Monday, August 31, 2009

Lots of New Things

I have not blogged in several days. And I have had all good intentions of doing so. But ArtFire and Facebook have kept me busy. And then I did sneak in a visit with the grand kids as well.

So let me tell you the exciting news. ArtFire has now made it possible to have a tab on your Facebook page for an ArtFire Kiosk. Now I know that doesn't sound very exciting but just wait until you hear what that does. Anyone can click on that tab and when they do it opens your ArtFire Studio right there on your Facebook page. So friends can browse your studio without leaving Facebook. And if they see something they simply can't live without all they have to do is click on the image and they can buy it right there and then. How awesome is that application. Those geeks at ArtFire are always looking for ways for us to get our pieces before the public eye.

The other project I work on was to create a Facebook page for Jewelry to Keep. I want a separate page where I could not only showcase all my jewelry but also items from all the great Artisans on ArtFire. And I wanted to "try" and get 100 fans so that I could keep my jewelrytokeep url. Well, within 2 days I had my 100 fans so now it is official...... is all mine. So besides showcasing Crazy Train Riders and Artisans from ArtFire and from the ArtFire Jewelry Designer and Jewelry Supply Guild on my blog, I will also be showcasing them on my Jewelry To Keep Facebook Page. I hope you will check it out and even become a fan.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I have not posted to this blog in quite a few days. Actually it's been over a week. I guess I haven't caught up from my trip yet. But it is great to be home.

Today I am featuring another ArtFire artisan. Amy's studio is Ajewelgift. She works mostly with glass and has many different items in her studio to choose from including jewelry.

But my favorites are her "dog" themed pieces. She has plates, pendants and barrettes all with dogs or paw prints on them. I have featured one of her plates and barrettes here. I am sure you can figure out why I picked this particular plate. It is on my wish list for sure.

If you haven't done so already you should check out Amy's studio. I have linked all the photos so you can click on them and travel through cyberspace to her studio. She also has really cute earrings and other assorted items. She will do custom pieces too if there is something you specifically want. Happy Shopping.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lover's Leap

We are finally in Virginia. This is our last state. After months of traveling across this great country we live in I can hardly believe we are in the last state before we head back to Florida.

Today part of our route was through the Blue Ridge Parkway that goes through southern Virginia. The picture was taken at Lover's Leap. There was still some early morning fog hanging in the valley when Jim went through. Since I was several hours behind him at this point most of it was gone by the time I stopped at this lookout. So it was interesting to see the picture with the fog still there.
Today's ride was much better than yesterday. We were still in some very significant hills but at least there weren't as many switchbacks which made the ride much easier. Yesterday there were so many twists and turns I felt like I was on a major ride at Universal. If I was ever going to get car sick it would have happened yesterday. And for the life of me I couldn't understand why the speed limit would be posted as 55 and then 10 feet later it would be 30 to go around the turns. And then 55 again and then 10 feet later 3o. Couldn't they just leave it at 30. Because I certainly wasn't flooring it between the curves. It was quite an experience. There were sections where I am sure Jim was going faster on the bike than I could go in the car. I am really glad that part is behind us.

We have about 2 more days to go and then we should be on the shores of the Atlantic. And believe me I can't wait to see him dip that front wheel in the Atlantic so we can head home. Two days later I will sleeping in my comfy bed in Sanibel. But it has been a fantastic ride and I am glad that we decided to do this. I think even Beau has had a good time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Here is another reason to love the Internet. I know for certain that if it were not for the access the Internet gives you I would never have seen Almondtree's products. She is located in Singapore. But thanks to ArtFire and the Internet here she is on my blog. She has some fantastic products in her studio.

Of course I was attracted there when I saw her jewelry. So I went to her studio to see what else was there. Besides awesome jewelry she also has jewelry supplies. Her cellophane beads are adorable. And she has some amazing artwork.

I know have featured many studios on my web page and I will continue to do that. But you really need to see all that Almondtree has to offer. There is a wide range of products and her style shows through in all of them.

I love this ACEO. It has a Florida feel to it and would look great in my house. It may be gone by the time you get to Almondtree to look around.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We Are Almost to the East Coast

We decided to take our course due east across Illinois and Indiana then into Ohio, down to Kentucky and then on to Virginia. The original course that was set out for us had us going south into Missouri and then skirting the southern part of Illinois then onto Kentucky and then Virginia. By going straight across until we get to Ohio we can cut out a few hundred miles, Jim can ride on the Ohio bike trail and best of all I can see the grand kids for a couple of days before we get to Kentucky. So that is the plan. Our rest day will be in Ohio. Just a short hello but we probably won't see them again until Christmas time so it will be worth it.

It was nice to see windmills again in Illinois. You really can not appreciate how big they are until you are right up next to them. Some of them were pretty close to the road too and I was amazed at how quiet they were. But is was amazing to see whole fields full of them. We probably rode by hundreds of them. I hope they are making lots of energy. And it's weird too because some were turning and some were not. But most of them were.

Then it was on to Indiana. Still lots of farms. And beautiful countryside. Jim saw an Amish family in their buggy selling veggies. I missed them. Tomorrow we will be in Ohio and in 2 days we will be in Kentucky. From there is should only be a couple of weeks and we will be on the east coast of the US and our trip will be complete. It has been fun and I can't believe we are definitely on the back end.

We saw this happy face on our way into Wateska, Indiana. Guess they have the right attitude. And it was the last picture taken before someone killed the camera with a banana. I can't believe we are going to be on our third camera this trip. When we were in Ohio we need to get a new camera. Someone had a banana in the same compartment of his bike bag as the camera and with the heat the banana got mushy and leaked banana guts and juice into the camera and shorted out the LED screen on the back. Technically I think it still takes pictures. You just have no idea what you are taking a picture of. So we need a new camera because you know if we don't have one we will see something awesome.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gem Kitty

Gem Kitty is a fellow artisan with a studio on ArtFire. I love her jewelry. She uses various stones and metals and puts them together in a very eye catching fashion.

She has necklaces, bracelets and earrings in a wide range of colors and designs. I have a few of her pieces here. I love the colors in the bracelet.

It really puts me in the mood for autumn. And since I use a lot of turquoise in my jewelry you know these earrings really caught my eye.

Pay Gem Kitty a visit. I don't think you will be disappointed when you do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From Minnesota to Iowa

We have finally made it through Minnesota and into Iowa. Another state under our belts. The western part of Minnesota was much nicer. There were several lakes that we rode past and it was very scenic. The eastern part of Minnesota is mostly farms. Which are nice but after a few miles of nothing but corn you are ready for a change in scenery. We finally did make it to the Mississippi and that was nice. Two nights ago we ate at a restaurant that was right on the river. They had outside tables so it was nice.

The next day's ride took us across the river into Wisconsin but then back again into Minnesota. The route was supposed to take us back inland to farm country again so we edited it and rode straight down along the river. It was a beautiful ride. The road was a little beat up and therewere a couple of spots where the shoulder was tight. That may be why they took you back inland. But for the most part the road was good and the traffic was very light. So it was a nice ride along the river and through all the cute little towns there.

We will be in Iowa for the next couple of days. Then we skirt the southern part of Illinois and go into to Kentucky for the trek east to Virginia. If Jim can keep up at his 100 mile rides every day we should be done in 3 weeks. That would get me home in time for preseason. I will be happy if we are home by the first football game of the season. Preseason is a bonus.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Andrea's Designs

I have to admit that I have never been much of a scarf person. In my defense I have lived in Florida since I was in the third grade. So that makes me an honest to goodness transplant. And one that has taken root and is not about to leave.

Today I visited Andrea Designs on ArtFire. I am now a scarf person. I guess I just had not been exposed to the right kind of scarves. Hers are phenomenal. The colors are gorgeous and she has so many different styles and designs to choose from.

So now you are asking yourself what is this nut going to do with a scarf in Florida. Well we do have the occasional cold snap. And if I don't want to wait for that to happen I do have family that still live in those colder places in the country. And somehow we always manage a visit when it is cold. Why I don't know but we do.

And come to think of it Christmas is right around the corner and I think they could all use a scarf. So I am leaving now and going shopping.

Pictured here are just two of my favorites. But there are many more to choose from. And several different styles and sizes. You have to buzz on over there and check them out. You will be amazed and delighted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nice People

Today will be our last day in North Dakota. We are in Fargo which is right on the eastern border. As soon as we leave in the morning we will be crossing over into Minnesota. Yipee!!!
Another state under our belt.

We go pretty much to the east and slightly to the south in Minnesota until we get around St. Paul. From there we are going back and forth between Illinois and Missouri. I think it is because they are trying to take us along the Mississippi River. The maps take us on scenic routes where there isn't much traffic so it is pretty safe for bicyclists. But that isn't always the fastest nor the shortest route. But they have been pretty.

I have to say that we have had some really pleasant experiences. I am pretty sure I already blogged about the elderly farmer that bought us lunch a while back. And then 2 days ago when we were in Minot it was very windy. I was getting out of the van and a big gust of wind came along and just flung my door wide open. I had a hard time closing it and it made an awful sound when I did. I went into the store to make my purchases and when I came back out I could only open the door a few inches. Upon further inspection the wind had buckled the door and made it overlap with the front panel. So I had to get in the passengers door and go about my merry way.

Once Jim arrived and I told him what happened we looked for a body shop. Luckily there was one a few blocks from our hotel. So off we went and were expecting a big bill. We told the man there to just fix it so we could open the door and we'd worry about cosmetics when we got home. He said he could do that and it would probably be about $60 more or less. So we took Beau for a walk and he got out his crow bar and set to work. We came back a few minutes later and the door was fixed. There was only one little area on the front panel that was missing some paint. Otherwise it looked good too. And the best part was he only charged us $20. Now how often does that happen where you live. Never in South Florida that's for sure.

And people have been so helpful with directions and telling us good places to stay and eat. It really renews my spirit to know that most people are really genuinely kind and giving. That has been one of the best parts of this trip. And I am sure I will have more stories to tell before I get home too. We are almost halfway now too.

I had to put the picture of the oil well in this post. I never would have imagined that I would see an oil well in North Dakota. Farms and animals yes. Active, working oil wells no.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Magic Me

These pictures alone would be fun. So what makes them special you may ask? My Magic Me does. She takes your face and incorporates into what ever type of picture you may want. She will also take your picture and maybe change the eyes to give you a little vampire type look. Or maybe change you into a cat or unicorn.

She has some really unique looking prints in her studio. You would do yourself a big favor to check them out. And if you have any teens in your family or friends circle I know you will find some very interesting gift ideas there. I know my granddaughters are getting a certain one for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Circle to Culbertson, Montana

This is our last stretch in Montana. Yesterday's ride was kind of hilly as shown in the picture below. At times it was like being on a roller coaster. You go up and then you go down and then right back up again. There weren't many flat patches. Today there were some rolling hills again but longer stretches of flat ground to cover.

When we got into Culberston there were two motels and a campground. So I figured we would not have a problem finding a place to stay. Right? Wrong! Both motels were booked. So we figured we would stay in the campground. They were booked too. The lady at the campground told us that they are doing major road construction. It is a really big project so they had to bring in a lot of workers and they are all staying in the motels and campgrounds there. Since we didn't need any hook ups for our van she let us park it under a tree near the bathroom and spend the night there. So at least we had a place to sleep. We went to the local casino for dinner. Every town we have gone through so far has a casino with a restaurant in it.

After dinner we came back to the van and settled in for the night. Later that night we were startled awake by severe lightening and thunder like I had not heard in Florida. It wasn't the loud cracks that I was used to. It was long low rumbles that went on forever. And sometimes louder than others. Then the wind kicked up. When I saw the van was rocking I am not using that saying as a figure of speech. It was rocking baby. And it wasn't rocking me back to sleep. I was afraid to look out the window. I was sure I would see Dorothy and Toto flying by. At some point I finally went back to sleep and it seemed like as soon as I did then Beau was whining to go out and it was morning. At some point you just have to give up and get up. And that is what we did.

It was off to the local diner for breakfast and then off to start another journey. We are hoping the road work wouldn't be too bad and it would be smooth sailing into North Dakota. One more state under our belts.

Jim took this picture when he was riding today. I knew the Boyce's had a cabin in Georgia but I didn't know they had a ranch in Montana too. Life must be good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bead Lady 5 Designs

Don't these poppy jasper and antique copper earrings make you want to reach for the stars? And these dark topaz and brass hearts have a romantic Victorian feel to them.

These are just a small sample of the great jewelry Bead Lady 5 has in her ArtFire studio. She has designs with a vintage feel but also some that are modern and all are gorgeous. There is a little bit of something for everyone no matter what you taste in jewelry may be. I know you will find her jewelry as exquisite as I do. Check it out today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We're Heading East

Here is a picture of the entire group. From left to right it's Tom, me, my hubby Jim, Bob and John. And in the front row is Beau and Eli. We met Eli along the way. He was riding with another guy who decided this wasn't the thing for him after 7 miles. So we have been meeting up with Eli at rest stops along the way. We took this picture outside our motel in Missoula.

On our trip to Adventure Cycling we looked over the maps and decided to take a more direct route east and end the ride in Virginia instead of Maine. That meant that we would have to go solo and leave the group. Which was very sad as we really liked traveling with them. But it also meant that we would get home sooner and we also might be able to get another visit in with the kids in Ohio. And I have been getting very homesick. I miss my house, my bed and the beach. And mostly I miss my Florida kids. I haven't seen them since April. So we made the hard decision and decided to go for it. Do I have a great hubby or what? I know he altered his route for me but I'm taking it while he still wants to do it.

So when we left Missoula we went east and ended up in Lincoln. It was a cute little town. We stayed in this little cabin. It was set back off the road and surrounded with lots of pine trees. Very cute. And all the amenities including internet. Yipee. Then we had dinner at Ponderose's. We had a yummy dinner and the atmosphere was great. Wood carvings everywhere and super friendly people that love to tell us about their little neck of the woods. And Jim asked the waitress if she knew where he could get a little American flag for the back of his bike and she gave him one off the top of the bar left over from the 4th of July.

Today we headed out again and made it to Great Falls. On the way here we stopped in Fort Shaw for lunch. It was a tiny place with only 3 tables in it. An older gentleman came in after we were there and said he saw our Florida plates on the van. From there we struck up a conversation. He had lived his whole life in that neck of the woods on a dairy farm milking cows. He said he doesn't milk them anymore. Now it's just him and his dogs. He was a right friendly guy and when he was leaving he even paid for our lunch. He said it was his contribution to our adventure. You don't run into people like that everyday.

On Jim's ride today he went over the continental divide. That was quite a ride up in the van. And the ride down was spectacular and twisty. Glad I wasn't on a bike.

So tomorrow we leave Great Falls and are off to Geraldine. It should be a flatter day. There were a lot of rolling hills today and some were steep too.

Silver River Jewelry

Silver River Jewelry is the Artfire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops featured artist. She has some amazing pieces in her studio. She works with different stones and wire and creates lovely works of art. I have posted two of my favorites here but believe me this is just the tip of the iceberg. You have to visit her studio to see what I mean.
Here is how this artist describes her work:
Fine artisan jewelry made with a variety of techniques including wire wrapping, metal smithing and lapidary (rocks). I make elegant, affordable, well made jewelry with a touch of whimsy. Custom Orders are always welcome

Have fun browsing and shopping in Silver River Jewelry's Artfire Studio.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winchester Lake in Idaho

We camped at Winchester Lake State Park in Idaho. It was right on the shore of the lake. It was a beautiful campsite. The town of Winchester was very small. But everyone was very friendly. We found a nice little tavern for dinner and a great diner for breakfast with the biggest pancakes I have ever seen in my entire life. This is a picture of us at our site with a nice fire for the evening. It really got cold once the sun went down and by the morning I was frozen solid. We were at about 5,ooo feet elevation so the temp really dropped. This was one of our nicer campsites on the trip so far.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ArtFire Jewlery Artists and Supply Shops July Giveaway

The Ajdjss Guild's 2nd Blog Giveaway begins--And this time it's all about the color Green!!!

Green is the color of nature, fertility, life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don't know what color to use anywhere use green. Green is favored by well balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force. It often symbolizes money. It was believed green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. Green eyeshades are still used. You should eat raw green foods for good health.

Okay so here goes:

1.Nine Guild Studios--9 green items--
2.Visit each studio with the special green item. If the item is a piece of jewelry describe the outfit in detail what you would wear with it. If the item is a jewelry supply piece then describe in detail what you would make with it.
3.Come back to our blog and leave your comment and the following: Studio name, name of green item, your name, your email address so we can contact you if you are the winner.
You receive one entry for the above mentioned info.
You receive another entry if you have a blog and you mention this giveaway on your blog with a link directly to our blog. You must include your blog link so we can check it.
You don't have a blog? Promote the item on twitter, facebook, google, etc You must include your link to the promotion and receive another entry.
Buy one of the items and get 5 more entries. You must include the info about order for us to check. The "bounty" for this giveaway will be 3 items from our guild.

To enter go to the ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops web page at or click on the link above.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We are in Idaho

Oh No Mr Bill we are actually in Idaho now. Tom has Mr Bill strapped to the front of his bike. So I had to include him somehow in my blog.
I now know where the Amber Waves of Grain came from in America the Beautiful. And they are beautiful too. We are definitely in grain country. And there is a lot of it too. As far as the eye can see. And that grain loves to grow on hills. Today's ride was beautiful but very hilly. There was one downhill that I was a little freaked out on in the van. I would have been screaming on a bike. Besides going down and down and down you were going around some nice curves and not all of them had guard rails. But it was nice country and we made it to the campsite. We are right on the shore of the Clearwater River. It is very peaceful here. Beau is laying in the sun enjoying the peace and quiet. It was very cold last night because we were up in the mountains on Winchester Lake. We had a nice campsite right on the Lake. It was surrounded by tall pines too. I will download those pics and post in next update. That's it for now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Royal Designs

Royal Designs is this week's featured artist in the ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops Guild.
Here is the artisan's bio:
Beading is a time consuming, thought provoking and occasionally frustrating process which I totally love. I'll work a piece until the pattern "feels" just perfect. There are times I give up when I can't find the rhythm but more often everything goes together as it is meant to. I only offer what I would love to wear! As a teenager I designed and made necklaces for a local store. I've come a long way from those little plastic beads! My pieces consist of semi-precious stones, Swarovski and Czech crystals, Swarovski pearls, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, gold vermeil and more. Rarely do I use a base metal. I'm proud to inform you of the materials used in each piece. As a mom of two college kids and 4 fur babies time is precious. I work a full time job to pay those tuition bills but beading is my work of choice. I learned so much about color and patterns as an art major in college and hope that you recognize the time, effort and love I put into each piece!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ride Across America Days Five and Six

Here are some of the pictures of the waterfalls from yesterday's ride. They were spectacular. And the road was a historical drive path so it was not only beautiful but very peaceful. When you weren't seeing gorgeous views of the mountains and the river gorge you were driving on tree lined roads in dappled sunlight. What a great way to recharge the batteries.

Today's ride was another one where we had great views of the mountains and the river gorge. It is amazing how far the Columbia River goes and right through the mountains. And all along the river is a railroad and there are more freight trains going all along the river carrying all our goods to the middle of the country. I never realized how much freight goes through here and by train.

We had another stay at a campground. It was nice but nothing special. A piece of grass and some water. No electricity. And you had to use quarters to get hot water for your shower. Fifty cents for 3 minutes. I didn't think I could shower and wash my hair that fast but I did it. It is really amazing what you can do when you have to. We are at the bottom of the hill tonight and it is looming in the background for the guys. I hope they sleep well because right off the bat tomorrow it is straight up the side of the mountain. It is giving me the willys and I will be driving.


Well the guys are headed up the mountain and I am off in the van. It was another ride through the mountains but this time there was nothing and I mean nothing around. Hills, river, farm animals and windmills on the tops of the mountains. That's it. No towns, no stores, no gas, nothing. But once the guys make it up the first big hill it isn't too bad. And there is very little traffic on this road so it is nice riding for them. There is an occasion semi and a few pick up trucks and that is it.

The campground for tonight is on an Island in the middle of the Columbia River. There is one little road that leads to the Island. It was a good thing I got there early as there was only one site left. So I grabbed it and settled in for the day to wait for the guys. It is Friday and I guess a lot of people camp here on the weekend. I can see why. This is the Hilton of campgrounds. We have water, electric, real bathrooms with showers. You still need to pay for a shower though but hey they are nice showers. And you are surrounded by the river. There is even a little beach type area on the river. And lots of boats on the river too. We have a nice shady spot and the site is big. Not the little postage stamp sites we have been getting. This is much better. I better enjoy it because tomorrow we are back to a primitive site. You can't have the good life all the time I guess.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ride Across America Day Four

Just a quick update to let everyone know we are OK. I could not find the library so I am actually outside a Motel 8. LOL You have to love wireless connections. But I am on battery so I have to be quick. And Jim has the camera so the awesome pictures will have to follow at another time.

Yesterday was an awesome day. The drive was through some of the most beautiful territory I have seen yet. We passed 5 different waterfalls. And at some points there were lookouts where you could see the Columbia River just winding it's way through the mountains.

Then at other times you were in the woods with trees all around and driving like you were actually in the middle of a forest. Beau and I stopped at all the waterfalls and went for walks. He actually made it to see one of the falls. After that he was more interested in sniffing the bushes than actually walking around. He is not much for sight seeing. Definitely ruled by his nose. So for some of the stops he got a walk and then went to sleep in the van while I checked out the falls.

Our campsite last night was nestled in the trees and was near the river. It seemed very nice until the first train came through. Unfortunately there is a railroad track that runs right through the park. There was no where that you could escape the train horn. I heard it once when I was going to sleep but after that either I was too tired or no more trains came through. Everyone said they had a good night's sleep.

The guys had a couple of hills yesterday and one big one at the end of the ride. But they all made it and are back out riding again today. Beau and I did laundry and are going to get groceries. Then it's on to the next campground. The weather has been awesome. It's sunny but cool. And there hasn't been any significant rain lately either. So all is well on the trail. Pictures of the awesome falls and mountains to follow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ride Across America Day Three

Yesterday we spent the night in the City Park at St. Helens. It was a nice park and very busy. Lots of families, kids and dogs. Beau had a great time checking out all the dogs.

The camping sites were in a nice wooded area of the park. There was also a nice one mile jogging/walking path so I was able to get a nice quiet walk in. I tried to get Beau to go with me but he wanted no part of it. So he stayed at the campsite with the guys and I walked on my own.

On the third day the goal for the guys was to ride from St. Helen's to Corbet and we were going to stay in a campground that was listed on the map as a place for cyclists to stay. I had a mission to find a Wal Mart in Portland on the way there to get my prescriptions refilled. Then I was off to check out the campground. We were unable to reach any one by phone the night before to confirm that they had sites available.

So I started my journey from St. Helens to Portland to find the Wal Mart that was on my GPS. Everything was going well until I saw the highest longest bridge off in the distance. I kept telling myself that there was no way that I could possibly have to go over that bridge. Until I heard the GPS navigator say merge left and exit to route 30 by pass. On No Mr. Bill. I was going over the bridge. I said a few quick prayers and told Beau not to look out the window and over we went. When I say I was hyperventilating I am not exaggerating at all. But we made it.

The next big adventure was when the navigator said you have reached your destination and there wasn't a Wal Mart in sight. But there was a gas station up ahead so I quickly pulled in and inquired where this mysterious Wal Mart was. It was 4 miles up the road. I knew it would be pretty hard to miss a Wal Mart. So much for the GPS navigator. But we found it in a jiffy. I got my prescriptions and more food for Beau. I decided to call the campground and just verify that they had sites. And much to my surprise they told me they no longer have camping at their park. This was not good.

I quickly called the guys and we went to plan B. I was to stay at the Wal Mart until they got there and then we would look at the map and make another plan. Well, their route didn't take them by the Wal Mart so now I had to find them. Luckily they were only a half a mile a way and it was not long until we were all together. The problem was finding a place to camp.

The end of the story is there was no place to camp that was in biking distance or at least not in a distance that was reasonable to do after already biking 50 miles. We did find a hostel in Troutdale that the guys could stay at and Beau and I had to rough it at a Motel 6. The Hostel does not allow animals. It is dorm style and the guys are sleeping in bunk beds. And all the bottom bunks were taken so they are on the top. I hope no one forgets in the middle of the night.

The pictures here are from the garden at the hostel. We did join them there for dinner and beverages. It is very beautiful and looks like a fun place to stay. I hope tomorrow is a little less adventurous even though it all did turn out well in the end.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ride Across America - Day One

So the big day, June 21st, 2009, has finally arrived. They are leaving to start their ride from Seaside, Oregon to Bangor, Maine. The plan is to ride an average of 50 miles per day and camp along the way. The miles will vary depending on the locations of available camping spots. There will also be one rest day per week.

Here are the brave cyclists, from left to right, Tom, Bob, Jim and John, at the starting point in Seaside. The plan for today was to ride to a primitive campground 4o miles from the starting point.

My job is to ride to the stopping point and scope out the area. Also, I will pick up any provisions along the way that may be needed at the campsite for that night. The campground they planned on staying at Gnat Creek Park only has 3 campsites. And it is first come first get. Plus it is on an honor system. You have to get the little envelope out of the drop box, fill out the pertinent information, put $5 in the envelope and then put the envelope in the drop box. There is a stub you put in your windshield. When I did my check there was a tent on one campsite and the other two were vacant. So as not to miss out on having a place to stay I filled out the envelope and deposited my $5. Then I put a small soft sided cooler we had and Beau's bed on the picnic table at the site so if any one came along they would know it was taken. Then I was off to meet the guys at the half way point to have lunch and discuss what to do for dinner that evening.

We met at a Supermarket in Astoria. They had a nice deli so we had soup and sandwiches for lunch. Then the guys continued on and I went shopping for food for dinner. I bought deli chicken, potato salad, 3 bean salad and some snacks. Plus beer and water to drink of course. Then I made my way back to the campground.

I passed the guys on the way. They seemed to be doing great and making good time. I got back to the campground and much to my dismay someone had actually stolen my cooler. The cooler was no big deal. But I had all my vitamins inside it. And my iced tea mix and Jim's instant coffee. And my champagne glasses from our hot air balloon ride were in there too. How rude. I always thought campers were considerate of others and didn't mess with your things. I was very disappointed. I think it was someone just passing through as we found out there was a lot of traffic that went in and out of that little park.

It wasn't too long before the guys showed up. They all looked good and said they had a nice ride. There was one hill but none of them thought it was too bad. We had a nice evening and settled in for the night.

Today they are riding 51 miles to St. Helens, Oregon. There is a city park that allows tent camping. It is only $10. And there are real bathrooms with real toilets and showers. Still no electric but showers and toilets are a big improvement. The local library is right next to the park so I am updating blog while waiting for the guys to arrive. Beau is sleeping in the van. It is still very cool here so he is OK in the van. I took him for a long walk in the park prior to coming to the library.

Not sure what the plan is for tonight. More to come when next Internet op presents itself.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Oregon Coast Drive

Yesterday we drove almost the entire coastline of Oregon. It is as beautiful as the coastline drive in California.

We started in Reedsport and drove all the way to Seaside, which is where Jim will start his Ride Across America with his friends tomorrow.

When we first started our drive we were right in the middle of the sand dunes. The first picture is of the dunes but you really can not appreciate the size or magnitude of them from this picture. The weather was not the best so we really could not get a good shot. You can see all the big rain clouds in the picture. When we started the drive it was sprinkling but that soon turned to actual rain. So some of the drive was not the best for picture taking but spectacular to see none the less.

The little specs you see on the rock are sea lions and seals. At one of the look out points where you could stop and take pictures there were rocks with sea lions and seals on them. A few were even swimming in the water. It is amazing how big they were and how steep the rocks were. It made me wonder how they managed to get up on the rocks in the first place. Some of them were huge.

Besides seeing all the coastline we also drove through some cute little seaside towns and drove over some amazing bridges. It was a very scenic and enjoyable drive.

We are in Seaside, Oregon. It is a quaint seaside town. It reminds me of Hollywood Beach in Florida with all the little shops and the boardwalk. Only there are no mountains in Hollywood. And the sun is out a lot more!

Jenny Lake Hike

When Jim was at the visitors' center for Jenny Lake, a young girl there told him about the hike around the lake. She said the views were spectacular, there was a beautiful waterfall and that the hike was relatively easy. She had 2 of the three correct at least.

So we started out on our adventure. And the beginning of the hike was relatively easy and the views were without a doubt spectacular. I only have a couple here but more are on my facebook page. Most of the path was rocky as shown here. So while it wasn't too bad of a hike it was slow going.

Jim also told me that the hike to the Falls was only 2 miles. And remember the relatively easy part too. Some of the time when you were walking right along the lake edge only high up in the hills it was gorgeous. The day was nice too. It was partly cloudy so it wasn't real hot. And we only got sprinkled on a couple of times, but no real rain to speak of. Which was an improvement since it had rained every day we were there so far.

Now we are starting to come to the part of the hike where you are approaching Cascade Falls. Now the relatively easy part goes right out the window. We were going up and up and up some more. Some parts were just the rock path and some parts were like steps. But they all went up and sometimes straight up. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. The loud sound of rushing water was all that kept me going as I knew the falls had to be near. And I didn't want to walk all that way and not see them. And remember I mentioned Jim said it was 2 miles to the Falls.

Well when we got up there and I read the sign it was 2.7 miles. That's close enough to 3 for me to say it's a 3 mile hike. At least the hike back was better. Going down is much easier. And it was a beautiful waterfall. I have to admit it was worth the effort. And I did need the exercise. So I am happy that we did this hike. But relatively easy it was not.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snake River Float

We did a raft float down the Snake River. It was very beautiful and peaceful. I know they have rafts going down the river all the time. But we did not see another raft or person the entire time. We floated for 10 miles. The scenery was unbelievable. When we first started out I heard an unusual sound. At first I thought, "is air coming out of the raft?" My mind kind of works that way. Then when I realized it wasn't that I thought maybe it was something in the raft that I wasn't aware of and I didn't give it another thought. Well, actually it was probably in the back of my mind but I was busy looking at all the nature around me. Then the raft driver asked "do you hear that rustling sound?" And of course I was happy to reply. He told us it was the rocks on the bottom of the river moving over each other with the current of the river. WOW. I had no idea. Later on when we got to some of the more shallow parts of the river you could see the rocks and even some exposed rock beds. I had no idea that the bottom of the river was all rock.

It was cool to be floating down a river and see mountains all around you. And mountains with snow on them. There were also lots of trees that had fallen into the river due to either shore erosion or beavers. And they would make little islands in the middle of the river and in some cases even completely change the flow of the river.

We didn't see any animals but we did see geese, pelicans, heron and eagles. It was a great experience and I have so many more pictures than what I have here. The first picture is a beaver lodge we saw along the side of the river and the second is one of the many views of the mountains from the river. My connectivity here is slow so the pictures were not loading well. So I could only post two for now. I am going to make an online album for my pictures and will post when I do. I have also been putting some of them on Facebook for those of you who are on that site.