Well, as mentioned in our Groundhog Day Revisited blog entry, this past weekend was something of a bust for out-of-doors cycling here in North Georgia. We had a bit of a cold snap that had us turn our attention to indoor activities vs. getting in some road work on the tandem. Well, OK: Saturday did finally get nice enough for a solo ride… on the Harley not the Calfee. Hey, what can I say… so long as it has two wheels and a saddle I call it riding and it’s all good!! Sunday also ended up being nice enough to ride, but by the time it got to that point we were already out running errands that didn’t get us back home until after dark.
But, despite being off the tandem, we still had lots of fun on both Saturday and Sunday!
Saturday was actually something of a tandem cycling event in that we were once again invited to join many of our tandem cycling friends over at GTR Central – the Strauss-Kofsky house – in nearby Ma-retta, Georgia for Roger & Eve’s annual Valentine’s Day get together. I want to say that we’ve been doing this for going on 12 or 13 years, perhaps even 14 years. You lose count as you get old. Anyway, each year has had a different theme to it and this year they decided to have a Chili Cook-off as the center piece of their event. I’ve been waiting for photos to surface from the event, but alas the only thing I’ve seen thus far is a food-cam shot of the chocolate-dipped strawberries. Regardless, the bottom line here is we scored a 2nd place out of something like 10 or 11 different chili offerings, which wasn’t bad since this was my first attempt at making chili from scratch.
Now, to be fair, I simply went in search of a recipe on the web that would get me close to the best darn chili I’ve ever had… a true Texas Chili over at the Rib Ranch on Canton Road in Marietta, GA. Now, as they say… Anybody who knows beans about chili knows that Texas Chili ain’t got no beans! And, that’s what I was looking for and by golly that’s what I found. This is a link to the basic recipe found at Southern Living’s Website: it’s fairly mild and packed full of chuck roast, like about 4 lbs worth. I tweaked it by adding some Cholula sauce, a splash of Tabasco, some Frank’s Red Hot Cayanne Pepper Sauce and Hersey’s Coccoa powder. Just like at the Rib Ranch, the key to getting the full effect is topping the Texas Chili with fresh chopped onion & shredded sharp cheddar cheese, which I brought along in ample supply. I think I got pretty close to my goal, which was replicating the Texas Chili served at the Rib Ranch. As for why we didn’t get first place, I’m thinking not having the ability to make sure everyone topped their little serving cups with the cheese and onion set us back a bit because it’s part of the recipe and integral to the entire eating experience. Secondarily, we had some Vegans in the crowd and that definitely put us at a disadvantage. However, at the end of the night we take some satisfaction from the fact our Crock Pot was pretty much empty.
Anyway, we had a great time as always and Roger and Eve definitely went overboard with hospitality, as they always do. Just a great time with a lot of great friends. Oh yeah, and the sweets that our hosts served up after the chili were to die for. This too is all a part of the tandem lifestyle, at least as we know it!!
Sunday turned out to be a pretty fun day too. Again, it was a nasty cold morning so piddling around the house was the order of the day for the most part. Lots of honey do’s, some blogging, paying bills, putzing around in the garage and what-not a little after noon when I asked Debbie if she wanted to hit Costco so we could stock up on some meat and poultry for the coming week or two. This was sort of a set-up, as my ulterior motive was to get her out so I could suggest heading over to Horsetown where she could once again be “Misty-fied” by our new friend and manager of Marietta’s Horsetown Western Wear, Feed & Tack Shop, Misty. My plan worked out perfectly.
Regular readers may recall we did something similar back around Halloween when my folks were visiting. In fact, that was the first shopping safari at Horsetown, an affair that lasted at least 1.5 hours. Well, having been back for a couple smaller installments, we set a new benchmark this time as I want to say we walked in a little before 3:0o pm and didn’t walk out until about 5:30 pm. In fact, it had all the makings of the perfect storm, as Misty quickly volunteered she was definitely in the mood to play “Barbie Dress Up” with my lovely Debbie! As before, we had a ball. I’d venture a guess that between the three of us — Debbie, me and Misty — must have pulled 50 different garments off the racks and displays for Debbie to try on. And, son-of-a-gun if most of them didn’t look great on my sweetie! We had her in western dresses, skirts, long shirts with leggings and tights, all kinds of layered tops, some kick-ass jeans and what-not. Since Misty does most of the buying for the store, and because she and Debbie can basically wear the same outfits and colors, we were even going into the catalogs to find things that weren’t on hand to complete some of the ensembles.
All told, let’s just say that Debbie has a few neat outfits that she didn’t have before. Moreover, she had a heck of a lot more fun than she would had I’d simply gone by the Shane Company and found her some new jewelry. In fact, I’d venture a guess the shopping safari with Misty as her guide was a far better value than anything that could have come in a small burgundy box! And, wouldn’t you know… Misty even got me in her sights and sent me home with a couple of shirts she just knew would be right up my alley. Dang, she’s good…
Now we just need to get out to a couple of places where Debbie can truly enjoy wearing some of the spectacular outfits she’s found at Horsetown!!! Nothing like finding the right folks to do business with: always a win-win when you do.
So, it’s fair to say that Debbie had a great Valentine’s Day surprise a few days early. Oh sure, she still got a dozen roses and a little teddy bear to enjoy at work once Monday came around (always best to get them delivered a day early if you can, just so you can be sure they’re they ON Valentine’s Day). Me, I got the happiest and most grateful wife a man could hope for and lets just say I could tell that she appreciated all the pampering. It was a great Valentine’s Day to be sure!
So, what’s all this got to do with tandem cycling?
Everything! Tandem cycling isn’t an activity or even a lifestyle. Tandem cycling is a symptom of a great relationship, just as enjoying all kinds of things with your spouse can be. This past year has been a banner year for us in many respects having discovered some new hobbies, new interests and new friends but all of them were discovered together. Sure, some of our new activities will probably impinge on our cycling time, but so what. If we’re not cycling together, we’re probably motorcycling together, or heading out to hear a band together, perhaps dancing, or just having a grand old time on a Friday night with our new BFFs at On The Border!
Life’s Short, Enjoy It While You Can!!! That’s what we’re doing….