Well, this past-weekend was interesting and fun-filled.
We began by having to set-aside our Friday night therapy session at On the Border with our friends David & Deb so we could entertain our 6 and 3.5 year old granddaughters, Caroline & Charlotte, while our son Wesley & daughter in law Julie went to a family wedding. The girls arrived before I did and were watching Nickelodeon when I walked in the door, so it was kind of neat to have them come running up to welcome me home. That seemed to get them a little stirred-up, most likely in anticipation of going out for pizza at Old Towne Tavern & Grill. I made one last attempt at selling them on a trip out for Mexican food at On the Border, but was quickly rebuffed by both girls as someone had promised them ice cream for dessert at Olde Towne… cest la vie.
While I’m not sure all of the guests sitting on either side of us appreciated it, we opted to sit in our “usual” section at Olde Towne instead of where most families typically sit. I think we’re programmed to avoid the family section and it didn’t take long for me to remember why as we tried to sort out who got to sit next to Namaw and the like: lots of stored-energy in those little girls. We eventually laid out some rules of engagement for the table where any violations of those rules would preclude not only ice cream for dessert, but future dining adventures with Namaw & Gandad … and that seemed to quell their rambunctiousness … a bit
As for the meal, we split a large pizza with ½ cheese & ½ Italian so that worked out well; no wasted food. Debbie and I also split a Caesar salad, something Olde Towne excels at. I also took in a little therapy vis-à-vis a couple BL Platinum’s and that took the edge off. The girls did get their dessert and Namaw may have gone a bit overboard. Instead of having just two small cups of ice cream served drizzled with caramel, low-and-behold here came the birthday special: a hot fudge brownie with ice cream and Hersey’s syrup drizzled generously over everything. The girls (with a little help from Namaw) made short work of the massive quantities of sugars and I knew we’d be rewarded for this act of kindness by an evening of watching the girls bounce off the walls. The sugar fix did not disappoint: they bounced a lot!
Thankfully, Wesley & Julie weren’t out too late so we didn’t have to attempt to put them down for the night and, all said and done, it was a fun evening. Well, that and a good warm-up / wake-up as we’ll have them at the house next Saturday & Sunday
Saturday morning gave rise to the start of the 24-hours of Le Mans in parallel with some banking, blog updates including getting the Tennessee Tandem Rally reports merged with some photos and posted. I also had to catch up on some web site updates and other “administrative” tasks I tend to take care of early on weekend mornings. After Debbie was up and around she suggested we head out early for a tandem ride so we could enjoy the unseasonably mild weather and not get caught up in tasks that might cause us to not ride at all. As noted in my little rant on Saturday, it was a great ride with just a couple of minor annoyances and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. I was also reminded of just how much we enjoy the ride qualities of our Calfee and the need to go and “fix” my Calfee Journal so the summary is up front on the first page instead of buried in the last one. I’ve essentially written most of that summary in my blog somewhere, but just need to convert it to .html and haven’t made the time to do so: note to self, just do it!
When we returned home I checked in on the status of the endurance race raging over in France and cooked up some hot dogs for lunch while checking Email, etc. The plan for the day was to begin in earnest on a mild overhaul of our friend Lisa’s Mango-colored Co-Motion triplet, which our other friends Eric & Linda had dropped off on their way home from the Tennessee Tandem Rally the previous Sunday. I’d surveyed the bike earlier in the week and gotten a pretty good idea of what I knew I’d need in the way of parts, but it was now time to start pulling it apart to see if anything needed special attention vs. just a good cleaning & lubrication. We also needed to make a Costco trip and we were waiting to hear back from a dinner invite to our friends David & Deb followed by a trip over to Jimmy Mac’s where “our band” Pretty Twisted would begin playing at 9:00pm.
It was while checking my Email and Facebook we discovered we’d need to call an audible for the weekend when an invitation extended on Thursday evening to some young friends and an aspiring Paralympian — Rachael with her mechanic / main squeeze Nick — was accepted for an overnight stay… tonight! What a special treat given our on-going interest in Rachael’s quest for a trip to London and the Paralympic Games (which, for those who don’t know, immediately follow the Olympic Games & use many of the same facilities). For those unfamiliar with Rachael, here’s a LINK to a recent blog entry that also addresses this very trip from just a couple of weeks back… and yes, they’re still more than happy to accept additional gifts of support!
Nick and Rachael had spent Friday night in Nashville, Tennessee, and with our address in hand were projecting an ETA around 6:30 or 7:00 that evening. That gave us plenty of time to make sure the guest room and bath were good to go, pick up a few groceries, and begin to noodle over a revised timeline for the evening while we dove into our respective to-do lists. For me that doing a little work on the Co-Motion triplet (which I’ll cover in another blog entry at some point) and riding the Harley over to the 5 Seasons Brewery to pick up our 2012 North Atlanta Riding Club jerseys. For Debbie, mostly doing some extra cleaning and getting a little ahead on the typical chores we address on Sundays… while keeping up on the 24-hours of Le Mans, of course.
As the afternoon progressed Nick was diligently keeping us posted on their progress and as luck would have it, a serious accident on I24 left them sitting at a dead stop for what must have been nearly an hour (been there, done that on I24; UGG). The delay put them well into the dinner hour with 70 miles left to drive to our home so they made a dinner stop which would put them on track for about an 8:00 – 8:20 arrival. With the times nailed down on their plans, we were able to reach our friends David & Deb and suggested we’d just have a late dinner at Jimmy Mac’s once we arrived around 9:30pm and we’d see them there. We also extended an invitation to our expected house guests, but also noted we were going to what most folks would consider a smoke-filled bar with a lot of noise and a fairly loud sound system so that they wouldn’t be surprised if they opted to go with. As somewhat expected, they graciously declined.
Nich & Rachael rolled into the driveway in their white Chevrolet panel van at about 8:20pm and emerged with smiles of relief… glad to be one step closer to Augusta, no doubt, and done with travelling for at least the next 20 hours. It was really nice to meet Rachael & Nick in person, as we’d been corresponding since last year’s Nationals in Augusta when we loaned Rachael and her pilot Laura our ’98 Erickson. However, we never got to meet them as a friend of theirs from Tennessee – Greg Miller – picked up and dropped off the tandem on his way to and from Augusta, whereas Rachael, Laura & Nick had flown-in to Atlanta and then driven directly to Augusta. Again, this was a real treat for us and we were glad we could continue to help them compete at the Nationals.
We gave Rachael & Nick a quick tour of the house so they could find their way around and got them settled into their room… and the garage, where Rachael would spend part of the evening riding a stationary bike while Nick began re-cabling and re-taping their Co-Motion Macchiato. We also gave them a key to the house, a lay of the local land, and told them to relax and enjoy themselves, grab a couple of beers, whatever: our home was their home. Well, that and we’d be back way late, so not to wait up. With that, we were off to Jimmy Mac’s where we had a good time, despite the somewhat awkward tenor of the crowd; yeah, just one of those nights. But, we had an amazing chicken quesadilla for dinner, got to enjoy time with our friends, were able to do some dancing, then closed the place down with the band and gave our friend and lead singer Jody and her hubby Sarge a ride home since it was on the way: no need to call a cab for that. We arrived home around 3:00am and called it an…. early morning?
Sunday (Father’s Day)
I was up a little later than usual for a Sunday at around 7:00am. The 24-hours of Le Mans was nearing it’s completion and, as has been the storyline for several years, Audi was dominating the overall classification and P1 class. Sadly, the Corvette team had more than their share of bad luck this year and was not leading their GTE Pro Class, but both cars did finish (5th & 6th) and that’s also important in the world of endurance racing. Remember, we’re talking about world-class racing where the top three finishers are all recognized on the podium for their accomplishments, not just the first place driver. Must be an American auto racing thing; but, I digress. After grabbing a quick breakfast I headed back out to the garage to work on the Co-Motion triplet while trying to stay out of the house so that Debbie and our guests could sleep in without being disturbed. Having a TV outside on the breezeway next to the garage side entry door helps with that, so no worries about noise, eh?
I think it was about 9:30am before Debbie stirred and came down for her first cup of tea. Shortly thereafter Nick was out and about, with Rachael close behind. The three of them spent the late morning much as they did the night before sitting at the kitchen table enjoying each other’s company. We invited them to use the laundry as we were sure they’d probably have a few things that needed washing after several days on the road intermixed with Rachael’s workouts on the stationary bike. As noon time rolled around Nick checked on the status of Rachael’s racing partner and tandem Pilot, Lisa, who was flying in to Atlanta with a planned arrival around 6:30pm. We took them out to lunch at, where else… Olde Towne Tavern & Grill, and then shuttled them over to a home improvement store for some bike cleaning supplies, then the grocery store so they could replenish their cooler with drinks, energy bars, etc. for the week ahead.
Back at the house, Nick set about cleaning the Macchiato while I continued to clean, dry and re-grease the Co-Motion’s sealed bearings with the expectation that Nick & Rachael would need to be on the road by around 5:30pm to arrive at the airport in time to meet Lisa.
Having left the TV on SpeedTV and TNT all day, we also picked up on when the NASCAR race in Michigan was going off and were able to catch some MotoGP racing and keep an eye on the NASCAR race. It was good to see Dale Jr. break his winless streak and to see “Smoke” (aka, Tony Stewart) score a 2nd place. All the while Nick was getting text updates from Lisa and we were once again calling audibles when Lisa’s flight was delayed in Denver. As the delay continued — and not having really planned anything for dinner guests at the house — we took Rachael & Nick to dinner at our other favorite place – On the Border – which was conveniently located right next to I75 so that they’d be 20-minutes closer to the airport than if they left from the house. OTB was nearly empty so we took over the corner of the bar and spent easily the better part of an hour enjoying a leisurely dinner. For us, it was back to the house to finish up the weekend laundry and otherwise begin to get ready for the week ahead.
Based on what Nick posted to Facebook on Monday, it would appear Lisa’s flight didn’t arrive in Atlanta until nearly 9:30pm, which had the three of them rolling into their host’s home in Augusta around 1am on Monday. Whew, at least all of the travel is behind them. We’ll now keep our fingers crossed in the hope that Rachael & Lisa will be able to give the Time Trial & Road Race their best effort and that their best effort will be enough to put them on top of the podium and/or secure them a slot on the US Paralympic Team!
Again, it was an absolute delight spending time with Rachael & Nick. They couldn’t have been any more pleasant, easy-going, genuine and interesting… so it was truly our pleasure to host them. They are tentatively scheduled to stop back in on their way home, so we’re hopeful Rachael will have some hardware to show for all of their efforts.
What a weekend, eh?