The Parkins Report: Events of 2015

50-yearclass reunion, Wartburg College: Judy in her hand-woven hand-sewn vest, Larye in his $20 thrift-shop suit, bought at the last minute when we realized we would take part in the commencement ceremonies.
50-yearclass reunion, Wartburg College: Judy in her hand-woven,hand-sewn vest, Larye in his $20 thrift-shop suit, bought at the last minute when we realized we would take part in the commencement ceremonies.

2015 began with a new hope for good health and a busy itinerary for travel: this was the year for Larye’s 50th college reunion, and several family reunions were scheduled on both sides.

Larye continued to build strength from his medical setbacks of 2014, with sprint intervals on his stationary bicycle in the basement until he got his heart rate “in the zone.” Our first trail outing on the Bike Friday Tandem was on February 28; by September, we had logged 541 kilometers (335 miles) riding trails in six states. We mostly stayed on bike paths and trails, limiting rides to no more than 20km (12 miles) from the car, as Larye remained on blood thinner until our return from our “grand tour.” As it turned out, we found that limit to be a pleasant workout, and didn’t extend our rides farther this season.

Winter and spring were busy times for the weaving guilds, as Judy finished her term as Program Chair and also helped with the workshop planning. A highlight of the season was an April workshop with renowned weaver and clothing designer Daryl Lancaster, in which the participants wove fine cloth and constructed a fitted vest (shown above). After the workshop and guild program, we delivered Daryl to her next workshop venue, taking the opportunity for a weekend stay and bike ride in Birch Bay, near the Canadian border.
We continued our traditional anniversary celebration with a two-day retreat to rainy Lake Quinault in late March, marking our 30th anniversary.

The Grand Tour–13,500km (8500 miles) in the car, plus 288km ( 180 miles) on the bike–began on May 1, with a trip to Montana to deliver Judy’s brother-in-law, Ben, for the summer, and a brief stop at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory to see old colleagues. We took advantage of our loose schedule to tour points of interest along the way–national parks and monuments, etc.

Along the way, we stayed in

  • Salmon, Idaho
  • Logan and Green River in Utah
  • Chama, Santa Fe, Donã Ana, and Clovis, New Mexico
  • Dodge City, Kansas
  • St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Waverly and Decorah, Iowa
  • Middleton, Wisconsin
  • Jackson, Lanesboro, Winona, Litchfield, Staples, and Park Rapids, Minnesota
  • Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Roundup, Montana

before stopping again in Polson, Montana. We visited a friend in Moab, Utah, family in Santa Fe and Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; Jackson and Motley, Minnesota; and Polson, Montana. We attended school and family reunions in Waverly, Iowa, Jackson, Minnesota, and Polson, Montana. We stayed at motels, AirB&B hosts, with family, and camped in our tent four nights.

Camping along the Mississippi River near Winona, Minnesota

On our return home, we retrieved Delia, the cat, from the Just Cats Hotel and settled in for the rest of the summer, receiving a steady stream of bicycle tourists in July and August, between short camping trips to Dungeness Spit and Cape Disappointment, to ride on trails.

In September, we traveled again to Montana, first to sign papers on the sale of our cabin, and then after a week at Lake Chelan (after the wildfires had died down), returned to Montana to bring Ben back to Washington to fly home to California. But, on the way home, we detoured south to South Idaho to visit our niece, yet another family reunion, as Judy’s brother and sister-in-law were also visiting.
Between groups of fall bicycle tourists, we traveled to Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada to vacation with our friends Gary and Char, returning home via eastern Washington, where we retrieved a floor loom we had loaned to Judy’s sister-in-law several years ago. The last bicycle tourists of the season came through with the start of the November rains, and we finally found time to attend our weaving and quilting guild meetings, from which we had been absent since April.ford20151126_091107With the sale of our last Montana property, we paid off some remodeling bills and replaced the black and stainless kitchen range with a white one more suited to the house style. And– uncharacteristic of us, who kept our last cars for more than 15 years–we traded in our bright green Jeep Patriot after a bit less than five years–but nearly 120,000 miles (200 000 km)–for a new dark gray Ford C-Max Hybrid, which is teaching us to drive with fuel efficiency in mind. That’s something we thought we were already doing, but the electric-assist energy-management display demands a bit lighter touch on the brake and power controls to minimize fuel consumption and maximize energy recovery. We also had to get a new rack system that clamps onto the smooth door openings, but, unlike the “permanent” installations on our other cars, we intend to only mount it when we plan to take the bicycle out, to preserve the aerodynamic flow–and our fuel economy. We have become “road mopes” like the other hybrid drivers we have gotten stuck behind on the highway the last few years.

Our first long trip with the new car was a return to Canada, again with our friends Gary and Charlene, this time to downtown Vancouver, BC, for a week in the heart of the city, taking in the Canadian way of preparing for the holidays.

Lions Gate Bridge, from Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
Lions Gate Bridge, from Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

Additional material: Our blogs ( have more
detailed articles about our travels and activities. We also publish
videos from our bike rides on
( and have recently published a
two-part, one-hour video on YouTube of our bicycle adventures and
Larye’s rehab from heart surgery, 2012-2015

Warm Showers 2015 — Fall Season

After our September travels, we once again activated our availability for the Warm Showers bicycle touring hospitality network.  We immediately got a series of late-season tourists taking advantage of the mild Fall weather in the Pacific Northwest, or willing to brave the rainy season to ride in cooler weather in late fall in southern California,  For some, the travel plan calls for touring over winter in Central America and reversing the seasons into the southern hemisphere to arrive at the tip of South America in late 2016 or early 2017.  For others, the plan is simply to ride after the tourist season, when traffic is lighter on the scenic routes.

So, the extended fall season, September 24 through November 21, brought us eight more guests, bringing the total to 112 since we started hosting in 2011, and 26 in the past year. Guests this year came from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Some were on short tours, From Vancouver or Seattle to Portland or San Francisco. Others were on the full Pacific Coast Tour, from Vancouver to Imperial Beach, and some were on extended tour from Alaska or British Columbia to Bolivia or Argentina. Some were seasoned Warm Showers members, for others, our house was their first Warm Showers encounter. Through the Warm Showers Facebook page, we became acquainted with a Warm Showers host in Aberdeen and met her for lunch on one of our trips to the coast. She is 75km away, so hosted several of our guests the following night if they were headed toward Astoria via the 6700-meter long Megler-Astoria Bridge, though most of her guests had ridden around the Olympic Peninsula, or had bypassed Shelton while we were on travel.

Barbara, from Germany
Lauren, a professional bike route planner from Colorado, on a short, fast tour from Vancouver to Portland.
Carole and Kate, professional bicycle ride planners from the U.K., on a west coast tour.
Montana and Logan, from southern California, on a late-season tour of the west coast they are calling “The Downpour Tour.”
Megan, from Wisconsin, and Gordon, from Scotland, on an epic tour from Alaska to the tip of Argentina, already nearly 4000 km into their 20,000 km tour. They left Alaska at the end of August, but were delayed on entering the U.S. due to Gordon’s visa issues and Megan having to build a new bike after having her original rig stolen in Bellingham. There was frost on the ground when we sent them off through Olympia to save time, as Megan had also had a bad tire cut, resulting in them arriving well after dark. We gave her our spare tire from our Santana. The tire change left them without a lot of daylight to try to get farther south before the fall storms get worse.