We left the Hefter's Thursday morning, and headed towards AJ and Liz's place near Madison, WI. A long day of driving brought us to their door just before 11PM. AJ had told us he was having trouble staying awake, so he would leave the door open and get up when we arrived. We entered as quietly as we could, and talked quietly to AJ, trying not to wake Liz. As Dave walked down the hall, he went to close AJ and Liz's bedroom door. AJ said "Liz is away for work." AHHH! We didn't need to be so quiet. If we would have known, we would have attacked AJ upon walking in the door! After catching up for a bit, a lot less quietly than before, we headed to bed.
In the morning, we relaxed while having smoothies and lattes before unloading the car into their garage for reorganization. Mid-day, we headed out for a bike ride, heading towards the Grumpy Troll for a late lunch. The route to The Grumpy Troll would take us mostly uphill for about 30 miles. AJ and Dave would say that Alex started to ride "the struggle bus" within a few miles of their destination. At one point, she needed to stop to fix her shoe, and decided to also sit down on the side of the road, eat and drink. After much prompting from the guys, and knowledge that only 3 miles remained, she got back on her bike and peddled slowly up hill.
At the Grumpy Troll, we enjoyed cold drinks and food, and shelter from the blaring heat of the sun. Sitting outside however, we enjoyed no respite from the humidity. Early on, AJ and Dave had suggested that Alex might just want to take a cab home, but after lunch she was feeling refreshed and decided that that flat to down hill return route should be fine.
After a few miles, however, Alex's peddling speed was not meeting the expectation of the guys, and was going to make for a long ride home. They called her a cab and peddled away.
Liz was home when Alex arrived, and AJ an Dave arrived shortly thereafter. The three of us enjoyed a pre-shower shower from the garden hose Liz was using to water the flowers. The rest of the weekend was spent taking walks, another bike ride, shopping trips, cooking, and lots of game playing. The original weekend plan of a river trip was thrown out the window when we learned that people had been gotten sick from nearby river water.
When Monday morning came, AJ and Liz headed to work as we headed back to Pennsylvania. After 13+ hours, we arrived at Alex's parent's house around 9:30PM, the last stop before officially being home.
It is amazing how fast the summer can fly by. Arriving home is always bittersweet. It is wonderful to be with family and friends we have not seen in months, have our own space back again, and enjoy the everyday conveniences of regular access to showers, refrigerators, stoves, and our bed. It is also sad to have to leave behind the freedom of daily adventures with little other worries than what are we going to eat today and where are we going to sleep? We may not have accomplished all of our objectives for the summer, but we had a fantastic time, in beautiful places, with wonderful people... so who can complain?
Until next summer...