Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great friends, good food, and twisty roads - our FOJ celebration

As some of you may already know, we had invited several friends up for a cookout on Sunday, an overnight stay here at the Homestead, and a ride through some of the nicer roads here in Central PA on Monday.  Our friends Jerry & Leisa and Shane & Andrea came over "from the east side" (Pottstown and Ephrata) for the cookout, overnight, and ride; our local friends Marty & Tara joined us Sunday night for the cookout.

Sunny, summer afternoons can get quite hot on our deck since it faces west.  Taking a page out of Jerry & Leisa's book, we decided to borrow some EZ-Ups from my friend Alyssa's family to create some shade on the deck.  Having the EZ-Ups made *such* a difference!

Shade on the deck!

Jerry & Leisa went to the Galeton, PA fireworks Saturday night and stayed overnight up that way.  They spent the morning and early afternoon enjoying the roads in north-central PA before arriving at our house around 3:30.  Chris and Jerry immediately staked out spots on the deck, booted up their laptop and iPad and began planning routes for an Ohio trip later this summer/early fall.  Leisa kept me company in the kitchen as I put the finishing touches on food for the cookout and prepared the breakfast casserole for the next morning.  (Hint:  A breakfast casserole is a perfect way to make breakfast for a house full of guests!  It's so easy!!!)

Shane and Andrea rolled in just before 6 PM after taking "the long way" to get here. Marty and Tara arrived shortly thereafter.  We had your typical cookout fare - hamburger and hot dogs, macaroni salad, broccoli salad, baked beans, and chips.  We had cake and ice cream for our birthday boy (Chris) and girl (Andrea), as well as Red, White, and Blue cookies for dessert.

Andrea and me

Chris tells a story to Marty, Jerry, and Shane

Leisa and Tara

The menfolk chat after dinner while Oscar keeps watch on the Homestead.

The menfolk chat during dessert.

The lovely ladies!  (Yes, we had a girls' table and a boys' table.)
After dinner and dessert, Marty and Tara headed back home while the rest of us moved our chairs out to the fire ring for a campfire and some fireworks.  Chris managed to entertain us, the Masons next door, and folks throughout the neighborhood (we heard cheers coming from a few houses away).  It was 11:30 by the time we came back into the house for the night.

Our fire

Chris gets ready to put a good show.

One of the fountains we lit.

Fireworks in the sky.

More fireworks in the sky.

Roman candle fun!
Monday morning, Chris and I got up about 6:45 and set off for the showers.  Chris also preheated the oven and tossed the breakfast casserole in the oven for me while I was still up in the shower.  He joined Jerry who - not surprisingly - was already up, dressed, and outside on the deck.  I got the coffee going, sliced up the Red, White, and Blue bread (a Wegmans favorite!), mixed up the fresh fruit, and baked the hash brown patties.  Leisa, Shane, and Andrea got up and we all enjoyed breakfast out on the deck.

After breakfast, everyone suited up and we set out on our day ride.  After a quick petrol stop - or not...poor Chris' pump was dispensing gas one penny at time - we doubled back to Marengo Road for a nice, smooth run down to PA 45.  We rode into PA 26, over the mountain, through Greenwood Furnace, through McVeytown, and down toward Port Royal.  We pulled off to stretch and part ways with Jerry & Leisa; they were headed down toward Cowan's Gap to visit a friend for the afternoon. 

We need petrol!

Jerry and Leisa wait while Chris and Shane gas up.

Chris got good flow from the second pump he tried.

Shane and Andrea waiting patiently.

Shocker...more barn pictures!

Crossing the Juniata River.

Stretch break outside of Port Royal.

Stretching, chatting, hydrating, and Advil-ing

We followed Shane & Andrea down PA 75 to 74 to Carlisle where we stopped for lunch.  After lunch, we said our goodbyes to Shane & Andrea who started heading east.  We headed north on US 11 up through Camp Hill and Selinsgrove to Lewisburg where we stopped at the Lewisburg Freez for a cone and a shake.  We took PA 192 to Centre Hall, down to PA 45, and out to Marengo Road to get back home.

PA 74 is full of twisties, elevation changes, and a few hairpins.

Another water crossing.

I'm peeved this is blurry...this is the view from Waggoner's Gap atop PA 74.

Another shot from atop Waggoner's Gap

There's Shane and Andrea ahead of us as we roll into Carlisle.

And there's Shane and Andrea - all smiles!

Our lunch stop was Miseno's in Carlisle.

The lovely streets of Carlisle, PA.

Appalachian Harley-Davidson...we'll be there Saturday for the MSF picnic.

Harrisburg, PA as viewed from the west shore (US 11/15).

Chris loves odometer palindromes!  :)

One of our favorite stops for a cool treat.

My "barns from the back of the bike" series continues...

We passed R.B. Winter State Park on PA 192.

Nice fresh macadam on PA 192 heading toward the main part of the park!

To the beach, peach!

More barns...

...and farms...

...and Centre County's famous round barn.

After a nice ~280 mile ride, Chris hosed down the Connie in
anticipation of her rear tire change tonight...that I'm doing!  EEK!

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