Didn’t Ride This Weekend… Dagnabit, But Still Had Fun!

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.

Horsetown @ Marietta

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….


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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7 Responses to Didn’t Ride This Weekend… Dagnabit, But Still Had Fun!

  1. Chris says:

    Tandem cycling is more than a symptom of a great relationship, it IS a great relationship. Half biking on the other hand… http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2012/02/13

    OK, so why is two up on the Harley not tandem, but two up on the Calfee is?
    Ans.: Because the Harley only has one motor. Two motors, in line and not side by side, are what makes it a tandem. On the Harley the second rider is just a passenger.

    • TG says:

      I understand your sentiment, but riding two-up on a Harley or any other type of motorcycle is technically riding in tandem. In fact, “any arrangement of two (or more) things in which one (or each) is placed behind the other” complies with the definition.

      As far as riding two-up on motorcycles goes, at least for us it is every bit as enjoyable as riding the tandem bikes, sans the feeling of accomplishment and fitness that comes from cycling vs. motorcycling. But, at least for us, riding two-up on anything is always quality time together and there is indeed a oneness that comes from riding two-up “in tandem” on any two-wheeled machine.

      Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. We got a lot of spice in our lives… and woudn’t change a thing.

      • Chris says:

        Ride on, TG! Not to be too picky, but according to OED, on my Kindle, (sorry I don’t know how to link to it) motive force is part of the definition of (n.) tandem. Tandem (carriage). Tandem (axle), Tandem (harness). Tandem (trailer) seems to stretch the def. a bit. One more: http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2012/02/15 ALL RIGHT!

        LOML (love of my life) is my other six cylinders. I never would have made it to here without her.

      • TG says:

        A motive force is nothing more than something that makes something else move. If the movement effects objects that are placed in a line or movement through a series of linear linked objects, then a motive force can be said to be moving “something” in tandem.

        This isn’t nit picking, it’s simply making sure readers understand why a tandem is called a tandem, even if it has 10 seats… so long as they are placed one behind the other. If you stack up three people on a motorcycle or a jet ski one behind the other, they’re sitting or riding in tandem. The source of the propulsion is of no consequence.

        Not sure what you found on your Kindle, but would love to see it all in context.

      • Chris says:

        It’s the reason two riders on one horse are not ” in tandem”. There’s only one horse; it takes two horses to be “in tandem”, two motors. Two drive axles, one in front of the other, make tandem axles. If only one axle is driven,or neither is, they are not truly tandem axles. Two sets of pedals, inline, are what make a tandem bike. A bike might have 10 seats, but with only one pair of pedals could not be a tandem. I don’t know what it should properly be called, but to be “tandem” it needs more than one set of pedals. On the Harley there’s only one motor, regardless of the number of riders. A bus with two or three or more motors, in line, would be a tandem bus, even if there were no passengers on board, or if there were a hundred riders whether in a line or not. A tandem bike with two sets of pedals, but no stoker aboard is still a tandem bike. A bike with two seats but only one set of pedals is, sadly, not a tandem. Two locomotives pulling a railroad train could be said to be “in tandem”, but the rest of the cars behind the engines are not in tandem because they are not driving the whole thing forward. They are carriages, cargo, part of the load, the resistance to forward motion, like the two riders on one horse.

        You are right that the source of propulsion is of no consequence, it could be an electric motor or Harley engine or a mule or a tandem stoker on a bike. But “tandem” used as a noun implies more than one source of propulsion and the arrangement of the multiple sources inline and not side by side.

        And my stoker is anything but cargo or resistance to forward motion! Just ask her!

        Oxford English Dictionary, OED. It’s on Kindle, Try http://www.dictionary.com. and look at the noun form, and check out the Origin section. It’s not as precise as we need for this discussion, but the gist of the idea is there.

      • TG says:

        I will agree that for a bicycle to be a tandem bicycle, it has in fact been defined as a bicycle having multiple seats with corresponding sets of pedals.

        From Latin tandem (“at length, at last (of time)”), from tam (“so”) + suffix -dem demonstrative suffix]

        Having slept on it and looked at a few more dictionaries, I will also accept that for the Noun, some do define a “tandem” as something that involves motive forces, e.g., horses or mechanisms. However, there’s a lack of consistency across dictionaries in this regard.

        That said, two riders on a motorcycle, horse or anything else sitting one behind another are, in fact, riding ‘in tandem’ under most all definitions that I’ve found, metaphorically or otherwise.

        Bottom Line: For our purposes… and in the context of this blog a tandem bike is what it is and has a clear definition.

  2. Chris says:

    Fair enough, then. I’m going out for a bike ride now.

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