Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Season Ending Injury

Earlier in the summer we had all our girls here to visit and had gone on a bike ride to a park so we could find this little island Erdbeere had seen before and wanted to find again.  Well, we did end up finding it, after some hiking way into the back of the park.  The island, it turns out, is easy to see but a little more challenging to get to.  But its a fun hike because once you get there, there is a little stone path, or bridge, out to the island.     
June 2019
That was back in June.  Well, as mentioned, the island is easier to see than to get to.  Anyway, late in the year we got a lot of rain.  Its been a wet year and water levels have been near record height all summer anyway.   I recently noticed that the path out to the island was underwater so I wanted to get a picture and let Erdbeere see.  So this one day, after work when the weather was real nice, I hustled home from work, changed clothes, and headed out on my bike to get that picture, among other things.
September 2019
So, after riding a ways I got to the island and got my picture.  This was taken from the opposite direction as the first picture.  The tree at the left, on the island, is the tree Blaubeere was standing by in the June picture. The path, which was sticking up out of the water several inches in June, was totally submerged in the September picture.  Lots of rain.
So after I got that picture, I continued on my ride.  A couple of miles later I entered a nature reserve and was back in the trees.
It was getting to be fall and the leaves were beginning to get serious about turning colors and I was thinking I needed to make sure I got up this way a lot more as fall continued.
The evening shadows and the fall colors are such a beautiful combination.
I stopped for a quick selfie and then got on my way ...
... deeper into the reserve.  All kinds of fall colors and vegetation.
Pretty soon I was on the trail out of the reserve and on to my next stop.
Maybe its a weakness of mine, but I sometimes like to stop for ice cream when I'm out on my bike.  So I did this time, too.  This was shaping up to be another really nice ride.  My route home took me down along the river, through the trees, one of my favorite stretches of trail.  As I was getting just a few miles from home I noticed that my app was telling me I would just break 16 miles on this trip.  That was a happy thing.  I continued on my way, hurrying to get home before the sun went down.  Alas, I never made it.  Just a short distance from home, I was hit from behind by a car.

I have no memory of getting hit.  Except a couple of fleeting images, the next thing I remember clearly was waking up near midnight in the hospital.
I was a mess of broken bones, scrapes, cuts, and abrasions.  I can now say I have had "road rash"; its no fun.  My bike was all messed and bent up.  My bike season is suddenly over.  However, I am planning on being fully recovered in time to be out again in the spring, when bike season begins again.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What a Summer its Been

Summer started off quiet enough; I found myself near Rib Mountain State Park one afternoon so I wandered around on one of the trails.
Not a long walk, I more prefer biking and these trails were not suited to riding.
Lots of twists and turns ...
lots of rocks that would have to be dodged.
From the top of the tower you can see miles in all directions.  I had been out on the trails on my bike before this, but this was a hike; my bike was not involved at all.

But shortly after this nice quiet hike, summer took off.  Just a couple of days later Heidlebeere came to visit for a few days.  Blaubeere was also over so we packed up the kayaks and a picnic and took off to the lake for a fun evening on the water.
Everybody that wanted to, got to have a turn out in a kayak, exploring the lake and generally having a good time.
Nothing like some quiet time out on the lake.
Several took a lap around the lake, some made the trip a couple of times.  Takes a few minutes to paddle along the shore all the way around.

Just the next day, Edrbeere and her kids came up for a visit.  We'd been planning her visit for a while.  She brought her bikes.  Blaubeere also was back with her bike.  And Maulbeere came over; she didn't bring a bike.  She was just there to liven up the party.
The plan was to ride a few miles to a park.  There we would play and hike around, exploring, actually looking for a specific item.  But more on that in a minute.  First step was to get all the bikes that had come from out of town put together and ready to ride.
Then we took our pre-ride picture, one of my favorite parts of these outings.  Actually, not everyone was riding.  But almost.
We tried to convince Himbeere to come with us, we were even willing to let him ride his bike there and meet us.  But he said he had other plans and off he went.
For the rest to us, the next stop was to check our air pressure; makes the ride much easier with properly inflated tires.  Then we took off.
A bit over five miles later we arrived at the park and hooked up with those that had come by car.  Everybody took a breather.
We let the kids, who had ridden in Erdbeere's bike trailer, get out and play at the playground for a few minutes while we off-loaded and locked the bikes up, getting ready for the next part of the outing.
The next part of the outing was a hike into the nether regions of the park looking for an island.  Erdbeere called this the heart island, remembering it from when she was little.  Most of us had never been to it so we were not entirely sure where in the park it was.  So we took off down a small trail (yeah, one of us walked and rode his bike) and headed back into the woods.
We were guessing but in the end we found it.  And the river around it was up a bit so the little bridge out to the island was just barely up out of the water.  Alas, we had a very wet spring and there had been a lot of rain in the days leading up to our excursion.  That, and all the underbrush and trees, meant the mosquitoes were out in full force; we did not stay very long before it was back to the car and bikes and back home.  We went home mostly the same way we'd come except at the end we took a slightly different route so the total trip ended up being about 11 miles round trip.  Not a bad ride!

A couple of weeks later we went to visit Maulbeere to help her try out her new backyard grill.  Schwartzbeere showed his stuff and put it together.
We watched his kids while he did all the work and then while dinner was cooking.  It was a real relaxing evening.
They have a nice little deck out behind their house.  Their backyard has some nice, big trees.  It was very pleasant.
They have a little bricked in fire ring so Schwartzbeere helped by going up one of the trees to get some firewood.
One of the boys would have liked to have been up there helping. Unfortunately, he was a bit small for the job.
And Schwartzbeere had it under control.  We didn't need a lot of wood, we just cooked a few burgers and roasted a few marshmallows.  It was a good time, a quiet evening.
There was even an appearance by the neighborhood blonde raccoon.  It would have liked to have come up to the deck and checked out the trash cans, which were just off the deck.  But the deck was full of people.  So it wandered around the edge of the backyard and the neighbor's yard.  Kept a safe distance while checking things out.

At the end of June we met Blaubeere and her kids at a lake out between her place and ours.  We picnicked, played in the sand, and got all wet.
At one point, a sand castle got started. Pretty soon, everyone was working on it, helping gather sand, packing it around, working on it.
When it was finally declared done, it looked pretty good!

And then there was Schwartzbeere.  He had to try out all the slides and diving boards.
He did the slide. . .
Then he dived off the edge . . .
Then he gave the low dive a try . . .
And then he did the high dive!

All through June Brombeere had been teaching summer school.  But that ended at the end of June.  Then there was time for the serious vacation we had planned.  Our first stop on this vacation was at Heidlebeere's home.  We were spending the vacation with her and her family.
And the first item on the plan was a visit to Nauvoo, Illinois the day we arrived.  So we made a stop at the temple while there.
How does that song go? "I love to see the temple".  Yes, temples are special so since we were in town we had to stop by.

We stayed at Heidlebeere's place over the weekend so we wouldn't be traveling on Sunday.  But early Monday morning we were on the road, headed west.  The destination was Moosbeere's place.  That's too far to make in a single day, even as good a travelers as Heidlebeere's kids all are.  So it was two days later, in the afternoon when we pulled in.

We arrived at Moosbeere's to a full plan of festivities.  It was the weekend of July 4th.  While we waited for fireworks we had "poppers" that the kids did in the parking lot.
Some glow-sticks turned up from some where - the kids had lots of fun with those.  Especially as it got darker, just before the fireworks began.
Soon enough it as dark enough for the fireworks to begin.  And it was a good show, lasted quite a while and had a really nice grand finale.
The following day there was a parade and all kinds of games and activities in town.
The kids came away from the parade with all kinds of candy; every float and emergency vehicle that went by threw candy at all the kids lining the streets.
All kinds games and activities were set up on the fairgrounds.
They even had horse rides, much to the delight of some of the kids.
Then we went over to the local splash pad.  The kids got as wet as they wanted and had a grand time.
We spent  much of our time at the house just visiting and enjoying each other's company; we don't get to see Moosbeere and his family often because they live so far away.  But we did make it to a dinosaur park a short distance away.
There are a lot of outdoor life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs and the kids really enjoyed seeing all the different ones around the park.
Most were set back enough they couldn't be touched.  Some were within reach.
The playground had dinosaur shapes the kids could climb and play on.  They really liked that.
They also had an indoor museum where fossils and other exhibits were available.
That was real interesting and the kids had a good time wandering through there, running from exhibit to exhibit.  They got so excited; it was fun to watch.
While we were out there we also got to see other family members, too.  My brother and sister and their spouses came to the house to spend some time visiting.  That was very nice.
After a few days at Moosbeere's we headed off for a couple days visiting Brombeere's side of the family.  That was nice; we see these folks even less so its extra nice where there's time to visit them.  We stayed with Brombeere's sister and her husband while we were visiting.
One of her older brothers lives nearby so we spent some time with him and his family, too.
When it was time to head back to Moosbeere's we decided to take the scenic route.  Going up in the mountains afforded us the chance to play in the snow in July.  The grand-kids we had taken with us thought that was a real treat.  We almost had a small snowball fight going.  Snow, in July.  Snow, without winter coats.  Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
Going the scenic route also gave us the opportunity to stop by one of our favorite places; another temple.
This one, though, is somewhat special to us.  It is where we were married.
Its not on the way to anywhere we normally go these days so if we're going to see it we have to make a special trip.  But it's well worth it when we can.
Going that way also gave us the chance to stop by another branch of the family, another of Brombeere's older brothers and some of his family.  We got to spend a couple hours visiting with them, which was nice.
Back at Moosbeere's I had the opportunity to make bread with my grand-daughter.  When I suggested it I was surprised at how eager she was.  She's always so reserved and can be pretty quiet at times.  But we made bread and had a good time at it. I was pleased.  I let her do most of it and just helped her know what to do.  I didn't tell her up front it was going to be a turtle, I let her figure that out as we went along.  That was fun.
All the time we were at Moosbeere's there were a pair of cranes that kept coming around.  Moosbeere was pretty unhappy to see them.  If you don't keep an eye out they'd get right up on the back deck and make a mess.  And they can be pretty aggressive; at their size that's not really a good thing.  But they were beautiful birds.  Except maybe their eyes; they have weird eyes.
 One of the other things we did while there was go in to see Temple Square. We even found a parking space on the street, right on Temple Square.  That's not something that happens very often at all.
 So we went in and walked around.  As Temple Square goes, it was actually not very crowded.
 It made for quiet, pleasant evening.
 All too soon it was time to head back.  It had been a glorious visit and we all hated to see it come to an end but it did.  I managed to talk Brombeere into stopping at the Martin's Cove Historic Site on our way back.  This is the place out in the middle of Wyoming where the Willie and Martin Handcart Company got stranded, where their rescuers found them, holed up back in a protected alcove in the mountain.  It was a real  interesting place to visit, even if it is out in the middle of nowhere, well off the beaten path.  But we had driven by it a number of times and we decided to stop this time.  I'm glad we did.  We even saw a youth group out on a "trek."  And lots of antelope.
Since we were in the neighborhood we also decided to stop by Mt Rushmore.  We've been here but its always fun seeing that  mountain side.  It was late when we went through so we didn't stay long at all. Not much more than enough to say we'd stopped.  Then it was time to move on.
As we'd begun to get closer to home we began looking at the weather at home and the stretch of road between home and where we were.  We could see that there was a pretty serious looking storm between us and home.  But it also was evident that we would be following the storm, without really getting into it.  So we didn't give it much more thought as we traveled along.  But then, as we started getting near home we began to see damaged trees.  Apparently this had been no normal rain storm.  The closer to home the more damage we saw, branches down, trees uprooted, trees even broken off, some twisted rather than simply broken, and we began to wonder what shape our yard was going to be in.
All the way along our street there were limbs and trees broken and down, some on homes.  Some homes had been damaged pretty badly by trees falling on them.  We were very relived to pull into our yard and see that our only damage was a limb high up in a big tree in our yard had broken and caught on another limb as it fell.  So it never reached the ground, it was just hanging there.
Unfortunately, when we got in the house we also found that the power was off.  And it remained off for four days.  That was inconvenient but because we'd been gone for three weeks our fridge was pretty much empty anyway.  So we didn't really lose any food from having the power off.  On the second day, as it began to be apparent that the power still wasn't coming back on, we emptied our freezer by giving everything in it away before it went bad.  Our street wasn't in the last area to get power restored, but it was one of the last big areas to get power back.  This storm had covered a huge area, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses had lost power because thousands and thousands of trees had been damaged and downed, taking power lines with them.  Needless to say, it was nice when we finally got the power back.
In the midst of the power outage we ran off to Schwatrzbeere's house to celebrate their youngest's first birthday with them.  That was a good time.  It was a big party, lots of family and friends were there.  The birthday girl and everybody else had a good time.
A week later we got the kayaks back out and met Blaubeere at a lake for an afternoon and evening of fun.
Picnics by the lake are fun.  It was a little crowded because people from a big family reunion started arriving at the same time we did.  That was okay, though.  We just played around them.
Himbeere came with us this time; that was fun.  He wandered out into the water and played with the kids while they swam around him.
We ate and played a while and then got the kayaks out.
Everyone took turns out in the water.  It was a good time.  It was a nice day.
At this point in the summer things went ... well, I'm not sure what to call it.  When Heidlebeere went with us out to visit Moosbeere, the main reason she went was to job hunt and house hunt.  Her goal had been to get both a job and an apartment before coming back.  And she'd worked really hard and the Lord really blessed her and she was able to do both.  It was amazing to watch happen.  So the plan had been that if she was able to get the job and the apartment, Brombeere would go back with her to help her get moved and settled.  She was going to be there three weeks helping her get moved and settled in. So shortly after the trip to the lake, I took Brombeere back down to Heidlebeere's place, dropped her off, and headed back home. She went west and I stayed east, at home.

So, there I was with all this time and no one to spend it with.  Normally, when that happens, I try to cross something off my travel wish list. So the next weekend I headed out for a ride along Lower Yahara River Trail.  That was a ride from McFarland into Madison and up to the capitol building.  That was a fun ride.  Then, the next weekend, Blaubeere and her kids came over and we went for a ride here in the area.  That was fun.  Then, a few days later, I did another ride from my wish list.  This ride wasn't as long but it was still pretty fun.

So while I was out riding my bike and enjoying the trails, Brombeere was off with Heidlebeere and Moosbeere and their families, when they weren't working, were going to a children's' museum ...
... swimming ...
... and hiking in the mountains ...
... a return visit to Temple Square ...
... and generally having a good time. The part she liked best was all the time with grandkids.  She loved it.

While Brombeere was having fun out west, I was missing her so when she finally came back I was pretty happy. But while it was real good to be back together again, it certainly wasn't the end of the summer.  Just a few days later we met Erdbeere and her family for an afternoon of fun seeing a weird attraction her oldest was absolutely fascinated by.  The upside-down White House.
We made the drive and met them there.  It certainly isn't a sophisticated attraction, but it was interesting and fun, nonetheless.
It reminded me of a fun house we used to go to frequently when I was growing up.
Simple stuff, but fun in any case.
The real attraction was Erdbeere and her family.  It was good to be able to spend some time when them.
After the White House we went to dinner.  That was a blast.  I'd forgotten how "exciting" it can be with little kids after you've ordered lunch while you wait for the food to arrive.
But they did great.  It was a really great day and fun to see them all.

Then, just a few days later, Schwartzbeere and family were camping nearby and invited us to join them for dinner.  It had been a while since I'd had a campfire dinner.  And they're real good cooks.  It was a good time.

 The menu was shish-kabobs.  It took a while to prepare but it cooked up quick.
Schwartzbeere did most of the actual tending over the fire and he got it just right.  They are a good combination, the two of them.
Patience while it cooks ...
... And afterwards came what the kids had been waiting on - marshmallows!
Those boys couldn't have learned from a better marshmallow roaster.  Brombeere has the magic touch.
 Just a couple of weeks later we were with Schwartzbeere again for a birthday celebration at their house.
 Good food and great brownies (they were frosted, of course)!
Everybody sang happy birthday and it was a very nice celebration.
So we celebrated and played with grandkids.
The birthday boy ...
The last hurrah of the summer, to put a box around it, was originally intended to be a bike ride but illness curtailed the riding part of it.
The plan had been to ride a few miles to a playground, play a while, and then ride back.  But we dropped the ride part out and just drove to the park so the kids could play until they were tried of it.
And, of course, we went for ice cream on the way back.
Yes, we would have stopped there had we gone by bike or car.  How can we pass up ice cream?

And so it was; a very busy summer.  That's' not a bad thing at all a bad thing. Saw all our kids (Except that one that's so, so far away) and all our grandkids.  We had a good time with them all.  We traveled all over the place, put thousands of miles on the cars visiting everyone.  What a good summer its been!

I had to call it "summer" sometime; draw a line somewhere.  The visit by Blaubeere seemed like a good place.  Besides, the leaves are starting to turn and the days are getting shorter; summer really is pretty much over.  Its been a real good, real busy time.  We've been blessed.