRX Suspension Trainer, using a tree branch to support my weight. Once Bill got up, we walked Mouse and had a rather late breakfast at the camper.

On the way to lunch, we stopped at the Queen Mine Visitor Center. They offer tours down into the Mine, but that is not something even remotely appealing to us. We just looked at the exhibits in the center and watched a video about the process of mining and extracting the pure copper from the rock. My impression is that from tons of rock, you get 99 percent waste and 1 percent pure copper. And the storage and disposition of the waste is a huge environmental problem. But the other side is: Can you imagine what we would do without copper.

We had lunch with a friend from our Santa Fe days, who moved to Bisbee about the same time we moved to Palm Springs. Before lunch, we strolled the streets and did a little shopping in the many consignment/resale stores.

After lunch, we decided to do a couple tourist things. we visited the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.

Another of the turn of the 20th Century buildings,

The museum has a mixture of period photos, artifacts and video presentations on both the town history and the development of the massive mining industry here.

I was particularly interested in the video presentation of a dark period in Bisbee history. In 1917, the miners went on strike over issues of wages, safety and conditions in the mines. The strike had lasted about two weeks, when the local sheriff, supported by the mine management companies, rounded up all the strikers, asked if they were willing to return to work. Most weren’t. The strikers were loaded into boxcars and forcibly deported by rail to Mexico, a totally illegal action. However, no one was ever convicted of kidnapping 1,300 men.

Some of the equipment on display at the museum
This was a cage used to lower men and equipment into the mines

Our friend, Bob, suggested Screaming Banshees pizza for dinner. The pizza was good. While we were waiting for the pizza, I couldn’t resist this photo op.

And those of you who followed our Danube bike trip last year, will remember this one from Tulln, Austria:

Or this one from taken in Dwellingup, Western Australia in 2014. I guess I can’t resist photos in oversized chairs.

That is all for today. We have a couple of travel days. I probably won’t post until San Antonio on the 27th.


We left Catalina State Park in Oro Valley just before noon today. We only had a two hour drive to Bisbee. Bisbee had been on our short list for years. It is a former mining town that has evolved into a tourist destination after the Queen Copper Mines closed in 1985,

We settled into our campsite, with stunning views of both the downtown and of the Queen Mine.

This is the Queen Mine as seen from our campground.

but in the other direction, you can see the streets of Old Bisbee.

Downtown view from our campground

As usual, it took a while to get set up at our site.

If you look closely, you can see Bill reading

After resting for a couple of hours, we walked to town for cocktails and dinner. We were quite impressed by the architecture in such a small town. Clearly the buildings reflect the mining center history.

But my favorite was the post office building, built in 1906

Bisbee Post Office, 1906

After walking the town we headed for our dinner at Cafe Roka. Bill and I were impressed by the menu. We shared artichokes wrapped in prosciutto with a raspberry reduction sauce. The meal came with perfectly sized roasted carrot soup (delicious) and a small spring green and beet salad. We shared main courses.

Mine was Shrimp, Sea bass and crab cakes

And Bill had a wonderful Beef Short ribs, on top of garlic mashed potatoes.

We paired this with a 2017 Belle Glos, Las Alturas Pinot Noir, a very pleasant drinking wine.

So, I know I spent a lot of time on dinner, but it was a great surprise in this small tourist town on Southern Arizona.

We are looking forward to exploring more tomorrow.

Nice (but windy) bike ride and dinner with Bill’s cousin

This was our only full day here, so we planned a nice bike ride. But before we headed out, Bill took Mouse on a walk. We try to do this twice a day when we travel. He is used to spending time outside when at home.

Mouse is comfortable with the harness and leash. But, know that he walks us,

Our planned bike ride was to be around 45 miles using the central part of The Loop, Tucson’s extensive traffic free bike network. We started on the path along the Rillito River for about 8 miles.

The Santa Catalina Mountain Range with the (dry) Rillito along the bike path

After the Rillito River we turned up the Pantano River path, which was a gentle upslope path, but the fierce headwinds made it feel like we were on a steep incline.

What you can’t see here is the wind!

I hung back to take this next one of Bill on the path.

You can see how slight the slope was, but also notice the reduced visibility due to dust

At this point we were 15 miles into the ride, feeling the wind, but we had 7-8 more miles before our turn around. we had to make it to Julian Wash. Our hope was with the slight change in direction and the downslope the riding would be easier.

Well we made to the wash, but the wind was still strong and directly in our faces.

We headed down the wash toward downtown Tucson. Along the way were several artistic works.

Bill under one of the arches along the route

As we approached mile 35, we had two issues. First, we needed to eat and secondly, Bill’s knee had begun to bother him. So, after lunch, Bill left his Bike at the restaurant and took Uber to our truck, then drove back to pick up his bike, while I rode my bike the most direct route to cover the remaining 10 or so miles.

I met Bill at our origin and we drove back to Oro Valley to rest before dinner.

We had a nice time with Bill’s cousin, Susan!

Bill, Susan and John

A New Trip – Bill, John and Mouse- 6,000 Miles with the Travel Trailer

We departed this morning on our planned 6,000 mile trip through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. We will be visiting friends and family along the way, staying in a mix of RV Parks and state and federal parks and forests.

Bill and Mouse just before departure at 6:45 AM

After a relatively short 5 hour drive, we arrived at Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona. We are staying 2 nights and plan to ride the Loop in Tucson tomorrow. Tucson has over 120 miles of traffic free bike baths along various rivers and washes. It is great riding and we are taking advantage of the expected mild temperatures to ride about half the route.

On the way here today, we stopped in Casa Grande to have lunch and take care of some business with Meg Whiteside, who owns the house that my Mother lived in before her death. It was nice seeing Meg, if only briefly.

Bill in the tent room, just after setting up.

Two views from our campsite

Mouse making sure all is in order in his tent room.

And make no mistake, it is his tent room. Well that is all for our first day. We will have a little dinner, maybe a glass of wine and call it a day.

I expect to have some fun pictures from the ride tomorrow. until then.