Wednesday, June 6, 2007

We're back!

Well, it was a decent trip but I'm glad it's over. I'm getting really tired of cross country driving really fast. Anyway, let me get to the weekend breakdown.


Michele and I left Crazy Joe's and headed East for my parents place outside of Wichita. The day pretty much boils down to a long boring drive cross mostly flat terrain. The West side of New Mexico is pretty as you drive along the I-40, but once you get out of Albuquerque there's really nothing left to look at. Off the freeway at Tucumcari and headed straight for Kansas on US 54. The 54 is a pretty easy drive, decent speed limit, towns are few and far between, and it goes through Hooker, OK, home of the Hooker Horny Toads. Anyway, it never occurred to Michele or I that the highway might be closed due to the Tornado that hit Greensburg, KS a month ago. The reroute around town added an extra hour to our trip putting us at my parent's place around 10:30 or so. The extra driving did give us a chance to see the gypsum hills of Southern Kansas thought, and that looks like a place just itching for some trails. Once we arrived we stayed up way too late shooting the shit and finally got to bed around 1:00.

Oklahoma, meh, OK.
Makes me laugh every time.
Gypsum hills

Michele was supposed to be in the 'Ville by 9:00 for the start of out processing but she got a pass due to our car troubles and now needed to be there by 2:30. It's a 6 hour drive from Clearwater (where my parents live) to Kirksville. I woke up with the sun, as always, and started to get our things together. We slowed down to eat breakfast with my mom and headed out the door at right around 8. The last hour and a half of the trip is through the rolling hills of Northern Missouri and just twisty enough to start being fun. Once in town Michele headed right to school and I sought out a cheap haircut followed by lunch at Il Spazio. I was soon joined by Michele and her crew at the bar and that's where we stayed until dinner (also at the Spaz). At around 10 we wandered over to the Dukum where what seemed like the entire non-Mormon contingent of Michele's class was getting fucked up on $5 bottomless well drinks. I, of course, was not drinking so I got to watch the debauchery with total clarity, it was awesome. I was quickly getting tired and cranky due to my lack of sleep but Michele insisted on soldiering on. So at 1:00 we followed the party down the street to Toons. Garrett and I were the last ones in line as all of the ladies filed in and got stopped by the bouncer to pay the $3 cover, ladies night. Toons is a shitty fucking small town dive dance club and I'll be dammed if I'm going to drop $3 while sober to watch a bunch of small town kids pretend that they're big time thugs. I'm sorry, but no matter how crooked your hat, or how long your shirt, you're not hard if you roll a 20 year old powder blue Chrysler mini van with fake and peeling wood paneling. So I stood outside for 20 minutes until Toons closed, very much looking forward to getting into bed. Michele however, had other plans. We made our way over to Theta Psi, the student doctor drinking frat house. It's like a nasty dive bar with free drinks, except for the lights are on all the way and some of the upholstery is cloth. I found a couch and quickly went to work on falling asleep. Before I was out Michele finally pulled the plug and we headed to the Galloway's so I could really go to sleep. I was in bed sometime around 2:30.

Last bit of road before the 'ville
Michele, incredulous about something.
Eithne and the baby, Atticus for those keeping track.
Stephanie and Garrett, we will miss these two most of all, and since they'll never leave MO and we'll never come back, goodbye forever.(I'm counting on you two to prove me wrong)
Michele and Col getting shitty.
The ladies.
Yeah, I'm in trouble. Even more if I post the picture that came right before this one.
...and hilarious.

As always, I was up with the sun. Kim and I talked shop for a while as he got ready to head out for work. Talking turned into a lot of talking and Kim finally head out over an hour past when he said he needed to leave. I guess when you own the company nobody can complain when you get to work late. Gwen was up a couple hours later followed by Michele and more talking ensued. At 11:30 Michele and I headed over to the country club for the lunch reception. Stephanie and Garrett found us in line and we compared notes from the night before. Due to our early departure Garrett was left as the drunk shuttle and somehow fit 8? people in his Scion xA. He somehow still ended up a winner that night and I must admit, I was just a bit jealous. Post hot dog and burger meal we went to the coffee shop, that of course was one of the favorite haunts from back in the day. While there we ran into Allison, turns out she's going to be in Seattle for a couple months this summer so we'll be able to get some riding in together for sure. After a while the ladies left and I started to fall asleep on the couch. I decided it was either nap or ride my bike during my new found free time, I opted for bike.

Before we came out I had plans of riding the whole Thousand Hills trail but time and trail conditions wouldn't really allow for that so I did the just the Rainbow basin loop. A couple years ago when I rode this trail regularly in seemed that the mud was deeper and nastier than it was on this ride. We had a pretty big torrential downpour in the early morning and I was expecting total shit, while the trail was certainly slick I didn't seem to be sinking in or leaving big ruts, so that was good. When I got to the stream crossing it was cloudy and high, I know there's a couple of rocks in there somewhere so I just took my best guess and barreled right on through. I missed the rocks but it turns out that the water was up to my axles anyway so my feet still got wet. The trail past the creek is beyond when the dog walkers usually go so there were many places when the trail completely disappeared and the only way to follow it was to discern the new grass from the old and ride there. All and all it's a pretty easy loop and with a little more time I'm sure I could have tackled the rest of the trails in the park just fine. The ride was just over 5 miles and 600 feet of elevation in just under an hour. Due to the thick canopy over most of the trail my GPS spit out an unrealistic elevation number of 1300ft, the 600 is a Topofusion corrected DEM number and likely a little shy but certainly much closer to the truth.

Michele had an awards banquet to attend that evening so I flew solo entertaining my parents, my sister and Nate, the Galloway's, and Michele's mom and Aunt at Ruby Tuesday for dinner. Lucky for my the Galloway's are entertaining enough for everyone even if they were a half hour late. After dinner we got Kathy and Caroline settled in at the lake(they had just got done with a 13 hour drive from C-town) and headed over to the Galloway's for libations out on the deck. Gwen and my mom found kindred spirits in one another due to their feelings about the state of the Catholic church while dad and Kim kept everyone else entertained, Nate got started on tales of being the product of Mennonites and Mexicans, Sarah jumped in with her own stories, and I don't know how many times I was called upon to do impressions from my one year stint at the pizza place. The evening wound down a little after 1 and I got to bed around 1:30, better than Thursday but still not good.

Eithne, Atticus, Star and Allison
Atticus eating his rattle.
Sweet, sweet, buttery trail.
Not all grass in the same, some is actually trail.
Sweet little drainage crossing, perfect for a photo op.
Can you find the trail?

Crack of dawn, I was up, Michele not so much. Graduation was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and Michele needed to be there a half hour before. On our way to the coffee shop we drove by and saw hoards of people streaming into the auditorium nearly an hour in advance. Apparently people were concerned by the limited seating, and I was no different. I called the family and got them into action so we could at least get seats together. We ended up on the balcony which turned out to be a great spot because we could see all the action that way. It was really like any other graduation except that with all the color the stage looked like a gay pride supreme court and the whole hooding thing is a little different, but that's what they do for the docs apparently.

Post-ceremony we mingled with the class hi-fiving, hugging, and taking pictures. The Galloway's graciously lent their yard for the party and around 3 people started showing up. I fired up the barbecue and started applying heat to meat. It took a couple of hours before everyone showed up and added their food to the grill so by the time I shut it down around 5 I was pretty hot and tired. There was about 30 people there by that time, the hacky sack crowd was doing their thing, Gwen and my mom were talking Catlickers, and I was walking around with the camera attempting to chase down Peg Leg Pete and Roxy. Most of the over 40 crowd dispersed by 9 or 10 but the party kept on with the graduates until around 12:30 when we said our tearful goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Look at all the pretty colors, I especially like the pink.
Check out Michele, getting hooded in her Jesus shoes.
Star, Stephanie, Eithne, and Michele
Me and my lady
Aunt Caroline, Michele, and Kathy(Michele's mom)
Go Colleen!
Michele, A.J. and Star
Hacky in the Galloway's backyard.
Sarah and Nate
Gwen, beering it up.
Do I really need to keep naming everyone?
Ok, I guess I still have to name some people. This is Kim.
Looking cool as always, even when smoking a ladies cigarette.
Tearful goodbyes.

I was up with the sun. Mom made breakfast reservations at the lake for 9:30, so I woke Michele around 9 to get ready to go. The Galloway's woke to my knocking and were in no shape for breakfast so we left without them. Michele's mom and aunt had left town around 6 so they also were not in attendance. It was my parents, Sarah and Nate, Garrett and Stephanie, and Michele and I. Breakfast was buffet style, always a bad move for an over eater like myself but I kept it somewhat in check, little victories. After breakfast we said goodbye to Sarah and Nate then to Garrett and Stephine before heading to Columbia with my parents. We dropped mom and Michele at the Cherry Street Artisan so dad and I could head to Rock Bridge State Park for a ride.

Rock bridge is one of my all time favorite rides. It's not really long but there's so much diversity in trail it's just a lot of fun. It had once again rained in the early hours of morning but these trails drain really well and were mostly dry with little to no mud. It was a great ride with my pop and we knocked out the 7.5 miles in about an hour twenty. Again with the thick canopy my GPS read off for sure. 1900 ft of gain was obviously high and the corrected 650 is likely a lot closer. I'm guessing the reality is round 900 or so.

After the ride we ate with mom and Michele at the Artisan and then busted ass towards Clearwater for the night. In bed by 11:30, getting better.

Dad on the trail.
Fantastic trail.
Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Another stock photo.
Last one.


My original plan was to drive all the way back to the 'nix on Monday, but that was not in the cards, so with a light breakfast and a late start we headed West. It was pretty much the same as the drive out until we were 50 or so miles shy of Albuquerque. There we encountered some pretty strong straight line winds hitting us broadside, I'm guessing in the neighborhood of 60-70 mph. Not that big of a deal as far as I was concerned, but Michele, who is already a skittish traveler, was freaking the fuck out. After about ten minutes we were clear of it and Michele was ready to be off of the road for a while, so when we hit town we stopped for some dinner. Real sit down dinner no less. After about an hour and some crazy huge beer for my lady we hit the road again for Gallup where we crashed for the night.


We left town around 8 towards Phoenix and home(for now). There was talk of me riding in Gallup but the poorly designed seats of our rented Dodge Caliber had wreaked havoc on my back and I really wasn't up for it. About 40 miles from home Michele decided to call the shop to let them know we would be coming by for our car soon and guess what? The car was not ready yet! The shop apparently fucked up another window in the process of installing the one they broke and were in the process of fixing it. They would call us when it was ready. Yippee fucking skippy. The car was miraculously done yesterday with less than an hour to go before the rental was due. There are a couple nit picky things that seem a little off but I neither have the time or the energy to deal with it now and it's no big deal anyway, I'm just glad to have my car back.

I got to bed last night at 9:30 BTW.


Michele said...

I feel like it took me as long to read this as it did to experience it firsthand...

Enel said...

I love the photos. I really miss midwest riding.

I don't miss eating spiders for breakfast all summer long, however.