An easier way to get away from it all

Lynn Youngblood
The green space

My lovely husband, Grady, and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this summer and as on most of our big markers, we decided to go somewhere especially noteworthy.

We were originally thinking of Florida, where one of my daughters lives with three of our young grandchildren, but Florida in the summer quickly lost its appeal. So we began searching for a fun place out west where we had not ventured previously. We landed on a wonderful vacation spot with mountains, a scenic lake, rivers, beaches and lots of relaxation. Since we live on 24 acres of beautiful forest, we rarely go on vacation. As I like to say, “We already live in Paradise!”

Lynn Youngblood

One activity that we did was rent eBikes for a half day and ventured out. When the concierge first told me about eBikes, I thought they must be something like a Vespa. They are not at all like that; they look just like a sturdy bicycle. However, they have a battery that gives you an extra boost up hills. For two people who have both had knee surgery and not been on a bicycle for decades, this sounded like a good idea.

When we were signing up to check them out, the gentleman asked if we had a destination in mind. I told him the name of the park where our Uber driver told us we could find sugar pine cones. I wanted to gather some to take back home. (They are over 12 inches long!)

The bike rental man and his boss both swung their heads back to us and stared – eyes wide open.

“You’re planning to bike that far!” he gasped.

I asked if it was too far for us to go, and he said he just hadn’t had any old people go that far before. Grady and I both got a good laugh out of this. (Grady’s hair is pure white, so his age is often misjudged; as is mine by association.)

We got a map, and instructions on how the eBike worked. We started on our trek and were enjoying both the easy ride and scenery in no time. We stopped at a small town along the way and had lunch, and kept on riding. We reached our destination, gathered a few cones in the street (so we weren’t gathering from the park, not knowing the rules) and headed back.

We arrived at the bike shop just at closing time. They were all amazed that we had made it the whole way and said that we were the first couple to venture that far (again mentioning that we were the oldest couple). It turns out, we rode over 36 miles that day. Yes, we had to pedal, but the hills were much easier.

To me, the bike ride was the highlight of the trip, and I’d love to get eBikes for us so that we can bike on the local bike paths. I’ve been reading more about eBikes, and it turns out that they are becoming part of a new revolution, but that is story for another day!

Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City. Reach her at