Monday, August 21, 2017

Eli the Football Player - Wha Wha What ?

This is about as far away from my field of expertise as you can get:  Football.  Not European football, but American football.  Somehow, Eli has decided that this is what he wants to do in middle school.  Ok.  You go, Dude.  Be a football player.  I've watched Hanna play volleyball and soccer.  I've watched Tyson play baseball, basketball, and soccer.  I've watched Eli play baseball, basketball, and soccer...and now football.  At the very least, I will not be living vicariously through my children's sports.

Everyone has an Eclipse Story!

What are these people looking at?

Everyone has an eclipse story.  It's true.  It was a big event, and most people have much, much better photos of the big event than I have. But don't write this off just yet.  One big part of our story is the complete abandonment of business during this time.  Not one phone call in the hour proceeding totality.  Not one customer in that hour.  In fact, not one customer or call in the hour afterward, either.  Looking around the valley, there were store employees everywhere, standing outside, customerless, looking up at the sky with uncool glasses.

But who is complaining?  This was a pretty big life event.  Celestial events cannot be controlled, only observed.  And boy, did we observe.  Except for Cayden, the lonely looking guy standing in the back of this photo.  He only observed when one of us loaned him our glasses.  Oh yeah, and the photographer of this photo...he had no glasses, either.  Yeah, we loaned him our glasses, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sight Seeing in Your Own Town

 Last weekend, we decided we would drive around and see the sights in St. Louis as if we were out of town tourists.  Sort of fitting since our rental car had Georgia license plates.  Here, Deanna, Eli, and Hanna stand in front of one of the AB buildings off of Broadway.  Tyson was working, hence his absence from the photo.
 Next stop was the super cool Humboldt school.  If you want a really cool project, set out to photograph all of the old school buildings in the city.  Really neat architecture and really cool histories.  The mosaic portal windows caught our eye so we had to get a picture.  Side note:  one of the teachers was unloading her stuff at the front door, since classes were set to start the next day.  We helped her carry stuff into the building...stunning.  The wooden floors and architecture really takes you back!
 Then we stopped by the old Niebling home.  Deanna's great grandparents lived in this home at the beginning of the 20th century.  It's a bit unique because it has a pretty big side yard, and the wagon gates and fence still stand as well.

 Across the street was where the original Niebling wagon/carriage business was located.  While the building is no longer standing, the Nieblings still own and operate and auto body business and a repair business in South City.
 Farmers Market in Soulard.  Although it's getting a bit rough, it's still an amazing building.
 These odd statues out front were a great prop for the kids to pose with.
Then we walked around Soulard a bit.  Such great buildings.  Such history.  I caught this stamping on one of the gates to a house.  There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of details like this throughout Soulard and I didn't do them justice.

We bailed on the sight seeing when the sun got hot and our stomachs growled for food. We'd like to do more of this and share it with you.

Happy 50th Anniversary!

Deanna's mom and dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend.  They had a big day, renewing their vows and they threw a big party afterward.  It's just amazing how many people this couple has touched over the years.  People came from far and wide.  I was late to the party so I don't have any good photos...but you get the picture.

Congratulations!!

Triple Kids Birthday

What is the solution when the kids birthdays are so close together?  Have a triple birthday party, of course!  Brother-in-law/Sister-in-law Kevin/Katie just put them all on one day, at one time.  Laura's cake may have been the coolest.  Quite elaborate.  And she's 5, and we know how cool that is.
Michael's cake had the characters guarding it, so no one like me could "sample" it before the big moment.  I'm surprised there were no bicycles on it, since Michael is such a biking freak.  Look for him next weekend at the Gateway cup.
Then there is Georgia.  Her cake was cool, too.  And she kept the hat on.  She is quite the firecracker, and she chose a fiery red headed Disney character.  How fitting.  She's the young'un, only 4 years old.  Speaking from experience, however, being the youngest has it's perks.

Happy Birthday, Zimmer kids!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Business Trip To Lake Tahoe

Who am I kidding? Yes, these trips involve work. But they are made tolerable by the fact that we get to ride cool bikes in cool settings. This time, Quality Bicycle, THE big name in the distribution channel, invited the boss and I to Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, California.
These trips always start with planes.  I hate planes.  It's an arduous, humiliating process that turns any sane person into a grumpy, antisocial zombie.
A very nice view of the Colorado River along the way.  Somehow, I got a window seat on the first leg to Las Vegas.  A quick layover there and on to Reno we went.
Miracle of miracles, I got an isle seat on the way to Reno.  A quick, gorgeous drive up to Tahoe followed.  This is the Northstar Resort.  It's quite stunning.  Although you could probably say most mountain resorts are stunning.
 A beautiful northern California sky. I liked the wispy little cloud.
In case you got lost, there was this handy site map.  It's hard to imagine the scope of these places until you hang out a while in one.
 Cool little room for two.  It was warm during the day, so fans and open balcony doors were a must.
 And then there was the bear.
Each day, the sky darkened around 3pm.  There was the requisite thunder, and then a bit of rain.  Usually, it was over in less than 90 minutes and what was left was crisp and cool weather.
 Trees reach up to the sky, not minding the angry clouds and thunder.
 Sun came back out, and I walked around the facility.  Free Tesla chargers to guests.  How nice!
Coming down off the mountain from dinner on night one, we rode the cool enclosed gondolas.  Love the enclosed gondola....hate the chair lift.
 $8 later, the aspect of forgetting toothpaste has been rectified.  Yep.  $8.  For kids toothpaste.  I'm 50.
Day two, we rode mountain bikes.  This was mid-mountain, about a 10 minute grunt up from the resort. If you blow up the photo, you can see Mike coming up, and more people waaaay down.  This was a hard one.  I'm actually standing at the edge of the gondola facility.  From here, we could take more single track upward to either the double black downhill runs or some sweet, sweet single track down.  You know I chose the single track, right? And no, I never rode the gondola up the mountain to ride down.
 I thought this was a curious sight.  Did I mention that I loved enclosed gondolas?
Check out the layers of sunlight and how they lit the swaths of trees on the mountain.  This played out a bunch of times over the weekend and made the already beautiful setting even more stunning.
After we rode mountain bikes, we eventually went back up the mountain to eat.  The facility was located just at the edge of the routes we had ridden earlier, so I got a chance to photograph the signage.
 Yep, that's a sign for me.
This was the little gateway to heavenly ascending single track.  Yes, I love climbing tight, technical single track more than I like going downhill.  You know I'm weird like that.
The next day, we rode road bikes.  We deviated from the program and busted out of the resort and rode from the resort to Truckee, a picturesque mountain town along Donner Pass road.  It eventually made us earn our fun by climbing a 3.1 mile twisty, 7% pass to top out at Donner Summit.  I said it was road bike day, but I was on a heavy steel gravel bike.  No problem.  I already told you that I love to climb.
Atop Donner Pass, there was nice informational propaganda.  I love these things.  I feel so smart and worldly when I read about an areas past.
Again, the scenery and landscape were stunning.  Along the way up, there were tons of people parked in pull-outs checking out the views.  Some were rock climbing, which was neat as I went by at a blistering 8.9 miles per hour.
The sheer scope of a mountain always blows me away.  It all seems like it's right in front of you, yet it's far away and hard to get to.
Looking down at Donner Lake.  Riding past the lake on the way in was like watching an infomercial about California beauty.  It was truly inspiring.
No matter how high you get, there are always peaks up above you.  That strange structure built into the rock is an old rail tunnel.
 I caught Mike starting his descent, and I'm glad I did.  It adds a bit of scope to the photo.  Blow it up and you can see the people who have hiked to the top of that massive rock.
And since most of the product was saw was embargoed, I didn't get to take any photos of it.  It was really cool stuff, though.  You just have to believe me.  I did take a photo of the line of rental bikes that were available at the resort.  So, you and your friends can go to Northstar and rent a bad ass downhill machine....there were dozens of these things.  Dozens.  There was probably a hundred grand of rental bikes just on this rack, and this was one of two rental spots.

The trip home was uneventful, except for the inevitable middle-seat hell that I am usually subjected to.  The largest people on the plane were on my left and right, both flights.  Ah, well.