40 Years of the Polka Dot Jersey

1975 was quite a year for the Tour de France. Eddy Merckx attempted, and failed, to secure a record sixth Tour, succumbing to Bernard Thevenet and perhaps wounded by a punch from a spectator, as we…

Source: 40 Years of the Polka Dot Jersey

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Homeward Bound, a Catch- Up

A catch-up of our travels since we left Oregon and headed down the coast towards California. We’ve been through the Redwood Forests, stopped in Mendicino, as we headed to visit my oldest friend Toni in San Rafael, Ca. Toni called to tell me she fell down a flight of stairs and had broken two vertebrae and was having surgery immediately. We decided to continue on and visit Toni as is. We are now moteling it and it is a totally different experience than camper life. We now have TV and sometimes a bathtub and are eating at restaurants. I’ve been knitting myself along and completed an adorable lace dress, shrug and hat for Miss Roxy who we will visit in Kansas.
We got to San Rafael and found Toni after 13 hours of surgery, a few days in ICU now in a Rehab Center near her home. We stayed about a week, staying at Toni’s beautiful home with views of the bay and the Richmond Bridge. I spent most days sitting with Toni by day and going to movies at night. I watched Toni get stronger everyday but she has 3 months ahead of her in Rehab before she can be on her own.
Also got to visit old friend from Vermont, John Wincunis who moved to Napa last year. John, who is an extreme wine aficionado is living his retirement dream in the wine country working at a winery of course. He is also sharing a home with a passionate gourmet cook who hosts dinners every month in his home for a group called meetup. com. people pay 35 dollars for dinner, bring a bottle of wine and meet each other. This is great for John who loves to schmooze, drink wine, eat and look for a new partner. John lost his wonderful wife Carol who was one of my best friends about 7 years ago from cancer. so we were treated to a special dinner party for us and another couple by Shaun the cook and John the sommelier who provided the wine. We ate incredible creative courses, each with a wine until midnight. the menu consisted of cream of barley soup, sweetbreads en croute, foie gras on toast, lasagna with mushrooms, 3 salads, monkfish liver with squid and pear tart with whipped creme for dessert. Exhausting, but fun. The next day we biked with John around Napa, visited the Hess Winery and Art Museum(filled with an amazing collection of abstract expressionist art). After some tasting I bought a lovely bottle of a primo Hess Chardonnay. It’s waiting for us in the van for the right moment.
We also got to meet John In Sausalito a few days later and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco. We rode through the park and ended up in the Haight Ashbury. I took the guys up Buena Vista Park to the apartment I lived in the sixties. the hills in the city were fantastic. A thrill climbing up and death defying charging down. Many memories of my years in the city.
And finally a lovely visit to my old, dear friend Merielle who now lives in Berkley with husband Andy, 20 year old gorgeous daughter Allegra, 24 year old adorable son Eric. Her 38 year old daughter Ocean Song lives nearby and dropped by to say hello. Ocean is my son Jacob’s half sister and I love her dearly. A very beautiful happy family.
It was hard to leave California and I found myself full of feelings as we drove on. Sadness to leave Toni with her ordeal, much tenderness and love for my old friends and the times we shared in our twenties and thirties. There is nothing like the bond of a shared history and the unconditional love of old friends. I miss them all the time.
And now Bob and I are lying on our kingside bed at the Alpine Inn in Gunnison, Colorado. We’ve driven through Yosemite National Park, Nevada, Utah and the Devil’s Canyon and now Colorado. We hope to be in Kansas by Wednesday. And home by Monday.

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Addendum to Still in Oregon

Well Bob and I never made it to the Oyster Festival at the coast. A most amazing serendipitous moment changed our plan. As we were driving out of Pacific City for the day Bob spotted a highway sign that said Thanks to Eilean and Larry Rouse for Highway cleanup. Bob yelled aloud
“those are my friends”. It turns out Bob has been looking for these friends for years and couldn’t remember their last names. They now live in the town where Chris has his coast house. Bob knew them in the 80’s when he lived in Salem, Oregon while working for the telephone company. They were all members of an active cross-country ski club that Bob and his wife Betty belonged to.
So Bob found his friends and off we went to visit them at their home overlooking then ocean. It was a very sweet reunion, with stories and memories of good times together. A chance finding which made Bob very happy.
We plan to leave on Wednesday in our van for California. My dear old friend Toni from San Raphael now loess in the intensive care unit at Marin General Hospital after a fall down the stairs. Two fractured vertebrae and a 15 hour surgery later she’s in amazingly good spirits. So we will have a different kind of visit than planned.
We condensed our load, bought a bike rack and forge on. Plan to be back in Vermont early October.

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Still in Oregon, Loving it But Moving on Soon

We’ve been here more than two weeks, enjoying Portland, Lake Oswego and the company of Chris Dill, oldest son of Bob’s. He’s a great guy in his early 50’s who is at A big transition in his life. Recently divorced after a 15 year marriage, and also laid off from a 23 year stint as a VP at the Portland Trailblazers, he’s exploring new healthier less stressful direction and work in his life. Also raising his 15 year old daughter Sierra who has become a teenage challenge. He’s also a big biker like Bob but over 20 years younger, stronger and leaves us all in the dust.

Well, the big news is we are no longer in the trailer. We cleaned it up real spiffy and put it on consignment at a Fun Finder dealer. I miss it, however I can now getnout of most beds without asking Bob to swing over and let me out. We decided to finish the rest of our journey driving the van and sleeping in motels. More restaurants, less cooking, more showers and probably more TV watching. We plan to head to California in few days to visit old friends in the Bay Area, my old haunting ground.

I got to meet up with my friend’s Susan’s lovely daughter Rachel in Portland. She just graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts from the Portland College of Arts and Crafts. She does beautiful work in ceramics. I haven’t seen her for years and she’s grown up to be a beautiful, gentle and talented women. So nice to see my friend’s children grown up.

Today we are on the Oregon Coast, spending the night at Chris’s house at the ocean. it was a full moon last night and an incredible sunset at the ocean. We watched the sun go down from the deck and turned around and viewed the moon in all it’s glory. Bob and I are going to the Oyster Festival around here today and back to Portland tonight.

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Stuck in Portland and not Complaining

Bob and I have been here a week now visiting with Bob’s family east and west. We are still caimg at the Willamette River by night and touring around with sons Chris and Peter and grandkids Sierra, Taylor and the inimitable Matthew. We are traveling as a pack right now as Peter and Taylor and Matt visit from Boston. Today Bob and I got the day off as the rest of then pack drove to Seattle to visit Cousin Randy. We had a great time Monday rafting down the White Salmon River. We all got to go through class III and IV rapids and a great 12 foot drop over a falls. I thought I would be scared but as we got going I wanted more, more rapids. Very exciting and fun. On the way home Chris and his friend Jim who came with us bought a 20 lb. King salmon caught that day. We grilled some the next evening and let me tell you it’s the best. Mouth watering deliciousness.
We’ve hiked and biked the falls area, spent a day at Mt Hood where the kids did some ski sliding and go karts. And a visit to the incredible Mt. Hood Lodge built in the 30’s by the WPA. A very solid construction with lots of stone and Logs. They tell me they filmed Stephen King’s The Shining here. THe views of the mountain were amazing and people were actually skiing in the sunshine.
Today I stayed in bed until 12. It was luxurious. Nothing to do and no place to go. Bob guilted me out of bed and we Headed to Chris’ condo in Lake Oswego. Nobody home so we took over and plan to spend the night. We did a vigorous 24 mile ride to downtown Portland and back. And our big treat tonight is dinner at the local Thai restaurant and a movie ” Sarah’s Key” later.

We are waiting for a new axle for our trailer. We have had some tire wear and the consensus is axle problem. Bob and I have decided to sell the trailer here in Portland and continue on in Bob’s van. Plan to be home at the beginning of October after a visit to old 60’s friends in California and then a stop in Lawrence, Kansas to visit Alexis and Suzy and the beautiful baby girl Roxy. Starting to knit a new red lacy dress for her.i

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Hanging Out Next to the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon

We found a lovely campsite next to the river and expect to be here for the next week visiting Bob’s son Chris and grand daughter Sierra. Last night Bob’s other son Peter arrived from Boston with his 16 year old daughter Taylor and nephew Matt who is 14. So we are having a family reunion in Portland. Good fun. Tomorrow a rafting trip.

Bob and I spent our last days in Washington at Mt St. HELENS. We biked up a ways and then the heat got to me so we had a great downhill return and drove to the Johnson Ridge Visitors’ Center face to face with the volcano. we watched a very dramatic movie about the eruption in 1980 and the havoc it wreaked on the landscape. A new glacier is now growing next to the dome. Lots of action still happening all around. New lakes formed, new tree growth and mammoth new plantings. A truly amazing place to visit. I feel like I have been receiving quite an education on the geology of this planet on this trip. Things I never quite got in Earth Science so many years ago.
So I am anxiously waiting to hear more news about Hurricane Irene and its path to Vermont. Not wanting all whom I care about to be blown away by wind or water. Portland is sunny and warm and dry right now. A perfect shelter from the storm that I wish I could share with you. Yesterday atria to the Lake Oswego Farmer’s Market. Chris and I cooked up a great dinner with the beautiful veggies we got there. Everything remarkably big and healthy looking. We invented a fabulous appetizer. Chris made crackers with blue cheese and a drip of honey and then we added half a fresh perfect fig to top it off. So good. Roasted tiny red potatoes with beets and a fabulous salad with heirloom tomatoes, sautéed shrimp and voila, a feast! Tonight a picnic at the camper and perhaps a swim in the river. Enjoying summer at last. It was eluding me until now

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In Forks, Washington the Home of Twilight Vampires

We’ve been busy visiting, camping, being tourists, biking and sitting around knitting and reading. Since we left Randy’s place in Seattle we’ve been up to Port Angeles. From there we parked our camper and took a ferry to Victoria, B.C. Biked from the pier to the beautiful and famous Burchart Gardens, a landmark in Victoria. and quite an amazing spread it is. Flowers of every kind possible including 250 varieties of rose bushes, Japanese gardens and most incredible landscape architecture using a quarry as the sunken garden. We bike back to China town and had a lovely Chinese dinner with the veggies cooked just right. Made the ferry back to Port Angeles and got to the camper just in time for a much needed sleep.

The next day we slowly made oour way to Vashon Island back Seattle way to visit with one of my oldest friends Susan Heyward(formerly Shulman). We met in the early seventies while we both cooked at the Morning Star Inn, a vegetarian collective in Atlanta, Georgia,where we both spent our youth. It was a seminal time for both of us. A lot of growing up happened in a short time. Susan and I get together every five or six years and reminisce about the crazy days at the restaurant and wonder about whatever happened to so and so. We’ve all moved on from there but with memories of wild times, food fights in the kitchen and nostalgic thoughts of casseroles buried in cheddar cheese.

Susan lives in a fantastic house on Vashon Island facing Seattle, Mt Ranier and the Space Needle. a Japanese style architectural vision, with many a room dedicated to something special.Bob and I thoroughly luxuriated in our surroundings. It was quite a treat to stretch out from Almost 3 months in a 19 foot travel trailer. Even our bed at Susan’s was king size.
Susan was in training for the Chicago marathon and met with her training women’s group to walk a mere 18 miles Saturday morning. Bob and I biked to town and hung around a bountiful farmer’s market. Susan’s husband Steve was in Victoria for a rowing competition. Busy and fit folks. Susan looks as beautiful as ever in her petite stature. a big person in a little body. It was a delight to see her nice life in Seattle.
Bob and I continued back to our trailer and happily settled in our cushy little bed. Were now going down the Washigton Coast. Spent last night in the ocean town of La Push. Today passing through Forks, the home of the Twilight Series. Making our way to Portland by the weekend. a rainy day and a good day to drive further on.

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In Seattle, Parted with Wayne and Sam(and Luke and Tory, too)

We’ve been in the Seattle area a couple of days parked in Sam’s sister’s driveway near Tacoma. Sam’s youngest sister, Mary and her husband Dave own some beautiful property and have a lovely home they built, along with magnificent gardens, manicured lawns and an antique car collection that is the pride of Dave. He even offered to sell me an old orange Honda 90 motorcycle that he was preserving. I owned a red Honda 90 in the late 60’s when I lived in San Francisco, however, mine was red. It was hard to resist bringing it back home with me but I knew Bob would blow a gasket and we’d part ways on route 80. I didn’t think the Honda would get me far, so I passed it up.

Sam and Mary have a lot in common but are also quite different. They are fishing buddies and meet every year in Montana along with Sam’s buddy Dimitri and middle sister Margie. Margie drove in from Portland, Oregon and we had a delicious Italian restaurant reunion dinner as well as a goodbye to each other for now. Sam and Wayne will head east to Chicago to visit Wayne’s kindergarten friend(actually met then) and on home to New York. We will miss them so much that we can’t even let ourselves go there. I told Bob I would replace Wayne’s as wagon master, but he didn’t seem to agree with that idea. I am including some photos of Sam and her sisters as well as some of my knitting projects. Sam’s first hat under my tutelage. She has a gorgeous sweater she made, plus a couple of lace neck warmers. We’ve been prolific. Now were on our own. I’m into knitting a reddish lace shawl at the moment. We had to exchange all the things we loaned to each other. My #5 circular needles and pattern, Sam’s extra pair of waders, and a book she loaned me. I had 20 pages to go but I knew she wanted to give it to Mary. So she took me aside and gave me a blow by blow account of the dramatic ending. Glad to be done with that book.

So here I sit drinking a glass of chardonnay on Bob’s cousin Randy’s gigantic porch looking down on Lake Washington, a hundred feet down in the heart of a lovely residential area in Seattle. Yesterday, Bob took Wayne and I on a bicycle grand tour of the city. He lived here for a couple of years in the nineties working for the telephone company. So he knew every bike path and twist and turn on the route. We walked our bike’s through Pike Market, as well as riding over bridges and fish ladders, parks and many neighborhoods. Seattle is a bustling town, full of tourists, bikers, runners, boaters and people of most asian countries. Very alive. There was a huge line out the door of the original Starbucks at Pike St. Market. I skipped it. They are all the same to me. So we parked our rig on the street next to Randy’s house today. His lovely wife Finnoula and their 3 adolescent daughters are out shopping and Bob and Randy left me with the dog who lives here and are out sharing a bike ride together. I was not invited. So I happily took myself to the porch with lunch a a glass of wine.
Other cousins will be arriving tonight as well as Finnoula’s parents from Ireland. So another family reunion in store for us. It might help me deal with missing Sam and Wayne(Luke and Tory, too).
It’s a whole new journey for me and Bob without them. We’re on our own and we hope we’ve learned enough about the trailer to handle all its gaffs without our experienced and wonderful wagon masters.

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On the Way to the Pacific Northwest

Our trip is now in its later stages. We are headed to Washington State where Sam hopes to meet up with her sister Mary and perhaps do some fishing together. I am already beginning to feel the impending stages of our parting company. Wayne needs to get back to New York by the end of August and Bob and I will continue on the West coast visiting family and old friends. It will be a completely different trip without them. I will miss my knitting, eating cooking, drinking, fishing, biking buddies.

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Out of Alaska, Leaving Smithers, B.C.

We took our last ferry to Prince Rupert, BC, spent the night and headed south to Smithers, a small town where Sam and had fished a couple of years ago. Another lovely place, a fishing haven as well as surrounded by glaciers, mountains, canyons, rivers. The whole works. I got a lot accomplished here. Got a tooth fixed that broke at the dentists, got a great haircut downstairs, ate a fabulous sushi lunch at The Blue Finn, did a beautiful climb on the bike with the guys, and continue to knit like a maniac. Hats for the girls, with baubles. Very adorable.

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