Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tour de Papa...

Last weekend, for the first time in almost 15 years, I got together with just my parents and my brothers.  We surprised my dad for his 60th birthday.  The trip included all the major elements necessary for a Shelley family vacation:  radical lack of moderation, mayhem and a lot of love...

Lack of moderation:  We rode 60 miles to celebrate his 60th birthday.  I'm glad I didn't know ahead of time about the two monster bridges.

Mayhem:  (1)  It's just not a Shelley vacation without a last minute change of plans.  About two days before the trip we decided to meet a day early.  (2)  John very graciously brought a road bike for me. Aaron called me on their way to joke around and say they brought me a unicycle.  Then, a few minutes later, they realized that was exactly what they'd done.  They had left one wheel behind.  There were no open bike shops around.  John found a place further on down the road willing to take his credit card over the phone and leave the wheel outside in a trash bag.
This is right after we surprised him.

A lot of love:  We surprised Dad on a bike trail Friday morning.  He and Mom were riding toward us.  John, Aaron and I rode 3 abreast and said hello.  Dad said, "Good morning," and then told Mom what nice young people those were.  John:  "Wow, Dad really is getting old."  When he realized it was us, he was overwhelmed.  That may be the happiest I've seen my Dad.
The ride was amazing.  We rode River Rd.  along the Mississippi River passing beautiful churches, massive live oaks and plantations from another time.  Because my brothers know no strangers, we met some characters.  There was a Cajun man with his grandson who gave us water.  He said he likes to be prepared.  He travels with water, MREs and his pistol.  I think the little boy would have gone home with John.  John and Aaron came up on a homeless guy on a bike.  He complained about the headwind and they drafted him for a few miles.  Next we met a Cajun policeman who is a cyclist.  He talked bikes with us for a while.  A few miles down the road, there were a couple of cars behind us.  We heard our Cajun officer on his megaphone:  PLEASE PASS THE CYCLISTS SAFELY IN THE OTHER LANE.
It was HOT!

 Mile 45 - 55 nearly ended me, but then I got my groove back and avoided shaming myself by not keeping up with my 55 and 60 year old parents on a bike ride.
In front of Oak Alley Plantation at the end of our ride.
That night we went to New Orleans for dinner where Dad could have done without the walk down Bourbon St., and John searched fruitlessly for a post bike ride ass transplant.

It was a perfect weekend.  Here's hoping I'm young enough at 60 to do that ride again.


  1. Loved the narrative and pictures! So glad that everything came together as planned and that you all completely surprised your dad. It was a birthday to remember...for all of you!

  2. Papa says: I was in fact overwhelmed. It was a magical surprise and a magical time with Judy and our children. We love our SIL and DILs, and simply adore our grandchildren, and it was wonderful tom have justbthe five of us for three days. I still justbsmile all the time. Smiling now. I am so blessed.

  3. An awesome trip with so many life memories. Love the blog post. My love, Mama

  4. We did a triathlon for my dad's 60th birthday, and it about killed us, although it wasn't the fun surprise that your dad's ride was.

    I noticed you put me on your blog list. Considering I've been blog-stalking you it is only fair. I promise I'm a completely normal person(as normal as any mother can be) and live on the other side of the country so you don't need to worry about me. I thoroughly enjoy your blog, book reviews, and writing style. The only reason I'm embarrassed that you found me is that I don't feel like I express myself as well in writing. Nice to meet you!

  5. Triatholon - wow. I'm trying to decide whether that's something I ever want to do. I'm still on the fence.

    I think we've mutually stalked, so we're okay.


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