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SibSab – Redux Execution

            Continued from SibSab – Redux Plan

Our SibSab plan was, as always for all four of us to stay at the same hotel or house, this time my sister’s house.  After having dinner with my wife at the hotel on Friday night and making sure she and our granddaughter were settled in for the night, I drove out to my sister’s where our SibSab got off to an unofficial start talking about whether or not the predicted rainy weather would adversely impact our biking plans.

Saturday morning, as expected, we were greeted with rain and so sat around most of the morning drinking coffee and catching up.  When the sun finally came out and started to dry up everything, we decided to give it a try at a bike outing.  We loaded up our three bikes on the back of my sister’s truck (our oldest sister had opted out of this activity) and headed off to the trail head.

After getting our bikes off and donning our helmets, we were ready for our first ride together in probably 50 years.

The route was a wonderful, paved trail that occasionally snaked along a small creek.

As the path winded its way through the woods, there was nary a car sound to be heard.  The path eventually made its way through the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art property, but not before scaling a pretty steep hill or two.  My bike has 24 gears and in Memphis I usually only use the top 8 gears (17 through 24).  But for these hills, I had to throttle all the way down to first gear, a gear I had never used before.  Fortunately, the rain held off allowing us a great 8.5-mile trek, a good start for our biking SibSab.

Later that day, we met back up with my wife and granddaughter for a well-deserved beer at a local craft brewery.

Rain on Sunday morning wiped out all of our plans and so after a swim at the hotel pool, my wife and I took our granddaughter out to lunch…

…before being able to meet up with her cousins at the park later that day after the rain ended.

The next morning, we sat around the kitchen table birdwatching while the rain continued to come down.  At one point, my sister let her cockatiel out of the cage and unexpectedly he took a liking to my shirt which matched the color of his cheek.

With rain in the forecast, we decided to visit Crystal Bridges Museum where one of my favorite pieces was an ice-like glass sculpture designed just for this space by Dale Chihuly, my favorite glass artist.

Later that day, my brother and I made a quick run up to Missouri to a large package store that had a huge selection of craft beers.  Since this was a driving trip rather than a flying trip, we could each pick up some liquid souvenirs…

…which we duly divided up while enjoying some of the fruits of our excursion.

For dinner that night, I grilled out my famous steaks, a tradition, accompanied by delicious double-baked potatoes and caprese salad well engineered by my sister.

But before dinner, with just one day left for our SibSab, I suggested we sit for our annual photo together.  We tried several different sitting poses…

…but in the end, decided the best one was of us standing to show off the cool beer t-shirts our brother had gotten us for the occasion.  While we always arrange ourselves from left to right by oldest to youngest, I realized we were also posed by shortest to tallest, the reverse order from when we were growing up.

The weather for our last day together was absolutely perfect and so we all drove down to Fayetteville to ride the trail that looped around Fayetteville Lake at the Botanic Gardens.

The paved trail even included center line stripes that turned solid when limited view made it dangerous to pass, just like on an automobile road.  The trail wound it its way mostly through trees.

But the real thrill for me was discovering a series of switchbacks that twisted down a hill…

…just likes the ones I like to drive in my little sports cars.

After the three of us made the 5-mile loop once, my sister joined our oldest sister at the Botanic Gardens and my brother, and I did the loop again, this time in reverse.

That night, we stopped off for a cocktail at the lounge atop the new Momentary Museum before enjoying a delicious seafood dinner out.

As always, over the few days we had together, we reminisced about growing up, stories we recalled of our parents, and the fun times we had had.  With both our parents having been gone for almost 20 years and having lived most of our lives away from other relatives, the four of us hold the last memories of our lives together.  A new activity this year was taking turns asking Alexa (Amazon) to play a certain song.  I don’t recall how this started but it was fun for each of us to share some of our favorite music.

Our last morning, my brother loaded up the bikes on the back of his car along with our luggage (and beer!) and he and I headed off on our trip back to Memphis, one of two stops on my brother’s way home to Philadelphia.  As we neared West Memphis, we could see that getting across the Mississippi was going to be a bigger challenge than coming over.  But what should have been about a 10-minute crossing was still only about 45 minutes, nowhere near the four-hour horror stories I had heard.  After we drove into Memphis, we decided to reward ourselves for that crossing achievement with a visit to a new craft brewery in downtown.

Over beer, we reflected on what a fun SibSab redo it had been, replacing the canceled one from 2020. While it was sad that it was over, we made fond memories which we will no doubt expand in our next SibSab.  Stay tuned…

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