CONGRATS to the winner of the compass ornament giveaway!! (Drumroll please……)
In 2013 I went to visit my best friend who moved to Arizona. While I was there she took me to the small town of Oatman, Arizona. She knew too well I would LOVE it there – it used to be a gold mining town along Route 66, now it’s a tourist attraction where they have “wild west” shootouts. Jen knew I would be most interested in seeing the wild burros that come in from the desert where the tourists can feed them. At night the burros go back into the desert.
I couldn’t be happier – all around me were German Shepherds – all sizes, colors, ages, and levels of fluffiness. I was walking around making sure every one got a scratch or a pat on the head when I hear a voice: “Hunnie – HUNNIE!! Wake up – didn’t you want to go to the gym this morning??” After informing Kevin he woke me up from the best dream ever, I got up and did my morning routine which consists of giving Willow her insulin shot and JoJo her eye drops (for her keratitis which I will give an update on in a later post). Even though I COMPLETELY wanted to go back to bed, I sucked it up and went to the gym with Kevin. I knew of I didn’t I would have still been awake anyway and then regret not going. I have to get back into the gym routine now that it’s getting colder out.
This year when I was setting up my Christmas tree I was just not happy with all the old ornaments I have had for YEARS. They are just very generic ones that anyone could get at any major store – nothing personal about it. I remember being a kid and almost all of the ornaments on the tree had a special meaning – either my sisters and I MADE them or they had some other significance (1st Christmas, etc). Thinking about this made me realize my tree was pretty drab and how I could personalize it better.
I am a big fan of supporting local artists and shops on Etsy (In case you don’t know Etsy is a website that sells only handmade or vintage items), so I set out to see what kind of ornaments I could find to “spruce” up my tree (see what I did there?? 🙂 haha!) OK – bad jokes aside I found several LOVELY ornaments that would let me bring my love of the outdoors in! Then I thought, why don’t I share these with all my outdoorsy friends on my blog – and have a giveaway with one! (We will get to the giveaway in a sec)
The Conestoga Trail is a little known trail in PA that is 63 miles long, starting in Furnace Hills, PA where it meets the Horseshoe Trail and goes to York, PA where it meets the Mason-Dixon Trail. It is considered an endangered trail because big sections of the northern part of the trail have been rerouted onto roads due to landowners revoking trail access. I can’t say that I blame them – on the one hand I want people to get outside and explore, but on the other I’m not so sure I would want people trampling through my private property either. I can see both sides.
While the southern most section of the trail is considered the most scenic, I decided I was going to do the whole thing in sections- why not? 🙂
I began with the on road section of the trail (Which is near the end of section A of the trail guide) as it is hunting season and a big portion of the start of the trail is closed until hunting is over – this way I could get the “boring” on road section of the trail out of the way first while the days are still nice. I found out this section is ANYTHING but boring. While some of the roads are fairly busy (which is why I decided to bike it instead of walk), the views of farmlands, animals and covered bridges were amazing – good old Lancaster County! This section of the trail is a little hilly with one section I had to get off and push my bike up – it was steep even to walk it! The only other thing besides cars you need to watch out for on the trail were the road apples which if you are from PA you will know this is a nice way to say horse poop from the Amish horse and buggies. 🙂
In 2009 I attempted to ride 75 miles of the MS 150, but just wasn’t prepared enough to finish. In 2010 I was back with a vengeance! Kevin decided to do the ride with me – we both signed up for the 75 mile route. We got padded bike shorts (what a difference!!), trained, and Kevin even got a new bike!
We pulled into the parking area EARLY and were within the first few waves to leave. Since there are so many people doing this ride, they let groups of riders go, spaced out by a few minutes. It was amazing how FAST some people can ride – Kevin and I both commented on that – I mean it seemed like there were people who were in worse shape than us just FLYING by us – we didn’t get it! Did they have better bikes? We were both on hybrids. It just felt like the WHOLE time, we were pedaling like crazy and people would pass us who were definitely not pedaling as much as us but going so much farther faster. I understand the people with road bikes with the clip in shoes, but other than that it was strange!
Last year when Kevin got me my beautiful new Cannondale bike it took a little getting used to – the whole feel of the bike was completely different. I never would have thought – I mean a bike is just a frame with 2 wheels and pedals right? I know that there are different bikes for different things – road bike, mountain bike, hybrid… I went from a Diamondback hybrid to a Cannondale hybrid – It’s hard to explain, maybe I was just trying to be super careful and not wanting anything to happen to it as my new bike was more expensive than what my current car is worth (my car is super old and according to the Kelly Blue Book value my car truly is a little less, but it’s like a tank and I love it dearly and can not bring myself to part with it yet – LOL) but also it just FELT totally different. It has hydraulic disc brakes, slightly thinner tires (even though they are both considered hybrids) and thumb shifters – which I LOVE – they are sooo smooth compared to my old bike which had the twist grip shifters. It is also incredibly lighter than my old bike. I think I was just so used to the my clunky old bike that it took a lot to get used to how smooth the new one was.
But the BIGGEST difference I didn’t even notice until I was riding home from work earlier this year – I decided to swing by a gas station to fill up the tires with air (I got the bike for Christmas so I hadn’t been riding it much til spring.) I rode up to the air pump, jumped off my bike and started to unscrew the cap and noticed it was a WAYY thinner valve than my old bike – what was going on? Once the black dust cap was off I had no idea what I was looking at – was this some kind of defect? I didn’t even see anything that looked like a hole where the air would go into – just a weird little nubbin! I stood there just staring at it – there was NO WAY I would be able to fill up my tires – that dinky little bike valve would never attach to the air pump. I rode home totally confused. Continue reading
I’m sure you have heard about the #optoutside movement that REI started this year – instead of spending your day inside, fighting crowds during Black Friday, REI urged people to spend their day outside enjoying nature instead. Here in PA I couldn’t have asked for a better day – it was actually in the 60’s with zero chance of rain – who WOULDN’T want to be outside on a day like that?? PERFECT hiking weather!!
I asked my sister if I could take my nephew on a hike and my Mom decided to join me as well! We decided to check out some trails that we haven’t done in a long time – the first was on Pumping Station Rd. We parked and walked about a mile round trip along the road, but could never find where the trail went into the woods – it was strange! We did see a crazy looking boulder that looked like a giant whale which was hard to get a picture of because of the brush in front of it. It seemed like everything had private property signs posted so we went back to the car to try to find some other nearby trails.
So you may know that REI has an incredible return policy – they will basically take ANYTHING back as long as you have proof of purchase, the item is in fairly decent condition and it’s within a year since you bought it.
In July I bought a new pair of Merrell hiking boots online because my Keens were pretty worn out. I wore them on a few day hikes and the 30 mile backpacking trip on the Old Loggers Path. The shoes seemed a bit narrow (I do not have wide feet so this seemed strange) but I figured they would stretch out after I broke them in a bit. Well they didn’t – after my trip on the Old Loggers Path, I NEVER had so many blisters on my feet in my life. It was awful – the entire inner sides of BOTH of my feet had massive blisters on them – from the tips of my big toes to my heel. It was nuts – and painful — and coincidentally how I decided on the name of my blog – I said to my family when I was done with the hike “I have never had so many blisters and bug bites in my life!” Then I thought – ‘Hmmm…that’s kinda catchy….sorta gross, but catchy!’ and TA DA! My blog was born!
Just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been reading my blog – it has been really awesome to chat with so many people who are into the same interests as I am. 🙂