Posted by: caryandjohn | August 27, 2010

Our small wedding adventure …

Ready to go ...

Ready to go ...

We’d been planning a camping trip with our friends, Tegan and Chuck, while Cary’s step-sister Julia was visiting us for two and a half weeks in August … We thought we’d go up to Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forrest … Tegan wanted to break in their new Coleman Oven/Range and Chuck would bring their Avon boat and 8 hp Evinrude motor and tow their motorcycles behind a Ford four-wheel-drive diesel powered pickup truck with a camper on the back, which would be full of some of our camping gear, so that we’d have room on the KLRs to pack Julia. 

Cary had also been trying to plan a wedding for us, since we were engaged on Memorial Day … on our way to visit my sister, Rita Anne, and her family, we stopped on Mt. Tamalpias at a likely spot, and I lead Cary into a wildflower covered meadow with a beautiful view of the Pacific ocean and Bolinas … we’d been talking about getting married for some time, and had just returned from my father’s wonderful wedding in New Jersey a few weeks before. I think Cary was still pretty surprised when I told her I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and offered to marry her! Ha. My mother’s ring fit Cary perfectly, which we took as a wonderful omen … 

Anyway, we’d been trying to juggle the California-Virginia-Morocco family locations and integrate everyone into a coherent plan for a while … I may have made a few jokes about how we should have had Chuck marry us when we were in Baja … Chuck is the Captain of the Alcatraz Ferry and has married most of the SFMC members who’ve gotten married recently, and who we’d been planning on having marry us here in California … anyway, I think Cary would have surprised me once we arrived in Lake Pillsbury with a wedding, except for the tyranny of the $100 marriage licence San Francisco requires … which also required both of us to get, prior to the ceremony. Also, we had to get wedding bands … 

So, Cary asked me if it would be OK if we got married while on our camping trip? She said we’d still have a party here in California, and still go to Virginia and Morocco … we’d just get a small civil ceremony out of the way … after making sure that it was what Cary wanted to do, of course I said yes … it was an exciting plan, and we found ourselves looking forward to riding our motorcycles to a beautiful place in California and starting our new life together! Yay. 

Me & my "Barbie" KLR at speed on Doyle Drive

Me & my "Barbie" KLR at speed on Doyle Drive

So on Friday the 13th, 2010, we got up early after having given Tegan and Chuck our tent, sleeping bags, camp chairs and a ton of other stuff at the club meeting on Thursday night … probably more stuff than they had in mind when they offered to help lug stuff up to Lake Pillsbury, but Tegan said “no worries!” Thanks, guys! We dressed Julia up in gear we’d borrowed from our friend Clay (thanks, Clay!) and were on the road by 10 pm or so … we took 101 North to 175 East at Hopland … 

Julia snapping pic from the back of Cary's KLR on Rt 175 ...

Julia snapping pic from the back of Cary's KLR on Rt 175 ...

It took us four hours to get to Upper Lake, where we filled up the bikes and headed off into the Mendocino National Forrest’s network of fantastic fire roads … First stop, the Fire Tower! 

Looking north from the Firetower above Upper Lake

Looking north from the Firetower above Upper Lake

We had the nice boys staffing the fire tower snap this picture of us, looking north … Lake Pillsbury is just out of view … here is one I took of Cary and Julia heading off towards the Deer Valley Campground … 

The fireroad north toward Deer

The fireroad north toward Deer

As you can see we were blessed with incredibly nice weather … we could see fog along the coast all the way through Santa Rosa, which kept the temperature down … it didn’t start to get hot ’till we turned east toward Clear Lake, and there was a nice breeze up by the firetower … it can get brutally hot up here in August, but we had nice weather … another good omen. 

We got to the Lake Pillsbury Resort, which takes reservations, at about 4 pm,  six hours after leaving San Francisco. We rolled quickly through the campground, looking for Tegan and Chuck, who we found near the office … they had just arrived, too; perfect timing! 

Tegan's Kawasaki KLX250 and Chuck's Suzuki DR350

Tegan's Kawasaki KLX250 and Chuck's Suzuki DR350

We went and found our campsite, #26, on a bluff overlooking the lake, in the shade of a nice grove of live oaks. We unloaded the bikes, set up the tents and the pickup, and I walked around and found a bunch of firewood that had been left behind in the surrounding campsites … we’d have a nice fire once it got dark, and look for the Perseid Meteor Shower … We had hot-links for dinner and s’more’s for dessert! Bliss. We saw some absolutley huge shooting stars, too. Ha. We slept great, too, because Julia was in another tent and we had earplugs … the girl can SNORE! Wow. 

The wedding bouquet ...

The wedding bouquet ...

So, we slept in a bit the next day, went swimming, put the Avon in the water, went for rides in the boat, and began to get ready for the small adventure wedding. The girls made up the bouquets from a load of Safeway flowers … 

Tegan, Julia, flowers and the camp ...

Tegan, Julia, flowers and the camp ...

Miss Wonderful making flowers ...

Miss Wonderful making flowers ...

Julia loves flowers ...

Julia loves flowers ...

We found a lovely beach across the lake during our exploring on the Avon during the morning … Tegan and the crew went across and made an asile of driftwood and altar of driftwood and generally decorated with balloons, ribbons and such … there was a nice couple on a “party-platform” style boat down the beach, who we approaced to ask if they wouldn’t mind snapping a few pics while we did the service … They said they’d be happy to, if they were still around when we came back to do the wedding … 

Cary using the KLR's mirrors to get dressed ...

Cary using the KLR's mirrors to get dressed ...

The blushing bride ...

The blushing bride ...

I got dressed for my wedding, and Chuck took Tegan and I across and then went back to collect the bride … Cary began to get dressed, in an elegant dress that was the first one she tried on when she and Julia went shopping for wedding clothes … 

While Cary got ready, and Chuck ferried me across the lake and delivered me to the beautiful point on which Cary and I would shortly begin our new life together, I enjoyed my last few minutes of being a single man … The nice couple with the boat had clearly waited for us, and I chatted with the gentleman who had been living in the area since 1947 and had used to ride dirtbikes like the Penton and Greeves … they assured me that we were not being married on “Graveyard Point” … that point was across the lake … I took that for yet another good omen … 

Cary walking down to the boat ...

Cary walking down to the boat ...

Meanwhile, Chuck was collecting Cary and her bridesmaid, Julia … Tegan would be my “Best Man” … 

On the way to a wedding ...

On the way to a wedding ...

Cary's viel and tierra ...

Cary's viel and tierra ...

The Wedding Point ...

The Wedding Point ...

Waiting for the Bride with the photo couple ...

Waiting for the Bride with the photo couple ...

Cary looked gorgeous, perched at the front of the boat, with Chuck in his Captain’s uniform looking regal in the rear of the boat. I handed Cary onto the shore, under the gaze of a small flotilla of holiday boaters who had spied what was about to occur on shore and wanted to witness the wedding from their boats … Cary and I walked up the driftwood aisle toward Chuck, Tegan and Julia … There was a gentle breeze across the water and the sun was just beginning to set in the west … 

Our wedding cerimony ...

Our wedding cerimony ...

Repeating our wedding vows ...

Repeating our wedding vows ...

You may kiss the bride!

You may kiss the bride!

Tegan handed us the rings on cue, and Chuck conducted a simple, dignified service … The small flotilla of boats cheered and honked horns when we sealed the marriage with a kiss … We hit the jackpot in our choice of a photographer, who said that she had the same camera as Tegan at home … 

The happy couple ...

The happy couple ...

Wedding rings and flowers ...

Wedding rings and flowers ...

The beautiful bride ...

The beautiful bride ...

Celebrating with the flotilla ...

Celebrating with the flotilla ...

Posing for wedding pictures ...

Posing for wedding pictures ...

The bride, best man and maid of honor ...

The bride, best man and maid of honor ...

The wedding party ...

The wedding party ...

After the wedding we said goodbye to the nice couple who had taken photographs of us with Tegan’s camera while she attended to her “best man” duties … we relaxed and enjoyed the sunset before piling into the boat to prepare our wedding feast … 

Tegan's wonderful new camp oven baking the wedding cake ...

Tegan's wonderful new camp oven baking the wedding cake ...

The dinner table; steak, cornbread and cake! Yum.

The dinner table; steak, cornbread and cake! Yum.

The dinner party ...

The dinner party ...

Tegan’s new camp oven was super-cool, and she and Cary prepared a chocolate layer cake with cream cheese frosting and strawberries … 

Decorating the wedding cake ...

Decorating the wedding cake ...

Cutting the wedding cake ...

Cutting the wedding cake ...

Sharing the wedding cake with the bride ...

Sharing the wedding cake with the bride ...

Sharing a wedding toast ...

Sharing a wedding toast ...

We had a great dinner with Tegan’s medium rare steak and cowboy beans and Cary’s beet salad and corn-muffins with Kyle’s home made honey … The cake was delicious and we finished off the evening sitting around the campfire looking at the Perseid meteor shower … 

The next morning it was time to ride motorcycles! Yay. First, though, we had to finish the wedding business by completing the marriage license …  

Chuck signing the marriage license ...

Chuck signing the marriage license ...

Julia signing the license as a witness ...

Julia signing the license as a witness ...

And Tegan, too, we need two witnesses ...

And Tegan, too, we need two witnesses ...

We soon completed that wedding business, and were ready to start the first day of our married life together with a motorcycle ride … 

Julia ready for a ride up Mt. Hull ...

Julia ready for a ride up Mt. Hull ...

We were going to ride around Lake Pillsbury, check out some of the other campgrounds around the lake for future reference, and then ride up 8000-foot Mt. Hull, which overlooks the lake … 

The group just below Mt. Hull ...

The group just below Mt. Hull ...

A view of the lake, and the wedding point ...

A view of the lake, and the wedding point ...

Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney out for a KLR ride ...

Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney out for a KLR ride ...

We had a nice, relaxed ride most of the way up Mt. Hull … Cary did a much better job riding Julia around on this trip than I could have … Julia is fearless, and so is Cary, and the two of them roared up Mt. Hull on Cary’s KLR, two-up up the rocky, four wheel drive jeep trail, kicking up a huge cloud of dust sprinkled with lots of giggles … 

We rode back to the lake and all went for a well deserved swim … we had another campfire that evening, watched more meteor showers in the inky black firmament above the Mendocino National Forrest … Chuck and I explored the lake a bit in the Avon, which was fun … we had another good night’s sleep, too, when Julia wasn’t keeping us awake with her snoring … ha. 

We rode back to the city the next day, after helping Tegan and Chuck load up their rig with our stuff and their dirt-bikes … We can’t thank them enough for all their love and support in helping Cary and I have a wonderful, beautiful and memorable wedding experience … Tegan brought all her photos to the club last night, and we downloaded them onto Cary’s laptop … well over 100 pics! Yay … I’m sure Cary will update the blog with more photos soon … 

Beginning wedded bliss together ...

Beginning wedded bliss together ...

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Responses

  1. Yeah! Congratulations again, guys! I love the shot of Cary and Chuck in the boat. Cary, you look amazing.

  2. You guys are so fucking cool.

    Many wishes! Can’t wait to see you both again!

  3. you all look so happy. Cary, you look absolutely beautiful. May you both have a long, healthy, loving and happy life together. Miss and love you all soooooooooo much!!! mom and Lori

  4. Dear Cary and John:

    Great story! Pictures are great! We are so happy for you and wish you the best. Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Much love,
    Molly and Mehdi

  5. Congratulations you two! Best wishes for many years of happiness and love together! xoxo ~Max & Kevin

  6. Bravo and congratulations!!

    May your knobbies never wear out….

    happy trails,

    Phil

  7. Cary-
    Congratulations to you and John!! You look so happy together =) Best wishes to you for many years to come!

    Love,
    Matt, Kerri, Hunter and baby Beckett (coming 9/22/10)

  8. Dear John and Cary,

    Oh my god, how did you pull that off with a brides dress, veil, bouquet, the captain, the cake, the photos…i can barely get the coffee made when I am camping or my face clean. Congratulations and
    best wishes. I am so happy for you.

    much love,
    liz

  9. Yea! Cary, welcome to the Sweeney family, and John, you’re a lucky duck!!
    What a great idea for a wedding venue, and everyone was looking fine. The “parson” is way cool. How great to arrange a meteor shower as the reception entertainment! We look forward to seeing you soon, and in VA next summer—-Dad

  10. Fabulous! Welcome to the family!! The venue looked amazing. Mom would be super thrilled and I’m sure she personally arranged the shooting stars. xxo

    We Love You Both!!

  11. Cary and John,

    Wow! You really pulled it off. Homemade campfire wedding cake!!?? Super cool. The photos were amazing, the setting beautiful, and you guys seem so calm and married and such. We love you both!

    Charley, Rita & the gang!

  12. Congratulations Cary and John! We’re very happy for you both. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your lives together. We celebrated 15 years together this year after eloping. Your view was much better then ours. Love, The Khartami’s and Fink’s — Tina, Khalid, Yasmina, Waleed Khartami and Denny, Kathy and Jeff Fink.

  13. John,

    I am so out of the loop. Congratulations to both you and Cary! I swear Gibbons’ family news gets around by Pony Express…….I just found out you were married! Best Wishes to both of you~

    Your Cousin from back East, Beth

  14. Hi Beth,
    Yes, time flies! Today is our second wedding anniversary … 8/14/10! Sorry I’ve missed you the last few times I’ve been back east … now that mom is passed on and dad is remarried, I get back east less and less … anyway, hope you are well, and your kids, and hope to see you soon!
    Your out west cousin, — John


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