There’s no place like home

Flying back home, I looked out the plane window to see this:

My house is just out of sight to the right of the frame. Nothing like living in a city that’s mostly water. I realized then that Dorothy was right.

I spent a few days in Estes Park, CO for a niece’s wedding, then a few more days in Oregon for another niece’s wedding. If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.

Lumpy Ridge, Estes Park
Mt Hood

That doesn’t mean I won’t leave my back yard now and then. But, back in my own back yard (On Wednesday night’s bike ride), I happened upon a badger crossing the road, then waddling off into the undergrowth. I didn’t try to take a picture – badgers are notoriously vicious. A few miles up the road, a doe bounded along beside me for about 100 yards before darting across the road and disappearing into the woods. A bit later, two dogs came out into the road to greet me. I guess that made up for none of my friends being able to join me for this ride.

Home, sweet home

In between the two weddings, I was home for La Fete de Marquette, our annual Bastille Day celebration. We celebrated with Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orleans funk royalty. Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys played sets both Saturday and Sunday.

bassist, Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie (Sorry, I can’t find his name.)

They were followed by Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie. Geno is the son of the late John Delafose and learned Zydeco accordion from his dad.

We rounded out the day with George Porter, Jr and Runnin’ Pardners. Porter was the bassist for the Meters, Wild Tchoupitoulas, and the Neville Brothers; in other words, he is the bassist of New Orleans funk.

George Porter, Jr.

And, speaking of bassists, I also caught a set by Josh Cohen at the Art Fair Off the Square. While he also got funky at times, here’s something completely different:

La Fete is held in McPike Park. While waiting in a food line, I heard someone lamenting that it used to be Central Park but, as usual, wealth won out and the park was renamed after some rich person who gave the city a lot of money. I was happy to inform her that, while that is all too common, it wasn’t the case here. Milt McPike was the principal of East High School. (Articles about him often attach the word “beloved”. Personally, I can’t imagine loving my school principal, but “respected” might fit.) Milt was a role model – an African American athlete who made it as a pro (San Francisco 49ers) but also got an education so he would have a life after football. He spoke at my children’s kindergarten graduations, telling them that he expected to see them all graduating from East in 18 years.

Milt McPike, from Madison.com

UPDATES FROM THE ROAD

Charlie getting higher, photo courtesy of Charlie’s facebook page.

Bob, Terry, and Ken from last year’s coast-to-coast ride have completed their 1600 km circumnavigation of France. Charlie is on his 8th crossing of the US, now in Montana, going east to west. Jeremy abandoned the Great Divide Ride in West Yellowstone, MT, having completed 929 grueling off-road miles in 12 days. His hands had taken a beating.

Flying to Oregon, the clouds parted and something looked familiar below. The map showed we were flying over Gillette, WY, the site of last summer’s worst nightmare. I followed our route in reverse from above, looking down and at pictures from last year. It looks different from 30,000 feet. I had to supply the details.

Last year at this time – CycleAmerica World HQ, Cannon Falls, MN

P.S. Happy Golden Birthday to you know who. (Well, you may not, but they do.)

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day, a turning point in the French Revolution of 1789. If you’re in Madison, WI, it also marks Le Fete de Marquette, which is already in progress.

Some days I forget this is a bike blog and not a music blog, but Bastille Day calls for some French music. Here is Jacques Brel, in a performance that inspired my son to sing this with the the UW Black Music Ensemble, under the direction of the incomparable Richard Davis.

More specific to Bastille Day, from the play Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss, a medley by Judy Collins, which was my introduction to the work.

On a more personal level, it is my 25th wedding anniversary. More of you know my anniversary as September 11, but I got married twice (in the same year, to the same person – it’s a long story that has to do with the US healthcare system [if you can call it a system, but that’s a topic for another blog]).

As I mentioned on her birthday, our first date was to see Los Lobos at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. I was impressed by how urbane she was when she said we should take a cab home, not something a small-town boy like me did very often. I was impressed again when she put two fingers in her mouth and let out an ear-splitting whistle to hail a cab. It worked.

La Fete de Marquette inexplicably features Los Lobos this year, so I have another excuse to link to them:

At our wedding, my friend Keith sang my favorite wedding song, by one of my favorite singer/songwriters (along with Keith himself), Kate Wolf.

And today my niece is getting married, so this song is for Abby and Dustin, too. Mazel Tov! Since I’m about 500 miles short and in an earlier time zone, I probably won’t make it to the wedding. Maybe they can Facetime me so I can be there.

I forgot I had this post cued up, so today’s ride notes are separate. Due to the weaknesses of the phone version of this software, I can’t seem to combine the two posts – and connection problems make me fear I’d lose it all trying. So you will see two posts today. The other one coming in 5 minutes.