Thelma and Louise | 2020

Thelma & Louise rode again.  

During a pandemic.  Through storms.  And a breakdown. 

‘Cause that’s how we do.

Kids, grab your beverage of choice.  I’ve got some stories to tell!

Thursday, June 4th, Tyree and I took off on a South Dakota and Wyoming adventure.  Coming out of a particularly chaotic season of our professional lives, we were ready for an escape from computers and responsibilities.  As the miles between us and Omaha got longer, the weight on the shoulders became lighter.

I was living for it.  Tunes on, throttle wide open, bug blasted windshield, perma grin, and a storm front looking all cool and refreshing on the horizon.

With only a few sprinkles felt and a welcomed temperature drop from the blazing 90 degree sun, we made our way towards Valentine, NE where the resident cat at the Trade Winds Motel would welcome us home for the night and the Peppermill and Lounge would serve us hot food and ice cold beer.  The Peppermill had only recently started serving folks on-site so we were met with happy smiles and thankful servers.  

Friday morning we set out for South Dakota by way of Highway 20 so we could drop in at the bottom of the Black Hills. We were going to get the most out of this day while we slowly made our way towards Sturgis.

First stop after crossing into South Dakota was lunch at Woolly’s Grill and Cellar in Hot Springs and then on into the Black Hills for some playtime with the buffalo.

A little Needle’s Highway history lesson:

Deemed “impossible” to construct by its critics, Needles Highway (SD Hwy 87)—a National Scenic Byway—was completed in 1922. The road lies within the 71,000 acre Custer State Park, just 30 miles south of Rapid City, and is an impressive 14 mile stretch that includes sharp turns, narrow tunnels, granite spires and world class views.

After Needles we ran on fumes to Crazy Horse and then on over to Mt. Rushmore.

Fuel light on? It’s fiiiiinne.

And then onto Nemo Highway where we stopped at the Nemo Mercantile to enjoy a beer and chat with the local UTVers.

In Sturgis we stayed with Bob & Janet, owners of the coziest basement apartment, outfitted in furniture and doilies that reminded me of great grandma Leora. Bob and Janet should be airbnb’s token couple for advertising a “Weekend at Grandma’s“. Absolute gems.

And let’s all pay our respects to that long telephone cord, y’all. That’s what we call 1997 phone privacy… landline style.

After unloading our saddlebags, we made our way out to the Full Throttle Saloon. If you’ve been with me long enough you know FTS holds a very special place in my heart as it is the location Clint proposed in August 2010. Sadly the OG FTS, where all our memories were made, went up in flames, but the rebuild is better than ever.

By this point in the night we were starving and the temps were dropping so we made our way back into the Sturgis City limits where we stopped for a beer at the Knuckle Saloon and dinner at One Eyed Jacks.

Saturday morning promised overcast skies, a rainy forecast, and a chill in the air. We needed a breakfast of champions and Red’s Grill & Pub DELIVERED!

A few friendly weather warnings and well-wishes from the locals and we were off to Wyoming. Not even 30 minutes later the skies were BLUE, the sun was out and it was looking to be a rock solid day of play!

Shoot, we even found a lonely golf cart on the side of the road. You know we pulled over and called our buddy Cyndi from the seat of that bad boy. Motorcycle rallies of the past would have come haunting had we not paid respect to Cyndi’s devilish ways.

On down the road to Hulett, WY where the Ponderosa Bar served up ice cold RBV’s and an opportunity for self-entertainment as there was literally no one else out in that town. June 2020 Pandemic vibes!

We left our mark and bid farewell to that one-horse town and cruised on down the road.

As we neared Devils Tower we pulled off for a few photo opportunities. We weren’t planning on going closer as we figured it cost $ and would be loaded with tourists. We aren’t tourists, ya know… 😉

Once back on the bikes we made a split second and unplanned decision to turn into Devils Tower parking lot, and in that very moment Tyree’s back brake locked up and her bike stopped rolling.

Y’all. This wasn’t a coincidence. We had our guardian angels riding with us that day. Ours wear leather, you know. We also had our mama’s at home praying for our safe journey’s. There were extra hands in this intervention. Had we kept rolling, I would be telling a different story today.

So, what are two girls in the middle of Wyoming with limited resources to do? Facetime Bill, of course. Bill is the husband of our dearest friend Tracy and owner of Spaz Cycle. Bill – THANK YOU for taking the time out of your insanely busy day to help us two idiots out. You went above and beyond. Thanks, friend.

While Tyree was on the phone with Bill, I went on a walk through the neighboring campground where I made friends with two fellas who had all the tools we needed and the hearts to give us a hand. We were surrounded by the best humans. I wish we could have remembered to grab their names or social media channels to give them a special thanks.

With a locked brake caliper piston, the whole thing had to be removed. While they worked, I was on the phone with Deluxe Harley-Davidson in Sundance giving them the 411. Once Tyree’s brake caliper was back on, we made the 30 mile trek to Sundance. Those 30 miles consisted of Tyree making continual conscious reminders to avoid the brake pedal. What could happen?

A locked brake at 65mph on winding roads is what.

Hard pass.

Pro Status: we pulled into Deluxe HD at 2:00 where we would become BFF’s with three of the best HD employees. I mean, we did spend 3.5 hours with them, so BFF status was EARNED.

They took MORE than great care of Tyree’s bike. They even went the extra mile and serviced some other components while we were there. Shoot, we even got a few cold beers out of the deal.

And maybe a few laughs. We were tired. Hungry. Our afternoon plans to ride Spearfish and hang out in Deadwood had vanished. We had to get our jokes in somehow… albeit childish jokes, but hey. You get what you get with us.

If there is something I have learned from Tyree over the years, it is to always make the best of the situations provided. Always something to be thankful for, even when shit hits the fan.

And on this particular day, we were surrounded by goodness of all forms.

5:30pm and we hit the road for a 30 mile cruise towards Spearfish Canyon. And, unbeknownst to us at the time, here is a lineup of events that happened in our favor between 5:15-6:15pm:

  1. Last second clutch adjustment at the HD store as we were rolling out. 15 extra minutes.
  2. Wrong turn in Spearfish led us away from the scenic byway. 10 minutes.
  3. Decision to top off our tanks once back on track. 5 minutes.

Had any one of those events not happened, we would have found ourselves stranded on Spearfish Canyon Byway, no shelter, 55-60mph winds with 75mph wind gusts.

While fueling (#3) we scanned the radar and decided to hammer down to Sturgis to outrun the storm. Mother Nature would have very different plans as the wind and rain came in fast and furious while we prepared to merge onto the interstate. I’ve ridden in storms. We stood no chance in this one with nothing surrounding that stretch of interstate. The driver of the Wranger to my right motioned for me to take the open space in front of him while Tyree maneuvered around back. Squeezing our way across traffic we found quick shelter for our two-wheeled babes.

And there we sat. Helmets on and all.

45 minutes later and Mother Nature wasn’t giving up, so we grabbed some pizza and waited for a window of opportunity to hit the road. It finally came around 8pm, and with a stream of steady rain, we leathered up and headed out with white knuckles bracing for the lurking winds.

Shout-out to the Baymont by Wyndham front desk dude for letting us park our bikes under the awning by the front door and to the family of 6 eating at Pizza Ranch who were ready to give us a lift to Sturgis.

As I said… good humans were all around us.

Yo… props to Gr’pa Bob & Gr’ma Jan for the open garage door welcoming us home from the rain. The Real MVP’s!

Y’all still with me?

Let’s insert a commercial break. Go ahead. Refill that coffee cup.

Better yet, grab a beer. You deserve it if you’ve made it this far.

Sunday adventures included Spearfish Canyon Scenic byway, Deadwood, Nemo Highway, Rapid City, Red Garter Saloon in Keystone for beverages and small talk with the locals before cruising Iron Mountain Road.

After all the fun roads were traveled and locations visited, we found ourselves at the south end of the Black Hills again and a full day ahead of us.

J: “Hey, T… what should we do now?”

T: “Badlands?”

J: “Sold. Should we get fuel first? I don’t remember a gas station for miiiilllesss last time I was out that way”.

T: “Nah, we good”.

J: “Let’s get to it then.”

34 miles along Hwy 36 to Hwy 40 and we found ourselves a barricade outside Red Shirt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on Tribal Lands in South Dakota. After a very disjointed conversation over loud running motorcycles, mouth coverings and an urgent plea for fuel, the barricade patrol hesitantly let us pass through with the agreement we were headed straight to Whiteclay, our nearest option for fuel. My quick calculations told me we’d be rolling into Whiteclay with about 5-10 miles to spare. Golden.

Thanks, good people. We best be goin’ then!

And, off we went, with no other traffic. Just me and T.

We stopped “for sweatshirts” and to catch a glimpse of the outer edge of the Badlands. About 15 minutes had passed when a truck traveling from TX pulled up wanting to know if we were still on the reservation, to which we confirmed. Come to find out this couple had been warned at the SD/NE border that they’d be hauled off to jail if they stopped at any point on the reservation.

Well then…

Back on the road and I wondered if we had somehow landed ourselves in Kansas. That storm cell had me thinking I was going to be visiting Oz.

That beaut was traveling North with a vengeance. We mirrored that urgency by hightailing it South towards Whiteclay with just enough fumes to re-fuel and cross into NE, leaving the storm behind us.

We didn’t have plans mapped out for our Sunday journey home, unless you consider flying by the seat of our pants as plans. Since we were near Hwy 20 we decided Trade Winds Motel in Valentine would make for a nice home again.

It should come as no surprise that Mother Nature found us again just West of Cody, NE. We ditched the road for a nice little awning while the storm rolled through. We were starving, and wouldn’t you know it the awning we were under was coverage to the front door of a closed for the day cafe. Come onnnnnnn…

We had leftover Taffy from Keystone and two shooters of liqour in our bags.

Candy and Booze.

Typical.

Remember that bit about us finding all the good people on our trip? Well, we found more. As we were getting ready to move on, no phone service to check radar, we noticed a truck pulled off the road and inside a mother, daughter and son trio. Come to find out, they were headed the same direction we were, but a phone call from her husband relayed the message that 60mph winds and golf ball size hail was in her path.

Cool.

Oh and that storm cell we rode by earlier? It produced a twister just North of Sturgis. Our new friends missed it by minutes. Fun!

So, we waited a while longer, said our farewells, gave them a 10 minute lead before we hopped on and rolled out. We had 42 miles left to go.

…And the sailing wasn’t smooth. I think you expected that by now. Just East of Cody, with 34 miles remaining, the sun set and the 50mph winds set in. At one point we were leaning so far into the wind that gravity would have won had the wind let up. That 34 mile stretch saw us through wind gusts that sent us sailing over the center line, shot nerves, stress levels through the effing roof, many prayers, moments of exhaustion that had to be squelched because the wind never let the f up, and random bursts of uncontrollable laughter thanks to afore mentioned shot nerves until we FINALLY saw the city lights of Valentine. It was 11pm, the town was shut down (pandemic probs) and with gas station chips, cheese and water in hand, we fell into our hotel room, straight up delirious with the biggest smiles on our faces and new memories stored away.

The nonsense we get ourselves into… wouldn’t have it any other way.

Get you a Thelma to your Louise. Get yourself a friend that you can do nothing and everything with and have the time of your lives. Shoot… get yourself 20 of them. I am surrounded by friends from all walks of life who fill my cup in so many ways.

And this girl? Well, she’s my Louise.

And I think I’ll keep her.

Cheers!

You can find our last adventures to the Ozark Mountains here. Backroads, nightfall and nonsense. Standard.

Life Lately | April 2019

Hey there, kids.  Nice to see you!  We are just going to jump right into this public diary of events in Jordan’s lifey-life.   You know… for the future when I don’t remember much and need a giant assist.

So, what’s been going on?  Everything!  Life is fantastic!

January trip to the Duck Races in Avoca, NE with these Quacks.

 

We had Beer Olympics… I mean WINTER Olympics… in February at EBBC.  Competition in costume and on the floor.  My team killed it in beer pong, naturally.  I love this gym.

Skiing / Snowmobiling in Colorado in March.

 

Cat snugs on the daily.

 

Did I mention Edge Body Boot Camp?   We 5am’ers are crazy… about killing ourselves.  Seriously.  Love.  This.  Place.   And the great friends made!  We’ve got the MURPH coming up next month! I live and breathe for the challenge.

Rowing below… girl next to me is Simone.  She’s a lean mean fighting machine.  And the jolliest of the 5am’ers there ever was. 😉

 

Re-did the spare bedroom, formerly Kyle’s.  It went from a Ford Blue storage unit to a grey/white clutter-free zone that Harley has claimed as her own.  Friggin’ Princess.

Cats world… we just live in it.

 

Experienced Mr. Justin Timberlake himself in March!  Claire, Briton and I had an absolute blast.  JT … dang, man.  That was a show.

 

Clint and crew are killing it at the Walkup’s.  Both WT and WWP are coming into their busy season, so I visit the shop when I can in order to see that husband o’ mine.

 

I recently got the chance to sneak a few shots of Bodi, my biker B, Liz’s, newest addition.  Future biker right here, folks.  What a little heart-breaker.  All the heart eyes on this lil dude.

 

Work.  Well, it’s fast-paced and each day something new. I love it.  It’s certainly challenging me in new ways that I didn’t expect, but am embracing and facing it on the daily.  Growth mindset.  It’s beautiful.  It helps that I have an absolutely INCREDIBLE staff.  My office mates/colleagues are equally as incredible at what they do and keep me afloat on the reg.

 

Still part of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  We had our Spring concert a few weeks back and now I am on hiatus until the Fall season rolls around.  I enjoy playing still, but will admit the Monday evening rehearsals can be a bit much sometimes with the early 4:20am alarm clock.  Girl needs some zzz’s!

Also back to teaching fitness classes again and my heart is so happy.

 

Motorcycle season is FINALLY here and your girl is feeling all sortsa warm fuzzies.  Coming off Easter weekend and two days on the bike.  Saturday Clint and I rode down to Coin for Easter dinner at the Swanson residence, which provided us the opportunity to chase the sunset on our way home.  Sunset rides are LIFE.

 

Easter Sunday I took off on my own to Clarinda for what was hands-down the windiest ride I’ve had in a while.  Good solid leaning for all 50ish miles of Highway 34 on my way down.  Unfortunately just North of Goecker-ville I had a little malfunction.  It was little due to my low speed coming off a stop sign.  I am telling you… I have RAD angels who ride with me.  It could have been ugly, but it wasn’t, and so a quick call to my dad, Craig, and Jeanne and we had her loaded on their mower trailer and in dad’s garage in under an hour of being sidelined.

 

Saddlebags off, motorcycle up, dad’s magic hands and all necessary parts, and he had me back on the road only two hours late to mom’s Easter lunch.  🙂  Sorry Gr’pa for missing yours completely.  I had all good intentions.

 

Left Clarinda around 3:30 for what was an even WINDIER ride home.  To the folks in the white Grand Cherokee who initially set out to pass me on 34 but then decided to tail back a bit… I am just going to say thanks.  I am going to assume you held back after watching the wind own me like a little b!tch and you were just watching out for my well-being.

‘Preciate ya.

 

And, for the most part, I’d call that a nice brief wrap-up of a handful of events these last few months.

 

Happy Spring to ya.  Be Present in all you do!

 

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!

🙂

 

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!

 

 

 

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!