Families gathering - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

November 25, 2021 to November 26, 2021

Families gathering

Thursday

It’s Thanksgiving!

We’re off early this morning, leaving the apartment before eight for the drive up to Seattle for the first real family gathering since we met to celebrate Dad’s birthday in February 2020, before the Covid wave crashed against our shores and everyone’s world fell apart almost overnight.

We had planned to drive up yesterday and stay over for two nights, but changed our plans at the last minute when Rachael learned that her second delivery of her new suspension Seatpost was due to arrive yesterday.  Unable to bear the idea that this one might also be stolen, we decided to stay in town yesterday so she could pick it up as soon as it was delivered.

Introducing the new eeSilk suspension Seatpost, from Cane Creek.
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Suzanne GibsonIt looks good and I'm sure it will be a smoother ride with it. I am looking forward to hearing a report on it.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonI think we’re all anxious to see how this works out for her. The rough streets of Tucson will make a good test.
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2 months ago

We’ve both been apprehensive about how this year’s family gathering would go.  Mom is 97 this year and dad is only a few years younger.  We’re so lucky to have them both with us, but every year makes so much difference now and we’re anxious to see first hand how they’re doing.  Plus, my brother Stewart and his wife Lynn have both had a very difficult year with their health.  Stewart in particular has had it hard, suffering from a back injury that left him bedridden for almost two months until he could finally get in for surgery.

So we’re happy to report that it was an excellent gathering, one of the best ever really.  We met at Horizon House, the retirement community my parents are living in, and after enjoying their special buffet Thanksgiving banquet we retired to the Fireside Room for an extended visit before it became clear that mom and dad were starting to glaze over and needed to call it a day.

It was a smaller gathering than the last one - mom and dad, Elizabeth, my brother Stewart and his wife Lynn, their daughter Lauren and her partner Peter, and ourselves.  A nice-sized gathering really, small enough that there was time for everyone to have a real conversation with everyone else.  And I’m happy to report that my parents are doing quite well, and better than I’d imagined and feared; and Stewart is doing much better than I envisioned also - he’s walking almost normally, doesn’t show any evidence of pain issues, and is steadily improving since his recovery.  Well enough that he and Lynn flew back to Pennsylvania last week for a gathering with some of Lynn’s old college classmates.  

And, it’s great to see some complete faces for the first time in almost two years. The last time I saw my parents was in July, just before we left for our Road to Rome and soon after Horizon House finally started permitting outside guests again, and everyone was still masked then.  So there’s plenty to be thankful for today, not least of which is that everyone in the family has remained Covid-free, has been vaccinated, and is of a like mind about it.  We’re a small but very fortunate clan.

Afterwards Rachael and I drove to the Mediterranean Hotel for the night - so much better than driving home in the rain and darkness.

Lauren and mom.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesYour mother looks amazing for almost 97. Heck, even if you reverse the numbers, she looks incredible for 79.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesPretty remarkable woman. We’re all so fortunate to have her still with us.
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2 months ago
Stewart and Rocky.
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Elizabeth, Lynn and dad.
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Mom and Peter.
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From the rooftop of the Mediterranean Hotel.
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Rachel and Patrick HugensWhat a wonderful Thanksgiving gext together. At some point, quality rather than quantity of life is best.
Happy Thanksgiving to you both
Racpat
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2 months ago

Friday

We’re up and out the door even earlier this morning, starting the drive home before seven while it’s still dark out.  We were elated when we woke up today and saw the forecast, which indicated a dry day in Portland.  We decide to head for home as soon as Rachael’s very cold coffee (which she brewed last night and found partly frozen in the fridge this morning) thaws out and starts working its way through her system.

Our plan is to make it back to Portland early enough so that we can each get a ride in before heading over to Bruce and Andrea’s for a second holiday gathering, a reunion of the HAC Group.

The drive goes fast - there’s hardly any traffic on the freeway this morning, and the Raven provides a much smoother and more relaxing ride than dear Old Paint did - and we’re back home shortly before 10.  Rachael is out soon after for a 42 mile ride out along Marine Drive to the Troutdale airport and back.  

I wait around for another hour to relax a bit from the drive and then head out as well.  I start out with the idea of a figure 8 ride I’ve never thought to take before: south along the river to the Sellwood Bridge; up to Terwilliger through River View Cemetery; a loop south through Lake Oswego, West Linn, Oregon City and Milwaukie; and then back up through River View Cemetery a second time, finally returning to town along the top of the ridge on Terwilliger.

When I get to the Sellwood Bridge though, I think again about the clock and how long and slow that ride might be.  I’m not sure I can fit it in the time window available, and then there’s always the chance that something might go wrong to slow me down.  We can’t be late for the HAC meet, so I lower my sights and continue south along the river to Oregon City, cross over to West Linn and Lake Oswego, bike north to the cemetery and drop down to the river to finish the ride along its west bank through Willamette Park.  Still a respectable ride - about 35 miles with 1,600’ of climbing - but significantly shorter and faster than my original thought.

A pretty gray day, but if I don’t get a photo of the Burnside Bridge now it might not happen during this stay.
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Some new street art on Caruthers Street.
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The east channel of the Willamette, with Ross Island on the right.
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I’m always surprised to see something like this, an interesting heritage building I’ve biked past a hundred times but never looked up at before now. It’s easier to notice now, approaching it as I am from the new Sellwood Connector that extends the bike path through the Sellwood neighborhood. This is a former substation of the old Oregon Water Power and Railway Company. Now that I know it’s here and its interesting history I’ll have to come back for a longer look.
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The Lake Oswego Railroad Bridge, from the north.
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Jen GrumbyBeautiful! There was a time when I stored my sea kayak next to Oaks Park and loved paddling upriver towards that bridge. Lovely section of the river.
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1 month ago
Inviting!
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Uninviting.
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Graham FinchThat's the type I mentioned.
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2 months ago
The mouth of the Clackamas River, from the John McLoughlin Bridge (Highway 99E). An awkward shot to take, sitting on the railing leaning back into the traffic lane so I could get far enough back to fit the bike into the frame. It’s a narrow four lane bridge and a busy highway so I had to watch for a gap in the traffic before leaning back.
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Bruce LellmanBut I agree, it's always worth risking my life to get another shot of my bike.
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2 months ago
Willamette Falls, and the Oregon City Arch Bridge.
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Bruce LellmanNice framing of this rather spectacular scene.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyYes! Love this shot.
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1 month ago
The Lake Oswego Railroad Bridge, from the south.
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It’s a good thing I shortened the ride because it’s about a quarter to four when I return home, leaving just enough time for me to shower, shave, and dash over to Safeway to pick up the beers, our unimaginative easy-preparation contribution to the feast ahead.  Our timing is perfect, arriving at the gathering at 5:01 and walking in the door just behind the legendary Grumbys.

And, as we knew it would be, this too is a joyous and delightful family gathering.  There’s so much to catch up on with old friends, when you meet up only once or twice a year.  And we closed out this season’s gathering with the by now traditional ringing of the Great Gong.

At the last minute Jen remembers there should be photos, and pulls out her phone.
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Jen GrumbyGlad that at least we all know that the goofy stance was required to get everyone in the photo. 😉
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1 month ago
I don’t know. So maybe I had one too many beers?
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A bit better.
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So this was the Grumbys’ big chance to reclaim their globe-trotting bottle opener, but it seems he’s not ready to settle down quite yet.
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Image not found :(
To the Glorious HACs! I especially like this photo because it unexpectedly captured Jen’s face in the mirror.
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Yes, that was great fun. Let’s do this again, soon.
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Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 240 miles (386 km)

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Suzanne GibsonThanks for all those nice family and friends pictures. Great that your parents are doing so well. You have good genes! And it looks like the HACs get-together was a big success!
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyMy first time checking back in on the blog since leaving OR. Love seeing the photos of your family and the HAC-er reunion photos are excellent!

Reading this was the perfect way to start the day. 🙂
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks, Jen. Good to hear from you. We hope all is going well back there.
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1 month ago