Go, Keem, Go

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Tag: Pennsylvania

Choose Your Own (Short-Lived) Adventure

A few weeks ago, I found myself on a red-eye back from a work conference in California. Two chatty folks next to me upheld their zesty conversation while I tried…

A few weeks ago, I found myself on a red-eye back from a work conference in California. Two chatty folks next to me upheld their zesty conversation while I tried to pop my ears through my nose and stay sleepy at the same time. I wanted to sleep so badly — back in February, I bought a ticket to attend the Fox Run ladies’ motorcycle weekend, and I had met a bunch of really fun ladies who also planned on attending. I was excited to make more friends and go on group rides in Lancaster. When the week-long California conference popped up unexpectedly, I hesitated canceling only for a second before devising this plan: Go to conference. Grab red-eye, sleep. Jump on motorcycle. Party time.

But I didn’t sleep. Not a dang wink.

The gray sky looked threatening when I arrived home from the airport. But I more or less ignored it; it was 6:30 AM, and I had to keep moving if I wanted to see my new gal pals. No excuses. It was the PLAN.

After showering, loading up my luggage (filled with Frogg Toggs rain gear, extra boots, dry layers) and wolfing down a banana, I bid my boyfriend good morning and good bye, and jumped on 95, on to Route 1. My heart was hammering for two reasons. 1) Excitement, obviously, and 2) this would be my very first solo highway ride. Backroads would have added extra an 30 minutes or so and I didn’t want to be late. Besides, what could go wrong?

A few miles down the road, I couldn’t ignore the cold rain that was starting to pierce my legs repeatedly. I pulled over in a Harley Davidson parking lot, hoping for solidarity in my next actions.  I waddled around my bike and pulled out my next rain layer, pants, and awkwardly wriggled into them, like I was doing some sort of rain dance. Before hopping back on the bike, I pulled out my water bottle for a swig, and immediately the cap snapped in half. I stomped over my marshmallow body to the garbage can at the store entrance, and hurled the metal container in with all of my might.IT RAINED THE WHOLE TIME. And not just a cute spritz. Twenty minutes into my ride, I pulled into a Wawa and threw my rain jacket over my Rev’It armor, and immediately felt warmer and dare I say fuzzier. I looked super cool, don’t worry.

Back on the road. I felt pretty good, like I was taking care of myself by keeping dry and not dying.

In the middle of patting my back, my ankle suddenly started to feel cold. I glanced down and saw that I didn’t fully cover one, just one boot when I put my rainsuit on. I didn’t want to pull over on Route 1, but instead halfheartedly tried to reach down while riding, to pull down my pant leg, to no avail. I should have stopped. One boot was slowly starting to soak and fill with ice-cold water.

I somehow convinced myself that it’s cool, it wouldn’t be a big deal in the next hour, and kept on riding.

Finally, I pulled into familiar farm country and realized that I was only moments away from the camp site. The rain tapered down as I zipped through the loopy, quiet roads, not another car or bike in sight. Everyone was still sleeping, like smart people. I whooped behind my helmet as I went up and down, up and down.

Now, the Fox Run organizers were very good about warning riders about the road leading up to the Tucquan Park Family Campground — gravel, a motorcyclist’s obnoxious enemy, followed by hidden oil. Add to that, mud and rain, oh it was a ball pulling in. I passed a woman leaving in her van and she gave a lovely, knowing smile. I was so excited!

Past the gravel (I didn’t drop my bike, hurrah!) I followed the road into a lush green field filled with the revving of engines and badass ladies of all ages tending to their bikes. It was marvelous sight, like warriors preparing to go into a battle! Early on in the day, I had decided not to camp, rather just hang out til my jetlag catches up, so I pulled up on a side of a hill to stay out of any campers’ way. Turned off my bike, and…

Damn. Kickstand won’t go down!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a new problem. My kickstand has gotten stuck in the past, the only difference is that Michael was around to help me adjust the gears, and I was on my way. I should’ve pointed it out to my mechanic the week before, but well, there I was. On a big stupid hill. Covered in mud and rain. On a bike that I can’t get off of.

I saw some ladies in rain suits prepping to ride out nearby, so I waved my hands and called over. “Hey, I can’t get off…”

They were from Ohio, and plenty prepared. One of the ladies hauled over a rusted toolbox and threw it down next to my bike, setting to work immediately. Two other ladies followed, and at first all I could do was sit tight and hold the bike up. They fussed with a set of pliers and popped…something out, my spring, included. The kickstand fell down. Which left the issue of it now not being able to ever go up again. I gripped my bike and pulled one way while the ladies all pulled on the spring another way, all of us using every bit of strength possible.

“Shit, is that me?” one woman asked. Blood was streaking down her hand; I felt so bad, but thankfully (maybe?) it was an existing cut that broke open. What a badass chick.

After minutes of pushing and pulling, it was time to call it. The bleeding woman handed me a fistful of zip ties and said I’ll have to secure my stand the next time I go. My mind suddenly caught up with my exhausted body. That sounded terrible. Zip up when I go, zip down when I stop.

I thanked the ladies, and walked around the camp ground. Many riders already took off, earlier than scheduled, and I couldn’t find my friends. We only kept in touch via Instagram — genius, no cell phone reception! I chatted with anyone I could, but mostly everyone left looked a bit pooped from the previous night, and oh, the rain they slept in all night.

Time to run into town. I stuffed a pair of borrowed scissors into my gear bag, and two kind Canadian ladies helped zip my bike. Over and out.

“Into town” in Lancaster can mean different things to people. There is definitely a “proper” downtown area, with modern restaurants, concert venues and rowhomes. It was tempting to take a break into dry civilization where I could pretend I’m not wet or muddy, but the smaller strip mall experience in Amish country was what I had in mind. Ideally, I was looking for  a Good’s Store, or what Michael calls the Amish Target. All the Carhartt you can dream of, and more. Unfortunately, again, T-Mobile was crapping out on me and I couldn’t navigate one specifically; instead, I just rode for 20 minutes until I ran into something or got reception, whatever happened first. Tried to enjoy going back out on the road. Did for a little bit, especially finding smaller backroads in a woodsy area, but then it started raining. Again.

gear

Sexy hotel room mess.

I pulled into a gas station/strip mall parking lot (sans Amish Target), dialed Michael, and wailed my woes (never getting off my bike, of course.) I was so anxious, so annoyed, so cold, so tired. But there was a weird part of me that loved being forced into this physical frustration, chilled to the core, parts of my body aching. I felt so challenged and pained by choice. Part of me wanted to keep going on. Part of me wanted to collapse. Michael listened but gave no strong opinions either way. But I think we both knew that I was running on a minute’s sleep at 2 PM and a banana, and that the journey was just about over.

I hung up and hit the mall pizzeria, then the dollar store for a pair of shitty scissors and a huge bag of zip ties. I was seriously planning on heading back to camp until it was time to actually move on. Leaning my bike against the concrete base of a light pole, careful not to scratch her up, I zip tied her stand as if I was tying a delicate child’s shoe. What a pain. This was stupid. And it started to rain again. I finally gave in, and drove up the road to my backup reservation at the Double Tree Hotel. Friends and family discount, hollah!

*     *     *

I buried myself in thick white sheets while listening to the rain pound against the window of my warm hotel room. Helmets off to those awesome ladies who stayed and stuck it out, seriously. I felt pretty disappointed in myself for not going back, but then again I have a firm rule to not ride when I’m not 100% coherent (this was also taught in the PA Motorcycle Safety class; it just makes sense.) It’s almost as bad as drinking and driving; if you’re tired, who knows what will happen. Despite my mild regret, I still felt kind of proud. I still got to meet new people, figure out disasters on my own, build riding skills, and you know, didn’t end up killing myself.

My second firm rule is to be comfortable, and not to push myself to misery. I’m at a place in life where I can pick and choose my adventures (hey, if I want to ride in the rain, that’s my prerogative), and I’m grateful, and lucky for it. Besides, I saw some other motorcyclists check into the hotel, and felt better — more hot tub for all of us! More hot tub, clean sheets, and sweet dreams.

By the way, the next morning, it totally rained while riding back. Not that much, thank goodness.

goinghome

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Cheap Thrills: Riding in the Rain

Motorcycle season had a freakishly early start this year, and it’s something you definitely take note of once you get a bike of your own. I have a freebie mug…

Motorcycle season had a freakishly early start this year, and it’s something you definitely take note of once you get a bike of your own. I have a freebie mug from a moto gear shop that reads loudly, “Sunshine and chrome, the best alarm clock!” When I first got it, I thought it was incredibly goofy, but after experiencing months of cold-weather wiggles from not riding, I drink from it with respect.

Luckily, thanks to a few unseasonably warm days starting in February, Michael and I have gotten quite a few trips out of town already, mostly to see family and friends an hour or so outside the city. However, to me, this past weekend’s ride to Lancaster truly felt like an official kick off to my favorite seasons — spring and summer — as well as months of travels and adventures to come, on wheels and off.

lancaster_ride_051416 (2 of 4)

We were testing out a backroads route from Philly to Lancaster, a ride I’ll be doing this weekend, solo. The forecast was perfect that morning, 70s with a slight breeze, with a storm rolling in around the evening. We figured we had hours to play before things got ugly, so we tore through the hills, every so often checking our phones for storm updates.

Every time we roll through Lancaster, whether by motorcycles or car, a new road always seems to appear. You’ll always be treated with stretching views of green farmland, drive around horses and buggies, and honk at unimpressed livestock chewing cud at the side of the road, but there’s at least fifty different ways to get there – which explains why we may never tire of exploring our beloved Amish country. Even in the rain.

It was so literal – we rounded a curve in the road and the blue sky was instantly replaced with ominous dark clouds, rolling in fast. The temperature dropped instantly. We drove a few more miles before agreeing that the forecast wasn’t syncing with reality, and it was time to high tail it back to Philly.

lancaster_ride_051416 (3 of 4)

Rain started sprinkling on our bikes when we stopped for gas and momentarily debated grabbing ice cream cones. I wanted to stay put and wait it out; earlier in the week in the city, I wiped out on a long patch of oil. The idea of hitting slick roads at high speeds scared me. But Michael had a plan – we could outrun the storm if we took the highway and skipped the backroads and intersections. Consistently pushing forward at a higher speed was safer than the stop-and-go in this weather. I reluctantly, but quickly agreed.

It started pouring, It’s worth noting that you should always wait five minutes into a rainstorm before riding your motorcycle. Five minutes should be enough time for the oils on the road to rise and wash away. We didn’t wait, tsk tsk. We kept going, to attempt the plan, cold, chilled, and soaked (Michael had worn a mesh armor, and I could feel my padded elbows fill with pools of rain coming through my cuffs!) On top of those conditions, it took me a few nervous minutes to wrap my head around the task of hitting 65 on slick roads, and not wiping out like I had done in the city, at a far slower speed.

lancaster_ride_051416 (1 of 4)But, call it intense trust in my riding buddy, plus a tried and true sick penchant for wrangling adrenaline, I eventually got there, and I’m so glad. Riding in the rain was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve taken in on a bike. It was a sun shower, my favorite kind of rain. Beams of yellow split through the wet sky, highlighting the glistening trees and hills flying past us. I’ve always loved the green, lush highways in Pennsylvania, especially at the peak of spring, but never before experienced it this way.

It was heaven, a feeling prolonged the second we managed to indeed, out-ride the storm and roll into Philly. A feeling immortalized the second I threw off my soaked layers and blasted on a long, hot shower.

If this is the kind of thrill I’ve been waiting for all winter, bring it on. There’s obviously no backing down here.

Side note, I look like a giant dork in this photo.

 

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Kept Calm: Blizzard of 2016

The dilemma of a blizzard as an adult: If it were a week day, most people would feel complacent with sleeping in and loafing around in sweatpants before returning to the rat race…

The dilemma of a blizzard as an adult: If it were a week day, most people would feel complacent with sleeping in and loafing around in sweatpants before returning to the rat race in 24 hours. On the weekend, it’s different; the timetables have turned and the obligations are high. Sledding is to be had. Snow forts are to be built. Booze to be salvaged. We only have a small window of time to revisit childhood, people, so chop, chop!

At least I used to fee that way. Now I’m just tired. Maybe it’s the winter. All I could think about was where to buy or pick up free excess rock salt on the street. I’m losing my touch.

While I barely grazed the above-mentioned obligatory to-do list, rejecting invitations for snow-ball fights at various parks around the city (aging brings decisiveness and I love it) and feeling like, meh, hangovers are long overrated, here’s a couple of shots of what I did do yesterday, a compromise between college and adult Kim. Selfies of sleeping-in are nonexistent — also impossible — but it did happen. Check.

Michael tests out snowshoes in the A.M.

Michael tests out snowshoes in the A.M.

We made our way across Marconi Plaza, wind whipping our faces.

We made our way across Marconi Plaza, wind whipping our faces.

After hours of Making a Murderer, we venture out to meet friends for dinner, by Broad Street Line and snowshoes.

After hours of “Making A Murderer”, we venture out to meet friends for dinner, by Broad Street Line and snowshoes.

 

 

 

Happy hour at Sampan, GREAT IDEA on any day!

Happy hour at Sampan, GREAT IDEA on any day!

Onto the next.

Onto the next.

 

 

 

Checked out new place, U-Bahn. Looked like nerds with giant coats and snowshoes.

Checked out new place, U-Bahn. Looked like nerds with giant coats and snowshoes.

Michael quickly found the good parts of U-Bahn.

Michael quickly found the good parts of U-Bahn.

Back to home. Back to Making A Murderer.

Back to home. Back to Making A Murderer.

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Halloween Fun

If you didn’t know, I ride a motorcycle, and it is a marvelous thing. Another fun fact about me is that I have a remarkably corny sense of humor, which…

If you didn’t know, I ride a motorcycle, and it is a marvelous thing. Another fun fact about me is that I have a remarkably corny sense of humor, which works out for me because my boyfriend seems to enjoy it, and I’m a hit with the niece-and-nephew-13-and-under crowd.

This Halloween, we didn’t dress up in costumes, but instead roadtripped Northern California (my first time.) I couldn’t let the holiday pass without doing some mischief, so one night I did a little crafting. More accurately, I used craft tape to transform my very first motorcycle helmet (an oldie) into a Headless Motorcycle Woman!

Having witnessed a grotesque motorcycle accident a few years ago (two show offs, two passengers, one rock wall, zero gear), I thought about how it would be a good PSA to maybe put a sign on my back about helmets and loss of heads. I decided to let my obvious safety speak for itself, and just have fun with it.

From home to work is a short three miles, but busy enough to catch the eyes of fellow commuters entering the so-called Financial District. I got a couple of smirks, some points, a few bicyclists telling me as they passed that my helmet was “clutch.” The best reaction came from the kids. Some were walking and jumped up and down. Others lost it in the backseats of their parents’ cars.

Perhaps next year, I’ll wear it for much longer. A jack-o-lantern isn’t quite a year-round look. But you know what, I don’t do it for fashion.

I do it for the kids.

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New Travel Buddies: Kids In Philly/NJ (And, Apologies)

Our weekends are completely packed with planned and unplanned adventures, and I love it. This summer has been amazing, and you on the internet wouldn’t even know; I’ve been doing…

Our weekends are completely packed with planned and unplanned adventures, and I love it. This summer has been amazing, and you on the internet wouldn’t even know; I’ve been doing a horrible job blogging about it. But really, can you blame me? I get enough of the internet during work hours. The last thing my body wants to do is to sit still and stare at a screen after 5 P.M.

Still. I solemnly swear to buckle down and dump these brain thoughts regularly. No excuses!

So, this past weekend, I had a dream come true: my lovely twin nieces came to spend the weekend with Auntie Keem and her dashingly handsome companion, Michael! The girls are seven years old, incredibly polite, hilarious, and always down to explore. They made for perfect travel buddies and we ran into no problems.

One would think that it is wise to dial back the itinerary when it comes to kids. We did not follow that sentiment. It was that mix of excitement you get when you want to show loved ones things you love, with hopes that they love it, too, and wanting to have an entertaining weekend ourselves. One major compromise: no motorcycle. Rental car, car seats. Everyone was cool with that.

See our below itinerary, given the stamp of approval from two clever, well-behaved young girls. Given the season, we opted to explore mostly outside of the city to enjoy nature; perhaps in cooler weather we will stick around and check out the great local museums nearby.

FRIDAY NIGHT

kids-philly-activities-8249-1024x768After taking a car ride, a regional rail train, AND a subway ride to reach South Philly, the girls needed to stretch their legs. We broke out our spare Razor scooters, snapped on their helmets, and trailed behind them while they zipped off into the sunset. Well, not really. It was time for dinner, and we were dying to show them the charming Passyunk neighborhood. Pizza at Marra’s was a hit, even though they were skeptical of the thick, chewy islands of mozzarella on their thin slices. I could tell they weren’t used to this kind of pizza, but the curiosity was there. One twin even ate a sprig of broccoli rabe, and politely declined more.

Dessert, where else? We zipped back to Broad and Oregon to enjoy Pop’s Water Ice, one of the famed spots in South Philly to grab those waxed paper cups filled to the brim with homemade water ice (the other spot is Italiano’s, yummm). We enjoyed our icy treats in Marconi Plaza, where the girls serenaded us with cartwheels and handstands on the dark grass.

SATURDAY

kids-philly-activities-8269-1024x768Kids wake up early. Totally fine with that, especially with the day we had planned.

Breakfast of the anything-you-want variety at Penrose Diner, where your junky breakfast dreams come extra crispy. There are a lot of other cool and hidden diner spots in South Philly, and we are so lucky for that. But at Penrose, it’s never a miss.

Scooter to the rental car, it’s time to hit Jersey! I discovered that the girls prefer to interact with us during car rides, and we don’t offer the option of watching movies. This time around, they entertained themselves through coloring books and complaining at each other. We’ve learned, since then.

First stop: Paw’s Farm Nature Center. They really, really, really wanted to see cute and pet cute animals, and this is what Michael dug up in his research. What a cool place! It’s a mix between petting zoo and the Please Touch Museum, but not as big, and admission is something absurd, like $7. When we arrived, there was a birthday party going on in the front building, and maybe that’s why the rest of the grounds seem so unattended and empty. We ran into a few farm keepers, but otherwise, we were allowed to feed goats and sheep, pet pigs, and follow swans around on our own. In addition to the cute animal aspect, there are themed playrooms, where kids can act out and learn the farm-to-table process (fake market, plastic cow-milking station [although I don’t think we were supposed to touch that part]) and a veterinarian experience (stuffed animals and old doctor toys.) It was perfectly quaint, sweet, certainly educational, and you get your money’s worth for two hours or so.

kids-philly-activities-8319Lunchtime. A few miles away, we stopped by a farm stand and said the girls could pick out their dream dinner tonight. Who would’ve thought that both kids chose corn, potatoes, and broccoli? Hot dogs and chicken, of course, later. But I was impressed! Photo of the stand is above. They chose a dozen ears for some fantastic bargain.

Across the street we could not ignore Evergreen Dairy Bar. I mean, that cut-out soft serve is a kid magnet. Just this once, ice cream for lunch. Sure.

After lunch, time for more fun. Back to our beloved swimming hole! As you might remember, this swimming hole connecting to the Mullica is stained, tea-colored. A New Jersey native told me it’s called Sweet Water. I was afraid the girls would be grossed out but they were fearless, and jumped right in. I’d never seen such child giddiness, and I won’t forget. The girls and Michael took turns on the Kammock we set up over the stream, laying above them plunging loudly, giggling uncontrollably. After a good three hours, we got dressed, picked a TON of blueberries nearby, and headed home to make that dream dinner they asked for.

Our weekend didn’t end there; we took them to a family party for more swimming and fun. But that was the end of our adventures, for now. I knew I always wanted to host them, but I didn’t realize how fun it would be, or how fearless children can be. I also want to acknowledge that to me, they are remarkably well-behaved and easy to manage. As a childless woman who is almost thirty, let me just say that this is definitely a sign.

We have GOT to have them over as many more times as possible! Being an aunt rules!

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Urbex In Nepa: Concrete City & Abandoned Grain Mill

This past weekend we went on a friends trip to the Poconos! Staying in nearby Wilkes Barre, the four of us, Steve, Clare, Michael and myself, took a break from skiing…

This past weekend we went on a friends trip to the Poconos! Staying in nearby Wilkes Barre, the four of us, Steve, Clare, Michael and myself, took a break from skiing and the usual winter activities for some urban exploration.

Having visited friends in NEPA (St. Patrick’s Day parade, hollah!) and grown up in Central Pennsylvania, I honestly didn’t think we could find anything particularly interesting. But the area, while undeniably bleak in the winter time, thrives with beautiful nature not so far from your nearest town. On top of that, there’s a reason for the long stretches of residential housing, and old factories. Coal, railroad, steel, you name it. Back in the day, NEPA thrived in that old, prideful American industry.

We hit two places, one recommended through Atlas Obscura, and another, a happy accident.

Concrete City: Nanticoke, PA

concrete_city

 

Built in 1911 to house railroad workers, this concrete city didn’t last too long due to otherwise shoddy construction. Too expensive to fix, new owners attempted to demolish the properties with explosives, only to discover that the concrete structures were extremely resistant. So, they were abandoned in the 20’s. To this day, it’s being used by law enforcement for training some days, and vagabond graffiti artists and paint ballers other days. It doesn’t sound like anyone coordinates.

We spent a good hour exploring the entire city, walking up and down the ground and second floors. Steve made it to the roof of one structure. No one was eager to enter the basements, which were sprayed with melodramatic song lyrics or faux-satanic warnings.

It took a while to dig up directions to Concrete City. We ended up parking the car off the road, and following a 15-minute hiking trail to get there.

Carbon Sales Building: Wilkes Barre, PA

carbonsales

 

On our way to an antique shop to meet Steve and Clare, Michael and I drove through a temporary road that went through a complex of four old factory buildings. We admired the construction, and realized that some of the windows were smashed, and the warehouse doors were wide open… for anyone to enter. It was like an invitation to explore. We met up with Steve and Clare and found our way back.

By now, it’s snowing. We enter the first building and immediately lose Steve, and find one sign of life, aside from a ton of penis graffiti — an old pillow and sleeping bag, plus pigeon waste. I know now that this complex is the old Carbon Sales Building, that once housed a grain processing mill. It’s allegedly been abandoned since 2010, but with plans to revitalize the space. My report is that it’s definitely got a long way to go.

It’s a fun exploration. Once we find Steve, I feel better and we explored all four buildings, carefully walking up creaky wooden steps in the dark, picking up old equipment, trying to piece together what the industry was about. Michael had his eyes set on climbing the clock tower, which was an easy but sometimes nerve-wracking climb up flights of rusted metal steps. Our last building, Steve and I wriggled up a wooden ladder in a tiny crawl space, looped our legs around a railing on the other side, then continued upwards in the dark. Old reciepts, ripped sandbags spilling with black powder, gorgeous glass bottles littered the broken floors. The fact that there was no clear signage or clues as to what the building was before our time was magnificently perplexing.

I think we spent about two hours there before tying things up, chilly and covered in Lord-knows-what. On to dinner.

 

Where to?

Concrete City: Nanticoke, PA

Carbon Sales Building: Miller Street (across from Philly hoagies shop) | Wilkes Barre, PA

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The Trust Fall: Zip Lining, And Anniversaries

About a year ago, I started this blog. About the same time I started dating the funniest person I’ve ever met. He’s also tall and cute. Score! We celebrated a…

About a year ago, I started this blog. About the same time I started dating the funniest person I’ve ever met. He’s also tall and cute. Score!

We celebrated a year of growth and adventure by zip lining right outside of Lancaster at Refreshing Mountain. A Christian retreat center (we found this out en route while searching for directions, but it didn’t matter to us either way) meant that it was family-friendly, and around these parts, not meant to be challenging. Still, we had a blast doing something outside of your typical romantic anniversary dinner and flowers (though we did order take-out from our three favorite restaurants and binge-watched Arrested Development in our pj’s. Why, what does love look like to you?)

Our two guides at Refreshing Mountain were two chill and friendly young men who led us throughout the Aerial Excursion Tour, which includes seven zip lines, three sky bridges, and of course our harnesses, helmets, and even an extra carabiner for my camera. Our group of six, including two well-behaved tweenage girls, were shown how to zip across the woods in a few different ways: first, a regular jump, then a jump while flipping upside down, then a trust fall where you just drop from the ledge without a real boost. I was partial to the upside down-style because it felt cool and I got to use my whole body to make it work.

Between some zip lines were the bridges, which felt 100% completely safe, though they did permit us to jump on one to freak each other out. The kids weren’t into it, but of course we pushed it to the limit and bounced away.

The only downside we experienced was that the Aerial Excursion package only lasted almost an hour and a half — the online description said that it would take up to three hours to complete. But for how smoothly it ran, and how much fun we had, we couldn’t complain.

After we descended the rappels (I did it upside down, surprise!) we consulted our BFF travel guide, Yelp, for some ice cream suggestions. If I could summarize this year it would be adventure, excitement, and ice cream. So, totally appropriate.

Here’s to another amazing year of adventure, hilarity and trust. Happy anniversary!

Where to?

Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center: 455 Camp Road | Stevens, PA 17578

Udder Choice: 1812 W Main Street | Ephrata, PA 17522

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Case for the Schuylkill: Phoenxville, PA

Giddy, all-day-every-day summer vacation bliss came to a halt when it was time to concentrate on adult things, like moving into a new home and tapping into the financial reserves…

Giddy, all-day-every-day summer vacation bliss came to a halt when it was time to concentrate on adult things, like moving into a new home and tapping into the financial reserves to pay for that big move. Ever so fortunate, family lent us kayaks to enjoy for a Sunday in nearby Phoenixville, about a 30 minute drive outside of the city. Taking advantage of the last days of summer the right way, I was also reminded of something very important: Free is good. Free is always good.

The Schuylkill Canal kayak journey to me has always started and ended in Phoenixville, but it actually stretches through to Manayunk. In its vast length, my relaxed route is a mere 2-mile loop, starting on the river side and ending on the canal side in Mont Clare. As for many of my prefered journeys, the reason I like kayaking the Schuylkill Canal is because right in the middle of the journey, you end up heading towards lunch at the Fitzwater Station, a typical pub-food restaurant on the canal.

And truly, you can’t argue with the views. Enjoy the photos, then go enjoy the canal.

scenes

 

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Wissahickon You Were Here: Philadelphia

After nearly a decade of living in Philly, this past Sunday was only my second time to explore the actual Wissahickon trail. Up til now, my go-to spots have been…

After nearly a decade of living in Philly, this past Sunday was only my second time to explore the actual Wissahickon trail. Up til now, my go-to spots have been camping in French Creek, weekend hikes at Ricketts Glen, and long runs down Kelly Drive (mainly for the reward of brunch in Manayunk). This particular trip, however, was perfect for a quick break from the city.

My intrepid and always excitable co-explorer, Michael, graciously zipped us out of the city to treasure the final days of motorcycle weather til spring. Runny noses and frozen fingertips be damned, the ride wasn’t that bad, especially because of the short distance, and maybe the extra layer of fleece tights. Regardless, the sights to see along the way were worth it.

The solid goal of the afternoon was to hike and stay on the orange trail, but to be honest, I was enjoying the views too much to care where we ended up. After some time, I saw a marker post with slashes of green and white paint, so I believe in our invocation of Goldsworthy, we got a bit lost, but pleasantly so.

To elaborate, after some giddy trekking up and down the trails, we got to working on two modest leaf sculptures in flattering imitation of the inimitable Andy Goldsworthy. It’s something that Michael has talked about doing before, but believe it or not, the city doesn’t abundantly offer the medium we require. Thankfully, the entire trail blazed the perfect mix of earth and fire (plus lots of wind!) making our hunting and gathering a little bit easier.

After the art project, along we went, bounding down and tripping up the trails. We came upon the Lenape Indian statue, whose muscular, marbled knee I clung onto for a direct gaze into his nostril. There was a mini cozy cave that was a delightful spot to catch our breaths– or at least mine, because as usual, I’d forgotten my inhaler.

All in all a delightful day trip! Couldn’t have asked for better weather or company. Hopefully, we’ll return some time for a photo shoot or so later in the season.

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