The last time any mention was made of 'saddle time' the Jacksons had just completed a round trip from Shelton to Tumwater for a total trip distance of just over 50 miles. They also celebrated the Michigan State Spartans victory over the Connecticut Huskies and their entry into the NCAA championship game. Two days later the University of North Carolina Tarheels took care of that pesky MSU squad. Oh well! It was still a wonderful run. Since then the Jacksons have gone on several rides including a 45 mile trip that was nearly the demise of Moritz. Not literally but figuratively. The cycling exchange student rode the mountain bike 23 miles to Elma in fine form. Once there, the Jacksons decided to do some grocery shopping, purchasing the necessities for a dinner of grilled hamburgers. Moritz felt confident upon reaching the grocery store and voluntarily decided to pack back the single heaviest item, a six pack of beer. Almost immediately after mounting the bike for the return trip home, the effect of 6 bottles of beer was obvious. Moritz became lethargic, and his coordination faltered as well. This all occurred without even opening a bottle! He struggled getting back having to dismount several times, and walk his bike up the hills. Perhaps the worst part of this ordeal occurred when Moritz was nearly half way home. He had to eat crow and ask Alan to carry the beer. So maybe you're asking yourself now 'Why would he choose to eat crow when grilled hamburgers were just a couple more miles down the road?'. We think he likes the feathers!
Eventually everyone made it safely back to the Jackson household where an American traditional dinner was enjoyed by one and all. And Moritz still had room for a hamburger!
On Friday Alan and Donna took the opportunity of nice weather to pick up Lewis from school on the bikes. This was only a 15 mile trip. On Saturday the bikes were once again utilized to take care of errands while adding on that oh so important saddle time. The day started with Lewis' piano lesson that took place at his school, a seven mile trip. Immediately following his lesson with Mrs. Salzer, the Jacksons got back on those bikes and pedaled 5 miles into Walmart, literally! As they were entering the parking lot the overcast skies began to spit at them so Alan and Lewis on the tandem followed by Donna on her steed rode right into the garden entrance of the store where the friendly cashier allowed them to temporarily leave the bikes while they did their shopping. This time there would be no beer purchased. Instead they opted for a 20 pound bag of cat food and a bag full of fresh vegetables for a dinner party they would be attending later in the evening. No, the cat food wasn't the main course. It was for the poor kitty who has remained anonymous so far in this journal. We'll have to correct that at some time in the future as she too lives here and plays an everyday role in the life of the Jacksons.
After paying for their purchases, they got back on their bikes and headed off towards their final destination of the day: the house of Rose Marie and Paul Gray.
Rose Marie just happens to be Lewis' science teacher at Evergreen and had invited the Jacksons for lunch. This leg of the journey was nearly 8 miles long. After a raucous welcome to their home by their dog Zippy who was being chased by a couple of nameless ducks, greetings and introductions were followed by a lunch of cheese bagel sandwiches and fruit and salad. After lunch the tree fort was explored as well some of the other attractions that are too numerous to cover in detail. Goats, beavers, chickens, guinea fowl, and cats were just the tip of the iceberg! So a couple hours after arriving, it was time to head back home. The total distance covered during the day was something approaching 25 miles. Slowly, but steadily, the Jacksons are getting accustomed to riding those bikes that by summers end will seem more like appendages to their bodies than merely machines of transportation.