Category Archives: Comfort Zone

My Ohio Bucket List

Ohio Bucket List

You can have micro adventures all around you! I’m thinking of destinations inside the Buckeye State that I haven’t yet ventured to yet. I created my Ohio Bucket List.

Serpent Mound 

Serpent Mound is on the National Historic Landmark list. It is an effigy mound-representing a snake with a curled tail. This was built by the Adena culture 800 BC-1000 AD.

The Bridges of Ashtabula County

http://www.coveredbridgefestival.org/Pages/bridges.html

http://www.coveredbridgefestival.org/Pages/bridges.html

There are 19 covered bridges in this northern county of Ohio. This could be an nice road trip weekend. I’ll try to have a better memory of Ashtabula county besides my dog bite.

Ashtabula Harbor Light House

While I’m up north, why not visit a lighthouse?   This light house was erected in 1836. While other lighthouses were automated, the Harbor Light remained manned until 1973. The lighthouse was restored in the 2000s and today is available for public tours.

Bob Evan’s Farm

Down on the farm! Bob Evans started in Ohio, and the farm is still in southern Ohio, not very far from me. The Farm and Homestead are now a museum. The Sausage Shop turned into the very first Bob Evan’s restaurant.

Mansfield Reformatory

No, I’ve never seen the movie. I did read the book. You know I’m referring to “Shawshank Redemption” which was filmed  at the Mansfield Reformatory. It would be interesting to take a tour through the former prison.

Ride the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad

This is a no brainer. I can carry my bike onto the train, ride it a few miles up, and then hop off and ride back. I just need to get a day scheduled and DO IT!

https://www.cvsr.com/blog-and-news/

https://www.cvsr.com/blog-and-news/

National Museum of the Great Lakes

I did not know there was a museum about the history of the Great Lakes. Located in Toledo, there is a museum and the Col. James M. Schoonmaker ship to check out.

The Annie Oakley Museum

Okay, it’s the Garst Museum in Greenville Ohio, but it’s Annie Oakley I am interested in. Phoebe Moses was born in Darke County Ohio.

Dysart Woods

Dysart Wood, an Ohio University land laboratory, is in the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau in Belmont County. There is a tract of 50 acres of old-growth white oak-beech-tulip trees. The oldest trees are 400 years old and 4 feet in diameter.

This reminds me of Conrad Richter’s novel “The Trees”. This novel was set in Ohio, around 1795, where Ohio was wild undiscovered country. There were two more books in this trilogy, “The Fields” and “The Town”.   There was a TV mini-series called “The Awakening Land” in 1978, starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Hal Holbrook based on this trilogy.

What features and attractions are available to you in your state? It’s just a short Google/Pinterest search away!

 

 

My 2019 Challenge: 219 Workouts in 2019

I like to have a yearly challenge. I believe it started with Project 50.  2018 is the Art Journal Challenge, create a mixed media page weekly with a prompt. I decided I need to get back to some physical activity.

219 Challenge

There are tons of challenges out there, push ups, pull ups, plank daily. What to choose??

I came across the blog “Fit is a Feminist Issue” earlier in the year, and they were about halfway through their 218 workouts in 2018. That immediately perked my interest! Of course, I decided to save the challenge for 2019.  Never fear, I have been working out all along!

219 in 2019 gives me accountability. I am going to create some calendars so I can number and cross off work outs. I will be working out 2/3 of the year.

What counts as a work out?

Physical activity outside the normal realm of moving

Walking the dogs-not a work out. We do this all the time

House cleaning-unless it’s painting, or scrubbing floors that works one into a sweat-nope

Workouts I plan to do:

Walking

Hiking

Yoga/stretching

Weight training

Cycling

What challenge will you conquer in 2019?

 

 

Walking the Camino de Santiago

This walk is coming up in the top of my interest again lately. The Camino de Santiago, or “The Way of Saint James” is a network of pilgrim’s ways, or pilgrimages, which lead to the shrine of Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. There are many routes that pilgrims walk. I am interested in one of the most popular, the Frances, where one starts in France, and ends in Spain.

The Frances

https://thecaminoprovides.com/routes/frances2017/

Image from https://thecaminoprovides.com/routes/frances2017/

Albergues

Albergues are hostels located in about every little town. Multi bunk rooms, you have a place to shower, sleep, perhaps cook a meal. This way you don’t have to carry a tent and camp gear, maybe not even a sleeping bag in the summer months. There are also private rooms available in most towns if you want to spend money for privacy.

Credential

https://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/pilgrims-credential-el-camino-de-santiago/

Image from https://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/pilgrims-credential-el-camino-de-santiago/

Camino credential-passport. You need one of these for your walk. It establishes you as a pilgrim, where you are allowed to sleep in an albergue and qualify you for a (cheaper) pilgrim’s meal. You have to have your credential stamped at least daily to show that you have walked (or cycled) the route.

Popularity

I became aware of the Camino de Santiago a few years ago during a random internet search that brought up the movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen from 2010.

In researching it, I was intrigued by having albergues and bars so close together, you don’t really have to carry food, water, gear on your walk.

At the Adventure Summit in Dayton earlier this year, a couple gave a lecture on their pilgrimage-to a packed house! It’s evident that people are interested in “The Way”.

Coleman presentation at Adventure Summit

Have you walked el Camino de Santiago? Would you go on a pilgrimage?

 

 

 

Hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls Grenada

Hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls

On this trip to Grenada, my husband announced he wanted to go hike to a waterfalls with me! (We’re not getting any younger.) As I am NOT in the same shape I was on previous hiking expeditions, we chose the easy Seven Sisters Falls hike.

Seven Sisters or St Margaret’s Falls

The hike to St Margaret’s or Seven Sisters as it is locally known is not bad, just a bit muddy. You climb down two big sets of wooden stairs, so keep in mind coming back you have a bit of a climb! Then it is rocky, muddy a bit overgrown.

Tropical Adventures

We hire a guide when I go hiking. We’ve been using Tropical Adventures with Vaughan Francis for over eighteen years now! Vaughan has taken me on my epic hikes in Grenada: summiting Mt Qua Qua, Mt St Catherine, and the long distance Cross Country Trail. Vaughan is a great  hiker AND a birder, keep that in mind if you want to see certain birds of Grenada.

Vaughan Francis Tropical Adventures

 

Honeymoon Falls

We were almost to Seven Sisters when Vaughan called out for me to take a right on the trail instead of crossing the river over to the falls. He had been evaluating how we hopped and balanced over the rocks, and judged we were fit enough to visit Honeymoon Falls.

Waterfall Climb

The Climb

In order to access Honeymoon Falls, one must walk UP this set of rocks. It doesn’t look like much, but there is a roaring current! Vaughan went first, showing me a rock with a hole in it, to avoid it.

Comfort Zone

I wasn’t quite sure about this.  It was NOT a big climb, but plenty of rushing water. You had to lift each foot carefully so you weren’t dashed off your feet. I was already thinking, how am I going to get down this? I contemplated shaking my head and saying no.

I did it

I stopped whining in my head and carefully placed my feet and climbed up to Vaughan. My husband followed. THEN we had another short climb thru more water, to reach the falls!

No pics!

I did not bring a waterproof bag for my camera! My husband had his phone in a baggie, which died on this vacation. If I can recover any pics, I will post them. So no pics of this wonderful thunderous waterfall.

NOW I had to descend in the river. I almost got swept off my feet on the first climb, but luckily got out of the current. How did I get down the second part? I turned around and climbed down the same way I went up!

Seven Sisters

There are two pools here at the base of each waterfall that you can swim in! There are no changing rooms, so either wear your bathing suit under your hiking clothes, or prepare to get wet! There was only one other group of about eight folks when we arrived-this was a Wednesday off season. Vaughan mentioned that there can be as many as 250 people here when a cruise ship docks! Yikes! Another reason to travel off peak season!

After you climb up the steps, Mitchell’s Bar might be open! This would be a good place to get a cold Carib beer or soda after the climb!

Seven Sisters is a very popular hiking destination. Remember it is private property so there is a fee-US $2 per person. It’s a pretty easy hike. You will get muddy and probably wet, so wear shoes (not flip flops or sandals). Bug spray and sun screen highly recommended, you do come out of the jungle into the sun in parts.

  Why not visit a waterfall on your Grenada trip?

Snorkeling the Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada

I have wanted to visit the Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada for years! At first I thought you had to scuba dive to get to see the sculptures. Then I found out you could snorkel. I don’t snorkel often, so I let my lack of confidence get in my way for years.

Grenada SeaFaris

Due to social media, I read about Grenada SeaFaris. They take you out on a powerboat, and provide instruction and the gear to snorkel. They advertise that you don’t have to snorkel if you don’t want to, you could just enjoy the boat ride. TripAdvisor reviews assured me that even with my somewhat newby status, I should be able to snorkel to see the sculptures.

Grenada SeaFaris

Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park

The sculptures were created by Jason deCaires Taylor in 2006 which acts as an artificial reef to attract fish and take pressure off the nearby Flamingo Bay which was the most snorkeled location on Grenada. There has been more statues added to the park.

Strong Current

There was a strong current running when we arrived in the bay. Kimmy, our guide, was very good at pointing out where to swim to, to start seeing the sculptures. He also was bringing along a life preserver ring in case you wanted to stop for a moment and rest.

Off Season

It’s good to be in the off season. There was only two of us snorkeling from Grenada SeaFaris. Only one other boat arrived while we were there, with about fifteen or so people. I could see this being a very busy dive site in season!

One of the most recognized sculpture is called “Vicissitudes” consisting of a circle of children holding hands. I was very excited to spot this on my swim!

Picture from the Pure Grenada Website pure.grenada.com

A Great Tour

My favorite sculpture was one of a woman on a bench taking a selfie!

Besides the snorkeling, we got a great tour of the west side of Grenada. We stopped several times and Kimmy gave us an educational overview of the fish, the history, and the beaches around us.

Grenada Seafaris

Check Them Out!

 

It really was an unique adventure. My next trip to Grenada-I’ll be snorkeling again!

BHAG Bike Tour Announcement

BHAG Bike Tour Announcement

I finally have a BHAG about biking. This post was first penned as “Dream Bike Tour Announcement” but it’s not going to be a dream it’s going to be a GOAL.

goal

This bike route has intrigued me from my first reading of Jill Homer’s book “Be Brave Be Strong” when I didn’t know anything about biking. I thought it was just a good epic read of an adventure.

Accounts of the route would drop into my reading space every now and then, they would always be interesting for the huge suffer fest that the riders experienced. A friend just rode it this summer, and I followed along via FB posts.

Great Divide Mountain Route

I have decided I want to ride the Tour Divide.

The Great Divide Route is the world’s longest off-pavement cycling route. It travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). By route’s end a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical.

It’s Not Happening Anytime Soon

The goal is to do this in my 60th year or sooner. That gives me seven years to get in some sort of buff biking shape. Hey, I dreamed about running the Hardrock 100 for years before I actually got to do it.

It Sets Me up with More Short Term Goals

I have much to do and learn before attempting. Let alone figure out how to get that much vacation time off.

Learn all those parts on the bike and how they work

Yes, I finally am going to get interested in my bike and figure out how the parts work together.

Learn how to fix my bike

The only reason to learn all those bike parts is to be able to FIX my bike when it breaks down. This is a good goal to have regardless of where you are biking.

bike stencil

Become a better Biker

I’m now interested in becoming a better biker. I need to learn how to ride hills, gravel, dirt roads..which is good, because I have all of that available to me! I ventured out of my comfort zone just Thursday. Instead of riding my local seven mile flat asphalt trail out and back, I chose a route which turned that ride into a loop. Unknown to me, that meant taking a road so steep I had to walk the bike in two spots. But I did it, instead of turning around back to flat land!

I am now interested in different types of bike rides instead of looking for easy flat tours. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a focus in training. This is a good goal for me.

Day Two North Bend Rail Trail Wolf Summit to Pennsboro

 

Day Two Change of Direction

Not my elevation profile, from Ride With GPS https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9893679

That evening I do some elevation checking. Wolf Summit 1297 feet. It’s a gradual uphill from Pennsboro, 866 feet. Oh yeah, I’m going to start at Wolf Summit and go west to Pennsboro! The hubs has agreed. It’s not that far driving.

Wolf Summit Harrison County

It’s fairly easy to find the trail. The North Bend Rail Trail is VERY undermarked. I start down the trail and then find the official “mileage” start. 

The first miles west are a bit rough, then the surface becomes packed dirt, grass, single track. The first tunnel is very soon.

Brandy Gap Tunnel 1086 Feet Long

 

Salem

The town of Salem is a full service town-IGA grocery right on the trail, followed by a Dairy Queen, a bike repair station.

Salem North Bend Rail Trail

I stop for water right outside of Salem and talk to the only biker I see on the trail. He advises me a way to avoid the boggy section right outside of town.

 

I’ve outlined this on the map above. I doubt this wet section ever dries out. Ride the street-Long Run-parallel to the trail. The trail then intersects with the trail and pick up the trail and head west again.

The trail runs a bit parallel to Route 50, then veers off. The next big landmark is the Mark West Energy Sherwood Complex. It has been open since 2012.  

The trail is asphalt for about 1/10 of a mile as it passes by the plant.


The signage is the best on the trail! Then it was back to a grassy trail.

I pass by another pipeline being built. As of July 18, 2018, this area of the trail either had the pipeline laid, or was just getting ready. I  had no problem biking across the area.

Sherwood Tunnel 846 feet long

Sherwood Tunnel North Bend Rail Trail

 

Smithburg 

I am approaching civilization again. This tiny town is Smithburg. There is a bike repair station here. There is a general store across the road.

 

The sky is looking a bit omnimous as I bike through Smithburg. I start to turn on my phone to see what the weather will be like, but it won’t change anything. I bike on.

West Union

It is not long at all until the next town of West Union. Due to time constraints, I keep on biking.

I know I would be encountering the longest tunnel on the trail next, Central Station Tunnel.

It’s funny how some tunnels look. You can see to the other side-it must be about 350 feet long. Wrong! It’s the longest tunnel.

I get my big light out, turn on the two small bike lights, and ride the tunnel. I again forget to look at my watch to see how long it takes.

Okay, after Central Station I have one more tunnel and I should be very close to Pennsboro and the end of my ride! Which is good, because my rear is getting a bit sore on the bike. I should have changed saddles, but ran out of time pre-ride. Now I’m paying for it.

Ritchie County Again

Contrast the two photos, the one above in Doddridge County, and crossing the line back into Ritchie County-that’s a big change! I heard via the interwebs that Doddridge County had gotten a million dollar grant, hence the nicely new gravel and limestone trail I had been riding on.

Biggest bank heist

The trail through here is impressive. It’s been rebuilt sometime recently, you can tell.  

Only loose dogs

In this area, the trail makes an annoying habit of crossing roads in a curve. I had hopped off the bike to walk it across a busy road, when I looked left, and then heard the barking-three small dogs out in the road barking at me! Thankfully a car stopped and didn’t hit the dogs. The dogs were all friendly, in fact one small one followed me down the trail-I had to bike quickly to finally get the little guy to stop!

No more Pics

The rain is coming down heavily. There is thunder, but no lightning. I blow through Toll Gate (I only know it’s Toll Gate due to the wooden sign). Now I’m on an incline up heading toward my last tunnel.  The rain is turning the trail treads into little rivers. Where is that last tunnel? I have to rest twice on the way up. Finally! The last tunnel!

Now I’ve maybe a mile to go. I call the hubs to tell him to meet me at the Crossroads Cafe for lunch and order me a BLT and fries. I start biking-and drop the chain. Argh. I wipe the condensation from my glasses and behave nicer to Helga-just less than one mile, girl! I get to the Pennsboro Depot and every vehicle in the area seems to go down the street before I can cross. I snap a pic of the depot and triumphantly end my ride at the Crossroads Cafe.

 

Day Two Conclusions

The North Bend Rail Trail in 2018, is fine to ride. PROVIDED you ride the correct bike. A road bike won’t work. A loaded tour bike would be miserable. A bike with big tires, a mountain bike can handle this just fine.

Weather conditions will also temper your trip. I planned for mid summer or late summer. I got lucky and West Virignia had little rain before my trip.

This would be good for a two day journey with possible bike camping or treat yourself to the hotel in Elleboro mid way.

Come visit West Virginia and ride the North Bend Trail!

Day One Link