Biker Feature {Liz}

Three Christmases ago, Clint bought me a really nice Canon Rebel.   I was stoked!   Took it out of the box, attempted to figure out the manual settings, and then put it back in the box and let it sit.   Thanks for the Christmas present, babe!

This summer I am making a concentrated effort to start learning the ropes, with the end goal of being able to use my camera in the manual settings to produce quality photos of my biker friends that they will enjoy.  Fortunately, I have some pretty great friends who are willing and eager to serve as my guinea pigs and Liz raised her hand to be my first experiment.

Holy crap, I was nervous!  What if I was unable to translate what I saw in my head to my camera?  What if I botched it, completely?  And what about putting it out there for others?   What about the judgement?

All of that aside, we scheduled a date, I chugged a few beers and we went to work.   200+ photos later, I am pleased with what was captured and am excited to share with you a few of the highlights.   Now, to continue to learn and grow.

Thanks, Liz for being the PERFECT “first” for me.   It was a ton of fun.

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Cheers!

12th Annual Biker B!tch Run | 2017

The 12th Annual Biker B!tch Run rolled in hot.

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And rolled out even hotter.

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Literally.

It was 9 million degrees that day. But who ever let a little sun and heat index of stay-inside-and-hydrate stop them?

Clearly, not us.

 

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The Beginning – Sugars in Council Bluffs, IA

Sugars provided us with our morning cocktail blends of bloody mary’s, screwdrivers and red-bull vodkas.  Logical drinks of choice for the 10:30 brunch hour, right?   And can we take a moment to appreciate this pretty BA sign that Candy and Marcy got for me???    This girl has some pretty incredible and oh-so thoughtful friends (even if I had to be reminded WHO actually went in on this bad boy.  Early on-set of Alzeimers, friends.  It’s real.  And I was just so excited for the day!)  Thanks again Candy!  ❤

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After cocktail hour, hugs, hellos and good-to-see-ya again’s… it was time to make that day our b!tch.

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Stop 1 – Tailgators Bar and Grill in Oakland, IA

A smorgasbord of lunch, ice cold beers and temperature regulation, Tailgators served us well.  And leave it to these naughties to find an opportunity in the dumpster.

Because where else, right?

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Finding fun in every moment is what these chicks excel at.

I dig.

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Stop 2: Cruisers in Griswold, IA

I believe we have Cruisers to thank for the kick of feel-good-endorphins.

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It’s a strong possibility those endorphins were brought to you courtesy of little cups of jello thanks to that wild child, Elise.  A little jiggly bucket of magic dust is what we will call it.

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And it’s our civic duty to follow clear directions and common law…

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So we made sure to oblige.

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Cruisers also provided us with a long stretch of street where we could actually set up and snag a few photos while melting under the fiery glare of the sun.

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Oh, but honey…

Griswold never looked so good.

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Let’s not forget our fun little crew taking space in the fun bus.

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I have Hunter to thank for many of the group photos from the road.  I gave her my camera and said “have fun”.

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Anyway, let’s roll on, shall we?

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Tyree always serves as my right-hand woman.  On the road and in life. ❤

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Stop 3: The Rainbow in Red Oak, IA

There is always one community that doesn’t know what to do or how to handle us when we come rolling in.  This year was definitely Red Oak.  Upon entering the town we came up on a sheriff.  Said sheriff pulled into the center turning lane and sat there while each and every one of us rolled on by, following the trusty 25mph speed limit and providing smiles, winks and a few head nods.

I am certain he was just enjoying the view…

Wouldn’t you?

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The Rainbow provided us with some eats and treats before it was time to leave the fine diners of the Rainbow Cafe to themselves again.

Ya, I see you Cyndi.

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Liz was being a badass a few weeks prior and broke her ankle so instead of two-wheels, she got four, courtesy of this little scooter.  And what kinda mode of transportation would it be without a license plate?

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Y’all.  This is my aunt Marla.  My dad’s sista.  I have this B!tch run to thank for getting us connected again.  It’s been so fun having her along for the ride.   Fun fact: she trailored down my dad’s old bike so I could use it in senior pics back in 1999.   Fun new fact: she fed me pizza when I was a toddler and got scolded.   This new fact is brought to you courtesy of Jessica’s conversation starters in the fun bus.

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Let’s ROLL!

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Stop 4: Jaime’s Tavern on Main in Essex, IA

Oh, friends.  FRIENDS!

You don’t even know…

Let me elaborate via visual effect.

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Our smart mouthed but huge heart friend Jenn couldn’t make the run due to work (we were also down a few others due to a trip to MX, a float trip, work and family time) BUT, Jenn busted her butt to get to Essex to have a drink and see us off to the next stop.

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And it’s always about this time where I become huggy.  I believe we can thank those little buckets of magic from earlier.

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Or maybe these baby beers.  Seriously.  Have you HAD THESE YET?

You are missing out.  Don’t miss out.

Don’t be that guy.

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Alright, Alright.  Let’s move along while we still can.

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Stop 5: The Hangout in Malvern, IA

It’s always about this time where folks start tearing off to head home for dinner with their s.o.’s or various other reasons.  It took me a minute to get used to that as the OG days we stayed together until alllllllll hours of the night.  But, a larger group now-a-days equals a wider range of home locations and miles in between plus family obligations, so I have embraced it as the new standard and can totally dig it.  It’s us.  It’s the new way.

And this last official bar always brings the onslaught of photo opps, as for many of these girls, this B!tch ride might be the only time each year that they ride together, which makes the moments and memories even more special.

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A little fact about the below pic.  Cyndi (left) rode in from Cedar Rapids!  I met Cyndi during the summer of 2007 at the Conesville Motorcycle Rally (R.I.P to the #2 ranked most epic of rallies… click here and here for the #1 ranked) so to have her join up this year on her own ride was pretty friggin’ sa-weet!

And Ashley (right) was a Jeeper during the 11th annual and decided then and there that she was going to be on her own two-wheels for the 12th annual.

A woman of her word.  My kinda peep.

Tyree- does this make her MY friend now too?

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Is the photo fuzzy, or have you just been drinking?

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The official stops may be over, but the unofficial stops were just beginning!

Peace out Malvern!

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Unofficial Stop 6: The Backroom Lounge in Lake Ohana/Glenwood, IA

We didn’t stick around here long.  Just enough for Tyree to join some kids in a bounce house, eat some grub, laugh at something on a phone that I am sure wasn’t funny, pass out the lollipops.

GANG, I am SORRY (not sorry cuz more for me) I forgot these earlier in the day… fail.

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OFFICIAL stop 7: Cara’s SURPRISE 30th BIRTHDAY PARTY!

We cruised into her nice quiet neighborhood, frightened her husband, rolled back the throttles because no birthday is complete without the sound of motorcycles hitting their rev limiters and surprised the hell outta this girl.

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We done?

duh.

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Some fuel and then I took up whip while Liz led us out to The Mile Away where you should also go for the chairs alone.

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Strong possibility they’ll put you right to sleep too!

Soon after the Mile Away we made our way to Crescent for some grub and good tunes and a final end to the night brought to you courtesy of Kimi’s famous split.  It wouldn’t be a B!tch run without it.  BUT, I shall spare her the pic.  There may be some shirt slippage in there and that’s just reserved for us. 😉

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Year 12 brought the fun.  It brought the renewed spirit.  It brought new friendships and reunited old.  It brought a sense of complete camaraderie and sisterhood that makes the B!tch run what it is and what it was built from.  Friendships united on trust, love, honesty, loyalty, a lil booze, wind and complete and total nonsense.

And 100% fun.

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CHEERS!

 

 

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Special Thanks to:

Courtyard Ink

And all the bars visited, linked above.

 

 

 

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Employee Spotlight

My division at work does a really cool “Employee Spotlight” feature once a month.  Our division is fairly widespread and it’s not uncommon for me to only see some of my colleagues once or twice a year at large staff meetings due to proximity and job responsibilities.  This feature was added about a year or two ago and it has become one of my favorite emails to receive.  I love reading about people and learning a little more about them other then the work-face we interact with.   I don’t know about you, but the “career me” is considerably different then the “real me” in regards to personal interactions and conversations.

My spotlight was last week, so I thought it’d be fun to share with my readers as well!

Cheers!

Name:    Jordan Pirtle

Position:  Director of High School Outreach

City of residence:  Omaha, NE

Inhabitants at my residence:

  • Clint (husband)
  • Kyle (the college-going 20 year old bonus kid who appears at our house once a year, if we are lucky)
  • Harley (the cat)
  • The real Harley (my baby who sleeps in a garage and not in a crib)

Start date:

  • August 2011 (Associate Dean of Instructor, Academic Affairs)
  • January 2014 (Director of HS Outreach, Student Services)

My role at IWCC:  I am going to keep it incredibly vague.  Under the guidance of the Iowa Department of Education’s Senior Year Plus programming and NACEP accreditation, I oversee all operational and administrative aspects of College Early Start which allows High School students to enroll in college classes.  Natalie oversees the Southwest Iowa Workplace Connection focusing on connecting high school students and teachers to local careers, through work-based learning experiences and Jake, Secondary CTE Advisor, promotes career and technical education via a variety of practices.  Natalie and Jake work very closely together on initiatives.

What brought me to IWCC:  Prior to IWCC, I was a music teacher for South Page Community Schools in College Springs, IA and Omaha Public Schools for a combined 6 years.   After finishing my Masters programs I was ready for an administrative role and began applying for leadership positions at the Secondary level.   In 2011 I went through a promising AP interview process but was passed over by an internal candidate.   That bummer experience ended up being a blessing in disguise as it opened my eyes to post-secondary education and the Associate Dean position at IW.

What I like best about working for IWCC:  I specifically enjoy my position as it keeps me heavily involved in the secondary school system, which was my first true career love.  The position keeps me on my toes with the ever-evolving State legislation changes and NACEP accreditation requirements.   I enjoy the challenge and the immense knowledge I’ve gained and the professional growth I’ve experienced from working at IWCC.

Best job before IWCC:  Working for South Page Community Schools.   I was the Director of Bands, 6-12th grade Choral director, competitive cheerleading coach, dance team sponsor, junior class prom sponsor, etc.  Listen. When you are a teacher in a rural district, you don’t just teach.  You do everything.  I loved every second of every day when I was around those students, and with my lineup of responsibilities, I basically lived at the school.  From 6am rehearsals/practices, to late night games, to cheer competitions across the state. You name it, I was there.   I was young and fresh out of undergrad and had a ton of fun learning and growing with them.

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I’m happiest when:  I’m on my Harley, the sun is shining and an ice cold beverage is on the horizon.

My biggest fear: Alzheimer’s.  Losing my cognitive ability at a young age.

I’m proudest of:  As a teenager I faced some adversity that some would allow to change them, or use those experiences as excuses for bad decisions.   I was presented with two paths I could have followed, either one impacting my future greatly.  I chose the middle road. I chose to take my experiences from the evil and the good in my life and create a middle ground that fit me.  I am proud of that.   In 2006 I went through some crazy life changes.  I call it my quarter-life crisis.  It was the real deal, y’all.  At 25 I quit my job, moved out of my beautiful country home in Clarinda, left my bff’s and family and the only life I had known for 25 years and moved to Omaha with no job lined up, a U-Haul with all of my belongings and settled into a house in West O with two High School friends who opened their arms and hearts.   It was a life-changing few years that followed and I wouldn’t trade one single experience, the good and questionable, from those years.   I am proud of that.

I strive to live life in the present moment. 

I don’t take things for granted. 

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What I do when I’m not working at IWCC:  I am teaching fitness classes at IWCC and the YMCA or I am training future fitness instructors on the weekends as part of my Master Trainer role.    I am attending concerts (total junkie) with friends or chilling with my hubs in our backyard around a campfire.  I am on the Harley by myself for some solo and self-reflection time or I am riding with 30+ of my biker friends cruising the back-roads of Nebraska and Iowa.

Top three highlights of my life:

  1. Not being afraid of starting over at the age of 25.   That reset button was hard to push, but it was completely worth it.
  2. Auditioning to be a fitness Master Trainer at the age of 34.  I consider myself a non-traditional fitness spokesperson and I didn’t let age or body type stop me from pursuing that dream.
  3. Marrying Clint in 2011.  And not just because of all that mushy love yuck.  But because we compliment each other.  He gets me to see the world through a relax and don’t try to control every aspect of life lens.   We operate as a married unit but also as individuals with our own lives.  We respect each other, encourage each other to seek out new opportunities and set higher goals and we both love sushi.  Win!

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People would be surprised to know:

  1. I used to play clarinet for the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  While I was teaching for South Page, I also traveled to Omaha from Clarinda (and back) every Monday evening for rehearsals.  I took a hiatus for a few years but am auditioning to be a part of the 2017-18 ensemble soon.
  2. My 25 year old brother Gabriel is a dwarf.  He’s the coolest cat you could ever know and challenges me to find the “art” in life.  Not that I want you to stalk me on the world of social media, but I did a little fact sheet on Gabe and included additional information on dwarfism if interested in a little education: Click here.

Work-related hidden talent/special skill:  Not Excel, that’s for sure.

Favorite song, or book, or movie, or food (or all four!):

  • Song:  Impossible to choose.   Music junkie in all aspects, remember?
  • Current book: The Mindful School Leader by Valerie Brown.  I am in a grad level class for CEU’s to keep my K-12 administrative license active. I recommend it as it’s been a great read!
  • Movie: Sweet Home Alabama
  • Food: mashed potatoes

Best vacation:  All of the vacays spent on the Harley.   Sturgis!  Specifically our first visit when Clint proposed at Full Throttle Saloon on the bridge.  Our second visit we made it on TV for our 5 seconds of fame, thanks to the Full Throttle TV series.  Sadly FTS burned down in 2015, shortly after our third visit.   Bikes, Blues and BBQ Rally in Arkansas takes a top spot as well.   WOAH!   Arkansas is gorgeous and even better from the seat of a motorcycle.

 

 

Weekend Recap | November 11-13, 2016

Saturday, November 12th
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I could end the post right here.

Done.  

End of Story.

But, what’s the use of a hangover without the story of how it came to be?

Let’s rewind to Friday.

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Friday, November 11th

First of all let me say Thank You to our veterans for your time served and to our current armed forces who continue to serve.

Thank You.

Second: Happy Birthday to my mama!  11/11 was also HER day! 🙂

Now, to the bane of my Saturday?  Friday night.

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We traveled north to Sioux City, IA to see the Turnpike Troubadors in concert with Jade, Kayla, Scott, Haley, Josey and Stephanie.  It was a ridiculously fun night.  Turnpike was INCREDIBLE to listen to… again, music geek in me can’t get enough of good music and TRUE musicianship that these guys exude.

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We let loose, we drank a few too many beers, we stayed our ground in the front of the venue holding steady to the gate, we flirted with the band, we sang along loudly and we made every ounce of that hangover totally worth it.

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Is it me, or is Jade channeling Alan from the movie, The Hangover?

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We even managed to hang out with both bands (opener and headliner) after the concert at a local tavern, to which I awkwardly attempted small talk about music (listen Jordan, don’t talk after 10 beers) and Kayla took endless photos with the groups.

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After hours snap chats = lame tag lines.   We love Friday’s?

Really, Jordan?

*insert giant eye roll*

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Thank GOODNESS social media didn’t exist when we were all in High School.   It’s bad enough as adults.

 

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Friday kinda rocked, and I am ready to do it again, minus the heavy amounts of beer.

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So then there is Saturday again.

It looked like this:

  • 3am – Arrive back to hotel safely thanks to kind cabi who received quite a tip after my sober mind calculated.  I’m sure she deserved every penny.
  • 3:10am – Snap Clint attempting 16 times to open the hotel door.  It was classic.  Score 1 for Jordan catching that gem on video.
  • 6am – First wake-up call, thanks due to a rager of a headache
  • 7am – Wake-up again.  Headache and all…
  • 8am – Restroom.  Oh, hey there rumbling belly.  I hear you and I am answering by laying back down.
  • 8:30am – Respond to Kayla’s text.  Commiserating.
  • 9am – Dear LORD this headache.  Curse the fact I need water but curse the fact I am not sure my stomach can handle even that.
  • 9:30am – Respond to Kayla’s text re: lobby and breakfast.
  • 10:30am – Clint wakes ready to take on the world ( his ability to NEVER have a headache nor hangover really sucks sometimes)
  • 11am – Bid farewell to the crew and head back to Omaha.   Radio off, shades on, air full blast, with minor attempts to tune my overly-chatty husband out.  Dude… headache.
  • 1pm – Homaha – drop husband off at home so he can load truck up with hunting gear and head out to Clarinda.
  • 1:30pm- Pick up race gear for Beer and Bagel run on Sunday
  • 2pm – Home.  Hallmark Christmas Movie. Nap.
  • 4pm- Grocery store for hangover worthy snacks that are always top notch on the healthy pyramid.
  • 5pm – Dinner.  Hallmark Christmas Movie.  Nap
  • 8pm –  Succumb to just letting Saturday be a total wash and go to bed.

 

Sunday, November 13th

Let’s all take a moment and rejoice in the fact that I got out of bed at 6:30am and was ready to run the Beer and Bagel 4 mile trail run at 9am.

Can I get a Hallelujah?   Can I get an Amen?

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Blair is a trail running PRO!  She recently ran a 50K.   Yes, you read that right.  50K = 31.08 miles.  So, I laughed at her for wanting to still run this with me.   It’s 4 miles.  That’s like her warm-up nowadays.  But, thankfully, she did it and we had fun and I appreciate her grace in not rubbing in the fact that this is peanuts to her distance legs.

I might consider running the 13.1 trail run next year.  Trail running is SO much better than road running.  It is so much more forgiving on the joints since you are on soft ground and uneven terrain that forces you to take it easy and watch where you are going, rather then operate as a robot and pound the pavement.  Running the 13.1 Beer and Bagel run in 2017 is a definite thought.  A consideration.

We will see. 🙂

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After the race I napped again.  DUDE!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!    I think it was a culmination of three days in a row last week of getting up by 3:10am on top of the minimal water and shenanigans on Friday night.  My body was O.V.E.R. it.

I forced myself into partial civilization on Sunday afternoon when I bundled up and went out on the HD, just her and I.   It’s that time of the year when the hubs is gone hunting on the weekends and I get my coveted solo ride time in when the weather is cooperating.

I managed to burn through a full tank of gas and it was all sortsa magical.

Solo rides = no destination.  No planned stops.   Just a direction, the roll of the throttle and a big ass smile on my face.  🙂

Although, this snap looks like I don’t even have a head, let alone a face for a smile.

But my front wheel looks B.A.

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Cheers to a GREAT weekend!

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Algona Freedom Rally | 2016

Another motorcycle rally in the books and my eyes, liver and throttle hand are all still functioning.  Rally goers know this outcome is always questionable going into rally festivities and certainly appreciated coming out.

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This year we took off one day earlier in order to pick out our prime camping spot.  We tend to gravitate towards the shaded, secluded sections so we can enjoy our beers under the trees and morning zz’s without the sun-glare.  Although, sleeping is questionable with the constant competition of who can hit their rev limiters the most.  Prime time for that activity?  Between midnight and 4:30am.   It’s a campground wide fave past time amongst the town idiots.

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Our little slice of camping heaven.

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The first crack of beer after home-base setups are complete is always the best beer of the weekend.

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So what kind of Algona festivities went down in 2016?   Well, if you followed along on snap you saw the stuff I can’t share permanently.  Hello land of the free.  And by free, we mean really free.   I never do get over the zero cares some of these folks carry around… or leave back at their campsite.

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We did find Verlene.  Do y’all remember her from our 2015 float trip?  That ol’ gal sure gets around.

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The time was well spent by lounging, drinking, walking the campgrounds, people watching, motorcycle game watching, music listening and just relaxing with friends with zero cares, obligations or schedules dictating our lives for 4 days.  It was fabulous.  Next year I’m bringing a yard game of some sort to add to the daytime festivities.

The Highlight Reel:

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Liz got off pretty easy this year on the hug game.  Clint left the shine at home, so the hugs weren’t nearly as alcohol induced, but still abundant.

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imageWhatcha reaching for their, Clint?

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When traveling through the campground, one must always have your drinks handy.  You never know where you’ll park the bike.  Liz has clearly played this game a time or two before…

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And Clint wins by just strapping on the whole cooler.  Beers for all!

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It’s still possible to be cute when camping, even when hair doesn’t get washed for days.   Bandana’s are a girls best friend for evah.

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From Clint to Steve…

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Algona 2016 went down with some great memories for the memory bank.

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Cheers to another incredible Algona Freedom Rally.

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Link Up to read Algona Freedom Rally recap 2015 here.

Follow along on Facebook at Harleys & Heels.

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Special Thanks to: