Thursday, September 5, 2013

Laboring Over Labor Day Weekend

I can't say I really worked too hard over Labor Day. I did rather a lot of art -- mostly cards, although I did stare at a large canvas I've struggled with for two years. It will be a long time till it's done enough to post here! So here's a smile instead!
I went to the lake on Wednesday for an extra-long holiday. It was so lovely. There were renters next door, lovely people who were local, renting a lake cottage. I was so pleased to spend some time with them. The days were lovely (most of them) and I loved the early morning cruisers on the lake.
The sunsets (as usual) weren't half bad, either!
I made a quick stop at Torch Lake to return some towels from Rick's family reunion.
And while I was there, I made a stop at Brownwood's general store. More on that one to come!
They have a lovely garden, although most of the hollyhocks had seen better days than those in the last moments of summer. Still, they were terribly pretty.
Rick rode his bike up to the lake over two days, arriving on Friday afternoon. That evening, his friends Nino, Marie and Mark arrived. They were there to do some serious riding over the next couple of days, and ride they did!
Nino and Marie are blind. Rick and Mark captain their tandems and this intrepid foursome took on two 100-mile days (the last 25 miles of which were in the rain.) But they started off on a lovely day.
There were lots of laughs over pasta and it was early to bed so they'd be ready for the second day's ride to Mackinaw City. My job was to pick them up in Mark's van. (More pix of the group because for reasons that will become obvious, once I got in the van, I wasn't getting out till I got to Mackinaw City or died trying.)
Mark's van. He took a good deal of ribbing about it -- with some good reason. The brake calipers were broken and if you hit the breaks over 50, it would joggle all over the road as first the driver compensates, then the van takes over. I've never driven a van, so this was a bit scary. Mark reminded me, "Don't worry if the gas gauge goes from full to empty; as long as the odometer doesn't go over 400 miles, you'll be fine." OK. "Oh, and by the way, the engine light comes on. Don't worry." Cool. I get that. My Toyota does that, too.
So, with a good deal of trepidation, and a pick-up timetable of 2:30, I hop in the van around one (for what is normally an hour drive) and take off. Well, that might be overstating it. I decided to take the old road and hardly saw a car all the way. The few I did passed me because I was only going 42. A nice cruising speed. They were probably faster on the bikes. At least downhill...
All was going well till I got lost. If I went the way I knew was right, it would have been fine. But I thought I'd go the way Rick comes home from a restaurant we like that's along the way. So, I'd done it in the past, but backwards.
Well, I got hopelessly lost and bushwacked around back and forth till I found a road name that sounded familiar. (This could have been risky.) Then it was fine. Until the rain came. I learned that the wipers didn't work. Oh, they went back and forth, but unless one was as tall as Mark, you couldn't see the clear spot!
Well, I got there a good hour late, I was worried the riders would have been sitting and waiting. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be for them) they had been riding in the rain and that slowed them down, so they only beat me by a few minutes.
I have so much admiration for what these guys do. Not that I want to do it -- I love taking pictures of the bike, but I'd rather not be on one. But boy, the stamina and dedication they have, and the joy on their faces as they talk about the Otsego Alps or going up the wall -- well, I really admire it!
Our weekend ended on a rainy note, time to finish Bob Spitz's excellent biography of Julia Child ("Dearie") and make a start on "The Life List," my book club's selection. Entertaining, but I always feel a little cheated when I guess the end by the middle of the book. Much like a Hallmark Movie. And now, I'm back to the last days of work. My life is going to change.
I think that's a good thing.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Dang, I am impressed by all of the riding that Rick and his crew did! That is just impressive. Bummer about getting lost and dealing with the other issues with the van - you are a trooper! I am glad you arrived around the same time as the guys did, though.

I have read Dearie as well and I really enjoyed it. I feel like I know Julia so well now!

Now you are just days away from retiring - how exciting! Bittersweet, I am sure, but great things await you. This I know!

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Hi Jeanie,
I am impressed also, with all the riding, made me tired just looking at the photos..
How I would love to dip my feet in that lake today... It is 110 today here... EEK!

I just love Julia!
Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos Jeanie

Joanna Jenkins said...

I simply cannot resist stopping and browsing through a general store. I love 'em. You never know what you can't live without ;-)

High five to the bikers! I'
ve never had the patience (or back or legs for that matter) for biking but it always makes me smile when I see the brightly colored guys fly by me on their bikes.

Enjoy September!

Barb said...

Wait 'til I tell Bob - 200 in 2! High fives to Rick and friends! Actually, I'd have rather been on the bikes than driving that van. Thinking of you getting closer to the good life (retirement) day by day.

Jeanie said...

It looks like all of your Labor Day activities were labors of love. Your bikers are amazing.
Wow, your big day is getting close.

Introverted Art said...

wow I just keep thinking how much trust it takes to let someone else "captain" the bike when you cannot see. Amazing.

Mae Travels said...

You are so good natured about being asked to do impossible things!

Tracy said...

VERY FUN times, Jeanie! LOVE the two-man bikes--don't see those often enough! That's a LOTS of cycling they do---hugely impressive! Glad you got there... in the end. ;o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Friko said...

You had quite an adventure yourself with the van and losing the way. Come to think of it, the van alone is worth a post.

Joanne Huffman said...

I'm as impressed by you driving a new to you, funky van as I am by the birkers. Sorry for the rain, but it sounds like it added to the adventure for all of you.

Shelia said...

Well, this was an adventure to be sure! :) lived to blog about it! :) Thanks for popping in to see my dolls.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Janet said...

Wow! What a weekend you had! When you wrote "I have so much admiration for what these guys do" I was thinking the same thing. Rick and Mark are so cool for doing what they do, and Nino and Marie are so brave to be doing it with them. Fantastic!!

Jennifer Richardson said...

Your life is so rich and colorful
when you're a working girl,
I can't even imagine how glorious
it will be when you've a whole
empty canvas to paint on each day:)
So much possibility!
Whatever you do, it will be
a joy to watch and share,

Relyn Lawson said...

I love that you have a book club. Am kind of jealous really.

shoreacres said...

I just can't get excited about cycling, but my goodness, I do admire Rick and his friends. There are some blind sailors here, and they also provide plenty of inspiration.

I can only imagine how you feel - it seems like I've been waiting for you to retire forever! Is there going to be a party this week, or has that already happened? Or will it come later? Just take care of yourself through this transition. You're going to be exhausted from all the emotion - stress is stress, even when it's good. We don't need you feeling poorly or getting sick as your first post-retirement activity!

Jenny Woolf said...

Funny we were talking about tandems the other day. I never liked them, partly because I don't like to sit on the back and feel out of control. But, on the other hand, I don't like to sit on the front and do all the work. Talk about contrary, eh. Your lakeside holiday spot looks charming, just the place to go in late summer. And great sunsets... always a bonus.

Bella Rum said...

Wow! What a fascinating post. I can't even imagine riding a bike for 100 miles. I want that Lake House experience. It looks like so much fun.

I think I'm looking forward to your retirement as much as you are. You're going to love it and you're going to finally have time to really take care of yourself.

Maggie said...

What a test of your driving skills that journey turned out to be, glad to hear that you arrived safely.
Loved your sunset shot!

Keicha Christiansen said...

You are much more adventurous than me! I don't know if I would have driven the van after hearing about all its quirks. I'm glad you found your way after getting lost. Isn't getting lost the worst? It makes me panic.

Your Labor Day weekend sounds like it was the perfect mix of relaxing, exploring and a little adventure. I'm glad you were able to enjoy some time at the lake.

Leann said...

God bless them to do all that riding - not my cup of tea but for those who enjoy it bravo!!

You are going to love it!!!

Retired English Teacher said...

I loved reading about your adventure with the van. I'm glad you were able to meet the guys on the other end and that you didn't die trying! The photos of the guys were great.

I am envious about days at the lake. It all looks so idyllic. Sigh.

Yes, girl, you life is going to change. I'm so happy for you!

Marilyn said...

What an adventure. Glad it worked out in the end. I bet you saw lots of beautiful country.

Tamara said...

Hi Jeanie, That's my kind of weekend - although I'd be on my bike too. My personal trainer and friend is also blind, and my man rides the tandem with him for training rides - my friend is currently in london for the para tri-athlon world championships. Your weekend sounds just divine - I'll look forward to hearing about the store!

Annie said...

Had to giggle, Jeanie. I've gotten hooked recently on Hallmark movies. And don't even get me started about Cedar Cove. LOL

paris parfait said...

Looks like a good time was had by all! :)

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