Apr 24 2010

April 24, 2010- Shalanda Says We’re OK

Kate Murr

Jorelle and Michael were engaged 41 days after they met. Though they advise their friends against hasty courtships, they’ve been married three years, and they have a lovely Rumi poem on their piano:

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you,
Not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
They’re in each other all along.”

The couple left early to pancake fundraise and then baseball game cheer for 9-year-old Liam, and we caught up on laundry and computer work. We bid farewell our generous hosts, after Liam taught Jane how to put and Brady peed on Liam’s room, and headed across Gainesville to High Springs.

Bicycle Magazine ranks Gainesville as America’s 16th best biking city for good reason: spectacular bike lanes abound. On this record temperature-setting day, we were able to wet down the kids and head quickly out of town, thanks to some brilliant city planning, and the shipment of another 20 lbs. back to Murr Island.

Our ride was spectacular, mostly through tunnels of Live Oak, along cool, smooth roads. We just missed the Frontier Days Festival at High Springs, but we cruised Main Street, noting their farmer’s market and various businesses before dining at Nana’s Soul Food on pulled pork and fried chicken and excellent corn fritters.

At the restaurant, a Timothy McVeigh documentary complimented our fare, Brady peed on the floor, and then, ten minutes later, had a more substantial accident. Now, I know my child’s potty training isn’t your primary reason for choosing this blog for your summer reading, but I’m mentioning it here for authenticating detail, and to highlight that most cross-country bicyclists probably don’t end up washing Lightening McQueen underwear in public toilets, and that it totally sucks and makes my left eyebrow twitch.

As it was Nana’s grand opening and the joint was hopping, I offered to sanitize the bathroom. Gracious owner, Raynyoda, declined saying it was her job, she would go take care of it, and to take our bikes to her house and pitch our tent in her yard.

So that’s what we did. And we watched the ring around the moon expand as Hatian Bruce (resident HUGE black dog) kept  the riffraff at bay.  Raynyoda stopped by before we turned in to tell us we were just fine and welcome, and that if anyone tried to mess with us we should just say, “Shalanda says it’s OK, baby. We’re OK.”


Apr 24 2010

April 23, 2010- Tantrums with Stars

Kate Murr

Lake Swan Camp was spectacular. The owner hiked over as we were breaking camp with her baby on her back. They don’t typically let campers stay, she told us, but that day she had received two requests before us, and she was glad we enjoyed the grounds, so they might reconsider their policy. Since the camp is right on the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier route, I suggested she contact the organization so they can put it on their terrific maps. For our $12 it was a fantastic experience.

About a mile down the road we met our first cross-country bikers. They were two days away from finishing their trek, with their two rear panniers apiece and their light, fast looking bikes. Go Kirks! I hope you got yourself some Atlantic Ocean on your wheels.

Lunch was nearly unremarkable: a foot-long Subway sandwich split four ways and a bag of chips, with the promise of fruit, avocados, and leftover pasta down the road.  The kids were about to nap, and we didn’t take time to dine because we knew they would be walking and playing on the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail ahead.

Attention bicyclists: 219A to the trail doesn’t have a shoulder. And it’s peppered with “trucks entering” signs. However, there is little traffic and clear visibility. Stuart and I pedaled quickly to the trail, stopping at a flaming red florist shop in Hawthorne to refill water bottles and to inevitably screw ourselves by interrupting nap time.

Once on the trail the kids walked, helpfully pushing the Burleys from behind. Brady launched a three star tantrum because his shirt wasn’t fast enough for him to run reallyfast on the trail (his shoes and Cardinal hat were, but his shirt was not). This tantrum was followed, 14 miles later, by the great “I want to ride on Daddy’s shoulders” tantrum; four stars.

We were told to visit the alligators on the La Chua trail. The sign said they feed by size (toddler size), so we were very careful to hold hands and carry the wee. The alligators yawned; flicked tails; eyed Brady very carefully, turning as we walked, sizing.

We navigated to the Gainesville Country Club home of friend-of-friend-turned-friend, Jorelle and husband, Michael.  Our gracious hosts allowed us to ring their tub and took us out for a fantastic Asian dinner at a local restaurant. Stuart and Michael later discussed technology as Jorelle and I mulled over reading, relationships, and the direction of dreams.