Pumpkin Patch

Michael says I need to adjust my expectations for things now that we have a baby. Probably good advice. Over the weekend we went to Hood River with Bella and Logan–our first big family trip. We booked it over a month ago as a getaway, a family trip and an excuse to pick up our case of wine from Cathedral Ridge for our quarterly member pickup. And it took a ridiculous  amount of time to pack everything and the car and hit the road AND we had to pack a ridiculous amount of stuff for one weekend away! I certainly need to get used to THAT fact for sure.

So…four hours later, we finally arrived (it’s only an hour drive from Portland). 😉

We booked a little house in Hood River that was about 5 minutes from a few of our favorite wineries. The location of the house was perfect! So close to wine tasting, close to downtown Hood River and on the Fruit Loop.

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We were a little early for check-in on the house so we went to Cathedral Ridge to pick up our wine and I got to do a little wine tasting! (We went to Cathedral Ridge back in August and I think that was the first time we’d been wine tasting in almost 2 years!) I was really looking forward to this!
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Since we’re members we got to do our tasting in a different room (less crowded–mega benefit right there!), we got a tasting plate to pair with the wines and we could basically try anything we wanted. I’m glad we did because we ended up swapping out the Zinfandel for a Barbera Reserve that was fantastic!

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After the tasting we hung out outside for a little bit and enjoyed the early Fall sunshine and warmth. Logan was doing great and not too fussy or bored.

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After that we went to the house and got unpacked and settled and then Michael walked a few blocks to pick up take out Mexican food for dinner.

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I ate almost half of my burrito but it was really big! The Mexican food was just ok–nothing outstanding but it had good veggies inside. We called it an early night because we were both tired and I had been sick earlier in the week and still wasn’t feeling fantastic.

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Sunday we got up and Michael made us breakfast as I planned out our day. The Fruit Loop/Wine tasting map that you get anywhere in Hood River is super helpful and makes it easy to plan your day! It’s like a 35 mile loop through the mountains and valley in Hood River with spectacular views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, the hills across the river and the rolling farms in the area. It’s so scenic and you can do it year round–either in berry season in the summer, or go in the spring to see the wildflowers and be sure to stop at the Lavender farms! Or in the fall where you can either pick or buy apples and pears.

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We got an early start to our day. We made it to our first stop at 11 at the Packard Orchard Stand and Bakery.

They had stuff set up in front for the kids, which we of course took advantage of! Logan’s first Halloween! I was so excited to take the obligatory pumpkin patch pictures. 🙂 He was a good sport, even if he didn’t really smile much. He seemed kind of confused and just curious about everything we saw.

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We took Bella with us and left her in the car for the stops along the way that were not pet-friendly. The Fruit Loop/Winery Map does a good job listing out where dogs are welcome and where they aren’t. (Basically if it’s a farm with animals they don’t want you to bring your dog out of the car.)

The Packard Orchard stand had a bunch of samples. I tried a few of their jams and jellies and they had some cookie samples. Mmmm good!

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After that we went to a few other fruit stand and then ended up at another Packard Orchard one but this one was bigger and had a pumpkin patch and tons of stuff for kids! Logan was too young, obviously, but we had some fun taking pumpkin pictures! He seemed to like it.

There was a corn maze, too, but it was really muddy so we skipped that. The pumpkin patch looked fun. I’ve never actually picked my own pumpkin. A few years ago Michael and I went to Sauvie’s Island and did a corn maze and it was really fun! When Logan is older it will be an experience we’ll have again for sure. But I do remember that one was REALLY crowded. The ones in Hood River were more low-key.

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The Packard Orchard had sooo many yummy treats you could buy. Cookies, caramel corn, any baked good you can think of…all made there and from their fruits. I had way too many samples of everything and it tasted so good. In the end Michael and I split this amazing apple cider donut that was made right in front of us:

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It was so delicious! Michael said it was good but he wished it was kind of greasy and fatty like donuts usually are. I kinda liked that it wasn’t greasy. It tasted fresh and perfect and I could trick myself into thinking it was healthy. 😉

I’ll write more about our outing in the next post.

A Peach of a Century, Finale

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

After the first rest stop, the route wound through the town of Scio, over some bridges, across the Santiam River and into farm land. It was miles and miles of corn fields and recently tilled land. There were very few trees in this part of the route and because it was down in the valley there was just WIND. Wind, head wind, side wind, unfortunately no wind at our back making it any easier to ride!

This was the most difficult part of the metric century for me. I was feeling slow, lethargic, my lower back was starting to ache, I was getting a bit saddle sore, my neck felt fatigued. It was just hard. We were working so much harder than we had to because of that damn wind. I stopped a lot during the next 15 miles. I just had to. If I didn’t, I think I would have felt the mental fizzle and lost all of that excitement and fire that was motivating me to the finish line.

We were riding in the middle of nowhere, ironically not too far my aunt’s farm. I recognized a lot of the landmarks and road signs because of summers spent down on her farm when I was a kid. We rode over a covered bridge, which was really pretty.

Mentally I used the tactic of denial to get through this stretch. I refused to let myself dwell on the discomfort or pains I was feeling. None of it was so bad that I was miserable but it was definitely difficult and uncomfortable. Michael and I stopped under a tree in the shade to reload on water and apricots and just rest for a few minutes. I asked him how close we were to the last rest stop. “Have we at least gone 30 miles so far?” Yes we had. But not by much more. Okay. I can do this.

The last ten miles or so to the rest stop were hard but I made it. I was ready to eat lunch, too. The last rest stop was at the Pioneer Park in Stayton, at mile 43.5. That meant we had about 20 miles to go to the finish.

The food was set up in another covered bridge in the park, right next to the creek. They had the same food that was at the first rest stop, but also the sandwiches for lunch, too. You had to pre-order them and I’m glad we did. I needed something more substantial than trail mix, bagels and cream cheese.

I ate most of my ham sandwich, which wasn’t exceptional in any way but who cares at that point? I’d burned around 1900 calories by mile 43 and was ready to EAT. It came with Sun Chips and I ate 3/4 of the bag, and a Snickerdoodle cookie which I devoured all of. We let lunch sit a little bit (but not long enough for my liking) and then got back on the bikes. The thirty minute lunch break was a good rest. I felt like I got a second wind after lunch and the last 20 miles were MUCH easier for me.

DON’T GET CONFUSED! Make sure you take the right route! That could be awful! Like I said, I was feeling much better after lunch (despite a too-full tummy) and made better time. My body felt better, too.

There was still a heavy wind but it wasn’t as miserable as the other part before lunch. The back roads were pretty quiet and it was such a scenic route that I just enjoyed myself. I thought about how happy I was that Michael and I were able to do the event, and how happy I was that my body was relatively good.

See! I’m smiling! More cornfields. More farms. GENTLE rolling hills…at least for awhile. Then we saw came around a bend and saw this:

I think my exact words were: “Are you kidding me? COME ON!”  I mean really, who puts the hardest hills at the last 10 miles of the event?! That’s just mean. I saw the hill coming so I had plenty of time to dread it, anticipate it, and get nervous butterflies in my stomach. I huffed and I puffed and I made it up that hill without feeling awful! I was really proud of myself. Michael and I took a little break at the top.

Thankfully, the next part was a downhill coast. I’ve never been more happy for a downhill descent. We were so so close to the end. The next part of the route was on a really busy road. The bike lane was pretty wide but the cars were going really fast. It made a little bit nervous. Luckily there weren’t any crashes or anything (that I am aware of) during this event but when we first started out I did see a car almost clip one of the cyclists and that was scary.

We arrived at the starting point happy and accomplished! Michael reached out and held my hand for a second while we rode into the college parking lot. I had a big smile on my face and I felt SO HAPPY that I ended my summer on a high note. We did it!!! 5.5 hours of actual riding time! (I didn’t stop my watch during our lunch break.) It was a little slower than I had predicted we’d be but that damn wind slowed us down.

Stats:

Time: 5.5 hours
Miles: 64.2
Calories Burned: 2768

How was I feeling? Awesome! I felt even better once we changed out of our spandex! My body felt really great after I got off the bike. I was expecting to be stiff or sore but I wasn’t. After we changed and locked up our bikes, we grabbed our pie reward. You could choose Marionberry or Peach. It’s been years since I had Marionberry pie so that’s what I got. Michael got the peach. (I won’t lie, I was tempted to go back for a slice of the peach, but I resisted).

That pie was to-die-for.

Doesn’t that look good? After relaxing for a bit, we drove home. I was sweaty, sticky, sleepy and ready to be home. I took one of the best showers of my life, second only to the post-Hood to Coast shower–slathered on some Biofreeze and put on my compression tights while I relaxed. I felt awesome.

Dinner was simple. Michael grilled up some steaks, I steamed the last of our broccoli and made salads.

I also opened up a nice bottle of red wine that we got the last time we went wine tasting. I figured a nice bottle of wine was a good way to celebrate a good day! I had one glass of the red with dinner and it made me want to sleep. I may or may not have been in bed by 7:30 p.m. Sunday night!

This is what I wanted. I wanted to finish the summer with a happy fitness memory. Sure, it wasn’t the full 100 miles like I had hoped to do this year, but that doesn’t mean 64 miles is anything to sneeze at. I am proud of myself. I’m proud of Michael for doing it with me even though he wasn’t really in cycling shape (he’d been golfing and using the kettle bell more than cycling this summer). I was happy he was at my side to do the bike ride and that we both felt pretty good at the end!

QUESTION: Did you have a fitness event this summer? How did it go?