Friday, September 22, 2017

The Missouri River 340...

Well hello there!  I did not mean to take a six week break from blogging, but alas, I did.  It is funny how quickly time can get away from you.

The first week of August Ken set out to complete the Missouri River 340 (MR 340), which is a canoe/kayak event from Kansas City to St. Charles, MO.  If you came to the conclusion that this is 340 miles long, congratulations, give yourself a cookie.

The race started on Tuesday morning and runs until Friday night at midnight.  Given the fact that Ken has followed me around numerous cities during my marathons, Ironmans, and now 100 mile run, I was required by law by marriage to be his crew for the event.  Spoiler alert, it was actually a lot more fun that I imagined it to be.  Oh, our friends Rob and Michelle joined me too!  Michelle had planned on it the entire time and then Rob decided to tag along.  I guess he was worried about Michelle and me driving on back-country roads alone.  Good call Rob!

Anyways, I have some pictures to share from my point of view from the race.  I have asked Ken if he would like to write a race report for my blog, but he is still thinking about that one.  So, here you go, pictures from my time crewing during the MR 340!

Ken is ready to roll!  Kya came along to wish her dad well, but was too concerned with all the excitement to pose for a picture.

The boats starting to get into the water

The Missouri Man shooting off the gun to start the race.  Part of me wondered if this was supposed to be Lewis or Clark of Lewis and Clark?  Anyways, Mike and Katie joined me to watch Ken leave and they did not know either.

Ken took off and I was off to run Kya and get her to the vet before Rob and Michelle met up with me for our adventure.  The first part of our morning started off a little rocky as the first place we were meeting Ken was not entered into the GPS.  Not to worry, we figured it out.  We did have a good laugh though about driving for two hours in circles and still only being 30 minutes from Kansas City.  We made it to Napoleon just as Ken was pulling up to the ramp.  

We were good crew people and had gotten him a sandwich, chips, and cookies.  I took the liberty of getting him the kind of cookies that I would eat in the event that he said he did not want the cookies, I would eat them.  I mentioned a few times how good the cookies looked in hopes he might offer me one, but my subtle hint did not work.  I was fearful that he would not eat the cookies and the cookies would end up in cookie heaven, but alas, he reported later that they were delicious!

The dragon boat coming into Napoleon.

After seeing Ken at Napoleon, we drove to Marshall, MO to check into our hotel and grab some lunch.  Afterwards, we made our way to Waverly to see Ken and make some signs.

Michelle and me enjoying our wine in Waverly.  Wine and Waverly just seem to go together, don't they?

Our signs for cheering.  Thanks to our friend Scott for helping come up with creative signs!  

Ken rolled into Waverly looking happy!

Ken and Nolan getting ready to head out towards Miami.

Ken continued on and we saw him at the Miami aid station.  He decided to stay the night there and we would see him in the morning at the stop in Glascow, MO.  Rob went to Jeff City to see a friend, so Michelle and I were flying solo.  I am happy to report that we successfully bought ice, filled the coolers, and made it to Glascow all on our own.  :)

Glascow ended up being my favorite stop of the race.  We had a great view and the downtown was adorable.  After seeing Ken, we went to the winery in town and enjoyed lunch at a little bakery cafe.

Ken leaving Glascow.  He is the red kayak in the middle with the American flag

Ready to take on the day!

Giving us a big cheers while he was waiting on a friend to get into the water

Leaving for the day.  The next stop would be several hours away.

Us girls hitting up Bushwhackerbend Winery in downtown Glascow.  It was really cute with a seating area over looking the river.  I told Ken that next time I would just hang here and throw supplies into the river as he passed by.  

Michelle enjoying her glass of wine on the deck

We stopped at a bakery for lunch and this girl was thrilled to get a turkey reuben.  She was in Heaven!

We saw Ken at the aid station at Franklin Island and then again at Coopers Landing.  He decided to stay in the night with me in my hotel room in Jeff City, so we picked him up at Coopers Landing that night and I drove him back at 0500 the next time.  We planned on seeing him in Jefferson City later in the day, where Ken's parents would be joining us.

Getting a kiss in Jefferson City.  I am sure it was because I came with Chik-fi-a chicken biscuits.  

Looking pretty happy in Jeff City.  I love that you can see Ken's mom behind him and she is smiling at Ken.

Back in the kayak, leaving Jefferson City.  Next stop, Hermann!

The rest of us loaded up and made our way to Hermann for a little wine tasting and lunch.  

My crew enjoying lunch in Hermann.  Do not let Michelle's face fool you, she was having a good time!
After lunch, we went down to the boat ramp to wait for Ken.  This is where Michelle and I provided entertainment for Ken's parents.  We were just being our normal selves but to those who are not around the two of us together all the time, find it quite entertaining.  Soon enough, Ken came in and we enjoyed a glass of wine and pizza with him.

Ken with his parents

Linda got this great picture of Ken leaving Hermann.  

Ken's parents went home for the evening and the remainder of us retired to our hotel, while Ken slept outside in New Haven that evening.  The following morning, which was Friday, involved us driving to Klondike to see Ken one final time before the finish.  The drive from Klondike to St. Charles was the prettiest drive of the trip, in my opinion.

There was a detour that required a little driving on gravel roads.  This is not something I have done in the last 15 years or so.  A little different that my roads around Leawood.

Once in St. Charles we set up shop and waited for Ken to come in and finish the event.

Here he comes!

Proud MR 340 finisher!

Ken with his new friends Steve and Justin.  He met these guys on the second day and ended up paddling most of the race with them.

So proud of this guy!

Whew!  That was quite the week.  When people ask me how it was, I like to make a joke about taking four days to drive across Missouri.  :)  It really was a lot of fun.  I was glad to be able to support Ken in something that was important to him, since he never hesitates to do the same for me.  

In true endurance event fashion, I asked him if he would ever do it again.  Unlike me, right away he said YES!  So guess what we are doing at the end of July next year???

Congratulations Ken!  You worked hard and it paid off.  I cannot wait to join you in the event again next year.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Italy and Switzerland...Day 14: Heading Home and Other Thoughts...

With a 1:00 pm flight from Zurich, we opted to spend our last night of Switzerland in Lauterbrunnen and take the train in the morning.  Normally, you would want to stay near your departure city, but Switzerland is so efficient with trains that we decided to spend as much time as possible in our favorite village.  We took the 8:00 am train out of Lauterbrunnen and were on our way to Zurich.

As we watched the beautiful scenery go by, I realized how extremely lucky I am to have gotten to experience this beautiful area three times now.  We left this area in 2016, I felt like I needed more time here.  I needed more time to explore all of the beautiful areas in the valley and mountains.  As we rode the train away, I felt very satisfied with everything we got to do on this trip this time.  Now, that is not saying that we will not be back.  If I could board a flight and be there tomorrow, I would in two seconds!  I just felt that we got to see so much on this visit.

We arrived home in Kansas City around midnight.  It was a long day of traveling, but we know how fortunate we are to get to do it.  The travel home blues were somehow beat by eating Chili's at the O'Hare airport in Chicago.  After eating Italian and Swiss cuisine for two weeks, we needed a little chips and salsa in our lives.

I think it is difficult to decide what trip a person has taken that is the best trip ever.  I think each trip is unique, but this one was so very special.  We were gone for two full weeks and had 10 minutes of rain while we were eating dinner outside under an awning.  I am not sure we will ever get that lucky again.

We enjoyed our time in both Italy and Switzerland.  We will certainly be back to visit both.  If you are thinking of booking a trip and want to try something that is more off the beaten path like we do, please let me know!  I would love to share my tips as to how I plan things.

I have a few hiking videos that I am going to put together soon to post on here.  I feel like it is some times difficult to see the beauty we see hiking without videos.  Meanwhile, here are my favorite pictures from each area.

Happy Traveling!

Varenna, Italy

Camogli, Italy

Outside of Gimmelwald, Switzerland

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Italy and Switzerland...Day 13: Hiking to Lobhornhutte and Sulwald...

Tuesday started off with a nice six mile run for me down the valley.  This is literally one of my very favorite things to do ever.  It was so beautiful and I really enjoyed my solo time in the valley.  I managed to take a few pictures along the way.

It was another beautiful-clear day

I ran on part of the Jungfrau Marathon course.  Mark my word I will run that marathon one day.  I will.

The must have adorable church that is located in all of the villages.  This one is definitely a special one for us.  We have heard the long, loud church bells and it does not get any better.

After breakfast, we walked to the cable car to take it from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp to start the trek to the Lobhornhutte.  

We were, or course, greeted by the cows as soon as we started the trek.

I never tire of hearing the cow bells

We we went by this stretch last year, the waterfall was flowing and we used umbrellas to keep from getting soaked.

Deciding which way to get to Lobhornhutte.  We decided on the path that would have us get the climbing out of the way in the beginning.

Starting our climb up with the wild flowers

No matter how many times I see it, the greenery in Switzerland always amazes me.

The view approaching Lobhornhutte.  A pretty spectacular view, right?

The view from Lobhornhutte.  You can see Wengen across the valley

Lobhornhutte is always open for hikers to spend the night or grab a meal.  The staff was so nice to interact with.  I guess if you work in this beautiful area, what do you have to be upset about.  

Wine, cider, and views.  I am not sure that it can get much better.  The cider bottle was very adorable.

Happy hikers and hutte guests.  It seemed that everyone was ordering the cider, so Ken had to try it.  

Panoramic view of Lobhorn

We left Lobhornhutte after enjoying some delicious goulash soup.  We bought a postcard as a souvenir and started the hike down to Sulwald.  We were both so glad that we had finally made the hike up to Lobhornhutte!

More Swiss beauty

My favorite little farm on the way to Sulwald.  We got to see the cows this time and they were so cute.

There's Sulwald Stubli!

Sadly, there were no dandelions to roll around in this time.

The Sulwald-Isenfluh cable car.  We ended up riding it back down to Isenfluh.

I really do love Sulwald Stubli.  I cannot get enough of this place!

Loving our time in Sulwald.  We were sad about leaving this adorable place.

Watching the scenery on the cable car.  My heart did race on the ride down.

Some of the scenery on the hike down.

A great game of kick the pine cone down the trail.  We can make anything fun.

A baby cow friend

Hotel Staubbach on the left.  

We enjoyed our list dinner in Lauterbrunnen at Weid Stubli which is located in Camping Jungfrau.  We were both going to eat light, but both decided to get our favorite Swiss dishes instead.  Ken enjoyed a Rosti and I enjoyed some delicious fondue.  We met two British couples that were seated next to us and they enjoyed talking with us and asking us about trip.  We always meet the nicest British people while in Europe.  They always give us great recommendations for future trips.  

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel to enjoy some time on our patio all while cracking open the champagne that we received as a gift from the hotel for Ken's birthday.

Hotel Staubbach always takes such great care of us!


We decided to go for one last walk through the valley before calling it a night.  We ended up walking back through Camping Jungfrau and got one final view of Staubbach Falls.  

Weid Stubli at night.  Such a cute place!

We wrapped up the evening hanging out with Adam at Hotel Staubbach.  We absolutely adore this guy and he made our stay so enjoyable.  Until next time Adam!