Dr. Seuss on Campus

Linfield College 2014 Senior Bench

Linfield College 2014 Senior Bench

Yesterday we rode around Yamhill County for a couple of hours. We rode up Peavine Rd. – which results in a fun descent on the return.  When we arrived back on the Linfield College campus, the 2014 Senior bench caught my eye and reminded me of my favorite Dr. Seuss Poem:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”

Linfield College Senior Bench

Linfield College Senior Bench

Linfield College Senior Bench

Linfield College Senior Bench

Linfield College Senior Bench- Back side.

Linfield College Senior Bench- Back side.

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2,000 days away

Janet and Jay:

Food for thought for all of us.

Originally posted on mike on bike:

Banner image of rhombic calendar with snow in background.

The world is full of empty numbers. Ages, grades, dates and dollars – they’re all around us. But find a number polished and round, turn it over in your mind, and suddenly it matters. It becomes a milestone.

I can’t help but think this one is important.

Mike on Bike in front of Welcome to Inuvik sign on the Dempster Highway in Canada's Northwest Territories.

Where it all began . . .

I’ve been on the road for 2,000 days. On a chill summer’s morning in 2009 I left Inuvik in Canada’s Northwest Territories and started pedalling east. Now I rest in the mountains of New Zealand, at the opposite end of the world, and wonder what it all means.

In my early travel journals I find the words of someone angry and young, someone who thought the world would look best under his boot. I was wrong. My journey brought me as close as anyone can come to nature. I slept on the earth, under the stars…

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Thanksgiving

We were not supposed to be home this Thanksgiving. We were supposed to be riding somewhere in south east Asia, eating Thai, Lao or Vietnamese food. Cycling in the mountains of northern Thailand, or taking a flat boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang.  Heading east into Vietnam and exploring some of the less tourist areas, again seeking out the less visited mountain villages and then exploring Siagon.

Alas, we are home.

Instead, we spent the traditional American holiday that always falls on the 4th Thursday in November with family and friends. A time to be thankful and give praise. There are plenty of Americans that will tell you how Thanksgiving should be celebrated. For example, the menu, turkey and stuffing is traditional followed by pumpkin pie.  Somehow this celebration feast has become synonymous with stuffing our faces until it is necessary to loosen our belts or worse, put on sweat pants.  Some will say that football must be watched while others will use the time to reunite with loved ones often with copious amounts of booze.  In my circle of friends, a holiday is synonymous with time to get outside, to explore nature, go for a run or bike ride before indulging in the sweats requiring meal.

This year, perhaps because we weren’t supposed to be here, we were particularly reflective at Thanksgiving.  We are happy to be home to be with family, to play with the pups and to rehab an injury so we can get back on the bikes.

My (Janet’s) family was always generous during the holidays when I was growing up. I remember my folks putting on quite impressive spreads and inviting friends, acquaintances and colleagues who had no family close by or who did not traditionally celebrate thanksgiving, Many of our guests were from other countries who were spending a short time in the U.S. to study or complete a Post doc.  I remember one Chinese guest saying that it was his first time ever trying turkey.

In college, I took to putting on a Thanksgiving meal with my friends which included my brother, Paul.  We would host an elaborate party with a huge spread.  There was always lots of food and drink. The party often lasted for days.  Football was watched – and often flag football was played until dark.  I have fond memories of these thanksgiving gatherings, and am often reminded of them when I hear my students doing the same- planning and organizing their first thanksgiving dinner in their own home.

I spent two years in England during the early Nineties, my first time away for Thanksgiving.  I remember putting on my own version of Thanksgiving for my friends in the U.K. We would combine the Guy Fawkes celebration (November 5th) with a traditional American thanksgiving meal.  Instead of football, we would have a fantastic bonfires outside complete with fireworks.  I think this is a tradition I could get used to!

After moving to Oregon, we joined our thanksgiving celebration with our wonderful friends in Portland.  The DeAlvare/Jonsson/Selbe clan invited us to join their celebration at their home in West Linn.  For years, there was no question about what we were going to do for Thanksgiving.  We would make fresh bread and often desserts, bring some wine and spend a wonderful day with one of the most gracious families I know.  Lala traditionally prepared the turkey and we all would eat until we were ready to burst.  The table was always decorated beautifully and the house resonated with children of all ages.  Every year we would meet new and interesting people from around the globe.  Instead of football, we had engaging conversations and discovered new people and places we wanted to go.

There were other Thanksgiving memories from which I cannot put a time or date on – for example, one year we all did a Turkey Trot 5k in La Canada, Susan (my sister-in-law), the kids and I.  I only recently, in preparation for our trip, sent the run shirt to Goodwill.  Another very memorable Thanksgiving was the year we decided to camp outside at Big Sir.  We invited everyone- but the only ones who joined us were my mom, our dogs at the time, and my dad and his wife.  We camped at Limekiln State Park  and we all pitched in to have a full Turkey dinner camping style.  It was fantastic – except – it dumped rain the entire time. It rained so much that the tent my mom was sleeping in flooded.  I am surprised that Mom will still come camping with us after this adventure!

The past couple of years, we’ve spent Thanksgiving with my sister, her husband and their three beautiful kids in Portland.  Last year we had the Peterson clan (well most of it) come and stay with us for a week.   It was the first time in over 20 years that all of the Peterson kids and Mom and Dad were under one roof at the same time.  And we had three generations of Peterson’s all gathered as well.  It is a Thanksgiving I will never forget.

This year, I found myself a bit ambivalent about Thanksgiving.  Obviously we had not made plans far in advance, because we weren’t supposed to be here.  In the end, with my famous ability to double book, we arranged to have two Thanksgivings, one with my sister in Portland and one with good friends.

We spent the morning on a grueling, cold and wet bike ride in the hills around our house.  We shared a beer with my sister and family in Portland before heading over to our friends for a non-traditional thanksgiving dinner.  I was grateful for the company and for the butternut squash soup, fresh salad, roasted root vegetables, green beans and frittatas followed by homemade forest berry pies. Although football was on the T.V. at the end, we spent our post prandial time in conversation reminiscing about past adventures and getting excited about future plans.  It was the perfect way for me to be present but not be fully immersed in the Thanksgiving tradition.

Our friends and family are spread out around the globe.  Distance from family has always been a factor in our lives.  Physical distance may make it so we cannot sit down at the Thanksgiving table with family and friends but it does not stop us from loving them whole heartedly. Happy holidays everyone!

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Istanbul Bike Store: Bisiklet Gezgini

DSCN6027

Jay and I both loved Istanbul. We loved the people, the laid back attitudes, the crowds of the European side and the relative solitude found on the Asia side.  We loved the ever busy Bosphorus with the boat traffic chaos and the simplicity of transportation.  We spent our week in Istanbul exploring neighborhoods, finding our own special places –  places the tour books missed.  For example- we identified, after much sampling, our favorite kabap house and experienced a fantastic Turkish cooking school.

We usually identify a few bike shops when we get into big cities.  Bike shops are a great place to meet with like-minded folks, get some directions, or find out the local bike events.  Some bike shops are merely bike stores- you get your bike needs met, but that is all.

While touring in Bulgaria, we began to plan our  route to Istanbul and knew once we arrived that we were going to need some bike parts. Both of our chains were worn and possibly Jay needed a new wheel – Jay had a hard time keeping his rear wheel true. It was a brand new rim, one of four identical, but it could not handle all the rough roads.  Jay spent hours truing his wheel several times, just ask Lia and her family in Cuvin, Romania. He spent an afternoon with his bike in pieces – truing it and immediately having to do it again as the spokes pinged as soon as he put it back together.

Once we secured our lodging through Warm Showers in Uskudar (Istanbul), we searched the Intertubes for nearby bike stores that look like they might have what we need. A quick google search of bike touring stores in Istanbul  returns a link to the Bisiklet Gezgini – the first touring-focused bicycle shop in Turkey. And they were on the Asia side of the Bosphorus – just 12 km from our apartment!  Perfect.

On a light post just across the border from Bulgaria

On a light post just across the border from Bulgaria

Our first sign that this bike shop was going to be what we needed came just after crossing into Turkey from Bulgaria, on the road to Kirklareli – where we saw one of the stores stickers on a light pole! A nice welcome into the country.  Our  ride into Kirklareli  was an eventful introduction to Turkey, a country we both will visit again. We enjoyed our ride from Kirklareli to Istanbul- meeting some great folks along the way.

Once settled in our apartment for the week, we headed for the bike shop – albeit we did not follow their simple directions…stay on the water front until the marina. We picked our way through the very busy and traffic laden streets, going down one ways and hopping sidewalks.  Jay’s tire began to leak and became unrideable about ¾ of the way there – slowing us to walk until we found a small bike store that allowed us to pump up his tire (we forgot to bring a bike pump).  A few minutes more of riding (so much quicker to ride!) and we found ourselves at the Bisiklet Gezgini.

As we entered the very well maintained store, we passed by a cycle tourist boxing up his bike and gear in preparation for a flight to Iran to embark on a tour of a lifetime.  The folks at Bisiklet Gezgini were helping him package his gear in the courtyard of the store. We brought our Surlys into the back and asked them if they could do a quick tune-up, change out the chains and take a look at Jay’s rear wheel.  Başak, Seçil and Alexios were all very helpful and gladly took the bikes off our hands. We were to pick them up again two days later (they would have them done sooner but we weren’t going to be available to pick them up for a few days).

Two days later our bikes were ready to go. We ended up walking back to the store from Uskudar- it took a couple of hours to get there, as we still didn’t have the best route down. When we are not on the bike we like to walk as much as possible. That way we can still sample the food and keep the weight from piling on!

Some of the team at Bisiklet Gezgini

Some of the team at Bisiklet Gezgini

bike store3We had new chains and a replacement rim on Jay’s rear wheel. The old one seems to have been defective, and the mechanic at Bisiklet Gezgini could not keep it in true, either.  When we picked up the bikes, the owners and staff were getting ready to put on a bike touring show and play some traditional Turkish music that evening.   What a cool event – making this bike shop even more unique.

We had the pleasure of returning to the Bisiklet Gezgini bike shop one more time as we forgot the extra chain they had set aside for us.  This time we rode over fully loaded as we were heading to our two night home near the airport prior to our flight to Bangkok.  This time we followed their directions – ride along the water until the marina and then head north a few blocks.  It was dead easy, mostly along a designated bike path and all along the waterfront.  It is mostly bike path all the way from the ferry terminal in Uskudar!  We had a fantastic morning ride out and back.

The folks at the Bisiklet Gezgini are genuine, they know about bike touring and are always willing and ready to help out.  They are experienced bike tourists themselves and are willing to swap bike touring stories over a glass or two of tea.

If you find yourself in Istanbul and need some bike touring advice, mechanical help or supplies, Bisiklet Gezgini is a fantastic place to stop.  Even if you just want to stop in and say hi, they will offer you tea and give you free stickers !

Here is their contact info:

Bisiklet Gezgini İstanbul
Bozkır Sokak No:23A 34726 Çiftehavuzlar Kadıköy İstanbul-Türkiye
Tel.: 00-90-216 386 82 85
Web: http://www.bisikletgezgini.com
E-mail: info@bisikletgezgini.com
Skype: bisikletgezgini

Posted in Bike Shops, Bike touring, Turkey | Tagged | Leave a comment

Kürtőskalács

Coated with Nutella on the inside.

Coated with Nutella on the inside.

Kürtőskalács are a yummy Hungarian sweet bread originating from medieval times.  They were typically made only for special occasions but are now on every street corner in some of the touristy areas of Prague.  Jay and I discovered them in Prague and then again in BudaPest, Hungary.  They are a delicious yeast raised sweet dough, dipped in sugar and cooked on a large cylinder, traditionally over an open fire.  They are also called Trdelnik in the Czech Republic and Chimney Cakes (not a romantic name) in the English world.

Final product from Prague

Final product from Prague

Cooking in Prague

Cooking in Prague

As I don’t have a spit and open fire set up I thought I would try to McGyver a system to make this yummy treat.  I tried two different techniques: the first was an empty bean can with two tomato paste cans on either end all wrapped in foil.  This contraption is then rested on a standard size bread tin and you can rotate every 5 minutes or so.

The second is simply an empty bean can covered with foil, sprayed with sunflower oil. This then stands on end in the oven.  Turning to switch ends half way through.

McGyvered Baking system.

McGyvered Baking system.

Recipe:

 Dough
1 cup of AP flour
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Two teaspoons of AD yeast
100 g of milk (or Almond milk)- warmed
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 Tablespoons of butter
 
Toppings
Sugar, cinnamon
Ground walnuts (optional)
Nutella (optional)

Directions

In a small bowl mix the milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside. Combine all the other ingredients in a larger bowl.  After the yeast has bloomed, mix with other ingredients in the larger bowl and combine to form a nice dough ball.  Kneed gently for a few minutes, place in a warm, draft free space and let rise until doubled in size.

Empty two standard cans (I made chili tonight so used the bean cans)- take both ends off (so you have a hollow tube) and cover with aluminum foil. Spray the cans with oil.  Split the dough into two halves and set one aside.

Rolling out the dough

Rolling out the dough

Gently begin rolling the dough into a long snake like structure (that’s my technical term).  Wrap the dough around the can leaving a small gap between layers.  Roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture- press a bit hard to embed the sugar into the dough. Repeat with the second half of the dough.  Set aside for 10 minutes to rest.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Turn them every five minutes. Once out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes and then roll them in nuts or any other toppings you like (chocolate sprinkles are yummy).

Or you can spread Nutella on the inside!

Eat and enjoy!

First home baked. Tasted better than they look.

First home baked. Tasted better than they look.

Both contraptions worked well enough.  The dough on the can standing on end held together better- so I would skip the fancy contraption and simply use an empty can!  These two first attempts lasted approximately 3 minutes once they came out of the oven. Yum!

Posted in Budapest, Cooking, Czech Republic, Food | Tagged | 4 Comments