Portland – Patty’s Eclipse Porch Party

Doug, Sherry, Gabby, Jim, Patty

Patty and I graduated from St Anselm College together. We stayed connected through mountain biking, skiing and hiking adventures for about 7 years after graduation as we settled into and unsettled our careers (as recovering nurses) and moved around the northeast. And although we’ve stayed in touch since Patty moved to Seattle in 1989, and later to Portland, we hadn’t connected live. Time to change that. It was just a coincidence that we’d be in Portland, not far from the eclipse path of totality, the day before the eclipse. We checked in with Patty and after almost 30 years, her response was ‘Come on over, we’re having an eclipse party!’

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Eugene

Dana, Sue, Kirby, Muffin, Doug

There is a certain ethereal plane of friendship where you can pick up a conversation as though you’d just left the room for a few minutes, even after a gap of several years. This is how it feels when I get back together with Dana, my roommate from college, and his wife Muffin, both of whom I’ve known for a few more than forty years.

For that reason, alone, our visit was wonderful. Food and conversation, catching up, exchanging stories, just hanging out and visiting with old friends like these were still the old times. Fantastic! I’m not going to make this post about that, though.

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Tacoma – it’s not so bad!*

Sue, Leanne, Caleb, Eliza, Greg, Doug

Leanne and I bonded as ski buddies at Sugarbush, a dozen-plus years back in time. About 11 years ago she and the kids up and moved, first to Spokane and then to Tacoma, where we finally caught up with each other. Leanne hasn’t changed a bit! The kids, however…

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Big Sky and Western Montana

Stan and Cyndee were driving their new truck camper from Vermont to Big Sky, Montana. We were on our way from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park. The paths would cross, but the timing was off and it appeared we wouldn’t get to meet up (does this sound familiar?). Then the sun set, Jupiter aligned with Mars, schedules changed just a teeny bit, and we found ourselves a window of opportunity. We held over an extra day at a free campground overlooking the Yellowstone River, conveniently close to an air-conditioned museum on that scorching day in Columbus, Montana, then took a short detour to the south to meet our friends as they arrived at their destination.

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Boise and Sun Valley

Sue, Harry, Karen, Doug

We met Harry and Karen (from NY) and Geoff and Pat (from CT), nearly 30 years ago, in NJ. With shared passions for biking, hiking and skiing, it didn’t take long for us to become fast friends. At the time, Pat and Geoff lived near us in CT and they are still close by even though we migrated northward, so we get together with some regularity. Less so for Harry and Karen. We were sad when they told us after 5 years that they were moving to Boise ID. But no worries – we’ll just continue having outrageous ski and bike vacations together! We have fond memories of meet-ups for adventures in Sun Valley, Alta/Snowbird/Solitude, Breckenridge, Whistler/Blackcomb and more. Then came kids (mostly theirs), injuries (mostly ours), jobs with lots of travel (pretty much all of us), and all of a sudden 19 years had gone by without an adventure together… Gotta fix that!

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Park City

Utah Olympic Park Training Center

That’s a skier, obviously, but Liz and I bonded over bikes – kids’ bikes, specifically. We met and then spent an intensive 2 months together, every year for 5 years, planning and hosting the Mad River Valley’s annual bike swap. It was so much fun and we executed so well, it was like an annual dance. We passed the bike swap along to another organization, Doug and I went off on RV adventures, and Liz moved to Park City, Utah. *SIGH* There was no chance we’d miss Liz on our trip through Utah.

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Cedar Breaks

The east rim of the amphitheater at Cedar Breaks

As we headed south to Arizona from Lake Powell, our friends headed north to explore more of southern Utah. They called to tell us about Cedar Breaks National Monument, which they described as one of the most beautiful places they’ve seen in the area. That was enough of an endorsement for us to set our course from Sedona. We’re glad we did!

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Sedona

Judy, Malcolm, Sue, Doug

We met Malcolm and Judy while riding tandem bicycles just a few weeks before we got married, so this friendship goes back 31 years. They recently retired to Sedona, Arizona where they’re exploring their new southwestern playground and remodeling their new home. From Lake Powell, we were so close that not visiting was not an option. Delightful visit!

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