Thelma and Louise Take On The Ozark Mountains

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Every summer for the last 9 years, Tyree and I are sure to take a few day-trips on our two-wheeled beauties.  Sometimes we rolled out with an agenda in mind, most times not.  Over the years they progressed into the Thelma & Louise adventures, matching shirts and all.  On numerous occasions we had talked about taking off on a multi-day adventure, but summers always filled quickly, never leaving any opportunities.  Finally, during the late 2017 winter months, we penciled in two adventures into our summer ’18 calendars that were non-negotiable: Colorado over July 4th with our boys (more about that later) and a T&L only adventure to the Ozark Mountains during the 3rd weekend of July.

And so, on Thursday, July 19th, 2018 we put our kickstands up for an adventure we won’t soon forget.

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1st Official Destination: Warsaw, MO for a late lunch and an ice-cold beverage.  We happened upon Dam Restaurant, adjacent to a swinging bridge and decided that was our place to stop.

As we chatted with the regulars and enjoyed our meal and first beer of the day, they kept track of a storm cell that was building just northwest of Warsaw.  A lazy, no-rush afternoon, turned into an afternoon with a slight sense of urgency attached to it due to the oncoming storms carrying 70+mph winds.  The locals hurried us out the door (truly…  they nearly forgot to tab us out before we asked) and with well-wishes being shout-out behind us, we headed south, just barely 20 minutes ahead of the storm cell.  To the folks at Dam Restaurant, we appreciated your hospitality and desire to keep us safe. 

People are good.  

There was only one time where we thought we might not beat the storm due to a brief jaunt west of Springfield to avoid the backlog of traffic heading south.

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But, we made it in to Branson safe and sound, left our bikes at the hotel and headed out for BBQ and beers at Gettin’ Basted where we waited out the storm before leaving our mark on the Branson strip.

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Friday, July 20th | Weather forecast: 115 degree heat index.

7:30am: Breakfast at Belgian Waffle and Pancake House, where the staff are absolute dolls.

“You girls are hot!  Like, not hot/hot, but hot/hot!” 

After a few conversations with our waitress we found out that she and another employee are referred to as Thelma & Louise.  Of course, we had to have our photos taken with the local T&L before we departed for our FULL day on two-wheels.

Thanks, Belgian Waffle House for a WONDERFUL breakfast and conversations.

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First leg: Branson to Peel, Arkansas so we could take the ferry!

If you are in the area, this route is a must out of Branson. Rolling hills, incredible views and curvy roads the entire 44 miles.  And as always when traveling into mountainous areas, plan for almost double the time as a straight path may take you.  Lot’s of gear shifting (and FUN!)

As we waited for the ferry, we struck up a conversation with a guy who just happened to hail from Plattsmouth, NE, only having just recently moved to Arkansas.  Small world!

After a brief wait, we boarded the ferry and off we went across the lake to begin our afternoon, and very dark evening, in Arkansas!

 

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Thanks to the recommendation of our new buddy from the ferry ride, we pointed our headlights towards Cliff House Inn in Jasper, AR, which overlooks the “Grand Canyon of Arkansas”.   The stellar views, and what appeared to be a breeding ground for giant butterfly’s and hummingbirds, this stop certainly didn’t disappoint.

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A quick bite to eat and an iced tea (hello dry counties in over 90% of the State) we headed out.  By this point in the afternoon it was well over 100 degrees.  We were one of FEW outside, which provided us the opportunity to own the roads.

Our route took us straight south on 21 to the D&J Country Store where we sought out water and air-conditioning for a few minutes.  The hotter-than-satan’s-lair weather conditions, while straddling a boiling hot motor that is working double time thanks to the terrain… well…. you get the idea of what we looked like at this point.   Thanks to the cashier we received the recommendation to head back into the national forest to Country Road 4400 and take a left.  Literally saw ONE car in the hour we were in this part of the forest.  It was perfect.

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Once we were satisfied with our County Road playground, we headed on West to find a major road and happened upon the bottom end of the Pigs Trail.

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Typically this part of the Pigs Trail is JAM PACKED with tourists and locals.  This day?  Crickets, man.  My phone tells me this photo was taken at 4:54pm and it was well into the 115’s for the heat index.

Tyree missed riding the Pigs Trail byway the last time we were in Arkansas, so we for sure wanted to hit it this time around, but to be honest: it wasn’t that thrilling after the day of switchbacks we had explored already, all thanks to taking the roads less traveled.  Ah-may-zing. 

Fun (?) side note: lower left side of my windshield you can see the remnants of something that most likely didn’t make it out alive…

It was at this point in the day that we were becoming cognizant of the time and sun placement and knew we needed to be making our way out of the national forest and back towards Branson.  So, we left with the destination of Eureka Springs in mind.  Surely we could get there, eat dinner and take a semi-scenic way back into Branson?!

Surely…

A wrong turn (but gorgeous byway) took us 30 miles out of our way but we took it as a challenge and headed to Eureka Springs anyway.  We NEEDED A BEER and a BURGER something fierce by this point and so around 7:30pm, we rolled into the Cat House Lounge, a favorite amongst bikers.

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The beer was welcome and the belly laughs abundant, which was most likely due to a combination of part heat exhaustion and said beer.  We mapped out a perfect little route back into Branson, via NW Arkansas and Branson West to get us back to our hotel … And then we bounced.

For the mom’s reading this, you may want to skip ahead to after the map photo.  We know that even though we are both 37 years old, you’ll want to scold us after this… 

MapQuest had a mind of it’s own and we found ourselves deep into the Ozark Mountain and forest terrain welllllll after sundown.  Do I dare mention there were no stars due to a slight overcast and threat of rain? It was black.  Sheer black.  A 60-75 minute ride ended up being about 2.5 hours of:

  • white knuckles
  • outward laughs from the nerves and the stupidity
  • three one lane bridges that we prayed were not actually one plank bridges (it’s a thing and there are a few down there)
  • a few tighter than expected curves because where we were, road signs weren’t a thing,
  • thigh squeezing/butt-clenching
  • a lot of down shifting
  • forced relaxation to navigate curves fluidly
  • a few stops to say “you good?”
  • quick eye glances towards the ditches for wild animals
  • quick glances back to what you could see of the road due to said curves with no warning road signs
  • internal thoughts of what the news channels would say about us if we really did go off a cliff… with our Thelma and Louise shirts on…
  • a few morbid chuckles about that, because come on.  That’s actually kinda funny.
  • deep breaths and verbal reminders to take it all in and enjoy the journey, regardless of the fact that we couldn’t see a damn thing
  • out-loud verbal affirmations of “Girl, this is AWESOME” to “Girl, you are STUPID” and back.

…and when we finally saw the lights of Branson and navigated our way confidently towards “home” we breathed a sigh of relief, relaxed our clenched butts, laughed at ourselves, thanked the man upstairs for the guiding hand, praised our common sense of taking it easy and laughing through the journey and recapped what an incredible experience that actually was.

I only hope that someday we can retrace our steps and actually experience those incredible less-than-traveled roads again, but in the daylight, preferably.  I can only imagine the absolute beauty those bridges and cliffs held.

Maps do not provide justice for the type of curves and elevation changes you can expect on this route.  Top notch! 

Uh, especially between Eureka Springs and Branson. 🙂 

Saturday, July 21st | Still Hot As Hell

We didn’t have any set plans for Saturday other then slowly making our way towards Nebraska.  We had a few points of interest and an idea of where we were going to end our evening, but didn’t set it in stone.  And so after a 50’s inspired diner breakfast, we set out to play in the Missouri National forests.  We did several pass-through’s and loops, a few backtracks, and even found ourselves in a one-lane valley where a local farmer coming out of his farm ground gave us a friendly head nod as he rolled on by at a leisurely 15 mph.

Thanks, buddy, for letting us take over your road for a short period of time.

After we played all morning on those incredible roads, we landed ourselves in Ozark, MO around 2:00pm for a Bloody Mary and a few beers at Back Home Brewing.  I mean, it was our vacation and we just spent the last two days in mostly dry counties.  We were due a few. 🙂

And then realized we had literally made ZERO headway towards home.  Like… at all.  HA!

And so we made the executive decision to hit the ever boring Highway 13 for 136 miles to Warrensburg, MO for a brief beer stop on Pine Street (apparently the stomping rounds for all Central Missouri State University kids) before heading on to Weston, MO.

Side note: make sure you take all the back roads North of Warrensburg towards Excelsior Springs (Highway 10 to 92)and then into Weston, MO if traveling that way.  Those roads were insanely gorgeous.  Had no idea there was such beauty in that part of Missouri.  NONE!

Weston, MO is a community pulled straight out of a Christmas Hallmark Movie.  It is so quaint and full of charm with it’s little shops, restaurants, wineries (Pirtle Winery is housed here) and bars.  I cannot wait to go back and spend an entire day there.  Seriously, folks.  Explore it online (here) and then go pay it an actual visit.

We had dinner at the Tin Kitchen, a southern smokehouse, walked up and down the main drag to do a little window shopping before landing into O’Malley’s Pub to end our night.  O’Malley’s is a series of 3 vaulted limestone cellars, with the main bar located in the lowest level.  They had an Irish band playing on Saturday evening and we seriously could have stayed all night listening to and enjoying the show.  Such a cool bar and community!

But, we still had a 30 minute ride ahead of us to Atchison, Kansas where we had last second booked a hotel for the night, so back on the bikes around 10:30pm for the last part of our journey.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Bright and early we woke and set out for breakfast at a café about 60 miles northwest-ish.  Upon arrival it appeared the whole town was closed up and dried out, so a quick call to Tyree’s mom:

“Whatcha doing?  Any chance you want to make us breakfast?”.

And so on we went another 60 miles, with a quick stop to Tyree’s grandpa for a quick good morning hug and on down the road to her parents house where we enjoyed a warm and made with love breakfast with her family.  A walk down memory lane for Tyree as she gave me a tour of the neighboring communities, her high school and finally a stop at Peru State College where she completed her undergrad.  The town is literally a college, a small grocery store and a bar/grill.  So, naturally, we stopped to enjoy one last vacation beer before taking on the last leg of our journey home.

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And so the Thelma and Louise multi-day adventure concluded and with a happy heart and giant smiles on our faces as we split ways at the highway 32 interchange.

Thanks, Tyree, for an epic adventure.  Lot’s of memories were made down in those trees.  Happy to have you by my side for so many fun events.

Cheers to many more!

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A note of acknowledgement to the victims, survivors, families and workers of the Duck Boat accident in Branson on the evening of July 19th.   The storm that we outran, unfortunately, did not dissolve before hitting the tourist town of Branson.  Our thoughts and prayers were with you upon hearing the news of such a tragedy, so close in proximity to where we were.  May you find peace and understanding in the days to come.

900 Miles + Blazing Sun = 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!