Sunday, November 29, 2009

Company for the Weekend

As I settle into a more normal routine I am finding that domestic life has its fun moments as well. This weekend the gang is gathering in Phoenix to talk a little business, hang out and try and find some silliness. What is interesting is that this will be the first time we are all together here in Phoenix. Usually it is somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, Torrey, or San Antonio.

First in are Bob and Janet from Utah. We stick them in Jackson's Room for the night since we are going to go for a bike ride in the morning.

Everyone settles in except Bob Arch Nemesis. He is on full Code Orange Alert.

Colyn and Jackson have no idea why Bob and Jesus have such a violent Blood Feud. But find it funny that Jesus is using me like a cheap UN Peace Keeper why he plans his next move.

Morning comes, we get the kids off to school and then it is off to go explore a new bike trail we haven't ridden yet. It seems that you can ride from the far NW Valley to the Biltmore along a canal that has underpasses built in so you don't have to cross major streets.

Bob needs a battery for the Sebring so we park at Sears and get ready. My old Trooper now has 156K on the odometer and I still am in awe of it sometimes. I can put 4 full size bikes in the back!

And best of all I still have room in the trooper for the most wonderful woman in the universe.

The ride is amazing and we really are enjoying ourselves out there. As usual this gem is almost completely empty of other folks and even though we are in the middle of town, we are more often amazed at the tranquil sounds of the canal than the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the country.

After about 8 miles though we decide to get some lunch. We got a bit of a late start though. But where to eat it?

Score!!! Finnegan's Irish Pub by Metro Center is perfect!

Don't tell me that Lance doesn't have one of these when he is riding the Emerald Island. They have Beer and Cheese Soup, Fish and Chips and some amazing Hard Cider too. Life is so worthy some days.

With the needed fuel we ride back to the car to go pick up Action Jackson from School. We have plans to meet Louise, Larry and Ed at my house in the Foothills later this evening. The house here out West is big but full. The house on South Mountain will take care of the over flow nicely.

We pull into the house and find that the Texans are here already! We time it perfectly and go to dinner at Va Benne. I never get tired of the food there.

Laura and I beat tracks after dinner across town and in the morning we get the kids up early to go see their adopted Aunts and Uncles.

My parents come and meet us as well. Dad and Larry hit it off right away and the it turns out to be another grand morning.

After breakfast, Larry and Ed go to pick up a Sherpa, Bob and Janet go to run errands in a town bigger than Torrey, and Louise joins us in heading back to the house to get ready to cook Indian Food for the feast tonight.

Laura Cooking an amazing meal. We will have a Cauliflower Potato Soup that is amazing with all the great Indian Spices, Chicken Tiki Masala, I make some Curry Chicken on the Grill along with some Tandori Chicken. The Naan is amazing too.

Photo by Whip
Larry and Edd arrive with the Sherpa.

At this point any semblance of being adults leave all of us. We are out to have fun. Plain and simple.

Photo by Whip
Edd up in a tree showing Michael and Jackson the ropes. He explains how you have to name each area you can sit in. There is more formality to tree climbing than I know.

But don't think for a minute that we don't still have our competitive streak brewing. There is talk of a race. Jackson shows the guys his form of two wheel racing machine. Edd and Larry soon are talking smack and we have a race!

The rules are simple. Out to the 1st light pole, you have to ride the turn and can't just hop off and turn around and then back to the driveway.

As always you must check your ride to ensure it is ready to go. Larry's is a little worse for wear. The racers pull up to the line and await my start signal.

Larry stretches the rules a bit and even without a shoe, he takes a big lead.

Their faces say it all!

Edd fairs little better against the local track champion either.

Boys and their toys.

The ladies coming home from the store though. Laura loves to see us having fun too. Louise and Colyn join in too.

See what I mean?

More racing

Girl Power Baby

Michael practicing for his big ride with Janet for tomorrow.

He has real talent riding.

Meanwhile there is serious work being done in the Kitchen

The living room is a whole other story though!

Dinner is amazing.

Life is so good.

Colyn won't go to bed but she finds a place just as comfortable.

Action Jackson still is going strong and has a future as a Chiropractor...or a circus performer.

Sunday finds us going for a big bike ride.

The gang on the open road

Ok this picture means a lot to me and Laura. Jackson is riding here on his trusty Walmart BMX bike which weighs more that Laura and my bikes combined. He rides it for 15 miles and never has but the one gear. Our little guy rocks!!!!!

These weekends are as great as any of the trips I have taken and are worthy of sharing. See you all down the road!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Its a Total Jeep Thing

I have no intention to ever stop having fun. There I said it. Yup, I mean it too. As I drink my coffee this fine cool Sunday morning in November I keep smiling at the thought of todays adventure. It is different than most of the ones I share yet it is closely related. Today Nick and I are off in the Jeeps but instead of it being he and I exploring, we are bringing the whole clan. Laura, the Kids, and even Russell.

Stepping outside I pull out the Jeep from the Hanger, err garage and determine it may be a tad bit nippy for the top down, but the kids have wanted this and without the soft top here at the house I make the call to keep the lid off. We will bundle!

I love the way the morning sun hits my newly planted flowers.

Ok I need to clean the Mr. G's windows but our hero looks darn good even in sweats.

As I go back inside the kids are stirring and they are already saying things like "Do I really need a coat?"

I tell Jackson to get on his coat and we will do a test ride.

There is adventure out there!

We get back and he goes and adds a layer. Better to show then to tell I say.

The two lovely ladies of the house getting ready warms my heart.

I go looking for #1 Son to see if he is in fact awake.

Not only is he awake and moving, but he has hidden himself in plain view!

Another convert for the revolution. Gotta love it!

Ok three kids in the back, check. Now where is the most wonderful woman on the planet?

Found her!

I don't have the heart to tell the kids that we have heater vents up front so off we go to meet up with Uncle Nick!

We cross town with no issues and arrive at the gas station where I find Nick and Russell waiting for me. So ok I am 10 minutes late. I think that isn't too bad with the new crew along. after gassing up we let Michael ride with Nick to make more room in the back.

Nick is topless too.

The only smart one is Russell.

At the light I think Nick is saying something about stopping at Subway for $5 foot longs, but we packed lunch so I ignore him.

Our target is 4 peaks.

We stop a little ways up the road and all thoughts of being cold disappear as we marvel at how wonderful nature is.

Everywhere you can see beauty. I don't see the kids for a few minutes and figure they are off soaking it all in.

Nope they found a "COOL MICROWAVE" So much to teach them.

I let Uncle Nick take the next shift and Laura and I enjoy the ride up the mountain talking. It is a wonderful ride and I know just how lucky I really am.

Russell's new to him 02 Wrangler. It is great to have him hanging out with us.

We arrive at the trail head and Nick looks happy that he gets to spend such quality time with the kids. I just wish he was more handy around the house.

A couple of worthy KLR's are up here too.

It has been hot still in Phoenix this Fall. It is nice to get up here and see it coming to Arizona finally too.

We have great trail blazers who have tons of energy.

They lead us up the mountain at an amazing pace. We are just one big happy troop!

Laura is having a rough time of it though. I think the stress and tension are building. You can see it here.

I teach Jackson about the beauty in nature and how geology and erosion work over time to sculpt the landscape.

He teaches me new ways to use a hydration pack.

Michael seems very happy to be outside again. Did you see him 4 pictures back where the troop was leading us up the hill? He is on the left. That camo works pretty darn good!

What a great and content family.

This behind the scenes shot shows the other side though smile

I love this little girl. She is really a joy to be around even if she can't get to sleep at night without telling us 30 times.

We mount back up and head down the hill the back way deciding to go have lunch and take the Apache Trail home.

We decide to eat at a meadow that has a bit of a warn trail leading down to it.

Action Jackson and I taking the road less traveled

Nick is right behind us

Lunch Time!!

Nick Russell and I marvel as Jackson downs his 2nd sandwich. Where does he put all that food!!!

Our Hero enjoying the moment.

The Jeep has so many uses Lunch Table, Jungle Gym, oh and a pretty good way to see the back country!

But we still have more road to go explore!

After a few miles of highway 188 we come to our next learning spot. The Theodore Roosevelt "DARN"

This is a family trip and Laura insists we look at the "DARN" and not get caught up with swearing.

Colyn reads all about the "DARN's" history....

While Nick and I chuckle about the word "A BUTT MENT". Laura just shakes her head.

As it gets dark we head along the Apache Trail and I am again amazed at how wonderful Arizona is. I love it here.

We say our goodbyes at Tortilla Flats after a wonderful day out and about!

What a Worthy Universe.