I enjoyed an amazing day spent mostly with my sister Yvonne and her wonderful family. 

I woke up this morning in Missoula MT and was planning to ride north around Flathead Lake and then take a leisurely cruise over to Sandpoint ID to meet up with the group of five riders who started out in Seattle this morning. We’d planned to rendezvous sometime early afternoon.

However, that group was going to ride through Spokane, where Yvonne and her family live and when I realized I was only 186 miles away, I had to go see her (not sure why this didn’t occur to me during my extensive planning, but I thought I wouldn’t have much time today before meeting up with the group).

I had an inkling that the group might run late. Multi-bike rides always seem to start later and there are more machines involved, of course, meaning more things can go wrong. And a lot went wrong today with that group, although nothing serious, fortunately. They started late, one of the bikes developed a mechanical problem and they got separated and lost on the scenic route they chose to get to Spokane. They didn’t arrive there until 6:30.

Meanwhile, I arrived at Yvonne & Travis Thiede’s house at 11:30 and spent the most wonderful day with them and their two absolutely incredible kids, Lexi (who’s 19, I think) and Kyle, who’s 16. Yvonne fed us a late lunch with scrambled eggs, sausage and PANCAKES (gluten free), which I almost never eat due to my wheat allergy and my low carb diet. I managed to limit myself to two of them but they were delectable. 

They then showed me their beautiful home and landscaping and we took a few pictures. I met Lexi’s boyfriend, Cameron, who was very nice and acted as our photographer and then the two of them took off for a few hours while I chatted with Yvonne, Travis and Kyle. 

Lexi is a beautiful, kind and intelligent young woman, an aspiring photographer and has just completed her first year of college, where she is doing very well. She is also the cleverest person among my Facebook friends with whimsical and wry observations about the world that are delightful and funny — like her. It was a real pleasure to spend time with her. She hasn’t decided what she wants to do as a career, but she has the skills to pursue nearly any profession.

Kyle is one of the most impressive young men I have ever met in my life. He’s a terrific student, a star athlete, extraordinarily articulate, mature and thoughtful. For example, we had a very interesting discussion about “emotional intelligence,” which he’s been studying in school. Travis and I shared our experiences acquiring emotional intelligence the hard way and I can say with confidence that Kyle is possessed with greater maturity and critical thinking skills than the vast majority of people of any age. In fact, when he was in middle school, he won “Student of the Year” awards — BOTH of them: one voted on by the faculty and the other by the students. 

After we talked for awhile and it became apparent that I was going to have several hours with them, I asked them if I could wash my motorcycle in their driveway. It had gotten pretty buggy and dirty after 2,200 miles. They not only provided all of the tools and supplies, but they pitched in, with Travis using his Harley wax on my Victory — which fortunately did not have an allergic reaction to it 🙂 They even cleaned up everything as I used Armor All on the seats. 

We went back inside and had more great conversation about family, work, etc. and then we said goodbye — but not before Travis got on the Harley once owned by his late father (who was also a law enforcement professional, so it’s a special edition) and gave me a 25 minute tour of the beautiful scenery around their home. He then sat with me at the local Harley dealer where we waited for the group to show up. 

Once the riders showed up, the group rode to Sandpoint, ID, where I write this at the end of a perfect day. I only logged about 265 miles on the bike, but it was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve spent in a long time. 

Penny and I will be back to spend a couple of days with the Thiede’s in August and I can’t wait to see them again!