Scenes from the Bike

I recently returned from exploring parts of Morgantown and Elkins, West Virginia, on my Salsa cyclocross bike. The below photos are shots from several rails-to-trails and state parks we explored.

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Vacation Week in Review

So, you may have noticed that I’ve been oddly silent this week. Well, there’s a very good reason for that – Vacation!! Whoo hoo!!

IMG_20140805_154640I managed to find a backwoods spot where there is no cell service in the town (as least my provider has no towers in the area). That was not a bad thing at all. I didn’t miss not being able to make phone calls. Now, I shouldn’t make it sound like I was completely disconnected. The B&B where I stayed had WiFi so I did manage to check social media and text.

Are you ready for the Review??

Monday: I arrived in Marlinton, West Virginia. I quickly learned there were basically 2 restaurants in town (not counting Dairy Queen). I also learned that the local IGA grocery store was poorly stocked and expensive – try $2.59 for a QUART of milk. I explored the Greenbrier River Trail on foot and saw lots of wildlife.

Tuesday: Cycling! The ride was just over 25 miles from Cass back to Marlinton. The rail trail was in good shape and Mother Nature sprinkled some rain, but thankfully no thunderstorms or heavy downpours.IMG_20140806_165215

Wednesday: More riding. This time almost 33 miles. There was some backtracking involved to ride through the Droop Mountain tunnel, but all in all it was a good day. The trail wasn’t crowded either day, and the scenery was fabulous!

Thursday: Time to head home, but first . . . a stop at Beartown State Park to see the awesome rock formations, then a trip to the Cranberry Glades to see the bogs, and finally a hike to the Falls of Hills Creek (the thunderstorms must not have hit this area as the falls weren’t as impressive as I expected).

Friday: Laundry and recovery!! Until the evening when I ran a local 5K. I have to admit that I had an awesome race. I really pushed myself. I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m trying now that my knee won’t allow me to tackle half marathons. My first mile in this race was at an 8:20 pace. I ended up finishing in 27:21. Almost to my goal of a sub 27 minute 5K.

So, in between all the exercise, I have been reading. I finished Darkness Rises (Immortal Guardians #4) by Dianne Duvall and Running Wild (Havoc, #1) by S.E. Jakes.

Darkness Rises is a PNR, and I awarded it 4.5 stars out of 5. I am completely hooked on the Immortal Guardians.

Running Wild is an m-m romance filled with bad boys and motorcycles. I awarded it 3.5 stars out of 5. While I liked Sean and Ryker, Prophet and Tommy still hold my heart captive.

What’s in store for the rest of the weekend, you ask? Well, trying to get myself back on a “work” sleep schedule in addition to writing and maybe some biking (yes, my legs are going to completely hate me soon!).

One more picture to end the post!

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Crazy Life

Well, since I’ve been back to work, my free time has been very limited, and I haven’t had a whole lot of energy to make the most of the time I do have. I joke that my days consist of work, the gym, dinner, lots of peeing (drinking lots of water and protein shakes), and sleep. Every now and again I practice the piano. Sounds exciting, right? Yeah…

I never realized the energy or the protein required to start building muscle. I’ve been lifting at the gym, trying to bulk up. My goal isn’t body builder, vein popping size, but I want muscles and definition. It has certainly been a challenge, considering I’m a vegetarian. 

Sadly, I haven’t been writing. Although, I am still reading. Right now I’m working on Dark Soul Vol. 5 by Aleksandr Voinov and Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #8) by Chloe Neill. I’m really sad that this is the last book in the Dark Soul series. I’ve come to love Silvio Spadaro and will definitely miss him! 

This morning was a biking morning. Nicole and I hit the rail trail shortly after 9 am. Yep, no sleeping in for me today! We rode 26.3 miles and treated ourselves to apple pie a la mode and coffee afterward. Yum! It was a gorgeous day, and the start wasn’t as cool as we anticipated. Nothing like trying to rush fall into getting here!

We played around with taking photos at the one sunny spot on the trail. I think my self-portrait turned out pretty well! Lol

The ride kicked my butt so I’ve spent the remainder of the day reading and playing the piano. I’ve definitely enjoyed relaxing! I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym on Monday as I’m starting a new workout. Time to throw my body a curve! I think it was getting used to the old workout. Not good!

Now it is time for a protein milkshake and a movie…of maybe just some more Teen Wolf! I’m so addicted to that show!

Hope everyone has a safe Saturday night!

Rail Trail Biking

Hancock_sign1_webYesterday, Nicole and I met to ride on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The weather was overcast and cool, but that didn’t put a damper on our spirits. We got an early start and agreed that apple pie would be our reward at the end of the ride (coffee, too!).

We were having a blast. Once we got to the turnaround we stopped for a snack break. We were soon joined by another cyclist. He was…um…unique. *cough* Not sure why he greeted the pasty Cannondale chics in Spanish, but… It was really hard to miss the custom paint job with the words “Dr. Big Dog” scripted along the down tube of his bike. Ah, alrighty then. Nicole and I did some major interval training on the return trip.

Once we had the bikes loaded, we walked to the bakery to get our pie. Not sure if apple_pie1_webthis is a good thing or not, but the waitress remembered us from last week. Maybe that’s why our pie slices were bigger? Hmm…. And we were bad, sharing a chuckle at the woman seated behind us who kept her bike helmet on while eating. *snicker* Sorry!

Stats on the ride:  23 miles in 1:42. Not bad considering we are both on the recovery train!

Mac and Cheese Day

Today has turned out to be a comfort food day. Not because I’m feeling sad or depressed but because of this fickle weather. I awoke to a chilly fall morning where the sun shone brightly. As the day progressed, the clouds rolled in and not long ago we were treated to a thunderstorm with a hearty downpouring rain. Hence, the need for mac and cheese (homemade with bread crumbs – no out of the box for me!). Plus, it had the added bonus of warming up the house. No way am I turning the furnace on yet! Although, I may cave tonight and put my electric blanket on the bed.

The weekend has once again flown by! Although, yesterday was a lot of fun. I give Nicole props for the creative bridal shower/ bachelorette party. She chose to have a cookout and camping, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the threat of rain. The campsite was right on the Potomac River. I was very jealous! We had no sooner finished our dinner than a group of kayakers arrived for a moonlight kayak tour. Darn it! I would have liked to have gone. Hind sight being what it is I would have gone earlier and taken my bike. The campground is located right along the C&O Canal.

I’m sharing a photo of last night’s sunset. Now that fall is upon us, may we all take time to enjoy the little things – colorful sunsets, changing leaves, crisp temperatures,  and the aroma of apple crisp . . . just to name a few. God bless!

Blah

It is Sunday night already. Where did my weekend go? I wish I knew. Let’s see if I can figure it out…

Friday night I had to work. My feet absolutely killed me by the end of the night, which didn’t come until past midnight.

Saturday was a reading and writing day. I finally have a completed first draft for a story I want to submit to an anthology. I am so excited! The deadline isn’t until after the holidays, but I am so many other stories in various forms of completion, I wanted to get this one wrapped up so I could go back to working on longer pieces. I am going to talk about the reading in just a minute…

Sunday started with a chilly early morning bike ride. The new bike did well other than some annoying noises towards the end of the ride. I am hoping my bumpy ride didn’t knock anything important loose. Plus, my elbows and wrists were nearly numb by the time I finished. I am blaming this on the short stem length. I figured I would have to get a longer one, this ride just proved that thought right. It was nice and cool today – yep, sure did feel like fall – so I went for a walk this afternoon in between watching football. I didn’t get any writing done today – darn it, but I did research some e-book publishers for a romance story. That has to count for something, right?

Ok, finally to the reading portion of the weekend. I finished A Fall of Water today. This was book four in the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. I could go on and on about this book. In fact, can I give it 6 stars?? 5 stars doesn’t seem to do it justice. I fell in love with this series. The plot was intriguing and fast paced. Loved, loved, loved the characters. B & Gio rocked. But the secondary characters were just as interesting – Carwyn, Ben, Tenzin, and all the other vampires who came together to help the good guys against Lorenzo and Livia.

If you are looking for a good mystery with a unique view on vampires that has lots of romance, this is a series for you. Be sure to check out the Elemental Mysteries website at http://elementalmysteries.com/ And stay tuned – on October 23rd, the first book in the Elemental World series will be released. It is titled Building from Ashes. This is Carwyn’s book – yay!!

Busy Weekend

Wow! It has been a busy weekend. Not complaining because the weather has been gorgeous. Yesterday, I spent the day at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam reenactment outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland. The traffic was atrocious (took me over 2 hours to get there and get parked when it should have taken 20 minutes), but once I got to the site (and walked several miles), I had a very nice time. I hung out with my reenactor friends once they returned from “battle.” I also got to eat dinner in camp and watch the sunset. A tiring but worthwhile day.

I also ventured, via bicycle, to Antietam National Battlefield. James Robertson was giving a a talk, and I really wanted to attend. I made it in plenty of time. I also – much to my pleasant surprise – got to meet him and have him sign a book of his, which I purchased. He was a funny and engaging speaker. I really enjoyed hearing his perspective on the war – he is a social historian rather than a specialist of war strategy and tactics. For more information on Dr. Robertson, http://www.history.vt.edu/Robertson/ He also recommended his latest book to me, The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of the War. I have already added it to my wish list on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Untold-Civil-War-Exploring-Human/dp/142620812X/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347842761&sr=1-9&keywords=james+i+robertson (sorry for the long link). I need to visit Abe Books as well. His biography of Stonewall Jackson comes highly recommended.

I’m going to leave with a pic taken from camp. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t capture the sunset like the human eye, but it will give you an idea.

Happy Hump Day

Hallelujah! Hump Day is upon us! For some reason, this week seems to be dragging. While I am looking forward to the weekend, it is going to be rather busy (i.e., no break in sight). I seem to be in a writing slump so I’m going to give a quick update of my happenings thus far.

  • Haven’t been writing, and I need to – have two stories that are really close to being finished
  • I’m still reading – totally hooked on the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. I’m 87% done with book two, This Same Earth  (I don’t want to spoil anything, but much more romance in this book; things are moving along between Gio and Beatrice)
  • Haven’t ridden my bike since Sunday, but I purchased a lock for it today. Think it will come in handy for the weekend. I also found out that I need a different stem as my position is too compact.
  • My team lost *frowns* In case you aren’t aware, my team is the Steelers. I also lost in fantasy football by a mere 0.8 points. Grr! So close, and yet still a loss!

Preview for the weekend . . . the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Antietam http://www.nps.gov/anti/index.htm. There is also a separate reenactment http://150thantietamreenactment.com/. Given the number of visitors expected to swamp the area, I’m thinking travel by bike is the best course of action. I’ve located some of my photos from a past September morn at Antietam. I will leave you with one of them.

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