Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Fighter: Lyrics

I just added these lyrics to the post "More About Training: The Fighter."  And here they are again:

"The Fighter"
(feat. Ryan Tedder​)


Just waking up in the morning
And to be well,
Quite honest with ya,
I ain't really sleep well
Ya ever feel like your train of thought's been derailed?
That's when you press on - Lee nails
Half the population's just waitin to see me fail
Yeah right, you're better off trying to freeze hell
Some of us do it for the females
And others do it for the retail

But I do it for the kids, life threw the towel in on
Every time you fall it's only making your chin strong
And I'll be in your corner like Mick, baby, 'til the end
Or when you hear a song from that big lady

[Bridge]
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do ya'll?

[Chorus - Ryan Tedder]
Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

[Verse 2]
And if I can last thirty rounds
There's no reason you should ever have your head down
Six foot five, two hundred and twenty pounds
Hailing from rock bottom, loserville, nothing town

Text book version of a kid going nowhere fast
And now I'm yelling, "Kiss my ass"
It's gonna take a couple right hooks, a few left jabs
For you to recognize you really ain't got it bad

[Bridge]
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do ya'll?

[Chorus - Ryan Tedder]
Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

Everybody put yo hands up
What we gonna do (hey!) [x4] y'all?
What we gonna do (hey!) [x3] y'all?

If you fall pick yourself up off the floor (get up)
And when your bones can't take no more (c'mon)
Just remember what you're here for
Cuz I know Imma damn sure

Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

'Til the referee rings the bell
'Til both ya eyes start to swell
'Til the crowd goes home,
What we gonna do kid?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different:

No, you silly, not Monty Python ---



--- but an amazing concert I attended tonight:

Jazz saxophonist Patrick Lamb joined the Vocal Jazz children of Grass Valley Elementary School to play and improvise with them.

Jeff and I went because a young friend of ours is the percussionist for the group. We'd attended last year's concert and were impressed with the kids' talents and professionalism, but this year was even better.

Patrick improvised and riffed with the children, posed for photos, and then he and pianist Jean-Pierre Garau played some classic and original jazz songs, including the best version of "Hallelujah" I've ever heard in my whole life. He invited our friend the drummer to sit in, too --- and what an experience for that young musician, who played with Patrick and Jean-Pierre like a professional.

At the end of the last song, Patrick invited the children to come up in front to dance, and then led them, like the Pied Piper, through the aisles of the audience. Afterwards, he signed autographs and gave out hugs and congratulations to the kids.

Patrick Lamb's song "Maceo" on his new album just hit # 2 on the Contemporary Billboard Charts. (And I found out by talking to his wife afterwards, as I was buying two of his CDs, that it's not pronounced like it's a Spanish word ("mah-say-oh") but like "mace-ee-oh.")

Sunday, May 26, 2013

After Training: How to Know When Your 10 Minutes Is Up


On Saturday I went to the 7:30 am cycling class, taught by Robert. Sometimes after that I go to the last half-hour of Kevin's boot camp class.

But this time I didn't, because Kevin wasn't there and the way they had the gym set up it looked more like my high school P.E. class than boot camp, and high school P.E. is what just about ruined all sports for me, know what I mean?

Instead, I swam a few laps and went into the sauna.

The sauna and steam room are next to each other. There's a sign outside the sauna saying, "Please limit your time in the sauna to 10 minutes per day."

Likewise, there's a sign outside the steam room saying, "Please limit your time in the steam room to 10 minutes per day."

There were four of us in there: a handsome dark-haired guy who was standing the whole time, a nice-looking girl sitting on the top level next to where I sat down, a nice- and ordinary-looking guy sitting on the bottom level, and me.

I'll call the nice-looking girl Princess because she had Disney-esque long curly hair and even though she was talking about how tough the boot camp class was and she'd been in the sauna for at least 5 minutes, she wasn't sweating at all, know what I mean?

She was talking to the handsome guy (whom I'll call Clark Kent for his nerdy good looks) about how she used to brew her own kombucha.

He was fascinated, but I must say that if she'd been talking about the "O mio Fernando" aria from Carmen he would have been just as fascinated, know what I mean?



(Yeah, any excuse to show a video of an opera aria, know what I mean?)

Princess promised to give Clark Kent the recipe and tell him where he could buy the starter stuff.

"It's like a mushroom, you know, like, all mushy and weird looking, and all full of bacteria, like mushrooms, good bacteria, and it's so good for you? Billions of bacteria? And it's all full of antioxidants, too?"

He nodded appreciatively and smiled. "Yeah, I love kombucha. I'd like to make it myself, instead of buying it all the time."

Another guy came in. I'll call him Yogi, partly because he obviously thought of himself as some kind of yoga master but also because he was about as smart as Yogi Bear, know what I mean?

He had shoulder-length blond hair in a low pony tail, and his eyebrows were white-blond, from the sun or bleach, I don't know. He was wearing only a skin-tight pair of short-shorts that you might expect to see on a little girl, with his outie belly button showing.

Yogi sat on the top bench opposite Princess and carefully arranged his legs into a lotus pose and then leaned over and did a couple of push-ups, holding onto the edge of the bench.

When he sat back up he glanced around out of the corner of his eyes to see if anyone had been watching.

Princess said, "But now I'm doing something else? It's called ionized water? You have to get this machine, it's Japanese, and it ionizes the water for you?"

Clark Kent raised an eyebrow and smiled. Princess went on. "You know how water molecules are all clustered together into really big bunches? And that makes it hard for your body to absorb them? Well, this ionizing machine disconnects them so they're smaller and they're able to get into your cells better? It's so healthy, it makes you feel so good!"


Yogi: Oh, yeah, water molecules, they're all acid, you know, they got a pH of about 9, you know, they're bad for you.

Princess: That's right, and when you separate them out, they---

Yogi: All that cancer, that's all a condition of acidity. People oughta cut all that acid out of their diet, you know, like those Coca Colas and Pepsis and stuff, they're all acid, that's what's giving everybody cancer.

Clark Kent: Acid isn't really the cause of cancer.

Yogi: How can you say that? How can you believe that? Have you been indoctrinated by the medical - pharmaceutical industry?

Clark Kent: I treat people with cancer. Acidity isn't what causes cancer.

Yogi: Oh yeah, you work for the AMA or something? That's pretty heavy.

Clark Kent: No, I don't work for the AMA. And I'm not a doctor. I'm a technician. I give radiation treatments to people who have cancer.

Yogi: That's what GIVES people cancer! All that radiation and stuff.

Clark Kent: That is not what gives people cancer.

Ordinary Guy: Looks around at everyone, smiles, says, "Well, my ten minutes is up," gets up, walks out.

Princess: Anyway, I'll tell you where you can get one of those machines that ionizes your water for you?

Yogi: It's all the doctors, all those treatments. You shouldn't be doing that stuff. That's when we started getting cancer, when all the doctors started getting power. You see the rise in doctors? Goes right along with the increase in cancer. They want us to be sick. They're keeping us from being healthy.

Clark Kent: I see people being cured of cancer all the time, and it's because of the medical profession, the research doctors are doing, the radiation treat---

Yogi: I'm an electrician, so I know about this. The ions, they're all about the electrons and protons and atoms and all that stuff in the cells, you got to separate them out. Yeah, that ionizer, that's the thing. Because water by itself, it's got a pH of about 9, can't be good for you.

Me: Water has a pH of 7. It's neutral.

Yogi: No, it's 9 on a scale of 0 to 15. It would be neutral, it would be 7.5, but it's got all those extra electrons in it, so it's acidic.

Clark Kent: The scale is 0 to 14.

Yogi: I thought it was 15.

Princess: Anyway---

Yogi: I'm an electrician. I understand about electrons. If I came to your house and wired it for you, and your house exploded on you, you'd never call me back to come wire it for you again, would you?

[Long silence]

Yogi: Same with the medical profession. The doctors are making us worse, not better. You go see a doctor and he says you've got cancer, you've got to consider he's the reason you got it. So you don't go to that doctor any more. You're better off without him. See, we were all better off when we didn't have electricity. We had to walk out in the woods to get our own wood for our own fire, heat our own house. And people didn't have electricity then.

Me (with a huge smile---I couldn't help myself): Well, I think my ten minutes are up, too. And I certainly agree that I wouldn't ask you to wire my house. Have a great day, everyone.

I gave a thumbs-up and went into the steam room. There was Ordinary Guy, sitting by himself, smiling hugely at me. 

Ordinary Guy: That guy has some kind of disorder.

Me: Yeah. What would you call it? Maybe it's the Great North American Way: have an opinion based on complete ignorance and misunderstanding, and defend it stupidly to the death.

Ordinary Guy: No, I'd just call it narcissism.

Me: Yeah, that's it. And anyway why would we malign the Canadians and Mexicans, when it's just us?

Ordinary Guy: All I want is to come and sit in the heat and relax, no talking.

Me: Yeah, I know what you mean.

[Long silence]

Me: You a psychiatrist?

Ordinary Guy: No, why?

Me: Pretty apt diagnosis.

Ordinary Guy: No, I'm an insurance adjustor, in the process of getting a divorce, so I'm hearing a lot of that kind of psych talk.

Me: Oh.

Ordinary Guy: No, I don't mean psycho, I mean counseling, psychology. But it looks like we're just both going different ways. Sometimes someone just decides they don't want to keep going the way they were before, know what I mean?


Me: I'm sorry. Good luck to you and your wife.

Ordinary Guy: Thanks.

He glances out the glass door, smiles, and nods so I'll look out too. Princess and Clark Kent are talking animatedly outside the door. Yogi is there, too, hand on door, getting ready to come in. 

Ordinary Guy: Well, my ten minutes is up. See you later.

Me: Yep, my ten minutes is up, too.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cute Kids (Not About Training, For Once)

One thing about living in this beautiful green part of the country. It's not like April showers bring May flowers. It's like April showers bring May rains.

Which is okay with me, because I *LOVE* the rain, even though I'm apparently the only adult around here who's still loving it.

The kids of course are still enjoying the rain.

We saw the umbrellas first. Then, when we stopped to take a photo, we saw the children playing behind them. They said sure, we could take a photo, so here it is:


Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Motivational Video (Still About Training)

Yes indeed, it's still all about training:

 Don't Stop Believin'!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More About Training: The Fighter

Thanks to Lisa for showing me this video (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the lyrics):


This reminds me so much of a book I first read while we lived in KSA, "The Power of One." In fact, I'm re-reading it now, to the exclusion of getting some work done. And I'm going to watch the DVD again this week and then loan the book and movie to any and all friends who are interested.

There's more: I recently read "The Heart and the Fist,"  by former Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar Eric Greitens; and I've just re-re-read chapter 3, "Boxing." I guess this is so fascinating to me because of the work ethic and commitment. (Not [just] the blood.)

Here's Greitens' appearance on the Daily Show earlier this month. What he's doing now is remarkable: helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans continue serving people through his organization "The Mission Continues."


Anyway, yes, Rick, my coach-for-the-day during Reach the Beach, is 6'7", one tall dude, and a lot of what he was telling me about was how he and his wife are taking their vegetarian diet toward becoming complete vegans. Radicalizing me indeed. So now I'm also re-reading "The China Study" and picked up from B&N last night "Salt Sugar Fat," which is enough to radicalize even the most mac-and-cheese-loving fast-food fanatic in the U.S. About all of which of course Madame L will have a lot to say later this summer.

"The Fighter"
(feat. Ryan Tedder​)


Just waking up in the morning
And to be well,
Quite honest with ya,
I ain't really sleep well
Ya ever feel like your train of thought's been derailed?
That's when you press on - Lee nails
Half the population's just waitin to see me fail
Yeah right, you're better off trying to freeze hell
Some of us do it for the females
And others do it for the retail

But I do it for the kids, life threw the towel in on
Every time you fall it's only making your chin strong
And I'll be in your corner like Mick, baby, 'til the end
Or when you hear a song from that big lady

[Bridge]
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do ya'll?

[Chorus - Ryan Tedder]
Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

[Verse 2]
And if I can last thirty rounds
There's no reason you should ever have your head down
Six foot five, two hundred and twenty pounds
Hailing from rock bottom, loserville, nothing town

Text book version of a kid going nowhere fast
And now I'm yelling, "Kiss my ass"
It's gonna take a couple right hooks, a few left jabs
For you to recognize you really ain't got it bad

[Bridge]
Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do ya'll?

[Chorus - Ryan Tedder]
Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

Everybody put yo hands up
What we gonna do (hey!) [x4] y'all?
What we gonna do (hey!) [x3] y'all?

If you fall pick yourself up off the floor (get up)
And when your bones can't take no more (c'mon)
Just remember what you're here for
Cuz I know Imma damn sure

Give em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life 'til we're dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That's what they'll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one's a fighter

'Til the referee rings the bell
'Til both ya eyes start to swell
'Til the crowd goes home,
What we gonna do kid?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reach the Beach (Yes, More About Training)

I reached the beach! I rode the 80+ miles*** from Newberg High School all the way to the finish line at the beach at Pacific City, and as I rode under the finish sign, they were playing "Eye of the Tiger" on the loudspeakers. Perfect!

(Warning: there's blood in this video. I chose this one, not the "Survivor" music video, which shows a bunch of cute long-haired musicians strutting around...because...no explanation necessary, right?)

***The official Reach the Beach materials say in some places this is a 75-mile ride and in others it's an 80-mile ride, but if you add up all the distances from the little map brochure showing the roads and distances in each section, they add up to 83 miles, which Jeff (bless his heart) says means it's probably really 85 miles.

I did it in just under 7 hours, counting stops and breaks, so an average of about 12 mph, so probably a little over 12.5 mph while actually on the road. I've got four weeks to get faster and stronger for the Huntsman.

What a great ride! I was worried about riding alone, but as I rode out of the parking lot of the high school, another rider was leaving at the same time. The other members of the team he was supposed to ride with were going to meet him at the next starting place (Amity), and this was his fourth time for Reach the Beach, and he wasn't in a hurry, so even though I told him to go on ahead and not wait for me, he stuck with me.

Then, when we got to Amity and Rick could look at his phone, he found out his teammates had bailed because of the rain. (Inconceivable, right?)

(Jeff had checked the weather map before we left in the morning, and told me it was raining in Newberg but was supposed to clear up there by noon and be clear at the beach. Shows how much those weather guys know!)

(By the way, Jeff is going to do a guest review for Madame L of Nate Silver's "The Noise and the Signal," which Madame L reviewed some months ago, when he finishes reading it.  Madame L has promised me that this will be a much more complete review than hers was. And I hope Jeff will explain why weather guys usually predict more bad weather than what we actually end up experiencing. But, wow, did they underestimate it this time!)

Anyway, Rick stuck with me for the rest of the ride, too.  That is, when there was room on the road for people to ride side by side, he rode next to me and talked about all kinds of interesting things;**** when the roads were narrow or there were lots of other riders around, he rode ahead and then circled around to encourage me. I introduced him to Jeff at Amity, and the three of us chatted at every rest stop after that where Jeff could meet us.

****He told Jeff he was radicalizing me on diet and nutrition, which is true. I'll write more about this later.

Jeff was waiting at the Grand Ronde lunch stop. The lunch was fantastic: whole-wheat bread and peanut butter and jelly and tuna salad and chicken salad for making your own sandwiches; salad greens and dressings for making your own salads; vegetarian 5-bean chili with tortilla chips on the side; potato salad; banana halves and orange slices; lots of cookies, including Oreos; and I'm sure there was more which I just didn't notice.

It turns out that Rick is a veteran (Army) and works now for the VA, so he was appropriately impressed with the Camelbak Derek had given me. (THANKS AGAIN DEREK FOR THAT!) Rick had also rowed crew in college and coached a women's crew team after that, and he was a great coach for me this day.
You can see the mud splatters on the Camelbak, while I'm admiring
this Australian sheepdog puppy.


And that Camelbak really got its baptism by mud on this day. Because---did I mention this yet?---it rained most of this trip. It was raining when we left Newberg, raining most of the way to Amity, raining from Amity to the Grand Ronde lunch stop, raining from there to the Little Nestucca River rest stop, and though the sun came out for about 5 minutes halfway from Little Nestucca to the beach, it was raining from about 6 miles from the finish all the way to the beach.

"Are you bragging or complaining?" my dad would say. I'm definitely bragging! I heard some riders say this was God's way of evening things out because last year the weather was clear and sunny and beautiful. But Rick said this was God's way of helping me toughen up for the Huntsman 140 and also to make sure I'll really appreciate the good weather at next year's Reach the Beach.


Jeff saw this osprey guarding its nest, somewhere between Grand Ronde and the finish line. I saw an osprey --- maybe this one or its mate --- soaring above us as we rode. I also saw three great blue herons and two goldfinches. I hadn't expected to be able to do more than focus on the road in front of me, but the ride was beautiful, through hills and past all kinds of crops, and I felt blessed to see these birds, too.

As we rode through the town of Pacific City to the beach, where the ride officially ended, crowds of people lined the street, calling out, "Good job! You did it! Congratulations!" --- and not just to whoever they were there specifically to support, but to every rider who went past them.

Jeff also took photos with Rick's i-phone, for him to send to his wife.

Then: for this ride, it's not enough to arrive at the beach: You also have to hoist your bike high above your head in a gesture of victory.

Could I even pick up my bike? I was doubtful, but when Rick offered to help me hold it up for the photo, I said, "No, Derek would be ashamed of me if I couldn't do this myself!" So I held it up myself. I really did get it all the way up, though I don't have the photo that proves that.
The American Lung Association, which sponsored this ride, did a fantastic job for bikers' safety and hydration and snacks and lunch and dinner and an amazing welcome party at the beach.

It was raining there, too, though, so I ate quickly, standing up in the wet sand, while Jeff got my bike into the car; and then we headed for home. I started getting warm around Tillamook, after we found a Safeway with a Starbucks and I could get a Venti hot chocolate (fat-free milk, with whipped cream, yum). I texted to Derek the photo proving I'd made it to the beach. And today I started back in training by attending Derek's Monday morning boot camp class.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Road Rash and Lessons Learned

I've been informed (ha ha) that I should have sent the photo of my skinned knee to everyone. This information was provided with a lot of funny stories of blood running down one's leg and into one's socks and shoes. Something to aim for? I don't think so.

Anyway, here's the photo I took of my knee later, after I'd cleaned up the knee a bit and ridden a few miles.

 In fact, I took this photo when I had to stop four miles later because of a flat tire. The lesson I learned from the flat tire is that I need to practice getting the tire off the rim by myself so I can change flat tires all by myself in the future, instead of waiting for a long time until someone offers to help and really means it, which is what happened that day.
And here's a photo of the hill where I fell down. I took this later, on my way back to Banks. You cam see that I'm not the first one who skidded and fell here. Where I fell was just downhill from this section: after negotiating that turn and still not going slowly enough to make the next one, and seeing that my choice was to skid out and fall down on the left or just fall over the very steep hill on the right, I opted to fall to the left.

The lessons I learned from this hill are to slow down before I get to anything that looks like a steep hill and to assume it will be steeper than it appears and to recognize that it may combine an S-curve with the steepness.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

More Training: Banks to Vernonia

I rode 50 miles on this great Oregon State Trail on Saturday, the 11th of May. 

The trail is 21 miles long, so I rode from Banks to Vernonia and back, and then 4 miles out and back, for my total miles.  

It was a great ride, with a fall that ended up with only a skinned knee and then, four miles later, a flat tire which a very kind couple helped me fix (and the wife gave me a bandage for my knee).


The world's best husband encouraged me to keep going even after I was ready to call it a day, so that I finished the whole distance I'd planned to do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

More Training: RACC

Two days after my ride east of Salt Lake City, I did the 34-mile version of the Vancouver Bicycle Club's thirtieth annual Ride Around Clark County.

Jeff went with me, thinking he would go just part of the way, but he ended up completing the whole thing with me. He's one tough guy! (And, by the way, that ride was not 34 miles long. It was 35.6 miles!)

Right now his bike is at Larry's getting fixed so he can go with me tomorrow for a 40-something-mile ride from Banks to Vernonia and back. Again, he's saying he won't go the whole way. But we'll see.

It was fun riding with so many people, all of whom were pleasant and encouraging. We saw families with little kids on little bikes, a couple on a bicycle built for two, and moms and pops pulling trailers with babies behind them.

I didn't take any photos --- it would have been impossible --- but enjoyed some beautiful sights, including my favorite lupines blooming beautifully purple in the field west of the Lacamas Lake bike trail. I'll take a photo of that later to include here.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Crossing the Plains, 21st Century Style

Our pioneer forebears took almost the same route (I-80 West from Iowa City to Salt Lake City).

The pioneers had to leave some things behind, though, things we were able to take, like heavy couches, a piano, bookcases, and hundreds of books.

See this photo of the mom holding half the weight of a large couch while she and her husband are moving it out of the house before their helpers arrive? Yeah, she's strong!



When the helpers arrived, the first thing to go in the truck was the piano. Then the couches. And then everything else.

I wanted to help with the piano, but I have to admit it's just as well they didn't let me.


Did I mention that a certain person took his last final exam the day before we started loading up the truck to leave town? Following family tradition, he didn't attend graduation but got straight to work.

Mostly, in the moving-out phase, I got to spend time with these three little darlings:



But some wonderful friends took care of them for several hours on Monday so I could help with the final packing and cleaning. Neighbors brought over snacks and meals so we wouldn't have to cook anything. By the time we finished in that little house, it was spic-and-span.

We thought we'd be able to leave by Monday afternoon, but that just didn't happen. Oh, well.

I've lately been studying the movement of the Mormon pioneers on their westward trek, and I'm amazed and appalled at their sufferings.

For us, it was mostly a pleasant drive (at least until we hit western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming).

And we didn't see any buffalo, which the pioneers saw in places so thick they made the prairie appear black. And we didn't have to worry about our oxen and horses and cattle not having enough grass to eat because the buffalo would graze the land empty except for the blowing dust before they arrived.


 And what about our rest stops? These modern versions of watering holes are gas stations and fast-food places ranging in size from humongous truck stops like the one just east of Cheyenne where we spent the night of April 30 through the morning of May 1 to little mom-and-pop places like the one between Laramie and Rawlins where we spent just a few minutes before going on.




(I took a photo of every single one of these, though  I'm not going to upload every one of them here.)

The trip started out easy --- until we hit western Nebraska and started to see snow on the road, then snow coming down harder, and then coming down so hard we couldn't believe it was "spring." And then we hit eastern Wyoming, where the snow turned into a blizzard. It was only then that we saw the signs saying I-80 was closed from the middle of Nebraska into Cheyenne. They must have closed it just after we went through.

This is what the snow looked like, huge beautiful flakes coming so fast toward us that we were blinded.

We got off the Interstate just after we entered Wyoming and spent a couple of hours on a frontage road waiting for the snow to slow down a little. When it did, we limped into the first truck stop we saw just east of Cheyenne and spent the rest of the night there.

When we stopped at that truck stop east of Cheyenne, we thought we'd be able to start again right away. But the snow only got worse, then worse still, then worst of all.

But around 5:30 in the morning, we decided we needed to get going again, even though some people coming into the place told us that the road was "treacherous" and the snow plows few and far between. 

So we headed out, with me driving the rental truck this time.

First time I've driven such a large vehicle, and I've got to admit it was fun! I was right when I speculated ahead of time that the "trick" is wide turns. Now I may be able to achieve my long-time dream of becoming a full-time truck driver. Because why else would someone spend so many years in various colleges across the whole country for about half her adult life?

We were lucky we got on the road before they closed it. Again, we saw "Road Closed" signs all along the way, and along the frontage roads at every exit huge semis waiting to be given permission to get back on the highway.

The going was slow, and we had to stop again just east of Laramie when we ran into white-out conditions. There we waited an hour, eating breakfast at a great little restaurant. When we started again, the snow was decreasing, and by the time we got to Rawlins, we were going the speed limit.

(And did you know the speed limit on rural sections of Interstate highways in Wyoming is 75 mph? Yeah!)

One thing that helped us pass that night was watching one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, even for Bill Murray:  "The Man Who Knew Too Little." Enjoy!

(What would the pioneers have done with Bill Murray, I wonder! Laughed their heads off, as we did, I suppose. I mean, I hope they still had a sense of humor after going through conditions much worse than what we experienced, and without pleasant heated vehicles like ours, and the chance to buy snacks [including some really really horrible hot dogs at one place] like we did.)

Finally we got to "Newtah," as Gabriel calls it. And were we ever relieved that it wasn't snowing west of Rawlins, because I'd hate to have driven the truck for that last bit, Evanston to the Newtah border, with ice and snow on the road. (I've done it before in a 4WD vehicle, and that wasn't even fun. Not at all.)

And there were more family members waiting there to help unload the truck, which they accomplished in a couple of hours. For the final bit, the piano, two of the sisters went around to the neighbors' houses, ringing the doorbells and introducing themselves, until they found two men who helped with that. Pizza for dinner (could the 19th-century pioneers even have imagined it?) made a perfect ending to the move.

One more thing: If I didn't already live in the most perfect place in the entire continental U.S., I'd like to live in eastern Wyoming, because it's so incredibly beautiful, even if winter does seem to last nine months of the year there.


More Training: Riding in Utah

Neva took me on a 23-mile ride on the southeast side of Salt Lake City. We started just west of Highland Drive in the city of Cottonwood Heights, with an elevation of over 4,800 feet, and went east on Creek Road, to Wabash Blvd., going up in elevation to somewhere close to 5,300 feet (USGS topographic map).

It was hard but exhilarating, especially going 41 mph down Wabash Blvd. (Neva went 45 mph!)



Neva let me use her newer bike while she used her old one, and she also let me use a pair of her shoes and a helmet so I wouldn't have to bring my own. (And she took a day off work and drove all the way from Evanston to come down to "Newtah" to do this for me.)

She also brought energy drinks and snacks for us, and taught me how to drink and eat them as we rode. I was able to draft behind her a few times.

And I learned an interesting lesson: When you're going downhill at around 40 mph, do NOT, I repeat, NOT stand up in the stirrups (I mean pedals) and lean forward to enjoy the wind streaming past your face.

Because that unbalances the bike, removing your weight, over the back wheel, which was keeping it steady on the ground, and the bike begins to feel like it's going to float away, but only AFTER it throws you over the handlebars.

Fortunately, I learned this before the bike bucked me and floated away, sitting back down quickly.

But, just because, you know, it's me, hello, Mother!, and I wanted to see what would happen if I tried it again, I did. And guess what: It did the same thing, and I lost a water bottle during that maneuver.