Saturday, March 31, 2018

The together vacation, Part II -- Visits

We set off today, Thursday, March 29, 2018, to meet up with one of Biker Bill’s former bosses, Theresa.  The plan was to meet her in Schulenburg at a little coffee shop for lunch.  We all finally got there but it was not an easy little place to find.

As we were visiting, Theresa mentioned there were painted Catholic churches in the area, so we set off to find a couple before heading west again.  Biker Bill navigated, and we quickly found the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in High Hill, Texas. 

This has to be the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen.  Established in 1860, the church has gone through several constructions, with this one being the third.  Materials from the previous church were used as much as possible including the three bells that remain operational today. 

The stained glass is incredibly colorful.

The stained glass lets in light while showing the colors that are so rich.
The Gothic Revival interior has Victorian features coming from a German and Czech Moravian background from the local settlers.  It was completed in 1912.  The interior is truly magnificent, with the 18 stained glass windows coming from the second church, along with seven new ones.  The perfect paint inside and statues were truly elegant and marveled over everything about it.   We then decided we needed to find another.

Absolutely spectacular.
Back on the road, and we got on one called Piano Bridge Road, a little thread of a road, mostly single-lane.  We wondered if we really would find either the bridge or the other little church that should be at the end of it … St. Cyril & Methodious Church in Dubina. 

Built in 1885 the Piano Bridge was named for the twanging sound that was made when crossing it.
Dubina was the first Czech settlement in Texas, meaning the settlement was comprised of mostly Czech settlers.  The settlers needed a permanent building to worship and the first church was finished in 1877.  In 1909 a hurricane destroyed it and construction began on the present church.  It was completed in 1911. 

Just a pretty little church in the middle of nowhere.
The interior was stenciled but it was painted over in 1952.  In 1983 the original interior was recreated and is what you now see. 

Just beautiful, but you couldn't go inside this one.
These were something to see, but it was time to mosey on to our next stop.

The Texas bluebonnets remind me of the Alaskan lupine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The together vacation, Part 1

Biker Bill and I left Anchorage Tuesday, March 27, 2018, heading for San Antonio for a short together vacation.  We arrived, with one of the wheels totally broken on my suitcase (got air miles for it), got to the hotel and called it a long day.

On Wednesday, we took the hotel shuttle to the airport to pick up our Budget rent-a-car.  Easy, peasy. It had to be quickest rental process ever.  And out we went to space C9 to get our white Toyota Corolla.  We figured out how to open the trunk, stowed our luggage, and drove to the exit.  The guy in the booth came out, scanned the number of the car and asked for the contract. 

Then the bombshell came.  We were in an Avis car, trying to escape through an Avis exit.  We were in a car that was not what we rented.  Should I have made a break for it?  We circled back around and put it back in C9, unloaded our luggage, and then walked over to C9, in the Budget area.  Whoops.  Same car, same space.  Anyone could have made the same mistake. 

Off we went, to meet up with Biker Bill’s sister and nephew and his wife for lunch.  The drive was interesting … driving rain, wind and hail that sounded like small firecrackers as the pellets bounced off the windshield and hood. The conditions were white out, and I was certainly glad to be in a vehicle rather than in the saddle of a motorcycle.  Been there, done it before.  Strangely enough, in Texas.  Wasn't fun either time.

We enjoyed a great lunch with the family, and then off we went again.  We needed a hotel for the night and went to Floresville.  There we parked to look at our phones, checking for hotels.  What did I see?  Right in front of the courthouse, a peanut.  Really.  I had to have a photograph. 
This peanut is in memory of Joe T. Sheehy, "The Peanut King."  Sheehy experimented with peanut farming and introduced it as a viable crop to the farmers of Wilson County. 
 And what a perfect place to leave a little snowman face rock before checking in to the hotel.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Of course, there’s no trip complete without a bike issue, or two, I guess … Peppermint had had a fob issue in Whitehorse, Yukon, and it wouldn’t work, even after replacing the battery.  She had to open that saran-wrapped-pristine manual she had.  That, of course, did not make her happy as she doesn’t do manuals.

It’s a wonder she could remember anything about how to do the codes.  She didn’t have a passcode written down but somehow dredged it from the recesses of her mind.  It was a trial, and she was madder than a wet Rocky Mountain Sheep, but she finally got it.  Being that there was no shop until Grand Prairie, Alberta, it was a few days using the code.  But she got pretty good at it.

The evening in Lethbridge a fellow biker mentioned to Rockin’ Rita that she had a low tire.  When the girls got up on Saturday, July 1, it was flat.  Out came her hand pump, and she worked it for about an hour or so to get it back up to a good pressure.  They were hoping to nurse it to Great Falls, Montana, about 165 miles or so away.

The shop was called, and they were informed we were on our way, trying to get there before closing.  No one knew if they’d make it or not.  Maybe there’d be time spent stopping and pumping it up again.

Someone was watching, and the tire held until Great Falls.  The shop was awesome, and found the problem in the tire … a screw.  Rockin’ Rita now has a souvenir of what had been a nearly-new tire.

While at the shop, Peppermint decided to put on some highway pegs to get her legs away from the heat on the bike.  Besides, both girls would now get a wash for the bikes.  It was well-worth it as you could hardly tell what color they were from all the bugs.

Ugly, buggly.

The shop got them in and out and they were back on the road, headed to a place called White Sulphur Springs that another biker had told them about.  It was a small town, and wouldn’t you know it … they ran into someone they knew … Petitest’s mom, Lucy, who lives in Montana.  She was there for a family reunion.  They had a great but short visit and the girls went off to have some dinner.
The girls with mom, Lucy, and brother, George.  How fun to see someone we knew in this small town.
On the way back to the motel, which was little cabins where you could park along side of them making for easy unloading and loading, two deer walked across the street.  They’ve seen quite a bit of urban animal life now.

Otherwise, not much happening here.
The next day, Sunday, July 2, it was all about riding.  We were in Montana, needed to get to Colorado Springs, and wanted to make some time.  There were no photo stops.  That’s quite unusual for Peppermint as she always has at least two cameras and her phone camera.  But riding came first.  She knew there was a schedule and it had to be met.  There was a hotel room and hundreds of women waiting.
Another day, and hundreds of miles.  Monday, July 3, was the day we were due to arrive at the hotel.  Peppermint was Facebook friends with a man who was friends of a friend.  Isn’t that how it always is?  Anyway, Michael asked if the girls could stop and meet for lunch.  He said he and his wife would meet us on our route.  So we said yes.
Michael and Deb met us … and it was such a great meeting and visit.  They are people worth knowing. 

It's always fun to meet someone you have known only through FB.
Michael had considered going on a trip a number of years ago with a group my friend, Uncle Glen, knew.  I went … and we all rode motorcycles to Key West.  Michael didn’t go on that trip, but he and his wife have certainly covered a lot of other ground.  It was fun, and we got fed.  But all too soon it was time to get back on the road.
At this point, I used the GPS again to get us on toward Colorado Springs.  Yet again, another bad move.  I will conquer this thing.  I hope.  More on that later.
All I can say, is that eventually we did make it to Colorado Springs, and the Women on Wheels Ride In host hotel.  Finally.  It was great to be met by WOW Riding In Committee members toting bottles of water and giving us welcoming hugs.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Alaska-Canada Highway Will Not Beat Us

We awoke Wednesday, June 28, to beautiful birds on the bannister of our little patio.  They had nests in the eaves of the building and it was cool to hear and see them.  This was a great place to stay, but all too soon, it was time to get back on the road as we had to make miles each day to make our destination by our goal date.
Bright and beautiful were these little birds.  And they weren't too afraid either.
This highway has been something, but not as bad as Peppermint had thought it might be.  Thanks to good weather, I expect.  A friend who is an excellent and cautious rider had gone down so she was a bit apprehensive.  We were fortunate to not have much rain, just a few sprinkles mostly, here and there.  The construction areas were dry, which is helpful, so no mud or sliding around scrambling to stay upright, even in two-mile-long dirt and gravel stretches. 

There was a culvert project where there were detours, and those were rocks and gravel, nearly dirt-bike quality, but we made it through all of those without a mishap.  Yay.  Being in the tour pack, I was safely crammed in with all the crap she carries, but I was a bit concerned because I could feel some fishtailing going on.  
No road trip on the Alcan is complete without a stop at Toad River.  The girls let me out ... but it seems I'm just eye candy, taken out for a photo here and there 
But it was a great day as there lots of animals.  Peppermint loves seeing the animals more than anything else, so we stopped a lot while she and Rockin’ Rita took photos.  They still didn’t let me out.  I’m suffering back here with sneakers, purses, makeup and whatever else she can’t fit somewhere else on the bike.
These are my people.  I should have been let out of the tour pack.  I'm very unhappy.  I'm not afraid of these guys.  I'm thinking I could have found some love here and made some little Flat Rockys.

Look at these ladies.  I'm in love.  The second from the left has my heart forever.  I could see through the crack in the tour pack.  Now I'm heartbroken because I couldn't get to my one true love.  I hate Peppermint.

The caribou down the road came by the bikes as the vehicles spooked them.  Maybe I could love a caribou?
The sun was still with us on Thursday, June 29.  We made it to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and sought out the end, or the beginning depending on whether you’re coming or going, of the Alaska-Canada sign, Milepost Zero.  It was kind of tough as there are really two signs.  One is in the middle of town, in the middle of the street.  They rode around a bit to find it. 
The Mile Zero in the middle of the street.  With cars going by, I was sure I'd be left as road kill.
The other is the arch set off the road with a big parking lot.  This is the one people usually use to document their road trip.  But, of course, the ladies had to photograph both of them.
I'm finally out of the tour pack ... maybe these two scamps remembered I'm on this road trip with them?
We were getting close to being out of Canada.  When we got near Calgary, Alberta, on Friday, June 30, we met up with a friend of Dewey’s … the Canadian brother to many Alaskans, but probably not me as I didn’t see any horns. 
Karen met us at a gas station, and had Nanaimo bars waiting.  Homemade goodies with soft chocolate frosting … they melted in your mouth.  Or so I’m told.  I didn’t get any of those.  I’m sure the ladies would have told me they were poisonous to sheep.  I’m not buying any of that, though.
Look at that luscious Nanaimo bar.  I could have slurped down a dozen of them in nothing flat ... get that?  Flat?  But when it came down to it, I didn't even get a sniff.  Unbeknownst to them, even through the tour pack I could smell the chocolate, and I drooled all over everything.  Peppermint was wondering how things got damp.  Haha.  I got back at her and she never suspected a thing.  What a nice way to be greeted, though, at your first meeting.  Thank you, Karen.  It was wonderful.
 Anyway, Karen took the ladies to a great food spot she’d never tried before.  The girls said it was awesome, and if they could ever find it again, would go back.  After a leisurely lunch, Karen got us around Calgary proper on some back roads, fun and not too much traffic.  At a crossroads, she pointed us in the right direction and we got on our way, headed to Lethbridge, before hitting those final miles to drop into Montana, and the good ole US of A.
As we traveled on Highway 23, we stopped for gas in a town called Vulcan, in southern Alberta.  It was named Vulcan after the Roman God of Fire.  However, one of their claims to fame is having some Star Trek things there, including a replica of the Starship Enterprise.  While only of the girls was interested in that, and probably would attend one of the annual “trekkie” conventions, it was at least worth a photo opportunity for me.
Now that I think about it, if I had one of these flying things, I could get to my one true love in the Northern Rockies.  If only I had thumbs and fingers and knew how to fly it.  I'd dump these two in a sheep heartbeat.
At that point, the final leg to Lethbridge needed to be complete and we were in for the night.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Flat Rocky Rides Again ... for now

The day dawned not so bright and clear, Thursday, June 22, … I was on my way to Fairbanks with Rockin’ Rita, Peppermint Patti and the rest of their crew … quite a bunch I might add.  But for me, I had to stay out of sight … this was a HOG function, not a WOW function.  I just stayed in the tour pack while they had all the fun… going and attending the HOG rally in Fairbanks.

One of their stops was at a pull out called Denali View South.  Well, they got theirs.  There was no Denali view.  But good friends always make the best of it and they took their photo anyway.
They made multiple stops on the way to Fairbanks, eating, taking photos … I wasn’t even able to get out to stretch my four legs.  This was no fun at all for me.

Most of our group stayed at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks housing.  I still didn’t get out.  And off they went to play … ride around, play bike games. 

Rockin' Rita received an impromptu hair cut from Miss Harley Davidson the Mighty Quin. There are certain necessities prior to heading out on a long road trip.

Goofy women.  I guess Harley rallies do that to them.  Robin doesn't even know they were there.  Sly ladies.
They also ate a lot, and had ice cream.  I didn’t get any of that either.  But my day was coming.

They ate at a Denny's.  Peppermint is thinking the food at these places has improved a lot.
They even had an outhouse rather than a restroom, as Fireman Mike pointed out so well.
On Sunday, June 25, Rockin’ Rita, Birdy, Fireman Mike and Peppermint rode to Delta.  There, we separated and Rockin’ Rita and Peppermint started their run of the Alaska-Canada Highway. 
You'll notice they were so excited to get on the road they didn't even include me in the photo.  Bummer.  But I was there, just not visible.  Yep, still in the tour pack.
What a ride that was … the first dinner stop was in Tok, where we met up with Smudge and Mike, and Ruby and Tim.  The day was young, and on we rode.
And then, we crossed into Yukon, Canada.

The girls, and me.  Yep, they finally remembered I was knocking around in the tour pack.  Rockin' Rita, Peppermint, Smudge and Ruby.  What a group they are.  Nuts, I'd say.
We were all going to the same place past Beaver Creek in Yukon, to a place called Discovery Yukon Lodgings.  I was informed that it was way better than staying in Beaver Creek, and it was.  The folks were super nice, and the accommodations very cute and quaint … little cabins. 
These old snow machines have personality.  The one on the left looks like a ninja.  The one on the right seems to be smiling.

Rockin' Rita's trike is outside the cabin.  The women didn't let me inside.  They left me in the tour packs like some kind of animal.  What's with that?  I'm housebroke, kind of.
The gravel around the cabin and an unseen tree root did give Peppermint a bit of trouble, but with the help of the other ladies she managed to get where she wanted to go without dropping the bike.  It was a pretty rough ride for me in the tour pack.  However, I did survive.
Monday, June 26, the group continued on to Haines Junction.  Smudge, Mike, Ruby and Tim were heading to Haines to catch a ferry.  
Smudge and Mike, Tim and Ruby, riding ahead of us around Kluane Lake.

This is a tough crowd.  They were not real enthusiastic about doing a can-can kick.

They were more enthused about this photo near the beautiful lake.
Rockin' Rita rode sweep, her usual spot.
We were continuing on … taking a total of nine days, and about 3,600 miles, to get to Colorado Springs.  That’s where the Women On Wheels Ride In would take place, and I’d be in my full glory.  I’m their mascot … being introduced as a flat animal on a tongue depressor last year at the Ride In banquet in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Since then I’ve been a lot of places … not just with these chicks, but with all the WOW members who live all over the world.
We found a place to stay in Whitehorse, Yukon, and wouldn’t you know it … they ran into some friends from Anchorage, Jon and Glenda.  We were trying to find the hotel and this car behind us kept dogging us.  Then someone in the vehicle asked if we were lost.  Peppermint was about to lose her cool with them.  Rockin' Rita told them we were just fine.  They followed us.  Ha!!!  Jon didn't know he was close to being told he was Number 1, or better.  They were with relatives and on a road trip.
One of these women is always running into someone she knows.  Well, that way she can’t get away with anything.  But then the other one is always keeping her in line.  You figure out who does what.
The ladies have gotten some pretty good weather, and that continued on Tuesday, June 27. 
The first wildlife of the day was an urban fox ... walking across the street as the ladies were packing up to leave.
They rolled into Teslin, and the location of the metal-grate Teslin River bridge.  Peppermint loves the bridge and the grate.  Other people, not so much.
The Teslin River Bridge, Yukon Territory, Canada.
This is how the bridge should be crossed ... quickly and with attitude. 
The road stretched out, but the weather was decent.  Watson Lake came into sight, and the famous Sign Forest.  That’s always worth a stop. 
I got to get out of the tour pack and have a photo at the sign post forest in Watson Lake.  Friend Dewey was in Alaska, so we didn't get to see him here.  Maybe, when we come back through here.  It just felt good to be in the fresh air.  I was starting to feel claustrophobic and a bit bike-sick.  It's like car-sick but stuck in a tour pack instead.
I got to get out of the tour pack and I was like a wild creature … playing, photo bombing, helping a family put up a sign.  I didn’t want to leave as the taste of freedom was oh-so sweet in my mouth.
This family was kind enough to let me help them out.  It's hard work putting up a sign in this neighborhood.

The girls met Anna.  She was a very nice dog, and was adopted from Best Friends in Kanab, Utah.  Peppermint has been there, and thinks it's a great organization.  In fact, she belongs to it.  They save many, many animals, and not just dogs.
Alas, the girls wanted to get back on the road.  I was kind of glad they didn’t let me out too much after that.  There were a lot of bears on the road, and beasr eat sheep.  I was scared as I could smell them, and I’m sure they could smell me. 
There were quite a few  bears in a short distance.  This one looks like he smells sheep.  Agghh.  That would most likely be me he's smelling.  Help.  Let's get out of here.  Ride for your lives!!!

Why did she shoot this in black and white?  I don't know.  At least they were going away from the road and not toward us.
Peppermint had to get my photo with a bear.  You can see that small dot of black on the right-hand side.  My eyes are bugging out because I'm scared and my back is to him.  I sure hope Peppermint has my back if he turns around.  Bears eat sheep, remember?  I'm a tasty morsel as I ride not walk, so I'm quite tender and on the plump side.
Finally, we ended up at a place called Northern Rockies Lodge, or some such.  It was a pleasant place and I was glad we were done for the day.  Seeing all those bears scared the sheep poop out of me.  I hid it in her tour pack.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Last Week

On Wednesday, May 24, Stef and I went to breakfast and then parted ways.  She rode north heading back to Redwood City, California, and I went south.  It’s always sad to part, but we were on our way to the final chapter of this journey.

My path was leading me to Beatty, Nevada, to pick up my battery.  I arrived, gassed up and headed to the Atomic Inn where we’d stayed.  The office was locked.  What!!!  Until 3:30?  I was there shortly after noon, and I didn’t have time to hang around here.  I had places to be. 

I went looking through the buildings to see if I could find someone that could help me.  Nope.  I saw trailers in back, so I went and knocked on doors.  No one answered.  I saw a building with a yard attached … but it had what appeared to be a pit bull in it.  He seemed to be friendly, but I wasn’t going to step into the yard to find out first-hand.  I knocked on the wall.  No response.  I stood in the driveway between the office and the motel units and yelled great obscenities.

Then I went around the front of the motel office and saw another attachment to it.  I went there and knocked.  Someone answered.  Yay.  Now … “Do you have access to the office?”  Yep.  The young man retrieved my battery and I was on my way.  Finally.

I was back on the road and headed for my final stop for the night … Boulder City, Nevada.  It was nice to get there although my GPS took me in the back way that included a road closure and a detour.  Oh well.  I arrived.

The next morning, Thursday, May 25, I was headed to Sun City to stay with my friends, the Peeps, for a few days.  But first, I was making a stop to have lunch with a lady I’d met on the Women on Wheels website, Kristin. This is the second time we’ve done this … and it’s been pleasant. 
Kristin and me at Arrowhead.
A stop at Arrowhead Harley didn’t hurt either.  I wanted them to check my tire pressure because if I needed a tire I’d get a bike wash that would take off two weeks of bugs.  Nope.  Tires are still good.  Crap.  Now I've got to wash it myself.

I found the Peeps’ place this time just like I knew where I was going.  We had a great couple of days … playing cards, helping eat a birthday cake for Ken, going to the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and a trip to COSTCO where I found the makings for a new favorite dip. 
I know ... doesn't sound that great ... but it is ... with a few other ingredients, but these are the main two.
On Sunday, May 28, I left the Peeps just after they went to church.  I headed over to Gilbert to my friends, Joe and Verlie.  On my way there I noticed a place called IFly … indoor skydiving.  I could do this.  I mentioned it to Joe and Verlie.  Joe … no.  Verlie … I’ll watch.  We’ll see.

We had other things to do.  Monday, May 29, there was a Memorial Day rally at the National Cemetery.  We were up at 3:30 a.m., an ungodly hour, and on the road by 4:30.  The ride was beautiful, with the sun coming up and orange and pink flecks in the sky coming over the mountains.  The weather was cool enough to wear my fleece shirt.  We arrived at the cemetery and had a flag line going down the street where folks would be coming in for the ceremony.  We stayed a few hours and then were gone … to get a bite to eat and head back to the house for much-needed naps. 
There were flags flying everywhere ... it's great to see the red, white and blue.
It was a great couple of days … with massages and facials, dips in the pool, errands, a hair cut, the flag line.  And I decided to do the IFLY.  What a trip.  You get dressed in a jump suit, and have some instruction. 
I'll be flying.
You’re in a wind tunnel and fly with 105-120 mph wind coming up at you.  What a kick that was. 
Maybe I will try jumping out of a perfectly good airplane now.
My time was up and I headed home June 1.  It was a great few months, and there’s more to come.  Stay tuned.