Monthly Archives: September 2017

Favorite Podcasts 2017 Edition

Favorite Podcasts 2017 Edition

It is September 30, which is International Podcast Day.  It is time to share my new favorite podcasts for 2017.Podcast Day

Some of my listening has shifted due to changes in my life. I’m no longer running but still striving to keep a active outside lifestyle.

Pedalshift  A bi-monthly podcast by Tim Mooney, it is focused on bike touring. I have picked up many tips listening to the podcasts. It helped that Tim is based in the DC area and is quite knowledgeble about both the C&O Towpath Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Outside In A Show About the  natural world and how we use it. Highly produced by New Hampshire Public Radio. I really enjoyed “Always Wear Earth Tones” about a man who lived outside for nearly two decades before he was found out.

Science Vs Presented by Gimlet Media, Science Vs takes on fads, trends, and the opinionated mob to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between.  Sometimes it’s fun to just have a random podcast about whether nuclear energy is safe, or whether lemmings actually commit suicide-Science Vs will find out and present the facts.

The Intelligent Racer Podcast I didn’t know about this podcast until they interviewed Gary Robbins and John Kelly of The Barkley Marathons. They get all sorts of people on their podcast, including Ryan Sandes who won Western States in 2017, and Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman.

XX Will Travel  Another “new to me” podcast I stumbled across.  A podcast for independent women travelers, many assorted shows on different subjects, reviews of cities and countries,

Women on the Road-somewhat of a spin off of the She Explores Podcast, interviews with women who are living on the road, usually in a van set up.

Wild Ideas Worth Living informative podcast interviews about people who have set big goals for themselves and achieved them,  usually in some manner about the natural world and adventure.

Any new and noteworthy podcasts for me to take a listen to?

Save

Save

National Women’s Fitness Day

The last Wednesday in September is celebrated as National Women’s Fitness Day.

Why a National Women’s Fitness Day?

To celebrate and draw attention to encourage women to take care of their own health. Many times women are busy being the caregivers of both the younger generation (children) and the other generation (parents) that they don’t take the time for themselves.

What Can You Do?

Get out, get active! If you already exercise, that’s great! If you don’t move on a regular basis, why not get out for a walk today?   Why not sign up for that yoga or barre class you’ve thought about?

Make that doctor appointment

Can’t get motivated to work out? Okay, pick up the phone or computer mouse and make your annual doctor appointment.

Drink Some Water

Have you drank your daily water requirement yet? That fancy water bottle isn’t going to drink itself!

Every day should be National Women’s Fitness Day!

 

Save

Save

Constitution Day

September 17 is Constitution Day

Constitution Day

Hey! Today is Constitution Day! This was the day in 1787 that the United States Constitution was ratified.

Did you know Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students. 

Maybe I knew that. If I have, I have forgotten it.

When is the last time you read the Constitution and Amendments

In school back in the day?

I discovered an app called Interactive Constitution. I figured I could have something educational on my phone besides random games and Facebook. It’s been pretty cool to just randomly access and read about our constitution.

 How Many Amendments are There?

From Hamilton An American Musical:

Burr Hamilton

Burr: The constitution’s a mess

Hamilton: So it needs amendments

Burr: It’s full of contradictions

Hamilton: So is independence 
                   We have to start somewhere

 Take a Read

Your homework? Read over the Amendments. Refresh yourself on the Founding Fathers document.

(The quiz will come later….)

Wait, I found the quiz! I got a 9 out of 10! Here’s your Quiz!

What was your score???

 

The New Biker Experience at Camp Tuscazoar

New biker

 

I bought a new bike! Meet Hellga, from Specialized.

Hellga

I’d been curious about fat bikes. Or rather “fat tire bikes” for some time. I wanted a bike to ride in the winter, on my back roads around here, when my hybrid bike is up on the trainer. I had done some reading, and decided to just bite the bullet, and buy a bike.

The fat tire experience is different than my hybrid bike. The tires do “float” over objects,  like gravel. I would have never even thought about taking my hybrid into one of our pastures to ride there.

I was excited to be off work Monday and I headed to Camp Tuscazoar at 8 am! I’ve blogged about many experiences at Camp Tuscazoar. There has been many improvements to the trails there over the last few years.

East Side Trails

East Side Trails Camp Tuscazoar

On the East Side of the camp, there are newly built mountain bike trails. These are for the beginner rider. I helped out in the spring doing some trail maintenance.

 

Skills and Thrills

The trails are very well marked and signed. I was going to stay away from the “Skills and Thrills” until I read the description. It was for the youth and total beginner! That’s me!

You start off with a downhill (gulp) but it levels out. The trail is wide and there are no big ups or downs.

At the skills section, you can ignore all the skills and just ride through. Or you can practice going over a log; rocks; hopping off a bridge, both wide and narrow; biking on a log. I did just the very basic skills. I hopped off the little bridge, rode the bridge with the little hill. I did not try anything like biking on a log or trying to go over two logs at the same time.

This route is about 0.6 miles long. I think I rode it about five times before I ventured to the next upgrade, Hilltop Trail.

Hilltop Trail

This had many more ups and downs than the Skills Trail! I used my brake quite a bit on this. I am a total newby mountain biker.

I rode this trail again, then decided to add the North Slope. This trail had big switchbacks and berms!  There was much braking on this trail. I had to hop off Hellga and push her in a few places. I don’t have gearing quite mastered yet for this new bike.

After this, I rode the Skills Trail again and called it a day. I was tired! Hopefully I won’t be too sore tomorrow. These are excellent mountain bike trails for a newby!

Mid Week Hike with Mei Ling

Mid Week Hike

I had the opportunity and luck to meet up with a Buckeye Trail Thru Hiker, Mei-Ling today. She was hiking well, and I caught up with her right before the off-road section at Salt Fork State Park.

Thru Hiker

A thru hiker is a hiker who is planning on finishing an entire trail with one continous hike. This would be opposite of a hiker who might get out on the weekend and hike a section of the Buckeye Trail, and keep working on adding completed sections of trail hiked.

Warrior Expeditions

Mei Ling and Preston are the two Buckeye Trail Warrior Expeditions hikers for 2017. Warrior Expeditions provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran.

Buckeye Trail Sat Fork Section

I’ve hike this section of the Buckeye Trail. I parked at the Group Campground end and hiked in to meet Mei-Ling, who was coming from the other direction.

Oh my! This section needs some serious maintenance. I hiked this section in May. It was overgrown then-but MY it’s overgrown now.

Salt Fork State Park Group Camp

Even though it is an off-road section, it’s no fun in its present form.

Buckeye Trail

The trails needs to be mowed at least yearly to beat back the multi-flower rose.

Buckeye Trail

There is one section where I believe the rose bush is getting so big you can’t mow it down.

Buckeye Trail Sign

I’d like to get back there sooner and later and see if maybe there could be an easier passage in the woods beside the trail..

Hosting

Mei-Ling Jules

It was fun to host Mei-Ling as she continues with her Buckeye Trail south. 2 of my 3 dogs really liked her visiting!

 

Final Thoughts on my First Bike Tour

My Final Thoughts on my First Bike Tour

Final Thoughts

Time to wrap up the adventure that was Co Gap Bike Tour 2017!

Overall, I enjoyed my tour. It was neat to see new areas. It was good to learn that I can do multi day physical activity.

 

Lessons learned from first bike tour

Know how to change a bike tire all by yourself. It will happen. No kind strangers will come by. It’s up to you. Make sure you have all the components to change a tire: spare inner tube, bike tire levers, hex key, tire pump, gloves.

Mile 174 C&O Towpath

Fixed Bike. Almost fixed bike. Wheel is not correct on axle..yet

Be comfortable being on your bike. I bought a touring saddle from Terry. I was pretty comfortable on the bike until Day Seven, I did develop some chafing on my rear. I think that was due to the big uphill on Day Five. I could have done a better job with application of butt cream.

What I was glad I carried

Carry enough calories and water. Know where you can next get water if possible. I didn’t carry water purification tablet or system, but that is a good option.

Bug Spray! I forgot it on Day One but was okay. I could have used some more on Day Four fixing my tire on the trail-I had sweated it all off.

Allergy medicine-I took an allergy tablet every morning. When you are in a different state or region, you don’t know what plants or pollen may affect you.

Music-I was glad to have both music and podcasts available for some of my riding. As soon as I hit the edge of Pittsburgh, I put it away, I needed to concentrate on riding.

Boombotix

Camera-or phone, something to take pictures with and record moments. I recorded small things on my Evernote app.  This helped me remember when I wrote my blog posts.

I was glad, on this first bike tour,to sleep inside every night. The first thing I would do at the hotel was grab something to eat, like a cheese snack, and then shower! I’m sure having the air conditioning to sleep in was more restful than sleeping in my tent on the ground.

Great Allegheny Passage Trail

On the other hand, I missed out on that bit of adventure of bike camping. But there will be more opportunities to bike camp, I’m planning on two short bike camping adventures before the end of the year.

 

Final Day of my First Bike Tour

Final Day

The final day of my first bike tour! It was an early morning start. We (my husband) wanted to finish and be out of Pittsburgh as quickly as possible. I would have preferred a much slower amble but oh well. We were awake at 530am, out of the hotel by 630am, and a meandering way back to Smithton.

Back to Smithton

Great Allegheny Passage Trail

I was set for these last miles to Pittsburgh. I chucked everything out of the pannier except the bike repair kit and food. No need to carry the lock or dry shirt, I was going to the end.

Great Allegheny Passage Trai

It was another very overcast early morning but still hot and humid.

Acid Waterfall

Acid Waterfall Great Allegheny Passage Trai

One of the iconic views on this section of the Great Allegheny Trail is the acid water waterfall, which is acid mine drainage from an old coal mine. The water here is acid and iron-rich, coming up to the surface from underground mines, staining the rocks rust-red. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a major source of water pollution and the cause of extensive stream degradation
and environmental damage.

Mile 131 Great Allegheny Passage Trai

Road? What road section?

I leave the little Boston Trail head area, the trail winds downhill…onto a road. With no markers. I don’t remember reading about a road section…I can see a bike tire in a mud puddle, so I go in that direction. I finally see cyclists in the distance and then there is an actual official GAP mile marker, I’m still on the correct trail!

Great Allegheny Passage Trai

Great Allegheny Passage Trai

Riding in the City

I got off trail right thru McKeesport, but two nice runners pointed out the trail to me, it was parallel to the road I was biking.This little fortress is a hostel in McKeesport. I’m not sure if I would want to stop in McKeesport at night, but if your biking plans leave you no choice there is this hostel available.Mile 139 Great Allegheny Passage Trai

I biked through the areas of Duquesne, The Waterfront and Homestead. The signage is not great here, in fact I asked another biker if I was still on the GAP Trail.

My Friend Cam

My friend Cam lives in the Pittsburgh area. I was just starting across the Hot Metal Bridge when he showed up to bike the final miles with me. Not only did we bike across the Hot Metal Bridge, we crossed back over the river to go through the South Side and cross again, this time on the Fort Pitt Bridge!

Meanwhile, my poor husband was wondering where I was..

Final Miles

Cam helped me get the bike up for the “money shot”.

My husband Dennis who deserves much credit being my “batman“. He picked me up at the trail

head and then delivered me back to the trail head in the morning.  Since he came along, there was somewhere to sleep every night and air conditioning and showers!

Sock monkey and my bike. A successful journey on a bike. The first time I had done sustained activity, day after day.  It was a very cool ride and I am glad to say this first bike tour will not be my last one!