Currently we are living in Olathe, KS until we decide to continue west.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celebration Day

Here is what happened in July... 

Every weekend we rode between a 20 to 40 mile bike trip. Exploring the local trails and bike friendly roads. Occasionally Rafiki enjoyed doggy camp at Lifetime Pet where everybody loves him!

We helped a co-worker, Dale, move to a new home much closer to Garmin. Afterwards we explored some local neighborhoods and made our way to Jimmy John's.

Discovered Ben and Jerry's on a trip to REI to test out a NuVinci for a possible trike; we rode the Tomahawk Bike Trail approx 15 miles one way. Katie pulled Rafiki home from REI and when we climbed the largest hill on the trail, a lady had to stop and ask John how he made it up the hill on his trike. Katie was nearly passed out on the bench and we both laughed at this lady's comment.

Our Olympus camera fell off the counter and chipped a corner. Allowing us the opportunity to learn what it feels like to be on consumer end of customer repair. All of our photos this month were taken with our new phone.

Katie rode to Gardner to meet with Linda and Virgil from Untied Methodist Church at Celebration park because Linda was doing the Relay for Life and was hoping to see John and Katie. Katie really enjoyed her time spent with Linda and Virgil. She walked roughly two and half miles with Linda before completing the 20 mile round trip home for the night.

John turned 28 years old on July 11th. Katie made a chocolate chocolate chip cake with chocolate icing. It was very chocolaty and delicious. Thank you everyone who sent John cards. He appreciated your thoughts.

We went camping on a  beautiful cool week. Katie went on her own to The Clinton State Park a few nights before John was able to come meet her for a long fun weekend. Katie got to experience taking her Ridley off onto some mountain bike trails and loved it.

Katie got a Purple Catrike Pocket from Utah Trikes. It has a CVT rear wheel known as a NuVinci, which John just had to try. Awesome! Katie has named her trike Mercedes. As you can tell from her knees in a few pictures the trike came a little to late.

We sold the fixie to our local Bike shop, Bike America.

We hung out with Mark and Elizabeth, our neighbors, a couple of times. One of our adventures with them was to see a local band known as Teacher'z Pet in Missouri. They taught us about a local pizza place known as Minsky's. We are now addicted and have tried all of their pizzas!

Katie started a job working for our friend, Lauren, at her law office in Olathe. It is a nice gig because it is three days a week for two hours at a time. It is even close enough that Katie did not complain about having to push her Ridley, Prince, home due to a flat tire. :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kansas Wildflowers

June has been another month of fun. It was not as jam packed as May, but still stuff happened. I think...

Early in June we biked the entire length of the Mill Creek Trail which ends on a small peninsula between the Mill Creek and the Kansas River. We had a wonderful ride that day nearing almost 40miles. Just before making it home we met two Mormon Elders in the park who we talked to for a while about Christianity. We now understand what is going on with all the boys in white shirts and slacks riding bikes and going door to door.  When we returned home after picking Rafiki up from daycare we met our neighbor above us, Mark. Mark was happy to meet us and invited us out to a concert, but John wasn't feeling up to going out and instead feel asleep. Sunday, we got a chance to play Frisbee with Mark in the park next door. We found out we are not as terrible at Frisbee as we thought, but not as good as he is. Still we had lots of fun and look forward to hanging out with Mark in the future. 

Katie spent a couple of evenings with Lauren and the kids eating out and grocery shopping. She also met a local African American named Cal and gave Rafiki's old cart to him because he loves riding his bike everywhere, but had no way to get groceries with his bike. Thanks to God, Katie and Cal met so both could gain something good out of the meeting. They enjoy each other's company because it is like two peas in a pod since they have very similar view points about the world around them. Plus, both feel like they are the black sheep so it is refreshing to know that they are not alone. Cal really liked the cart because he was able to get all of his groceries home without dropping anything and get his five gallon water container filled with water. Since then, Katie and Cal have hung out in the park on a few more occasions.

We were hoping to bike to Drew and Lauren's to visit and they invited us down the same weekend as Edgerton's Frontier Days. We ended up borrowing their Pilot to go pick up Rafiki's new cart before we dropped him off at Lifetime Pet for daycare and boarding. We managed to load John's trike and Katie's bike into the pilot with hopes of riding from Edgerton back to our apartment. Ayden and Avi enjoyed seeing John, even though they were a little shy at first. Drew grilled some delicious pork and Lauren made banana nut bread. John had to take a mid day nap as he had worked several late nights and then had early mornings. Saturday evening we headed down to the Frontier Days festival and John got to ride a lot of the rides with Ayden. Thankfully it was over before he was to sick from spinning. :-) Thank you Drew and Lauren for letting us spend the weekend with you! We did not make it to the Edergton United Methodist Church because John needed to catch up on his sleep after working lots of overtime before visiting Drew and Lauren. We hope to visit EUMC next time we make it down to Edgerton.

Prior to our ride from Edgerton to Olathe we purchased a bike rack and panniers for Katie's bike. Which along with John's trunk bag we managed to load up all of our belongings and set out for Olathe, KS. We stuck to mostly back roads till we made it to Gardner, where we rode the bike trail through town before it turned into a nice paved trail along a river through the woods. We decided to stop in the shade for a break. During our visit to Edgerton, Katie entered a contest to win a picture, The Crown of Thorns, by a local artist. When we stopped for a break in Gardner, we received some great news via voicemail. Needless to say she won the painting, and they would bring it by our apartment later. We made the entire 20 miles in about 2 hours and climbed what we think may be the highest hill in all of Kansas. ;-) When we made it home we waited outside with Rafiki for the painting and wondered why the Mormon kids nearby didn't come talk to us. Thank you to Debbie and her husband, Steve, for bringing the picture to our apartment.

We have signed a year lease at our current apartment, which despite being cheap does have its own list of shortcomings. Currently we have been discussing with management about a large number of people pulling their vehicles all the way onto the sidewalk. This makes it very difficult for us to get our bikes/carts to our apartment. John has been busy at Garmin with a few weeks of mandatory overtime. He has been trained on two more products to take over for an employee who transferred out, and despite little to no communication from management he is pretty sure he is doing well. We also met our new neighbors, Dawn, Ray and their two kids, who moved into an apartment that needed a serious cleaning prior to their occupation of the place. One day Rafiki enjoyed playing with their oldest child, a girl, in the park while Katie was talking with Cal and Dawn.

In early June, Katie had begun picking up trash in Frisco Lake park. However, she noticed that the park rangers would drive their trucks around the 3/4mile loop, but never stop to pick up trash next to the trail. One day while we were sitting on a park swing we had a ranger pull up behind us in the grass. He sat there till we decided it was creepy, about 15-20 minutes, that he was just watching us and we left, then he followed us down the trail in his pickup. We sent an email to the city about being harassed by this ranger and how they shouldn't be driving on the trail and grass, plus asked why they don't pick up the trash. The city told us that it is not the rangers job to pick up trash and that the park is too big to be walked around by their rangers.  After this Katie decided she isn't going to bother picking up trash, apparently it doesn't bother Olathe Parks and Rec. We have dubbed the trash to be Kansas's state wildflower as you can see it everywhere.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

May Mayhem

Rafiki sleeping under John's "Mushroom" picture 
May has been a busy month for us and a lot of fun. As this post is being written, it is hard to believe that May is already over!  We started the month off by hanging pictures we printed from our adventure and family photos.  We had one picture from the Garden of the Gods and a picture John took of a mushroom made on frameless canvas. We also took a map of the States and drew a rough copy of our travels so far. We had a collage of our favorite puppy pictures of Rafiki made on a metal panel. It was a lot of fun trying to find the right combination for the pictures and seeing the changes we have forgotten that he went through!
Our favorite Garden of the Gods photo
Katie has repurposed her horseback riding helmet to be her new bike helmet since it's color blends better with her bike. We also put the attachment for Rafiki's walky bar on Katie's bike since John had gotten the trike he has been wanting for 7 years now. Speaking of that, worst part from April 22 to May 21 was listening to John being excited to get it and complaining that is has not gotten to him in a timely manner. Katie is now convinced that it should have been sent the day after he ordered it and then he would have been happy in that respect. :-)
Katie's Scales Lake Collage

Katie's Kansas Outfit
Early in May, Katie spent an evening with Lauren, Ayden, Avi and Aura. Lauren and Katie really wanted to go to the movies, but the kids were really wound up so after dinner at the Chinese buffet, they stopped to get Rafiki and then headed on over to Frisco Lake park. The kids had a blast running around playing on the playground and exploring the park. Ayden really enjoyed pushing all of the buttons on the water fountain while Avi kept trying to go play in the lake. Aura is the youngest and just learned to walk, but she really enjoyed going over to say hi to dogs that would pass by. Rafiki also got a lesson in manners because a nice Latino gentleman recognized that Katie was trying to train Rafiki so he would ask all of the kids with him to go and pet Rafiki. However, the lesson did not stick too well because he still tries to jump on kids! One day he'll stop, well we hope anyway. Another thing that had happened that evening was a kid asked Katie, "Do you work at Mahaffie?" He asked because she was wearing her " Kansas" outfit. It was quite funny because she had no idea what that was at that time.

Cinco de Mayo was a day of John being annoyed by Katie and Rafiki to get a second dog. That morning Katie and Rafiki went for a walk and were followed home by a dog who had no collar on. He enjoyed playing with Rafiki on the entire walk, unfortunately he was very skittish and hard to catch. John woke to barking and talking outside the bedroom window and had to investigate. After about 45 minutes, we were finally able to catch him and then waited for Animal Control to pick him up. When Animal Control showed up she thought Rafiki looked to good to be a stray, as she approached him with a leash. We quickly corrected her and showed her the dog that we captured in Rafiki's crate. However, on the positive side the dog was only on the Animal Control's website for a day so we are thinking he went home.

Since we were hoping to go to Worlds of Fun for Garmin's Summer event we had to find a doggy daycare center. We settled on a local pet store that is a short ride away, Lifetime Pet. Rafiki had to pass Lifetime Pet's interview to make sure he was good to play with other dogs. While Rafiki played, we went for a bike ride up the Indian Creek Trail just because we had not really explored that trail. We ended up coming home on a bike friendly street to the Mill Creek Trail after John planned a different route home, when we discovered our planned route was closed for construction. On our journey to cross the road on the trail, we rode past Mahaffie. Mahaffie was doing a stagecoach ride for a middle school class , but it was in that moment Katie learned why the kid asked her if she worked there. Mahaffie is a stagecoach stop started and ran by the Mahaffie family in 1857. There was no time to stop that day so we planned to go back another day. Upon picking Rafiki up we learned that he had a blast playing with two beagles so John stated, "He had a lot of beaglely fun!" :-)

 While we waited for a new tube to come for Katie's Ridley, she had gotten a flat, we moved the pedals from the Ridley and installed them on her fixie. Then we took Rafiki and headed across the street to take turns riding the fixie around the lake. John took it for it's first ride with the clips on and came back to state, "This a death machine!" Then continued to ride it around for a little bit before allowing Katie to go for a ride. Both of us really enjoyed the clipless pedals because it definitely made it easier to stop the fixie and Katie was able to lock the tire for about a second. However, she has yet to do a successful skid stop with the fixie. Mother's Day was another day of fun on the fixie after calling our mother's to wish them a Happy Mother's Day. After two days of this kind of riding, John had earned a new respect for fixie riders because it takes a lot of muscle to stop the bike.

Garmin Day at Worlds of Fun was soon approaching and we had had no luck finding a way to get there.  John had posted an ad at Garmin looking for a ride and we asked Drew and Lauren if they were interested in going a few weeks earlier.  The Wednesday prior to the event both people from Garmin, that had responded with a maybe, had told John that they didn't have enough room. After becoming a little distressed that we were not going to make it, John prayed. About five minutes later we received a text from Lauren; They couldn't make it, but we were welcome to borrow a car if we needed. By the end of the night several of John's co-workers had also offered us a ride. Then on Thursday Olivia, a coworker who said her car was full, told John that 2 seats just opened up. We decided to borrow the car so we had more freedom to deal with Rafiki and possibly go out for our anniversary.  We are thankful that God is and always will be in our lives!
Rafiki's Puppy Collage!
May 16th was our wedding anniversary of five years. John had gotten Katie a pretty flower ring that Katie had been looking at on Amazon. That evening, Katie hung out with Lauren, the kids and her cousins kids. Lauren picked Katie up and then went to Edgerton.  Eventually, Lauren packed up all the kids into her Pilot and Katie followed her back to Olathe in Drew's car. Lauren, Katie and the kids ended up going to Zonkers and were there for about an hour and a half. Zonkers is like an indoor carnival. They have rides, games, bouncy house and a restaurant. Katie had a lot of fun with Lauren and the kids and thought of the night as a warm up for Sunday at Worlds of Fun. Then when Katie got home, she got ready to go grocery shopping with John after he got off work.

That night at 1 am, we got to be in the shoes of our neighbors. We had to park in the back of our apartment building and carry our groceries in. Of course most people do this, it is only a big deal to us because we had grown used to taking our bikes and carts into the courtyard right up to our door. It definitely helped us appreciate our decision to live car free! Plus, there is always great parking in our apartment. After getting some sleep, Rafiki ended up at Lifetime Pet for another fun filled day at doggie daycare. We went to see the 10 am showing of God's Not Dead and after the movie we walked to Christian Way to check out the bookstore and discuss the movie. Then to Target for Starbuck's and shopping. After Starbucks, we walked back to the movie theater to watch Neighbors and enjoy lunch while we watched the movie.

He was so happy to see us!
Sunday the 18th, Rafiki ended up at Lifetime Pet for another day at doggie daycare. He was not too excited since he was there the day before. However, he eventually went with the employee and we headed off to Worlds of Fun. It was a lot of fun once most of the rides actually opened up and Katie got over the one ride operator making her remove her rec-specs despite being strapped on. The buffet was not very vegetarian friendly, but it was nice not spending a lot of money for food along with wearing a $6 drink band that allowed for all the soda one could drink while hanging out at Worlds of Fun. Garmin even paid for Beagle Bucks which is Worlds of Fun's version of money. Katie won a sock monkey from a fool the guesser game, but no other prizes were won that day, despite our best efforts at ring toss. Rafiki was picked up at 7 , thanks to Lifetime Pet opening up after hours, and was so happy to see his family. We were able to return Drew's car that evening so he could go to work that night. Thank you Drew and Lauren!

May 20th was a big day for Rafiki and Katie. They started off the day meeting a pitbull running around in the park without a collar. Katie originally wanted to get pictures of the mother duck and her babies that live on the lake along with other pictures of the pretty morning. She got some pictures, but ended coming home with the dog in tow till he realized he was standing on the road. He ran back to the park and Katie and Rafiki went for the cell phone. They headed back out and discovered that he was still in the park so Katie called Animal Control and discovered she really needs to have her own cell phone. Animal Control tried to contact her so they could find the dog, but the phone was on silent since John takes it to work to listen to music. This dog also had a family because he was never listed on the Animal Control's website. When will people learn to leave a collar with id tags on their dogs so they don't have to go to animal control to get their dog back?

Kim and Levi
After an eventful morning, Katie and Rafiki met three train riders on their afternoon walk they  take when John leaves for work. She went and got cigarettes and chew for them as well as supplying them with the excess camping gear we had in storage. It was awesome giving it to them because we had hoped to give it to someone who could use it. Katie spent all evening talking to them until it got dark and then she headed home. Later when taking Rafiki out before bed, she decided to head back to the park to see if they were still there. They were so she invited them home for dinner and they accepted the offer. Bill, Kim and Levi were very thankful for and enjoyed the stir fry Katie prepared for them. Bill was the first one to leave because he really wanted to catch a train and Katie was thankful because he was a very loud talker. Levi stayed for a little longer, but he eventually left too.

Rafiki helping Kim feel better
Sadly, Kim had not eaten since Thursday, when she apparently became homeless, and her first meal was Tuesday evening with Katie, Bill and Levi. She had gotten really sick and was vomiting all night long. She refused John and Katie's offers to call an ambulance or taxi to the hospital or contact her kids. She also complained of sharp pains in her stomach. She slept most of the day on Wednesday, but we made sure she kept drinking water. John's trike finally arrived that day and it was one day before a month since he ordered it. It was sad that he found so many things wrong after waiting for the thing to get here. Utah Trikes had  installed the wrong tires, wrong brake levers, forgot parts, and  never flared the chain tubes. Katie was really disappointed because that meant putting up with a lot more of his complaining about it. The good news is that it would no longer be about when would it get here! However, the greatest thing about that day was that it is our best guess of Rafiki's birthday! For his birthday, he got an id collar and personalized leash to be used when he goes to daycare, a bully stick,  the sock monkey from Worlds of Fun, a little bit of ice cream and birthday cake! He had fun that day and he enjoyed sleeping with Kim on the couch.
What could be in this giant box? Trike!

Someone likes Birthday Cake!
On Thursday, Kim was beginning to improve because she could keep water down and the Gatorade Katie made for her to drink. There were a few times while she was sleeping that Katie and John watched to make sure she was still breathing. It was quite nerve wracking since she refused medical help, but we didn't want her to die either. Kevin, the maintenance man, came and fixed the water heater, which had been only able to produce hot water for about five minutes. Meanwhile, Katie made chicken noodle soup for dinner. Kim had woke up about 5:30 and enjoyed some chicken noodle soup. She and Katie had spent the evening talking about pets, kids, neighbors, washing machines, etc. Kim was able to call her daughter and learned that she had lost her job and was unable to come pick her up.

Rested and ready to go!
On Friday the 23rd, Kim was able to get a warm shower. After her shower, Kim enjoyed some scrambled eggs and a crash course to hiking and cooking. John tried to restore her contacts on her phone, but was unable to. He then loaded her up with food, showed her how to use her camp stove and snapped a picture before she left about noon on Friday. She was headed to Eudora to try to find her daughter, but she felt a lot better. After she left, we discussed how thankful we are to everybody who took us into their homes. This experience has given us a better perspective and respect for the people who did what we did. Again, thank you to all of those kind people for giving us a place to stay and rest! John also voiced his opinion at how small our apartment really is; while Katie talked about how Rafiki refused to not be annoying about missing his walks because of our guest!

Saturday, we enjoyed riding around the neighborhood. We had a woman yell out her car, "I like your bike!" she was talking to John about his trike. We then headed up the Mill Creek Trail to apart of the trail we have not been on. It took us to a street that looked like we had been there before, but we never were. That is when we learned that all of Kansas must be the same. As we were leaving, Katie discovered a bison statue that she mistook for a live bison. On the way home we found a young, orange long haired cat with a white tipped tail. We both thought of Miss Cleo, our kitty that we had before leaving on this adventure. It was very friendly and let us pet it, but it really enjoyed rubbing itself on our tires. John did pick it up to try to bring it home on his lap, but the cat did not like the idea of being on his lap. Once we made it to Santa Fe, a major street we must cross over, we talked to a lady officer who really like John's trike and recumbents in general.

Kansas City Memorial Day Celebration at Union Station
We had mentioned to Olivia, from Garmin, about our adventure and she thought we were joking at first. She invited us to join her at the Celebration at the Station in Kansas City. John learned that she works on the floor above him in the aerospace software programming department. She is a first shift employee and told John about a lot of cool worship events that happen while he works. We also met her sister, Julia, who also gets car sick like Katie so the ride to the Celebration and back again was very interesting. Good news is that no one got sick in the car. Julia did get out as we were headed into the parking garage. It was a lot of fun listening to the music, learning some history, watching the fireworks and being thankful for our veterans. It was unique watching an event being recorded so more people could watch it in their homes. We did not do much on Memorial Day, but we watched Lone Survivor. It really gave us a new respect for our troops. The hell those four soldiers went through and they still did their job was incredible. It also gave John a respect for the native Afghan people known as  Pashtun, because they lived by their 2,000 year old code of honor called Pashtunwali.  The code was the reason Marcus Luttrell was able to survive and tell us this story of his unit. Thank you to all of the veterans for your time in the service and the sacrifices you make on the battlefield.

A monkey for a monkey!
We took Rafiki out for his run by the bike and he is adjusting to being attached to his mom. He really likes pulling her until they nearly clothesline John. He seems to think the trike is just a another bike so he does not make a big fuss about running behind it. We then went off for a ride by ourselves and met a little girl named Gabriella. She was crying and pushing her bike. We told her that she could do it and slowed down to let her ride with us. She calmed down and told us that she went to summer school at Happy House, a local daycare, and she was out with her teacher Miss Debbie. Miss Debbie was way ahead of her with the other kids so she was quite sad about being alone. She got off and pushed her bike about as much as she actually rode it. Eventually we came to the parking lot of the park right across from the apartments. John wanted to get home so he headed that way and Katie went to tell Gabriella that they were going home. Gabriella had a sad look on her face so Katie asked her if  she wanted Katie to stay with her. Gabriella said yes so she kept with her till Gabriella made it back to Miss Debbie.  John eventually came back and we watched as Miss Debbie headed back to get Gabriella. When Miss Debbie came back she began to chastise Gabriella for not having her helmet on and not riding her bike. John and Katie left, but very sadden by the lack of two adults with the kids.

It folds!
We arrived home to see a note from UPS. We could not get the package because the leasing office staff was out to lunch so we showered and made lunch. At one o'clock, we went over to the office and got the package. It was the missing parts that Utah Trikes forgot on John's trike. John was disappointed because the bumper cone looked like it had been damaged. This was the final blow for Katie, she went for the normal afternoon walk with Rafiki while John headed to work. After she made it home with Rafiki, she headed back to the leasing office and called Utah Trikes. She spent half an hour talking to Matt about John, his trike, the bumper cone, videos he appeared in, his opinion on a trike for Katie, attachments for Rafiki to run beside a trike and of course our adventure across the States. Matt had told Katie that HP Velotechnik had gone from straight bumper cone bolts to bent ones. He couldn't remember if they were still using the bent ones or not, but did watch the video that John watched to learn how to fold his trike. Matt said the trike used in that video did indeed have a straight attaching bumper cone. He suggested to have John give the current bumper cone a try. He also verified that the correct sized tires will be coming. One should arrive soon and two more will be shipped once Utah Trikes gets them. Katie said bye to Matt, talked to Rosanna for a bit about the neighbors that were evicted and the ones right above us. Katie learned that the behavior of the upstairs neighbors is their norm. They are not meth addicts like John and Katie had suspected for awhile.
By the last weekend of May we had still not received the correct tires from Utah Trikes, apparently they are still waiting to get them in stock. HP Velotechnik has been very helpful and has sent some parts from Germany that John had asked about. We had a full month filled with highs, lows, new friends and experiences. We have continued to explore the local trails and roads by bike. Work at Garmin has been great, but our highest priority is time spent together.