Author Archives: paulnjulie

Sunshine Santa Fe

Paul and I decided to beat a winter storm and head as fast as we could from Wisconsin to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It took us a day and a half with one stop to run in Kinsley, Kansas. We were excited to wear shorts even if it was a bit chilly. We ran down dirt farm roads and through town. Not much going on.

In the middle of USA

We arrived in Santa Fe on a Saturday and we were hungry so the Farmer’s market seemed like the best place to go. There we found many vendors selling winter greens, squash, cheese, and amazing purple lavender donuts.

Lavendar Blue Corn Donuts

I had to try those. We enjoyed some breakfast burritos and walked around the hip railyard area. We headed into town and happened upon the Women’s Wave a march happening toward the center plaza. I jumped in and Paul joined me to listen to motivational speakers. Happy to see a good crowd and positive energy for the future of New Mexico.

Beginning of Women’s Wave March

We decided to park at Los Suenos RV park for showers. Not particularly lovely but it backs up to the Arroyo de los Chamisos where we could do relatively easy, scenic runs. For a delicious lunch, on a tip from a friend , we checked out Modern General. Yummy food in basically a high end store. Everything for sale.

Modern General Breakfast

Driving up to the ski basin made me feel a bit woozy. Very twisty, turny roads and the altitude makes your ears pop. We thought of camping overnight but the National Forest lands were closed (snow and the government shutdown) and the State park didn’t seem appealing. Great views form the mountain top looking back at Santa Fe.

Meow Wolf is an amazing, almost indescribable interactive “art exhibit”. We poked our heads in and found that it would be closing for renovations and today was the last day open for a while. We took a suggestion to go in an hour before closing for a half price discount rate. We only had an hour to explore but it wasn’t too crowded. There were spaces you could really end up hanging out in but we breezed through and found all the portholes and secret passage ways. There is a story that goes behind the exhibit and it will most likely change next reopening. (something to do with a lost hamster and/or son)

Paul playing music on bones
Porthole down a dryer
Lots of creative, expressive art everywhere

Very tired from a long day we parked right outside of Meow Wolf on the street and surprisingly slept well. Not too much noise at all.

Goodbye Aberdale Road

Paul and I found our home on Aberdale Road in January of 2002. I first saw the home in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper classified ad, for sale by owner. We took one walk through and knew it would be a perfect place to raise our combined family of 5. I sat outside and wept. Our decision to live on Aberdale couldn’t have been better. We immediately became involved with the neighbors sharing block parties, food, music, and in 2004 getting married on our side street, Hazel Lane. Our children thrived and grew, we all made many friends. Time has passed and our children left home. We enjoyed 7 years of hosting airbnb guests and more recently boondockers staying in our home and on our street. A six bedroom house became large for two people and we knew it was time to go and let a young family enjoy the home. We will miss Aberdale tremendously but have gained lifelong friends.

Back on the road in our van, we headed to Wisconsin for some time to visit the parents and family. We stopped once en route to run in the Toledo Metro Park Wildwood Preserve. Great place to run if you get a chance.

Paul and I signed up for a Slowtwitch challenge, 100 in 100, running every day for 100 days starting December 15th. It became a bit harder when we got to Wisconsin and the colder temperatures but we endured and had some fabulous runs in Madison and on the Ice Age Trail near Holy Hill. I loved spending non rushed time with my parents, and visited neighbors with my mom. Fred Cook is a welder and makes amazing sculpture. We chatted for a bit at his studio and took some photos.

Partially Frozen Lake Monona
Fred Cook welding a bumblebee

We delayed our departure from Wisconsin to attend a funeral of a dear family friend, Joanne Henderson (Graham). She was such a delight to know and as a young child I often slept over night at her place playing in the barn, nearby woods and trails with her daughter Karreen. Joanne was excellent on the piano and we would inevitably all end up singing songs. My dad played guitar and performed with her on many occasions. Joanne also helped out with our local 4H group. I will not forget her deep voice, laughter and sexy Elvira ways. She had many black wigs and let me take one when I left Wisconsin. I have worn it to be Captain Hook, a witch and various other characters. She joins Mr. & Mrs. Bliss in the graveyard by St. Olaf’s, but really she’s riding down some country road in the sky.

Milton lived to 100 years!

New Paltz , SOS Triathlon and Storm King Art Center

Paul and I headed up to New Paltz New York on September 7th, 2018. I was racing SOS so we decided to take the van and camp out for the weekend. We stayed at Round Out Valley Campground but it was definitely not as nice as described on-line. Really more of an RV park for big rigs. There was a spot in the woods with no hooks ups so we took that. The pool was not operating or the mini golf and the place needs some TLC. Saturday we headed into New Paltz and walked around a bit, looked at some public artwork and ate delicious burritos at Mexicali Blue. The prerace meeting was on the campus of SUNY  so we ended up going to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of art and saw this,

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: The Trans List  August 29 – December 9, 2018

SOS triathlon is an epic event set in the Mohonk preserve and limited to 200 participants. here is a description:

The race is 50.5 miles long, beginning at Ulster County Fairgrounds. Participants begin by bicycling thirty miles. This is followed by a total of seven transitions: a 4.2 mile run to Lake Awosting, 1.1 mile swim across the lake, a 5.5 mile run to Lake Minnewaska, a 0.5 mile swim along that lake’s eastern shore, an 8-mile run to Lake Mohonk, a 0.5 mile swim along the east shore of Mohonk Lake, and a 0.7-mile uphill run to the Skytop Tower on Shawangunk Ridge. The course gains and loses several thousands of feet of altitude and provides a number of stunning views for participants, and the finish line is visible from a number of points along the course.

Paul had done the race 12 years prior (that’s him in an old photo) and it was always on my bucket list to do. So 2018 was the year and I came in 5th female overall. Cold weather was somewhat of a challenge but probably better than doing it in a hot year.

We ate lots of food at the awards ceremony to celebrate and then even stopped off at for cider and pizza at West Wind Orchards because I was still hungry.

I like to fill my time away from home doing active stuff and seeing art. Thankfully Paul is happy to do the same, especially when there is an Andy Goldworthy stonewall on site. Storm King art center does not disappoint and we found it a treat to walk among many great pieces of art. I loved Maya Lin’s Wave Pool and Zhang Huan’s big Buddha.  https://stormking.org/sculpture-guide/

Chattanooga

It’s been almost 9 months since our last van travels. The sprinter has been through a hard Philly winter. Freezing water has damaged some tubing in our water supply and we have leaks. It can’t be fixed for this trip but Paul is on it. Packed up and ready to go, the van does not start and the battery will not hold a charge. Off to buy a new battery, 2 hour delay but we are on our way.

Curious about Chattanooga I decided to sign up for a race event there. Paul and I are scoping out possible places to live after we sell our big ass house in Bala Cynwyd. We camp in our van just north of the city at Harrison Bay State Park. Pretty place with trails to hike or run, fishing, boating, marina, swimming etc.. We set up camp and head into town.

The city of Chattanooga is way smaller than Philadelphia but offers a vibrant art scene. We explored the art district which is grounded by the Hunter Museum of American Art.  There are galleries, small cafes, and terrific views of the city, river and its many bridges.

Sunday is race day, IM 70.3 Chattanooga. I am up before the sun and get everything ready in transition. I forgot my water bottles and Paul does a sprint back to the van to get them for me. Much needed as the day turned out to be extremely hot and humid. The river swim was super fast and the bike portion was spectacular. Rolling hills that are not too difficult so you can stay aero the whole way if you want. I end up suffering at the end of the run and walk most of mile 11. Still I come in 5th in my age group and a time of 5:16:15

After a day of racing I was spent so we went back to camp ground, napped and then headed to the city for dinner in a section called Northshore. Fancy newish area with a Whole Foods, nice stores, and restaurants. We had dinner at Food Works which was located in the old historic Signal Knitting mill. Southern food was good. We could have done without the televisions and music.

On our last day we decide to go all out tourists. I am super hungry so a breakfast stop at Frothy Monkey on the Southside was in order. Perfect coffee, food and ambiance. Loved the place set in an old train station (the actual Chattanooga Choo Choo) which is now a hotel.

Next we head to the Incline railway which goes up lookout mountain. It’s the world’s steepest passenger railway. (72.7% near the top) It is about a mile long and feels pretty crazy. Paul did well but going up felt easier than going down for him.

Ruby Falls is inside of Lookout mountain. America’s tallest (145 ft) and deepest (1160ft from the top of the mountain) underground waterfall. Good tour and history of exploration by Leo Lambert.

I am hungry again so we head back to the Northshore area to Taco Mamacita.  Paul and I both thought that these were some of the best tacos we have ever had. Good service, magaritas and decor.

Fed well by the food, the friendly people of the town, nature, history, art, high speed internet, new architecture, great race venue, rivers and lakes, state park, mountains, and more. We will be sure to visit again and possibly stay?? Chattanooga  hmmmmm……

 

Exploring PA State Parks- Rickett’s Glen and Tuscarora

After living in our van for over 9 months arriving home was bittersweet. On the one hand, we missed our neighbors, friends, and family and felt their warm welcome back. There was also another feeling that little had changed and that maybe we could now travel more. Our roots felt less stable because our van has been our new home.

For my birthday this year I decided that I wanted to spend a little time exploring some PA State Parks. Being in nature is one of my favorite things even though I do like NYC too. I choose Rickett’s Glen State Park to camp in because of the waterfalls and hikes. Mid week it is pretty quiet.

The park is really beautiful and the hikes are easy enough for families. 21 waterfalls on the hike!

They have a large sandy beach area where you can swim laps or just play around. It was pretty cold so I only lasted 20 minutes. The hot shower in the bathroom was sweet. End of August so again, not a lot of people.

The next day we decided to drive to Tuscarora and do another hike. The visitor’s center was not very helpful when we asked about trails. “I’ve never done any hiking but I think you can go all the way around, not sure.” We decided to try and do it anyways.

The trails were easy to find at first but a little tricky near the turn around on a road. We had to go over a guard rail and back on the other side.

Parts of the trail are along Tuscarora lake, over a dam, and then following Locust Creek.

I went for an even shorter swim in the lake. Really? Its the end of August. Brrrr….Both Paul and I were pleased to have a few days away for my birthday and hope to be exploring more of PA in the future.

Two of our favorite towns

Paul and I have some favorite places to visit and Ithaca, New York is one of them. It is not only because the place is so beautiful but the people draw you in with their affection and community involvement. I have many friends who have relocated there and from visiting over the years it feels a lot like home. I decided once again to enter the Cayuga Trail 50 mile race on June 3rd. It is a national championship race and I was hoping some of my trail running abroad would benefit me. The race seemed way harder than the last time I did it, some due to a change of course and warmer weather. I was glad to have my friend Gene run the first 25 miles with me before I slowed down.

We enjoyed the Ithaca Farmer’s Market the next morning. I love the breakfast burrito and was in line early for that. Afterwards we headed west towards Wisconsin stopping in Chicago to drop off some of Hannah’s things. She has a new job and will be living there for awhile. Chicago traffic was not fun and we arrived late at Mom and Dad’s.

They own a nice property in the country near Hartford. It is normally pretty quiet but because of the US Open down the road this year, more shuttle buses passed by during the day. The picture above is of mom’s crazy gnome garden.

We were happy to be in the area for Luna’s graduation from Shabazz City High School. A unique small school and a lovely ceremony where each student got to speak.

Anne and Pat held an outdoor party for Luna at their Madison home and many family members attended. Paul was relaxing in his chair before guests arrived. We parked our van in their driveway for the whole weekend. Madison is another town that we love. Two of my sisters, Anne and Carrie, live there and we visit quite often. The Marquette Waterfront festival was in full swing. Anne and I decided to participate in the boat parade “fool’s flotilla” on Sunday morning.

Pat dropped us up at the top of the canal. We tried to hang near the pontoon boat with a full piece band. We enjoyed singing along with all the revelers.

One more stop at Mom and Dad’s to help out in the garden and visit. Paul and I took mom to a nice Indian dinner at Mantra in Oconomowoc. A lot has changed in my home town but it is still a beautiful city of lakes.

Love you mom!

 

 

And We’re Back……almost

I left England early in the morning on the 5th of May.  Many means of transportation, bus to Heathrow, plane to Newark, train to Philadelphia and car to Evan, Rachel and Ozzy’s (and Delores the cat’s) home. There I was greeted with a chili dinner and margaritas.

I slept comfortably on the third floor which was my old massage room. Paul was still abroad visiting and speaking at an audio conference in France. He arrived back in the states on the 23rd. Until then I had some time alone and with friends and family.

This is a photo from the Manayunk Bridge where I would meet up with Gene for running in the morning

Highlights:

Runs in the Wissahickon Valley, on the Green Ribbon Trail and with my teammates in Coventry Woods

Art shows at PAFA, Trail’s end Cafe, and the Mutter museum panel discussion

Movies with Gene and son Evan

Dinners with Baily and Chip, Gene and Olivia, and Carole

Show at Rittenhouse Soundworks

Family dinners and seeing Nana

Momonita at Grape Street

After Paul arrived he went down to Baltimore to pick up our van. In the same day we traveled up to Princeton to be there early in the morning for Hannah’s crew race. Wellesley was competing for the National Championship and although Hannah’s boat placed second, the team ended up third place OA.

Hannah missed the graduation ceremony at Wellesley College but we had an intimate team reception and dinner where the four seniors received their diplomas. Happy Graduate and well done!

Paul found some sweet spots to park overnight while we were in Jersey. One by a watershed and another alongside the Delaware Raritan canal.

Back in Philadelphia we parked outside our friend’s Baily and Chip’s home. Memorial day came with a party and it was just nice enough to be outdoors. Reddy made delicious ribs and there was a pot luck of tasty side dishes. Family, food, friends, art, races, and fun. Nice to be back…..almost.

50 k race in Wales

My time in England, Spain and France has come to a close. Paul will stay for a bit longer. Why not kick off our last weekend with another 50k race in Wales.  Paul and I headed up to our camp site on Friday from Bath to relax for the Saturday event. It was hard to not walk around the beautiful coast line so…we did. here are some photos of the beach in Newgale, wales.

The tide was out so we could explore the caves and really check out all the various rock textures. Paul is easy to spot in his new blue jacket.

The campsite is close to the road and beach front. You can see our white van parked in a distance.

The race morning was stress free.  Up at 6 am and head to New Haven. Arrival prompted a rainbow while parking our vehicle. Someone’s dog enjoyed it too.

The race went well and the day turned out to be perfect weather wise. Partly cloudy. No cramping for either Paul or I.

I enjoyed all the events we participated in. Runners are runners wherever you go and a friendly bunch of people to spend your time with. There is nothing like traveling and being a part of a group that you know you belong too. Home away from home.

 

The Lake District and Fell Racing

I’ve never run a fell race before and Paul thought it might be a good experience. We signed up for a well organised race in the Lake District called “The Anniversary Waltz”. There were 2 different distances to choose from but after speaking with the race director we decided to do the standard shorter one. (11.5 miles with 3,600 ft. of ascent) We arrived to a field with cars filling up fast.

We got our race numbers and looked nervously at all the fit competition. The start of the race was a climb in itself and on a sloped field. Love it!

There was a short announcement and then we were off. Paul had gone off to the bathroom and barely made it on time. I was taking photos so I just jumped in to the sea of people. We ran along a rural path to the start of our first climb.

I thought it was pretty funny until I realized how many fells we would be climbing. The worst part for me was the descents. I passed many people on the way up but only to have them fly by me on the downhills.

All and all it was a beautiful day and we didn’t fare too bad. No injuries or falls. Gorgeous weather and we finished in the middle of the field, 229th for Paul and 238th for me.

After the race we enjoyed going back to “The Quiet Site”, our camp ground on the Ullswater. Very cozy with unique places to stay (Hobbit Holes) and pitches on the hillside.

We relaxed the next day and played tourists with a long walk to a water fall across fields, fells and woods.

Steamer boat ride and lunch at a hotel in Glenridding. What a perfectly lovely day.

Back in Bath

It is April 5th and we are now leaving France and heading across the English Channel. The van is repaired and tucked away below us as we sit up on the top deck and enjoy the sunshiny day. The white cliffs of Dover wait our arrival on the other side.

My passport was stamped again and I realized I could now stay in England for 6 more months if I wanted. Brilliant but not possible. We stop and have a nice pub lunch and listen to conversations in English. We haven’t had this ability in quite awhile and found it refreshing and somewhat annoying at the same time. Now we know what people are saying.

We settle back in Bath on the top floor at Paul’s parents. It is a cozy space with a private bathroom and a skylight over the bed to view the nighttime stars and moon. We feel comforted, well fed, and sleep peacefully. Paul has work to do but I go and explore Bath again. Springtime suits Bath with all the flowers, canals, and walking paths.

I love browsing the shops and going to small art galleries. I couldn’t resist a show called Trumped- Make art great again at 44AD.  Nelly Mason did some really funny collages.

Paul and I continue running and accomplished running a 50K on the coast of Exmoor. One of the most beautiful but challenging races I have done. Paul does really well and comes in 20th place. I have issues at the end and walk about three miles to the finish. No pictures because I was concentrating on not falling off cliffs while running. Here is a sunset at our camp there.

Paul and I make a trip to visit our friends at Radford Mill farm. We cook a tasty dinner for everyone and enjoy conversation and laughter. In the morning at 6 am I help out in the Pollytunnels with Helga and company. I painted some signs for the farm as a gift and left them to be installed. I will miss the Radford Mill family and plan on returning some day.

Helga recently shaved her head so I gave her my purple wig as a parting present.

One last run on the Limestone Link with a new friend and triathlete, Ger Wood.