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.

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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.

Cycling

What a beautiful morning for a bike ride! After the storms yesterday, the temps dropped into the mid 50s overnight. This morning I met up with some other ladies for a group ride. Given that I haven’t been riding much (especially not hilly terrain), they decided to spare me and chose a rolling 16 mile loop. By the second hill, I was joking – once I caught my breath and allowed my heart rate to descend out of the danger zone – that there was only supposed to be one hill. Um, yeah. No matter my lacking physical ability, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous! Traffic was light, and I was dressed just right in my long sleeve jersey.

We rewarded ourselves after the ride with a pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin scone from Starbucks. What a great way to begin the day! I feel energized and have gotten several things done around my house.

In my quest for finding the perfect retirement locale, I did some research on bike-friendly communities. I headed to the League of American Bicyclists website http://www.bikeleague.org/. They have a pdf file of Bicycle Friendly Communities, rated high to low on friendliness. They also include the state and population of the locale. I’ve found some new towns to explore (all around or under 40K in population).

They include:

  • Franklin, PA (Bronze status)
  • Durango, CO (Gold status)
  • Keene, NH (Bronze status)
  • Hilton Head Island, SC (Silver status)
  • Larger population area: Longmont, CO (Silver status)

In case you are curious, the top three (Platinum status) on their list are

  • Boulder, CO
  • Davis, CA
  • Portland, OR

Photo courtesy of David R. Farmer, Flickr, WANA Commons

I’m back!

Back from a biking trip on a rail trail, that is. We started yesterday morning and ending up riding about 54 miles yesterday. Spent the night last night at a bed and bed (my term – they didn’t serve breakfast), and then rode 31 miles back to the car today.

Needless to say, my butt is very sore. Yesterday was bike, eat lunch, bike, check in at the bed & bed, bike, hike, have a beer, and bike back to the bed & bed. Yikes – my poor butt!! I did this on my mountain bike, and oh, how I missed my road bike (with its comfy-er saddle)!

Please hang in there, I finished one of the other Southern Arcana books by Moira Rogers, and I want to rave about Alec *sigh* I also started Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires). I’m not very far along, but already Merit and Ethan have seen trouble and exchanged some snarky comments. I hope to head to bed early with Ethan this evening *wink*

Warm Weather Continues

Well, we aren’t getting a break from the heat just yet. Go figure. I did manage to get out for a 10 mile ride today. Wow – riding on the road is just a bit different from being on a rail trail (go ahead and snicker, I know it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!). Cars, for one thing! Then, rolling terrain and lack of shade. While I wish I could have done the route twice, no way my body was going to be happy with that. Guess coffee doesn’t do such a good job of hydrating you… oops!

No writing today, just reading once I returned from the ride. I do have a good story idea percolating. The other day at the coffee shop, I pulled up a random story prompt. Taken on face value, it seems kind of so-so, but I’ve already thought of a twist. Maybe I can work on it later. If nothing else, maybe I can work it into a Sample Sunday post. Besides, reading SK has me in the mood to write Sci-Fi/ Urban Fantasy. So many possibilities…

Well, time to play on my alter ego’s blog. I feel like I’ve been neglecting her of late. Not good.

Good Deed

I decided to take my road bike on a rail trail in Pennsylvania today. It would have been a more enjoyable ride had the trail been paved. As it was, narrow tires and crushed stone don’t go so well together.

To give myself a break, I hopped on the road and ended up riding some pretty rolling hills. The road I was on was heavily traveled by dump trucks. I was very impressed that they were cyclist friendly. They didn’t blow by me, and they gave me plenty of space, considering the shoulder was basically nonexistent.

I would like to give kudos to one such driver. As I was climbing up a hill (felt like a mountain!), I watched a mama deer cross the road. I kept watch, knowing there would be another deer to follow. Well, there was… a fawn. The only problem was the dump truck approaching from behind me. I signaled to him, and he slowed way down, allowing that little fawn safe passage across the road.

I am delighted to report a happy ending for all involved. The experience made my so- so ride much better!

Busy, busy

The summer is flying by! I can’t believe it is July already. Wow!

I thought I would have more time to write since my work schedule changed for the summer, but I sadly I haven’t. Although, it could be that I’m doing more things, which are taking up my free time.

Today was a pool day. I managed to swim some laps. I totally expect to wake with sore shoulders tomorrow. Friday, we did 32 miles of cycling on the local rail trail. Boy, it was hot when we finished. Yesterday, I took a ghost tour, which was interesting and entertaining, but no ghosts were observed.

I’m going to try to be better about blogging this week. I have two books I need to discuss so keep a lookout! The first is Lisa Kessler’s Night Walker; the second is Jeaniene Frost’s Once Burned. Two hotties to spend time drooling over – Calisto and Vlad, please gentlemen, don’t be strangers!