U.S. Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Our story today is simple. Our girls (cats) were away so Beth and I (mice) could play. We spent the day visiting two museums and these lovely gardens.

At first glance the contents of this beautiful glass building didn’t appear very photo-worthy. Then I took a closer look. Flowers filled the place but in a quiet way. Beth had a hard time getting me to move away from the orchids!  Continue reading

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The AT: Almost Half Way

AT Half Way

It wasn’t till 9:20PM when I got back to my car after 12.8 miles of hiking and 14.1 miles of biking the hills of Shenandoah National Park. Truly I was exhausted ... and that’s just the way I like it!

The word “Almost” above is key; it was supposed to read “Past Half Way.”

Here’s a case where I bit off more than I could chew. Over the course of Appalachian Trail - Thornton Gap to Hawksbilltwo days my goal had been to hike 23 miles and bicycle back the slightly longer 27 miles. A late start didn’t bode well for my trek nor did arriving back at my campsite after 11:00 PM. Thank goodness I had set-up camp early that day! By morning I was set on changing my plan. I meandered Skyline Drive from mile 52 to its northern entrance stopping at overlooks, visiting facilities, and taking short hikes to peaks.

What I learned was that I don’t want to tackle these longer bike-hikes over back-to-back days. This has to be fun and too much exertion robs me of the joy.  When I’m exhausted, I don’t want to start a 14 mile bike ride where half is a struggle up hill! I’ve got better things to do!

So how will I do things differently going forward? Continue reading

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Taste of Chicago

Chicago - 0

Cloud Gate is a giant jellybean of highly polished steel. In its reflection you can see the Chicago skyline along Michigan Avenue. It’s hard not to walk around it an be amazed.

Last year while returning home via the Lincoln Highway, our nation’s first transcontinental road which ran from Manhattan to San Francisco, I stayed in Chicago just as “Taste of Chicago” was winding down. “Wow!” I thought “I’ve got to get back to see this next year!” And so I did.

“Taste of Chicago” is a nine-day food and performing arts festival which takes place in Grant Park along Chicago’s waterfront. This is a big deal! All the music concerts are free and included such acts as Hootie and the Blowfish, Barenaked Ladies, Buddy Guy, and much more. To get a sense of scale, take a look a the map below. For food alone there were 56 restaurants!  Continue reading

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Canada’s Eastern Provinces

Kelsey at Niagara

Ironic that here I chose a picture taken on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls but Kelsey’s exuberance outshines the dreary day. She started energized and positive and throughout 12 days and more than 3,000 miles she remained a great travel partner! Go Kelsey!!!

Road trips with Kelsey are starting to become a tradition. Our first outing was down the east coast to Charleston. Our second trip was along Route 66 <fix> from Chicago to Santa Monica. She’s proven to have what it takes to flourish on this kind of trip so why not keep it going?! Heck, soon she’ll be able to share in the driving so we can do even more.

Wanting to ensure she has a good time, I take her over territory I’m already familiar with. Just recently I had been along the Maine coast <fix>and up to Prince Edward Isle, <fix> two years ago I drove across Canada, and three years ago I’d visited Niagara Falls. I proposed weaving these together into one massive loop and she agreed. The route of our trip is mapped below. We started in D.C. and went clockwise around the circuit. Continue reading

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