The month of March feels kind of like a vinyl record with a scratch in it; there is still a lot of music, but there are skips, repeats, and the tracks don’t always play as they should. For now, I am starting at the present, and moving backwards – in pieces.
Our son Mason came home from school for a brief weekend visit, as we had missed him over his Spring Break. We got to catch up, get back on our bikes after too many days absence, and do a little leisurely riding in the incredibly balmy temps that have been setting records across the country. Mason had spent his break with a team of students from his university; they travelled to the islands of Trinidad & Tobago to work on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village project – mixing concrete, shoveling sand and helping lay the foundation for a family’s new home. There was a cement workers’ strike on the islands, so they really had their work cut out for themselves – mixing everything by hand with shovels and a lot of muscle.
He had some wonderful stories (best listened to while we were out on our bikes), made some new friends, got some running in (lol), and I loved that he took some time from his busy schedule to do some giving back. (Photos from my son’s camera).
foot race challenge
Habitat for Humanity Global Village, Trinidad & Tobago … the cement mixing
While Mason was off getting dirty and building houses, the rest of us headed to the mountains for our annual week of skiing in Colorado. It was a well-needed break for all of us. The snow was wonderful, the skiing fantastic, and like in years past, it was hard to come back home – I always tend to leave a part of myself in the snow and mountains, and someday may be staying for good. My plan is to post a gallery of snow-mountain-ski pics of this place I love, my second home, later this week. But for now I’m just including a few of the bike-y ones (and a snowy one … because it’s been so warm everywhere else).
I love the active mountain culture in Steamboat, and especially that they are so bicycle friendly – they are an LAB Gold Level community. Skiers on bikes, bikes loaded with everything from groceries to snowboards to dogs and kids. Weather, altitude, snow-covered roads are never a deterrent. One of these days my dream is to have a little house along the Yampa River, riding on the Core Trail into town for breakfast or lunch, and loading my skis on my Xtracycle for a trip to the slopes. Oh, perfect life.
And then there was all of the tornado and Red Cross stuff that I had left off with. Sigh. I am relieved to report that the damage was not as massive in scope as last April – which is still little consolation to the people who have lost their homes – and we are all grateful that no lives were lost. Our local Red Cross chapter joined with folks from Chattanooga and Knoxville, and the relief efforts went very well, as you can read in detail here. (Photo credit for these two shots from my volunteer friend, Sandy; my camera stayed at home).
But very sadly, in the midst of all of the disaster response, our chapter suffered another major blow; due to continuing reorganization and personell changes, we now no longer have a Disaster Services Director in our chapter. My friend, mentor, and “boss”, Michele – a 10 year Red Cross veteran – is no longer with the organization. This change in addition to the other personell cuts made earlier in the month, I can’t help but think that the writing is on the wall, so to speak. It appears our small local chapter has effectively been dismantled at this point, and I am greatly saddened … I honestly don’t know what my own volunteer future will be.
Most frustrating, no one from the upper echelons seems to be providing any communication/direction to the volunteer base. It reminds me of sitting in an airplane on a runway with no pilot … are they going to cancel our flight? Are they going to send another pilot? Or do they just expect one of the passengers to take the controls? Like I said, it’s just incredibly frustrating – which made my decision to leave for some skiing during Spring Break a little easier.
I am back to my bike, my silly routine. I am sorry to have not been able to finish the Utilitaire games, but I take my hat off to The Old Guy and my other friends who finished successfully – I applaud you all. And I thank MG for the dreaming up the whole idea, for I had great fun participating for the weeks that I was able to – which, for me, is what it was all about anyway. It made me re-think variety in destination riding, and I look forward to incorporating the goals into my riding routine.
Hopefully the remainder of March will be a little more normal, a little less interrupted, no big scratches. We’ll see.
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Hi, nice to read a new post and it’s a good one!
Thanks for the fascinating read. Keep up the good works!
Nice to catch up on your life. Next year take me skiing, ok?
I know I am past due on a thank-you for recent kindness(es), so of course I will take you skiing… 🙂 Hope all is well, C. Figure you are cycling in shorts up there lately. Enjoy it!
sorry to hear about the Red Cross chapter…we spend billions on chasing the illusion of “security” but we can’t seem to find the money to make our society resilient through disaster preparedness and response
Awesome for your son,much respect from here to him 🙂
Glad you got a visit (I dred the day my own kids move on out),too,especially a riding visit 😉
The Red Cross was the first person or group of persons to come to our aid (not deminishing what the fire dept. did during) personally when our home burned last Summer. They have much love,respect and prayer from us,each and every individual involved with.
Thank you, S :). I’m always glad to have my boys home for a visit (except for the piles of dirty laundry part, lol).
I am glad your experience with Red Cross was a good one, and hope that they were able to offer some help during such a difficult time. It’s always encouraging for us to hear from people who feel they have been helped.
Hope you are enjoying this crazy warm weather. Cheers!
Your very welcome,my friend! I can imagine about laundry…now that I’m a house”wife” ( 😛 ),I do it all here,hahaha!
It was a very good experience. As soon as the lady had confirmation our house had indeed burned,there were boxes,blankets (even though it was July 1st,LOL),and a sizable check-card to help get started replacing things-not to mention the act that she genuinely seemed to care. We’ll never forget her.
Yep,check my blog,been riding the wheels off the bikes,LOL! I haven’t even been posting every ride,just the more notible ones-been riding practically every day (took yesterday off,and still a bit run down today,probably won’t until tomorrow),LOL! It’s rare that my spinal issues are so light (from where I broke my neck 10 years ago this month…the reason I’m the “Disabled Cyclist” 😉 ) at the same time as we’re having awesome weather,the two are usually at odds and not coming together 😀
So nice to hear from you. I’ve been reading your posts for a couple of months now and it occurred to me just the other day that I hadn’t seen any beautiful bike pics in a few days. Glad you had time to ride, photograph, and post…:-)
Thank you for the kind words, and for reading. I need to get my mojo back and my camera clicking again. 🙂