Thursday, July 30, 2015

Biking Grand Targhee - Day 3

 The Grand Tetons from atop Targhee Ski Resort

After a hearty breakfast and map meeting on day 3 of our bike tour, we were shuttled from the condos in Driggs, Idaho to the base of the ski resort at Grand Targhee in Wyoming. Once there, we had choices of what we could do. Some chose to hike up to the top of the ski slopes and some of us chose to take the chairlift. And, we had one lady to go horse back riding.

Views going up and down the chairlift at Targhee Ski Resort, Wyoming. Notice the mountain bike in one of the could mountain bike down and this is how they got their bikes to the top. 
These two ladies are my new friends....Pete and Elaine.

 Views of the Grand Tetons Mountain Range from the top of Targhee Ski Resort

I took the chairlift along with my new friends, Elaine and Pete. All I could think of was that movie where three people got stuck on a chair lift in winter and the only way down was to drop. The first guy did and broke both legs and was killed by wolves. I don't quite remember the rest, but I do know the other guy was killed, too. And the girl made it! Ha! At the top, we hiked a short distance along the ridge line and y'all, it was majestic! You could see for miles. And there were quite a few flowers up there too. You could almost hear the oohs and aahs three counties over.

 The wildflowers up top included asters and columbine and others that I don't know. 
It was so nice to see them in their natural habitat.

After we were finished taking in all that majesty, Elaine, Pete and I rode the chairlift back down to the base of the slopes. We were so enamored with our surroundings that we didn't realize we could pull a bar down in front of us for safety. So there we sat...I was white knuckling the side of the lift and Elaine was afraid of heights, too, but we managed to get over it and enjoy the scenery before us. We had lunch at the Branding Iron Restaurant. The veggie sandwich was delicious.

 That's me, Maxa, Elaine and Pete
 Oh, look....I made a newer friend. He was hungry so I gave him one of my cashews.

 White knuckling on the way down....Me....and my new friend, the chipmunk. He loves me.
Now, it was time to head back down the mountain on our bikes. And....have mercy...we had a short, but steep 8% grade hill to climb to get out of the resort area and I nearly puked up a lung, no make that both lungs before making it to the top....not to mention we were at an elevation of 7600 ft. so my breathing was already compromised. Thank goodness it was short and I recovered quickly. The rest of the way was all downhill. I forgot to turn on Map My Fitness until part the way down, but at one point on the bike's odometer, we were going 29 mph. That was fun, but I thought it might be a good idea to slow it down a bit and get things under control. So we slowed down to 22 miles mph. You can't imagine how much fun going downhill was! Today's ride was supposed to be 11.9 miles, but my odometer read 10.6. Close enough, I guess.

If you look slightly to the right, you can see where the switchback is for this downhill portion. So fun!

That afternoon, we were treated to a 90 minute yoga class. I just love yoga! It was so relaxing to stretch those biking muscles. After yoga, we re-grouped at the condo and then left for dinner at Warbirds Cafe situated right beside a runway of a small airport in Driggs. The restaurant looked like an old hangar. Very quaint.

That was our last night in Driggs, so everything needed to be packed and ready to go the next morning. I wrapped up my day with laundry and then it was off to bed. Our ride the next day would be approx 25 miles from Driggs, Idaho to Jackson, Wyoming.

Today's total miles: 10.6
Total for trip:  37.15

Til Day 4,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Grand Tetons Biking Adventure - Day 1 and 2

 The Grand Tetons Mountain Range
...taken from the airplane while approaching Jackson, Wyoming

Well y'all, my bike tour is officially over. I made some great friends and got to see some of this gorgeous country of ours and gorgeous it is! But, the highlight, the WOW of this tour and what has me riding on cloud nine is.......I DID IT!! I rode my bike approx 153 miles in and around Driggs, Idaho through Jackson, Wyoming to the Grand Tetons National Park. I left here a rookie and returned a real cyclist! I trained for three months and not a single training ride came close to what I experienced on this tour. I can not describe to you the sense of accomplishment I feel.

The support we received from the WomanTours was excellent. Our tour guides, Laurie and Sid, went above and beyond. They made sure we were safe, provided maintenance for our bikes and fed us well. We had a nice place to stay each night, received encouragement along the way and received answers to a barrage of questions....I mean they did everything, except pedal our bikes.

Now I know y'all want to see every picture and hear every story about my week. It's a lot. So, I'm going to post in parts. You'll want to stay tuned because just when you think you've seen it all.....there will be another ride on another day and more gorgeous scenery. And we begin.....

Day 1 - Travel Day

I was scheduled to fly out of Charleston, Sunday July 19th, at 6:00 a.m. We boarded the plane and the door was closed. Before taking off, the pilot came on the speaker and said we would be delayed by 15 to 20 minutes due to a maintenance issue and asked us to sit tight. Just a few minutes later, he came on the speaker again and said that we would need to disembark and take our luggage stowed in the overhead bins with us. I didn't feel too concerned about this because I felt sure that whatever the problem, it would be resolved. We only had to wait a short time and then we were allowed to re-board. As it turned out, there was a windshield sensor issue. By the time all this happened though, we were an hour and fifteen minutes late leaving. Thank goodness I had a 3 hour layover in Dallas. The rest of the flight was fine.

While in Dallas, I sat down at my gate with some time to kill. The sun started shining in the window and it was getting hot where I was sitting so I decided to find a seat in the shade. I walked two rows over and there were at least four seats available, so I took one. The one I took just so happened to have a newspaper laying across it. I moved the newspaper over and sat down and just about that time a lady came over and grabbed the newspaper. "I'm sorry, did I take your seat?" I asked. And in a tone that sounded like she was quite perturbed she said, "No, I'll just take this one." I immediately thought to myself, "I sure hope she is not on the WomanTours with me........she sure does look cranky!"

Arriving in Jackson, WY was a treat. You could see the Grand Tetons in the background and the weather was so soothing. I left 90 degrees of heat and humidity and arrived to 70 degrees of cool and zero humidity. It was wonderful! This was a small you can see from the picture we got off the plane and walked across the tarmac to get inside the terminal to retrieve our luggage. Anyone arriving by plane was to wait out front of the airport and the WomanTours van would pick us up. So, I gathered my luggage and headed out front. I waited for a few minutes and then noticed Miss Cranky standing nearby waiting, also. I thought, "I know not!" Just then I saw a bicycle pin attached to her backpack and I just knew. So I walked over to her, hoping not to get the attitude or worse.....cut!....and said, "Excuse me, I noticed your bike pin. Are you waiting for the WomanTours?" And just as nicely as possible, she said, "Yes." Boy was I relieved. A good cutting....averted! So, I told her I was waiting too and we just starting talking like nothing had ever happened. Who knows if she even had a second thought about the seat incident. It could be that I was reading a little too much into it because she turned out to be very nice. Althooouuugh, I don't think she would be one to tolerate much. Just observin' and just sayin'. And then....the WomanTours van arrived and we were off to Driggs, Idaho. I had been up since 3 a.m. and it was nearing 2 p.m. by this time. We still had many things to do that day and boy I was getting very tired. Finally, after picking up a few other ladies from a hotel in town and a designated spot for those who drove in, we were off to the condos. At 4 p.m., we had our bike fitting and then at 6 p.m. we left for dinner. I was so tired by this time, that I could barely enjoy myself. I was homesick already and really wanted to just be home. But I stuck it out and by 10 p.m., sleep came quickly.

Day 2 - Driggs, Idaho to Horseshoe Canyon Valley - Total miles: 26.55

Today's ride was described as decidedly flat. But, I was warned by Cliff that it would be hilly and have come to realize that others idea of flat is relative to where you are and what you're used to. We left Driggs on a bike path and once out of town we were on a long rural/country road. We passed hay, oats and barley fields. The first 7-8 miles were, for the most part, flat and then we started climbing slightly. We saw cows, wildflowers and barns. I saw a snake in the road, eeeek! And there was a possible moose siting by one of the girls. We stopped to investigate, but never saw it. At one point, the chain came off my bike and I had to have the seat and handlebars adjusted. For the next 4 miles or so, it looked like we were  going down hill. It was confusing, though, because we were gearing down and our pedaling was somewhat slower. This continued until we reached the 13 mile turn around. Once there, we were talking to the guides about it and they confirmed that we had been climbing. Apparently, that was called false flats. So, we got all excited because that meant the 13 or so miles back would be downhill. And they were.....and we had a ball flying down the hills. The pictures below are views from this day's ride. It is gorgeous out there. You can see for miles and on every turn, there was a different view. Back at the condos and after lunch, we had a bike workshop and a nutrition workshop. For dinner, the guides prepared our meal that night. We would be having a guest for dinner and we were excited to find out that it was the Founder of WomanTours, Gloria Smith. After dinner, we were all anxious to know how and why she started WomanTours. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the early nineties and after dealing with that had the urge to do something to celebrate life, so to speak. So she and six of her friends decided to ride their bikes across country. They began in Idaho, I believe, and rode to Maine. Gloria said that when they got there, she didn't want to get off the bike. And this made her think that other women should be able to have the wonderful experience that she did......thus, WomanTours was born. And I for one, am glad it was.

As you will read and see for the next few days.....this, for me, was the trip of a lifetime. It was challenging, but I never gave up. I rode up every hill....sometimes repeating OMG!, over and over, and praying for help to get to the top. And then there were the downhill times that made me squeal with delight. We rode against headwinds in the flats and dodged rain showers the closer we got to the mountains. We were warned to be watchful of stampeding bison and of bears. We could possibly see moose and other animals, too. And then there were the smells. At times, it smelled like Christmas trees. And then there were times when it was so quiet and peaceful that you felt suspended in time as you rode quietly taking in all it's splendor.  And splendor, it was!

And now, the pictures....of course, as you know, pictures don't come close to showing how beautiful things really are. I hope you enjoy them, anyway.

Fields of oats, barley and hay...and, views of the Tetons in the background.

 A teepee, barn and curious cow. 

 The wildflowers were gorgeous!

And this was our support! 
Laurie and Sid was always near, ready to give a helping hand and always with a smile!

Stay tuned for Day 3,

Oh, by the way, the batteries in my camera died and these few pictures was taken with my iPhone. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Travel Day

It's almost bed time. I have an early morning because tomorrow is a big travel day. I won't be posting until I return home. This is it y'all, this is what I've been training for.

When you say your prayers, I would love it if you'd whisper one for me for safe travels and safe biking. Thank you!

Talk soon,

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hunkered Down Neath The Pecan Tree


Sista #2

Lord have mercy, the littlest things just crack me up.

I was just sitting here and heard someone on t.v. say "hunkered down" and it immediately took me back nearly 20 years ago. We lived in town, at the time, on Rosemary Avenue. Dr. Gamble lived next door and had a pecan tree almost on our property line. Actually, some of the branches reached over into our yard.  

Sista came over one night and saw pecans lying on the ground and just had to have some. She sent me inside to get her a bag to gather them in and when I came back out, all I saw was........

Sista.....hunkered down neath that pecan tree on all fours.....gathering fallen pecans into the tail of her shirt. I laughed at the sight of this long-legged grown women sneaking pecans like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter. We got a good case of the giggles because we were scared to death Dr. Gamble was going to catch us.  

Sneaking around in dark shadows on all's just the little things that makes a memory special.

Happy Friday Y'all,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baby Darlings

In the beginning, there were three bird eggs. 
The mama bird hid them in one of my ferns at the beach. 
I checked on them a couple of weeks ago and they had hatched, but only two made it.  These little darlings still look a little bald in spots.

This was taken last Saturday. They were more alert and their feathers are filling in.  Cliff watered the fern the day before, but forgot they were there and thought he might have drenched them. They look fine, though. We've been very careful, since.

This was taken yesterday (Wednesday). Baby Darlings don't look too happy, do they. I have been worried about them in this heat. So every time I went out to have a look, I would blow on them. HaHa! I figured a little breeze would feel refreshing.

Oh my gosh! Look how cute! This was taken today. They are looking healthy and their feathers have really filled the point that I believe you can tell that they are sparrows.  If you look even closer, you may be able to see a few droplets of water on them from when I watered the fern today. But law, I need to talk to their mama. She needs to do a little house keeping....if you know what I mean. 

I was a little bummed to say goodbye to them today. They will probably have left the nest by the time I get back from my bike tour. Maybe they'll come by for a visit now and then. Or, maybe they'll choose my ferns to raise baby darlings of their own.