I just finished Week 4 of my walking challenge, which I’ve nicknamed, ‘My Coronavirus Camino.’ The rules are simple, I’m going to walk every day for a minimum of two miles until I reach 500 miles. There is no rush to finish–I’m just going to do it! This ‘magic number’ is the length of the Camino Frances in France/Spain.
Total for the Week--28.68 miles Total for 'My Coronavirus Camino'--133.67 miles Check out Week 1, Week 2, & Week 3
My good news is that after being without work/income for four weeks, the company that I work for made the leap to virtual trainings. I conducted my very first virtual training this week from Tuesday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Since I was either prepping to train, or training, my walking routine took a bit of a hit mileage wise. With that said, I stuck to my goal of walking at least two miles every day! As of today, I’ve walked for 28 days straight. I’m also happy to report that I’ve lost 14.6 pounds since January 1st. The weight certainly isn’t falling off, but I’m pleased that the number is going in the right direction on the scale!
My “funny” for this week, is that after walking we ordered Chinese take-out on Easter Sunday. We’ve never done that before, but it felt nice to support a local restaurant.
I just finished Week 3 of my walking challenge, which I’ve nicknamed, ‘My Coronavirus Camino.’ The rules are simple, I’m going to walk every day for a minimum of two miles until I reach 500 miles. There is no rush to finish–I’m just going to do it! This ‘magic number’ is the length of the Camino Frances in France/Spain.
Total for the Week--31.72 miles Total for 'My Coronavirus Camino'---104.99 miles Check out Week 1 & Week 2!
Debbie and I were supposed to leave for London today, so I’m feeling sad and disappointed about missing out on our trip. Because the airline is so backlogged, we haven’t even been given our refund yet. We cancelled, of course, but our request was put into a queue and we still haven’t gotten a response. I’m in a funk about other things, too, so the best way to say it is that I needed to force myself to walk today. I just wasn’t in the mood…but after I got out there….my spirits definitely lifted!
Today during my walk, a man purposely coughed in my direction–twice! I almost hate to admit this, but his actions made me feel like I could do something violent. Please read this how I intend it…I wanted to kick him in the crouch. Seriously!
I was walking on the sidewalk and I noticed two people walking shoulder-to-shoulder toward me. When we were about twenty feet apart, it was obvious that they weren’t going to move aside, so I stepped off the sidewalk and continued to walk on the road. My action prompted the man to lean toward his walking partner and whisper something which made them both laugh. He then coughed in my direction, in a long and exaggerated manner. He looked up to gauge my reaction, which apparently they thought was funny because they both laughed deeply. As we passed, with them still on the sidewalk, and me on the street, he turned his head and coughed again, but this time in my direction.
They erupted in laughter and I was left feeling like I was under attack. It was such a bizarre feeling.
Today I walked with Tom on the jail trail, and during our trek we noticed a a lone graffiti message scrawled on a perfectly painted white fence which read, “Kill the local rapist.” We briefly talked about the odd message, but then quickly forgot about it.
The path is about 8 feet wide, and keeping social distancing in mind, Tom walked toward one side of the path, while I stayed close to the other side. This left a big gaping hole between us, which allowed bikes to pass easily between.
I had totally forgotten about the graffiti on our return, but Tom saw it and said loudly, “Kill the local rapist,” at the exact moment that a biker zoomed between us. I know the cyclist heard him, because Tom was practically yelling. I started to laugh and I couldn’t stop. I kept thinking about what the biker was thinking as he pedaled past. At very least, he was probably thinking, “I’m outta here–what is this weirdo talking about?”
It still makes me laugh when I think about it!
Later in the afternoon, I met Debbie at Orr’s Farm for another walk.
Ugh! The Coronavirus has really been putting me in a funk this week! I was supposed to be in London this week, and that was cancelled, and today I found out that my trip to Svalbard has also been cancelled. I was supposed to be going on an amazing trip to the Arctic Circle at the end of May to see polar bears, walruses, ice floes, icebergs, etc. Ahhhhh! I’m so disappointed! I was expecting it to be cancelled, but when it really happened, it hit me hard!
And what’s the remedy for curing the blues—-taking a walk, of course!
I just finished Week 2 of my walking challenge, which I’ve nicknamed, ‘My Coronavirus Camino.’ The rules are simple, I’m going to walk every day for a minimum of two miles until I reach 500 miles. This ‘magic number’ is the length of the Camino Frances in France/Spain.
Today’s walk was an interesting one. I walked over to my son’s house, then he walked with me to Debbie’s house. He walked back home and I walked around Debbie’s neighborhood while I waited for her to finish an online meeting for work. When she joined me, we walked back toward my house, and when I felt like I had walked enough, I headed home and she continued on her own to get her full walk in. It worked out so well, and I was able to spend time with both of them!
I slept in very late this morning, and I didn’t feel very well when I got up–just sinus stuff, but it had a vise-like grip on my head. Several hours later, when I started to feel better, I asked Pierre if he wanted to walk with me. Walking, in his opinion is boring, so he rarely agrees to go…so I was totally surprised when he said yes.
We headed over to Poor House Farm with the goal of walking for about two miles. Right about at the 1-mile mark, we rounded the edge of a field and saw two unleashed dogs bounding towards us. The owner, trying to catch up, yelled, “Don’t worry they’re friendly!”
Friendly or not, it never feels good to have two unknown dogs running straight at you, so we stopped walking and waited for them to approach. The dogs were indeed friendly, and as I reached down to pat the smaller of the two, the bigger dog stopped abruptly in front of Pierre. Just as Pierre reached out to pat the dog’s head, it threw up on his shoe.
Just at that moment, the owner caught up to his dogs. He looked down at Pierre’s feet and said, “I’m sorry…he tends to throw up after drinking from the stream and running around.”
The look on Pierre’s face was hysterical, but I tried desperately to hold back my laugh because I knew that he was annoyed, and rightfully so! He spent the next twenty minutes trying to shake his sneaker clean. Of course, I wanted to laugh each time he wiped his sneaker in the grass or shook his foot, but I held it in. He finally pointed to a sign that said that dogs must be kept on a leash, and we both burst out laughing! I know he wasn’t happy about it, but he was a good sport. Did that dog seriously have to vomit on his shoe the first time that Pierre had agreed to walk with me in ages? I guess the joke was on me!
Later in the afternoon, I headed out for another walk. At one point, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair on the other side of the road waving frantically at me. I recognized her, as I had seen her several times asking for money at various street corners in town. I removed my earphones and asked if she needed help. She replied, “Are you going to Family Dollar?”
“No,” I yelled over the din of the traffic crossing between us.
“Good…don’t! There’s a black man there who has long black hair, and he’ll rob you blind. He’s also kidnapped two children,” she yelled back over to me.
Not knowing what to say, I replied, “Thanks for letting me know! Have a nice day!” She gave me a funny look before rolling away in the opposite direction.
You can’t make stuff like this up, and thinking back, I’m incredulous over my response! Oh boy, is that really what I said? Yup…that’s what I said. What can I say, she completely caught me off guard!
These little frogs tucked away in a garden that I walked past made smile! Today was gray and rainy–thank goodness for all of the flowers and the flowering trees!
Today I walked by myself, and then I met Debbie later in the afternoon for another walk. We decided to walk on the Jail Trail, which for those of you wondering, is a trail in our town where the trail head parking lot is next to the county jail…hence the nickname! The trail parallels route 9, and the cacophony of the traffic rushing by makes conversation a bit difficult at times. Debbie and I were trying to keep a good bit of distance between ourselves and were conversing at a near yell.
A car zoomed past on the road and wildly start beeping their horn. We looked up to see a woman hanging half of her body out of the passenger side window. She waved her arms and yelled, “Six feet ladies….SIX FEET!”
I said to Debbie jokingly, “I wanted to yell back to tell her that we were llama distance away from each other!”
Today I walked with Tyler for exactly 2.0 miles on the nose. Two miles is my minimum that I’ve allowed myself for my Coronavirus Camino challenge, and I decided that today would be my “rest day.” LOL!
After our walk, Keegan, Tyler, and I sat on their back porch (six feet away from each other) and chatted. Things are stressful in the world right now, but seeing my kids is certainly the silver lining!
Happy April! Happy Hump Day!
Today I walked slightly over ten miles. For some reason, I woke up in a funk, and I really can’t pinpoint the exact reason. I haven’t slept very well for the last week, so maybe that was a part of it. Walking, for me anyway, is a great way to mange stress…so that’s what I did…I walked!
I listened to the ‘French Cooking Music’ station on Pandora. I know it sounds like a weird thing to listen to, but I loved it! It was a combination of instrumentals songs, songs sung in French, and several sung in English. They all had that ‘Ooh La La’ vibe. I just walked, and walked, and walked and my stress melted away! The only ‘bad’ thing that happened was that it poured for the last mile of my time on the trail, and I was drenched when I got back to my car. Silver lining–It didn’t rain for 10 miles!
Around a week ago, after the Coronavirus began to aggressively take hold across the United States, I discovered, like many of you that Americans were being asked to stay at home as an important measure to contain and control the virus. Around the same time, I found out that my income was going to be slashed to almost zero for the next month and a half (at minimum). I travel all over the country conducting week-long professional development trainings for teachers, and the next 6 weeks of my trainings have been cancelled.
Everything seemed to hit at once and it was overwhelming, to put it mildly. The loss of income was an obvious reason for being upset, but I immediately realized that sitting at home day-after-day was going to be incredibly difficult for me. I knew that I could only watch so many TV shows and movies before becoming incredibly bored. I settled on a a two-pronged approached to defeat the ‘stay-at-home blues.’ I decided that I was going to learn how to speak French (I’m working on that using Duolingo), and that I was going to walk—and by walk, I mean walk a lot!
Camino, in Spanish means ‘path,’ and I suppose this word could symbolize a lot of things. To me, however, the Camino represents the Camino Francés which is a 500-hundred mile pilgrimage that runs from Saint Jean Pied-du-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I’ve walked it twice–yup–1,000 miles on foot!
I decided that as long as I’m stuck at home, I would create my own Camino, or better said, my own ‘path.’ I’ve even named my adventure–My Coronavirus Camino. I’m going to walk 500 miles and the rules that I’ve set up for myself are simple–
I need to walk every day for a minimum of 2 miles
This isn’t a race. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to accomplish the task…I just need to finish! 500 miles–here I come!
I started a week ago, and from this point on, I’m going to post my weekly results every Wednesday night. I haven’t walked on a regular basis for a long time, so I was really out of shape when I started last week. I’m hoping that my walks get longer and longer as I get back into the groove, and that the weather improves as we march into April and May.
I have achieved my first two goals of walking 700 miles, so now I’m shooting for 1,000 Corona Miles, which I’m going to track 100 miles at a time. I’m working and living my life, so I’m in no rush, but I have set up the following goal for myself–walking every day (no skips) for a minimum of 2 miles.
TOTAL-801.1 miles in 224 days! (so far! as of 10/28/2020) Take that Covid-19!
My first goal was walking 500 miles without skipping any days….check! Then I extended my goal to 600 miles…then 700 miles…and finally, 800 miles. I did it…I’ve reached all of my goals! I’m going to push the goal to walking 1,000 miles without missing a single day. I’m going to update periodically, rather than daily, as it’s a lot to keep track of.
UPDATE–I’ve walked 1,207.16 miles in 327 days!–My goal has been slayed! (2/8/2021)
My first training of the new year was scheduled in Los Angles, CA. Coming from the east coast, who wouldn’t want to head out for a week of sunny skies and mild weather? My training was really fun (I had a great group of participants) and the weather was fantastic…so it SHOULD have been a terrific week. However, my phone was stolen while I was there. Not only was it a giant hassle to get it replaced, but I realized how much I rely on my phone when I travel. I use it as an alarm to wake me up in the morning, my watch, my timer during the trainings, my GPS while I’m driving, communications (phone, emails & texts), it holds my travel itineraries, and it’s my camera….ahhhh…it’s my everything! What did we do 15-20 years ago? I know…we used a regular camera, an alarm clock, a watch, a phone, and real maps! Times sure have changed!
I made it out to Manhattan Beach twice during the week. I usually do the same thing every time I go there–I walk out to the beach and the pier to look at the scenery (and people watch), and I visit ‘Pages,’ which is a little bookstore located a short walk from the beach on Manhattan Avenue. I really love this little store, so if you’re in the area…stop in! I bought a birthday gift for my friend, Debbie while I was there.
When I conduct my trainings, I always beginning by introducing myself. I usually tell my participants how much I like to travel, and about my long distance hiking, including the Camino de Santiago. A few days into the training, one of my participants approached me and asked if I heard of the movie called, “The Way.” It’s a movie about the Camino de Santiago that was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, and the lead was played by his father, Martin Sheen. I laughed and told her that not only had I seen it, but I’ve seen it about 10-12 times! I knew about the Camino prior to seeing the movie and I wanted to hike it, but the movie is what made me commit to doing it.
The next day, she presented me with a bottle of wine. I was momentarily confused, until she explained that her husband was the producer of the movie—the PRODUCER–and that the bottle of wine was from Emilio’s vineyard (he has since sold the vineyard). The gift was so thoughtful and appreciated! I really love the movie, and it holds such a special place in my heart because of my experience walking the Camino. I’ve walked the Camino Frances two times for a total 1,000 miles! And yes, I’m going to do it again!
This gift was so special, so I asked her to make sure to thank her husband for me, and to let him know that I would love to be an extra if he ever films a sequel! Hey, we only live once, so I even told her the story line that I imagined for the next movie! Okay, okay…twist my arm. The main story line would involve the four main characters hiking a different trail together again. A side story, will involve Josst, played by Yorick van Wageningen, meeting my character…sorry, the rest will have to be up to your imagination until Emilo writes the next script!
Several years ago, my friend, Tom, and I biked the entire length of the C&O Canal, which runs 184 1/2 miles from Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) and Cumberland, Maryland. We had a lot of fun and we enjoyed the conquest, but we were left with one disappointment…there wasn’t a 1/2 way marker along the trail. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but we were really bummed. Many long distance trails have 1/2 way markers and we wondered why this one didn’t.
We’re both members of the C&O Canal association and we have volunteered for years as ‘Level Walkers,’ which is a fancy way of saying that we were assigned to a section of the canal towpath to pick up trash. Tom eventually became involved in the leadership side of the Canal Association. In one of the meetings, Tom brought up the idea of installing a midway point marker. His idea was met with enthusiasm, but it was explained that since the C&O Canal was park of the National Parks system, it could be a long, drawn out process to get the marker installed. Additionally, the marker would look like the other mileage markers on the trail. In other words, no bells and whistles! We were okay with that, we were just happy that his idea was being considered. In the end, they were right, it took time and it was plain, but it was finally installed during the summer of 2019.
We set out from McMahon’s Mill and took a right on the canal trail, paralleling the river. The weather was overcast creating an almost mystical quality on the water and the surrounding area.
I probably should have named this post, ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters, High School Sweethearts, Naked Men, and what happens in South Dakota, stays in South Dakota!’
I stayed in the town of Torrington, WY for two weeks for work, and while I was there, I was able to sample a lot of the local offerings. On the day I rolled into town, I was told to head over to the ‘Bronco Grill House.’ I asked the waitress for a recommendation, and without hesitation she replied, “Try the peanut butter burger. It’s so good!” I momentarily hesitated, but I went with her suggestion, and I’m glad I that did—it was really good in a weird and wonderful way! I’m happy that she didn’t suggest a side of Rocky Mountain oysters, because I would have had to politely decline!
Later in the week, I was told to go to the ‘truck stop’ for dinner. I must admit, that originally, I wasn’t overly enticed to head over. However, after several people encouraged me to try it, I decided to give it a chance. The real name of the place is the ‘307 Bar and Grill.’ Except for the bar part, it reminded me of some of the diners that I’ve been to in New Jersey in the past. I wondered why it was called ‘307,’ and someone eventually told me that 307 is the local area code!
I ended up going twice, and the second time I had macaroni & cheese. I cringe thinking about the calorie count, but I have to admit that it was delicious!
Admittedly, if it weren’t for one of my participants bringing me a spiced apple cider and a gingerbread cookie from AJ’s, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought to try this place out. AJ’s sits on the far end of town in an unassuming, little turquoise blue building. They offer ice cream, all sorts of mix-and-match flavored sodas, coffee, tea…and delicious cookies! You can park and go inside, or you can pull up to a little window on the back of the building, and order from your car.
I tried their mixed soda called, ‘High School Sweetheart’ and I fell in love with it immediately. It’s made with Dr. Pepper, raspberry, and coconut cream. Oh, be still my beating heart–your first “crush” is always the hardest to forget about, and I thought about this drink concoction all week! Their spiced apple cider was delicious as well, and their gingerbread cookies….Oh, I had to control myself! I was gifted one, and then I allowed myself to a get 2nd one, during the 2nd week I was in town. If I lived in Torrington, AJ’s would definitely be problem for me!
One night, after dinner, I was invited by a co-worker to go to a local bar called, ‘Bitch’s,’ and of course I accepted. We laughed a lot and were having a great time, but as the evening wore on, I eventually needed to go to the bathroom. As I got up from my chair, I was ‘warned’ that there were pictures of naked men in the restroom.
I didn’t think too much of it, because I was imagining something more along the lines of what you would see in the ‘Hot Men of 2019 Firemen Calendar’–partially clad hot bodies. Oh, the pictures were hot alright, but not like my PG musings, they were straight out of old issues of Playgirl. Collages of fully naked men in all of their glory, erections and all, covered the bathroom walls! After I got over the initial shock, I have to admit that I’ve never laughed so hard in a public restroom before. I’m glad that I thought to bring my camera in with me–sorry to disappoint, I’m not posting any pictures, you’ll just have to trust me on this one. It was eye popping!
I was grinning as I came out of the bathroom, and as I rounded the corner to head back into the bar, a funny thought crossed my mind. The old timers at the bar had seen me leave the room to head to the bathroom, and now I wondered if they were thinking, “We know why she’s smiling!” With that thought, I actually started to laugh as I re-entered the bar! I didn’t look, but I was told that the men’s room had a similar decorating style, but of course, of the opposite sex.
Toward the end of my stay, I had tried all of the restaurants that had been suggested to me, so I decided to go to Pizza Hut, because it was close to my hotel and I hadn’t gone to Pizza Hut in at least 15 years. The funniest thing happened while I was there. When I walked in, there was only one other table that was occupied, and I was seated right next to them. Another group came in a few minutes after I was served, and the man in the group stood a few feet from my table and said loudly, “Hey—you were in South Dakota this weekend, right?”
I had in South Dakota, so looked up with disbelief. I was about to answer, and the guy at the next table said, “Yeah, we were!”
The first guy said, “I knew it! I saw you at the rest stop!”
Deadwood, now designated as a National Landmark, began as a gold rush town in late 1800’s. Famous for the larger-than-life characters who lived there, like Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickok, Deadwood was also known for it’s brothels, gambling halls, and lawlessness. It was a dangerous town where riches could me made (if you could stay alive long enough to enjoy them). To illustrate that point most famously, in the spring of 1876 Wild Bill Hickok was killed when he was shot in the back of the headat point blank range during a poker game in the No. 10 Saloon. Legend has it that when he died he was holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights, which later became known as the dead man’s hand. He and Calamity Jane are buried side-by-side in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood.
The drive from Mount Rushmore was uneventful, but slow because of the snow. I arrived after sunset, and the town was lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. After checking-in to my hotel, I bundle up and headed into town. The town square had an ice skating rink, a music tent, and crafting tents set up. Nearby a huge Christmas tree was decorated for the holidays, and Christmas music could be heard echoing down the streets. There weren’t a lot of people walking around, but enough to make it feel festive and alive. I loved the old buildings, but it’s a bit sad that most of them are filled with tourist tchotchkes!
Prior to leaving on my trip, I asked one of the women at work to write down a few ideas of things to do and see while I was in Deadwood. I wasn’t sure what time I was going to arrive, so I wanted to have plenty of ideas.
She wrote this list on a sticky note–
Pam’s Purple Door
The Pink Door
*Then walk the streets
After reading it over, I looked up and asked with smile, “What kind of girl do you think I am?” We both had a good laugh at her suggestions! I later found out that Madame Peacock’s is really called, Madame Peacock’s Beer & Bling! It’s a gift store, but it was closed when I was out ‘walking the streets,’ so I didn’t have the opportunity to check it out.
For dinner, I ordered a bison & elk burger with spicy buffalo tater tots on the side, and when I couldn’t decide which local beer to order, the waitress brought out three for me to try. In the picture below, the dark one on the far right was called, Buffalo Snot! It was good and it’s made by the Mount Rushmore Brewing Company.