Another summer weekend has slipped by and the official end of summer is just days away. We spent this weekend mostly outside and mostly in the company of good friends. While I have not completed everything on my “Summer To Do” list, I have had fine summer to reflect on.
1.) Saturday Morning Run
After spending the morning getting an obligatory 4500 mile oil change for my little RAV4 (okay, I was several 1000 miles over the 4500 mile mark), I went out for a run. It was much later than desired (almost afternoon) and the weather was hot and humid, typical August, southern style. My goal was 5 miles but the air was thick and the sun seemed to radiate through the shadiest of spots. It should go without saying, the going was slow. Therefore I was easily distracted by some lovely summer flowers blooming trailside and had no trouble convincing myself to stop for photos.
Stopping during a run is generally a bad idea for me. I don’t do the run-walk interval thing. Once I start walking, I can almost assuredly expect to walk home. Since I don’t particularly like to walk, I have a built in motivation to keep running. Today no exception. While I forced myself to finish 3.1 miles, I had lost my motivation and walked the rest of the way home.
I do have these pretty trailside photos to show you….
2.) Saturday Night Dinner with Friends
Early last week we were invited to dinner at the home of one of our favorite couples. When we learned the invitation was also extended to two of our dearest friends, we knew we were in for a late evening of great travel, art, history and political conversation and some pretty delicious food! Immediately we started looking forward to the evening and by mid-week we received this card reminding us of the time and date.
We have entertained and been entertained by the host couple before and I wanted to get them something special for a “host” gift. I knew she does not particularly care for flowers (except sunflowers) and I also knew the other couple would probably bring wine. After much thought, I decided to take breakfast for the morning “after.” I filled a little goodie bag with Buttermilk Sky Pie biscuits, Raspberry and Hibiscus jam, and Kona coffee. The hostess was surprised and pleased and has called this week to tell me how much she appreciated the gift.
I didn’t take pictures at the party but I did take these pre-party pics of John and me. I think I look a little third world in the photo below but not to worry, I am not starving myself. John looks like he spent most of the day in the sun… and he did.
We had a great time!! Dinner included a Romaine lettuce salad topped with crispy hot noodles, walnuts and a light olive oil-rice wine vinegar dressing, fruit salad, bow tie pasta with spinach and artichokes topped with a lemon dressing and a chicken dish. The conversation was lively and we are now caught up on Knoxville politics, the host’s new book, the hostess’s latest art projects and a number of other interesting topics. I think we got home around 12:30 AM (late for us).
3.) 4.5 Mile Walk with Friends
Sunday morning we finally crawled out of bed at 8:30 AM (very late for us). We had enough time to relax with coffee before we had to pull together our picnic items, pack the car and headed to Ijams Nature Center to meet some other friends for a walk.
The walk started out on the Will Skelton Greenway (coincidently, Will Skelton was one of our dinner partners the night before) and then moved to the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.
The green way is paved and runs partially along the river. It is a lazy winding trail and a favorite of runners and bicyclers in the area. The WS Greenway connects with about 32 miles of dirt paths and roads that make up Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.
The last of the summer wildflowers were putting on quite a show.
We transitioned from the greenway to the Wildlife Management Area which is a series of mowed paths and a gravel road.
4.) Another Weekend Picnic
After the walk, we immediately headed to our neighborhood park for a picnic. We are getting good at these weekend picnics! No serious picnic planning here, no pretense at gourmet, just pasta salad, chips, olives, sandwiches and other assorted finger foods.
Our neighborhood park has several picnic tables and we were lucky enough (early enough) to grab the riverside table.
From the riverside table, we watched the river drift by. Paddle boarders and kayakers came and went as we relaxed under a shady tree canopy and enjoyed the summer breeze.
5.) 14 Mile Greenway Bicycle Ride with John
Several hours after the picnic, we headed out on our “trail” bikes. We have an upcoming trip to Abingdon, VA to go to Barter Theater and ride the 34-mile VA Creeper Trail and we wanted to find and fix any mechanical issues pre-Creeper. As it turns out, I had some brake issues and while it was ok to finish this ride, the bike is currently in the shop before the road trip.
With no real plans for where to go or how long to ride, we headed in the opposite direction of the where had we walked in the morning. That meant we headed downtown where the Vol Navy was beginning to gather in preparation for the Labor Day weekend opening game (the entire waterfront will be packed with boats by this weekend). We biked along the waterfront path (lower left in the photo) and headed toward UT.
The photo above was taken on the Gay Street Bridge (below) headed into downtown Knoxville.
Third Creek Greenway along the UT campus.
Blue Herons are common along the TN River shoreline but I never get tired of seeing them. Sometimes they are a little skittish but this guy was too busy looking for dinner to be disturbed by my presence.
That’s about it for my weekend. A busy week coming up but also some time off. We have some adventures on the books for the Labor Day weekend! Stay tuned…
Hope you had an active weekend doing something that made you happy! Thanks for reading.