Monthly Archives: October 2013

Grenada Day Two: St Georges & Fort Frederick and Mathew

Our friend Jude picked us up and we first stopped at the bank to exchange currency.  Current rate is 1$ US= 2.60 EC.  It’s no longer an advantage to use a credit card so we were planning on using cash for everything.

Next stop was lunch, at BB’s Crabback:

Located at the end of the Carenage, I remember a previous less than stellar meal here, but not this time.  The food was excellent.

I had callaloo soup and the crab-so good!

View from the restaurant

The Carenage

The next stop after lunch was the National Museum.  Dennis was eager to see Spencer, one of the museum employees that he corresponds with.  I knew Eddie would want to tour the museum again, so Jude and I left them and did some shopping.  I came back one hour later, and picked up Patty, and then we did some shopping.

Where the Trail Goddess Becomes a Star on Venezuela Television

When Patti re-arrived at the museum, a film crew had just shown up.  They were making a documentary about the Grenada Revolution.  On October 25, this is now the 30th anniversary of the Grenada Revolution.  The film crew needed some bodies walk around and browse the exhibits of the Grenada Revolution, so I wished I had remembered my pic to comb my hair!

So the film crew followed me around as I read about the events leading from the days of Independence from Great Britain, in 1972, thru out the event of 1983.  They also filmed myself and one of the museum curator/administrators talking over one of the books published on Grenada.  (See Buff, if you had already given me a sponsor, I could have been wearing a BUFF headband for the documentary!!)

FINALLY the guys decide we are done.  (This is where Kimba sez “okay are we ready to GO????”)

But it’s only about five o’clock, we have dinner reservations at seven pm in St George’s.  We don’t really want to back track to Mourne Rouge before dinner, so Jude asks if we want to go to the other Fort “up the hill” so off we go to Fort Frederick.

We had never been here before on any previous excursions!  What a view!   And it was overcast and gloomy, I can imagine the view on a nice sunny day!

Fort Frederick is an interior fort built by the French in 1779 to protect from retaliatory attacks from the British after the French easily defeated them in a surprise attack.  Fort Frederick’s dungeons were last utilized in the 1970s and 80s to house political prisoners.

Fort Matthew
 Right next to Fort Frederick is Fort Matthew, which is in such disrepair that few people bother leaving Fort Frederick to visit it.

Except us!  We noticed the fort, and since we still had time before dinner to explore.

It really was in ruins.  It looked like a perfect place for a scene from “The Walking Dead” to be filmed.  There was also a storm approaching and it was dark and gloomy.

I didn’t understand the bar sign at first, nor the “DON’T PEE HERE” sign either, but then I saw Jude wandering down a hallway with a female (Jude knows everybody)

and we could not believe there was a BAR (and little restaurant) in the middle of this ruined fort!  It was hilarious!

You could never do something like this in the States.  Fort Mathew was just full of  crumbled walls and iron hooks sticking out,  you would drunkenly wander off and die in a corner and who knows when you would be found!    We had time for a quick beer before off to dinner’s at Patricks, which will be a blog post on it’s own.

Grenada Day Two

I got up early for my run along Grand Anse Beach.

First I ran down to Quarantine Point, which separates Mourne Rouge Bay from Grand Anse Beach.  The Rotary Club has worked to turn this into a nice little park, with lots of benches and tables.

 I thought I could pick up the trail down to Grand Anse beach from here, but the trail ended abruptly and I kind of disturbed this man when I ran by a dilapidated shack, which was his house.  (Sorry mon.)

 Grenada Rainbow!!!

 I made my way down to Grand Anse.  First I tried to keep my shoes dry, but the tide was coming in, and they were soon soaked.  So much for dry sneakers for the rest of the trip!

 Even at 7 am, there were folks out and about.  It had just rained recently, so it was a bit overcast and not as blasted hot as I remember some mornings here.

 Grand Anse is about one mile long.  With the tide coming in, some of the beach canter was a little unpleasant, but I knew it would reverse on the way back.

Interesting looking pods off the palm tree.

View toward St Georges, with rain coming over the hill

 After everyone woke up and  had breakfast, I went back to the beach for a bit.

 The rain actually did roll in, and we got back under the bar to keep dry.

 I  managed to get caught by a beach vendor Elon-he’s on Tripadvisor, and friend Eddie negotiated a price for the necklaces.

The rest of the day was spent in St Georges, which was deserving of a post of its own!

Grenada Day One

 Back from vacation!!  Warning, this next week’s posts will all be pretty much vacation-centric.  I did a good job of taking pics and documenting our trip-for my benefit.  We go to Grenada every five years (hopefully it will be sooner than five years this next trip) but I could not remember certain details, like which spice gardens we had visited before, and what restaurants I had liked in the past. So this time I wrote everything down!

It was a wonderful wonderful trip!

Where the Ultra Trail Goddess goes Snorkelling

We “slept in” almost to 730 am.  I was pretty hungry, so we showered and went next door to the Kalinago Resort.

I forgot how some things are in Grenada. I ordered the cod for breakfast…only to be told it was out.  I then ordered the Creole fish with green bananas..no bananas.  So I had toast.  (It’s a pretty common  thing for items to be missing from Grenada menus.  Sometimes it is easier to ask them what they do have.)

After breakfast, it was off to the Spiceland Mall IGA to lay in provisions for the week.  We have the kitchenette at the Gem, so we wanted to make sure to have food for simple meals and especially breakfast.  Besides, Dennis loves to cook.

 Back to the Gem, then lunch at our favorite restaurant and bar, the Sur de le Mar, at the Gem.

 It was finally time for a lambi roti!

Lambi is conch.  Roti is the pastry, made from chick pea flour, that it is wrapped in.  The filling is actually lambi and potatoes, in a curry spice.  But I had forgotten how HUGE these roti were!

I still managed to eat all of it.

After lunch, it was beach time-FINALLY!!!!!

We had dinner at Sangria’s; excellent octopus carpaccio and lambi ceviche, but the marlin was a bit over cooked and  service was very slow.  We had to go find out check as the waitress didn’t seem inclined to bring it to us.
We settled in at our outside table, and ended up talking to all of neighbors as they walked by.

We waited for the sunset; at 12 degrees north of the Equator this happens just about at 6 pm, and takes about two minutes to set.





A pretty good vacation beginning!

Ultraspire Pack Review



I was very excited to see some hydration pack created to hold bottles versus bladders.

I bought the 2012 Ultraspire Kinetic.  On first wearing, I really liked it.  I liked it because it was  made for bottles.  There is a huge pocket in the middle that I could even access without taking the vest off.

Although I did buy the small/medium, the pack was still too big for my short-waisted hobbit self.  Why are there no children hydration packs?  I have a short torso, and the pack pretty much sat on my butt.

I didn’t want to give up on the two bottle system.  I looked at the 2013 line.  I actually thought I had bought the 2013 Kinetic, but I had bought the “Ribos”.
You could adjust the torso length!  That was the winning element of buying the Ribos.

You do need to have the Molecular Belt System, (MBS) which I already owned, called the Connector:

 
.


I bought the Ribos..  I ratcheted up the bottles as high as they could go…but now the tongue was hitting too low on the velco.  So  I doubled up and sewed the tab, making it shorter.

I then had a “duh” moment.  It’s not like I am going to grow taller, or exchange this pack with someone else.  So I just sewed the whole tab down.


The pack now fits much better.  The bottles do not touch the top of my butt, or interfere with my arm movement. 

The upper pack still moves and swivels on me still. I guess it’s supposed to? Or maybe I list to the left while I run?

I like the Ribos.  I would like a bit more storage on it, but I am not sure where that could be rigged.

On each side of the bottle pockets is a small zipped pocket, where you could cram in 2 gels.

The front pockets mimic the Kinetic set up.  On the left is a zipped pocket, with a stretchable pocket in front of it.  A cell phone fits comfortably into the zipped pocket.  On the right is a stretchy pocket that you can cinch closed. 

On the front straps, on each side are one teeny tiny pocket.  My chapstick will fit into one.  I’m not sure what to use the other one for.  Ultraspire says you could put your salt tabs/electrolyte caps in it, but I put my S! caps into a baggy, not just loose, and that certainly won’t fit.

Of the two, I really like the Ribos much better.  The only improvement I could see is to make the teeny tiny front pockets a bit bigger, and figure out a way for a bigger pocket (somewhere) on the pack.

No Hellgate for Me

I was not selected for the Hellgate 100K this winter.

I was slightly surprised.  Actually a bit surprised.  I know that Horton knews me now. Although  I am not the fastest runner, I am running mid pack- versus- being back of the pack these days.

I saw, via Facebook, some runners that *I* would consider slower, or as Horton’s Race Committee says “have a chance of finishing” Hellgate.  But to honest, I don’t know who all are in the “Beast Series”  (which Hellgate is one of the runs, and I believe if you are entered in the Beast, you are an auto in).

I will let my application ride, for a lottery, for the last remaining spots for Hellgate. I don’t really know if I care whether I get selected or not, at this time.

It looks like I will be running 50 miles at NEO TC URINEO this December!

Zoar Valley Trail 2013

Since my husband and I travelled to NEO in separate vehicles, he agreed to give me a ride down the Zoar Valley Trail.  This meant I could just run back to my vehicle, parked in the Fort Laurens parking lot.

Dennis dropped me off where the “trail” should be.  The last time I was down this way, it was an old abandoned rail bed:
Now it looks more like a road, which some active construction activity going on.

 Oh well, I knew the road would lead me to the Dover Dam, as I had run an out-n-back from Camp Tuscozoar exactly one year ago .

I wonder who is in charge of the Zoar Valley Trail, as there are no marks at all on the trail on the east side of the Tuscarawas River. I knew where I was going, because of previous recon trips, but I believe a person could not really make much sense out of this guide.

 Okay, apparently the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation is in charge of the Zoar Valley Trail. Perhaps I will give them a hand with a new map or assist with marking the trail.   I wasn’t sure if I should actually be on this “road” but as it was Sunday, there was no working going on.

 The Dover Dam is still under its 101 Million Dollar Rehabilitation Project.

 As you leave the dam, there is this old jeep trail (its the ZVT) but you would have no way to know this!  No blazes, no nothing.

But this is all very runnable.  Very very flat.

 The Zoarville Station Fink Truss Bridge. The last to exist in the country.

The Zoarville Station Bridge is a rare survivor of the earliest period of iron bridge construction in the United States, an era when unprecedented railroad expansion gave American bridge builders an international reputation for innovation. German immigrant Albert Fink first developed this truss design for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the early 1850s.
Because it is the last of its type, features unique engineering, uses Phoenix columns in its structure, and is ancient with an 1868 construction date, this is a bridge that is rivaled by few in terms of importance.

The bridge features the highly unusual Fink truss configuration. These endposts are vertical and utilize a modified Phoenix Column. Phoenix columns are also used for the top chord and vertical members. Phoenix columns were a special patented type of built-up member. Very few examples of them remain today.

As I stopped to take pics, I realized how hot I was! Goodness, I don’t expect eighty degrees and humidity in October!  Of course, running right next to a river doesn’t help with the mugginess either.

 Right after the Zink Truss Bridge, you continue forward and you see State Route 800 in front of you.

You have to know to turn left, run about 1/4 of a mile, crossing over the Tuscarawas River, cross to the north side of Rt 800, and look for the little road (which is the ZVT) there.

This is actually where signage begins!

This is also where blazes on trees begin. Although this looks white, the blazes are blue. The Buckeye Trail joins the ZVT on the west side of the Tuscarawas River for a six mile stretch.

I am glad someone thoughtfully posted a sign about alligators in the Tusc River. I had almost forgot about the “alligator in the Tusc River incident from 2009”

The alligator, estimated to be about 4 feet long, was seen earlier in the day sunning itself on a log in the river but went into hiding before the sheriff arrived at about 1 p.m. Wilson said he saw photographs that were taken by Newcomerstown Police Chief Tim Miller, who apparently was aware of the reptile Monday.
The sheriff’s department was notified about the reptile by a Newcomerstown area resident late Wednesday afternoon. Wilson said a deputy was sent at that time but was unable to locate it.

 And this is where, apparently the official “end” or beginning of the Towpath Trail, The Ohio & Eric Canal Towpath.

   The signage for the Towpath Trail is much improved also.  I do not recall seeing any of the brown signs on my earlier recons of the area.
And yes, there was a mile 83 marker.
 

 Besides myself, there were five other people on the trail on this warm fall day.  I didn’t expect to really see people on the western side of the Tusc River, but I thought more people would take advantage of a nice sunny day and get outside.


The Towpath Trail down here in Tuscarawas County is nothing like the Towpath Trail that one finds in Northern Ohio.  The Trail up north is at least eight or ten feet wide.  The trail here is about three feet wide. Two or three people could run or walk abreast, but that is all.
It is also not a smooth trail at all, compared to the Northern sections. 

 This is the huge bridge that was built across Interstate 77.  I believe you could drive a tank across this bridge. Or several tanks, all at once.

 The Buckeye Trail splits off here, following the equestrian trail, and I took the pedestrian path into Fort Laurens.  Note the good Towpath Trail Signage.

It does seem like there are future improvements planned for the Towpath Trail, to extend it further south:
Working with the Tuscarawas County Canal Lands Committee the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition was awarded a “Clean Ohio” grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to purchase 71 acres of land to extend the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail to Route 800 near Zoarville.
This property will allow for the completion of an additional section of the 101-mile Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail running from Cleveland to New Philadelphia, connecting cities and villages in Tuscarawas County to cities and villages in Stark, Summit and Cuyahoga Counties.
I think one of my winter runs should be to figure out the southern half of the Zoar Valley Trail.  It appears that the rest of the trail is all on road.  I think a good winter project would be to really improve on the ZVT map!!

Running Like a Bandit

My husband and I were in the Hudson Ohio area for his 82nd Airborne Association “All Ohio Days” convention.  I took the morning to go run.

I looked at the map, knowing I could run down the road, to a Hike and Bike Trail, and then this would lead me, either way to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Now I know CVNP is “closed” due to the government shut down.  But, based on some readings, some FB postings, I didn’t think the “actual trail” was closed down.

I ran down the road, found the Hike and Bike, and made my way over to Brandywine Falls.

I realized I  had actually been to Brandywine Falls before! With Wild Bill and Tara, on a run last winter.

The Brandywine Falls parking was empty.  Gates were locked.

I hopped over the barricade and made my way down to the Falls. Screw the government.

 
 

It was a gorgeous day to be out running.  I took the Stanford Trail, then looped around Brandywine Falls. 

Then I decided to run over to the Towpath, or at least the  hostel.  There was nobody in the woods!  Was everyone running Oil Creek?  Or was everyone scared off the trail?

Sigh,  More rules.

Closer to the hostel, I encountered a hiker, who asked me if there were any rangers out.  Then, a little closer, three women walking who jumped nervously and also asked me if there were rangers out.

WTH.  Now people are scared of the rangers?  The way I understand it, yes, parking lots, restrooms, and “special areas” like the boardwalk down to Brandywine Falls are closed.  But I saw NO signs telling me the trail was closed down.


My back and body felt good.  It was nice to be on single track.  I felt great running quickly downhill.  When I had hurt my back, I had felt very slow, like I was “braking” or being very cautious on the downhills.

Running back toward my hotel, on the hike and bike, I see a thin blonde woman running toward me–is that TANYA CADY???   It was!  We had a nice little reunion, and Tanya told me about rangers actually ticketing people in the National Park! No wonder the park was so empty.  What a shame.

Seeing Tanya really energized me for the remainder of my run.  About nine miles, and the best part was running into a friend!