Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer's Over. Now What?

(Photo by Dick Bevevino)
OK, we've had our morning coffee.  It's time to face reality.  Summer is almost a memory, and if we've been lucky, we've been able to spend time with those we love best, both at home and on vacation.

So what now?  It's time to think about one of our favorite topics again:  VACATIONS !  Last summer we had some great advice on river cruises from Pam and Alan, Carol and Ray, and Ruthanne and Ted.  Now let's consider other ways to enjoy getaways, both close to home and abroad.

Our friend Terry has just returned from a trip to France, Italy, and Switzerland.  On a tour?  In a manner of speaking.  Terry and friends booked a guided walking tour with www.northwestwalks.co. Their hike covered 112 miles in 10 days.  But wait!  Before you scream, "Yikes, who can do that?" remember that the group hiked 12 miles a day with the following schedule:  Hike/break/hike/lunch/hike/break/hike/dinner with ice-cold beer.  Terry's advice?  Add squats and lunges to your exercise routine for 6 months before the trip. That strengthens your legs for those inclines.  Take your hiking sticks with you, too. A side benefit?  Using those hiking sticks makes the hike more doable and also burns more calories at the same time.   And best of all, enjoy the magnificent vistas all along the way.

Would you rather walk this winter or spring instead of in the summer months?  www.macsadventures.com offers walks in places like Southern Spain and Portugal as well as trips through the British Isles, their base of operations.  You can explore the site by putting in your level of ability (Whew!  There is an "easy" category.), the dates of interest, and other info that will aid in showing you their offerings.

Microsoft ClipArt
Many of us like to stay closer to home.  If you would, consider this.  Bob A. has just returned from a bike trip starting in  Burlington,Vermont and ending in Quebec City. Bob was on a Sojourn tour. And they offer a number of different bike tours to various locations within the USA. The Sojourn tours are in Canada and the USA are ranked:Bob's was an "intermediate tour" covering an average of 55 miles per day. Bob felt the tour guides were very knowledgable, both from a historical standpoint and also about cycling tips. Starting on Sunday, the riders experienced some "rather easy flat ride days along Lake Champlain on lightly traveled roads and some scenic area as well as lots of very green pastures and farm land.  Most breakfasts, a few lunches and several dinners were included in the trip fee. The tour ended in Quebec City, and on Thursday, we had a day off the bike and all of us participated in a Walking Tour of Quebec City with an interesting guide." On Thursday, Bob joined 4 others on he optional  long ride:  85-90 miles."  Since it was Bob's 16th tour, he was well able to finish, but he cautions that this option was "arduous."  There are loads of US bike tours for all levels of riders so there's no need to shy away because of the challenges of his trip.

Other tours?  Walking?  Camping?  Kayaking?  For families?  For couples?  For singles?  Many tour companies serving the USA offer these.  http://grandamericanadventures.com/tourtypes There are even tours for those of us who prefer to amble along at a slower pace.  Now, that sounds great to me!

(Our thanks to Terry and Bob A for sharing their amazing adventures.)

You Think You've Had a Bad Day? Think Again!

Your day hasn't been as bad as this...AND your hair definitely looks better!
(The Chicken Chick)

Living Our Lives Well and Brightening Every Day

                    6 Little stories 
(Microsoft ClipArt)
1. Once all the villagers decided to pray for rain.  On the day of the prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That's faith. 
2.  When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her. That's trust. 
3.  Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next morning but still we set the alarms to wake up. That's hope. 
4.  We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That's confidence. 
5.  We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children. That's love. 
6.  On an old man's shirt was written a sentence, "I am not 60 years old...I am sweet 16 with 44 years of experience." That's attitude. 
Have a happy day and live your life like these 6 stories!
(Thanks to Cheryl who forwarded these six stories from her cousin, Jane.)

On the Road...With Caution

(Microsoft ClipArt)
Sometimes we need to post information on the recent ploys by criminals to stop us on the highway.  Sadly, we all need to be even more aware now.  Careless drivers, inattentive drivers, and impaired travelers are already on our radar, but the three situations below definitely deserve our attention, no matter where we drive.  This applies to drivers in all 50 states and is taken from a message by the Office of Attorney General:  State of Michigan.

Ploy I:  A child's car seat covered with a baby blanket is placed on the side of the highway-usually in a secluded area of the highway.  Thieves hope you will stop.  If you do, the consequences could range from robbery to physical assault to death.  Instead of stopping, call 911 and tell the operator about the car seat.  Do not stop and do not even slow down.  The police will send someone to investigate.

Ploy II:  Thieves will throw eggs at the windshield of a car, hoping the motorist will activate the wiper solution.  That coats the windshield with a smear that can keep you from seeing virtually 100% of what's ahead.   They wait for you to pull over so that you can clear the window.  If it happens to you, don't try to use the wipers/wiper fluid.  Drive carefully, but do not stop.

Ploy III:  Many of us are already aware that thieves are using the unmarked car/flashing lights ploy to make drivers think they are being asked to pull over by a policeman.  The rule is to never pull over for an unmarked car with lights flashing.  Instead, the traveler should keep driving until he or she is able to pull in to a gas station or similar safe place.  But many of us aren't aware that we should use our cell phones to call 112. This number reaches a police dispatcher.  Tell the police dispatcher about the unmarked car with lights flashing and explain that you will not pull over until you find a safe place to do so.  This emergency operator will check to find out if a valid unmarked police car is in the area.  Most of us are unaware that police must respect the motorist's right to continue driving until a safe place like a gas station appears.  The number 112 is a "direct link to state trooper information" and applies to every state.

(Thanks to Joan & Len H for sending this valuable  and potentially life-saving information.)