I Need Some Sole

Have you ever been hiking and thought “these insoles feel really hard, I wonder if I should replace them?”  If you are a guy then sure you have, but they are still new, aren’t they!  I looked at them when I got home and said “Damn, these look rough.  I wonder how long they will last?”  At this point Charlene adds from around the corner “Just get new ones already.  Quit being a cheap-ass”.  Looking up my pass Amazon Prime orders they are only from August.  Let’s see that’s 1, 2, 3…, 8 months.  That’s okay, isn’t it?  Wait, we walk about 70,000 steps a per four-day work week or about 33 miles plus weekends.  That means I walked about 40 miles a week at eight months.  So… these insoles have over 1200 miles on them.  Hmmmm, I guess it’s time.  Here are a couple pictures to show the old versus the new. With the Appalachian Trail 10 days away, I’m really glad I decided to update them, and so are my feet.


Once In A Blue Moon

IMG_8499 (Small)

Charlene and I joined a “Meetup” group to get some hiking in and meet new friends while prepping for the AT in about 3 weeks.  Last night the group had a “Blue Moon” hike in the Bass River, NJ State Park.  What is a Blue Moon?  By definition it is “a fairly infrequent phenomenon involving the appearance of an additional full moon within a given period”, in this case the month of March.  No flashlights allowed, uh-huh, well a few showed up and good thing they did as they helped us avoid puddles the size of ponds and fallen trees. And this gave me the chance to test our “head light” the Black Diamond Spot red light feature.  Nice!!!  We hiked between 6 and 7 miles, had great conversations and thanks to a crystal-clear sky the stars and the moon were absolutely wonderful.  A little chilly, but activity and friendship kept everyone warm.

Are You Kidding Me?!?

Are you kidding me?!? Okay, any blog starting with these words is designed to grab your attention. Right?  These words are simply an exclamation after coming back to New Jersey just in time for four (4) Nor’easters to hit in three weeks. And it’s not just the heavy wet snow that’s the problem. High winds mixed with the ground that has met its saturation limit and the heavy snow causes trees to fall down. Tree Down (Small)And when they fall or break they love to take power lines with them.  In fact, we lost three trees at our house and power was out everywhere for days. Thankfully Charlene’s parents let us stay at their shore house, and yes it snowed there too. The Airstream stood up well and was a backup if necessary thanks to propane heat and the solar system keeping the batteries healthy. Even though I am complaining a little the creek is beautiful after the snow. Westcreek Snow 2 3.22.18 (Small)The AT start date is being pushed back by a couple weeks. And since this return had been a whirl wind the extra time is actually a silver lining. We’ll write again soon. Bye.

Lady and Son’s

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Lunch at Paula Dean’s place.

One Last Crawfish Run

Time to leave Mississippi and head north, but not before stopping at our favorite crawfish hole – The Crawfish House in Ocean Springs. Gonna miss this place


I should have never uttered those famous last words!!!!

You are probably sitting there right now asking what I did and remember a time you said the exact same thing.  As you all are probably aware I quit my “Corporate Job” and now travel full time with Charlene, my beautiful wife, as a contractor for various gas companies.  This involves lots of walking every day to survey natural gas pipelines and services…and this day was no different.  The map shows a line headed off the main street up a narrow alley and as I look at the area I must now traverse and Charlene tells me “it’s late in the day and we’re both tired, get it tomorrow”.  This is where the utterance of those famous last words laced with pure ego, who said I learn from my mistakes, once again gets me into trouble.  You see this narrow alley is about 3 feet wide, over grown weeds, small trees and basically hard to see down.  With equipment in hand I break out my man card, strap on my ego, and saunter into the unknown.  Okay, step over the vine, duck under the branch, whoa watch out for the brambles.  I see it, the gas meter is just ahead.  I say under my breath “yeah, I Got This”, and press forward.  Mr. Murphy, you know the guy that makes up all those laws, must have been listening to me.  All of a sudden, my right foot just stops moving; and I mean… all of a sudden.  While my right foot stopped, forward momentum did not.  This is where slow motion kicks in.  I start wondering “what the $%^# just happened”? I can see the ground looming ever closer.  This is when my mind’s eye sees the pile of homeless clothing and trash just inches from my face.  It took less than a second for those last few inches to pass by but it seemed like an eternity.  An eternity I had no control over.  Suddenly I hit the ground.  Nope, didn’t miss… I land face first into discarded clothing from the homeless person who had been living here (I will let your imagination put words in my mouth and finish the story). 

The ending… A severely sprained ankle, badly bruised ego, and yes, I needed a shower.  Thankfully my wife let me in the car or it would have been a really long walk back to our campground.  Oh and by the way, yes, I did get it.      – Don

Sick in an Airstream

Being sick with the flu in an Airstream, pray for our survival…..

I never thought about being sick in less than 300 sf would be such an issue, right?  Everything is close, you have several TV’s to entertain you and then your husband comes home.  WTH……seriously……we almost needed an intervention.  I wanted peace and quiet and he wanted to talk, yeah no.   

I like to be left alone to my own devices when I am sick.  I like to roam around my space to either pick at food, watch TV or just plain die of my sickness (I know….being a little dramatic here lol).  Don wanted to talk, do dishes, clean up, watch TV, talk some more, play games on his computer, talk some more……I wanted to do bad things to my husband and not in a good naughty way either.  He was getting on my nerves, but I was sick and entitled to a little consideration like maybe you need to sleep in your truck until I get better. 

The laundry was piling up, I was getting cabin fever and Don still wanted to talk……..what do you do, seriously?  You have to talk and work things out.  I asked Don to come home and to be quiet.  I tried to do things, during the day, to help me along.  One day was some laundry and the next could be some of the dishes.  I tried to get a shower daily, but not always.  Some days I over did it, but I was going nuts with being sick.  I had no place to hide, not enough TV channels and I could only do so much internet surfing.  A book could not even hold my attention and I love books. 

To be honest…..this was the worst case of the flu/bronchitis/crud that I have ever had and it had to happen in our Airstream. I had been to urgent care once, the emergency room twice and my primary doctor twice.  I was put on an IV to restore my fluid intake on one occasion and there was thought that I might be having a heart attack on another visit…..I think I had a heart attack when they told me that.  I carry all the drugs I am on in a plastic grocery bag.  They come with me everywhere.  Did I mention that I hate being sick? 

I am now on the down swing of this nasty crud, but ever cautious that something else does not attach to me.  I am not sure what I could do differently the next time I get sick, but maybe a one way flight to an island in the West Indies might help…..did I mention that I did get the flu shot this year……lucky me…..

Locks of Love

Decided it was time to show Biloxi how locked in love we are. And since we have eclectic taste and Mardi Gras is around the corner we chose a lock to say it all

Happened Upon A Gem

Google maps search for a restaurant led us to an “Innovative Mexican Cuisine” spot 2.3 miles away in Downtown NOLA. We didn’t realize we stubbled across Johnny Sanchez restaurant. How cool to stumble upon a restaurant by one of the judges of the TV show Chopped.

#johnnysanchezno #mexicanrestaurant #NOLA

New Year’s Day, Saint Scholastica Monastery, and Fort Smith, Arkansas

The pastor from the Hot Springs Methodist church recommended that we visit the Saint Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, AR.  We did and we went on New Year’s Day.  We called ahead to Sister Kimberly to request a private tour.  Don and I decided to go early and go to mass.  For some reason, we thought the church was separate from the monastery and drove around the monastery and the school and did not find the church.  Then we thought that the church might be in the monastery, which it was.  I thought most of the people in the church, which were mostly women, were locals…..buzzer moment here, wrong again.  They were all the nuns from the monastery.

 When you think of a nun, you think of the habits they wear.  Apparently, they are no longer required to wear such things.  As long as they are modest, they can wear what they want.  The nuns can even wear make-up and color their hair.  I have to say that the mass was lovely and the church was beyond words.  The architecture was modern and positive for women, but you can see their Bavarian roots in the artwork, the paintings and so much more.  The monastery is huge and unique.  It was beautifully decorated for Christmas.  The calm you feel when you walk in is lovely. 

 Sister Kimberly asked us to come for breakfast and then gave us the grand tour.  Those ladies can cook.  We were well received and I so enjoyed talking to the nuns.  They are light hearted, friendly, well educated (most hold jobs of teaching, nurse practitioner, etc.), and love to laugh.  There is so much history at the monastery and too much to put into writing, but I will say that some of the nuns had talents that were certainly God given.  When you see the paintings, the old robes and so much more you realize that some of the nuns were not educated in these arts, yet their artwork almost seems to belong in a museum.  Unbelievable and just wow!

 Sister Kimberly asked that we come back for dinner, which we agreed to, but I wanted to spend some quality time in the church.  I wanted to reflect, pray and just breathe.  I have to say that I felt a huge burden lifted off my back and I felt happy.  We left for lunch to walk the Fort Smith National Historic Site.  It certainly does not compare to Gettysburg, but I think we all forget that the civil war was struggled and suffered in many states, including Arkansas.  The graveyard is always the hardest to visit, but the most memorable to see.  You walk past people from history that you read about, but really know nothing about.  Books only tell you a certain side of who these people were.  The hanging judge was one of them.  Every person who came before him had either murdered someone or raped someone.  Per the laws at the time, they had to hang which they all did.  He was a wonderful family man and served his country well.  It was sad that his nickname was the hanging judge, but such is history.   

We headed back to the monastery to eat dinner and to get ready for our leave the next day to Oklahoma City, OK.  We arrived to the offer of spirits, a lively young violinist and the enjoyment of the sisters.  I never knew that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day provided good fortune for the rest of the year.  Don was not touching the black-eyed peas, even with the possibility of good fortune.  All the nuns prayed for our safe travels and I was so thankful for the food and their comradery. 

 If you are ever in Fort Smith, AR, please stop in to say hello, get the grand tour and visit with the nuns.  They are so much fun and love to have visitors.  They are not stuffy and you do not even have to be Catholic to come, but come. 

Sister Kimberly (on left) an instant friend
The Alter at St. Scholastica Chaple
We happened to stop under the Mistletoe
The last stop for rapists and murderers in the “Old West”
Not Forgotten
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