Goals Challenges

on Tuesday, December 31, 2013
While I didn't begin the year with any kind of intentions, I feel like I have grown anyways. When I was young I used to write New Year's resolutions on a nice white piece of paper and tie it with a red ribbon. I used the same ribbon year after year.  I was writing down things I wished I could do or would like to accomplish. I think I wrote "Stop biting finger nails." every year for about 5 years. I continued this tradition until I was in my teens. Then, I realized that it was futile. I wrote what I wanted and then didn't look at it again until the next NYE.

I gave up resolutions all together after that. In 2012, I wrote out my intentions for the year. I thought using the word intentions would make them softer, more flexible. Once again I wrote them out and never thought much about them. I realize now that even though I am super goal oriented. When you write out resolutions they are usually good ideas but not super important. Real stuff I get done. Good ideas happen if the mood/time/money works out just right.

So let me indulge myself in reflecting on some things I feel like I've become better at over the past year. They weren't resolutions but things that I've found joy in.

  • Bike Touring. I feel like I became a real cycle tourist in 2013.  We hit the road several times with our gear on our bikes and a map. 5 days of self supported touring across KS were some of the best days I had.Our trips in 2013 validated that we have what it takes to be vagabonds and enjoy it!
  • Commuting. I've been commuting for a few years & each year I extend my commuting season a little bit longer. This year I've commuted in every month. Some years I give up at the end of October. Allergies & cold shut me down. I owe my blogroll to keeping me motivated to cycling in the winter. Seeing people all over, in all kinds of weather & gear riding to work has been inspiring. I've become SO MUCH better at layering that I can get to work without freezing to death! 
  • The Great Outdoors. I feel like my husband has opened up the great outdoors to me. Before we met I was a single parent who was doing everything and had little time to go adventuring. Now that the kids are older (21 & 16!) and I have more time and someone to explore with that has changed. I find that I crave the outside. I didn't see that one coming! I've always enjoyed nature but to actually lose my mind because I needed to go outside was a new one for me.
I don't have 2014 all planned out nor do I have a list of intentions that I'd like to perfect. I do know it will be full of family, good times, bad times, & hopefully a ride or two around Leavenworth, Hawaii, Spain, or Germany!

Happy New Year!


on Friday, December 27, 2013
Our holidays have been full of food & family.

We not only celebrate Christmas but 3 birthdays in December! Mine on the 10th, Lance's on the 24th, & Janai's on the 25th.

So our Christmas is full! There has been little cycling because of the ice but we did walk to Christmas dinner at Gran & Papas. Today promises to be a great day for a ride but we will pass because we don't want to miss out on visiting with family. We hope that you have as much fun celebrating the ones you love.

Lighted Holiday Parade

on Monday, December 9, 2013
 This weekend we participated in the Lighted Holiday Parade. We decorated our bikes and road a few blocks in the freezing cold. Our bike club was supposed to participate but they all chickened out! It was about 19 F and dropping. It's hard to get good pictures when you're frozen waiting for the parade to start and when it's dark.
Lance road the Unicycle
Bundled up!!

Lighted bike. Super hard to capture.
We ate out afterwards and our pile of coats & warm gear was almost as tall as Quentin who is 6'6.

KC Riverfront Heritage Trail

on Monday, December 2, 2013
Sunday we found ourselves with excellent weather (mid-50s) and a few hours of daylight on our hands. We decided we would explore a little bit of our own area that we don't get to via bike. The KC Riverfront Heritage Trail. This trail is relatively new and is still in progress. It's all paved and most of it is in the urban area of the east bottoms of KC.

We parked close to KCK Chamber of Commerce and road over the Woodsweather Bridge which was the big draw for me. I didn't get any great pictures but the bridge is beautiful with art sculptures just under I-70. You continue on in the east bottoms, an industrial area that is kind of dodgy but seems perfectly ok on a Sunday afternoon. Follow the Bike Route signs and before you know it you've crossed to MO river and are now in the urban chic Rivermarket.

We picked up the Riverfront Trail at the Rivermarket area and followed the large paved sidewalk all the way to the Isle of Capri Casino where the trail ended. It appears more trail is in the works and it seems that most of it is geared for commuters which is a good thing because downtown KC seems overwhelming to me on a bike.

Dodgy part of East Bottoms
It was fun learning a new way to get to an area we like. We road for pleasure not for sport. Don't we always!

It was the day for bridges! We saw a ton of them.

More bridges & the Mighty MO

Coffee break at the Rivermarket Coffeehouse

Coffeeneur No 7- Queen's Pantry

on Monday, November 18, 2013

My final Coffeeneuring trip was Saturday. I used the special category of buying beans or tea. I road to downtown Leavenworth to the Queen's Pantry THE best tea shop in the Kansas City area. Seriously. They have a huge selection of teas and their staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and their shop is just so pleasant. A true asset to our community.

I bought our Christmas teas & found a few new flavors to try. In total I purchased 12 ounces of loose leaf tea! Queen's Birthday Cake (one of our favorites), Vanilla, Merlin's brew, & Irish Cream. While I was there I picked up some local, raw honey.

Wall of teas
blurry Churchill's Toddy Tea
I road my commuter bike- Pearl. I don't think I've ever expanded on how I came to own Pearl on the interwebs. Pearl is a Cyclepro bike. I don't even know her model name. When I started getting to know Lance it was winter and I mentioned that one year I had walked to work every day during the summer. It was a refreshing change. I had people suggest I get a bike and the thought was intriguing but I knew NOTHING about buying a bike and the price tags were staggering to me. Well, this was the very beginning of getting to know my now husband. I knew he liked bikes but I had no idea that they were a huge part of his identity. We lived in different states at the time (2.5 hrs apart) and when we saw each other about a month later he presented Pearl to me. He had picked up the bike at a Goodwill a few months before meeting me and it was just sitting in his apartment. Once we met he knew the bike was meant for me so he cleaned her up, put on new tires, shifters & the like and she was as good as new. I'm pretty sure that was the weekend I realized he really was the real deal. We were married the following year.
Total Miles: 3.25

Winter Commuting

on Friday, November 15, 2013
Winter cycling is here. The snow hasn't fallen yet but on the day this was taken it was 21F, factor in the 5 degree windchill I create while riding and I'd say that this day qualifies as a winter commute, even if the calendar says it's still fall. Here in KS we will have 20 degree weather one day and 60 the next. It fluctuates so much before the snow flies.  Last year I tried to commute as long as I could but chickened out by November. It was hard to stay warm and riding home by myself in the dark wasn't much fun. I'm not sure what has changed this year? It could be a winter's worth of reading blogs written by people who were still bundling up and commuting to work while I was warm & cozy. It could be that I've been stocking up on wool or that I now have a 150 lumen light. Either way I feel prepared to ride my bike until the snow is too deep to pedal. I even got the fur out although my husband thinks it's a bit over the top.

My outfit in the picture above:
Bottom: Opaque Tights, black leggings, wool socks & boots.
Top: Tank top, Dress, Wool sweater, Coat (cashmere & wool blend), Wool scarf
Tippy Top: Ear Warmers, wool hat & wool gloves.
The only thing that got cold were my fingers. I needed to wear my double layered wool mittens, which I dug out and wore today! It seems like a lot of layers but for 15F & wind it felt perfect.

Coffeeneuring No 6- Sunday Morning Casey's

on Thursday, November 14, 2013
Sunday morning, 2 weeks ago we got up early to complete our 6th Coffeeneuring trip. Unfortunately, we don't have any coffee shops open on Sundays. We had already coffeeneured Daylight Donuts so we hit the next best thing...Casey's gas station. They actually have decent coffee and donuts.

Casey's Gas Station
It was a very sunny, but chilly morning. Once again we layered up (I'm getting really go at this by the way) and road on over to Casey's where we bought a cup of joe and a donut.  I have had some coffee shop envy looking at everyone else's fancy latte art but it is what it is. And the company on this ride was the best in the world!

No latte art here.
Sunshine & wool!
I road my Giant Innova, maybe on my final coffeeneur challenge I will ride Pearl my mixte commuter. She's my everyday bike.
Parking lot breakfasts!

Protector of the bikes.

My gluten for the day.
Total Miles 4 ish

Picture 752

Picture 752 by accountantinoz
Picture 752, a photo by accountantinoz on Flickr.

Coffeeneuring No 5- Harbor Lights Coffeehouse

on Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Bundled up ready to head out.

Saturday afternoon I headed downtown to join my love for a hot drink. It was sunny & lovely & I will admit that I would not have road my bike that day without this challenge.

Squint, It's Bright!
Harbor Lights Coffeehouse is a cozy coffee/ sandwich shop. Over a year ago they started making all their baked goods in house. I've always been curious if this has helped their bottom line enough to make it worth the effort. They are a mom & pop business & I imagine they are tied that much more to the place. They do take Sunday off. 

It was nice to take a break from my Saturday chores. The leaves are colorful this year! I'm so glad because last year was a bit of a let down.
My handsome date- Chai Tea & Hot Chocolate

Total Mileage: 4 miles
Beverages: Chai Tea Latte (Lance) Hot Chocolate (Jennifer)
Bikes: My touring bike Giant Innova, Lance's Panasonic 3 speed he bought for $2!

Sights of Fall

Coffeeneuring No. 4- Coffee Shop Without Walls

on Monday, October 28, 2013
This coffeeneuring trip I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head just a few miles out of the city limits. The leaves have not fully turned but they are working on it. My destination was a cemetery that I ride by all the time but haven't really stopped to check out.

It is possibly the only Jewish cemetery in our city and I was blown away by it. First, I didn't expect it to be so large. It doesn't look that big from the road. You can see the mausoleum from the road, and that is impressive but I had not expected rows and rows of intricate, beautiful, giant headstones.

Most headstones were at least 6 feet tall & were ornate. I had a hard time getting pictures because well...I'm not a photographer, but also the position of the sun made lots of shadow. I recognized many family names but the one that stood out to me was the Abeles family. We have a football field in town called Abeles field and there is a huge, archway at the field. Very similar to their headstone! This headstone is 15 feet tall.
Abeles Grave Stone

Next to it was another family members headstone/bench. I was at a loss on this one. Is it disrespectful to sit on someone's grave?

I explored the graves for awhile. Then, I sat on the sidewalk, brewed some Black Silk Folgers on our homemade camp stove and appreciated the beauty of the cemetery.

Coffeeneuring No. 3- Starbucks Lame

on Tuesday, October 22, 2013
My third Coffeeneuring trip was made on Columbus Day via the "Tara Rule". I took an afternoon break and road over to Starbucks.

Our Starbucks is inside a grocery store. I ordered a Chai Tea Latte & it was good but the trip was lame-o.

It was just stopping and grabbing coffee. None of the relaxing, enjoying the environment, with a thrill of adventure getting coffee like the last two. Obviously I did this one wrong!

I tried to make it look more enticing by taking pictures of my coffee with the pumpkins. :)

Total Mileage 6

Coffeeneuring No. 2 Daylight Donuts

on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The Coffeeneuring challenge officially started on October 5th, the same weekend as our Katy Trail ride. Feeling like I was a bit behind I decided to coffeeneur twice in one weekend.

Sunday, I convinced Lance to get out of bed early before church & ride with me over to Daylight Donuts. Being the good husband that he is, he obliged and we also convinced Quentin to get out of bed and join us. We left the house about 8 am and it was cold! Well not freezing but 50 degree cold. My windchill when riding is about 10 degrees cooler so I dressed for 40 degrees.

I layered myself up with wool & silk (longjohns) and we road to Daylight Donuts. The kid working the counter was hillarious. He had seen we road up on our bikes and he said, in a concerned voice "Was it treacherous out there?" Ha! We live in LV. There is nothing treacherous about Leavenworth! He was impressed to say the least.

We all ordered coffee & cinnamon rolls & were too overdressed to eat inside so we ate on their patio. It was the perfect Sunday morning. Being the nutcases that we are we even video taped a little of our conversation.

Total Miles 5

Coffeeneuring No.1 Scooters

on Monday, October 14, 2013
Patio at Scooters
Last year I missed it! Saw it too late, but this year I'm in it to win it.

Coffeeneuring is what I'm talking about! I've typed that word so many times in I phone that it now recognizes it as a word.

Saturday I took a break from a little housework to ride my bike to get coffee. That is basically what coffeeneuring is. Stopping what you are doing, find some time for yourself, and ride (not race) to get a cup of joe.
View through the "drive" through window

I chose to go to Scooter's in Leavenworth. They have a nice patio & wifi. I even took a book along for some real R & R.

Path to the Patio
I sat for awhile and decided that it was cold in the shady patio. Over to the river I went. I sat on the grass and read 2 whole chapters in this fantastic book!
Missouri River

It was nice to get out and do something I wouldn't normally do.

Total ride was 3.8 miles. It was nice...

Picture Proof

Coffeeneuring at Missouri River