This would be the third time the Georgia Tandem Rally (GTR) visited Statesboro. The first two times were back-to-back in 2003 and 2004. It’s about a 240-mile drive from Atlanta via I75, or 265 if you take the more scenic route out I20. As noted in previous blog entries, the weather outlook was not the greatest but I could see where we’d have a pretty good shot at dodging the showers on all three days if our luck held and, well, the weather forecasters were a bit off the mark.
Get-away day was going to be a full day for both Debbie and me so I pre-loaded the triplet on top of the truck Wednesday night since it wasn’t raining: not sure that would be the case on Thursday evening.
We made time for our lunch date at The Red Eyed Mule on Thursday since we’d be out of town on Friday and because we heard our friend Sabra – The Mule’s owner – was in town and spending time at the restaurant. It’s a rare thing for me to leave the office at lunch so I really enjoyed getting to see my sweetie in the middle of the day and it was especially nice to visit with Sabra for a while. Best of all, our burger came out medium rare!!!
As the day wore on my hopes of getting of the office before 5:00pm quickly faded. I had a teleconference from 4:00 – 5:00pm before bolting for the door and handled a few more call-backs on the way home. Murphy’s Law was alive and well for the drive home as it seemed every alternate route was backed-up with traffic, trains stopped at crossings, etc. When I finally pulled into the drive way at 5:45PM I could tell Debbie hadn’t been able to get away early either as the garage lights were still on after being tripped when she pulled her car into the garage.
The goal was to be on the road by 6:00PM and that just wasn’t going to happen. I think it was 6:20PM when we pulled out. We talked about stopping at Loco Willy’s for dinner on our way, but decided we’d do better to get on down the road and simply find a Subway south of Atlanta.
Traffic through Atlanta was a mess at the I75/I85 merge, as they are doing construction and crews were poised to shut down the left-hand lanes: I’m guessing just the trucks sitting there with their yellow flashing lights were the cause of the 10 minute delay. We had another 5 minute delay at the I75 interchange with I285 – it appears to be a permanent feature – and then found ourselves further delayed by another 30 minutes due to an accident south of exit 218 that caught us in the middle of nowhere about 2 miles from exit 218. We crawled along and were at a dead stop several times before we could take the 218 exit and by-pass the remaining mile of stopped traffic as I could see that all lanes were shut down at the accident scene when we got to the top of the exit. Our end-run easily saved us another 20 minutes of sitting in traffic at a dead stop.
So, all told, traffic added about 45 minutes to our drive by the time we reached the outskirts of Macon. It was 8:30PM by then so we stopped at a Subway and split a sweet chicken teriyaki sandwich as our meal stop options along I16 would be far more limited.
We’d encountered some light rain and beautiful rainbows on the drive down I75 to Macon, but about ½ way to the exit for Statesboro on I16 we finally ran into the edge of a large weather system and spent a good 45 minutes driving in a fairly heavy rain storm.
We finally arrived at the Springhill Suites in Statesboro just a few minutes before 11:00PM. I couldn’t tell if we were at a tandem rally or a Honda car dealership when we pulled into the parking lot! I’m surprised no one at Honda marketing has discovered this mini-van niche market dominated by mature adults who don’t have kids to haul around.
The lobby of the hotel was empty when we walked it as I must assume most of the rally guests had retired to their rooms for the night since the parking lot was full. After all, this was a tandem rally not a motorcycle rally and Stateboro on a Thursday night with school out for the summer, not Panama City Beach during bike week.
Regardless, it was good to be at our hotel where we’d get a good night’s rest instead of getting up at 4:00AM and making a 4-hour drive down before hopping on the triplet for a 45-mile ride. Speaking of our rooms, while the Springhill Suites was a bright, clean and fresh-looking facility the contemporary, euro—design furniture left us searching for a dresser. Turns out, there wasn’t one. That and the clothes closet was next to the window and A/C unit instead of closer to the front door of the room. The bathroom was also at the back-side of the room where the dressing table and sink were in an alcove instead of behind the door. Weird.
We had a fairly good night’s rest, although I was up at 1:00AM, 4:00AM, and then from 5:00AM to 6:00AM at which point I pretty well gave up on getting anymore sleep, got out of bed and fired up my laptop to do some work.
Around 6:25AM I headed down to the lobby to see if it was already swamped with rally folks grabbing breakfast ahead of the 8:30AM rider’s meeting. Sure enough, it was wall-to-wall people. I wandered out of the hotel to check the weather and to walk across the street to the mini-mart to grab some cold caffeine as the hotel didn’t stock my favored brand. I also sent off a note to our riding partner for the weekend, Lisa, to make sure she knew we had arrived and were looking forward to teaming up on the triplet for three days of riding, weather willing.
After returning to the room and collecting Debbie, we both went down for breakfast around 7:00AM and found the lobby to be far-less crowded. The breakfast buffet was the usual hotel lobby type with a little bit of everything, but nothing really fancy or special. I think Debbie had the oatmeal and perhaps a yogurt while I had an English muffin with ham and cheese. We had a nice time visiting with Jack & Susan from Tandems Limited and caught up a bit on their various other interests supporting gymnastics and the Barber Historic Museum over in Birmingham, Alabama. We visited a bit with several other couples whom we get to see at GTR which, again, is the real draw: getting together with friends who have a common interest in tandem cycling.
Debbie headed back up to the room while I headed out to the truck to get the triplet down and ready to ride: put on the front quick-release mud guard, install the front wheel, attach the 3 Garmin GPS/computers, the rear tail light and tool kit and of course pump-up the tires. I also had to remove the cling wrap that kept our saddles dry. Regarding the latter, as part of my pre-trip prep I had wrapped the saddles in a double-layer of plastic cling wrap in an effort to keep them dry when we would invariably run into rain. Turns out, it worked really well; they were bone dry.
While I was doing all of this Lisa had walked over from the Comfort Inn across the street from the Springhill Suites and Debbie also came down from the room. I’d thought we had matching jersey’s for all three days of riding, but forgot which NARC jersey we’d given Lisa. As she and Debbie arrived it became pretty clear we had brought the wrong ones. Oh well, I’m not all hung up when it comes to having matching apparel on a tandem or triplet and Lisa was just happy to have a sleeveless jersey on as she was working on her tan for an upcoming wedding where she’d be wearing a sleeveless dress. However, we did bring her a matching helmet so we probably looked more unified because of that than we would have with just matching jerseys. I ran up to the room and got into my cycling gear once the tandem was all set and was back down in plenty of time for the 8:30AM rider’s meeting.
The trick to today’s ride was outguessing the weather. The forecast continued to call for strong storms to come through the area after noon so we were all factoring that into our ride length calculations. There were options of 29, 43, 52 and 63 so we and a lot of folks decided the 43-mile option would get us back around 11:00AM just to add some safety margin for the weather outlook. The skies were cloudy and there was a little bit of moisture hanging in the air with damp spots on the roads from last night’s rain, but the radar suggested we’d still be able to finish our ride before any rain came in. In fact, it looked like the storm system they expected to move through had stalled over the Gulf and was hammering the areas east of New Orleans to Panama City Beach; feeling bad for those folks as they’ve more than their fair share of rain.
After receiving our pre-ride meeting instructions from Roger, we rolled out of the hotel parking lot on to the main road alongside some of our friends and proceeded to pick our way through the front 1/3 of the 115 tandem teams.
The really strong teams were well off the front just a few miles into the ride with a second, smaller group following shortly behind and then it was John & Mitzi, our triplet, Denny and Stephanie with another small group out behind us. Tom & Donna from Ohio time-trialed-up to us and brought along some other teams and we eventually merged with another group of folks from the Carolinas, Florida and perhaps Alabama: I still need to do some research here to figure out who was who as I struggle to recognize folks when they’re not wearing helmets and wrap-around glasses. I know we rode with our friends from Tallahassee, Greg and Angela, as we were admiring their FSU kits for a good 5 minutes or so. There were also a few other couples who we always seem to end up riding with at GTR, so that was nice.
All-in-all, it was a pretty good ride. Tom & Donna and our trio did a lot of the pulls as the smarter teams sat-in and enjoyed the draft. The weather remained cloudy throughout the ride but the threat of rain just wasn’t materializing. In fact, we started to even see small pockets of blue sky now and again and a check of the national weather radar confirmed the storm that had been headed for southern Georgia stalled while the upper end moved on through Atlanta.
We were a bit gassed as we reached the final few miles of the ride as the steady 1% downhill grade we enjoyed heading out in the morning came back to challenge our legs and lungs in the afternoon. Thankfully, the last mile was a lovely 2% – 3% downhill grade to the hotels: it’s nice to finish on a high!
After tucking the 10’ long triplet away in Lisa’s 1st floor hotel room so it wouldn’t have to sit out in the rain that we expected overnight, we got ourselves cleaned up, I did about 45 minutes of work and then the three of us headed up to the Wild wing Café for lunch. We split three orders of hot wings and some guacamole dip and while Lisa and I stuck to carbo-loading with some cold brews Debbie went with something a bit more exotic. We had a very good server, the food was very tasty and what’s not to like about being in a sports bar with high-top seating in the bar! They even had a nice stage for bands but, sadly, they don’t have live music except on special occasions: a darned shame to be sure.
We returned to the hotel and visited with friends by the outdoor fire pit where the Springhill Suites staff had brought out a table and several watermelons that they were cutting up and serving to anyone who was interested: suffices to say, the Springhill Suites’ folks were always more than gracious and accommodating throughout our stay. In fact, aside from the funky furniture and average breakfast offerings, I’d say it was one of the nicest hotel staff’s we’ve ever had at a tandem rally.
Our friends Eric & Linda drove up in the Tom & Donna’s truck and asked if we wanted to join them for a private tour of Eric & Linda’s new home on wheels — a Newmar Ventana 4369 — noting that they just finished selling off most of their possessions and house a week before taking delivery of their 43’ motor coach.
We must have spent the better part of two hours visiting with them and checking out their new digs. It looks and sounds like they’ve thought of just about everything and have already planned-out their general plan for moving about the country through the summer and into fall. I think I’m too attached to my stuff and “space” to give it up for a three-room motor coach, but it’s something to ponder as yet another option. The logistics and planning associated with becoming a full-time RV owner with a mailing address in South Dakota that provides you with a home-base for all things that require a home address are impressive, to be sure.
Once we were back at the hotel it was just about time for dinner. We ended up with a group of twelve and made a short drive over to Gnat’s Landing, a popular place with the locals and college kids that has generous happy hours every day, and all-day on Sundays and Mondays. We arrived early enough that we were able to get seated at a table right away. The cocktails were cold, tasty and ½ price: wow! Debbie and I split a Caesar salad and the Ahi Tuna appetizer as our entrée and it was just about the right amount of food. The Ahi was nothing to write home about but it hit the spot.
After dinner we headed over to the Georgia State University’s Center for Wildlife Education where a dessert social was being held in the pavilion ahead of a life presentation by the center’s director, Steve Hein: what an amazing individual he was! Talk about being passionate about your work. He brought out GSU’s mascot, Freedom, a Bald Eagle that was rescued by the Florida Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and then acquired by GSU in 2004. Later in the evening he worked with a number of other raptors including a huge Eurasian Eagle Owl. Sadly, a rain squall came through that drove us to the truck and back to the hotel. However, the guests who stayed and waited it out were introduced to some lovely snakes, including a 12’ python.
That pretty much brought our first day to a close. We called it an early night after what was a fun and enjoyable first day at GTR.
Despite heavy rain on Friday night and into Saturday morning, we woke up to what looked to be shaping up to be a beautiful day. The roads were even quite dry despite all of the rain.
The breakfast routine was similar to Friday so no need to recount that. Again, if nothing else, it gave us a little time to visit with friends whom we only see at GTR or the Southern Tandem Rally. It was around 8:00am when I walked across the street to the Comfort Inn to collect the triplet and Lisa ahead of the 8:30am rider’s meeting.
Again, nothing all that notable about the Saturday ride other than feeling like we were once again dealing with headwinds in every direction that we rode. What’s the deal with that? We knew they were headwinds because our trio and Tom & Donna once again found ourselves at the front of several tandem teams who were smart enough to keep their noses out of the wind as much as they could. Someday we’ll learn to conserve energy and ride in the draft more than we pull. However, we were actually able to get a group of about 10 tandems working together in a rotating drafting line. It had some fits, starts and bumpy spots but it was a nice distraction for a good ½ hour or so in the middle of our 55-mile ride. Or, more accurately, the 49-mile ride to lunch before the 6-mile ride to the hotel after lunch.
There’s a video that our friend Chris J. posted where during the first few seconds after the title you can see us on our triplet leading out a fairly long line of tandems during Saturday’s ride. Tom and Donna were right behind us: no surprise there as we pretty much swapped-off with them all weekend long out in front.
Again, just a lovely day to be out riding with our friends. Thankfully, no real tales to tell from the ride itself: it was uneventful and enjoyable. We ate lunch in downtown Statesboro at the Eagle Creek Brewery which featured very nice covered seating in a lovely old warehouse that had been converted to a brewery. The lunch fare was appropriate for a cycling event and very tasty. Well, at least the chicken salad was… I didn’t try the tuna salad. The spring salad and cookies were quite yummy! I passed on the beer samplers as I really don’t like beer… which is why I drink extremely cold Bud Light when I feel the need for a glass filled with a cold, gold-colored liquid.
It was a short ride back to the hotel, initially through a housing project – same thing happened at the Southern Tandem Rally in Columbus – then some older modest neighborhoods before jumping onto the very nice rails-to-trails path. That road put us back on the same 1% climb that we finished on at the end of Friday’s ride so we once again had that lovely downhill stretch to the hotel.
After getting the triplet put up on top of the truck for the night – no way that monster would be going up to our 2nd story room and it was actually easier to put it up on the truck than to shuttle it across the street to Lisa’s room – I found Debbie resting in the room and decided to get a quick shower and then leave her to enjoy a quiet afternoon.
I found all kinds of things to talk about with Ric Baker from the House of Tandems (HoT) in Houston who, along with his wonderful wife Marcia, made the insanely long 15 hour / 950-mile drive from Houston, TX to Statesboro, Georgia, so they could spend three more days driving around and helping out tandem teams with mechanical issues as the pro-bono SAG support team at GTR. Talk about your good Samaritans; they always go above and beyond the call and I can only hope that every who attends these events can appreciate the invaluable service they stand ready to provide, not just the dozens who get help from Ric and Marcia at every rally and event they support. That said…
The Calfee with the wide-range 2×10 Ultegra Di2 was pretty interesting. I’ve still not wrapped my head around all of the effort focused on eliminating that seldom used but always reliable alpine chain ring on a triple crankset. However, in looking at the various different approaches to allow the use of the double chainring Ultegra electronic front derailleur on a tandem this one certainly seems to deliver on gear inch range.
Although I didn’t take a close-up photo of the daVinci Global Venture, that also had a very cool implementation of the Shimano Di2 technology in that it mated the XTR / Mtb version to a daVinci IPS system. There was some customization involved in tailoring the front derailleur cage but the final product was indistinguishable from OEM. That Shimano also now allows most of the electronic features to be tailored is also pretty cool and something I wasn’t aware of.
Definitely added some HoT carbon drop bars to my Christmas Wish List as the E2 carbon bars on the Calfee are approaching their 8th season and have well over 30k miles of wear and tear at this point. I’m thinking it might be getting to be time to consider some preventative maintenance as the last thing I’d want is a handlebar that has exceeded its service life. Same thing may apply to Debbie’s stoker stem which is a one-off composite that has a lot of hard miles: a carbon grey titanium fixed stem might be the ticket (paging Todd Shusterman). Although not on my Christmas list, our friends Shirley & Richard D. found a nice wireless intercom system to replace the wired-intercom they had previously been using. Anyway, always a good time hanging out and talking tandems with Ric and some of the other enthusiasts who suffer from bike-porn addition!
A semi-large contingent of folks headed off for the official open house of the Wood-Good’s RV but we opted to pass since we’d had the private viewing on Friday. Instead, Debbie and I decided to get cleaned up a little earlier than needed for the Saturday night GTR banquet and, instead, headed back to the Wild Wing Cafe where we found a couple nice seats at the bar alongside some gals who worked at the Wing but who were off and just relaxing with friends. Although we each had our own cocktails, there were a couple of interesting drinks on the Wing menu that caught Debbie’s eye. After trying one of those one of the gals sent the other gal an interesting cocktail that grabbed Debbie’s attention. I think the gals saw that and the next thing I knew there were a couple more cocktails sliding across the bar. Thankfully, I don’t think any of them were all that strong but Miss Debbie was certainly in a very cheery and talkative mood! We tempered our cocktails with a nice trio of dips: Spicy Buffalo Chicken, Guacamole and Warm Spinach. Wow, they were all REALLY good! Suffices to say, the Wing was a nice substitute for Loco’s and it was clearly the folks working at the restaurant like Brie, Cam, Sarah, and Victoria who made it a very enjoyable experience. That the food and drinks were good was what will keep the Wing high on our list for any future returns to Statesboro… and we have reason to believe we may be back based on something the hotel manager said as we checked-out on Sunday.
With our own private cocktail hour behind us, we returned to the Springhill Suites for a quick stop in the room before walking across the parking lot to the hotel’s conference center for the traditional Saturday rally banquet. Debbie visited with a gal at the table next to whom we’d been riding with for a good part of the past two days. We shared our table with Tom & Donna, Cliff and Joyce and a third couple (Dick & Patty?). I had a very nice chat with fellow tequila enthusiasts Cliff & Joyce who are also full-time RV’rs like our friends Linda & Eric. All said and done, we had a very nice night at the banquet but, like Friday, we found ourselves headed to bed early after a long day.
We woke up to beautiful blue skies with a moderate breeze and cooler temps than Saturday but far less humidity. The winds would invariably become what I have come to know as “double-opposed headwinds” which is to say, no matter which way you’re riding you feel like you’re riding into a headwind. Or, worse yet for a tandem, an oblique or crosswind where the stoker(s) aren’t shielded from the wind by the captain’s body the way they are in a headwind.
The hotel breakfast fare was a three-peat of the two previous days and I was really tempted to have a Belgian waffle. Thankfully, there was a wait at the waffle maker so I went with something moderately better: English muffin + sausage and egg. Well, maybe not. We had a chance to catch up with Dan C. during breakfast, a long-time friend now in his 70’s who is in better shape and more-ripped that anyone else we know regardless of their age and his wife Delores is right there with him. Talk about inspirational… They’re amazing.
With breakfast behind us we linked back up with Lisa for one last day on the triplet. Given it was get-away day and we had a 4-hour drive back to Atlanta we and many others opted to go with the shorter 29-mile route vs. the 43. As the rider meeting ended and the 110 or so tandems rolled out of the hotel parking lot onto the main road we somehow ended up well toward the back-end of the pack.
We lost sight of Tom & Donna and assumed they were a bit further up the road. Aided by the only somewhat “steep for Statesboro” 3% grade of the main road we were able to pass quite a few of the other tandems and found our friends about 1/3 of the way into the mass of riders. With Denny and Stephanie and others in tow we worked our way up to the front ¼ and continued to make pretty good tempo as we headed out into the more rural part of the ride. We had many of the same riders with us from Friday and Saturday. Sure enough, we were out in front with Tom and Donna right behind which had become the norm for the past three days. Oh well, I’d rather set the pace than be dropped off the back into no-man’s land.
Interestingly enough, the triplet developed something of an odd noise during Sunday’s ride. It became something of an annoyance once it was pointed out to me as it was coming from so far back on the triplet (i.e., essentially in a different zip code) that I couldn’t hear it due to the wind noise of our ~20 – 23 mph speed combined with the 10 mph head winds. I checked a few things at the first store stop but nothing jumped right out as the source. After a fairly spirited few miles we turned a corner at a stop sign and a water drop caused us to pull off to the shoulder of the road and let the other following tandems go on ahead as we recovered the “too nice to leave behind” water bottle. It provided a good opportunity for us to throttle back a bit and with a slight tail wind I could finally hear the noise. Eric, Linda, Tom and Donna all slowed up to allow us to rejoin them just about the time that we reached the 2nd SAG stop of the day.
At the SAG stop I was able to remove the front mud guard and pass it off to Ric and Marcia who would carry it back to the hotel in their van and that eliminated a slight rub. After that I turned my attention to the back of the triplet and son-of-a-gun if I didn’t find that Lisa’s saddle was loose. Yup, I had not put any Loctite on the fixing screws on the head of the Thomson seatpost and the rear one had worked loose… very loose. Thankfully, all of the bits and pieces were still there so I was able to tighten the screws and we were good to go. It was somewhat surprised that Lisa didn’t feel something strange in terms of saddle movement as it had easily been that way for 10 miles.
While I was at the stop I visited a few minutes with Roger & Eve’s son Elliott who continues to help out at the annual rally despite being on his own with a career and other outside interests: that’s a good son! I also had a chance to visit with Ric and Marcia a bit and talk about the tandem market, buyer trends and of course how they were doing in general: it’s always such a pleasure to spend time with the Beckers.
Our little trio rolled out of the church shortly after the larger group we had been riding with did but rejoined them a short time later. However, after the last store stop of the ride we once again decided to throttle it back so that we could breathe a little easier and carry on a social discussion across the bikes for the last leg of the ride. Even as we talked about it none of us was sure why we’d spent so much of our time on the road riding as hard as we did: must be those darn group dynamics. Regardless, it was a far more relaxing ride back in to the hotel than it would have been had we maintained the same tempo we were riding during the first 2/3ds of the ride.
Sadly, after getting back to the hotel we were informed that four of our friends – two couples on two different tandems – had been involved in bike-on-bike collision when a front tire blew on the leading tandem. The blow-out caused the first tandem ridden by Randy & Claudia to go down and, in turn, it knocked the tandem with Duncan & Laura who riding next to and behind them to go down. All four riders were banged-up pretty well and were taken by ambulance to the local ER for treatment. Thankfully, they were surrounded by caring friends who took care of them at the scene until EMS 1st responders could arrive and others who were on hand to offer whatever help they could at the hospital. Several helmets did their job and were destroyed in the process but, even still, one of the riders had a head injury and lost consciousness after hitting the ground. The stoker — who I’ve come to believe are the ones who are most at risk and seem to get injured more often and more severely in tandem crashes – had multiple contusions to her face and forehead as well as a broken collar bone. The other team’s captain apparently fared the best; however, his stoker ended up with a broken collar bone and a broken bone in her hand. Duncan and Laura were released and had thankfully travelled to the rally with their dear friends Sara and Bill so they were able to return home without outside assistance. Randy & Claudia ended up remaining overnight and our dear friends and rally hosts Roger & Eve spent and extra night in Statesboro and then partnered-up to drive them and their vehicle home to Atlanta on Monday. About the only way to end this part of the story is to say, thank goodness it wasn’t any more serious than that.
Not to dwell on it, but this is one of the realities of participating in activities like cycling or motorcycling as couples that can made an accident a family crisis of even greater proportions. I’ve written on this in the past and will simply offer a link to a blog entry from 2010 I posted on the subject: What If You And Your Spouse Were Seriously Injured or Killed While Riding?
Let me also note it was this event and suddenly finding myself without the ability to remain in the information flow that social media provides to revisit my decision to abandon Facebook. Here we were clueless as to what was going on because we were truly ‘out of the loop’ while the rest of our friends who were connected by Facebook were getting real time updates and able to respond as needed and lend their support sooner rather than later. We found ourselves burdening an already over-burdened friend in Eve with the need to answer our text messages since that was now our only source of information. More on that at another time….
After realizing that our four friends were well taken care of by other folks who either didn’t have as far to travel or who weren’t as constrained by rigid work schedules, we continued to pack-up, said our goodbyes and headed back to Atlanta. It was not an easy and joyful departure, to be sure, but at least we had enough information to know that our friends in the ER were not deemed at risk of having serious injuries with long-term implications.
Rather than taking the theoretically faster all-interstate route back to Atlanta we opted to head home on non-interstate highway 25 and other back roads to I20 west. The GPS warned that it was a 25-minute longer drive but I figured we’d lose more than 25 minutes being stuck in traffic on I75 north into Atlanta. It was a very relaxing drive up to I20 and most of I20 was pretty easy as well. There was a 45-minute delay showing up on the GPS due to three separate accidents on I20 about 40 minutes ahead of where we were so we decided to stop for lunch and hoped that the additional 20 minute self-imposed delay might allow the traffic issues ahead of us on I20 to clear: they did. We were home true to the original projected ETA that we had when we began our journey in Statesboro.
After getting the truck unloaded, our bags unpacked and laundry going I knocked out a few more chores – like washing the road grime from our Panama City Beach trip on 29 April – 1 May off the motorcycle – before it was dinner time. I thought about making hot wings or a pizza but decided that we owed ourselves at least one weekend meal at Loco Willy’s. We over achieved in that we shared two of our favorite entrées: the Ahi Poke tuna & the smoked ribs. Both were exceptional! It was more food than we needed but I think we earned it. We also validated our bartender Christian’s prowess as an amazing mixologist when Debbie presented him with the ingredients for a faux-chocolate flavored cordial she had enjoyed at the Wild Wing Café: he chucked it and came up with his own and it was amazing! Oh, our zeal for life never wanes!
It was a great way to put a bow on what was aside from our four friend’s accident a great weekend trip with three days with our tandem friends and 130 much-needed miles of cycling. Next rally on the calendar doesn’t come around until October 8-9; sure seems a long-way off.