Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New York City!
On Sunday, most of the Cats-Caders packed up and headed home. Ross and Joyce planned to leave Monday for a ride up the east coast, and Rich and I didn't have to be back at work until Thursday.
One of the group, 'RadarContact,' is an air-traffic controller who lives near NYC. He offered to borrow a car and take Ross and Joyce into the city for the day, and they invited us to ride along.
Radar drove us to Tarrytown, NY, where we caught a train to Grand Central Station. While we were waiting on the platform, a young lady came up to me and commented on my Crocs. She was from California, in the area for a volleyball tournament, and had noticed that everyone at the tourney was wearing Crocs -- then she found out they were sponsoring the event! She borrowed her friend's Crocs flip-flops to see how she liked them, and headed for the city.
Ross is quite amused by my yellow shoes, and couldn't resist the opportunity to take this picture.
The train traveled beside the Hudson River and right down through the city. We saw Yankee Stadium, Harlem, and many other famous places along the way. When the train pulled into Grand Central Station, we bought day-passes for the subway and headed out to see the city. We were nearly overwhelmed: so many things and people to see. We hardly knew where to look next. Radar was an excellent guide. We had very little time, and he made sure we saw as much as possible.

I loved this little church standing in the shadow of a modern skyscraper. The city is a marvelous study of the contrast between old and new, and this is a perfect illustration.

This is a view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry.

Here are Rich and Radar in Times Square. We walked down Wall Street and Fifth Avenue and saw Saks and Tiffany's, Rockefeller Plaza and the lions at the New York Public Library. We bought hot dogs from a street vendor. We rode in a taxi and...

in a carriage through Central Park. Our cab driver was an Irishman who mumbled comments over his shoulder about the sights we passed. I had a hard time understanding him, but his information seemed mostly to be related to various movies and television programs that had been filmed in the park.

We saw the Empire State Building, but we were running out of time so this was as close as we got. Shortly after we took this picture we headed back to Grand Central to take the train back to Tarrytown.

It was a wonderful trip, and I'm so grateful to RadarContact. Without him and the generous loan of a car from our Cats-Cade hosts, we never would have made the trip.

Next post: Ground Zero.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More from our trip to Cats-Cade
Saturday it never stopped raining, but it was still a wonderful day. Of course, there was knitting. I don't know why I look like I was crying. Maybe because I'd realized that there was no way this pair of socks was going to get finished before we headed for home. They're still not done, but there's only a little of the foot to do, then the toes.

Saturday there were all sorts of things going on. The organizers of Cats-Cade had lots of clinics, installation sessions, and rides planned. Some of those things got done, but mostly the wet weather kept us inside the pavilion. It was kind of nice, as we all had a chance to get to know each other and visit.

This is Jim, from Ohio. He and his wife, Judy, ride a magenta trike. Their signature says, "Judy drives. Jim reads, knits, and sometimes *&%##". I first met Jim & Judy last September at Wings Over The Smokies, and was very disappointed to find out that he DOESN'T knit at all... Here he has presented me with yarn, needles, and a demand to teach him how, LOL. Judy knits scarves, and I was able to teach her the knitted cast-on, but I don't think I was able to teach Jim to knit. Maybe at the next rally...
These bargain hunters are '5Ross', 'Mainecoast', and Rich. A member of our group has a seventeen-year-old daughter who just had a double lung transplant. Group members brought along spare parts and such from their bikes, and we held a rummage sale, with all the proceeds donated to help with her medical expenses. Hal Greenlee, the owner of Honda Direct Line and the sponsor of our online forum, donated many items, including a very special chrome motorcycle wheel and dozens and dozens of riding jackets and pants. A good chunk of cash was raised to help Brobubba and his family. Shown below is some of the riding gear Hal donated. Rich and I each bought new jackets, and I got a really nice pair of riding pants.

This is 'Brobubba'. He's the father of the girl with the wonderful new lungs. She was not yet well enough to make the trip to New York, so Bro bought a Cats-Cade shirt and asked us all to sign it for her. He said she was very excited to get it and see all the names of people who know and care about her.

Here are "Hedo" "CJS" "Alpster" and "Soloquest". Hedo is the unofficially official photographer of Cats-Cade, and many of the pictures I'm using in my blog were taken by him. CJS is one of the organizers of the event. Alpster and his daughter, Steph, cooked gumbo and jambalaya for everyone...YUM! Soloquest was our entertainment for the evening. He's a very talented singer/guitarist. The GL1800 Riders' forum also has a chat room. This is, more or less, the regular group of chatters who hang out there. In the front row are "Snoppy" (pronounced Snoopy. No, it's not misspelled, there's a reason for it), "Royal" "Sassy" and "DicePilot". In the second row are Jake, "MaineCoast", "Alpster" (he doesn't hang out in the chat room, but he made such good jambalaya we wanted him in the pic), and "Robeth". Brobubba and I are in the back row. These are my yellow Crocs, a source of endless amusement and more than a little ridicule at Cats-Cade. They, of course, match the BigYellowBike! Most. Comfortable. Shoes. Ever.

Next post: The Big Apple!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cats-Cade 2006
Edited 6/29/06: I got a message last evening from Sassy (of the Skittles coment below) that the park you see here is now completely underwater. There is widespread flooding in this and the surrounding area. People have lost their homes and even their lives. Pray for them in this difficult time.
As promised, pictures and notes from our recent trip to New York.
We belong to an online group of folks who ride motorcycles, mostly Honda Gold Wings. There's a link in the sidebar to GL1800 Riders .com----->
Last year Bulldog and Meesh, a couple from Woodbourne, New York, decided to host a little get-together for people on their way to Americade in Lake George, NY. About sixty bikes with a little over 100 riders showed up for a weekend of camping, good food, and great fellowship in the Catskill Mountains. We didn't go but wished we had and we decided to make the trip this year.

We started out on Wednesday, May 31st, with new rain gear in the saddlebags and our little camper on the back. I had a pair of socks to work on and knitted away until it got too windy on the Ohio flatlands. We were having some trouble with our camper, which made us a little nervous. Rich had replaced the brakes just before we left home and they kept seizing up, so we had to periodically stop to bleed them before continuing.

It was hot, hot, hot on the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike until we reached the Cleveland area. From there we had much cooler temps as we followed a line of rain squalls. Less than seven miles from our first night's destination we hit rain, but not enough to warrant putting on our rainsuits. We spent the night with our friend Peggy in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. Peg had made her world-class spaghetti sauce, and we had a wonderful supper with her family and friends.

Thursday morning we struck out again after breakfast with Peggy and family. We had a seven-hour day ahead so stayed on the interstates once more instead of riding the backroads we prefer. We hit rain east of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and that was pretty much the last time we were completely dry for several days.

We reached Woodbourne early Thursday evening, called for directions to the Firemen's Park,and bled the camper brakes again. Ranger Polecat directed us to our campsite. We set up our camper and after meeting some of our online friends headed for Liberty for some supper. We stopped in at the Liberty Days' Inn, where we found the non-camping contingent, then grabbed some burgers and headed back out to the park.

We had rain most of Friday. Joyce and I worked in the regstration booth, collecting camping and registration fees and handing out Cats-Cade hats, shirts, and name tags. It was fun to finally meet the people we've been talking to online and put names and faces together. In the evening we gathered at the fire station, where the campers met up with the motel-ers for a dinner ride.

There were at least this many more bikes in front of us. Ours is the yellow bike on the right in this photo. That's "Buster Crabbe" on the red bike in front and "Sassy" on our right. Sassy made the comment that we looked like "someone spilled a bag of Skittles!" The car you see a couple of bikes back nearly caused a tragedy. The driver pulled out directly in front of Buster then pulled off, came out again in front of us, pulled off, and pulled out one more time in front of another rider before getting out of the way! After that we had a lovely ride through some beautiful country.

Woodbourne was once known for its summer tourist trade. There were many camps where city folk could send their children or come as a family to escape the city heat and pollution. With the advent of cheaper airfare, people became more willing to travel greater distances and began heading to the Hamptons and similar areas. We saw several wonderful old camps now sadly falling into disrepair, many with their names painted in Hebrew on their gates. Someone told us that a large part of the movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed in the Woodbourne area. I don't know if that's true, but it would have been a perfect setting for it!

Here we are at dinner with some of our friends: Rich is in the yellow shirt, then me, then "Dicepilot" "Robeth", Ross and Joyce, and a very nice fellow from Asheville, NC, whose name I can't remember. Robeth lives in the little town in North Carolina where Rich and I lived when we were newlyweds and he was in the Marine Corps, Dice is from Alabama, and Ross & Joyce are Hoosiers.

After a lovely supper we headed back to the campground, where we sat around the campfire talking and laughing until late in the evening.

I'll post more later but until then, here are some links to pictures from Cats-Cade '06:

Ross's pictures
Ronbien's pictures
Alpster's pictures
Hedo's pictures

Be sure to check out the Cats-Cade Web site, too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Updates and pictures from our trip are coming soon. It's been a busy week at work. Until then, Here's another sneak peek from the Friendly Socks book that's due out this month.
This pattern is called "Do the Math" and is a recipe for making socks in any size for any feet, using any yarn. Don't let the name scare you -- I'm the most math-phobic person I know, and if I can do it, anyone can!