900 Miles and the Blazing Sun… And a Happy Heart

This last weekend I took off on my own little adventure through Iowa, just me and my trusty two-wheeled side kick.  It had been a minute since just she and I went on a little adventure, so it was high time!  Of course it was the hottest weekend on record for June.  I mean you literally started sweating just looking outside.  Brutal.  B.R.U.T.A.L.

But, hey.  When the open road calls, I answer.

Friday, June 15th, 10am.  Bags packed, tire pressure checked, oil levels solid.   Time to pack it up and ship on out.   Until my saddle bag handle falls apart ever so nicely in my hands.  I laughed.  Out loud.  Of COURSE this would happen, because why not?  Sigh…   Three pieces held together by 6 itty bitty little screws.  Do you think I can find any of them?   Nope, just one loan ranger that had apparently been hanging on for dear life (and holding my lid on too).  Thanks little buddy.

Operation: fix this shit, stat.

As I am searching through bins in the garage to find replacements Clint calls and says to take his bike. Um, no. This weekend is reserved for me and my girl. His response:  Well, guess you better fix it.  Good luck.

Already on it, good sir.

A little trip to good ol’ Tractor Supply and 30 minutes later, home-girl was on the ROAD!

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Destination: Ames, IA for a late lunch with my HS girlfriend, Erin.

Friends, I don’t think I stopped smiling the ENTIRE journey.  Well, except once, in Des Moines.  Traffic was thick, some cute bubbly blonde teenager was on MY ASS, so I turned around and gave her a little piece of my mind, hopped lanes, and went back to smiling.  Spent almost two hours catching up with Erin on personal and professional life, a nice solid hug to close our afternoon out, and back out to the heat I went.

Second time the smile left my face.  That heat hit ya right in the feelers, man.

 

That frown turned upside down the second I hit Hwy 30 headed East.  Destination: Cedar Rapids, IA to hang with my galpal Cyndi!   She had an ice cold glass of water and a PBR waiting for my arrival and I happily chugged them both.

And then it was off for a fun (and sweltering) photo sesh.

Look at this cutie!!!!!!!!

STOP IT CYNDI!  If you are cool enough to know this chick, you know her laugh is TOP 10!  More to come on that.

We spent an hour or so doing photos and then it was time for drinks, food and music to close out our night.

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Saturday hit me like a hangover from hell.  Mind you I had three beers and one vodka over the span of 4 hours.  PBR HATES ME AND IT MAKES ME SO SAD. I mean, come on.  You’re supposed to be my friend, Pabst.  What happened between us?  My head was pounding, my stomach rolling, Cyndi wanted breakfast, I wanted a soda, so I popped some ever-so-faithful Dramamine and Aleve and off we went.  First hill I had to yell at Cyndi to slow down if she didn’t want puke in her car.  Lovely house guest I make!

Anyway… Dr. Pepper saved my ass.  Dramamine is my hero.  We all survived the morning, and it was off for a day in the sun on the AMVET Poker Run!

We cruised north and east for a little over 160 miles.  I met some of her girlfriends, we signed our names to a random wall, we sweat out any and all drinks that went down the hatch and all and all had us a solid day!

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Poker Run wrapped up around 4pm with Cyndi winning some hundred dolla bills, y’all… (you just sang that didn’t you?)

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4:30pm I peeled off and headed to Ankeny, IA to hit up Whiskey River to see my cousin Erika.  Guys.  4:30pm, heading west, 105 degree index… and I am the genius going straight into the sun.  And guess who didn’t give two shits?  This girl.  Permagrin here to STAY!   My mind was happy.  My heart was full.   This was turning out to be a solid weekend.

6:30pm, drinks and dinner and a few hours of catching up with the gorgeous Erika made for an even happier girl.

And this is where I excel in making plans.   I try not to solidify much until necessary.  I told Erika to pencil me in as I might stay with her, but once 9pm rolled around, I was jonesing to move again.  If you have followed me long enough and know me well, you already know night riding is my absolute favorite time to ride, hands down.

It certainly is the most dangerous, but guys.  Your senses come ALIVE at night.  Your mind becomes sharper, your eyes more alert, the sounds and smells are heightened 10 fold.  It’s magic. Simply magic.  So, 9:15pm I fueled up and pointed my headlight towards Omaha.

And we rolled in just slightly after 11:30.  It was pure bliss.

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Father’s Day Sunday and I get a call from my dad jonesing for some open road time and a few beers, and so 20 minutes later I was out the door.   Hair hadn’t been washed in four days.  My face was a collection of at least 6 layers of lotion and sunblock and an additional 3 layers of makeup on makeup.  #killingit

Full disclosure:  Yes, I rolled into bed the second I got home Saturday night.  Sweat and sunblock and road grime and all.  Clint is a lucky… LUCKY man.  HA! #killingitagain

90 miles later I was at dad’s and we hit the road for a mini-southwest Iowa tour of bars.  It was a GREAT day!  As I was telling him about my weekend adventures he said “You are a daring little girl” to my night riding.  To that he followed up with “it’s my favorite too”

Like father, like daughter on that note.  Check!

I decided to peel off at Sidney, IA to head back to the city. I have a college friend staying with us for two weeks and I was in dire need of a shower.  It was when I reached Hwy 34 that the clouds showed their ugly head.

But, I think I had mild excitement at the thought of cold rain hitting my overly tanned shoulders.

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I hit it.  And I have made a mental note to get some RainX for my windshield.  We had a few hairy moments on some construction zones.

Clearly, we made it home safe and sound.

And deliriously happy.

My head needed those miles.  My heart needed those miles.  My LIFE needed those miles.

I recently read a quote:

Just because your time is full, doesn’t mean your life is full

Really hits home, doesn’t it?  Once upon a time, my time was full.  Of stuff.  Of work, of training, of teaching as an adjunct for a University, of fitness teaching, of conference calls, of weekend events, of this, of that.  My time/life. was. busy.  My life is still busy as many of the above-listed items I still do, but I am prioritizing appropriately, and condensing the amount of TIME spent on each.  A balance is essential.  I also reflected and eliminated some of those things in my previous life that were once fulfilling, but then after digging deep into my heart and mind… they actually weren’t.  I was missing out on the here and the present with my friends new and old.  I was missing out on things that at the end of my life, I didn’t want to regret.  I want to spend my time, my days, my life with the people and the things that make me feel fulfilled and that I know will make my heart absolutely happy at 90 when I look back on these times.

So, if this quote resonates with you, I encourage you to stop.  Reflect.  Take action on things that are going to fulfill you and your bigger purpose, whatever that may be.  What is going to make you feel proud at the end of the road?

Now, go LIVE!

 

Cheers!!

 

Magic Happened Last Night

It only took about an hour of prep work, grease on my jeans and a few beads of sweat, but it happened.  The happiest day of my Spring 2018 life, h.a.p.p.e.n.e.d.

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We hugged, we laughed and we became a little misty-eyed.  It was a beautiful reunion caught on camera via SnapChat selfie.  Because nothing counts unless it’s on Snap, ya?

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Ya, that’d be a no.

But, we did reunite and all the wrongs in the world are now right.  So so SO right.

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Of course, she was tucked nicely away in the back of the garage, so it took a little motorcycle maneuvering, battery tinder removing, seat finding and reattaching, motorcycle jack rearrangement, air pressure gauge scavenging, motorcycle trailer rolling, air bubble requiring and about 10 additional PSI’s in that front tire (recall September 2017 tire incident… still haven’t fixed that yet) and

…WE WERE ALIVE!

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And she was DISGUSTING!

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¹First order of business: Car Wash.

²Second order of business: WIND!  Sweet, sweet WIND!

She and I cruised for about an hour or so before making our way home around 7:45pm.  Low and behold the hubs had also just gotten home and seeing his bike out in the driveway decided it was a perfect opportunity to reattach his seat as well and so off we went for a late dinner at The Cabin across town.

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What a perfectly spontaneous MUCH NEEDED night of wind therapy for the both of us.

Hello, Spring 2018.

I’ve been waiting for you.

 

Cheers!

🙂

 

{Biker Feature} Anna and Lora

Mid-September I had the opportunity to travel up to Desoto National Park to meet up with Biker B’s Lora and Anna for a fun photo sesh.   I tell you what… these practice sessions for me have been a ton of fun and I have quite a few gorgeous, talented, funny, hot as hell, kind hearted, witty and badass biker friends.   Dammnnnnn…

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These two chicks are genuine, grateful, humble, easy to work with and so kind.   I’m doing these sessions for free and fun (since I don’t know what I am doing) and these little sneaks gave me a little gift anyway.   Like I said, their hearts are big.

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I don’t want to give away too many of their photos, so I will leave you with just a few more to enjoy.

Thanks, Lora and Anna for a FUN night!

The 43 bug bites I had as an aftermath were SO worth it. 😉

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Life Lately – A Glimpse Back to August and September 2017

Summer 2017 flew by like all summers do.  But for those who liken summer to just the months of June, July and August are selling themselves short.   Why stop at August?  Because school starts up again?   Hellooooo… who lives for the week when there is always a weekend?   September is always an extended summer month for this girl and it’s been slammed full of awesome. Plus, let’s just note the horrid temps we’ve been having lately.   Mid-90’s at the end of September?

 WHAT WAS THAT?!

Let’s take a step back in time.

{August}

The first part of the month was Jessica’s annual girls trip to the Ozarks with a few newbies along for the ride but minus a few previous attendees who were unable to make it.  The Ozarks trip looked quite different than years prior (recap of previous years here and here), however, you can guarantee fun was had, drinks were ingested, a few belongings were lost at the bottom of the lake and a hangover or two may have happened.

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Thanks again, Jeff and Donna for opening up your home to us.

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August 11-12th

Clint officiated a wedding in Red Oak, IA the second weekend of August so we headed down on the bikes Friday the 11th to help with rehearsal.

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Added bonus: one of the best meals we have had in a long time courtesy of the Red Coach Inn Lounge.   Had NO IDEA their food was so legit.  I take back my Red Roach sentiments.  *shoulder shrug

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The wedding on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous and everything went off without a hitch!

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And I, of course, loved every second I got to hang with Sara’s cute little fam.

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The entire month of August provided a lot of two-wheel time.   The number of sunsets captured was pretty spectacular.  This particular night we were just leaving The Twisted Tail after dinner and headed straight into the sunset.   I can’t get enough!

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Mid-August we had the opportunity to take my in-laws to dinner and we picked out the Driftwood Inn and Blair, NE.   The views during our pre-dinner drinks and appetizers were enough to make me want to go back for another evening cocktail anytime!   If you head that way, be sure to check their hours and give yourself plenty of time.  The seating is limited, the days and hours are limited and the wait time to get in is long, but clearly, worth it.  The place was packed!

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HOLD THE PHONE!

Did you know Clint has an award-winning truck?  At some point in August, we popped over to a car show with this man-manipulated beast I lovingly call Mater.   Listen, it’s apparently a thing because it was quite the conversation starter.  All I know is it’s a former dump truck (I think) that he put a box on.   It won best unfinished.

To me, it wins the title of “just another one of Clint’s unfinished projects”.

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And then around came my 37th birthday weekend.   Plans?  What plans?   Friends, let me tell you, August hit me like a ton of bricks!  I was out of the office traveling every day for over two weeks and facilitated 17 orientations where I was front facing students, parents, and administrators.  That’s a LOT of people and questions… and repeated answers.

So, I started to make plans, I didn’t like them, I changed them, I didn’t commit to anything, then I committed, people were busy, and then I uncommitted from it all because dang it… I just didn’t want plans.   None.  So, that’s what I did.  Whatever the hell I wanted on a schedule that didn’t matter if I was late or early too.

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And it was glorious.  

I got a solid long run in at my fave Zorinsky Lake and then we put some more miles in on the bikes.   Two-wheeled therapy, beers, dinner, and a nightcap to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight at Tyree’s.   It was absolutely perfect and what I needed.

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And let’s not forget about this ooey gooey bowl of sweetness!  She makes every day a great day! ❤

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And then Tuesday the 29th hit and all of a sudden I’m 37.   THIRTY-SEVEN!   And super proud of it.   If you are one of those who keeps aging backwards… yo.   Stop it.  Own it!   Look at all the cool things you’ve experienced in your life to this point.  The things you’ve learned.   The mountains you’ve moved.   I proudly state my age.  Who gives a shit anyway?   Life friggin ROCKS!

The day started with getting absolutely SPOILED by my INSANIANCS and a 6 pack of beer from Jordan L.

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{Ok for real.  The number of people who actually thought I drank that bad boy at 5:30am after posting it on FB was a little ridic.   5:30am is a bit early don’t ya think?}

I mean clearly, I waited until the more respectable hour of 10:30am to crack it open.  #duh

 

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Thanks to Kelly for the extra steps in making my morning start off just right.  Look at that load of goodness.

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And the day of happiness continued with fresh out of the oven muffins from Bridgette, lunch with my mama, Dave and Gabe, goodies from some very special co-workers, flowers from the hubs, a hand-delivered cookie from Jess, love from the cat and sushi dinner to close out the night.

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37.  

You fine.

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{September}

I am still continuing working on my photo taking skills and fortunately for me had two more incredible test subjects.  Check out a few sneaks below!

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Pirtlefest Preps started happening on September 2nd and lasted through September 16th.   The weekends preps consisted of truck repairs, hole digging, pole barn cleaning, cabin sweep, human fooseball construction while also consuming a fair amount of food and booze.

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Friday, September 8th was Clarinda’s homecoming and my beautiful cousin was part of the Homecoming Court.  I made a last minute decision early that morning to take a 1/2 day off work and make my way to Clarinda to see her in action.  Fortunately for me, I caught a gorgeous sunrise on that two-wheeled beauty.

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And speaking of gorgeous!  Megan- red is your color!

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No trip to Clarinda would ever be complete without a stop to see Kayla and fortunately for us, Nicole stopped by and joined in on the fun as well!

An afternoon of beers and besties?  YES, PLEASE, ALWAYS!

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I timed my departure to coincide with the sunset.  The backroads of Iowa never disappoint, so there I sat, by myself, no traffic, the only sounds coming from the low grumble of my bike and the chirps of bugs, watching the sunset ever so softly until it disappeared.

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You all know how I feel about finding time to reset and self-reflect.   For me, the best time to do that is on the bike at sunset with nothing but miles ahead, miles behind and the only sounds heard are from the bike and my own thoughts.

Be comfortable being by yourself.  Get comfortable having hard conversations with yourself.   That’s where true growth begins.

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Saturday the 9th was the annual Scroggs memorial run out of Clarinda, so instead of heading to the farm to continue helping with the Pirtlefest shenanigans, I took off on the bike BACK to Clarinda to enjoy an afternoon of riding.

The weather was perfect, the miles long and the company a treat.

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Sunday, September 10th marked 6 years of marriage.

Killing it!

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Monday, September 11th marked my first day back as a playing member of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.   It had been 6 years since I had touched my clarinet and 11 years since I played repertoire that challenged me. I was a member of NWS from 2004-2006 while still living in Clarinda but left the group during a transition period in my life and then actually left music altogether in 2011 when I stepped away from teaching.  Joining the music world again had definitely been on my heart for the last year. In fact, my Christmas present to my Gr’pa Goecker last year was a written promise to see what I could do about becoming a playing NWS member again… and Monday the 11th I fulfilled that promise. He’s delighted as he’s certainly been the one to consistently bring up how he wishes I still played.  It’s been GREAT to be back… but I’ll admit the Monday evening 7:15-9:15pm rehearsals are an adjustment for my 4am Tuesday alarm clock.   Ouch!!

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Mid-September brought some changes at work.  The details are unnecessary, but the love I feel for my colleagues and the future of my position is promising.  Thanks to many special people for helping lead into that transition and through the changes yet to come.

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And with that, I’ll leave you be.   We’ve got Pirtlefest and an Arkansas trip to round out September, but those adventures certainly deserve their own post.

… Oh, the stories and photos to share!  🙂

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Algona Freedom Rally | 2017

We came.

We saw.

We conquered.

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ABATE of Iowa, Algona Freedom Rally 2017 was another success.

And by success we mean drunk, tired and wet.

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Oh come on you dirty minded folks… it rained.  Daily.  Hell, we even survived a potential twister in the area.  Tent campers unite!

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But you dirty minded folks probably aren’t too far off either. 😉

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Like all motorcycle rallies; we arrived, checked-in, set up camp and immediately headed back into town for necessities:

  • Beer
  • Snacks
  • Beer
  • Liquor

before settling into some campsite day drinking, games and people watching.

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Holding up to last years promise, Tracy scored a yard game to keep us entertained for a few hours each day.   Let’s just say a few of us were big talkers and our mouths perhaps got a little ahead of our game.

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Why yes, yes that is a giant bottle of Sangria he’s holding.  We hang with manly men.  Don’t judge.  It’s a rally, remember?  In his defense, he also enjoys partaking in drinking the cheapest, most gut rot inducing beer he can find.

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Our crew prefers to camp on our own little acreage, nestled back in the trees, away from the Algona Rally hub.   We were pretty stoked when we scored our spot we stumbled upon last year and are pretty confident that two years in a row makes us official owners of said acreage.  Watch it 2018’ers.  We are coming for you if you take our spot.

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But, if you prefer to be where the action is day in and day out, then go camp with our good friends the Wiese’s and their mighty crew.

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Where might that be, you ask?  Just follow the loud rukkus coming out of this beautiful Coleman turned DJ central, aka Andy’s masterpiece.

*shirtless stud sold seperately

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Or just look out for a sea of tent canopies on the main drag.  You’ll see them if you don’t hear them first.

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Rain delays on Thursday didn’t dampen our spirits thanks to the Larson’s bonnet.  Who said anything about this contraption being made for a sunblock on the beach?  Psssh….. rain block at rallies is more like it.

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Heck, if that doesn’t work, just throw a chair carrier over your head and call it a day.

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SHUT the front door…. is that a SODA and not a beer?   Yes, sometimes a beer break, literally, is needed and welcomed.

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Many folks ask how large of a crowd the Algona Freedom rally brings in.   Allow me to let the photos tell the story.

 

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Pretty impressive, ya?

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One popular activity during the rally are the motorcycle games.   From the hotdog eating contest, to the slow ride, to the keg rolling, you are bound to see some skills.   In what skill area are we referencing specifically?  I’ll leave that for you to experience when you attend the Rally in 2018.

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Pictured above are our new friends Shelby and Brandon.   Liz and I have followed Shelby (and she us) for a few years on Instagram.  Funny how those hashtags actually work, you hashtagging fools.  When used with purpose and intention, you actually stumble upon some pretty cool shit, including people!   It was awesome to finally meet and hang out at the Rally this year!

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I am positive that this is just the start of a pretty great friendship and will bring about some fun rides in the future.   Way to go, Instagram!

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I used the rally games to actually start messing around with my DSLR settings and photoshop.  I am hellbent on figuring this out so I can try my hand at capturing some good shots of my girls on their bikes. 🙂

The photo above is my first time throwing in a sky overlay.   For my first time, I’d say I didn’t do too shabby blending it in.   Keep your judgy mcjudgerson thoughts to yourself photo police.   Perhaps lend some soft suggestions on how to use and abuse that fancy photoshop element tool, eh?

#notstaged

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The community of Algona held some dirt track racing on Saturday, so we made our way off grounds to partake in that little afternoon adventure.  It was decent but not thrilling.  I believe we all came for the action but stayed for the announcer.   Someone get that guy a gig announcing all the nonsense seen at the actual rally, stat.   Entertainment for hours.

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Algona 2017 went off without a hitch if you ask our little crew.  But, we don’t ask for much.  Steak sandwiches for the hubs, well done burgers for yours truly, prime real estate for camping,  good tunes and train wreck sight seeing galore.  I believe we checked off all those boxes.

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Even though a repeat from years prior, this guy never disappoints with his flame throwing techniques.

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But T-Rex was a new and hilarious edition this year.

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Ominous skies made for the most beautiful weather we’ve had to date!

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And evening tunes brought out the crazy.

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Heck, even a few mid-afternoon naps were welcomed by some, alcohol induced or not, the balancing act is impressive.

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BUT, word of caution, if you fall asleep while watching the afternoon parade of people, you are bound to wakeup to a bearded hug and a moonshine bottle in your face and down your throat.   Happy rallying, Heidi.

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In the end, great friends make the event a success.

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Thanks to ABATE of Iowa for yet another kick ass weekend of fun and sun.

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Algona 2017, you certainly did not disappoint.  We look forward to your next adventures in 2018.

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Cheers!

 


Special Thanks:

Photos:

  • Yours Truly
  • Tyree
  • Tracy
  • Liz
  • DeAnn
  • Algona Freedom rally facebook page