Tag Archive | vacation

Technology and Padded Pants

You might think this title doesn’t make sense. It does. Really. This past weekend, well starting Thursday actually, my boyfriend and I took a four-day biking trip in Pennsylvania. It sounded good. We drove to Pittsburgh, a five hour trip, and then parked and started biking to our first destination for that evening. It wasn’t a far ride. It would have been even shorter had we not gone the wrong way at first. This is where the technology part came in. You see, when we arrived in Pittsburgh, it was going on 4:30 PM. The sun was getting low by the time we started off on the trail (The great Allegheny Passage… more on that in my next post) When the sun goes down, it sets in the west. We all learned that in elementary school. Did I remember that? No. We started off enthusiastically with the sun right in our eyes. So we were headed west correct? That’s not the way to get to Maryland though. Did I remember that the sun set in the west? Nope. We spent several long minutes with the GPS on my boyfriend’s phone before I asked a nearby pedestrian, once we realized that something was wrong with our route. Okay, once my boyfriend realized something was wrong. I think technology is definitely addling my brain.

I bet you are wondering about the padded pants now. Simple. After realizing how many miles we were going to be biking (145 or so) and then realizing how even a 20 mile bike ride feels, I got these padded pants for cyclists. Yeah, they definitely work, but after 56 miles, even padded pants, and 3 other layers don’t cut it in the comfort department. (Biking is never very comfortable anyway)

So just keep in mind, when attempting a long bike ride, the sun sets in the west, and several pairs of pants should be worn at once.

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Summer vacation

Summer?  When was that?  It’s been a busy summer around my house.  Not a terrible summer with no fun at all.  No, we have had out share of fun.  It’s just been too busy for words.  Literally I haven’t had much time to write.  Not only that, but I haven’t felt much like writing.  I haven’t been able to get that quietness in the brain which I find necessary for writing.  It’ll come back soon enough.  Sort of like that stray cat you feed.  It leaves for a month or so hoping to get tastier food or mice in another yard and you miss it.  Once it comes back it’s kind of nice.  (that comparison was for my parents, who seem to have an endless line of strays wander through their yard most likely befriended by their own cat Shadow.)  So I have stretched my brain today and decided to do a wee bit of writing. 

Its been a summer of little vacation time.  Since we are going to Florida in the fall though, that was acceptable.  I did manage to take the kids on some day trips, and get away for a weekend without them.  (They are enjoying the beach for a week.  Lovely)

Since we haven’t really done any travelling since March, my boyfriend started his usual muttering about needing to get away.  We share the same love of travel but I have less time.  So we decided on a quick weekend to Northern Pennsylvania.  Some friends of ours had told us about a wonderful place up north with a big gorge and beautiful scenery, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

After 5 and a half hours of driving, we got to the cleanest town I have ever been to.  It was like a set out of a show from the 60’s or actually reminded me a little of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ without the snow, because of the wide main street.  It was littered with bed and breakfasts in quaint old houses, little shops and a really amazing diner with the best hamburger I have had in a long time. 

We did a bike ‘n’ hike.  We biked a few miles, then hiked about a mile (no that’s not much) up a huge hill..maybe it was considered a mountain, it certainly seemed like it to me.  It gave us an amazing view of the valley and an understanding of why it was called the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. 

After resting for a while, and regaining the feeling in my legs, we started back down the slope.  I think gravity had quite an effect on us.  We felt quite proud of ourselves for climbing this enormous rocky mound. We did our best to ignore the kids scampering up the paths like little mountain goats.  At the bottom, after realizing I had lost my feet somewhere along the way, we hopped back on our bikes, went back down the trail and were in bed that night by 8 o’clock. 

The next day was another drive home.  Even though the weekend was physically exerting, sweat inducing and dirty, it left us invigorated and relaxed.  I think I can feel like at least we did something for the summer.  Although it is not ended, and I still plan on going to the beach at least one more time, before September 21st, I am ready for school.  Are the kids??

 

 

I am now considered by some to be “one of those outdoorsy types”?

This assumption that I am an outdoorsy type of person started on a recent trip to Las Vegas. (the un-outdoorsy capital of the world)  It’s actually the third time I have made that trip.  On the second trip, my boyfriend and I booked a tour to the Grand Canyon and promptly fell in love with it, despite the 5 hour bus trip (each way) and the limited time we had to stroll along the south rim of the canyon.  We made a vow to return, and we did, just less than a year and a half later.  This time in early spring, when it wouldn’t be quite so hot.  We decided to rent a car so we could do some exploring on our own.  That was quite fun, although we put about 500 miles on the rental in the four days we were there.  Not exactly environmentally responsible, I know.  But the car did have good mileage.  We drove out to Arizona from Las Vegas, foolishly believing the tour company with whom we booked our helicopter ride.  They said it was best to drive to Arizona and then to the west rim of the canyon.  Apparently the tour company failed to provide road maps to their employees.  It was twice as long.  However, it was fun to drive, the desert has that stark beauty and the mountains are just incredible.  To be able to see them all around the car while driving took my breath away.  We stayed in a hotel at the edge of the Indian reservation and promptly fell asleep as soon as we unloaded the car.  The next morning, being completely turned around by the time zone changes, we woke early and drove another 2 and a half hours to the canyon for our helicopter ride.  This was beyond description.  I was fortunate enough to sit in the front seat of the helicopter and had a panoramic view of the canyon and the Colorado River.  I took video and photos but they don’t do it justice at all of course.  After this, we got to ride a boat on the Colorado River for a bit.  That was relaxing.  The views of the canyon walls rising up on either side with their red and brown ancient rock was amazing as well.  After the helicopter ride back up, we clambered around on a few well-chosen touristy sites and took pictures of ourselves dangling off rocks and such.  The next day was spent at the Hoover Dam.  Not quite as spectacular, but  jokes about the ‘Dam tour’ are always amusing.  After that we explored some other hiking areas.  We still enjoyed several indoors activities, the ones Vegas is famous for like shows and dinners and casinos with overpriced shops.  In a casual conversation with the concierge of our hotel, the matter of our travel plans came up.  After hearing what we had done and were still planning, she nodded solemnly, smiled and said “Oh, you guys are outdoorsy people.”  Well, I wouldn’t consider myself so, but it’s all relative isn’t it?