The Following Post is from Emmilee Olgin on her site at http://joeyandemmysbicycletour.weebly.com
Emmilee’s narrative is much more descriptive of the day and much more conveys the wonderfulness of the total experience that all of shared. Our day and night spent with this truly unique family and friends is what gives all of us pause and cause for Hope and peace in the world today. This may sound a little mushy or over the top and I am sure Marty or Marc would think so – which is precisely why it is true. and by the by over the next couple of days down the road we ran into folks who knew or knew of the Richie’s and how great they are.
“We woke up nice and early for a change and all had a big bowl of oatmeal. We were on the road by about 9:30, which is a lot earlier than we’ve been doing lately. Another beautiful sunny day! The views during today’s ride were just so incredible. For the whole ride we got to look at the snow capped mountains off in the distance. As we rode, we were slowly getting closer and closer to the base of them. There was an old strip of the Alcan highway off to the side of the road, so Joey and Michael decided they would ride on that for a while. The funny thing is that when they got to the top of the hill, there was no more road on the other side; they were forced to ride in the weeds for a while to get to a flatter spot where they could get back on the real highway. Whatever the case, the boys still managed to get in some kind of adventure today. At one point we stopped at a rest area that had a sign about Mt. Logan, the highest mountain in Canada, at 15,000 ft. We could see it off in the distance, and there sure was a lot of snow on it. It didn’t take us long to get into Haines Junction from there (we were there a little before noon). Our first stop was the visitor center and to our surprise, the Ritchie’s were there with their cousins (Mark’s sister and her family are visiting, so there will be 12 of us at the Ritchie’s house tonight)! Little Michael was standing outside when we pulled in and we got to meet the rest of their family when we got inside ( Fritz, Cynthia, Stefan and Tristan ). We watched the video on Kluane National Park (which Little Michael happened to be in!) and walked around the visitor center for a little bit. Little Michael shared a lot of his knowledge about the surrounding area. Since they happened to be at the visitor center, it made it really easy to find their house. As we were pulling into the driveway they were motioning like they were directing traffic, it was pretty funny. We got there and got changed and were off again. The whole crew loaded into the 3 cars and headed to a lake somewhere down the Haines Highway. Another adventure! We arrived at Kathleen Lake and it was so picturesque. We all enjoyed a fantastic lunch of sandwiches that Marty had made up along with homemade muffins and even a little chocolate. Their dog, Handsome, had fun fetching sticks in the water and everyone else enjoyed skipping rocks and wading in the really cold water. It was almost like a party because there were so many of us. Marty showed us the mural that she had designed and with the help of all of the kids at the school had completed in the main picnic building. It was so beautiful and was really neat to see all of the different parts that the kids had done (they each got to paint their own wooden fish!). After a while, Little Michael and Joe took off on a hike and Mark, Marty, Stephan, Christopher and I (and Handsome) went on a walk along the shoreline. The boys all went for a quick swim, but it was too cold to stay in there for too long. We met up with the trail at one point and started walking back to the main building. We rested for a while and since Joe and Little Michael weren’t back yet we began to wonder where they were. They got out the binoculars and looked up on the mountain where the trail went. Sure enough, that’s where they were, way up on the mountain on the other side of the lake. So since we knew they were on their way back down and there was only one trail, we decided to start walking to meet up with them. We met up with them a lot sooner than we though, but later found out that it was because they had run a good portion of it. They told us that they went up as far as the snow and actually slid down about a 40 foot section of snow/ice. For some reason they didn’t take water with them (probably because they didn’t plan to go on that long of a hike), so they resorted to eating snow on top of the mountain. After we met up with them, they ran for a good portion of the way back to where everyone else was; man do they have a lot of energy. It was such a fantastic afternoon; we definitely didn’t expect that we would get to do this today! We all piled back in the cars and headed back to the Ritchie’s house. It was kind of weird being in a car in this area because of how vast it is. On a bicycle I really felt like I was a part of the area, but in the car it just felt like I was watching a picture slide show through the windows, it was totally different. When we got back to their house, they started cooking dinner. They made shish kabobs with Moose and Buffalo, potatoes, salad, carrots, and corn on the cob! We even had canned peaches and ice cream cones for dessert! It was SOOOOO good. We haven’t had a home cooked meal like that in quite a while, so it was greatly appreciated. What a great dinner and amazing company; it was like one big family since there were12 of us. After dinner the boys went down and jumped on the trampoline for a while and then we played a little Farkle . At one point we got looking at google earth and looked up each other’s houses. It was pretty neat to be able to sit there and show them what the area we lived in looked like and where exactly our houses were. We were all having so much fun that by the time we went to bed it was after midnight. Today was just such an incredible day, I am so glad that we were lucky enough to meet the Ritchie family! We only rode 20.90 miles today.”