Rowing, bowling, fiddle leaf figs.

Teambuilding! Rowing on the Charles. Did they end up working together well? Haha. Maybe.

There was also bowling in Somerville – which we used to call Slum-erville, but which probably now has million dollar houses and craft beer/bowling venues.

I’m here holding down the fort which has been OK. There is a bunch of little things to do since we’ve been gone for six weeks. One of which is moving my plants from the porch back into the house. My fiddle leaf fig, the most tempermental of my plants, flourished when I was gone in the 95 degree heat and constant rain. I brought it inside under my single grow light in hopes that it’ll last the winter. We’ll see.

Home, car, Boston, Covid.

This is what the minivan was holding. Besides the dog and three people – there is a bike, three full sized computer monitors, a guitar, a sleeping “crib” for Edda, etc. etc. We are not light travellers.

Sunday night, we hosted family dinner (takeout) because Bob and Katherine were in town to trade cars (long & boring story…).

On Monday morning, Bob and Katherine drove off with our civic and we got their accord in return. Bye, bye civic! You’ve been good to us. And also in a lot of fender benders (I think 5 at least – that rear bumper has been replaced many many times. one time, it got dented enough (like the size of a canteloupe) and we didn’t even notice for months).

Then 5 hours later, Jeremy flew to Boston for a work conference. I asked him over the weekend if it was an internal business trip (are you going to sing kumbaya?)or external business trip. He said internal and so I did not cut his hair and nor did he shave his vacation beard. He looked like Doc from Back to the Future.

Lots of photos of Sam Adams.

OK, there are still people out there doing this – for this internal business retreat, daily covid testing. Negative!

Indy, Columbus and home.

We made it to Indianapolis on Thursday night. We stayed in kind of the suburbs of Indy as we wanted a hotel close to Jane – we were hoping to have dinner with her, but she was working late so that didn’t happen. This hotel was a Choice Hotel(TM) and literally was minutes from an REI and Whole Foods, but was easily the worst hotel we stayed at – Jeremy did a fantastic job of booking the hotels on this trip – a mix of high end hotels, airbnbs, cheap motels, etc., but we were not sure if this hotel was even clean. It smelled bad. I may have wondered if a small bug I found was a bedbug. But we stayed the night and learned a lesson. The main thing is the pet fee of hotels, they range in price from like $10-$75. So if we get a room that is, let’s say, $90, it usually comes with a $20 pet fee – so that’s about $100. But if we want a room for $170, the pet fee is usually $75 dollars, which brings it close to $300. So, you know, it’s impossible to pay like $200 for a room. Anyways, this hotel was close to lots of nice nature: a loop around a lake:

Ten minutes from a beautiful mountain bike loop (available for runners too), beautifully and lovingly maintained by a local club.

Friday morning we drove to Columbus to spend the night with Paul (my running coach). We dropped Elka off at a dog sitter for the night because even though this doggie appears friendly in this picture (he is very friendly to people), he does not like dogs, esp at his house. Elka (via found a very gay, very tattooed man who lived in an apartment in a very hip part of town to spend the night with. This dog sitter was a financial analyst for Abercrombie and Fitch which is headquartered in Columbus – strange, huh?

We left Columbus at about 9:30 am on Saturday and booked it back home. We stopped only to pee and to buy gas (and coffee?). We did not stop for lunch – we had handfuls of peanuts, we were so eager to get home. And we got home about 4 pm on Saturday. The trip odometer read almost 9300 miles.

Elka was thrilled! We gave her a care bear stuffed animal to celebrate. Elka is generally a relaxed dog, but we did see some anxiousness while we traveled – she did not like it when we were apart from each other. Like if one of us left for a run or we all left her for dinner. I’m sure she was happy to be home.

This was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken – thank you to Jeremy who took care of all the logistics, the booking of rooms, the planning of the itinerary, the mapping of the route, the driving (!) (I did only 2-3 hours of highway driving the entire time). He packed and unpacked the van everyday. I could not have celebrated our 25 years of marriage in any better way. I loved everything about this trip and I love our life together and thank you for making it very interesting and unforgettable in our very boring ways. Others may go to Paris and have fine wine, but we go to Laramie, Wyoming and have pizza (well we did go to Napa, so there is that, but the Laramie meal was better…). With love, always.

Estes Park, the big climb, Topeka.

On Sunday, we drove to Estes Park Colorado where we were planning on going biking and running. We spent our honeymoon in Estes Park 25 years ago and returned to celebrate. I do love this park, I love it that we usually see it not at the height of tourist season, but on the shoulder seasons and we spent the most time in the park on a Monday. Still lively, but not extremely crowded. The most crowded part of the park was still crowded, but we avoided that area and did our own thing. We did need to get a timed entry for Estes Park which we got the night before.

I went running in the morning on a trail slightly outside the park as our timed entry was for between 9 am and 11 am.

Because only cars need a timed entry, Jeremy rode in on his bike at about 8:30 am and was set to do the Trail Ridge road ride to the top. This is a two lane road through the park that is closed in the winter because it becomes impassable with snow. Now I usually have nothing to do with Jeremy’s rides, but this time, I was his soigneur, I was going to drive up to the top of the ride and give him a ride down the mountain. So Edda and I sat around the hotel watching TV and eating breakfast until about 10 am when I loaded Edda up into the van and we drove to the ranger station at the top of Trail Ridge road.

It took me a FULL hour to drive up this road. Sixty minutes of steady, windy, scary cliff gas-powered climbing. I actually could not believe that Jeremy was climbing this hill powered by only his body. My husband is crazy. Sometimes it felt like I was driving straight up into the sky. I passed him when I was only about 6 minutes from the top and Edda and I waited in the car for him to reach us. He pulled in a few minutes later and I gave him a high five and told him he was unbelievable and a beast. While we were putting his bike into his car, a couple from Switzerland who were riding a motorcycle and had traded places with Jeremy a few times because they stopped along the way to do sightseeing pulled up to us and gave Jeremy a fist bump and told him they were relieved to see that he had someone driving the way down. It was cold and windy above the tree line and it’s OK to do when you are warm from exertion, but it is another matter when you are downhill and chilled from your sweat and no exertion and trying to not go too fast.

Here were were at the tippy top.

On the way down, we drove to see the Cascade Cottages that we rented when we were on our honeymoon – it was privately owned back then. I know that they are closed now and owned by the park service. They seemed not in regular use, but as I was walking around, I met a nice woman whose husband’s family owns the last privately owned house in the park. We chatted a while about her experience at the park over the generations of her family.

We also found out it was elk rutting season, so we did see elk (mostly outside the park) and did see some male elk bray and chase after a female.

Monday afternoon we made it to the lovely Estes Park dog park and hung out here for a while.

That night, we went to the Stanley hotel (famous for its association with the Shining) where they had a fried chicken restaurant. This is where I cried uncle for eating out. This is the day I decided that I could only eat so much random crap on vacation – I ordered the vegan entree (delicious) and I’ve been trying to eat better since then.

Tuesday morning, Jeremy stayed back and managed Edda’s breakfast and packing up and I drove to another entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Because timed entry only starts at 9 am, I was determined to get there early and I did get there at about 7 am and I was greeted with an almost deserted entrance – no ranger, a long dirt road with no cars and lots of parking. I wanted to run along the wild basin trail which intersects with many waterfalls. This was a glorious run, pictures do not do it justice.

On Tuesday, we drove to Topeka which was a long-ish drive and made it to Mike and Sofie’s new house Tuesday night. They are still just moving in, so we settled in for the night and on Wednesday, I asked if we could help with the house and so we installed their new washer/dryer. And we ran the inaugural load! It is a washer/ventless drying combination – all in one machine. Sofie has a tough time remembering to move the wash to the dryer, so the solves the problem. It does take about 3.5 hours, the best case scenario is to load it when you go to sleep and awaken to clean, dry laundry.

Sofie, Mike and I went shopping. These shoes are super popular in Topeka, but I’ve never seen them before and neither has Vince. I wonder if their popularity will spread to the coasts. Sofie says – everyone wears them.

Me and Sofie.

The grownups.

On Thursday we drove to Indianapolis in the hopes of seeing Jane, but she was working late. We stopped off in a cute suburb of St. Louis for lunch at this amazing place called the Bike Stop Cafe. Lots of bikers on the Katy trail and they had a bike repair shop and rentals and some merch. The food was good and the seats were shaded.

And they were setting up an Octoberfest in the park and we walked and took some photos together. These are such good photos of Edda smiling. I might just have to print them and get them framed.

Boise, Rock Springs, Laramie.

Leaving Washougal, we headed to Boise we arrived into town at about 4:30 pm and I went out for a run along a beautiful greenway in Boise. It was shaded and the run was delightful even though it was 85 or 90 degrees outside. I came back to the hotel room to find the rest of our party and we walked to Whole Foods and had dinner from the salad bar. Jeremy was a little bit hangry, so I declined taking a shower before heading out to dinner and on the way back, he took a photo which shows that really, I’ve had ice cream every day for 5 weeks. I’m a little bit round now. It’s OK. I’ll take care of it when I get home, I hope. It’s harder to shed a few ice cream pounds after menopause, so fingers crossed. Haha, I’ve been enjoying the ice cream. No regrets.

Boise was a pleasant surprise of a town …beautiful and lots of nice public green spaces.

The next morning, Jeremy biked up Bogus Basin, a ski resort mountain. And then we headed out of town towards Estes Park, Colorado.

A quick overnight stop at Rock Springs, Wy. Less than $85 for a roadside motel – including the dog fee. They had a dog run out back and also we had Jimmy Johns for dinner. I walked to the Walmart down the street to buy fingernail clippers. In the morning, we went to the local dog park and did a morning Edda lap around a pond. Our dog park adventures really depend on the presence of other dogs as Elka is very social. There was one other dog here where the owner tried to get us to drive south instead of east for better scenery (we did not take his suggested route – it would have added 3 hours to the already 5 hour drive). The owner and dog and Elka played fetch for a while – Elka was thrilled.

Then we stopped for lunch in Laramie, WY. First a stop at another dog park and this is the best dog park that we’ve been to – maybe except for the one near Berkeley. Lush grass, shade and other nice doggies. Also, the people were very friendly including a lady who worked at a group home managed by the ARC in Laramie.

A beautiful lunch in Laramie – I was very pleased with this meal. The internet is wonderful for finding this little local gems.

Bend, noodles and free birthday cake.

Wed morning, we left Seth and Emy in Klamath Falls and headed towards Bend. We wanted to make it there by 11 am because Jeremy had a conference call that he needed to attend. We found a nice dog park with some water for Elka and hung out there while Jeremy made his work call. Elka had a blast.

I tried to encourage her to swim, but no dice yet. Lots of interest, but she did not get in. Everyone was very friendly at the dog park and Elka got to run off some energy. When we made long trips with little kids, I remember centering our stops at playgrounds for Vince. This time, we stop at dog parks. Sometimes it’s a dud, we arrive at mid day with full sun and no other doggies to play with an a dusty patch of nothing. Other times, we can play for hours.

We ate downtown and ordered a meal for Elka off their pup menu. And we played Pokemon Go.

We arrived at my parents’ house in Washougal on Wed evening. Thursday, my birthday, we basically ate all day. I got in a run in the morning and we toured my mother’s amazing garden.

I ate a lot of figs from her fig tree. Edda enjoyed these figs as well. Jeremy is not a fig fan.

My mother also tends to bury chicken bones in her garden – she thinks it’s good for her plants and Elka enjoyed spending the morning finding them. She tends to hold them in her mouth and trot around the garden, so we were, for the most part, able to take them from her before she chomped down on them.

We went out to lunch to have noodles for long life.

Me and my sweetie.

My long life noodles.

And then like 4 hours later, we went out to Salty’s for dinner where it was very nice and I got a free cake for my birthday which was delicious and nothing tastes better than free. Then we capped off my birthday by driving to Costco where we saved a dollar a gallon on gas and looked at the diamond jewelry and contemplated buying a smart TV for my parents.

We left early Friday morning to head to Boise Idaho. A nice birthday with my parents.

Quaker, hiking, Shasta.

Sunday, I tried to go the to Quaker service down the street, and I did go in and sit in a pew, but I’ve been having weird coughing spells that can last for a few minutes, but can be quite loud and violent and then nothing for the rest of the day (except at night, when I do cough a bit as well). So, of course, once I sat down, I could feel the coughing coming on and there were only like 15 people in the service and the service is silent – so I walked out after only a few minutes and I tried to calm it down and I did get it to calm down, but then I went back into the lobby of the sanctuary and I started coughing again because the more I think about it, the more I can’t stop the coughing. Oh well. I hope God forgives me.

On Monday, Emy was kind enough to mind Edda for the afternoon and Jeremy and I went on a hike together! We are each often outside, but we are very rarely on an outdoor adventure with each other. Elka got to come on this adventure and she happily spent the 2 hour hike chasing little lizards that dotted the trail.

Jeremy and Emy went to Mt. Shasta today (Tuesday) and Jeremy biked while Emy hiked. The weather was gorgeous. I had a lot of meetings this morning (4 of them starting at 7 am) and then set all of the out of the office messages on my email and voicemail and closed my computer and declared no more working until we are back home in about 10 days.

Around crater lake.

Saturday, Seth and Jeremy went back to Crater Lake and biked the entire loop around the lake, about 40 miles. Emy, Edda and I hung out in the morning, heading out the the Klamath Falls farmers market and eating lunch together. Jeremy had suggested that we find something for dinner at the farmers market and I was prepared to pay $15-18 dollars for a chicken, but there was only one meat vendor and they charged a whopping $35 dollars for a chicken. We passed on that…yikes.

The boys got back while we were pulling out of the driveway to see Barbie – so I handed Edda over to Jeremy and Emy and I went to a completely empty theater to watch Barbie. I enjoyed it more than Emy, it was very clever and was entertaining. Then we had a delicious dinner together at Emy’s house with much cheaper chicken – though probably less well treated during its life.

Mountain biking birthday and cake.

Bob and Katherine flew home to the east coast on Thursday – the airport is about 1.5 hours away and they had a very early flight, so Jeremy and Emy drove them to Medford the day before and they had a nice afternoon together and Bob and Katherine stayed at a hotel overnight. We are here for about another week.

Thursday, Jeremy turned 55 and he spent the morning working while I got a nice long-ish run in and then in the afternoon, he and Emy went mountain biking. Jeremy rented a mountain bike for a day and experimented with this other type of biking.

Go Emy!

We’ve mostly been having dinners at home, either at Emy’s place or our airbnb. We celebrated with a lemon cake that night.

Friday morning, Jeremy and Seth (who works 4-10 hour days and generally has Fridays off) went mountain biking again – it was a success, no injuries.

Emy was kind enough to mind Edda and Elka during the morning so I could scout downtown Klamath Falls and look at the bookstore, plant shop and consignment stores.

The great pacific northwest.

Monday, we all walked around Moore Park which is in the town of Klamath and is beautiful.

We played one hole of disc golf.

Jeremy biked Tuesday morning and I worked.

I managed to tuck a run in between Jeremy’s morning ride and the afternoon family adventure.

We all went to crater lake and walked the paved paths. It was lively, but not crowded and the weather was perfect.