Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Birthday Celebrations and Spreading the Cycling Joy

This past weekend my BFF Kelly invited me to go to The Big City (Columbus, Ohio) to celebrate her birthday with her, her husband and her family.  Another very good friend of ours, Angel, came along with her husband.  Kelly, Angel and I have been super close since our Sophomore year in High School.  Even though we only get to see each other a few times a year because of life, etc., we're able to pick up where we left off every single time.  Then, we have awesome fun.  Kelly is into cycling and so is her aunt that attended the birthday celebration.  We had a great time talking about bikes, gear, electronics, routes, speeds, times, etc.  As a beginner to cycling, I really eat this stuff up.

I'm not going to lie, this post is going to be a picture whoring post.  Why?  Because I took a ton of pictures, so I'm going to use them, damnit.  I'll narrate and let you enjoy my super elementary photography skillz...

As always, click the pics to make them bigger.
RoadQueen and Kelly at El Vaquero restaurant, Columbus, Ohio
Country Bumpkin that I am, I have a low tolerance for the hussle-bussle of Big City life.  Therefore, when I do venture out of the hay fields of home, everything in the city is pretty novel to me.

Downtown Columbus

More Downtown Columbus

After supper at El Vaquero, we made our way through downtown Columbus towards the Huntington Park Baseball Stadium to watch a Clippers baseball game.  Kelly works for a really huge company downtown, so she was able to secure parking in her work garage.  Once we ditched the car, we walked the rest of the way to the stadium.

Kelly, Husband Brad and Angel on our way to the baseball game

Random Greek Archway in front of a very small inner city Park on the way to the stadium

We knew when we reached our destination, because there were tell-tale signs:

Columbus Clippers Giant Blow-Up Mascot

Our seats were pretty sweet.  Right behind Left Field, 3rd row up.  

More Huntington Park Signage.  In case you forget where you are.

Kelly's dad ended up catching a home run ball.  Now Kelly's niece has a pretty cool souvenir.

The big TV-thing

Around the 4th inning, the unthinkable happened...a member of the Bachelor Party sitting right behind us SPILLED HIS BEER ON THE GROUND.  It ran under my seat and got on the soles of my shoes.  Humph!

So, I did what anyone in my situation would do.  I turned around and fixed the no-good scoundrel with my best looking-over-my-glasses-stare.  (I look eerily like a stern elementary teacher when I do this look.)  He apologised profusely (AS HE SHOULD!) and I said, 

"You should buy me a beer for having to put up with you."

So he did.  :-D

"Apology Beer"
I guzzled my free-to-me $9 beer with enthusiasm, and enjoyed the rest of the game, mostly listening to the drunken shenanigans going on behind me.  I suppose if I were more adventurous I could have joined them at the dueling piano bar after the game, but meh.

Kelly and RoadQueen

Angel, Kelly and RoadQueen
Oh!  Bike Vendors!!!  This was a first for me.  (Bumpkin, remember?)

"Working hard for the money" ?
After the game were fireworks.  I can almost always dig some fireworks.

After the game AND the fireworks, we all loitered around this statue for more pictures.

Harold M. Cooper

Who the hell is Harold M. Cooper?  ^This^ is who.

RoadQueen, Kelly, Angel

Tired RoadQueen, Kelly, Angel
I learned that Columbus has a bike share program.  Who knew?  Not I.  If someone were to rent a bike from the share program, they would have fairly ample infrastructure in which to ride said rental bike:

Downtown Bike Route Signage

Downtown Bike Route
Not related to the weekend birthday celebration, I talked my mother into going on a short bike ride with me.  We had a great time for about 2 miles...then we got where we were going.  But hey, It was way more fun than driving. 

You Go Girl
So, I have nothing profound to say about any of this other than, "Pretty Pictures".  Ride safe, all.

~The RoadQueen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Well, Blow Me Down

Ever heard of a derecho?  I hadn't, until Wednesday last week.

The "experts" are now saying that what went through Ohio was not a Derecho, but a strongly winded storm with tornadoes scattered here and there.

Whatever.  Bottom line is, wind damage.  Lots of it.  Plus, no electricity from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening.  That was fun.  I ended up staying at my parents' farm, since they had electric.

The farm is only a mile away from my house.  How does that make sense?

Let me tell you, that was some serious shit.  It caused quite a bit of damage to my quaint little antiquated cottage property.  Thankfully the house was spared, however the fencing surrounding my yard didn't fair as well in a few spots.

But, my mom and my son, Zach were at the ready to pitch in and get this branch cleaned up.  This is the biggest one that came down, although there are several others that need cleared still.

Hauling it to the burn pile, branch by branch.
This latest emergency drove home something that I've always held to be true, but was reminded of yet again.
Family.  You love them, and they love you, no matter what.  Sometimes they're fun, sometimes they drive you crazy, but when push comes to shove, they're right there sweating by your side.

I love my family.  :)

So, as the sweat rolled and the blisters formed and the splinters seated, the mess got smaller.

And smaller...

And smaller yet.

Monday evening after work I finished cleaning up the rest of the mess pictured above.  My front yard is finally back to normal, and I am as ever so, so thankful to have what I do.

My little slice of heaven:

So last week was pretty rough.  Rolling with the punches and dealing with things as I could was certainly the order of the day.  

I guess the moral of this latest adventure is:  I can always count on my family when I'm in over my head.

And...When life gives you lemons, hang your head out of the car window like you just don't care!

"Hang your head out the window like you just don't care! WEEEEE!!!!!"

Well, that was Jake's advice   I'm not sure that applies to humans, but it sure has been refreshing to blast wind in my face on the motorcycle the past couple of days.  So maybe he's onto something.  :)

Be safe and happy, everyone.

~The RoadQueen

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Ah, the Fourth of July.  To many, it means cookouts, steak, sparklers, fireworks and family get togethers as we celebrate the freedom of our great country.

To me, it means all of that, plus shucking off Friday entirely and leaving Thursday morning to go camping at Mohican Memorial State Forest.  

With Guinness:

You Handsome Devil, You.
Ignore the facial expression, he was just being a goof because of the camera.  I would call him a Smart-Ass, but he's not an ass at all.  He's a horse.

This One's Better
Anyway, here in Ohio, I'm fairly certain that the state has gotten confused with what weather patterns we're supposed to have, and we've adopted the weather patterns of Washington State.  Seriously, it has rained EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for MONTHS!  Ok, at least one or two.  So of course, that's what I was treated to this past weekend as well.  Rain.  Mud. Etc.  Bleck.

 We got to the campground around 9:30 am on Thursday.  Guinness rode with his buddy Beezley (my mom's horse) and we all arrived safe and sound.  My Old Man Jake even got to come along for the weekend:

Jake was VERY excited to be coming with me on this camping trip!  Right up until he discovered that A) He has to be on a leash at all times and B) Mud.  Mr. Diva does not like mud, mud puddles, dirt, hell he doesn't even like dewy grass.

Leash + Mud = Not Cool
But once we got our Home Base set up complete with a carpet to keep His Majesty's feet dry, it was all gravy.

Dry Feet = Happy Puppy
We got a couple of rides in, Thursday afternoon and Saturday.  The rain limited us not only because I'm just really not fond of riding in it, but the trails were muddy as well and certain ones were just plain unpleasant to ride because of it.  But, we made the best of it and had fun anyway.

Ready to Rock out with his...well, you know.
The following picture was taken on a ride that I went on with a few friends.  The lady sitting sideways on her horse, or 'Sidesaddle' is 76 years old and still going strong.  She doesn't even use a saddle...she straps basically a blanket on her horse's back to keep her butt clean and heads on out.  Her bad hips require her to ride sideways quite often to avoid discomfort.  I hope that I'm still rocking out like her when I get to be that age.

I freaking love being in the woods.  My favorite method of seeing the sights is of course, mounted on my trusty steed, Guinness.  We traverse some beautiful country together.

All in all, despite the cold, rain and mud, it was a decent weekend.  I'm glad I went and I'm sure I'll be doing it again soon.  You just can't beat the feeling of having your horse under you, your troubles behind you, and a world of challenges and adventure laying ahead of you.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

~The RoadQueen