adventure

The BMW Experience

The day I have been waiting for is here. A trip to South Carolina to visit the BMW site that hosts the driver test track experience. A little fun on a day off with one of my favorites in tow.

We arrived on time. Another guy from California rolled in a few minutes later. A couple of others no-showed. We had a small group which meant more time and attention for us. A little classroom time to start the day. I thought I was a good driver but I picked up a few tips from the class that I will use in daily life. Safety was a focus but we did also talk about how people do crash. The key was listen and follow directions and all will be good. I just rolled with it.

The instructor was a skilled drifting driver. A first for me to meet. A first for me to drift with. Such a cool experience. Of course we didn’t just jump right into drifting, rather we started with off road driving. Below is one of the few pictures I took when it was my turn to drift. Drifting was fast. Drifting was definitely an adrenaline rush, but not something I need to do again.

Our first course we hit was off-road. All terrain. The off road experience was easily my favorite. Not sure I want to do it again but it was a memorable experience. We climbed up river rocks. We suspended the vehicle on the descent with two back tires in the air. We used some vehicle traction features to ease down the incline of rocks.

We waded through rushing water with water higher than my comfort level but great to experience what that is like in a controlled environment. We definitely went through some mud puddles too. We went over a tight squeeze bridge then we had the vehicle on two right wheels then two left wheels to get a better view out the window of how we were positioned (almost tipped). This is how the flexed the sturdy BMW design.

I could see the car in front of me so I knew what it looked like before I experienced each and every maneuver. I don’t think that was the best for my anxiety but I did it all with the go for it attitude. Phew. I survived that one. We then moved on to the race track itself.

Four cars. A 3, 4, and 5 series car along with a convertible. The M package was on all. My favorite was the 5 series with some upgraded exhaust. It handled well and I felt the pickup was good. The 4 was a close second but it had racing seats. They looked good but seemed a little less comfortable for my style of driving. The x3 was okay. A little smaller than the x5 we used off road, but it handled curves well and had good pickup. A little surprising but overall my third favorite on the track. Last up for me was the convertible. It was more stiff in drive and comfort. It moved but just seemed far below the others for standards and was definitely my slower lap time.

Very cool experience overall. Kudos to BMW for having such great experiences available. Amazing brand awareness built into the day. Especially when the day ends in the gift shop. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a driving experience like this, go for it. It’s just one of those excursions you should give a try. You really won’t know what it’s like until you are in the driver’s seat.

For me I topped out at about 79 on a straight away going into a curve. I’m happy with that for my first time as a race car driver. However I was a little slower than the two guys who hit 88-90 on the same stretch. I’m not mad as the instructor said go your way and don’t worry about others. However I could see the car behind coming pretty darn fast behind me. Also I didn’t hit any cones on the course. I give my instructor credit for coaching as I always hit a barrier when I go go karting!

It was time to leave and hit the real road again. Go normal speeds and not whip around corners.  What an adjustment after 27 race car laps. The real road again. It almost seemed like a turtle’s pace sitting in traffic on the highway after this experience. I mean going from race car driver to 35mph was a little adjustment. Just a little.

balance, business

Chipping Away

Chipping away at the long days. The endless to do lists. Chip. Chip. Chip. The rat race of life. Where does balance come in?

Fitness

Fun

Purpose

Passion

Balance

Today I was stuck in my pilot seat, otherwise known as my office chair longer than I would like. I was participating in training that required hours in the hot seat. I was learning a ton but wasn’t moving much. Hence my Apple Watch rings were not moving at their normal pace. As I chipped away at my training I would drift off here and there. It happens to the best of us.

For me today I was thinking how to balance my day since it was so sedentary. I started with fitness. I made sure I had carved out some time for tennis and cardio later in the day. This made me happy knowing I could move a bit after a grueling day.

Then I thought about how to make my day fun since my training was a bit of a depressing topic. I managed to meet up with a friend for cardio which consisted of many good laughs. Especially when the fireman told the story about the most bizarre call at 3am on shift: the woman who called to say her vagina was on fire because she put a jalapeño in it. Not kidding at all. And a county does have to use your tax dollars to answer all the crazy dispatches for emergency services. This was definitely the funniest part of my day.

I always need to know I dedicated some time to my purpose work and today this was super easy. My training was to to enhance my knowledge on a mental health training I present several times a year. My purpose work. This kind of work in my day brings joy, not only a sense of accomplishment but also such a warm feeling due to the benefits to others.

Passion: am I being passionate about what I do each day? Is my passion showing in my work? Is my passion inspiring others? Does my passion impact my bottom line. Why yes to all of the above. When I can see my passion oozing out my pores in any given day, I am elated.

When I revisit my five words noted above in my day and I see success in all.

Areas I know I am succeeding in at life. I have achieved balance. The balance that is important to me. My measuring stick. Not yours. Mine.

adventure

First Timer

I’m a first timer. A virgin of sorts. New skill. New form of fitness. New level of cold. New land to explore. New. New. New.

I guess I should let you in on the secret. I’m wearing an apparatus that I thought was going to resemble a tennis racquet on my feet as I trek through snow. To my surprise I had something more modern and practical. They call this snowshoeing and I’m paying for this form of torture just to say I did it! I must be a little nuts but I love completing unique excursions whenever possible.

I obviously love to share my stories in case one may want to try said activities. I also like to catalog my crazy adventures for the years ahead when I am not physically or mentally able to complete such crazy things. So here goes. Snow is on the forecast for today 1-3 inches. Cold temps and strong winds. That is just the start.

I’m layered up and ready to tackle the unknown. The initial climb is a few switch backs that get the heart rate going while you get used to your new footwear. I loved the bottom of mine. The claw-like bottom gives you so much traction in the snow. It was definitely an experience.

Hiking through the trees was my favorite part. Every corner was a little different. We traveled around a mine site and learned a little about the area history. We hiked near cliff hanger house that was being built with million dollar views. We got pretty close to an avalanche area and saw how the path changed.

I didn’t use poles for my hike but my pal did. I’m sure I could have benefited from them but I felt the traction from my snow shoes gave me the stability I wanted. I guess I opted for less baggage on my trek. A little more vigorous than hiking is what I would explain. If I lived somewhere cold I think I would definitely have a pair of these to kick around town in.

This view was amazing although the picture doesn’t do it justice. The skies were grey today due to the stormy weather but the climb yielded some amazing views of the city and the ski trails. If you are ever in this area, you should give snow shoes a try. Just because.

adventure, travel

Park City, Utah

It’s the end of 2022. I spent way too many days out in the cold this year, but somehow I booked a year end vacation in the tundra. Cold for me. Snow for me. The destination was selected. Park City, Utah in the chilly month of December. 

A few hours by plane gets me to the powdery land of snow-filled adventures. Time to play in this winter wonderland and document all my favorite spots. The picture below captures the frigid temps that I am about to endure.

The crazy began with packing. How many layers would be needed? Do I pack the big puffy jacket or lug it through the airport. Do I have enough heat packs? The list of doubt goes on and on. I guess you will read on and find out how I fared on this spectacular adventure. Just two bags. Ready to go on Southwest. Just two bags was important. I need one just for extra layers.

We didn’t get too far into the trip before chaos erupted. A lost bag. Tears for hours for the one with the missing bag. Big ugly tears of loss. Fear of the unknown. Regrets galore. It was awful. The tale of the white suitcase will not be forgotten anytime soon. Reunited 48 hours later with a lesson learned along the way is the best way to sum up this unexpected fiasco. A lot of help from those along the way.

After a long trek, food was a much needed requirement. Before actually reaching Park City, we hit a notable dive from the Guy Fieri TV show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives… called the red Iguana. A tiny hole in the wall known for their mole sauces. I was definitely excited to try their sample mole plate after watching a documentary on how mole sauce is made and the variations. Not to mention the chocolate involved. A neat pit stop to check off the foodie list. Killer nachos was my choice for the day and it didn’t disappoint.

The photo below gives a little snapshot of each of these sauces for those unfamiliar with mole and with curious minds. Ignore the prices. Focus on the descriptions.

A short drive from Salt Lake City to the final destination of Park City, Utah. Gorgeous mountain views. Snow-capped mountain tops. Cool crisp air. All were welcoming signs that we had arrived. More posts will follow in the coming days covering food, adventures and whatever else doesn’t hit the cutting room floor. I hope you enjoy the winter adventures through my eyes. For me, I may be in a winter wonderland one week and basking in sunshine in Florida the next week. You just never know which way the wind will blow me.

For now you are getting the wintertime snowy adventures, while next time you may see more sunshine. Either way travel documents many life experiences. The dagger-like icicles are a nice reminder by my window each morning. Should the air warm up those daggers may fall and cause some injuries. I’ll be treading with caution in the days ahead.

Stay tuned as I explore this winter wonderland in the days ahead. While I’m packed and ready for the cold I am hearing of the storm of the century hitting every other part of the US and it seems I may end up being in the warmer climate during this trip. What an irony.

balance

Dirt Road and Vines

Not all dirt road lead to wineries but on this fall Saturday my dirt road headed right to one of the cool wineries in North Georgia. Cavender Creek is just about an hour or so outside of the city near the college town of Dahlonega. Home to the University of North Georgia. Turning off the main road you drive a short distance on the dusty road as you see the vines in the sunshine.

Just beyond the vines is a little rustic oasis. I went for the sole purpose of sucking on their wine slushy flavor of the day or a swirl if they had more than one flavor while enjoying the ambiance. I was in luck. Pink Starburst and Lime starburst were the flavors to swirl on the sunny weekend afternoon. Perfect presentation with the twisty straw for flair. And it tasted just as good as it looked. One must always be careful not to suck too fast or that pretty slushy will go straight to your head.

Cavender Creek is set off the road a bit. It has an inviting outdoor space for socializing by fire pits and on the lawn. Another deck outside under cover. A back room with long white drapes reflecting the appeal of a sunroom. A cozy group living room in with many special setups of chairs, couches, stools and what not to chat in big or small groups. So much thought was out into making this winery inviting. All the way down to the rocking chair front porch. Such an inviting place with so many spots to unwind and chat.

For today I was at a table for two but with food for 3 or four. Assorted cheeses and meats mixed with some crackers and giant pretzel to soak up some of the wine. A little socializing. A little snacking. Some checkers to play. And I almost forgot about bumping into some folks I hadn’t seen in years. This place has it all from good food to tasty wines to cool vibes with all of their hangout spots.

This day was not planned to include a stop at the winery. It was full of to do’s and times to get to here and there. I opted for the scenic route. A pit stop. Time to breathe the fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun. Get a little dust on the car. Socialize a bit and of course enjoy the sweetness of the wine slushy.

In the end the cup was empty but the soul was full. The pillow on my chair may have summed it up nice with the phrase:

This

Is

The 

Life

No questions about it. A beautiful day. An amazing destination. Kinship. I felt like one of the lucky ones today. Remember the u-turns in life sometimes yield the best and most unexpected memories. Below is a quirky decoration that was sitting on the vintage table next to me. Too cute not to capture.

Jackass may be the theme in the logo of this winery which adds to its curbside appeal. If in the area you should definitely give it a try.