Life is full of them.

Work. Volunteer. Chores. Play.


And then there is WordPress.  Posting our own blogs and visiting others.


After visiting as many of you as possible, it’s time to move on for the night.


I’ll be back soon with photos from time on the water and time on the bike.

A New Milestone

It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted!  Where did the time go?  🙂


Thankfully, in between closing down the old practice, opening the new, and campaigning for Delegate, I was still able to find a few moments with the camera.

This first photo is from Carson’s Courtyard, a little resting spot in downtown Radford, created with Community Development Block Grants.


On another day, I stopped by the American Legion Building.  Built in 1928, the building has served as a temporary courthouse, Catholic church, daycare center, Radford Arsenal hiring office, dance hall, voter registration office, polling place, and home to Main Street Radford.  The American Legion members have started a restoration drive to raise funds for this historic building.



On July 4th, I rode the motorcycle to visit a few of the communities in the 12th District.


One of three covered bridges in Giles County, the Sinking Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1916.


This next one was taken with my new Samsung Galaxy.  Those of you who know me well, will realize that I have changed phones after 15 years as a Blackberry user.  Not sure it was a good move yet …


The Newport Parade


was followed by the Blacksburg Parade,


and then it was back home to the City of Radford for music and fireworks.


A few days later, the campaign office was buzzing with the sound of volunteers and staffers working the phone bank.


So thankfully, despite the pace of life, I’m still finding moments to pull the bike over and enjoy the view.


Next Stop:  Your Blogs!

What Edna Said

My contribution to Monochromia this week.

Thank you to the lovely Julia at Defeat Despair for introducing me to the poem First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

My last post was a reflection about the fullness of life, and this one is also about life’s challenges.   Have no fear, though.  All is well and I plan to be riding the bike for a little bit tomorrow.



My candle burns at both ends;
   It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
   It gives a lovely light!
Thanks to the lovely Julia at Defeat Despair for introducing me to the poem First Fig
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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The Road Ahead

The road of life offers many opportunities and challenges,


and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two.

Sometimes the direction seems foggy or unclear,


with obstacles blocking the way.


Soon enough though, the way will be made clear, and we’ll see the future as it should be.


The world around us will be peaceful once again,


while the spirit, made stronger because of the struggle, soars.


This small collection of photos was taken at various points this past week, a week that was filled with far too many twists in the road, and not near enough opportunities to use my camera.

I’m quite sure that many of you experienced the same.  Let’s all just breath … it’s going to be okay.


Weekends away offer many gifts.

Time with friends and the chance to fill up with the good things in life.


Loud laughter. Quiet Conversations.  New card games.  Old music.  Much wine. Not enough dancing.

Nourished by meals prepared together and shared around a large family table.


Long walks and talks, and peaceful moments at the river’s edge.


Early morning photography sessions and late evening songs around the campfire.


And arriving home rejuventated, with major life decisions made.


Gifts indeed.


And We Breathe

The women rush through the kitchen door, hands burdened with bags of food from a quick run to the store, and faces burdened with the cares and worries of the day.  Each one feels sure she is the only overwhelmed one in the group, but very quickly realizes that she is not alone.


The house is cluttered with the detritis of the week … piles of mail on the table, various pairs of shoes scattered about on the floor, books perched on every surface … but the porch chairs have been brushed clear and the table tops are clean.

The food is quickly laid out on the table,


flowers placed in a vase,


and the candles are lit.


The talk that initially bursts forth after being surpressed all day eventually calms, and the women begin to relax, surrounded by friends who know and understand.


The porch offers a welcome respite from the world, even if temporary.


And we breathe …

The “Pinking” of October


When I heard about National No Bra Day I was appalled and angry on behalf of the women (and men) who have battled, or are currently battling, Breast Cancer.  If you have felt a similar concern about the corporate “pinking of October”, please check out these 4 bloggers (the first 3 are new to me) and their recent posts, and then make sure that the money you spend on “pink” in October really does go towards research.

Because that’s what it’s all about  … Saving Lives … not just breasts.

To quote Cancer in My Thirties “We live in a society that makes a huge hoopla about breast cancer while at the very same time trivializing the seriousness of the disease.  How can we be so contradictory?”


Cancer in my Thirties:


The Art of Breast Cancer: The Art of Living and Dying, While Trying to Keep Them Separate:


The Accidental Amazon:


And then there’s Mae, one of my favorite bloggers!!

Mae’s Day

Life. Is. Good.

Not that there aren’t roadblocks and hurdles, but those challenges allow us to appreciate the peaceful, soulful times.

I am a fortunate woman.


38 Boots 19 Lives


Almost 30 years ago, I was a firefighter.  Once a firefighter, always a firefighter, even if just in my heart and in my memories.  I loved everything (well, almost everything) about that job.

The adrenalin rush when the call came

The drive / hike / flight to the location

The sights, smells, and feel of fire

And then there’s the work.  Back breaking work.  Digging fire line; putting out hot spots; mopping up; feeling the ground for heat.

The soot, found later, on almost every part of the body and in almost every orifice.

The post fire meal of steak or burger, and beer.

 Whether a Groundpounder, a Smoke Jumper, or on a Helitack crew, fire fighters can’ t wait to get out there and battle the fire.

Thirty years ago, we didn’t see massive fires like we do now.  I never fought against such destruction and devastation.  I was aware of the danger, and practiced getting into my “shake and bake” fire tent during training.  But I truly didn’t worry when I went out on a fire.

Perhaps that is the benefit of being young.

I wear my firefighting boots when I ride.  I’ve shown my friends the drops of retardant still visible after all these years.  Those boots carried me up and down the mountains of northern Idaho then, and they protect me as I ride the bike now.


After 30 years, I’ve had to have the boots repaired a few times and I always make sure that the cobbler knows not to remove the history

The signs of wear,


the still visible fire retardant,


and the miles I’ve worn them, whether on the ground or on the bike.


I look at this picture from 1982, of myself with my buddies and dear friends, Kevin and Randy.  Look how YOUNG we were.   Randy, a 30 year smoke jumper who just retired last year knows and lived the danger.  Me? I thought of it as the best job ever, but I never really felt the danger.

I see us in this photo and realize that at 21 to 23 years of age, we were the same age of many of the young men who died on the Yarnell Hill Fire.


We can argue the reasons for the tragedy:

triple-digit temperatures, erratic winds, and dry conditions that caused the fire to explode;

years of fire suppression that increased the fuel on the ground

the building of homes too close to that fuel

budget cuts

But what really matters is that 19 wildland firefighters are gone.


The Granite Mountain Hotshots

Andrew Ashcroft – Age 29

Robert Caldwell – Age 23

Travis Carter – Age 31

Dustin Deford – Age 24

Christopher Mackenzie- Age: 30
Eric Marsh – Age: 43
Grant McKee- Age: 21

Sean Misner – Age: 26
Scott Norris – Age: 28
Wade Parker- Age: 22
John Percin- Age: 24
Anthony Rose – Age: 23
Jesse Steed – Age: 36
Joe Thurston – Age: 32
Travis Turbyfill- Age: 27
William Warneke – Age: 25
Clayton Whitted – Age: 28
Kevin Woyjeck – Age: 21
Garret Zuppiger – Age: 27

To Donate to help cover costs for funerals, and family / survivors, please see the website for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation

What’s in a Year?

Or at least … what’s in a blogging year?

I’m contemplating that very question as I sit out on my finally clean screened in porch.  The rain and too many weekends of travel have kept me from enjoying it and I have missed spring and summer mornings out here.   Breakfast is done and I sit here now in comfortably cool temps, hot coffee at hand and a multitude of birds singing in the background.


 How lucky I am to live where I do!  The house is far too big for one, what with the child moved on years ago, and 2 dogs and 1 cat also passed on.  It’s now just me and Abby, and every so often I consider moving to a smaller place.  Then I sit here on my porch, surrounded by nature (in the middle of my little city), basil growing in posts,  rabbits (and deer) eating all my hostas (damnit), and I drop all thoughts of moving … for now.





But I digress.

One year ago, almost to the day, I started this blog as a way to communicate with family and friends while riding.  Each year, I take a solo bike trip and I’m loved enough to have people worry about my safety.  The first two years I typed a travel update via email from my Blackberry.  I’d find a fun little pub or restaurant, order the house special and a good imported beer and write the days news.  In searching for a better venue, I came to WordPress.

One thing led to another and I’ve now been posting for a year.  I started Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things as a travel journal and method of communication and it has morphed into something much, much more.

Story Telling.  Travel Journal.  Photography Portfolio.

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But after 12 months and 158 posts (now 159), it has become a passion, almost an addiction and has taken valuable time away from reading!

The two things that I did not anticipate?

1.  Growth as a photographer – because of many of you!  I have learned so much about the technique and artistry of photography and I have grown better (and more critical) of my efforts.  I can not wait to find a weekend photography retreat to attend so I can continue to improve.  Thanks to all of you out there for inspiring and teaching me.

2.  Connections – I had no idea that I would find such an amazing community of bloggers.  When I first signed on with WordPress and started trying to find my way around, I would read about the blogging community and was mystified.  How would I ever connect with people? How would they ever find me?  Then suddenly that first Like came … and then the first Follow (I still remember the thrill) and all of a sudden I was hooked!  I love telling my local friends about the connections I have made in Australia, London, Norway, Canada, and in many other countries and various parts of the US.  You all inspire me, uplift me, make me cry, and laugh out loud.

I have sighed, exclaimed and been envious over your photos.

I have been moved by your words and laughed at your jokes.

I’ve followed along on your adventures, been proud of your accomplishments, and wondered about you when you haven’t posted lately.

I’ve also lost hours of sleep and time spent with a books … ah well, it’s not all perfection.

To my family and friends: thanks for your patience with my requests to look at just a few more photos.   My annual solo bike trip is planned for August (details pending) and I look forward to having you all along for the ride as always.

To my fellow bloggers:  Thanks for coming sharing this amazing thing called blogging with me.  You have made my life richer for embracing me into your community.