We have arrived safely in Burlington, but are without regular internet access. The trip went smoothly, and my new job is great so far. So nice to come back to a place with so many friends! Much, much more later.
I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!
Posting has been nonexistent for some time. Along with being busy with moving, my grandmother died two weeks ago after a long illness. I wrote the following over memorial day weekend to be read at the funeral: Thank you all for coming today. I'm sorry that I can't be here in person. As I write to you from my car, my wife sits next to me holding a pair of binoculars. Grammie and Pa gave them to me for Christmas many years ago, and they have always served me well on hikes, canoe trips, and adventures into the back yard. Today, the particular adventure I'm on is a weekend trip to Yellowstone National Park. We are traveling light, just our Jeep, a tent, a percolator coffee pot and these old binoculars. We look a little different than most of the people here, who drive RV's and shiny new trucks, and get out to view wildlife toting 3000 dollar spotting scopes. I guess we're just keeping it simple, something Grammie would have appreciated, something she certainly taught me. When you're a kid, road trips are always special. You pack up the car, the mood is near frantic, and then you're off. You arrive at your destination full of anticipation. More often than not, our destination was Grammie and Pa's house. What awaited us there? What was so exciting? Roller Coasters? Video Games? No, it was just a different house, with people in it who loved us. There would be coffee (offered even to me from when I was about ten years old onward). There would be cookies and talk of the weather and town gossip. There were trips to see extended family, and of course, Thanksgiving dinners, when Grammie always had a tray of snacks ready for our arrival, which I'm sure served the practical purpose of keeping three generations of hungry Boulanger out of her kitchen. The simple stuff of being a part of your family, simple stuff, that as a kid I anticipated with just as much excitement as any trip to a theme park. In the spring, Nicole and I would stay with Grammie and Pa for a couple of days while our parents vacationed. We'd take trips down to the ocean, go out to breakfast, maybe putter around the yard a bit, and rode our bikes. Grammie planned the activities, kept the schedule, and managed to only raise an eyebrow a little when Pa insisted on buying us ice cream cones that were too big to finish. She waited patiently in the lodge at Sunapee while three generations of Boulangers went out to make some turns together. At Christmastime, Grammie knew what family gatherings were happening when and made sure that people knew who Nicole and I the "Vermont Cousins" in the family, were. She always asked how we were doing at school and when we told her, she always said: "Very good, Very good." Our stop at Grammie and Pa's house to open gifts always started the Dover portion of our Christmas season, and was something I always eagerly anticipated. Along with the fun stuff Grammie would find for us, there were always practical things, too. Ski socks, a warm hat, and these binoculars sitting in my wife's lap today. We just used them to watch a wolf bound through an open field on the Lamar River as it chased a flock of ravens down by the bank, surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Standing shoulder-to shoulder with the expensive spotting scope crowd, bellies full of fresh coffee from the percolator, my wife and I took turns watching this magnificent scene through those old binoculars. With my hands on the smooth-worn grips, I thought of Grammie, the smell and warmth of her home, and the day and year that I can't even pinpoint when I opened up this simple gift. When the nice woman next to me asked if I wanted to have a look at the majestic wolf through her 3000 dollar spotting scope, I politely declined. On the drive home my wife asked what I had thought of the trip. "Very good," I said, "Very good."