Monday, June 26, 2006

on the go

School ended Wednesday, we took off Thursday. Typical family style for us - although sorta crazy. My mother has been hosting 'Grandma Camp' the last several summers for all of her grandchildren. We headed over the mountains to the cabin to spend some time with grandparents and cousins. My mom likes having a couple of extra grown-ups for back-up, but plans lots of activiites to spend time with the kids. It's sort of a mini-vacation for the grown-ups with a babysitter. Usually when we go to the cabin - a recreation mecca - we play hard all day, drink fine wine, crash hard, and get up to do it all again. We have a beautiful morning view of the valley, and the kids can ride bikes down the street to the cemetary and tease the lamas next door. We can walk into the small western town for window shopping, espresso and ice-cream, and the lake is a few miles up the hill. What more could you want?

So, it was a real bummer when I had to get in those early morning sunrise runs out on the trails with panoric views of the mountains and lakes against a clear blue sky before blistering hot sunshine seared the land. My cross-training adventures continued as well. I came back from a hilly (uphill to see the view and back down) 8 miler, and switched to my biking gear to go for a ride with my father. Around home, I ride on flat, sea-level ground. Out at the cabin, there were no cars around, and the hilly route was calling. It was beautiful and a challenge to keep up with my father. He's the sort of 65 year old man who's run 50+ marathons in his time, many many ultras, and is now a crazy cyclist. He's doing some group ride later this summer - the RAW ride, touring several days with crazy mileage. Anyhow, we only went 15 miles - that was enough for me - then my dad continued to ride to the next town over - and if he wasn't tired, he was going to the town beyond that. I was just his warm-up ride. So, pretty tired I was. I had 20 minutes to shower and head up to the lake with the kids and grandma. They had a 9:00 scheduled community service time with Ranger Rick to shovel and rake sand at the beach. After an hour and a half of that, I was pretty wasted.

My husband deciced to buy a new car and drive it over Friday night to hang with us. The mountain bike trails were calling to him. We bought a mini-van a couple years ago, and have existed proudly with one car for this long. Our life is getting too busy with scheduling for 5 of us, so two cars it is. We went hiking early Saturday - I ended up just going partway with our 2 little ones, then heading back down to play at a nearby boat launch and watch the people coming and going from the lake. This one family of three were heading out in an old rowboat - I swear it was made of tin - with a big rock they hoisted in for an anchor - some sticks to prop the motor so it wouldn't drag - minimal fishing gear and a picnic cooler. They were cracking up at their makeshift adventure - said somebody had given them the boat. They put in and as they drifted out, the woman said, "We're leaking pretty good, I'll just put my foot over the hole." They all laughed at themselves, and the husband said he had a bail bucket on board. They assured me they wouldn't go too far from shore and make me come in for a rescue. I think they must've had the best time out of anyone on the lake that day.

I swam a bit at a different lake at some point during the weekend, but I can't really call it cross-training - mostly riding the waves. I think the best adventure was yesterday. My husband and our oldest had found a couple of geocaches on the Patterson Mountain hike, but we wanted one more. All of the cousins and my sisters had headed home. So, we drug my parents out with our kids for one last hurrah. We loaded up for a 'mountain bike' ride out a two-mile trail one way to find a geocache. A four-mile round trip ride seems pretty minimal, I know, but for one, consider that it was about 95 degrees - 35 celcius. Damn hot. And our 5-year old has training wheels, and I had my road bike, not a mtn. bike. Not too worry - it was a flat, soft trail along the river. Most of our little group mosied along. My husband and I took turns shadowing our little rider, then going ahead and tracking back. Our dog is part shepherd, so she feels the need to always be in the back - it's a herding mentality and she feels more secure bringing in the herd. The mosquitoes were horrible. Nasty horrible. The trail went through patches of sun and shade - almost damp in the shade. Our littlest had issues with her training wheels on the soft parts where her back wheel would just spin and she wouldn't go anywhere. It was tempting to push her, but she'd just hop off her bike, give it a push, and continue on. She stopped in one shady spot, and said it smelled like a rain forest. I though it was pretty astute for 5 yrs - and I don't think she's ever been in a rain forest. Then came the mosquitoes. They didn't land on you when you were moving. As soon as she stopped, they were all around her. She hopped off her bike, started running around and screaming. I said, "honey, hop back on and keep moving and they can't keep up with you." She got on and rode like a bat outta hell the rest of the way. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. We got to the end of the trail by the river, and took turns taking the people mover across the river - sort of a hand-crank powered cage on a cable. A lot of work, but sort of refreshing over the river with the breeze. Our oldest munchkin found the geocache. The dog took a long dip in the water, and we headed back in the same fashion with my husband and I trailing the little one. He seemed fine with her, and our 8-year old was getting worn out from the heat, so I rode on ahead with her. I rode 'til the last half mile with her, gave her some water and words of encouragement to finish, then doubled back most of the route to find the little one. My husband and I watched together as her training wheel screws came out. We let her start to walk as we fussed with it - my husband reaching for his tools. Within moments, mosquitoes swarmed again. I said, bag it - lets just pull it. He dragged it a little ways to keep moving, but it was too slow for the skeeters and they were still nasty. He finally put it on his lap and rode that way in. I stayed with the little one, holding her helmet while she started to run - pacing herself - to keep ahead of the skeeters. Did I say they were evil skeeters - beyond belief? Her velcro viser had fallen off her helmet, and every time I tried to stop to put it on, the skeeters were there - we're talking like 50 at once. I asked her if she wanted a piggy back, and she refused. She hates them. She actually jogged about half a mile this way, stopping to rest, red in the face. Finally she got whiney - every time she stopped, her mosquito friends were there. So, helmet on, she climbed onto my bike, held on tight, and I balanced her on my back the last mile in. Way hilarious. My ten year-old was at the last quarter mile wanting to help. I asked her to wait for the dog, who had gotten so hot, was nowhere in sight. As soon as I came in, my husband headed back out, put our oldest on his handlebars, and called the dog back in. What a crack-up. It was all like some sort of freakish relay. All I know is that I was so mentally fried from the heat that I had to go hang-out downstairs back at the cabin. It's an older home that has concrete walls on half of the downstairs so it was nice and cool.

So, back at home I have no athletic endeavors for the day. Except that it's low tide, and forecast to be over 90 degrees - a rarity on the west side of the mountains - especially in June. So, I'm thinking a few hours in the breeze off the water sounds magnificent.


Just12Finish said...

What a nice adventure!

I hope I'm as with it when I'm 65.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

mmm sounds like fun.

two cars?! what luxury!

JustRun said...

Wow. So funny how the most routine trips can become an adventure. And a good story.

Ugh! I hate mosquitos, too. No one ever talks about them when they talk about the "pristine mountains" or the "warm, tropical beaches" but they are there, waiting for us. Yuck!

Anne said...

Such an idyllic family vacation. And action-packed. What a wonderful gesture for the grandparents to do! I did laugh at the misquito assault and your 5-year-old's great escape. I remember they were awful when I lived in Alaska. That's one nice thing about living in such an arid area now, though the gnats have taken up the torch.

Josh said...

It's really great that you've got your kids so physically active! Kudos!

Sounds like an awesome trip (mosquitoes and all) and the scenery is amazing.

Robb said...

You always seem to pack so much into your family adventures. I aim for the same. It's got to be done, I know. Good memories.

Sarah said...

Grandma Camp sounds great!

Unfortunately, mosquitos love me. But sometimes you just can't avoid them if you want to get out there and have some fun.

Jessica Deline said...

Yes this heat lately has been crazy! seems to be everywhere.

Fun trip! :)