Little House in the Piney Woods

1November 2017
Home is where the heart is … Little House in the Piney Woods

We rented an AirBnB for the month, a cute little house where we can get things reorganized for our trip back to Colombia.  

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Our little home in Rusk, TX has a hilltop table where we can watch the sunset. It is so relaxing to just sit and not hear traffic noises, horns blaring, etc. After so many months in Mexico and Central America where it is wall to wall people, it has been so nice to just sit and be quiet.

The sun sets over the hills. We have watched so many deer at our home. This is just what our souls have needed. Peace & Quiet!

bikes

I got to play on my new bike. Curtis bought me a white Bianchi Intrepida Dama 105 and we pulled his red Gunnar Sport out of storage. Man, these bikes are so light weight compared to the tanks (LHT’s) that we typically ride. They were lots of fun as we got out to explore some amazing country roads here in east Texas.

One of the main reasons for our return to East Texas is to get some medical and dental check ups.  Not that there is anything wrong but more routine as age creeps in on us.

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(1) Eye exams, (2) routine physicals/labs and (3) dental checkups. Curtis got new glasses, my eyes still at 20/20 thanks to mono-vision lasik in 2013. Our dental exams were awesome, I did have a loose filling and a missing filling but neither of us had any cavities. I got the fillings fixed/replaced. The physicals went well and the labs look good.  

My weight is up, GGrrr. I have battled weight issues my entire life so yo-yo weight is not uncommon for me. I attribute this gain to the month off in Medellin compounded with the large portions we have both been over-indulging in. Not to mention the *cough cough* panaderia visits. LOL I have no doubt we will both slim back down when we get away from the local pastry shops and get on the bikes daily again.

My first (4) colonoscopy , this was easy and went without a hitch. All is well and they don’t need to see me for seven years. SWEET!  Done and check.

My final appointment this month (5) was with a dermatologist. Melanoma runs in my family and with me living basically outside I want to get a full mole scan just to be sure. I was such a beach baby and sun worshiper in my younger days and really fried my skin a few too many times, I just wanted to make sure all my freckles and moles are nothing more than what they appear to be. And the final drumroll for me is tatatatatatatatatata … I batted five for five (all moles are normal) and now my medical concerns are behind me for a while. High Five!!

Curtis also had his (4) colonoscopy, all is good here too and they gave him a ten year pass until the next one.

He had one more appointment as well, with a urologist, his final (5) medical concern. Time to figure out what this whole UTI issue is once and for all. He’s had trouble in Mexico and Nicaragua and on into Colombia. Well, it seems it is a simple bladder emptying fix, or should I say not quite emptying fully but we are well on the way to getting that resolved. All in all, it’s a non-issue, nothing serious and with just a quick followup in 3 weeks, he is good to go. Curtis also batted 5 for 5, YAY!!

With good health results we are ready to roll, but we have a few weeks until we fly back to Colombia. Oh how I miss the cycling, it gives me purpose, what is around that next corner or over that next mountain top. South America, we have only dipped our big toe in so far and with renewed excitement we will tackle the Andes Mountains head on. Yea…bring it on!

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Curtis is rebuilding our front triples, he lowered the gearing for both of us. These Rene Herse rings are so beautiful, almost like jewelry for the bikes! 44/34/24 yea we could have gone lower but this is lower than what we were running (46/36/26). Seldom using the big ring and realistically living in the little ring when in the mountains, we wanted a bit better climbing power. I can see us pretty much living in our middle ring now and the elimination of 2 teeth across the board will make hills and mountains a whole lot easier.

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Gear exchange: much of our gear is flat wearing out. But there are a few things that going without is not even an option or consideration.

We bought new coffee cups, the others were very shot and coffee time in the mornings is precious to us both. In addition, our little black screen coffee filter doesn’t let liquid thru any more, no matter how much we try to clean out the screen it just drips. Time to replace it.

We found a collapsable funnel filter that is awesome. If the screen plugs we can still use paper filters in it. YAY!

Tent

Tents need to be sealed from time to time!

We have tasks to tend to and one of the big ones is to reseal the tent. All tents leak over time and this will be the 3rd time we have sealed this one. We did it once in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Once in California for use all through our DEF journal and now here. This will hopefully last until we finish out South America. In the past we purchased specialized tent seam sealer. This time we are trying something different.

We read that tents can be sealed with regular silicone mixed with mineral spirits. The mineral spirits and silicone are mixed. We used a gatorade bottle so we could shake it up well to mix it. It took a lot of shaking! It is slow to mix but makes it easier to paint the seams.

I painted the inside corners of the tent floor with the silicone mix. I then attached the rain fly upside down on the tent and painted all the seams.

The mineral spirits will evaporate and leave the silicone behind. This is a really easy way to seal the tent.

We left the tent set up in our living room for nearly a week. I am impressed how easy this was. Mineral Spirits and Silicone are readily available most places and mixing the two in a water bottle made this project quite easy. And the results, I am very impressed! What an incredible way to re-seal the seams and the silicone will make the seams quite water tight. I am very happy with the results.

Nov. 14 – The silicone is dry and the seams sealed great! Now that it is fully dry, I dusted the silicone with a bit of cornstarch, which allows the tent to be rolled up without sticking to itself. In the past, when I sealed the tent with actual tent sealer, I had issues with it sticking to itself. I hope that the cornstarch alleviates that issue.

All in all, I am very pleased with how this all turned out.

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What a beauty!! I love praying mantiss and this guy has hung around for over a week! Obviously not in the same place but we see him almost daily somewhere near the house.

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Curtis met his new grand-daughters, both born while we were in Mexico. Luna is the youngest and is baby sister to 3 year old Alex, daughter to Sandy (back) and Don. Hazel is Brenda (front) and Ben’s daughter. We cooked up a big pot of pasta and sauce, laughed, and caught up on all the latest family news with Brenda and Sandy before they headed out late in the afternoon.

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November 11, 2017
Whitewater State Park, SE Minnesota

I took a quick side trip to Minnesota to visit a couple of days with my bestie, Colleen. She and I go back, way back to age 6 and we’ve been through it all together. This was a quick GFW (Girl-Friends Weekend) with lots of laughter, gossip, late night conversations and early morning coffee talks.

We took a drive through Weaver Valley, hiked a bit at Whitewater State Park and just caught up with each other.

What a fabulous weekend.

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Nov. 18, 2017
Atlanta, TX   
L-R: Bill H., Jenny S., Curtis S., Jerry H., Roger W.

Sometimes you just have to get out and have some fun! Jerry and Roger participated in a 5K this morning, then we met up and had lunch (turkey with all the fixings). The wind was fierce but was supposed to switch by noon; operative words there is “supposed to”.

Despite the winds, semi-head and side winds we had a blast on a fast and fun 14 miles from Atlanta, TX to Linden, TX. Lots of laughter and story telling ensued, combined with a bit of Flor de Caña from Bill. This is just what the proverbial doctor ordered for Curtis and I. We needed this, to surround ourselves with like-minded, bicycle people.  Today was just flat out fun!

 

Amy2

November 19, 2017
Ironman Arizona

I am speechless! I spent my day “tracking” Amy on her quest to become Ironman and OMG I am in total awe.

Amy is a friend who I met years ago. We did her first Oklahoma Freewheel together. I was impressed then by her energy, her positive outlook on life and I was instantly drawn to her. Through the following years we remained in touch and ultimately made many common changes in our lives. We each discovered the love of our lives, our hubbies, Terry and Curtis. We made hard choices, we took even tougher steps, steps to better ourselves and be happy. I KNOW we are both happier. We now have support, encouragement & love.

And Terry, thank you for supporting her and encouraging her through this journey!! You sir are awesome!

Through the medium of FB as Curtis & I cycled through Mexico and Central America, I watched Amy train for this epic race. She would post about this training day or that race, I would say to her from afar
“Trust Your Training, You Got This!”

And tonight, as I watched Amy cross over that finish line with just minutes to spare I was a bundle of nerves and a pool of tears. I was on the edge of my seat, sending enouragement through the stars.
You SO got this Amy!!! And YOU did it!!

Amy, you have been through so much and I totally applaud you for your determination and grit.   YOU, my Dear are Ironman!!

November 20, 2017
Fairfield Lake State Park

A beautiful sunny, fall day found us in the woods at this beautiful state park. We took a brisk 6+ mile walk through a wooded trail, found an amazing primitive wildcamp site with running water and fire rings. This was an incredible walk and we really enjoyed the fresh air.  

Car

It would be cool to know the backstory of this old car we came across on our walk today. Oh, we have plenty of stories made up for it already, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction!!

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November 22, 2017
South of Rusk, Texas

It was a beautiful day, the sky was so blue and we have just today to really take advantage of and ride. With the Thanskgiving holiday knocking at our door we really won’t have time to play on them any more this trip.

These lightweight beauties will go back to storage and will await our return in 2019. These bikes are fun and I love my new little white wonder. Thanks Curtis!!!

TDay 2017November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving

We so often forget to be thankful for so many things in our lives, things that we take for granted. Today we spent time with Curtis’ Mom and Sister in El Dorado, Arkansas. Susana spent the morning preparing an incredible feast, complete with pumpkin pie.

We took a walk down memory lane with a huge box of old photographs. Curtis and Brenda spent hours going through the photos and we copied and posted as many as we could.

Today we are truly thankful for the special people that make up the individual threads that have become the tapestry of our lives. So many people are met in the course of a lifetime, often making such lasting memories and impacts that we are not fully aware of until so much later. We realize that their thread has fully intertwined into our personal tapestry creating a masterpiece of beauty. A simple act of kindness, a friendly word or smile can make such a difference and we are truly grateful for all of our friends and family that have become a part of our lives.

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