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Time to get away from winter.
What better than a group bike ride from Miami to Key West to avoid the snow and cold? Last January, we went to Florida after the New Year to get away, and it was cold! This year, farther south, we found the weather not just sunny, but also warm. Our ride was expertly organized by Charleston Bicycle Tours. It was fun for both of us, and it was like summer all day and night on the Keys.
Bonnie, a fellow traveler, put a video together of the ride. It summarized well our travels, with the exception of our not seeing the park at Dry Tortugas on the last day. Enjoy: https://youtu.be/iNhEnM1tvBw
Our first ride was about 24 miles and went from Coral Gables to the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the end of Key Biscayne. We were happy to walk up the 112 steps to the top of the light house at the park. The ranger was good to only allow a few people to go up and down at a time as it was narrow on the circular steps.
Our first key was Key Biscayne. In order to bike the Keys, our tour centered three rides from Marathon Key. So, after our lunch in Miami we were driven with the bikes to Marathon Key for our first of three rides from the middle of the Keys. We did enjoy the Florida tradition of viewing the sunset each night as we stayed in the area.
Our stay on Marathon Key was well done. We were driven out and rode 40 miles back to our hotel.
We started near the big stone crab and enjoyed the views along the way. Despite me and another rider having two flat tires on the ride, we still had a great time. It helped that instead of changing the tire, I was given a different bike. I rode three that day.
The pictures do not do justice to color of the water.
It was great to ride the bike path and not just along the side of the road. We were pleased that several miles were on the path along the road between the Keys. It was enjoyable when we had some shade on the bike path. As you know, trees create shade along path but also sometimes break up the path making it harder to ride. We also rode along the road.
My favorite bridges were the ones with a separate bridge for the bikers. I believe they are locally called fishing bridges, and we saw plenty of people fishing from the bridges, including a lot of pelicans perched on the bridges hoping to get to the catch before the fishing line did.
We enjoyed riding on both sides of the road as the path changed sides periodically.
As the journey got close to Key West (the end of the road for our travels) we occasionally were riding against traffic. For me, this was the first time since I was a young child that I was riding opposite the traffic and it was really a different experience for me. I guess I am used to riding along the same side as traffic. The best part of our direction, regardless of the side of the road we were riding on, was that the wind, which was strong for most of the ride, was generally at our back. The few times we rode into the wind it was a different experience.
A ride on Big Pine Key and to No Name Key was fun. We liked the dollar bills all over the No Name Pub. We learned that the pub is on Big Pine Key and not on the key called No Name. We also had the opportunity to visit the Florida Keys Wildlife Society. We saw one Key deer on our ride and learned a whole lot more about them and other wildlife at the visitors’ center. One of the things we noticed is that the Key deer are smaller than other deer. As a group, we came up with the saying, “In Texas everything is bigger and on the Keys it is smaller.” I just watched the deer and did not get a picture of the deer.
A few lessons learned.
- The sun will find anyplace you did not properly apply sunscreen prior to the ride.
- Stop and re-apply sunscreen during the ride.
- Snacks and water make for great combinations on a long ride. The ocean breeze is great at your back.
The Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House. We really thought this was a good museum to visit and was a good representation of Key West. The museum was a recommendation from our guide. The building alone was fun and interesting. The many exhibits were well done and we thought Guy Harvey Sketches of Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” that went up the main staircase and was great to read and see come to life. The museum has a Civil War exhibit about the Keys, the railway and the impact of the railway on the Keys. Outside of the museum they had several life-like works of art that we at first took for people.
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory was a great end to the day of biking around Key West. The trees in the conservatory were alive with all the butterflies. It was amazing to see so many in one place at one time. When we walked in, we could only say wow at the beauty. Well worth the admissions price to visit. We were surprised by the two pink flamingos walking around oblivious to us and the butterflies. They were a good addition to the butterflies.
The Key West Hemingway house and Museum was good to see, although we just passed by to look and did not stop in. Hemingway apparently put Key West back on the map and was the number one tourist attraction for many years.
Mile Marker Zero on US 1 and Southernmost Point were highlights of the journey. We had told others of our pending trip and the Southernmost Point was mentioned by them frequently. It was fun to have our picture taken here. Everyone in line for the point was polite, and several people waiting took pictures for others who were ahead of them. It was great to see people getting along. The Mile Marker Zero on US 1 was not as popular, judging by the lack of a crowd at the marker compared to the line we waited in at 8:30 in the morning at the Southernmost Point marker.
We also saw roosters everywhere in Key West. They are apparently a thing in Key West and protected as well by local law and custom. Some of our fellow travelers could hear the rooster call early in the morning; we were glad they were not outside of our room.
We took a side trip on our non-bike afternoon to kayak in the Atlantic and through several mangroves. The Blue Planet Kayak company rented us a couple of kayaks and gave us a map to explore. We are sorry we could not make the timing on their tours. We really enjoyed paddling through the mangrove and we even saw what we knew were crabs that looked like spiders climbing the trees. While we were out on the water we heard before we saw fighter planes from the near by Naval base.
Riding across the 7 mile bridge, twice, was fun. The first time was going across to Big Pine Key, and the next day we rode across again on our 50 mile ride to Key West. The side for bikes was wide and I was able to get up to a pretty good speed on the bridge with the wind at my back. I did miss my bike clips and the dropped handle bars when a big truck passed. Seeing trees grow out of the railroad bridge that is no longer in use and the color of the water was surprising. This is the longest bridge I have ridden on, although not the tallest.
Sunset cruise was the right introduction to Key West on our first night at the end of the longest day of riding (50miles).
We had our end of the week sunset dinner on Sunset Key at the Latitudes restaurant. It was a wonderful sunset and we all enjoyed the delicious dinner with our friends from the week of bike riding.
The paintings on the waterfront brewery were really interesting to look at. We thought we were at an aquarium and were surprised that a brewery would undertake such a great art project. Next time we are in town we will have to take a brewery tour.
Key Lime Pie contest –after dinner on our last night we had a key lime pie judging contest. I think all our friends at home would have enjoyed it. My choice for the number one pie came in second place. They were all good and we had fun.
A ride is better with friends. Thank you to all who rode with us; you were great company and help on the ride and during the week.
Key West was an interesting and tourist friendly town and we had a good time exploring. It was better as a group at night as a lot of people are on the streets. I am glad our guide knew the way to go.
We had some really good dining experiences along the way. I did not take pictures of the meals. We really liked the tapas, a bunch of small dishes that the group shared. That was delicious!
The view from the last night’s dinner overlooking the beach with the palm trees and the open air was not just a good meal but also a good experience.
We biked over 150 miles during the week. Our longest ride was 50 miles in one day. We did not break any speed records; our goal was to enjoy the surroundings, and we did.
My travel to Arkansas was supposed to culminate in the semi-annual square 2 square bike ride with my sister. Over 1,900 riders were signed up and ready to go. The ride was scheduled for Saturday morning and although it rained all day Friday, Saturday looked clear.
I received a call from the ride organizers at 5:30 on Saturday morning that the ride was cancelled as several of the tunnels were rained out from the day before.
My sister rode anyway, riding around the tunnels, unlike about 1,899 other riders. I took the opportunity to drive back home.
I am happy to say my sister and I did a tune up ride at Pea Ridge National Military Park. We have been to the park before. It was a good ride, some hills and no traffic! The ride was not too long, a good almost-8-mile loop around the park. The focus of the park is the Civil War battle at Pea Ridge. The stops along the way reveal Civil War history and the two-day battle. If you have not been to the battle site, it is worth the stop. Over 26,000 soldiers struggled in Northwest Arkansas in the battle that would decide the fate of Missouri.
I enjoyed riding the Razorback Regional Greenway Trail in Northwest Arkansas. I only took one ride during the week along the trail and this trail is part of the square 2 square ride. I wanted to re-familiarize myself with the trail. I expected to be riding that weekend the same course with hundreds of others and I enjoyed a less populated trail ride.
I was able to take advantage of a new disc golf course near my mom’s house. My mom joined me on the first round and I did another “solo” walk around the course while I was down for the visit. I had played golf (with a ball) on this same location years before with my family. The old golf course was a 9-hole course. I can see that I hit the golf ball much further than I can throw a disc. It was fun to play the new disc golf course. The designers of the course had a good idea and layout. I enjoyed teeing off of a golf tee pad to hit, I mean throw my disc.
A quick stop in St. Louis and another bike ride on Grant’s trail was a warm up for the ride I was expecting to do in Arkansas. I enjoy the ride along Grant’s trail and found the balloons along the route to be a fun addition. I am looking forward to riding the expansion coming next year as well.
On a prior trip to St. Louis I was able to visit, along with my wife and in-laws White Haven, Grant’s home (also a National Park) in St. Louis. Grant’s trail, where we like to ride in St. Louis, goes along the home. It was great to walk around and learn more about this famous Civil War General and President.
When I got back from my travels south, a friend of mine from India was in town and we got to spend a nice day together in Cincinnati catching up on old times.
Before going to Arkansas I had a visit from a college buddy and we enjoyed Cincinnati and Cleveland play baseball
I also have been able to take in a local hike or two and get back to the local Arboretum to see how the plants are doing. It is good to get out and hike among the trees and flowers.
Since the organizers of the square 2 square ride cancelled their ride, all riders were allowed a “substitute” 30 mile bike ride in order to receive their medal.
I was happy to ride with my wife on the Loveland bike trail in Cincinnati to complete my Arkansas ride. I receive the medal in the mail and I will look for another time to ride the trails.
A few lessons learned:
Take a chance and ride when you can. I was all ready for the square 2 square ride and was disappointed not to be a part of that ride. I did go on several rides the week before. It was enjoyable to be outside riding the different trails even though I did not make it for the event.
Keep your mind busy. Here is a look at the jig saw puzzle table. My Mom works on puzzles daily. When she is all done, she donates the used ones to a local charity.
Enjoy the area where you are. The Pea Ridge bike ride was a last minute thing. It was enjoyable for the scenery and that the only other traffic on the road was a few others on bike. We had the entire park to ourselves. This was better than a simple bike path because of all of the history and stops along the route.
When a friend calls up to say hi, have them over or spend the day with them. Local plans can wait.
Trip by the numbers: Here is a picture of my substitute 30 mile bike ride. It could have been in Arkansas and I did the ride in Ohio. The result was the same—I had fun riding.
It must be time for another ride!
We biked along the Rhine and Neckar Rivers in June on a Bike and Boat Tour, and it was an unforgettable experience. The tour we decided to join was a beautiful cycling and cruise tour which explored the famous valleys of the German Rhine and Neckar Rivers. I have heard that on a cruise ship you gain about 10 pounds in a week. I get it; the food was great! If you are able to combine the cruising with bike riding in Germany, you may stay about the same weight, although it will be a close run thing.
We left the boat each morning on our seven-day cruise for a ride up the river bike paths. The boat then sailed upstream to meet us at the next planned stop. The boat was a floating hotel where we slept, had breakfast and dinner as well ask some fun. The boat did not travel on the river at night as we were at a dock. Being docked at night allowed us to explore the quaint towns and villages after dinner. The barge, or cruise ship, had 61 bike riders and was pretty full (seven open riding spots) as we went on our way. The boat was clean and comfortable; we enjoyed our time on board.
Castle Watching—don’t blink and miss one along the river…
We began our first riding day with a two-hour boat ride from Koblenz along the Rhine passing through the beginning of one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We then rode on the trail and saw more than 40 castles and fortresses and many wine villages along the way. There were too many castles for me to even attempt to photograph.
You have to see it in person to understand just how impressive each view is as you stop or ride by. We did walk up to a few castles and explore the ruins. Being on top of the castles, we realized why they looked so imposing from the river as we had a great views from the top and could easily make out people, cars and boats along the river.
Vineyards on the Rhine River—we passed several vineyards and took an evening tour.
This was much different than our trip to Napa Valley and biking. The vines are on a hill from the top to the river. We learned that the wine that comes from the plantings at the bottom is the cheapest in quality and the wine at the top is the best. Makes sense! We enjoyed magnificent views. The wine was excellent, along with the grape juice that they began our tour with.
Quaint Towns and Villages
Each town reminded us of why we wanted to come to Germany. We took advantage of walking tours and our stay at all of the towns along the way.
One of our fun stops was spending the night at Heidelberg. In Heidelberg we managed to climb to the top of the Heidelberg Castle and walk along the Old Bridge. We also walked the end-to-end mile long pedestrian shopping street. The university dominates the old town and was fascinating to view and experience.
The variety of flowers, shops and museums was fun to experience. Like the castles, it is too much to show here, you need to go see it for yourselves.
Each town along the way had several characteristics that made them unique as well as part of what we expected to see along the river. We saw a variety of architectural styles of churches; most were massive and ornate, and we wondered how the local people could afford such a building or buildings as well as build them so long ago.
We ate at several ice cream shops, and spent time looking at the souvenirs (crafts) along with sampling some of the local food and beer. We even went by the Dr. Carl Benz Museum.
Rivers and Locks
With its many castles lined up on the hill tops, our tour along the river was full of Rhine romanticism. Our guide told us the story of the river bend and how it inspired the famous poem “Lorelei.” Kim tested the waters at the point mentioned in the poem.
We enjoyed the peaceful river and views from the banks of the rivers and the towns. These made for great spots for a break or to eat a picnic lunch. Next time we will bring a blanket or rug with us.
The Neckar River had several locks; we rode over some and saw ships, including our barge, go through the locks. It was a fun experience. The locks have apparently prevented some of the flooding that was prevalent in the area along the Neckar River.
- Stop and enjoy the scenery.
- We were not in a race, and with a seven-speed bike we were not breaking any speed records.
- The initial part of our journey from Koblenz on the Rhine was loaded with castles; almost every bend or turn on the river had one and sometimes two. I do not know about you, but I do not see castles daily on my normal bike rides.
- At each stop we would walk and explore the town where we were parked for the night. Dinner ended on board about 8 PM and it was light until about 10 PM. We needed the walk after so many good dinners.
- Anyone can ride along the Rhine. Of the 61 riders, we were on the young end age wise. The route was mostly flat, with some inclines that were easily overtaken with the e-bikes. The e-bikes were a popular option with the travelers on the barge. We did not ride e-bikes.
- Trail riding is a good way to get outside and see the countryside. Some of the views were hidden from the road and others were a short bike ride into town for an Eis (ice cream) or a Bier (no translation needed).
- Make friends. We sat each evening with the same group — a couple from Argentina and a couple from Australia. We enjoyed the conversation with our table companions as well as those from the group that we met on board and along the way.
We ran across a new WWII monument noting the American army crossing the Rhine River—just put up in 2017.
- We rode for six days, about 150 miles total. The planned mileage for the bike tour was less, as we explored and enjoyed the area.
- In the towns at night we walked between 5-7 miles and enjoyed exploring the towns.
I have been asked if we would do the bike tour again. Of course, yes! We would likely pick another tour to explore a new area. We really enjoyed the support and the tour. Thank you to Lyn and John who shared their bike adventure in Europe with us prior to our booking the trip in December.
As I get older, I have been less thrilled with each passing birthday. Milestones like 50 were fun and a little embarrassing in the office, as you want to think of yourself as younger.
Time marches on for all of us. I was happy to get a road trip into St. Louis to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday.
A birthday is always a good reason to travel. Visiting with family can be great fun and fulfilling. If I was working, we would have had to get approval for a day off or several to make a trip during the week. Of course, only a few at the dinner celebration for my father-in-law were gainfully employed. Being retired and “never having a day off” is no excuse for missing a celebration.
A few lessons learned:
This mug summed up the wisdom from the evening, all in good fun!
My father-in-law’s mantra: Every day is a good day.
He means it too!
We were able to borrow bikes and take a ride on grant’s trail. We have now ridden outside (also in January) on the in-law’s bikes more than on ours. I enjoyed getting close and personal with several of the Budweiser Clydesdales horses as we passed Grant’s Farm. The Anheuser-Busch Grant’s Farm is across the street from the National Park Service Grant’s Farm House. I did a little of the ride on the BMX bike trail at near the end of Grant’s trail.
Trip by the numbers:
Our bike ride was just over 16 miles and we walked for several miles around the area. It was rainy and we walked in-between the rain storms.
Many assumptions are made about life after retirement. I know that I had a few assumptions on what people did or do in retirement. Many think of endless golf games and outside entertainment in Florida. In retirement I have played two golf games, admittedly, not very well. In comparison, I just played trumpet at my third wedding this year. I am excited to have played at more weddings than golf courses.
I love the thoughts from Roger Whitney, “Go, go years, slow go years and no go years.” In my retirement we are in the go, go years. Here is a recap of what we have been up in the last week—from a travel perspective.
Last week I was able to help out a friend who had received a retirement gift of baseball tickets and he and two others joined in at the Reds game. We even got to see a dramatic finish in the 10th inning (for the other team L). What a fun opportunity to stay out late and not worry about being late for the office the next day.
Kim and I went out to the local playhouse for a production of Shakespeare in Love. We really enjoyed the acting and the escape. We also did not worry about when we left or came back home.
Last weekend, we hopped on a plane for Rochester, Minnesota, to be a part of the wedding for Karen and Phil. I was pleased to play trumpet for their wedding. Our hosts for the weekend, Chris and Cindy, were also part of the music for the wedding. I really enjoyed our time with Karen and Phil as well as Chris and Cindy.
We did a tour of Rochester, including a visit to the Mayo properties in downtown Rochester as well as a quick visit to the Plummer house.
The area around Rochester (in the summer!) is really nice. Of course they have these things called “sky bridges” that connect the buildings downtown so the residents do not have to go outside in the winter.
We enjoyed the walking as well as the bike ride we did near Silver Lake. Minnesota is the “land of 10,000 lakes” and the county we were in is one of three counties that does not have a natural lake. Interesting trivia for the day.
Geese by the hundreds dwell on the Zumbro’s shoreline where it widens into Silver Lake. The geese are a scenic addition and responsible for the local restaurant’s name where we ate breakfast, the “Canadian Honker.” The food was good and the location was nice. The local story is that the power plant keeps the water in the Rochester part of the Zumbro River warm all year long and the geese never leave.
For fun, Kim and I rode a tandum bike. It was an interesting experience as we bike ride a lot at the same time, just not together on the same bike. I think we are, for now, keeping our individual road bikes.
A few lessons learned.
- Be helpful. The history of the Mayo Clinic is that it was founded by people that helped out.
- Be intentional about friends. Our friends Chris and Cindy “Friday with friends” event where they are intentional about getting together with friends each week.
- Always be yourself, unless you are Batman… We saw this sign at a men’s clothing store in downtown Rochester.
We also spent the prior Friday exploring the bike trails in Aurora, Indiana. We were pleased to find the trails. They are close to the house and provide a nice ride along the Ohio River. It is good to see the scenery from the other side of the river, looking into Kentucky.
There is a new person retiring all the time. Are you next? The gate agent on our flight to Rochester was retiring. As our incoming flight was delayed we had a few minutes to chat. She is off to Peru and then will be looking for some volunteer work.
We went to a local farm and enjoyed their fall festival, including a hayride and picking a pumpkin. The spiced cider was not yet ready for us, maybe next week! Happy fall to everyone.
Trip by the numbers:
States visited: Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio. Does a stopover at the airport count as a visit? We did two stopovers in Chicago, so did we visit Illinois? I say, yes we did…Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. We were several nights in Minnesota, had a bike ride in Indiana and a play and a baseball game in Ohio.
- Biking miles: 26, with the addition of Minnesota to our list of states for a bike ride.
- Hiking/Walking: 7 miles.
- Trumpet playing at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
It is true; we went to San Francisco and did not ride the cable cars once. We have been several times to the city and did not feel the need to ride on them this particular trip.
- It is one of the highlights for newcomers to the city and I have always enjoyed the ride.
- We did see them several times and riding would have been easier than walking, like we did, up Hyde Street on the way to walk Lombard Street (a 31% grade up 269 feet from the beginning).
This was our first experience using Air B&B and we enjoyed it. Our millennial kids all asked who was the millennial as they have not used the service. Just trying to pave the way…
The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” The coolest thing Mark Twain never said according to my research. Of course it was in the 60s (15-20 C) while we were in the city. Going north to wine country and south to Silicon Valley was much warmer. We did spend most of our time in San Francisco where I wore my Michigan State University hoodie around the city and received several positive comments, even one positive comment from an Ohio State fan, with the lone exception of one U of M fan…
The point of the travel was to see our youngest son who works in Silicon Valley and we were successful. We also learned from our prior trips out here that too much Mom and Dad was bad, so we planned this year’s travel accordingly and had some great tours on our own.
- AT&T Park to see a San Francisco Giant’s baseball game: one stadium visited since retirement
- Muir Woods tour
- Bike ride and tour of Napa Valley, completing biking in our eighth state since retirement
- Self-guided walking tour of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Park and Bridge
The views from AT&T Park were great and the game was exciting—this last place team had almost every seat sold for a three-day series with the Cubs.
- We saw an incredible inside the park home run and enjoyed all of the new food options not yet served by the Reds.
- Our favorite was the Helmet Nachos
- Although we did not try them, Churros was an interesting new (for us) item sold in the ball park and elsewhere in San Francisco.
- It was Metallica night at the ballpark, and we got to rock the national anthem as well as Take Me Out to the Ballgame. All of the songs that night were Metallica songs.
If you have not seen how tall a redwood tree can get, you should definitely visit Muir Woods National Monument.
- We had a tour walking into the park from Mount Tamalpais State Park above the Muir Woods Park with a connecting hike into Muir Woods.
- It was enjoyable to hike from the canopy of the redwood forest on down.
- Keith, our tour guide, did well leading our group on the hike and was very knowledgeable about the area and all things San Francisco.
- One of the highlights was the ferry boat ride back from Sausalito to the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco.
Last year when we visited San Francisco, we said we would visit Muir Woods (check) and wine country. We signed up and enjoyed a half day bike tour of Napa Valley. Two wineries were plenty for me to handle; we kept the bikes for an afternoon ride along the Napa Valley paved bike path.
- I really enjoyed the wine and the whole area.
- We noticed a distinct culture that has grown up in the Napa Valley. The atmosphere was just different in a good way.
- We met several people on the tour with us who spent the night and it sounded like a good idea, especially after one or two tastings.
In 2015, I biked over the Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39. This year, I did not want to bike. We noticed that this year the Golden Gate Bridge opened the west side of the bridge for biking only and we walked on the east side (with best views of San Francisco) across the Golden Gate Bridge (1.7 miles one way) as a part of our walking tour.
We wanted a walking tour of San Francisco and we took a self-guided (or misguided!) walking tour of about 20 miles.
Our walking tour began with the Haight-Ashbury district as San Francisco is celebrating 50 years since the “summer of love” from June through August, so we made it in timeJ.
- We also walked to Alamo Square Park to view the Painted Ladies, a wonderful row of colorful houses.
- Walked through Golden Gate Park and saw the bison, funny for us as we have a herd of bison close to our house as well.
- Walked to the beach near Golden Gate Park.
- Walked through the Presidio on our way to and from the bridge and enjoyed the nature trails and homes in the park. We also took advantage at mile 19+ of the shuttle service throughout the Presidio to visit the Main Post and catch our train back to our Air B&B.
A few lessons learned.
- We had a fun tour guide, Mike, on our bike tour. He said he had been retired for three days and went back to work. He lives in town and he and his wife walk to work. He only works part time and loves the job and the opportunity to stay active.
- A good guided tour is worth the money. Our self-guided tour was fun, but we could have learned a lot more, and been a little less tired if we hired a local guide.
Other highlights: Played disc golf in Silicon Valley and Golden Gate Park. Only problem at the Golden Gate Park—they were “closed” to house the Outside Lands music festival at the park. The group Metallica played at the Outside Lands as one of the headline groups.
Visit to Stanford University—a wonderful campus on Palo Alto. We sat and had ice cream and watched some of the new orientation students. We also visited the University of California Berkeley. It was interesting to see the college campus at Berkeley after having visited the Haight-Ashbury streets and the “summer of love” promotions.
Trip by the numbers:
States visited (number in total…) 1 California, flew direct
- Biking miles: 22miles.
- Hiking/Walking 40 miles.
Just back from Oxford, Miami University…The one in Ohio…we drove and rode our bikes. We even spent the night in a dorm room!
Our local bike MS ride was a fun event for us this weekend. We had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues, share a few meals and laughs and, oh yeah, ride on a bunch of hills!
It was great weather and we appreciate your support. No injuries this year—the ride was a big success.
If you missed the opportunity to donate and would like to donate please click here for Glen’s page.
See you on the road.∞
It is true; I am now retired and have begun traveling.
My first travel begins with celebrations.
- Although not a far drive…Thursday night June 29th, after “work” saw many of us “pre-retirees” gathered at 300 Magellan. It was a great get together and I was unable to buy myself a drink.
- A fun time was had by all, what a great send off!
- Some, who retired earlier in the year, and others, who retired a few years before, came out to wish us well.
- On Friday, our official last day at work, I grabbed my last free cup of coffee and turned in my badge and work computer. It was official; I was retired.
- After going home briefly, I left town for St. Louis for additional celebrations with my in-laws.
- Yes, I spent my first night of retirement celebrating with my in-laws who took me out to a great dinner in St. Louis.
Webster Groves had the start of their local 4th of July celebration on Saturday near the in-laws and we saw a few good bands at the bandstand on Saturday. A good celebration.
- On Monday, after traveling to Arkansas on Sunday, I went
out to eat and celebrate retirement with my mom and sister at the Marketplace Grill. It was fun and tasty. Especially the desert we shared with my mom!
- Happy July 4th America!
- It rained too much on Tuesday to go for a bike ride or to enjoy the planned outdoor band concert with fireworks.
- I did get to celebrate with my mom, sister and brother-In Law.
- On July 8th I played my trumpet at the wedding for Abby and Andrew in Louisville.
- I did forget my shirt and purchased (less than $5) a white dress shirt from Goodwill. Of course, Kim had to sew on a button for my newly purchased shirt.
- Dancing at the reception was fun and we were home prior to midnight on Saturday. The Frazier museum across from the Louisville Slugger factory is a great spot to visit.
The point of my travels back to St. Louis was to complete the Spinning® Instructor Certification class that was cancelled the month before on the biking, shooting and drinking trip.
- This month the class ran as scheduled from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM Saturday with 30 minutes for lunch and 2 one hour Spins® included. A great day.
- After the class, I did manage a swim in their Olympic pool.
- Received my certificate after passing the on-line exam once I got back in town.
- I guess I have to apply for a job now…
Since I was in St. Louis, I thought I would continue the celebration tour and visit my mom who is in Arkansas. She turned double snowmen this year and is doing great. On the way I stopped at Meramec Caverns in Sullivan, Missouri.
- I enjoyed seeing the Jesse James hideout and walking and exploring the caverns.
- The entire area was flooded earlier this year and water shut down the entire cavern for a week. Wow! Water is crazy.
The caverns are a great sight to see if you are driving along highway 44 near St. Louis—year around it is 58 degrees in the caverns. I wore a sweatshirt to keep warm. The tour moved us along and we walked for about 90 minutes underground.
I returned on Thursday night (July 6) in time to close on our long time residence in Kentucky and move to a new (right size) home nearby. All went well on Friday and we moved into our new home on Tuesday of the following week.
While on the road, I listened to a fun book on my drive: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax .
- The unexpected part for me is that it had a great retirement question at the beginning of the story. A doctor asks Mrs. Pollifax: Isn’t there something you have always longed to do? Something you have never had the time or the freedom for until now?
- The doctor adds that it is terribly important for everyone at any age to live to his full potential, otherwise a kind of dry rot sets in. I thought that was great retirement advice.
- Spoiler alert, Mrs. Pollifax does have something she has always wanted to do, instead of living the sensible life she has created. Her response: when growing up she planned to become a spy!
- I recommend reading the book and pondering the questions she answered. I am still working on my answers.
As a part of the visit, I asked “How do you do this retirement thing?”
- My mom said she stays active. My sister, who lives within 2 miles of my mom, says she can never find her at home, so I know she takes the advice. She does a lot of volunteering and recommended that course of action for me.
- My brother-in law, who has been retired for a few years, said to find something to do that you love. He also noted that it changes. He began a business and is now making plans to give up the part time vocation in favor of other ventures.
- My sister works for a bike trail organization; she said she needed to work once her husband retired to stay active. The key for her is finding the balance of time at home and at work.
I did go for a 42.5 mile bike ride with my sister on Monday (July 3) on the Razorback Greenway and went for a mile swim on Tuesday as it was raining all day on the fourth of July. I left Wednesday and I think she was pleased to take a day off of the activity.
Trip by the numbers:
Travel days: Friday, June 30, through Thursday, July 6, and Saturday, July 8, all by car (1700 miles all in).
First sinkhole, noticed by me, on the way to St. Louis in Indiana at the Nancy Hanks Rest Area on highway 64.
- Biking miles: 95.8 miles, 4 rides, longest 42.5 miles.
- Swimming: 1.5 miles
- Trumpet playing at Webster Gardens with their brass group at the 8 AM service and at Abby and Andrew’s wedding.
- Disc Golf in Kentucky while moving. Too much rain on the trip to make it work while on the road.
States visited: Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas.
Last July, Kim went to visit her parents and had what we now refer to in the family as the St. Louis biking, shooting and drinking trip. Our daughter Sarah went on the same trip in April along with Kim’s brother, minus the biking.
For my pre-retirement/birthday trip it was time for me to go biking, shooting and drinking in St. Louis. Kim and I have ridden with the Bike MS team for several years and are behind in our miles ridden this year. Our biking portion was a ride from the in-law’s home to Grant’s trail.
On a few mornings we saw several of the Budweiser Clydesdales out grazing at Grant’s Farm along the trail.
My father in law Butch invited me to go to the shooting range for the shooting portion of my pre-retirement travels. He is currently qualified on the range and was an instructor for his fellow police officers. I took advantage of the safety briefing, about an hour, and the shooting at the range, along with another briefing on firearm safety. I eventually shot a 357 magnum, and the gun has a kick. My memory is seeing the flames shoot out of that gun as it was fired.
Many of you who know me well are surprised at the drinking aspect of the trip. Of course, if you know Kim, you are even more surprised. Here is how it went down… Still enjoying a great weather day in St. Louis, we went out to lunch in the Soulard area of St. Louis at a place called Hammerstone’s.
We ate out on the porch area in the shade and enjoyed a great taste of St. Louis. Kim had the toasted raviolis and that was a treat. Pat and Butch shared a meal; they apparently eat less as they do not bike the same way Kim and I do and we enjoyed ourselves.
After lunch we toured the famous Anheuser-Busch brewery. Yes, they still provide free samples as a part of the tour. We saw more Budweiser Clydesdales out enjoying the day. The tour was interesting; the samples were great! (Drinking!) Yes—I did the sampling of the beer and it was good. Kim passed this time as it was my drinking tour.
After the brewery tour we had to stop at the St. Louis icon Ted Drewes. I had the concrete and Kim and Pat had the hot fudge. It was good and we did not have any left over. Butch does not like Ted Drewes but still drove us to get our treat.
As part of the fun in St. Louis we went out to the Hill for a visit with some friends and relatives also in town for the same high school graduation. The restaurant, chosen by one of Butch’s brothers, was Rigazzi’s. You can see the small glass in front of Kim’s uncle (more drinking?). It was great for them to connect. Who knew retirement was so active!
Of course we went to St. Louis after Memorial Day to see my niece graduate from high school. The ceremony went really well and it was great to see her graduate. We stayed until Sunday to attend the graduation party, another day for friends and family (yes, more drinking). It was great to visit and be a part of the celebration.
As a part of the visit I asked “How do the In-laws do this retirement thing?”
Butch exclaimed they get all of the same things done in retirement that they have always done. Just not in the same hurry or the same day. Sure enough, he spent some time every day working on a project on his deck that is still not complete. Now, I do not think he was trying to prove a lifestyle point, I believe he was just doing what he does. He is one of the most optimistic guys you could meet. He is quick with a smile and always says hello.
A few lessons learned.
- Butch: Be optimistic. Take it slow, it will be there tomorrow and you are no longer on the clock.
- Pat (mother-in-law): Enjoy the time, be with friends and family.
- Natalie —now a senior in college, giving advice to her sister entering college: It is all about relationships. When the semester begins, go to the professor’s office on the first day of class and introduce yourself, be social. Know what you want and go for it.
Trip by the numbers:
Travel days: Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Sunday, June 04, 2017, all by car (350 miles one way)
- Biking miles: 54.8 miles, 3 rides, longest 20 miles.
- Hiking/Walking 19.9 miles, 10 separate walks in neighborhoods, longest 4 miles.
- Trumpet playing at Webster Gardens with their brass group at the 8 AM service