Day 86: The "Merry Berry" Bike Hike

Blog Post created by AlexColvin on Apr 28, 2019

You miss me; I miss you. Big cyber hug.


Ok now that that's over...let's talk.


One of the nice things about being 86 days smoke free is: you gets ideas. I got meself some ideas when my friend, Nancy,  and I were tooling around heading for DSW to pick up my new pair of New Balance shoes I'd ordered online,  (which I wear religiously,) and decided since there was a Starbucks on the corner, we'd grab coffee. The Starbucks was next door to a Jamba Juice smoothie shop so we ended up there instead. Coffee? What coffee?

Their Strawberry Whirl smoothie is terrific, and because I'd worked at this JJ store many, many, many  smoothies ago, it came highly recommended. 


It was the $12.00 price tag for two medium smoothies that gave me the lighting bolt idea.

Make the damn things at home. Brilliant, I know.


The number of dollars price hike, however,  also happened to be exactly one decade fewer  years that I had not been in a JJ store,  (or any smoothie shop, for that matter.) So, being a regular cyclist, and now with a newfound comfort-level with not smoking, it seemed the next logical step in my transition away from The Ashen Life, and toward healthfulness was to make fruit smoothies. Because smoothies are just cool when you're not smoking. When your're smoking, they're annoying as are the people drinking them. Things change. 


So I got meself a plan.


I would,  over the weekend, assemble all the ingredients for Colvin's Glorious "Merry Berry" Smoothie which would be premiering in my kitchenerarium soon. (My kitchenerarium is my lab, and sometimes I wear a lab coat and cackle madly while the lighting bolts flare nearby, while screeching, "IT'S ALIVE...." ) But the creations are truly glorious. To me...that is. My neighbors are not so sure. Could be the screeching at 2 AM. Hard to say. 


Step one: Get ingredients and transportable drinking gear. This involved a few trips on a Saturday. Trip One involved going to Big Lot's!  (a discount store, ) because it's just got cool stuff and where I stumbling upon a 2 Qt. container of Mott's Apple Juice that needed a good home. Besides, all great smoothies start with a good fruit juice base. Trip Two took us to Arne's Warehouse, a HUGE party supplies warehouse housed in an old red-brick building, that has been in Houston longer than me, (that's more than thirty-nine years for those keeping track,) and has every imaginable party item you can think of  and many you can't. If there is a party theme, or party supply item, Arne's has devoted an entire aisle to it, and Arne's has many, many aisles. Who knew there were so many types of felt party hats? 

That's where I found my two and two-thirds-cup insulated U of H drinking vessel. Perfect for smoothie transport, methinks. Nancy got herself a big Coke drinking cup with twist off lid and Eco-friendly permanent straw. We were off to an excellent start. But it was the Arne's Annex where, for .57 cents,  I got meself that blue drinking cup with the eco-friendly permanent straw. (I just wanted the straw.)  


So the  transportable drinking gear dimension of the mission was satisfied. But I still needed frozen fruit and yogurt.  That would require a Sunday trip. But this time alone, and on the bike. 


The Sunday trip also meant gearing up with bike gloves, backpack, lock, etc., and taking my  Specialized Sirrus Elite (ca. 2011)  on the road in Sunday traffic  in the manner and spirit of true urban cycling.


Let me pause here to point out that Houston drivers are nuts, often driving in ways which suggest either their meds are not working or they had too many Margaritas for breakfast. The good news is, I can go where they cannot , ergo, in the name of self-defense I often do, weaving in and out of traffic -- especially when they are locked bumper-to-bumper at some interminable red light -- saving my hide from the ER. 


Because I was going to my nearby large Fiesta Mart which is warehouse-sized stocked with second-rate international brands, I hoped my trip would be fruitful. Fruitful, get it?


Moving on...


Alas,  their  yogurt was some weird unknown off-brand and their frozen fruit selection consisted of several types of Goya frozen fruit pulp, and a few bags of frozen  peeled guava and mango, but nothing else. I left, dissapointed and empty handed. Not to mention mildly miffed.


I would need to venture further and this would require putting the bike on the bus and riding to the new H-E-B that I shopped in weekly. Yet, I'd never spend much time in their frozen fruit section. Odd that. I also faithfully opened my Sports tracker" phone app, thinking this would be a fun ride, dutifully shut it off when I boarded the bus, then promptly forgot to turn the damn thing on when I got to my drop-off spot to record my ride to the store (which involved a very high climb up a winding driveway to reach the store's 2nd floor) The first floor is covered parking. So I missed my count.  Such a clever lad. Ug.


So here's a map. The Blue lines represent the bike ride. The red line represents the bus ride.


The good news is, HEB had exactly what I needed, so I bought meself some delicious Greek yogurt and several types of frozen fruit. Thus, fully loaded down, I made my way homeward, looking ever the quintessential urban traveler:

Now that I can breath, I enjoy riding and on Sundays the buses are usually not very crowded. The bike, BTW, goes on a hinged rack on the front of the bus, so if we ever have a head-on crash, my bike serves as first point of impact. Gee, thanks, Metro. 


Step Two: Using gotten ingredients, at home in the Glorious Colvin Kitcherarium, assemble the exotic ingredients acquired from far off lands, (and Big Lots! and H-E-B), which look like this pre-processed: 



Step Three: Once the lightening bolts ceased firing, the shrieking quiets, and the smoke clears, the results will be amazing! Pour said amazing results into the plastic  UH swag glass with Eco-friendly hard plastic straw and savor every drop of your stunning elixir of health and tranquility.


And you,  too,  can enjoy a healthy big,  slurpy cup of Colvin's Glorious "Merry Berry" Fruit Smoothie in your non-smoke-stink home with this recipe because you're smoke-free and special.




Peace and gratitude,