The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Day for My Boys

I got a phone call from son #2 this morning. He flew solo today. Yes, my son is studying aviation at the University of North Dakota, and today he took off and landed an airplane all by himself. He had told us a week or so ago that this day was coming, and I told him not to tell me when it was going to happen until it was done (I really didn't want to sit around and worry about it). Very exciting. That's my flyboy.

This afternoon we packed up 2 cars. Son #1 is moving to Arlington VA tomorrow. He graduated from the University of Delaware in May and he has a job with Ernst and Young. Also very exciting.

My boys are all grown up..... when did that happen? It seems like just yesterday that I was walking with them to the bus stop...... And now they are flying airplanes and furnishing an apartment.

I am a proud mom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Riding on An Autumn Summer Day

I feel like I have been neglecting my bike for the past 2 weeks, so I made a promise to myself by posting a ride on the club's ride board. I have to show up if I'm the ride leader! During the week, the club's ride board belongs to the retired and self-, un-, under- and part-time employed. Today I had Mary Ellen (self-employed) and Elliott (retired) join me (part-time employed). It was surprisingly hot, it certainly felt like a summer day, but the leaves are starting to change and line the sides of the road. Halloween decorations are starting to show up and the cider mill is open. But I will take a summer day any time of the year. It sure felt good to be rolling down those roads, climbing those hills, and getting a good sweat going. It made me happy!

DH and I are helping son #1 move down to Arlington VA this weekend, so there will be no time-on-bike. Might have to get out there again on Friday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Body Pump

Since my personal trainer got fired, I haven't been focusing on my strength with any kind of consistency. Menopause is associated with muscle loss and I'm really noticing this.... I need to lift weights on a regular basis if I have any hope of reversing this trend. So today I took my first ever Body Pump class.

Body Pump is a weight lifting program done as a group exercise class. In 1 hour, we worked through most of the major muscle groups. The class is broken into several segments, each with its own music. Between segments I was able to change the amount of weight on my barbell to get ready for the next segment. I used very low weights and focused on keeping proper form to avoid injury. I've been lifting weights for years, and there was nothing new or different in Body Pump, other than the group exercise vibe (but I've done that too). The bottom line is that I did a strength workout today, it was tough even though I used very light weights, and I didn't have to pay a personal trainer to get it done. And it was fun.

I'm feeling the soreness setting in..... can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vacation part 3

Cycling along the Columbia River Gorge was definitely the hilight of our vacation. The old highway, built in the early 1900, was designed to take advantage of the beautiful landscape. The road makes elegant curves and the grsde never exceeds 5%. The roads climbs to beautiful vistas and overlooks that are 700-800 feet above the river. Although never steep, these ascents (and descents) are 4-5 miles long. I was ready for this! The 2 days we spent riding on the Highway along the gorge was probably the best cycling I have ever experienced. Climbing to those vistas and looking out over the river and the gorge...... it was just awesome.

And when you're done riding, microbreweries are abundant.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation Part 2

After gorging ourselves on pad thai and books, we were picked up by Phil, our Lifecycle Adventures guide/chauffeur/Sherpa. A few thoughts about Lifecycle Adventures. DH and I had a window of opportunity to take this vacation. I found this travel company by googling "Oregon cycling vacation" and they had a guided tour that fit our time frame. I found some favorable reviews about them online, but this was a bit of a leap of faith. When we booked it, we were told that 1 other couple had signed up, and they required a minimum of 6 people to have someone riding with you. With just the 4 of us, we would have only van support. Our biggest concern (fear?) was having to spend 6 days with 2 people that we really disliked or 25 year old hammerheads that ride 100 miles before breakfast. So we waited and hoped some more people would book this tour, but in the end it was just the 4 of us. As soon as we got in the van and met Kim and Deb, we knew we didn't have to worry. Roughly the same age, fairly close in cycling abilities, looking for the same kind of experience, friendly, warm...... We lucked out and had a great time sharing our vacation with them. As for not having someone riding with us, that was not a problem either. The van was always close by. We always had access to food, water, tools, guidance, first aid, anything that we needed. We actually did have someone riding with us for 2 of the 6 days, but that was a bonus. That gave us a little more flexibility and another friendly person to chat with, but van support was perfectly fine.

Now, about the cycling......
we got in the van and headed to Carlton where we geared up and began our explorations of the Willamette Valley, the land of pinot noir, where all the hills are covered with vineyards, and blackberry bushes in full bloom, and farms with giant blocks of hay that look like they fell out of the sky in a giant game of tetris. The sun was shining and we rode up and down hills, over country roads, to various tasting rooms and eventually making our way to a beautiful B&B in McMinville. Then of course there was dinner at a fabulous french restaurant with more wine and good company. The next day was more of the same, with more miles down more beautiful country roads with more tasting rooms and a tapas restaurant when we returned to McMinville for dinner. We spent 2 days around Mt. Hood, but it was cool, cloudy and misty. We finally made our way to Hood River, on the Columbia River Gorge. But first enjoy the Willamette Valley.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Vacation Part 1

DH and I have returned from a wonderful vacation in Oregon and Colorado. We built this vacation around a cycling tour in Oregon and a party in Denver. The timing worked perfectly, the cycling tour was awesome and we had time around the edges to explore and visit. Everything came together (except for our luggage which was MIA for the first couple of days).

We started in Bend Oregon because we heard it was a really nice place to visit and potentially live. Bend is in central Oregon, in the high desert. The whole town has an outdoor fitness vibe that I loved, and a vibrant community of retirees that I would probably learn to love. All roads in Bend lead to Mt. Bachelor. We took the chair lift to the summit and spent an hour or two admiring the beautiful mountains. We visited the local bike shop and bookstore and the stuffed french toast at the Alpenglow Cafe was awesome! French toast stuffed with fresh strawberries and crema cheese......... now that's serious breakfast food.

Our luggage arrived just in time to drag it back to the airport for a quick flight over the mountains to Portland. We only had 1 day in Portland but we made the best of it. First we walked a few blocks to a giant collection of food trucks. We finally ordered a giant mountain of pad thai and devoured it! Then we descended upon the bibliophiles place of worship in Portland..... Powell's Books. We managed to spend a few hours there and could have easily spent several more hours there. What an awesome place.

The next morning we were picked up by Lifecycle Adventures and our 6 day/5 night Oregon Cycling Adventure began.