Know Your Limits

Ever since my daughter got engaged at the top of Dragon’s Tooth, it has been my desire to hike to the top.  My husband tried it once but did not make it to the very top as the last leg of the hike has you scaling rocks.

After a successful hike with my friends this week, I was determined that I could do this hike today.  Kids, dogs, parents with babies strapped to their backs, and people older than me have all managed to make this climb.

However, after I decided to do this, I read on a website that this hike makes McAfee’s Knob seem like a cakewalk (it isn’t).  This gave me pause, but I was mildly optimistic.

It was a gorgeous day and the nature along the way was worth stopping for photos.

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We had 6 or more creek crossings, some a little challenging after all the rain we’ve had recently.

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The first part of the trail, while challenging, is certainly doable.  It’s when you reach the Appalachian Trail (the last .7 miles) that it becomes quite a bit more difficult.

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This is an understatement!

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It was at this point that I was ready to give up, but after a short rest, we decided to go a little further.  We didn’t want to get this far and return without at least getting a good view.  So we soldiered on until I finally made the executive decision that I would not be able to get to the top.  By now my knee is aching, my hips are burning and all I could think of, was how bad it would be if I injured myself a week before we leave for Europe (where we plan to do a lot of hiking).  JG agreed, knowing that his previous attempt failed and he had serious doubts as to whether I should be trying it.  So this was our stopping point:

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Marked by this tree:

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Part of me wanted to cry, I did not want to admit my limitations.  But the smarter side of me was quick to recognize that I’m not 20 anymore.  It was still a very good hike – about 4 miles, and we made it through over half of the challenging part, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Have you ever found you couldn’t make it to the end of this hike, or any hike? Please share with me so I won’t feel so alone.

P.S. – who brings a boom box on a trail (blasting country music no less) – it was rude and obnoxious – next time get some headphones!!

Buddy Holly and Northern Iowa

Having just recently seen the play of The Buddy Holly Story, it was fresh in my mind as I went to visit family in Northern Iowa.  It is such a tragic tale and could have been avoided with a more experienced pilot, or just a little less storm.  The memorial in Clear Lake near the Surf Ballroom where he performed his last concert, has grown over the years.

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There is now a restaurant called Surf District Rock and Roll Grill016.jpg

which hosts some rock and roll artifacts, along with this fun image.

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While dining at this nostalgic cafe, my sister asked if I would like to go to the crash site.  Of course I said yes.  It’s not far from Clear Lake, IA on a couple of country roads and if you have proper directions, you can’t miss the trail head. . .

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marked by the signature glasses.  There is no admission fee, just the risk of muddying up your shoes from the 1/2 mile walk on a path that can present some challenges this time of year when the ground is soaked.

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If you are/were a fan of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, or Richie Valens, it does offer a touching tribute.

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Fans leave behind tokens (even a full beer) to show their love of these rock ‘n rollers.

But if you don’t have an old pair of shoes handy, you may just want to stick to the tribute in the Surf District of Clear Lake.

My two favorite things about Iowa are: the tenderloin sandwich

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and the sunsets.

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Cellphone photography doesn’t do it justice, but don’t you love the clouds?

Special thanks to my sister and brother for hosting me while my bathroom was being remodeled.  It’s always fun to hang out in my home state.

 

Hiking, Christmas, and Vertigo

Finally got back on the trail when my daughter and her husband arrived on Friday morning.  Even though this is a fairly easy hike, which I have done several times, I was very pleased that my hip, knee and old age in general, cooperated enough to get me up and down the 5 mile trail to the Cascades and the upper falls. We started with the upper falls, passing some icicles along the way.

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This was our grand dog, Stark’s, first hike – he seemed to like it.

Then we started down to the lower falls.

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Starting out it was a little chilly, but we had periods of sunshine and it warmed up as the day wore on. All in all a very good hike.

Christmas Eve was full of food, games, lights, presents and grand dog in sweater.

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It was all wonderful, until I woke up Christmas morning feeling like I was having the worst hangover of my life (when I had only had one drink the day before).  After our company left, I spent the day in bed, totally miserable – dizzy and nauseous.  If you have ever experienced vertigo, you know it is NOT fun! I’m going on my 3rd day of living upstairs (I did make it from our bedroom to my office next door).  With the help of my wonderful, patient husband, I was able to take a quick shower this morning.  But as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking it’s time to climb back into bed.

My little house guest and my daughter’s Christmas present helped get me through the last couple of days.  I would have been very bored without them.

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I’ve enjoyed reading all your holiday posts.  I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!!

 

The Holidays

It’s always fun to hear about friend’s holiday traditions and how they got started.  Since my daughter left home, my husband and I started a tradition of taking a trip for an extended weekend right before Thanksgiving.  It began with Myrtle Beach, where we discovered that on those off days you could get ocean front hotels for very little money.  Often times, my husband would be the only person brave enough to actually swim in the ocean – it can be quite cold that time of year. But it was fun to walk the beach and eat fresh seafood without the usual crowds.  We did this for about 3 years in a row before deciding we needed a change.

The next two years we spent in Nashville after becoming late in life country music fans.  Nashville is a very fun city with live music everywhere, if you have not been there, I highly recommend it.

This year I wanted to go to Asheville, NC and do some hiking.  We booked an airbnb months ago and had received many recommendations from a friend’s daughter on where the best trails and restaurants were located.  Unfortunately, forest fires have been rampant in that area and it looked like hiking would not be an option.  I quickly cancelled that reservation and booked us a couple of nights in Greenville, SC, a city that was recommended to me by friend and fellow blogger, Laurie (Life on the Bike).

Turned out to be a very fun place to visit.  A waterfall park with a 9 mile walking/biking trail is located right downtown, along with over 100 great restaurants.   So while we didn’t get to hike, we did enjoy being outdoors along with dozens of others who were enjoying the sunny fall day.

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Where we go doesn’t really matter much, we just enjoy exploring new places together. And that is what I am most thankful for this year.

 

Too Hot to Hike

I’m not going to complain about the heat because I definitely prefer summer to winter. However, it has been too hot to hike lately and I must admit, once you get in the habit of doing something a couple of times a week, you really start to miss it.

So instead of a hiking trip, last weekend I planned a surprise overnight for hubby and me to stay at Hotel Roanoke. Located right downtown, it is the perfect location for a bar crawl.

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I don’t care what Donald Trump says – this place is awesome!

The hotel shuttle gave us a nice air conditioned ride to our first stop – Blue 5.  If you like beer, live music, excellent food in a cool and trendy setting – this is where you should be. We had the cheese slaw with home made chips – it was fantastic

Next stop was Lucky– a quaint restaurant located off the beaten path, but well worth finding. We sat at the bar and were happily entertained by the bartenders enjoying their jobs so much, that it didn’t look like work.  My husband ordered the duck liver pate – even though I turned up my nose as he ordered, it turned out to be quite delicious.

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At Billy’s

Our last stop was Billy’s – just across the street from the walkway back to the hotel.  It was later and not quite so hot, so we opted to sit outside in the courtyard.  Deciding we needed something to soak up all the beer we had consumed, we had grilled shrimp and sweet potato fries – both were excellent!

Back to the hotel and one last nightcap in the Pine Room before turning in for the night.

 

What a great way to spend a Friday night.

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The Wedding – Part III

Final Installment – The Reception

Weddings have been around for centuries, so I doubt there is anything groundbreaking at today’s weddings.  But this reception had a couple of surprises that were new to me.

First of all, my husband played his guitar and sang the song Sweet Pea as the bride and groom had their first dance together.  He even wrote an extra verse about hiking to make it personal.

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The Father/Daughter dance was to a German children’s song, Ohne Dich, that he and Lori used to listen to when she was little, first on tape and later on CD.  In fact we are still big fans of Rolf Zuckowski.  I can’t count how many times she fell asleep to his music.

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There is a trend moving away from traditional wedding cakes.  Let’s face, they weren’t that great.  This wedding offered a variety of cheesecakes from Cheesecakes by Alex which were mouth watering yummy.  On my brother’s recommendation I went for the Bananas Foster and the Peanut Butter – both excellent choices.

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When it came time to throw the bridal bouquet and garter – these two had decided to pass on these symbolic items to Doug’s cousin (who will be getting married next summer).

This was a pleasant surprise.  Taking off and putting on the garter turned out to be quite a crowd pleaser, as both gentlemen executed an endearing performance.

So many family members and friends came from all over to join in this celebration and we are grateful to them all.

 

We have one child, our daughter, and this wedding was a perfect send off to her new life.  Another milestone has passed and we could not be happier!  Thanks for reading about our special day.

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The Wedding Part II

I’ve been hiking for over 4 years now and power walking since I was 40.  Saturday, I took the most fulfilling walk of my life, when I got to walk my daughter down the aisle along with my husband.

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Weddings don’t really have ushers anymore and she did not want me to have to walk in by myself and wait for her to come out – so she gave me this amazing gift.

The day went so smoothly I almost had to pinch myself.  The bride was so relaxed, and that spilled over to everyone around her.  Two minutes before they got in their dresses, we were chilling in the room.

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I have to thank some special people for helping to make this day so perfect.  First Jack & Jaime – the cutest couple ever.  He officiated – his words went from educational – to personal – to quite funny.  She was our coordinator and thank goodness someone was there to keep track of details.

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Most importantly was my dear friend, Laurie Buchwald who served as photographer and best friend of the family.  She is truly amazing.

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She had back-up help from her friend Tim, but he escaped being caught on camera.
We are so happy to welcome Doug into our family – these two are crazy in love and such a perfect match.  They will have a fun life together.

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