McGyver and I have been traveling from Washington State to Shiloh, Illinois. McGyver has finally returned from Germany, after a year’s separation from me. He purchased a brand new 2003 Road King while in Germany and had it shipped to Seattle. His dad kept it for him (and did the break in miles, plus some) until he was able to move to back to the states. If you’d like to catch up on the previous days, you can do it here, here, here and here.
Thursday July 15, 2004
After a continental breakfast we hit the road at 0730 with 5, 616 miles. It was cloudy and cooler then the last few days – a welcome change. With the sun beaming through the clouds in that majestic and heavenly way in the east, a rainbow to the west and dark clouds straight ahead the day could promise anything.
The further south we traveled the clearer it got and the more it warmed up. After one of our rest stops, not 5 minutes down the road McGyver split his drawers. The zipper on his chaps busted open so we pulled over and I got them back on track and we took off again.
Can you believe about 15 minutes later the chaps busted out their zipper again. this time McGyver just took them off and threw them in the tour pack. When we got to the gas stop – in the garbage they went! With limited space there’s no room to tote around broken chaps.
We stopped at the Sioux Falls HD dealership after a quick lunch and McGyver got the service folks to give him some padding with sticky stuff to prevent anymore rubbing on the Road King. I picked up a new jean shirt. I’ve been wearing McGyver’s XL denim shirt and got tired of tucking it in all the way down to my knees every time I used the bathroom.
We headed on down the road into Iowa on I29. We discovered that Iowa has the worst roads in the U.S., with a sore ass already every bump and groove was a painful reminder of how long we’ve been on the bike.
We finished the days run in St. Joseph, MO. Almost home – tomorrow my husband will finally be home for good.
McGyver and I have been traveling from Washington State to Shiloh, Illinois. McGyver has finally returned from Germany, after a year’s separation from me. He purchased a brand new 2003 Road King while in Germany and had it shipped to Seattle. His dad kept it for him (and did the break in miles, plus some) until he was able to move to back to the states. If you’d like to catch up on the previous days, you can do it here, here, and here.
Wednesday July 14, 2004
5,335 miles to start the day off. Last night we rolled into Minot just after 9:00 pm (10:00 CST). Jen met us at Denny’s and I hopped in the car with her to maximize our time together and five the ol’ bunners a break!
We hung out at her house and caught up. Lonnie hit the sack about 1:30 and 2 bottles of Muscato and a couple of beers later Jen and I rolled into bed about 3:30 or so. We hung out in the morning, did laundry, played with the two cutest boxers ever (Abby and Buster) then went to HD [the Harley dealership] in Minot.
McGyver got some oil for the bike. The Road King really needed the 5,000 mile check but HD was unable to accommodate us. Jen bought us each a shirt and then we had to hit the road. As much as we love to ride, it is really hard to leave good friends.
Our next long rest stop was in Jamestown, ND. We had to stop – couldn’t miss visiting the World’s Largest Buffalo.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
We checked out “Frontier Village”, took photos, visited the “Buffalo Museum”, bought some small souvenirs for the kids and to the Frontier Shop to eat some Buffalo. Found out that buffalo taste pretty good.
We finished the day in Fargo, ND. McGyver wanted to stop while there was still light. We stopped about 80 miles short of the plan so we’ll have to make that up. McGyver wanted to check out the right saddle bag, it was rubbing against the frame and some of the paint came off. It looks like it was mounted wrong. Since it’ll need to go back to the dealer for adjustments will just put some clear packing tape on it to protect it temporarily.
After relaxing, having a couple of drinks we’ll get some rest and get ready for an early start tomorrow.
Notes: The World Largest Buffalo was built in 1959 and it is 26 feet (7.9 m) tall, 46 feet (14 m) long and weighs 60 tons. If you ever go through Jamestown, ND it’s worth stopping to see.
Our ride continues, last week we stayed in Belgrade, Montana our next destination was my bestest friend in the whole wide world!
Tuesday July 13, 2004
Up at the butt crack of dawn, just like being at work…except I look forward to a day on the bike, packing, breakfast and we’re ready to hit the road. We left at 0745 with 4,714 miles. We are heading towards Billings, planning on it for our lunch stop.
Dad wanted to go to a steak buffet. It took us about 30 minutes to find the “steak buffet”, actually it was the Golden Corral. They only serve the steak buffet for dinner, oh well. The food was good and filling.
Based on Jen’s recommendations we altered our route plan and hope to save 120 mile and make Minot by tonight. Dad will be going his own way – off to drive through Yellowstone and down to Boise, Idaho to do some visiting.
Additional Comments: I didn’t talk about this in my Journal but my father in law had gone on and on abut this fabulous steak buffet, he’d never seen anything like that. Keep in mind he was in his mid-seventies and lived in a town of only a few hundred. He pumped up this steak buffet so much, you can only imagine McGyver’s and mines face when we saw that it was only the Golden Corral. The truth is that we don’t even care for buffets (with the exception of some Vegas ones) but we didn’t have the heart to tell him. We ate with great enthusiasm at lunch, it was more important to enjoy being with family than where we ate anyways.
I am so not trendy, seems like when ever everybody is into something, I’m like, “meh”. Just look at my wardrobe… For example the whole five minute artisan bread, I didn’t post anything like that until this post in December. Here I go again… Last year the Charcuterie was all over the blogosphere, there were even contests for it. I read them with interest, but only interest. Oh I wanted to get into the make everything from scratch kind of life but my lazy bone seems to get in the way every time! Plus I am kind of quirky, it seems when something is super trendy I want to turn the other way and run. At least until it shows some staying power and I find it has the possibility of positively contributing to my life.
Nearly every Monday for the last two months I’ve been sharing my honeymoon journal. The only exception has been on Secret Recipe Club days because our reveal dates are predetermined and always on a Monday. Until now.
I just got an email from McGyver that simply said “Ten Years!???!!!”. Life goes by in such a blur that you don’t even realize how much time has passed until something significant happens; your 30th birthday, your kids first day of school, your kid is graduating school, etc. Or when the 10th Anniversary of the V-Rod is announced.
Why the big deal? Once upon a time, well 10 years ago to be exact, McGyver bought himself a V-rod, first addition. Not only that, he was the first one ever to buy one in our area! Let me tell you, Hans from the local dealership Tough Stuff Harley Davidson was beside himself.
Myself and the not kids drove McGyver over to dealership so he could pick up his brand new bike. Hans was so happy that he let McGyver choose any leather jacket that he wanted. McGyver was so happy that he bought Thing One and Thing Two some ball caps.
While my not daughter and I were hanging out at the front of the shop waiting for McGyver to come out with his super cool ride, Thing Two comes out of the front doors, throws on his brand new Harley Davidson hat and starts chiming, “I’m cool, I’m cool” and then ‘bonk’ he promptly ran into a pillar. I laughed so hard I cried (after I knew he didn’t have a concussion first…not, I laughed right away, who wouldn’t?). It is now a running joke in our family that never stops being funny. I’m cool, I’m cool ‘bonk’ hehehaha, can’t stop laughing!
Speaking of cool, here’s McGyver almost looking cool (it’s the white socks that ruin it for me…not my fault we weren’t even married yet).
Front view (much cooler..no white socks).
If you don’t know why a V-Rod is so cool, it’s not just it’s sleek design and the fact that it is built for speed (a nice crossbreed of the cruiser and crotch rocket, Harley calls it Drag inspired), it also has a sweet water cooled engine. That tank, it’s not for gas baby! Plus they use this super cool technology called hydroforming which allows them to make frames with curves you’ve never seen before!
McGyver loved his bike and wanted me to go with him on rides. This is when I discovered what was not so cool about V-Rods. The passenger pegs are mounted directly onto the swing arm. That means that the passenger feels every vibration, every bump, seriously every bump. I swear I constantly felt like I had to pee. Plus I felt like I was running the whole time; 45 minutes on the back of that bike and I could hardly walk afterwards (although McGyver would try to attribute that to something else…)!
That didn’t stop McGyver from taking it out or going anywhere with it, when given the chance (as in “Giggles isn’t riding with me”).
Sadly when we moved back to the states we couldn’t bring it with us so he had to sell it. I hope this 10th Anniversary thing isn’t giving him some ideas?!
This weekend we went up to the cabin, like we do most of the Summer time. This time McGyver suggested we go for a stroll through the woods. A stroll through the nice shady woods on a hot summer day, who could resist. We loaded up in the Rhino and Becca was coming along (Summer dog is deathly afraid of our 4 wheeler) and we headed to where the state land begins.
We snaked through some barbed wire fence and went on a freaking 500 mile hike, okay maybe 50 miles, would you believe 5 miles? Right, it was only about two miles round trip. And let me tell you this, when you are going up a mountain, it no longer becomes a stroll it becomes a, gulp, hike. For all my huffing, puffing, wheezing and complaining, it probably felt like 555 miles to McGyver!
My calves were screaming and my lungs were crying…suddenly I became weirdly fascinated with moss. “Hey honey, look how the sun is making the moss look. It’s such a vibrant green, I really should take some photos of it!” I’m so sneaky, a person can’t take pictures and stroll hike at the same time, can they?
Turns out there was an ulterior motive to our little stroll, deer hunting starts in less than a week and McGyver was merely stalking out a place to put his tree stand. I made it to our destination without dying, but I was in no mood to go inspect every tree in the area.
That is when I decided to become the world’s foremost leader in thistle photography. Count yourself lucky that I am only showing a miniscule amount of what I shot. (I’ve been reading books on digital photography and I think I’m becoming obsessed, shhh, don’t tell McGyver, he knows that means $$$$ and time….)
Then I began channeling Georgia O’Keefe and that’s when McGyver noticed the crazy budding photographer look in my eyes and insisted we head back.
By now it was after noon and blazing hot (here in Montana that is anything over 80°F). I wasn’t the only fat ol’ gal who was panting and heaving. Poor old Becca dog was so thirsty (we are bad parents and did NOT bring water for our…well, we were just going for a stroll…). That poor dog drank out of the nastiest water I could imagine…so I had to take a picture…someone help me….
My old Becca dog was so tired, I don’t think we had walked 20 yards past her ‘drinking hole’ before she just decided to flop down and take 5. If I wasn’t so prissy, I might have done the same thing!
I am not used to exercise, so let me tell you, I was hungry when we got back. I needed protein and Gatorade quick! It’s tough to maintain this athletic body of mine…riiiiight. Fortunately I had done a little planning and had made up some Greek Style Chicken Salad ahead of time.
I need to share with you that this did not start out as a chicken salad sandwich. I originally shredded some cold rotisserie chicken, put in a pita half, slapped some spinach leaves in it, added tzatziki sauce, feta cheese and olives on it. Problem was, I was getting dry bites of just chicken in places and not enough feta cheese in every bite. My solution was to turn it into a chicken salad, Greek style, sandwich. It was brilliant, I choose not to mix in the kalamata olives because I enjoyed the occasional surprise of a nice briny kalamata olive.
Some recipes call for the yogurt to be drained for a couple of hours so that it becomes super thick and isn’t affected by the cucumbers breaking down. I prefer to leave my Greek yogurt as is, and salt the cucumbers and let them drain on a rack for 30 minutes to rid them of the excess moisture. This ensures a super creamy tzatziki! I also used mint instead of dill, it gave it a real pop! I heart tzatziki so much that I even piled extra sauce onto my sandwich…slap my hand…bad girl!
Budget hint: Did you know that a lot of grocery stores have cold rotisserie chicken in their deli section for up to 50% off? When the hot birds go over their time limit, they get put into cold storage and get reduced by 50%. The draw back? The breasts tend to be a little dry, reserve them for things like soup or creamy chicken salad!
Greek Style Chicken Salad Sandwiches
2 cups Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1 medium cucumber
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 tbsp. chopped mint (or dill)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pita bread, halved
1 1/2 cups diced cook chicken
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
baby spinach (if desired)
kalamata olives (if desired)
diced red onion (if desired)
Tzatziki sauce: Peel cucumber, slice cucumber in half length wise. using a small spoon, scoop out seeds so that the cucumber looks like a canoe. Lightly sprinkle the cucumber with the salt and invert on a rack for approximately 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Dice cucumbers into small pieces. In a medium bowl mix in the diced cucumbers, yogurt, minced garlic, mint and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix well.
In a medium bowl add the chicken and the feta cheese. Add approximately 1 cup of the sauce to the chicken and mix, if it isn’t creamy enough add more sauce in a small portions and add until you get the desired consistency. (I like mine super creamy, if you have left over tzatziki, it’s perfect for pita chips.)
Place the Greek styled chicken salad in a spinach lined, split pita. Top with Kalamata olives and diced red onion if desired.
The stroll hike wasn’t the only thing we did this weekend. McGyver made us a compost bin. I rocked the idea from Young House Love. Of course McGyver did the work.
McGyver decided to teach himself bow hunting so he got this cool bow.
He also spent a good amount of time ‘arrow hunting’.
We’re heading back up there for Labor Day weekend…I’m going to challenge myself with some outdoor cooking…stay tuned.
Happy Birthday McGyver, how old are you? McGyver holds up his hand and starts with the thumb, 1966, then the index finger, 1976, the middle finger, 1986, the ring finger, 1996 and finally the pinky, 2006. Let’s see now it’s 2011, so 2006 to 2011 is 5 years, “I’m 55”. Isn’t it great that after decades have gone by we can still count how old we are on one hand (that is when you start counting by the decades). Actually that makes McGyver 5 and 1/2 right?
When we get older we start wanting different things; McGyver, what would you like for your birthday? “A weekend up at the cabin alone with my wife, wink, wink” With the change in my income, that sounded like the perfect gift for me to give him. The Baby boy is still in a cast and with crutches, so he wasn’t too keen on going anyways, I just arranged for his buddy to come over and stay the weekend, in case he needed some help. I just had to hope that the house would still be standing when we got back.
I’m still feeling challenged about my open fire cooking so I planned a special meal for McGyver’s Birthday dinner. A surf and turf meal of grilled lobster, roasted garlic stuffed rib-eye steak with a bacon and mushroom risotto.
While McGyver worked away, I prepped everything. I pan roasted the garlic, chopped it up and mixed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I split the rib-eye and smothered the roasted garlic inside. The lobster had been purchased on a whim awhile back, I really wasn’t even sure when I was going to serve it. I stored it in the freezer until the right time. It was still slightly frozen mid-Saturday although I took it out on Friday. With no microwave, and limited water, the defrost cycle took place out side. It worked quite well!
My plan was to get the briquettes going, make cocktails, cook the risotto, then throw on the lobster and steak in that order. Only we were low on briquettes, which meant that I would have enough to cook the risotto, which takes about 45 minutes and the lobster/steaks. Plan B, bring out the propane cooker. I started cooking the bacon on the propane cooker, I sat down with McGyver and chatted for a couple of minutes. When I got up to check the back, it was burned. Really, again…I seriously need to work out this outdoor cooking.
I quickly regrouped. I drained the bacon, fed it to the dogs who were very appreciative of my error. McGyver disposed of the hot grease and I chopped up some more bacon (so much for having it at breakfast). I turned the propane stove to low and cooked the bacon, this time not leaving it’s side. Success! I babied the risotto the rest of the time, unfortunately my coals were burning down…
Once the risotto was just a few minutes from being done, I turned it off, covered it and started the lobster. The coals were warm but not hot. I knew that the steaks would not work out, they needed a nice high heat to get a good sear. I lit the other side of my propane stove and added the grill attachment. Steaks were cooked perfectly. I ended up moving the lobster over to the propane grill to finish them off. I also put the risotto back onto heat, cooked in the last of the liquid and added parmesan.
Voila Finally a birthday dinner worth having. I am happy to say that the coals were hot enough to melt the butter for the lobster
To go with dinner I brought a Mirabella Plum Wine that McGyver had purchased last year when he went to Glacier National Park. The wine’s label features Polebridge, MT. A small town with an enormous population of 25, it’s located just south of the Canadian border at the West Entrance to Glacier. The great thing about this wine is the Mirabella plums which are grown specifically for wine and Brandy are grown just 45 miles south of Polebridge by Merle and Emogean Baldwin.
Flathead Lake Wineries, est. 2002, specializes in small batch, handcrafted unique wines from fruit grown or picked wild in Montana.
I noticed all week I’ve been rambling on and not sharing recipes, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking and taking photos, I’ve just rambled on for so long that adding a recipe seemed too much. Here I am again, rambling on about cooking failures and successes at the cabin, but this time I’m leaving you with a great drink recipe! If you like hard lemonade, then you’ll love this drink. It’s made from the new Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey, which ended up pairing perfectly with some tart lemonade and a splash of soda water to make it bubbly and refreshing.
Start with a tall glass filled with ice.
Here’s the star of the drink. Yes I know Jack…sorry I couldn’t help myself.
If you are a super talented blogger, you take a photo of yourself pouring the liquor.
If you are super uncoordinated blogger, you make a mess trying to be the super talented self photo taker blogger.
After the shot of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, pour in some lemonade, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, leave enough room for the soda water.
Top it off with some calorie free bubbly.
If you don’t have any fancy stir sticks, you can go ghetto and use a butter knife. If you have a bar mixer, you can mix it all up and pour it over the ice. Up in the mountains, no one cares.
The result, a surprisingly light and bubbly hard lemonade with just a touch of tartness and a hint of honey.
Honestly, besides having a great meal with my hubby and some us time, that I know you don’t want to hear about, the best thing about the weekend was being able to take a hot shower. WooHoo, finally our hot water is working!
In case you are wondering about the light, it is a natural light. A tube is installed up through the roof allowing the natural light to come in without the use of electricity.
Honey Jack Lemonade
1 shot Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup lemonade
Splash of Club Soda
Lemon slices for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice, add the Jack Daniel’s and lemonade, top with the club soda and stir well. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.
Guest Blogging by McGyver on a Motorcycle Monday because Giggles left her ‘puter logged on and I hot wired the dashboard to her blog.
Once upon a time, back before Evo engines with Electronic Fuel Ignition, motorcycles came with a CARBURETOR, which was a device for mixing a fuel/air ratio to ensure a proper ignition in the engine. (No, this is not a course in motorcycle engineering for the Stone Age, that’s for another post). Here is a picture of the Harley Linkert Carb, attached to a flathead engine (said Stone Age post). The throttle would manually increase or decrease the amount of fuel in the mixture; increasing the speed of the engine and hence the motorcycle. This gave rise to such quaint expressions as “twisting the wick”, “screwing it on” and when the throttle cable broke when full open “Hot Shit! Holy Damn! Aieeeeh” as your engine screamed for redline and beyond (signified by a very loud expensive sound and misc. engine parts scattered across the road and possibly embedded in YOU as your motor grenaded!). Were you able to get your motor shutdown and coast to the side of the road, you then faced the problem of getting to a nearby populated area that might have an establishment, that might have a cable that would do the trick.
Oddly enough, this situation once happened to the ol’ Poop, otherwise known as my Dad.
Being a dutiful Son, I actually paid attention when he would recount adventures he had experienced on the road.
(The man has been on the road for 67 years and is still riding. He has other rides, but I thought you’d like this one; a Harley Hummer )
Fast forward a few years and it’s 197X. I get a wild hair and take off for a while; motorcycle of choice, a normally aspirated (carburetor, thank you) over-bored Harley 74 Panhead.
24 coats of gloss black lacquer. Extended forks. High bars. Solo seat. P-pad.
Sleeping bag on the handmade sissy bar with my clothes rolled into it. No peanut tank, I’m running out west, not in Frisco (and yes, I know it pees you off). As I’m wandering the highways and byways of Idaho, Northern Nevada and Wyoming, I crank the throttle to the max just because. Did I mention that mostly there’s lots of free space (no urban development) in the West, even now? So, I’m probably 100 miles, give or take, from a parts store, let alone a Harley (or any motorcycle) dealer, and all of a sudden there’s lots of free play in the throttle and the engine is headed for redline. I shut it down and coasted to the side of the road. Hmmmphmp! Broken throttle cable. Spare? Don’t be silly. It was all I could do to buy gas (at 27¢ a gallon!) back then. So, I remember the important information the ol’ Poop had passed on.
How to get out of the situation.
I’m in Idaho (I think). Barb wire is important.
This is Barb Wire. Attractive, and possibly useful, but not in this situation.
Ahh, Barbed WIRE . This is useful, but not as attractive. Nice pic, though.
Next a pair of dikes. This is a pair of dykes. Though potentially useful, they probably won’t help you. (You male oppressor, you) [This is a pair of a pair of dykes, or four of a kind, and if we keep this up, we’ll blow up the blog]
This is also a pair of dikes (spelling difference). These will help you.
Right, here’s how it’s done. Go to the Barbed wire fence and cut about three foot of wire. Wear your riding gloves, it’s BARBED WIRE for Pete’s sake! Cut ONLY one strand and unwrap carefully from the barbs and the other strand. Snip the end of the free strand you just unraveled to get about a three foot length of wire. This will leave one strand holding the fence together, keeping the fence intact, and preventing a wandering cow from causing another motorcyclist a near death experience. (see what I did there, Honey?)
Make a loop in one end big enough for your index finger to fit comfortably as well as being able to slip the wire from your finger quickly. Attach the other end to the throttle lever on the carburetor, after having determined how long your improvised finger-actuated throttle control mechanism needs to be for your bike. Voila! You have reinvented the original push pull throttle! You can ride using this, though it’s a real balancing act. IF it happens and you HAVE to do this; SLOW is the word. You are not as delicate with your MK 1 finger as your twistgrip. Get to town. Buy a cable. Replace your innovative improvised finger-actuated throttle control mechanism.
OK, boys and girls, that’s your motorcycle Monday blog of the week. Hope you’ve enjoyed the nostalgia and maybe learned a little something about what it was like when the only riders were the long distance BMW guys, Shriners and 1%s. There’s a couple of promises in this one for another post, so we’ll see what happens next.