Sturgis 2013

Yes, I know I should be adding to the category “Countdown to Departure” but that’s mostly packing, and packing is BORING, and TEDIOUS, and a lot of work . . . and . . . I haven’t actually done any packing yet–David is the hero who has done all the packing so far.

I feel super virtuous simply granting permission for something to be donated or thrown away.

So instead, I thought I should create a new category to document our various Harley adventures over the past couple of years, because dear reader,  we went to STURGIS this past  August — How many people can say that? (Well, actually, hundreds of thousands, but not people WE know.) And we loved it!

Main Street Sturgis 2013
Main Street Sturgis 2013

Sturgis turned out to be an absolute festival of people-watching and talking to those whose paths we might otherwise never have crossed. One of these was a young woman tending bar in downtown Sturgis, who is a grad student at DU (Denver University) the rest of the year (lured to Sturgis week by promises of huge tips). Her response to the question, “How much do you get for serving body shots (Google it) to all these drunks?” — “Not enough,” delivered (and received) with a small shared grimace. It was a tiny moment of connection with another human trying to get by. Decided to give her a big tip, no body shot required.

Stretching Break on the Way to Sturgis 2013
Stretching Break on the Way to Sturgis 2013

The scenery itself was stunning, but more on that later.

Self-portrait -- Iron Mountain Road, Sturgis Week 2013
Selfie — Iron Mountain Road, Sturgis Week 2013

Another memorable non-riding adventure was catching the shuttle bus (not stupid enough to ride a motorcycle with alcohol in the system) out to Full Throttle Saloon, widely known as the largest, most famous biker bar on the planet. The door attendants were collecting the $10 cover charge with metronome-like rhythm, as bikers continued to stream in, and we wondered, exactly how many people can fit into this bar? We needn’t have worried. It was the size of a small town, complete with multiple live-music venues, indoor and outdoor seating (and mostly standing), even an aerial trick-riding bike show. For the cover charge, we were entitled to a “complimentary” (read “pre-paid”) shot of “S’loonshine” which was available in various flavors. I recommend the peach. Strawberry was disappointing. I didn’t try any others, so can’t offer an opinion. Two was enough for me, even riding a shuttle bus.

We weren’t actually there very long, because we had to catch the shuttle back to Sturgis in time to catch another shuttle back to Deadwood (where we and the rest of our group had hotel rooms). But we were there long enough to allow one of our group (not me) to check off a bucket list item by dancing (fully clothed, I promise) on a bar at Sturgis. She actually earned a few tips and many cheers and smiles. (Regardless, still not on my bucket list.)

Trudging back to the rendez-vous with the shuttle bus in the pouring rain through an unpaved parking lot (mud) gave me a vicarious Woodstock Moment (too young to have been there in ’69) and made me feel edgy and cool, but mostly WET and uncomfortable and rather chilled, to be completely honest. Whatever. It’s not bad as a (slightly edited) memory.

The next day we did actually ride the Harleys into town (see photo of David above, where we scored a parking spot on Main Street). Mostly, besides showing off your Harley,  drinking, and wearing rather less clothing than is generally considered appropriate (I’ll let you ask Google for those photos), Sturgis is about shopping.

Suggested Sturgis Wear -- I confined my bling to my belt.
Suggested Sturgis Wear — (I confined my bling to my belt.)

David and I both bought patches for our leather vests. Check out this photo of the grandmotherly type sewing patches on at her sewing machine with SKULL affixed to the side. Excuse me? What? (That’s my vest on the back of her chair, next in line, and David’s under mine.)

Sturgis 2013
Sturgis 2013

We do love experiencing the unexpected, and Sturgis was definitely that. To paraphrase Arnold, we’ll be back.

Sleeping with the Fishes (or Nearby) 2013

After a wet, cool spring, 6 June 2013  it actually got HOT, and I suppose we should have spent the day on the beach, but I had class all morning and then two tickets to the Aquarium I needed to use before we left La Rochelle. Ah well.

IMG_0877David wandered the cimetière while waiting for me to finish class.

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These have been here a while.

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Just a few people crammed in here! Cozy. The cemetery is so big, David got disoriented and took a while to find his way out.

Aquarium, La Rochelle
Aquarium, La Rochelle

Once David made it back from the dead, we met at the Aquarium for lunch and a wander round. Turns out we timed it perfectly and walked right in. When we left, two huge lines had formed, one a busload of school children and one probably a hundred plus retirees.

Couldn’t resist this blue.

Aquarium, La Rochelle
Aquarium, La Rochelle

I wish this photo were more clear. Super weird fish oozing with attitude, but he and his buddy zoomed around the tank so much I had trouble getting a good shot. Plus they didn’t always have their wings unfurled, which was the coolest part. They reminded me of old school vampires (not the hot “Twilight” version).

Aquarium, La Rochelle
Aquarium, La Rochelle

A slightly prettier fish. Mostly I just like this photo.

Aquarium, La Rochelle
Aquarium, La Rochelle

Our daughter Chelsea requested a shot or two with us in them, so here I am taking a photo by the shark tank, with the cool infinity mirror thing going on.

Shark Tank, La Rochelle Aquarium
Shark Tank, La Rochelle Aquarium

This is right before I slipped and nearly fell onto the curved glass. Yikes. Not sure how THAT would have worked out. Fortunately I caught myself before I ended up sleeping with the fishes.

Il y a du Soleil 2013

Il y a du soleil aujourd’hui. Which means “the sun is shining today,” inspiring everyone with thoughts of the sea, as it has apparently been doing for centuries.

Coat of Arms of La Rochelle, France
Coat of Arms of La Rochelle, France

Hence the coat of arms of La Rochelle, carved above the main entrance into the courtyard of the Hotel de Ville (government offices–nothing to do with lodging).

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Everyone (okay not EVERYONE, but way more than you’d imagine) wears some version of the classic French mariner shirt.

So get your stripes on and find an outside table at a fabulous restaurant like Restaurant Les Flots, where we had a mind-bogglingly delicious lunch during our stay in June, beginning with our new favorite, Pineau Blanc de Charentes as an aperitif, followed by . . . never mind.

Restaurant Les Flots, La Rochelle, France
Restaurant Les Flots, La Rochelle, France

I won’t torture you with the details of every perfect bite and sip, but do notice the couple sporting their stripes at the bottom center of the photo and, of course, Tour de la Chaine looming impressively next door.

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Then on with your lunettes de soleil . . .

. . . and out for your sailing class (the tiny boats with the colorful sails–teachers in the inflatable).

Sailing Class
Sailing Class

Try not to annoy the big kids on the playground!

If that’s too nerve-wracking, find a quiet gorgeous garden.

Jardin, La Rochelle
Jardin, La Rochelle

We saw this one on a Saturday walk through town. A number of normally private gardens were open to the public one weekend, with a couple of artists in each garden displaying their works–and presumably noting your reaction to their work. That was mostly fine except for the garden with the guy who had made about thirty large origami . . . somethings . . . penguins maybe? Anyway, super basic third-grade origami, totally lame. Fortunately, he was too busy setting them back up every time a breeze knocked them down to notice our stunned disbelief. Seriously. Weak. When he looked our way, we got very busy trying to identify all the herbs in the garden and admiring the architecture and then got out of there as quickly as possible.

Courtyard of Hotel de Ville
Courtyard of Hotel de Ville

With the sun blazing away you can tell by this clock in the courtyard of the Hotel de Ville (well, maybe YOU can–I looked at my watch) it’s about 3:30 in the afternoon and time to walk the rest of the way home to start work.  So that’s just what we did.

¡Hola Mexico!

Portable as we are, a spur of the moment invitation to join some friends in Mexico was immediately accepted, of course. (Did I mention we have excellent friends?) We’ve just returned from six days in a condo on the beach in Akumal, Mexico. Since air travel in coach tends to be a bit of an endurance test these days, David decided to pay a bit extra to give us more leg room. However, since our seats turned out to be bulkhead seats, all my flight comfort gear had to be comfy all by itself up in the overhead compartment. Fortunately, that was the extent of our troubles for the week, so no complaints here.

Akumal, Mexico
Akumal, Mexico just after Sunrise

I never tired of trying to capture the changing light, absolutely breathtaking.

Serenity -- Akumal, Mexico -- Late Afternoon
Serenity — Akumal, Mexico — Late Afternoon
Late Afternoon Illuminating the Coral on the Beach
Late Afternoon Illuminating the Coral on the Beach

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Another view from the balcony. Here’s one of the palapas under which we’d park ourselves whenever we weren’t snorkeling, walking on the beach, or having a drink in the bar (or running up the three flights of stairs to the condo for one reason or another).

Slightly different view in the other direction.

Akumal Lemur
Akumal Lemur

Here is one of our “neighbors” across the street from the condo.

Akumal Lemurs Cocktail Hour
Akumal Lemurs Cocktail Hour

They were a bit shy, but a few times a day, generally around cocktail hour, ten to fifteen of these guys would congregate to see what the trash bins had to offer.

Another view was something we heard before it was something we saw, and we were puzzled. We kept hearing an odd rhythmic sound, several times a day, and finally decided it must be the spin cycle from housekeeping doing the laundry. Then we happened to venture down to La Buena Vida, a beach bar just down the way, and discovered this.

Not the Spin Cycle
Not the Spin Cycle
Not the Spin Cycle
Not the Spin Cycle Either

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all an excellent WARM January mini-vacation. Many thanks to our generous, extremely hospitable friends!