Tour de Fat

IMG_5528This week, on our way through Fort Collins, we stopped in to see our dear friends and host family, The Bordens. We’ve known them through a few lifetimes now and it’s always a welcome home when we roll through. The best part about visiting with them is experiencing their zest for life! This time around, they whisked us off on the most epic bike ride ever, the Tour de Fat.
The Tour de Fat, come to find out is a bike parade/festival/benefit for bike safety and awareness put on by New Belgium Beer company, a local Fort Collins conglomerate. They treat the city to a fantastic day of festivities, including the parade, music, children’s performers, fun games, and the opportunity to try riding a variety of bikes in the bike pit.
The night before the parade, the mood was jovial and anticipation filled the room, as we all put together costume ideas. The next morning we rose early (well, 8am, that’s early for us), put on our costumes and road three miles to the beginning of the Tour de Fat parade. We joined the sea of bikers and found that the mood was jolly and people were happy to be there. There were thousands of people, all ages, donning elaborate, well thought out costumes. The amount of variance in the bikes was almost as fascinating as the people in costumes. There were bikes with fat tires, tall bikes, trikes, bikes that fit multiple people, bikes pulling small ornate floats, children on bikes, mountain bikes, bikes with banana seats, retro bikes, and road bikes. The parade lasted about three hours and there were as many dressed up people lining the sides of the streets cheering us on, as there were on bike.
Although Fort Collins is a college town and there were loads of college kids there, and despite the fact that beer was the main choice of beverage at the festival, the powers that be managed to control the consumption by funneling people through a drink ticketing process. This enabled the festival to stay at a light happy buzz all day, rather than a drunk fest, which made for a more family friendly atmosphere.
IMG_5604For lunch we walked down to our favorite, Avogadros and enjoyed the best Temph Burger and onion rings on the planet. The air-conditioning and chance to catch our breath gave us the extra energy to trek back to the festival and catch up with our mate, Nahko Bear. He and his band, Medicine For The People, were in town playing the MainStage, rounding out the day at the festival. When we found out he was going to be there, we were stoked.
We were introduced to Nahko “virtually,” years ago by our mutual friend, Seth Martin but were never able to connect in the physical. We would catch glimpses through out the years where we had just missed each other in Minnesota, Portland, Australia, etc… It always seemed that we’d arrive just after he left. So, to find we were both in the same place at the same time was serendipity on top of the already fantastic day.
When folks talk about the spice of life, we’d say it’s these moments where we are allowed to experience local flavor through the eyes of our host families! Thanks Bordens for sharing this moment with us. It will forever be fused into our memory bank of blissful times.
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The Hollands! Christmas Tour

The Hollands! Christmas Tour. We kick off this weekend in Tucson, AZ.

The Hollands! Christmas Tour

 

For details on times and cost visit www.thehollands.org 

Looking forward to seeing all you kinfolk out on the open road!

 

Around the Table in Colorado

We’ve spent the last three weeks in Colorado including Denver, Winter Park, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. We had a handful of legit folkie shows and the rest of our time was spent around the table.

Our first stop was in snowy Denver with the Stephan family. We were referred to them by a dear friend in Green Bay, WI. We parked street side in the new Stapleton Estates. Easy going, the Stephan’s made us feel right at home. We rested after a long trek across the plains states, enjoyed encouraging conversation and on our final night I had the opportunity to make a dinner for us all in their kitchen. Stocked with full amenities, all the bells and whistles, I was like a kid in a candy shop. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking in my bus kitchen, but this was a delight. We had organic Shepard’s pie, leafy greens and flourless chocolate cake for dessert, all from my ‘The Apron Strings‘ Cookbook.

   

The Stephan’s also connected us with a local charity, The Urban Farm and we were able to connect for a benefit show. That lead to us meeting a first grade teacher at Fletcher Primary, who invited us to come and share our Australian Folklore workshop with eighty 1st graders. They loved Craig’s mustache, and sang ‘Waltzing Matilda’ with all their might.

Next we stored our rig with our dear friends at Radiant Church and drove our mini-van up to Winter Park/Fraser to serve at Timberline School. The drive is terrifying coming up that pass but once we were there the beautiful sunshine and snowy mountain tops erased all the fear.  Our friends, Dan and Sarah Thomas are the directors at Timberline and we have always wanted to offer some sort of service to their efforts. So when we were planning our fall tour, we blocked out a week to pour in. We shared in song with the students, we joined them for most of the morning and lunch meals, we helped with child care, building projects and enjoyed making a meal or two for the Thomas’s. And, just a small family affair, we celebrated Graciana’s sixteenth birthday with a home-made pizza party. We had a french themed party for her in September with all of our friends in Chicago, but it’s special to celebrate on the day as well.

Back to Denver for a gig at Swallow Hill and short but sweet say with some of our old friends; Randy, Beki and Diego. Through out our travels we have met amazing kinfolk but there is something about a visit with an old friend. There is an ease to laugh, cry and share deep moments. This was just what we needed. We meet Beki and Randy at Lifest in 2007 and have performed with them and enjoyed community with them. Plus we were able to share a meal in celebration for Craig’s birthday, which falls right after Graciana’s.

On to Colorado Springs to spend a few days with the Penley family. We met them through the Thomas’s and have connected with them over the years. The Penley’s are generous and kind kinfolk. Younger than us but wise beyond their years. Their house was full to the brim with family and the laughter of children. With three children and fostering one, Christy is a super mom in the best sense. She is strong, organized and gentle all at the same time. And, Paul, he’s about the smartest person we’ve ever meet. We enjoyed conversations over delightful meals, a bon fire, quiet time of reading, baking with the kids and shared in song at their church, 1st Presbyterian. While there, Graciana connected with a new friend, discovering a similar taste in books, music and in the journey of being homeschooled.

 

We also had an opportunity to do a little sight-seeing, visiting the Olympic Training Center. Highlight was seeing the wide open arm span of Michael Phelps. That boy is big!

  

And our final Colorado stop was in Fort Collins with the Borden family. Dear friends from Chicago, Diane was my boss at Grrr Records and, the most encouraging person you’ll ever meet. We dove right in at the Borden house, cleaning and getting the garage space ready for about 28 folk to enjoy a Thanksgiving fest. It was a joy to sort through and organize (I’ll admit, I love organizing, I have been known to spend a good amount of time at the thrift store organizing the dresses by size, then color. Ha!) It was also a great visit for our kids, as the Borden clan is five strong. They watched movies, played a building video game called mine craft, helped prepare Thanksgiving decorations, put on plays with dress ups, and made funny movies on their I-Pad. We connect with kinfolk and got our worship on at ECC. Craig got his craftsman fix in by laying down a deck for the Borden’s. And, on our last night I made Asparagus/Mushroom/Leek with a wine cream sauce and Crepes for dinner.

 

We are thankful for our time in Colorado, for the community and encouragement that keeps us on our way and for the many meals shared with kinfolk, new and old.