Dear Family and Friends,
What a year! We made it. High fives all around. We are grateful that the year has passed without major stumbling blocks for our families in the face of COVID. We hope to continue to have a healthy year in 2022 and find a way to keep a smile and an outstretched hand and heart to others. We wish you and your family a healthy and happy 2022 as well.
We spent most of the year at our cabin and enjoyed the usual winter sports and summer activities. Like every where else, Serene Lakes saw a large influx of home sales and new families moving in. It felt like a real community as we had opportunities to meet and get to know our neighbors during walks, bike rides, and driveway parties. In the past, it was a vacation community with families only coming during weekends. Now there are many more permanent residents living here year round.
During the summer we took a two week van trip to Oregon and visited our friends Eric and Katie in Corvallis and a short visit to see Jasmyn (a JGI colleague of Erika’s) and her family in Portland. Corvallis is a gravel bikers dream destination with miles and miles of trails close to town. Let’s keep that a secret so as not to attract more cyclists. We also went on a month long van trip to the south west in Utah and Colorado for mountain biking in the Maze District in Canyon Lands National Park and road cycling in Colorado. Another little cycling insider tip we will share with you: Colorado has many cycling/hiking bike trails that are long and spectacular. Amazingly all 50 miles from Frisco up and over Vail Pass was on a bike trail and even included a climb peaking at ~10k ft. Another two scenic bike trails both start in Glenwood Springs, one goes East along the Colorado River and the other South all the way to Carbondale. Back in Glenwood Springs there’s a Hotsprings resort which includes a super fun inner tube course for adult children :). Though it’s not a designated bike trail, The Colorado National Monument is a more scenic bike ride than the Grand Canyon. Really! The road is positioned right along the canyon rim and if you’re not careful you may end up in the canyon. We closed out the trip with a visit to Bishop, CA and enjoyed seeing our friends the Schober’s, mt. biking at Matt’s playground, and visiting the White Mountains.
In September we joined 25 cyclists on a two month 2,600 mile cross country cycling trip on the Southern Tier bike route from Santa Monica, CA to Savannah, GA. Our favorite adventure tour bike company, TDA Global, offered the ride. We were spoiled on the tour with great support from the 5 TDA staff. They cared for us, made excellent food, and created a scenic off the beaten path journey across the country. Our job was easy, ride and set up our tent at the end of each day. The daily average mileage was 70 miles. The trip had a few challenging sections: West Texas head winds, rattling chip and seal roads throughout the ride, and fast driving cars with narrow shoulders to ride on. The best part of the trip was to see the country slowly by bike and share the experience with a great group of people. We laughed, commiserated, huddled together on cold nights and mornings around the fire, and enjoyed the awe of sunsets and sunrises in the desert. It was an uplifting experience and it renewed our faith in America and
American people. We found on the trip that one-on-one people are good, friendly, and very caring of each other no matter their political affiliation or location. We cyclists were offered money, food, free meals, a helping hand, and encouragement all along the way from strangers we met. A few middle fingers from impatient drivers as well but those events were not as memorable as the positive experiences.
Favorite part of the ride for Erika: riding on lonely backroads with few cars, exploring on foot the many campsites and towns we stayed in, spelunking in Carlsbad caverns and riding the Gravel sections!
Mayumi: Cycling in CA desert: few cars and barren like landscape scenery to look at. Falling to sleep to the sound of howling coyotes. Unobstructed sunsets and sunrises.
We are happy to close out 2021 and look forward to adventures that life brings us in 2022. We wish you a healthy and prosperous 2022. Keep on keeping on! Best of everything! Erika and Mayumi