Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth...

I know, you are thinking "what happened to Karen?". "Did the flowers come to life and attack her in her sleep?" or "maybe she is permanently stuck in a sitting position on the floor with her back bent over a vase" (which is what I was afraid might happen after the last vase was done!). I am back! I survived the crafting experience (the tournament people loved them - yay!).

I vacationed for almost a week in Miami. Miami, Oklahoma. Yes, I am sure it is a popular second choice for most people for vacation. Oh, I want to go to Miami but I am really not into the beach. How about Oklahoma? I jest :) it was a lovely small town and we had a good time. We went there for a motorcycle event. Miami just happened to be the place that was deemed to be somewhere in the middle of the country and pretty close to one of the motorcyle dealers for V8 bikes so it was chosen more for convenience than its touristy appeal which was limited. No offense if you live there...

Our journey there was mostly off the beaten path. Rick decided he didn't want to drive through Arkansas on our way to Oklahoma. I got a ticket that day I was taking my mom to her home and he got pulled over when he went through there a month ago. Based on that, the whole state has been boycotted by our household. Well, more Rick than me but... The decision to secede Arkansas from our union led us to the non-interstate type road we took from Paducah, KY to Miami, OK. The first stretch was not a lovely 4 lane interstate but a 2 lane tour of small town America. Yes, it is lovely; however, I was disturbed by a sign we passed. The sign in front of a home in Kevil, KY.... "babies for sale". I think I should alert the authorities to this hotbed of criminal activity in the middle of farmtown USA. Click on the link if you want to see the picture as we didn't stop. Rick did offer to take me to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Mansfield, MO as we drove through there which was very sweet since you can only imagine that he has no interest whatsoever in seeing the house that Manley built for Laura AGAIN. (We saw it on a previous trip to a different Motorcycle rally about 5 years ago).

The rally itself was held at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami. There are quite a few Native American owned casinos in that town (and maybe OK as a whole, not sure). This was one of them. The casino itself was more of a large, very sturdy tent of sorts. Not like a camping tent but looked like one of those tents you might put over a community pool in the winter to allow year round swimming. The big draw for the rally was that they were blocking off the parking lot to allow burnouts. These V8 Bikers love power and on most streets you can't do it without risking a ticket so this was quite exciting for most of the attendees. Rick, in particular, loves to combine the burnouts with various stunts so he was drooling at the prospect. (Pics below of Rick are actually from another event but you get the idea)

As it turned out, the motorcycle shop that was nearby was overloaded with work the day we arrived and asked Rick to help out so he went over there Thursday and spent most of the day there. I spent most of the day getting sucked into the Jon and Kate Plus 8 Marathon on TLC. What is so addictive about that show? I could not tear myself away from it. I had high hopes for lounging by a pool the week I was in Miami but unfortunately, there was not an outdoor pool. Jon and Kate plus 9 (including me) was the order of the day. It was actually nice, I caught up on a lot of sleep while I was there. I rarely get to sleep late and I guess did not realize how much sleep I was lacking until I had a few days of being able to sleep until I woke up without the aid of an alarm clock. It was heaven!

I got in a run on the treadmill one day (before I became addicted to Jon and Kate's life) but not much else in the way of exercise was accomplished. Not only was there almost no exercise but I do believe most meals while I was there were either burgers and fries or some other type of fried food. I was so glad to get a vegetable that was not battered and fried on the ride home. In order to maintain some semblance of health in that town, you must have to cook every meal at home. I am not completely freakish about my diet. I have no problem inhaling cheeseburgers and fries if there are no options, don't get me wrong. It is just an interesting observation that there were not many healthy menu choices. It is definitely something I take for granted living in a larger city.

We did go on a few rides around the area while we there. I like riding through the country looking at the small towns and farms. One of the neighboring towns was a mining town with about 100,000 residents until they shut down the mine in the 40s. The town today is almost vacant. Sort of reminds you of some of the towns that are dependent on GM or Ford or some other big plant to survive. This particular ride took us to, for lack of a better description, a really big crane. Yeah, I know. There isn't all that much in the way of sight seeing but this was pretty big (16 stories tall and 11 million pounds). The biggest in the world. Big Brutus is the name and is in West Mineral, Kansas. Apparently, it was used to dig miles of undergroud passages for the miners.

The ride there and back in the truck gave me plenty of time to reflect, reassess, sleep and study the atlas. (I normally read books but wasn't interested in reading this time for some reason). I have decided that there are only a handful of states that I have never visited and it is now my goal to step foot in all of them at some point in my life! Mostly the far northeastern states, some in the west (montana, idaho and north dakota), Alaska and Hawaii. As if I needed another goal, right? At least this one doesn't have a training schedule attached to it!

Speaking of training schedules, I have had a lot of time to think about the upcoming Half IM. To be honest, I am burnt out on adhering to training schedules right now so it is decision time. I need to decide if I am going to embark on the training schedule for the half IM on the 1st or pass it up this year and maybe do it next year. Still pondering it. We can discuss on Monday :)

I guess that is enough of an update for now, not as random as I thought but I have to save some things to blabber on about later. I have lots of tennis this weekend, one match today and two tomorrow. It is supposed to be sunny and 81 both days!

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