Tandem Rally 2018 – Day 4

This was officially our last day of the NWTR, we will be heading down to Eugene tomorrow to spend some time with my family.

Today started out a little different. Last night when we went to bed we said we would decide in the morning whether or not to do any riding today.

As it turned out there was a huge power outage that encompassed our hotel. We let that drive our decision not to ride but to go back across the ferry and take pictures and enjoy the scenery we had ridden through yesterday.

We drove toward downtown until we ran into working stop lights and began hunting for a place for breakfast and coffee. We were surprised to find that many of the breakfast places are closed on Monday.

Just as we were walking back to the car to search somewhere else we noticed a little cafe on a side street called Little Wuesten German Food. We were able to get homemade seeded rye bread toasted with butter and jam, and scrambled eggs and a cappuccino for Chris and a double espresso for me. It was delicious, reasonably priced and the service was wonderful and very cheery.

After breakfast we headed for the Buena Vista Ferry. It was very windy and cloudy today which made it a bit chilly so it was a great day for sightseeing and taking photos.

Ferrying across the Willamette River.

Just across the river if you look up you can see an Osprey nest. We were lucky enough to see both mom, dad and a couple glimpses of the babies.

After watching the Ospreys nurture their young for a very long time we set off down the road to enjoy the beauty.

We ended up at the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge and decided to take a walk out on the paths. You are not allowed to talk, run or bike on the paths in order to not scare the wildlife.

We took lots of photos and I will share a few here.

We spent about 2 hours walking around and taking photos then went off to find some lunch and maybe a beer.

We found a place in Jefferson called Tommy’s Welcome Inn. They had both food and beer. The food was pretty good the beer was okay.

The town of Jefferson.

Now we’re back in our room getting ready to head out for dinner at a place called Frankie’s in downtown Albany.

Just got back from Frankie’s and dinner was terrific!

We will be spending Independence Day with family.

Our next trip is to Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September! See you then!


Tandem Rally 2018 – Day 3

We decided to go for the longer ride today. At 100k it was a stretch for us as we haven’t done any long rides this year.

We got up at 6:00 and went downstairs for breakfast.

After breakfast a bunch of us decided to wait for the large tandem group from the mass start to pass our hotel and join them then. Great idea except for the the fact that the tandem organizers had changed the beginning of the route at the last minute and the route no longer went by our hotel.

We figured that out fairly quickly and took off to connect to the route.

It was cloudy, breezy and about 60°F and as we rode the clouds began breaking up and revealed a brilliant blue sky. I wish I had been able to take some photos yesterday but my phone battery was threatening to die. Fortunately Chris’s phone was behaving and he took a few photos.

I did get a photo of the line to get on the ferry.

We were directed onto the ferry 25 tandems at a time. This was at the 15.5 mile point in our ride and across the the Willamette was where we would ride a 30 mile loop before returning to the ferry and the rest of the 64.5 miles and back to the hotel.

This was also where we had decided to make our decision as to whether we were going to go for the 64.5 or just do a little over 30 miles.

I’m so happy we decided to do the longer ride, it was just beautiful and we really had no trouble. We just stuck to a spinning pace and kept going through fields and forests and wildflowers. We spent most of the ride by ourselves just humming along.

We made a stop for food in a cute little town called Monmouth and split a delicious panini. The lunch stop was just a little too far for me and I was afraid of “bonking”.

We then made our way to the actual lunch stop that was in a large beautiful park and had a bit more food before continuing on with the ride.

Well we did it! Sixty-five miles and we felt great! I can’t believe it! It was so much fun and such a beautiful area.

We rode back to the hotel with another couple we’d met at the event.

We arranged to meet up for dinner and beers later.

We had a wonderful dinner at a place called Caves Bier and Kitchen. They have a huge beer list as well as good food.

NWTR Albany day 2

Today after a great nights sleep, we went downstairs to have breakfast and get ready to do our first day of tandem riding with 400 of our closest friends.

Downstairs breakfast was an absolute zoo of tandem teams all grabbing breakfast at the same time! I felt sorry for the one overworked woman who was tasked with keeping breakfast items cooked and replaced and coffee pots full. They serve scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits as well as the normal grab and go and waffles.

We had decided to start the first day with the shorter 35 mile ride. It took us through beautiful flat to rolling farm land and through 2 old covered bridges. The day was just beautiful, we were on the bike by 8:00 and it was mid-50s with sunny skies.

This is the first of 2 covered bridges.

This is the second covered bridge.

After the ride we rode back the hotel and got cleaned up.

We found a well reviewed place in downtown Albany called Brick and Mortar and decided to try them for lunch. It was great both service and food and the place was packed!

I had a salmon melt and Chris had a crab cake burger.

Downtown Albany is being restored and is just beautiful. As you can see in the photo of the Flint Bldg above they are restoring all the old downtown. We spent about 2 hours wandering around town.

We also made another visit to the Historic Carousel and Museum to watch the carvers as they worked on the carousel animals. It takes the painters a year or more to paint a carousel animal and can take 8 or more years to carve one.

One of the painters at work on a Unicorn.

When we left the Carousel we walked down the river path to enjoy the Willamette River.

Northwest Tandem Rally – Redding to Albany

Today we got up at 6:00 got showered and had some breakfast. We were on the road before 8:00. It’s slightly less than 6 hours to Albany, OR from Redding, CA according to Waze and traffic turned out to be light.

We had an early lunch at a place called Heaven on Earth Restaurant and Bakery in Azalea, OR. Wonderful food and service, highly recommended. Plus they have amazing cinnamon rolls, I’ve been told. I can attest to the fact that they look delicious and they are huge.

We are now sitting in our room thinking about driving over to the Tandem Rally registration to get our packets.

After getting our packets we went over to The Historic Carousel and Museum in downtown Albany. It is well worth the visit. All of the carousel animals are hand carved by volunteers. They are absolutely incredible. We took a tour of the carving area as well as a ride on the carousel.

Northwest Tandem Rally 2018

We’re off! It took a bit to wrap our heads around what to bring but we are finally packed and out the door.

Love, love, love the packing cubes from EBags! All my cycling clothes for 4 days in one large one and all my regular clothes in another with underwear and socks in a medium. Perfect!

It took us about 7 hours to get to our hotel in Redding. We ran into a couple of accidents. Waze routed us around the first one but couldn’t route us around the second.

On the way to Redding we stopped for lunch at Carl’s Junior in Soledad. Won’t do that again! The people working were great but the bathrooms were filthy and the french fries tasted of rancid grease.

Made it to our hotel and after checking in went to C. R. Gibbs. Had a glass of wine for me and a beer for Chris along with Cajun Chicken Caesars for dinner. The food is always good and so is the service.

Short Trip to Livermore

Today we drove up to Livermore, California with our 1999 Co-Motion Speedster tandem in order to have Livermore Cyclery sell it for us.

We bought a new tandem from Co-Motion last year and decided it was time to get rid of the old one.

We also have the new one with us and plan to do a ride with some friends tomorrow before we head back home.

Livermore has grown a lot since we lived here. We’re very happy we moved when we did.

The photos below were taken the year after we moved away.

Don’t get me wrong Livermore is an adorable town with great pubs, restaurants, wineries and entertainment. Unfortunately all of that awesomeness comes with a price for those living there, the traffic has gotten unbearable.

I managed to confuse the name of the hotel I wanted to book us into with one on the other side of town so I’m a bit bummed about that, not that there is anything wrong with the one we’re in other than location.

Well, the bike ride didn’t happen but we had a great visit with our friends and on the way home we stopped at the Gilroy Outlets. I love Columbia Sportswear and found the mother load of tops and pants that fit. Yay!

We also had a very good lunch with enough leftover for a substantial dinner, at a Chinese restaurant called The Ginger Café just down the row from the Columbia Outlet store. The best vegetable fried rice I’ve had in years and very good service.

Our next trip will be to the NWTR in Albany, Oregon at the end of June.

Went for a walk around the area near our B&B looking for Wisteria

Here in North Carolina, Wisteria grows wild and is very invasive. It is also gorgeous right now. It hangs from trees and (unfortunately) climbs all over houses. Think Kudzu with pretty flowers.

Driving to dinner the other night we saw an old derelict house sagging with Wisteria. Not sure which came first, the dereliction or the Wisteria.

I’m enjoying the beauty of it.

I had some time to myself yesterday morning so I decided to go for a walk in search of Wisteria hanging from trees.

I came upon a dead cat on Main St. complete with flies and odor that was still there from our previous walk a day before, walked past that pretty quickly. I’m sure someone is really missing their little friend. Amazed it hadn’t been removed since it was on the sidewalk near a bench.

I also found lots of beautiful flowering shrubs and dogwood trees. Surprisingly no Wisteria though so we had to drive around later to find some.

Spring is beginning and I think it’s going to be a colorful one here in North Carolina.

Went to dinner at a wonderful little Indian Restaurant in town called Zeera. The food and service were the best.

Now we’re sitting in RDU waiting for our plane. I managed to remember the flight time wrong so we woke up in time to make a 6:30 am flight only to discover our flight didn’t leave until 8:30 am. Oops! Oh well, plenty of time to have breakfast and write this little blog post.

Great flight on Southwest, we even had a comedic purser giving the emergency information on the flight from RDU to Denver. He had us all cracking up.

Fuquay Varina Day 2

Had a great nights sleep in our room in the B&B! Just what we needed!

Got all cleaned up and went over to breakfast. Patty makes such a wonderful breakfast and John makes very special coffee. We also enjoyed a bit of conversation with them.

After breakfast we went for a short walk through town before heading over to visit family.

Violets grow in the grass in peoples lawns.

We went to lunch at a place called Rock Harbor Grill. The guy who owns it has a huge collection of photos and memorabilia of rock icons from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that he has amassed over the last 25 years. The metal sculpture below is near the entrance.

He even has a certified signed guitar from Elvis Presley!

Fuquay Varina Here we Come!

We got up about 7:30 and after having coffee and oatmeal we began packing. After we were packed and pretty much ready to leave, I made us a sandwich to split for lunch.

By noon we were in the van headed up the 101. I had expected there would be plenty of traffic since people would be returning home from holiday celebrations but nope, the traffic was light except for a couple of small jams near Gilroy.

Now we’re sitting in our hotel room waiting for it to be time for dinner, half a sandwich for lunch only lasts so long. Most of the restaurants nearby are closed for the holiday so we’ll eat downstairs in the lounge which doesn’t open until 5:00 pm.

Our Southwest Airlines flight leaves at 6:40 in the morning so we’ll be getting up at 3:00 am in order to have plenty of time to park the van, get checked in at the airport and have breakfast.

So far the airport economy parking looks like the best deal at $18 bucks a night.

San Jose Joe’s at the airport opens for breakfast at 5:00 am, perfect.

Boarding passes printed, check! Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, here we come!

Airport parking was easy peasy and the shuttle arrived right after we parked the car. Only negative was that we were so early getting to the airport that nothing was open. We stood in front of a terminal in standby for 30 minutes before the magic people with the codes showed up to turn them on. From there everything went really quickly. If you haven’t gotten Global Entry yet, get it! Don’t think about it just do it. With Global Entry in the USA you show your Global Entry ID and that’s it, you put your stuff on the conveyer belt and it comes out the other side, you’re done. No standing in line, no taking off your shoes, no remembering to take your plastic bag of stuff out of your carryon…you are done. Totally cool.

By the time we got upstairs (remember how early we got to the airport) we were starving. We went straight to San Jose Joe’s! It was 4:50, they would open in 10 minutes, yeah! Umm…at 5:10 I went up to the drape and asked when they were going to open, I was told about 10 minutes. I guess 5:00 am is a moving target.

We finally got in and breakfast was fine, service was stellar and the coffee was continuous. I was happy!

Our Southwest Airlines flights were on time, uneventful and pleasant. Even out luggage made it! Southwest has never lost our luggage, pretty awesome, I think!

This is the first time I have ever been to the south in the springtime. I’ve been many times in the summer, fall and winter. Did you know that in North Carolina, Wisteria is an invasive weed? I didn’t. It’s beautiful and everywhere, hanging from pine trees and anything else it can attach itself to. There is dogwood absolutely everywhere as well and this is early spring, I would love to see this area when it’s in full bloom! Wow!

We aren’t here for very long but I will try to get a few photos of the Wisteria.

We had dinner at a place called The Mason Jar, it’s just a little tavern with pretty good bar food and some really good beer. The service is so so but sweet and sincere.At The Mason Jar.

Chris and Tracey Travel to North Carolina for a Family Visit

In about 10 days we’ll be traveling to Fuquay Varina, NC. Ever hear of it, I hadn’t before my in-laws moved there. It’s about 25 minutes south of Raleigh, NC.Photo of tiger sculpture from our trip last year.

Cute little town with some good places to eat and a couple of nice brew pubs. We always stay at the Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn and Garden. It’s owned and run by John Byrne, the Mayor of Fuquay Varina, and his wife Patty. They are very interesting, well traveled people and love to entertain you with their stories. Fun fact; John’s father was a member of the New York Yankees and there is Yankee memorabilia all over the house and in the rooms.

Fuquay Varina is famous for and partially named after the  Fuquay Mineral Spring Park People come from miles away to drink from the waters hoping to be healed.