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adventure

Just a Girl In the City

There I was In the city.

The Big Apple kind of city.

The city where dreams are made of.

The hustle and bustle had returned after the pandemic. Lots of people. Lots of noise. Lots of chaos. Just what a big city should offer its visitors. 

Today I was a tourist. My first big observation was the smell. The strong scent of weed. The pungent stinky smell. One time. Two times. At every corner. On the clothing of the passers by. So much of that unique stink. I actually said to myself I think I’m going to get high walking down the street. The group I was with concurred. Such a weird time for me, but it’s today’s world and it’s the reality in some places. Should I really be surprised?

The sounds of horns. Long honks. Short taps of beep beep. Then the full on horn blast of a bus. New York City’s finest drivers together make such a unique symphony. I’m sure somebody has recorded these sounds but it’s like no other. Well maybe Los Angeles. Today I rode the tour bus around the city and took in the sights and the sounds.

What a special perspective. I saw sights from a perch of sorts. I enjoyed the fresh air, which was pleasant in comparison to street level. I smelled the gourmet restaurants to the stink of trash as it was trash day today. Pizza in little Italy. Purses in Chinatown. Neon lights at night. Homeless around each corner.

Bikes. Cars. Buses. Trains. Motorcycles. Zoom. Zoom. Electric bikes weaving in and out of traffic. Fedex and UPS trucks staged as food truck variations for local drop off was oh so intriguing. Skate boards. Scooters. So much excitement. So much chaos among the city blocks. Sirens for ambulances and fire trucks every few minutes. 

The boys in blue. Mounted on horses. Standing on the corner welcoming tourists with a smile. The fully dressed out tactical units guarding a subway stop. I felt like I was in a movie at that corner or greatly underdressed for a shootout. 

A short visit to city. An awakening of sorts. Back to my home base of suburbia. I live the simpler life. Many days may pass before I see a fire truck, ambulance or even homeless people. Such a contrast to my day in the city.

Despite the chaos, New York City has green space. From Bryant Park to small waterfront areas to Central Park. Hidden gems within the city. All set up for community. Concerts. Ping pong ball in the park. Small tables and chair to sip coffee. My favorite was the Bryant Park library where you picked up a book and just enjoyed the time. These are the things you don’t find in suburbia.

Off to see another city just across the water. Hello New Jersey. Time to test out the Jersey pizza.

adventure

Sand For Days

As part of my coastal Oregon series, this particular writing is dedicated to the amazing experience I had on the Oregon Sand Dunes. So much fun that I had to write about it in just one post. All by itself.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t visualize the beauty of the dunes or the depth of how far the dunes stretched. I did however catch a glimpse of the dunes roadside where there was an enormous hill of sand with a four wheeler going down it. I silently thought to myself no way. That is way too high for me.

We were lucky to get on the ATV tour as that was the best way to see the shore and the dunes in what I called the safest option for our trio to navigate the dunes as first timers. 30-40 mph on the climbs and the descents were so fast I didn’t even check the speedometer. 26 miles we rode round trip. Nobody flipped. Nobody got stuck. It was a success. This Bay Bridge photo is hard to capture in a photo meaning the in person view seems 1,000 times nicer. 

So much beauty. Such a thrill ride. One of travel buddies said this is definitely a top 10 experience. I would have to agree. I will definitely find my way back to this coast to tackle the dunes again. Not sure when but I will make time for sure.

We had a great guide and we even did some bowl rides at the end. It is hard to explain but you ride the dunes sideways up and down like you were in a bowl. You have to hit the right speed and maintain or your could roll! Just an exhilarating experience. This is also very different from the straight up climb to the straight down descent where you actually can’t see what is ahead of you when you then begin this descent.

This adventure covers the dunes and plenty of play time riding. From the natural bumps or jumps on the main road trail to the coolness of passers by. Everyone added flair to their personal rides with cool flags, political flags, neon lights, and so on.  Our adventure also covered the trip to the ocean to ride along the water. This was another breathtaking sight to see. The large ocean waves were just feet away pounding the shore while you zipped by. There was a fog in the air making the visibility low but the air was cool and crisp off the water. 

This adventure comes with a few $$$ on the review but if you take into account gas prices, the equipment used on the terrain and the guide it is well worth it. The family that owned our rental company was super focused on customer service which I also appreciated.

Can’t wait to come back to this coast and hit more spots along the way. Such a beautiful place to spend some time off the grid.

adventure, fitness and nutrition

The Pinellas Trail

It was a sizzling hot summer day in late July. 2 Chicks hit the road on the Pinellas trail in Dunedin, Florida. We hit the pavement by bike. A mode of transportation we enjoy. Today was a good fit and fun adventure.

18 miles were ridden. We might have walked a little funny when done but it was worth it. Recently I wrote about the backside of life on a train ride. Today I again saw the backside of life, but this time a little differently. What I mean is the back of buildings are visible from the trail since its original use was for rail hence the reason it’s called a rail trail. Fast forward to today and the backsides of the buildings are purposeful and used vs left to decay and look like an eye sore.

Keeping with this topic many sections of the towns have eateries or stores that back up to the rail trail. However this view is more aesthetically appealing or inviting. Stores had welcoming signage. Restaurants had patios on the backside. Ice cream shops had spots for pets. Many establishments had bike pumps for courtesy use. Some had sitting areas for those who needed a break. Many offered free water which was so nice on the super sunshiny day we rode.

The backside of life can look different depending how you view it. My perspective here was welcoming and one I will remember. My previous train ride was a little different view of neglect of those backsides many overlook. I often see opportunity in weird places. Some could post fun messages or kind words or advertise on the backside of old buildings for passers by instead of just leaving them to sit idle. Maybe it’s my always on business brain. Maybe it’s my desire for others to see what’s in plain sight or what could be endless possibilities. Clearly I can’t change the world but I can dream of how it could look better or be more useful.

Circling back to now, one of my favorite spots on the trails were the roadway crossings. Some busier than others. Some had stop signs for bikers while others had stop signs for cars. However on the main drags we had red lights and the little bike lights made me smile. I wish every city had a safe pathway like this to enjoy. Many would probably choose to bike to work some days.

Another tiring but beautiful experience was the opportunity to make the climb up a bridge, enjoy a photo at the top and the amazing views and then having the satisfaction of feeling the wind in your face on the way down the decline of the bridge. So many other fascinating tidbits I could share, but I would rather suggest you take a trip to experience this ride for yourself.

Opt outside. Be adventurous. This day was $30 to rent the bike all day. I was able to close my exercise ring for the day. I saw some beautiful street art, great trees, a few parks, and the water was a great backdrop along the way. $30 for a day of memories. 

adventure, family

College Is Fast Approaching

9 weeks on the road this summer. From Florida to New York and everything in between. Then for giggles clear across the country to Oregon. Sometimes the same route more than once but with different stops along the way.

Travel by plane. Travel by car. Travel by train. Travel by RV. We utilized Uber. We took advantage of Turo. We took many unconventional paths. We lived so much through our experiences. Turo and Uber were our app-worthy summer accomplishments. We even had some time to use bikes. So many memories. So many hiccups along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Good company.

Great experiences.

Countless fun.

So many photos.

It wasn’t always easy, but it was always workable with a positive attitude and a lot of flexibility. Work. Play. Recover. A delicate balancing act for some. A day in the life for me. I will never get to hit rewind on these months I just lived. Knowing that made me forge ahead to cram as much into the calendar as as humanly and financially possible.

Sometimes I had to plan and then re-plan. Things didn’t always go smoothly. I lived. I learned. I outlasted. Summer 2022 is in the rear view. So many college campuses were scouted out. Many highs. Many lows. Some visits at the surface level while others more in-depth. The process is real. The decisions are hard. The challenge is ahead.

My youngest will choose soon. Where to go. What she wants to be as an adult. I will become less needed. I will be an empty nester. A title I don’t really care for but yet one I will look forward to at the same time. As I earn that new title I will embark on new journeys and adventures. Maybe not criss-crossing the county in a summer but maybe exploring cities I’ve never been or getting back into putting stamps on my passport.

I’m adjusting to what’s ahead while enjoying what’s in front of me. Years become months. Those months turn into weeks. Before you know it, days are in front of us. Don’t waste the minutes. Value them. Cherish them. Enjoy them. I know I am.

As my mom always says: live life to the fullest. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

For now I wait for the day to come that she decides where she heads off to beyond her days of high school. Close by? A neighboring state? Across the country? Another country?

adventure

Car + People + Train

Last year I put the car on the boat and lived a new experience in Cape May, New Jersey on the ferry. A short trip but fun. This year I opted for yet another adventure. The car train.

We loaded up in Lorton, Virginia just outside of DC and travelled south to Sanford, Florida. An interesting way to get to the beach but so glad I had the opportunity to give this mode of travel a try.

Party of three. Change of plans party of four.

I didn’t have an expectation. This is the best way to start any trip. I was looking forward to trying something new. Coach class we went. The car was checked in for 3pm. Humans loaded at 3:30pm. Train was in motion at 4:23pm.

We traveled over bridges. We had spectacular water views. We had horns that blew when we passed through towns. It was exciting. I even got a kick out of the back ends of life. We had sunshine but we also saw raindrops. We pass many many trees. We passed corn fields and other working farm land.

The back ends of buildings we normally never see is what I referred to above as the back end of life. The junky cars. The unpainted walls. The old dock doors that are now sealed up. Trash. Woods. Swampy areas. You name it. I feel like I saw it. From the big military plane at Quantico to the boat zipping through the waterway.

Coach was nice. Reclining seats. Tray tables that extended. Outlets to charge your electronics. Foot rest to prop your feet and plenty of space. I wish flying gave you this much comfort and amenities. Security was not what I expected which I suppose could be concerning. There were all types of people riding the train this day.

Food service until 11pm. Bathrooms on the level below. Continental breakfast at 6am. I almost forgot to mention I rode on the second level. The full range of windows. One of the best features to see the states in a very different way. 

I definitely give the car train a two thumbs up for a varied travel experience.  I will now look forward to another travel adventure thanks to this good experience. If I was to offer suggestions I would stronger encourage you to bring your own food/meal. Only meal options are microwaved in the upper level. Ramen noodles, hotdogs, mac and cheese to name a few. No fresh fruit or prepped salad option. Not a show stopper just a forward thought for others.