Monday, December 17, 2012

All Aboard!

Awaiting the train at Montpelier Junction

A scene out the window

Coming into White River Junction

Writing Christmas cards aboard

This past weekend we made good on a long held desire to travel by train. Our trip was somewhat short;  from central Vermont down to western Massachusetts, but it was thrilling regardless.

Numerous times  we have investigated the option of travelling by train, and most often the compromises involved have been too much to deal with,  be it cost, time or logistics, so we end up choosing to go by car or plane. In this case the variables worked well enough and we went for it.

Kind of like riding a bike, from a distance others see effort and complication, but up close it is frequently an intimate and immediate pleasure. The train was something like this as well. Beyond the challenge of cost and timetables there are the less obvious benefits of comfortable and safe travelling, a greatly diminished carbon footprint,  and a relaxing period of time to do as you please-- all combined with the adventure of seeing the world through the distinct view of a train window. These qualities are somewhat less tangible yet taken together add up to something pretty special and worth taking into account.

Southbound travellers embarking after we'd gotten off in Brattleboro

A happy reunion with Dan and Addie

The first portion of the trip followed very familiar routes that I've either driven or cycled and it was really fun to see familiar locations from a new perspective. To travel through Vermont by train you might get the impression that all of the state is made of up rustic old farms and beautiful pasture.

There was something magic about the train arriving. From the "toot toot" as I heard the train approaching the station, my heart started to race. How fun to ride a train! It is a connection that reaches deep into our history and yet is a vital and promising answer to many of our present day ailments.  As we rode, I imagined life when this was the predominate form of travel and how good that must have been. Like the bicycle, it accelerates your journey, but not so much that your natural human accommodation can't keep up. You experience the transformation of time and distance at a pace that feels intuitively right.

After a weekend spent with friends we were driven back to the station in Brattleboro and made our way home. It was a slushy, snowy evening and it would have been a slow and unpleasant drive home. I noted this as we sat comfortably and safely in the warm passenger car headed north. With wifi available and the freedom to move about I settled in for easy trip home.

 The ride home Sunday night

The train continuing North from Montpelier in the snowy dark

Of course, riding in a train, a subway, an airplane or a bus is all similar in the sense that you are foremost moving from one place to another, and there is a similarity across these modes of transport on some level, but my overall sense of ease was notable aboard the train. Perhaps it just feels safe in comparison to the others, maybe its knowing it is a markedly more sustainable means of travel--I'm not sure. But I do know I'm going to be angling for more train trips in the future.

(My understanding is there will be a time in the not-distant future when bicycles will again be allowed aboard the trains. Amtrak is working on a national system of cars that can store the bikes and on updating their booking systems to include this option. I will celebrate that day when these two forms of travel are again linked.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tweed Indeed

Today Nancy and I took part in our first ever Tweed Ride. I first heard about the tweed run back in 2008 or so and the concept grabbed me right away: A festive ride on vintage bikes in all manner of wool, linen, and leather. What could be better? Tweed rides are now a world-wide phenomenon and this include the second annual Herringbone Tweed Ride in lovely Burlington, Vermont.

The clouds were ominous as we drove up 89. This was going to be a fun event and we were not contemplating getting soaked simply for the pleasure of riding around in our chosen garb. Luck was with us and we arrived at Maglianero's under grey skies but no rain. We were on time and slowly others arrived, tellingly with wool sports coats, knickers, rolled up jeans with argyle socks, bow ties, etc.. There was also a distinct English air to the bikes that accumulated: Raleigh 3-speeds, Brooks saddles, black saddlebags, as well as the Raleigh Twenty we brought along.

Over coffee and scones we chatted with new acquaintances and in a while everyone gathered outside and we set off on what promised to be a leisurely ride with stops at points of historical interest, beautiful views and other intriguing possibilities.

The ride was rollicking and somewhat free form, almost like a critical mass ride, but with a couple of folks who knew where we were going. People on the street smiled and waved and wondered what was happening.  Our first stop was in City Hall park, where we were treated to a brief lecture from Luis Vinanco, professor of Cultural Anthropology at UVM. He described Burlington as a hub of cycling activity at the turn of the century and described early efforts to improve roads and encourage cycling.

We then pedaled on to Battery Park where we were again offered a enjoyable bit of Queen City cycling history. From there we moved on to a ride along the Lake Champlain waterfront on the bike path and enjoyed the easy camaraderie amongst riders as we traveled along. Various opportunities for photos  were taken advantage of along the way.

Our most dramatic stop was at the Ethan Allen stone tower in the hilly woods overlooking Lake Champlain from it's high perch. The organizers had a key and we were lucky enough to enjoy climbing the stairs and taking in a view of the lake from end-to-end, the high peaks of the central Green Mountains, and the surrounding city. Poetry, snacks and other friendly offerings were shared.

The ride continued on leaf covered paths through the woods that soon led to some longer stretches through the lowlands of the Winooski river floodplains. We rode on towards our penultimate destination at the Old Spokes Home where we were treated to cookies and cider, as well as an opportunity to view the amazing antique bike collection upstairs in the museum.

The ride ended when we arrived as a group at the Intervale where Local Motion was having their annual meeting and party with beer and pizza. The riders from our group provided a bit of entertainment with a humorous "Most Elegant Mount & Dismount" contest. Guess who won first prize? Yup, I won a cycling cap. As chance would have it an old friend from UMass days happened to be there and suggested basically a swing-the-leg-over-the-bars-frontwards mount and I managed to just do it, rather shakily, to much applause.

It crossed my mind in the midst of our ride that really this was just an excuse to get out and enjoy riding our bikes with a fun group of people. We had a great time.

More photos here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It was a Lovely, Wet, Great Day

Riders arriving for the 7:00am start

This fellow was riding a very nice Velo Orange machine as we leave Burlington 

Jake and John

Me, maybe near Jeffersonville

That's John up ahead as we track down the last few miles headed into Jericho

This was the pack I rode with for most of the second half of the ride at a stop in Charlotte; welcome company through the rain, mud, and long miles. All of us were well fendered except for the guy with the muddy butt

My pal John

Emily, a rider from Boston and inspiring bag maker. We had a great time talking along the way. She rode the whole thing on a fixed gear

Others from our little group as we close in on the finish

Mike checking in riders at the finish with coffee and pizza at hand

Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding the last event of this season's Vermont brevet series, namely the Fall Classic 114k/200k.

Doing these rides makes me just so happy.  I love the challenge and the spirit which brings together a distinct slice of people who choose to spend many, many hours churning away on their bikes to experience a rare mix of beauty, exhaustion, exhilaration, and finally, relief.

A brevet is not a race and I believe this is the most compelling aspect of the whole event. Any sense of success or failure is fundamentally self-created. There is no external pressure to ride any faster or further then you feel comfortable doing. You can take it easy if you like, stopping frequently and enjoying the scenery, you may even sit down for a meal along the way. Conversely, you might find yourself compelled by the structure of the event as a test of organization, efficiency, and determination.  No one wins and no one looses in a brevet, but we all get to experience how well we worked through the day.

The day started out overcast and the prediction was for rain in the afternoon. For most of the day I was in the company of other riders, enjoying various casual conversations along the way. Unlike earlier rides, the lead pace was more relaxed and I enjoyed moving swiftly without feeling the desire to keep up with any particular pack. The controls seemed to have the effect of regrouping riders throughout the first few stops.

After one particularly jarring dirt downhill in Jeffersonville,  I discovered that Nancy's iphone (which she had graciously lent me for the day) had bounced out of one of the pockets of my handlebar bag. After a good look in all the places I might have misplaced it, I decided I had to go back up the road and find it. It wasn't hard to make the decision to turn around, but it did mean dropping away from the folks I'd been riding with. Somewhat surprisingly, I found it after a bit of searching and it was none the worse for the wear for it's time on the edge of the road.

I headed off again and enjoyed the company of a new variety of riders. I didn't really care about my overall time and was glad to mix it up with new folks. To my surprise my frequent fellow traveller John appeared from behind. It turns out the folks I had be riding with previous to the cell phone mishap had taken a wrong turn and added 7 miles or so before getting back on route--hence putting me back with some familiar faces.

Lunch was a brief stop at the Village Cup in Jericho. I had a welcome hot cup of coffee and a sandwich I'd packed as the drizzle started to become a little more persistent. This was the point of divergence for those riding either the 114k or the 200k. I headed off on the 200k route with a rider named David.

Over the miles out of Jericho a loose collection of riders coalesced into an informal yet steady group of seven riders. Everyone seemed game to settle into a little group. Perhaps there was an undercurrent of awareness about the distance still to travel as the weather was deteriorating--company is always welcome in such circumstances. By the time we descended into Richmond the rain had come on full force.

Later I described the experience of riding with this group to Nancy as sort of like riding on a train. If you had a mechanical issue or had to make a random stop you might find yourself left off behind somewhere. If you were quick with your stop and huffed it you'd likely catch up, but you could also find yourself riding alone. At the end of the day after all the rain and and mud and chill, I was very grateful that I was in this small troupe; their presence kept me moving, kept me company, and reinforced my will to keep going. It would have been harder to muster that standing alone in the middle of nowhere soaked to the bone and feeling oppressed by the miles still to go. I enjoyed the seeming cohesiveness in terms of effort and speed; it felt to me that everyone was pretty much moving along together at a pretty natural pace.

The rain eased up later in the afternoon and with it my optimism was restored as we narrowed down the miles into Burlington.

Unlike earlier rides, this one featured many stretches of dirt road and a bunch of climbing. Again I was exposed to parts of Vermont I'd never seen before. According to the the numbers from the event description the 200k / 127mi ride had roughly 65 miles of dirt and about 9600' of climbing. I guess its not surprising that my usual trot up the stairs last night was a little more sluggish then usual.

This summer has provided me with a great introduction to randonneuring and I am excited for next year. John and I have talked about perhaps forming a fleché team for the spring. I have long dreamed of riding a fleché and I would be really excited to have the opportunity.

Update: A few other riders have posted about their experience of the ride:

-Mike, of littlecircles plus some photos:

-Greg, of Yakbicycle

-Velouria, of Lovely Bicycle
plus some photos:



Saturday, July 21, 2012

But the map said there was a road

Nancy and I went on a great ride today from Montpelier up through Elmore on to some wild territory that was not what we had planned on, but enjoyed a lot (once we got through).

Rt. 12 heading north from Montpelier was really nice as the elevation rises and the forest becomes more and more pine and the houses and cars drift off behind. Another couple on bikes passed us and then bounced ahead and back for the better part of the ride up to Elmore. 

Just before Elmore we took a right onto a dirt road and headed into less familiar, but interesting, roads. Within a mile of leaving rt. 12 I had mis-directed us and it wasn't until a couple miles later that we realized the mistake. Nancy had wisely brought along the necessary pages from a Vermont Gazetteer map book and we were able to deduce pretty quickly that the road we were on would take us through to where we had planned to go anyway, so we forged ahead. 

What we didn't really consider was the legend. In fact we didn't have it with us, but casually assumed that since the "road" was a continuous double-dashed line we'd be good. Within in mile or so, the travelled dirt road ended and we passed a sign saying "bridge out-not for travel" or something to that effect. I thought if anything this was enticing, since we might have to portage a bit. 

Quickly the way turned to very rough washed out road that required mountain bike handling (up off the seat, bouncy leg position, heavy on the rear brake) going down some really steep and ragged path. It was really fun and great to be riding out in the woods. It was sort of like going on a hike, but on bikes. 

Like any dubious adventure, there comes a point where you realize you've got yourself pretty far into something that then starts to maybe seem a little uncertain. We eventually went over a little bridge, looked at the map, and assured ourselves that we knew where we were.  The route we were travelling was a combo VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travellers) trail, four-wheeler, and dirt bike trail. 

With lots of up, and lots of down we continued and eventually ended up on Woodbury Mountain Road (which was our original intended route) and felt some relief to be back on a regular dirt road. It should be noted that this road was still a class-four road and still part of the VAST network.  With the edge of anxiety diminished, we decided to travel this road south towards Maple Corner where we would take a rest and get some food and water. Looking more carefully at the map this time, we could see that what we were on was a double-dashed road, but would become a double-dash double-dot dot road. In other words, returning to similar trail conditions as before. We decided to go for it and really enjoyed the pleasure of being on a road with no traffic whatsoever and a good enough surface to make reasonable headway, all in the proverbial middle of nowhere. 

Of course the road did become a boulder/ditch/mud/gravel/sand/root path once again, but we knew we were headed in the right direction, so enjoyed the experience. In all honesty, my chief worry was imagining running into unfriendly people in such a remote and unfamiliar area. 

In due time we heard the rumble and strain of motor vehicles off in the distance. 

When we finally came upon the source, we were stunned to see not one, not two, not three, but six jacked up trucks with massive wheels slowly navigating the trail in an impressive caravan. I admit to feeling quite vulnerable as I saw this impressive fleet slowly bouncing, bumping and climbing it's way down towards us. 

Of course the folks were all good humored and we exchanged friendly hellos as they passed by one-by-one. 

We continued on our way, sometimes walking our bikes, sometimes riding.

Some time on another fleet of vehicles came through. This time they were older folks and all driving Jeeps, including a couple of vintage vehicles that were a joy to see in this environment. 

After nearly ten miles of challenging terrain we finally met County Road and congratulated each other for coming through quite a challenge. The rest of our ride back into town was pleasant and unremarkable. We had left for this ride expecting a reasonably straightforward excursion and ended up with a much longer and more adventurous experience than we had bargained for. 

We arrived back to our car in Montpelier with a nice note from my sister reminding us to feed their dog and wishing us a good ride.  Heading home we considered what lessons were to be learned from the day:
  • Bring a paper map
  • Check the type of road, not just that it exists 
  • Bring plenty of food and water

I observed to Nancy that had we known what we were going into we most likely wouldn't have done it and that would have been a shame, so its sort of a conundrum in that respect that better preparation might have negated the whole thing. 

I strongly resist the notion that bikes have to be either "mountain bikes" or "road bikes", believing the difference is really a false dichotomy. A bike can be exceedingly capable of excellent performance on both smooth paved roads and rough mountainous dirt paths. Today reaffirmed that with wide tires and wide gearing you can really go much further than current conventional wisdom would expect. 

(An interesting aside to our day: We had a chance encounter with fellow randonneur Greg, who I have met briefly at recent brevets and exchanged blog comments with over time. It was great to have a chance to chat and say hi in person.  Shortly before seeing Greg we had crossed paths with old acquaintances Jay and Dot who I worked with a few years ago at Yestermorrow. Jay is keeping a blog about his renovation project on their house in Philidelphia that I have been enjoying keeping up with. It occurred to us that in both cases our real-world connections with these folks are fueled and reinforced by our blogging activities.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lets all say hooray for the 400k brevet!

Hours on a bike

At the 5:00am start getting ready. John is on the left. We ending up riding in reasonable proximity to each other throughout the ride. John finished an hour or so before me.

Riding with the lead pack as the sun comes up over the Winooski in Montpelier

This was my view for 22 hours

A mirror for cars entering near Springfield at the beginning of Parker Hill Road

Townshend--it is amazing to be in this region of the state and then back home in one day  by bike

Around 185 miles

Some of the loveliest scenery was the lakes in Plymouth at sunset

Done at 3:00am

Its well after midnight and I've been riding for perhaps 19 hours with roughly 30-40 miles left to go. I am doing my upmost to manage the insidious pain of saddle sores and rash. Frequently I call out  when I lift myself off the saddle to temporarily relieve the pain. It hurts to stand up, and it kills to sit back down, although I am able to situate myself periodically such that the pain fades to manageable for a while. Meanwhile, the butt pain is unconsciously urging me to put more of my body weight on my hands and I am experiencing zinging and pain in my left hand. Try as I may, there is no one position that provides relief for long and the option of dangling my hand only increases the pressure on my derriere. Never one to mind rough roads or bumpy pavement, every little irregularity is a potential source of jolting misery...

Okay, that's a dramatic way to start off this post, but the fact is it acurately describes the latter portions of my ride.

I am still recuperating from the 400k brevet that ran Saturday from Waterbury, Vermont down to Putney and back. In total it was a 258 mile ride completed in 22 hours Whew!

I can't say I'd describe it as fun, although I am grateful for the experience and am glad I did it. Unlike the last two rides this one was a challenge on a number of levels.

We started at 5:00am with about ten, maybe twelve riders and swiftly rode as a group through the cool morning air. It was a thrill to be in this group as our lights lit up the roadway as the day rapidly brightened. I enjoyed cruising along in the draft enjoying snippits of conversation and banter as we moved along. Riding with the lead group involves some calculation for me because it is a given that I am riding beyond my normal pace to stay with the lead riders. While I am benefiting from the drafting effects of the group, I know at some point I have to fall back and establish my own pace for the long haul. In retrospect, I think I got a little too caught up in the excitement of the fast travel and stuck with the lead riders a little too long. I finally dropped back on the climb up to Barnard and it felt good to settle into my own pace, but even at this point I was starting to feel a lackluster sense of energy that stayed with me for the rest of the daylight hours.

I don't know if it was the heat (temps in the nineties) or early over-exertion, but I felt like I was working without the standard strength that I'd felt on previous rides.  Rests and food helped for a while, but the feeling of fatigue stayed with me pretty much throughout the day. I was able to keep riding and making progress, just not with the alacrity that I've come to expect--this was not problematic, but it did contrast with other rides where my overall disposition has remained steady and good throughout.

My initial goal was to get to Putney -- roughly halfway through the ride. I think I got there around 2:00pm and Mike had a nice assortment of cold drinks, sandwiches, and other snacks. In addition, there was an outdoor shower available which I took advantage of. I left the Putney stop at the West Hill Shop feeling as refreshed I could hope and headed out for the return leg of the journey.

It was great to be traveling through parts of the state I knew from years past and onto areas I'd never passed through before. I continued moving through town by town and slowly progressed throughout the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening. I stopped in Grafton for some soup and an overall reset. I was able to check-in with Nancy and got ready for the quieter and eventually darker portion of the trip. Soon after leaving Grafton I started to feel significantly better in terms of energy. In retrospect, I feel reasonably this was because the day was cooling down. I felt fresh for the first time since the morning hours.

Friends who have done rides of this durration have said that the real challenges are more mental then physical and I think I gained a sense of that this time around. Especially durring the third quarter of the trip I found myself continually calculating my progress in miles to go and estimated time I'd arrive which frequently left me feeling slightly defeated by the sheer magnamity of the miles left to go. I knew that once I'd passed Killington and began my journey up the valley through the Green Mountains I'd feel like I'd turned a corner and would beging to be able to envision the end. The hard thing is it just takes so long for these transitions to materialize. But materialize they do, and progress happens.

It was noteable how freed I felt by the darkness coming on; I could no longer glance at the route sheet and odometer and obsess about my milage. Also as it got dark I was getting closer to roads that I had ridden in the past and thus was less obliged to need the cue sheet for navigation. Once I reached Pittsfield I knew the route home exactly.

Although the saddle pain had been with me for hours already,  I recall it most accutely from Pittsfield to the end, a distance of some fifty odd miles. I had all the strength I needed; my legs just kept doing their thing without any persuasion from me, but the sores were what I struggled with while the zinging in my hand became more and more problematic. The closer I got, the more determined I was. When I finally entered the Mad River Valley I knew there was no chance of not completing the ride.

I finished at 3:00am, twenty-two hours after I started.

Driving home I saw the light of sunrise coming over the hills and I realized that I had been awake for 24 hours. Getting home never felt so good.

On my last two brevets I had the pleasure of riding with other riders who I teamed up with along the way. Unfortunately this didn't happen on this ride. It feels good to be in the company of others for such long periods of time and there is a little bit of security in having another human around should something serious go wrong. After I dropped back from the lead group in the morning I rode briefly with a fellow from Providence, but I could sense his strength while I was having to acknowledge my aforementioned fatigue. I let him drift ahead south of Woodstock and rode on my own from there, although I saw his bike and another parked outside a store a few hours later. Just as I was arriving in Putney, I cross paths with John, who I'd enjoyed riding with in the morning. He said he'd be interested in riding together, but he was just leaving the control as I was getting in, so we agreed maybe we'd meet at the next control in Townsend. We never saw each other again, but as it turns out, he finished roughly a half hour ahead of me, so it is unfortunate that we couldn't have met up.

A couple of highlights include traveling up Route 100 past the lakes in the Plymouth Notch region- everything was draped in the sublime beauty of evening light; the waxing moon was a friendly companion as well; and an offer of food at Green Mountain Bikes was a touching gesture in the wee hours of the morning.

I think its worth saying too that my bike was solid throughout, with one exception, mentioned below. The reliability of the bicycle is significant: having to deal with a mechanical issue in the after countless hours of riding, perhaps in the dark, maybe in the rain, would be mentally quite challenging. Patience and clear thinking is not automatic under these conditions. The one mechanical issue I ran into was a broken wire to my rear light. This was in Ludlow and it had just started raining ever-so-slightly and I stopped for a piece of pizza. Under an overhang I was able to take a careful look and realized pretty quickly that somehow one of the wires had broken right at the rear lamp. I was able to strip a bit of wire and fix it to the metal connector and it held for the rest of the ride.

Looking forward I feel like I have a couple of significant challenges to solve should I want to try to ride the 600k in August or another long ride like this, namely saddle sores and hand pain. I suspect that solving the saddle issues will greatly reduce the likelihood of the hand problems, but I'm not certain about that. Many folks use various butt lubricants and I think I might need to just assume that I'm going to have problems if I don't use something. I'll just lube up from the get go and hope that solves the problem. Its possible maybe my saddle is starting to give out after ten or eleven years of good use, or my positioning could use tweaking.

Will I ride the 600k? I'm not committed either way. This experience put a bit of a damper on my eagerness to "try out the next one" quite as readily as I had with the 200 and 300k events. On the other hand, if I can manage the pain issues, I'd be pretty compelled to experience the 600k, which would almost certainly have to include some sleep.

We'll see.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trip to Montague

Towards evening of the first day heading towards Hartland from Woodstock

A view of Cobb Hill --a cohousing community-- where we stayed our first night

Charting our route for day two

Nancy moving along on her 1984 Peugeot 

Feeling it a bit as we reached Brattleboro; we stopped for some iced lemonade and tea

A stop on the Northfield Mount Hermon campus. Overtoun is the dorm just to my left that I lived in for three years

Riding with Dan and Addie to their wedding!

Nancy and I had the great fortune to ride our bikes from central Vermont to Dan and Addie's wedding in Montague, Massachusetts this past weekend.

Earlier in the spring Dan, Addie, Nancy and I been discussing the possibility of doing a bike tour together, even considering the possibility of a trip to Europe or perhaps a journey around the Gaspe.

Maybe three months ago we got a call saying that they didn't think they'd be able to do the bike trip because, lo and behold, they were getting married at just about the time we'd talked of doing the trip. We were thrilled to hear their news and immediately started looking forward to the wedding.

As we started making plans the idea came about to ride to the wedding. As soon as we imagined the possibility we got excited about it and its been our plan for a good while now.

Our trip was perfect in almost all respects. We left on a Thursday and our expectation was to get to Hartland Four Corners to stay with our friend Alan and his two daughters. We had a great ride through the familiar terrain of the Granville Gulf down through Rochester, up through Barnard and then all the way down to Woodstock. The road leading up and out of Woodstock to Hartland was some of the most beautiful. Perfect hillsides and recently hayed fields. Lovely farms. Dark wooded routes on dirt roads.

We had a relaxing fun meal with Alan and the girls and felt glad to catch up. In the morning they were off to their day and we didn't dally too long before setting off.

We made an effort to get out of the Connecticut river valley and back to the interior of Vermont, so headed out towards Chester, via Mt. Ascutney. Again we had a breeze at our backs, bluebird skies, and tolerable temps. We enjoyed a great lunch in the lovely village of Grafton. Our progress was slower this second day as we were climbing often throughout the early part of the day and it wasn't until somewhere around Townsend that we started to reap some of the reward with a long cruise along the Saxon's river down to Brattleboro. We were a bit cooked by the time we reach Brattleboro but kept on going after a brief stop.

Our endpoint was Greenfield, MA and we followed the quieter roads along the Connecticut river that took us down through Vernon and then across the state line into Northfield. I went to Northfield Mount Hermon School and Nancy's father taught there when she was a child, so we both have some history in this area. We rode through the quiet Mt. Hermon campus and then travelled down through Gill to Greenfield.

To cap off the biking theme, on the morning of their wedding we had the privilege of escorting Dan and Addie to their wedding site along the Connecticut river in Northfield. They knew of some lovely dirt roads up through Turners Falls and we had a beautiful journey together.

The whole purpose of this trip was to attend Dan and Addie's weekend wedding celebrations and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to travel in this manner. Many folks complimented us for our effort but I kept thinking that the pleasure was really all ours and there was no real virtue in what we did. The weekend was marvelous and the memories of a great couple, great community, and a great celebration have lingered with us since.