Let’s see. When we last left our intrepid travelers, they were drinking and being geeky. That was Wednesday night. Thursday morning, Ken and I reluctantly hauled ourselves out of bed and took a self-defense class, which was fantastic. I can take you down now, suckers, so watch out. (And it’s a reasonably non-physical form of defense, in that my back will not get tweaked. The instructor has taught it to a woman in a wheelchair. So there. You have been warned.)
The instructor doesn’t allow married couples to pair up during the practices (after a couple had to be separated due to a sudden desire to work out some, ah, differences), so I paired up with a friend I’d met at CCR two years ago. We kept cracking up because we are such girls. Me: “Okay, come at me.” Her: “Ow, ow!” Me: “Omigod I’m sorry!” Her: “No, no, you did really good!”
We had a lazy afternoon. We wandered the vendors and I picked up two more moisture-wicking shirts for riding. After I went back to the room to work for a bit, Ken found the bike wash, which is traditionally done by HS students as a fund-raiser. This year it was a chorus that’s one of eight in the U.S. chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall. So what does Ken do? Ask them if they know any Styx. Apparently they do sing “Show Me the Way.” So he wants to send them a copy of the CYO DVD. I love my husband. :-)
There was a banquet that night, and the silent auction, and I won a cooling vest (you soak it with water for hot, dry rides and it keeps you cool. I have a neck wrap of the same type, and it’s awesome.), and then we hung out at the Booze Brothers party. Since the theme of the banquet was the Blues Brothers (because of the soul/funk band that played after dinner), many of us had scarfed the hats and were walking around wearing sunglasses. Amusing pictures will be shared upon our return home.
Friday we headed back to St. Louis for the IBR banquet, and then I hung out in the room while Ken kicked metaphorical tires with rally guys, and we had a quiet evening. It was weird not being at the CCR rally, but Ernie called Ken as soon as the announcement was made about next year’s venue: Zermatt, Utah. Coolness! The area is gorgeous for riding, and a lot closer to home. The resort itself looks like it belongs in Switzerland, and we’ll have the whole thing to ourselves.
After I had another awesome Chesterfield Skillet for breakfast, we headed out on the road again. First stop was the World Bird Sanctuary (quite near the wild canid center, in fact). They had the most adorable little owl that I wanted to scoop up and take home with me. He was just so tiny and talkative. Thank goodness he was locked in a cage or he’d be tucked in my jacket right now. They also had a little kestrel, which are so cute because they want to be like the big birds, but they’re just not. He was all puffed up trying to look important, but he just wasn’t big enough… And there was an eagle and a spectacled owl and a couple of red-tailed hawks and… There were a ton of birds, and yet they said a lot were out at a Renaissance Faire! I bought a little stuffed peregrine falcon that makes an authentic cry. It’s part of a series, and I want to collect all of the birds of prey; I already have the red-tailed hawk.
They also had some animal displays in the gift shop—a variety of snakes and lizards, and a pair of opossums. I had no idea opossums were so big…or so cute! The handler who was cleaning their enclosure let them wander, and one toddled out to explore the nearby area. He was cross-eyed! Utterly adorable.
We headed south after that, avoiding freeways and taking the more scenic highways through Missouri and into Arkansas. We stopped in a small town for dinner, choosing a local BBQ joint over the sad plethora of fast food chains (they well outnumbered the local choices that we could find, sad to say). We’re spending the night just outside of Little Rock, and tomorrow we’ll get to Ken’s grandmother’s in Hot Springs.
After much debate, I’ve come to the difficult decision of not going to the Book-in-a-Week and Novel Workshop in Oregon in October. It’s a matter of time, money, travel, etc.; the stars just don’t seem to be aligning. That said, I’m still making it a goal to finish the novel I’m working on (working title: High Spirits) by the end of September to get my trophy, which I’ll do as long as I send out some query letters.
The final quarter of the year will involve a new novel with Sarah (based on the 40K or so contemporary erotic romance I started last year), a revision High Spirits, and a long-overdue revision of An Ever-Turning Wheel with the goal of getting that one in the mail by the end of the year. That’ll make four novels in the mail this year, which ain’t too shabby…