The Art of Cycling

For me, the only art to cycling is making sure I pedal fast enough to keep from falling over, but the Stowe Recreation Path in Stowe, VT proved to be not only an enjoyable ride through the Vermont countryside but an art exhibit as well.


Over the course of the six mile path, a variety of sculptures including a guide to each piece by phone provided an interesting art show.


The sculptures as well as historic buildings are a bonus to trail users.


The easy, relatively flat trail crosses ten bridges so there are many opportunities to view the river crisscrossing through the town.


Even on a wet day, a twelve mile ride in Stowe was a great place to ride and enjoy art, both made by man and nature.



No Words Needed

Acadia National Park – no words needed!








No special camera equipment needed to capture the beauty of this park. I took all pictures with iPhone 6 (John took the picture of me, also with an iPhone 6).

Designate a Meeting Spot

I can only think of about a half dozen times when your dad and I were truly angry with one another. During our return trip to Acadia National Park we began to reminisce about one of those occasions.

While we don’t agree on the details, I think we were at the beach and he thinks we were at Thunder Hole, and we both believe that we were with you girls and the other was alone; nevertheless we agree that we were frantically looking for one another for more than forty-five minutes.

Hard to believe this beach was so packed with people we couldn't find each other. The difference between July and September.
Hard to believe this beach was so packed with people we couldn’t find each other. The difference between July and September.

Since I’m writing, this is my version of the story. I remember being at Sand Beach on a very crowded day. It seems people in the Northeast think swimming in icy cold water is an enjoyable summer activity. So I remember taking you girls to the restroom and then returning to the beach to meet Dad. When he wasn’t there we sat down and waited for maybe fifteen minutes, but when he still hadn’t returned we set off to find him.

Over the course of the next half hour we walked up and down the beach looking for him while he was doing the same thing. Finally, we found one another and both started in on the other with “where have you been…I’ve been looking all over for you…I was worried when you didn’t come back.”

Apparently, he thought we were meeting at the restroom so after waiting for awhile, he also started walking the beach making it difficult for us to find one another. By the time I returned to the restroom he’d returned to the beach leading to the confusion.

Needless to say, we were both more worried than angry, but by the time we were all reunited, anger was the only emotion we could express.


One reason this rarely happened is because we designate a place to meet when we go separate directions and plan a meeting place in case someone gets lost – like in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney or at the registration area at a 5k race.

A little planning reduces a lot of stress when you’re in a crowd and lose contact with a friend or family member. I know, cell phones have made it easier to locate one another, but I was reminded this week that cell phones aren’t always the answer as visitors in Acadia were frustrated at their inability to find members of their group when calls and texts didn’t go through in the many “no service” areas of the park and we all know someone who lets the battery on their phone die at the most inopertune times.

Save yourself from worry and anger…designate a meeting spot.



October Fun

We’ll be changing the calendar to October in just a few days so it’s time to start looking for festivals and special events around Florida to celebrate in the coming weeks. Arts, crafts, music, bicycles, a ferry and of course food top the list of festivals taking place throughout the state.

Saturday, October 3rd

The month kicks off with a food event in honor of a fish. The Mim’s Mullet Festival serves smoked and fried mullet as well as barbecue and burgers surrounded by games, a car show, horse rides, a craft show, the battle of the bands and the highlight: the crowning of the Mullet Maiden.

October 4th-11th

In the first full week of the month, a diverse group of musicians representing all types of jazz will be performing as part of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival. In its 14th year, the festival includes swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin and contemporary musicians while raising funds for a scholarship program “to fund college educations for aspiring jazz musicians and works to provide a rich, diverse jazz offering to the Amelia Island area.”

October 9th-11th

In its 41st year, the Mount Dora Bicycle Festival takes place over the course of three days providing fourteen routes for cyclists to enjoy exploring beautiful Mount Dora. With over 600 miles of marked roads, there’s a ride for everyone.

October 10th

The fourth annual Ferry Fest & Adventure Quest begins at 7:00am. Bands, food trucks, arts & crafts, a kid’s play area and a trivia challenge are part of the festivities planned to help raise awareness and funds to support the ferry linking Jacksonville to Ft. George Island.

October 23rd-November 1st 

Looking for a Mardi Gras style event in the fall? Then the Key West Fantasy Fest is for you. Costumes and parades are the highlight of this ten day event with this year’s theme: “All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show”. Head to the state’s southernmost city for the wildest extravaganza of the season.

October 24th

If you find yourself closer to the Panhandle than the Keys, or if you’re looking for a little less freaky, you might want to try the St. Marks Stone Crab Festival. In addition to stone crabs, this festival focuses on Forts, Flags and artiFacts! A Celebration of Archaeology and Heritage! The events run from 10:00-6:00 at San Marco de Apalache Historic State Park, and you may want to get there early since last year over 12,000 people attended.

October 23rd-25th

Inverness celebrates the little turtle with a big heart at the Great American Cooter Fest held over three days in Inverness. The Cooter Fest features carnival rides, music, Cooter Cupcake Wars and a Cooter Princess Pageant.

October 24th-25th

The last weekend in October, FAFO hosts the 49th Annual Ocala Arts Festival in downtown Ocala. With free parking, free admission and free entertainment, children’s events, a school art exhibit and hundreds of artists displaying and selling their work, it makes this the place to start your holiday shopping.

Of course the theme parks are celebrating fall with Halloween Horror Nights in its 25th year at Universal Studios and Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream scaring guests while the Magic Kingdom at Disney World entertains a younger crowd with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. And for those interested in a more refined event, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival continues through the month of October.

Time to add a festival to the  calendar.



Looking for a Comfort Station

Not long after my mother-in-law retired and moved to Marion County she told me she knew where to find every Publix grocery store in Ocala. While she shopped at Publix, the reason she mapped the locations was because she wanted to be able to quickly find a clean restroom if nature called while she was twenty minutes or more away from home. This advice is something we’ve used on many occasions as we’ve travelled around the state, but it doesn’t work everywhere.


On road trips outside of Florida, I keep my eyes open for Cracker Barrel. A great comfort station for so many reasons.

They’re so predictable:

rocking chairs, checkers and holiday displays


apparel from the local universities


a large selection of candy which I can’t resist


and of course, clean easy to find restrooms. Love Publix and Cracker Barrel.

TBT Lesson #69

As a freshman at Forest High School in 1998, Meghan was anxious to get involved with everything high school had to offer. Instead of waiting until the second semester to try out for the softball team, she decided run cross country to stay in shape.

Meghan had run a few 5k races so she knew a little bit about the sport, but what she didn’t know was that she would fall in love with running. In fact, after earning a varsity letter that fall, she never did try out for softball. Instead, she joined the track team the following January and began running year round.


TBT Lesson #69: Don’t be afraid to try something new. Like the old Alka-Seltzer commercials said, “try it, you’ll like it”.

Make a Fall Bucket List

Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season of the year. I love watching football, hiking and biking in the cooler weather, attending festivals and eating soup…or maybe fall’s my favorite season because I celebrate my birthday in November.

Whatever the reason, I’m especially look forward to fall this year since it’s the first time in my adult life that I’ll be free to truly enjoy everything fall has to offer since I’m no longer tied to the school calendar. While I’ve enjoyed the long weekends built into the academic calendar in October and November for a teacher workday and Thanksgiving, it’s exciting to be able to take a vacation according to my schedule instead of the schedule being dictated by others.

And with today being the first day of fall, I’ve made a bucket list of activities that are perfect for fall and plan to tackle at least a couple dozen of them. I hope you’ll do the same.

Fall Bucket List

Go to a football game.
Pick apples.
Pitch a tent.
Roast marshmallows.
Go for a hayride.
Take a hike.
Visit a pumpkin patch.
Roast pumpkin seeds.
Eat candy corn.
Drink apple cider.
Host a chili night.
Get lost in a corn maze.
Collect food for a food bank.
Observe the harvest moon.
Carve or decorate a pumpkin.
Go leaf peeping.
Make a costume.
Give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Attend a fall festival.
Go camping.
Collect pine cones.
Eat a candy apple.
Make a list of what you’re thankful for.
Make a pumpkin pie.
Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Read a ghost story.
Create a Christmas shoebox.
Make caramel apples.
Jump in a pile of leaves.
Tailgate or at least make some tailgate food.
Change the batteries in your smoke detector.
Enjoy a bonfire.
Make s’mores.
Go for a bike ride.
Observe the lunar eclipse.
Pop popcorn.
Go for a walk on a crisp morning.
Make a pot of homemade soup.
Watch a scary movie.
Start Christmas shopping – but not too early in the season.

Now it’s time to make your own Fall Bucket List. Choose a dozen things to do this fall and then have a ball.


Happy Birthday and Thank You

Failure to read the newspaper or watch the news on television means that sometimes you miss very important events. That happened to me yesterday when I was too busy to keep up with the news and as a result didn’t realize I missed Jimmy Fallon’s birthday.


To make up for the oversight, I thought I’d say happy birthday by remembering some of Jimmy’s memorable thank you’s:

Thank you, yard sales, for being the perfect way to say to your neighbors: ‘We think we’re important enough to charge money for our garbage.’

Thank you… adjustable baseball caps with no logo on the front and mesh netting in the back, for being a great way to say, ‘Hi, I’m over 80 years old.’

Thank you, take out restaurants for putting two spoons and two forks in the bag, thinking that all this food I ordered was for TWO people.

Thank you, hard taco shells, for surviving the long journey from factory, to supermarket, to my plate and then breaking the moment I put something inside you. Thank you.

Thank you, crocs, for being a terrifying animal and an even more terrifying shoe.


Thank you neighbor who pays for Wi-Fi and doesn’t set up a Wi-Fi password, for also paying for my Wi-Fi.

Thank you, new study that found people aren’t naturally good in math. It’s like I’ve always said, math is 50% hard work and 60% luck.

Thank you, emergency row on a plane, for making me lie, everytime the flight attendant asks me if I can function in case of an emergency.

Thank you, horseradish, for being neither a radish nor a horse. What you are is a liar food?

Thank you… motion sensor hand towel machine. You never work, so I just end up looking like I’m waving hello to a wall robot.

Thank you, graduation gowns, for basically saying, “This is one of the most important days in your life, so dress in your finest clothes, and then throw this loose-fitting garbage sack over the top of it.”


So to Jimmy Fallon, I’m sorry I missed your birthday and thank you for reminding us all how important it is to write thank you notes.


Thanks for Supporting ALZ

For the third year we participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

imageThis year, Team B. Lou was joined by Team Garmany at Tuscawilla Park for the 2.4 mile walk.


Members of our team were walking in memory of John’s mom, Carole’s dad and Becky’s grandfather as well as other family members who have been affected by this disease.


Together we raised over $1700.


Thanks to everyone who supported the walk.

UPS…Open the Gate

Living on a county road instead of on a neighborhood street has been a real challenge when placing online orders. Instead of having a mailbox on a busy highway nearly 200 yards from our front door, we decided to receive our mail in a post office box in Ocklawaha.

But this is a problem when buying an item online since I never know how the package will be delivered. If it comes USPS, they need our post office box. However, UPS and FedEx only deliver to the physical address.


I’ve had packages returned to the sender because I’ve included a PO Box as a shipping address for an item delivered by UPS or FedEx or included our physical address only to find out the package was shipped by USPS…a frustrating mess when I have to track down a missing order.

However, by far the most disturbing deliveries are those delivered by UPS. Why would they think it’s a good idea to drop a package over the fence to sit out in the weather while also tempting anyone who sits at the stop light? What an easy target! Just quickly grab the boxes perched a few yards off the highway.


UPS could learn a thing or two from the FedEx. Open the gate. Drive down the driveway to the house. Deliver the package by the door nestled under the awning to protect it from the weather.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how I can have more control over how packages are delivered, please let me know. I’m getting tired of tracking down missing packages…and what good is two day delivery if the order has to be resent?