Sunday, October 16, 2016

Day 16 - An Eight Mile Sunday Stroll

We've been waiting on the completion of the boardwalk along the Timucuan multi use pathway and today was the day to check it out. 

For this walk we began at Sawpit boat ramp and took a four mile walk to Big Pine Trailhead. Ate our PB&J sandwiches and backtracked to the car for a total of eight miles. 

The boardwalk portion was only 1/2 miles but it gave us a beautiful view of the water. This is where the Nassau Sound dumps into the Atlantic Ocean. The tide was higher than I've ever seen it probably due to Hurricane Matthew that passed by the coast last week. 

After the boardwalk ended the trail was a nice even paved trail that made walking easy. Most of the trail was shaded by big beautiful Oak trees.

We took a side trip at The Bluffs Trailhead and enjoyed a view of the beach. This area is called the boneyard because of the dead and weathered trees that liter the sand. A beautiful sight but not really pretty because it's caused by erosion.

The view of the ocean was spectacular! You can't really tell in the picture below but it's about an eight foot drop down to the beach. Even though it's fenced off because of the erosion people still slide down the small cliff and walk the beach. 

About a third of the trail is in the open sun and boy was it hot! I mean for Pete's sake it's October and the temp is still in the eighties...Will cool weather ever come to Florida?

The walkway ends at Big Pine Trailhead. After lunch we turned around and headed back to the car. This made for an eight mile round trip walk along some of the most beautiful scenery around. 

The Timucuan Multi Use Pathway is located in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The Sawpit boat ramp is on the south end of the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park on A1A south of Fernandina Beach Florida.

Analysis of my walk:
Distance      8.0 miles
Duration      2:57:56              
Avg pace     22:15 (min/mile)
Steps           19335
Calories       900

(I burned 900 calories on this walk which I promptly ate at the Mexican restaurant!)

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Day 15 - Inspired Sunday - St. Martin's Catholic Church in Valwig, Germany

I love to visit churches and cemeteries in my hometown and when we travel. There's a lot of history just waiting to be discovered!

On our last trip to Germany we stayed in a quaint apartment above a wine shop owned by Manfred Stein and Sons Winery.

Not only did we have access to some wonderful wine from the Moselle River region but we were greeted each morning by the clanging of the church bells. 

Small towns in Germany love their church bells and they usually start at 7 am. It's like the official get up and get out of bed for the entire town. It's actually a nice way to be woken. 

Not only did we have a wine shop downstairs but we had this lovely view out our window...

St. Martin's Catholic Church overlooks the Moselle River as it sits above the small town of Valwig, Germany.

After dinner we took a walk up the hill and visited the church. The quarry stone structure is quite imposing with the tall plain windows and massive door.

The church is surrounded by a small cemetery.

Two crucifixes flank the front doors of the church.


Don't be content to just gaze out the window. Get out and take a walk and see what you can see!

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Day 14 - Book Review - Look Up, America! Series From Walk The Town

If you really want to get to know a town take a walking tour. There's no better way to see into the nooks, crannies and back alleys than by foot. And it's free transportation!

You can find organized walking tours with knowledgeable guides that are well worth the money but exploring on your own is a viable option. Especially if you have a good guide book.

I ran across the "Look Up, America!" series a few years ago when I was looking for information on the history of our city. Lo and behold I found a walking tour of Jacksonville!

A Walking Tour of Jacksonville, Florida (Look Up, America!) by [Gelbert, Doug]

Go to their website and you'll see their bi-line "Home of the 99 - cent Walking Tour from Look Up, America!" And that's right you can download a walking tour for just 99 cents. What a deal.

Each book includes the history of the town and a map plus information on architectural and cultural sights. Directions are clearly written out and a picture of each building is included!

I used to work in downtown Jacksonville so it was interesting learning the history of the many buildings I walked by everyday. I especially loved reading about the St. James building that faces Hemming Plaza. My grandmother started to work in this building around 1918 when she was just 15 years old. It was the home of Cohen Brothers Department store at that time. The building was designed by Jacksonville architect H.J. Klutho and he included a 75-foot octagonal glass dome. The Cohens operated the store until 1958. In 1993 the City of Jacksonville purchased the building and restored it to its original beauty. The city used the St. James building as City Hall until the new City Hall was built in 2015.

We've used "Look Up, America" walking tours for San Francisco, Lower Manhattan, New York's Financial District, Charleston, Savannah, Tallahassee, and Atlanta. There are over 400 towns in this series so I don't think we'll run out any time soon.

Even if you don't actually take the walk it's worth the purchase price just to read the history of the towns you visit. And with the free Kindle app on my phone it's super easy to have the information right at my finger tips.

Next time you're in a new town or even your hometown see if there's a walking tour you can take. You might be surprised what you'll learn.

(I paid my full 99 cents for each of the books we've used in this series. I wasn't compensated for this review.)

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Day 13 - Walk to Eat

I've been walking pretty steady for the last 6 or 7 years. One to three miles most nights after dinner and longer walks on the weekend. Plus lots of miles while on vacation. 

I've read articles and blog posts where people have reported losing weight once they started a walking program. Ummmm....that wouldn't be me. 

Now in my defense I haven't gained a pound but I haven't lost many either. I seem to have a perfect balance of calories going in equaling energy going out. I guess that's a good thing because my goodness I do love to eat! 

On our last trip to Italy we did a lot of walking and a lot of eating! I'm sharing just a few of my favorite dishes from what is my favorite country. 

Manzoni Cafe in Milan
This is where I learned to love pasta without the heavy tomato sauce. This was ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese lightly dressed with olive oil and chopped tomatoes.

Mozzarella cheese (made fresh) served with assorted steamed veggies.

Cafe Le Grazie 

After viewing Milan's most famous mural, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, we were ready for some breakfast. Cafe Le Grazie is right across the street from the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie where the mural is painted on the wall. We just had to stop in the small cafe and indulge in a cappuccino and a freshly bake croissant that was filled with apricot marmalade. 

Cafe Montanucci

In the beautiful hill town of Orvieto we stopped in this little cafe because they offered free we-fi. I was delighted to see they also offered rice balls one item that was on my must eat list. Balls of rice stuffed with cheese, breaded and deep fried. Oh so good. 

We ate pizza at too many places to name! Each one different and delicious. 

and of course Gelato.

How many flavors can you get on one cone? 

At least three!

The European answer to fast food...

The Doner Kebab!

Thin slices of meat piled into pita bread topped with creamy yogurt sauce usually served with fries. You can find Doner Kabab shops in almost every town. Good, cheap food.

Add to this list wine, beer, Limoncello and more bakeries than we could ever visit...

All that eating means we definitely have to do a lot of walking!


For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Day 12 - Wednesday Walking - Finding Something Lovely

Finally cool weather is here although according to the weather guy it's only temporary. But I took advantage of it and took my old dog for a walk. He loves to walk but can only make it to the next door neighbors drive before he begins to huff and puff. Of course he'd keep on walking if I let him only he wouldn't be able to make it home and he's way too big to carry. So I have to tug on his leash and convince him it's time to turn around. It's sad because he loves his walks and used to be able to just go and go. 

On our way back down our drive I spied something lovely growing in a front flower bed. 

A beautiful, delicate Spider Lilly.

The Spider Lilly is native to Florida and I'm so glad it decided to bloom in my flower bed. I love to find sweet surprises when I'm out on a walk.

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day 11 - An Update on Our Miles Together

So I've been missing in action for the last two days. Sunday, day 9, was clean up day around our home. Hurricane Matthew took out two trees and dropped about twelve thousand sticks and small limbs that had to be gathered up. Maybe a slight exaggeration but it did seem like that many at the time.

A Tree down and part of our fence.
Thankfully Hurricane Matthew didn't cause us too much damage. Others didn't make out as well so we feel fortunate.

And then Monday, Day 10, there's really no excuse for not writing other than I went dress shopping which always causes a great deal of stress for me. Oh, for a personal shopper who would just deliver the perfect mother of the groom dress to my door...

The way my brain works is to either go back and try to make up the days I missed or to just forget the whole Write 31 thing and quit. I've decided to do neither and just start on day 11 and move forward. So here goes...

Miles Together Update

In my first post for Write 31 I wrote about how every year my husband and I set a goal to walk together during the year. (Day 1 - Walking Together) For 2016 our goal is to walk 600 miles. Now it's very important that these miles have to be walked together. We don't count any walking that we do individually because the goal of spending time together is just as important (maybe more important) than the actual walking.

As of Sunday, October 10 we've logged in 542 miles! Yippee! We're way ahead schedule with only 58 miles to go and a little over two months to finish. We can't allow ourselves to become complacent and we hope to finish the year with many more miles than just 600.

How have we gotten to this point?

  1. We are committed! We both recognize the importance of this project to both our relationship and our health. 
  2. Keep a log. We both use Map My Walk app on our phone to track the miles plus John keeps a log on an Excel file. We can see at a glance where we're at.( Day 3 - My Favorite Walking App)
  3. Motivate and encourage one another. There are days when I don't want to go and days he doesn't. As long as we're both not in a funk on the same day we can motivate the other. Keeping an eye on the goal helps to get moving.
  4. We try to make it fun. Geocaching is a great activity to get you moving and finding new places. (We're Not Lost We're Geocaching)
  5. Make it interesting. We both look for new places to walk. State Parks, the beach, zoo, historic neighborhoods and cemeteries are all interesting and usually free. (An Outdoor Walk Through History)
  6. We do a lot of walking while on vacation. In May we went to New York and walked the Great Saunter, an event that takes you 34 miles around the shoreline of Manhattan. (The Great Saunter - A Walk Around Manhattan)
  7. We reward ourselves. Our reward is usually travel related but we've been know to burn 500 calories on a walk and then stop for ice cream. Hey everybody needs a treat once in a while!

Whether you have a walking partner or not setting a goal is great motivation. Keep a log, make it fun and interesting and give yourself a reward for a job well done! 

Your body will thank you.

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Day 8 - Clear Skies!

Hurricane Matthew has left Florida! 

Praying for those who have been effected by this storm. Lots of property damage and loss of power. And of course loss of life especially in Haiti where the island is devastated. I have nothing to complain about as we were hardly impacted by the storm. 

               So glad to see the blue skies peeking through the clouds! 
           And we were able to get outside and take a 2 mile walk after dinner. 

               We just need to make it to the end of November and the 
                                 end of hurricane season for 2016!

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Day 7 - Don't Appreciate What You Got Till It's Gone

We're sitting at the kitchen table watching the wind and rain blow across the windows. Waiting not too patiently for Hurricane Matthew to pass on by. At the moment it's not so bad but the storm is still about 60 miles south of us coming up the Florida coast. Thankfully so far it hasn't impacted the state as badly as they first predicted. But it's not over yet for Florida and Georgia, North and South Carolina are still in the path.

Even so our local Sheriff's office sent a message at 6:30 am for everyone to stay inside. Don't even stick your head outside to check the weather! So inside we stay. Definitely no walking outside today.

Why is it that when you can't do something that's when you want it the most? I like to walk outside but some times it takes a little persuasion to get me up and out the door. Not today. I want nothing more than to get out and walk. But even if it wasn't for the direct order from the Sheriff the fact the tall pine trees are bending in the wind is enough to keep us inside. 

Until we lose power there's always the treadmill but that seems more like punishment and at this moment I want a nice long walk in the fresh air and sunshine. But no sunshine today so I'll just have to be content to stay inside and watch the wind and rain blow against the windows. 

A nice nap sounds like a good alternative. 

Praying everyone stays safe!

(Unless we lose power I'll check back in tomorrow)

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Day 6 - Prepping for a Hurricane

Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Florida. 

Where will it go? 

Having lived in Florida my whole life (with the exception of two years in Texas) I've grown accustomed to hurricanes. I've only been in one that was a direct hit and I was pretty young at the time. I just remember all my family sleeping on the living room floor. We couldn't see out because my dad had boarded up the windows. I still remember the sound of the wind and the rain hitting the house. It was terrifying. The house survived but we didn't have electricity for a couple weeks. The house behind had power and my dad fixed the roof on their garage in exchange for letting us hook up an extenstion cord to run our freezer. It's nice when neighbors help each other.

Hurricane Matthew

As I'm writing this post Matthew is a category 4 hurricane which means it has winds from 131 mph to 155 mph. Enough to cause catastrophic damage to property and people. One to take seriously!
I'm not sure how our area of north east Florida will be effected but we're prepping for the worst and hoping for the best!

Hurricane season runs June through November and residents are advised to have emergency supplies on hand. Supplies should include:

First Aid Kit
Cell phone (fully charged)
Battery operated radio (with extra batteries)
Non perishable food (enough for at least 3 days)
Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days
Bleach for clean up and disinfecting water
Matches or lighter
Manual can opener
Evacuation plan
Full tank of gas in the car
Cash and important documents
Large trash bags (to protect items from water damage)

So we have our supplies ready and it's just a matter of wait and see. Hopefully the storm will just brush the coast or better yet it will die out. The next few days will tell. 

Praying for everyone already effected and for those in the path of this storm, Stay safe!

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday- 
mostly about walking. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Walking Travels - Hiking to Burg Eltz (Day 5)

If you want to indulge a love of castles then a visit to Germany is a must. There are tons of castles. Some rebuilt and fully restored others lying in ruin. The one that was top on my list of places to visit was Burg Eltz a castle that is completely intact having never been damaged or destroyed in over 850 years. Not only that but the same family is still living in the castle today and many of the original furnishings are still on display. Pretty amazing!

Burg Eltz is located above the Mosel River between Koblenz and Trier. 

The beautiful Mosel River in Germany.

We could have taken the easy route and rode the free shuttle bus from the car park but what fun is that? So we parked at the bottom and hiked through Eltz forest to the castle. 

It was a nice walk and only took us about an hour. The trail was fairly flat in most parts until we reached the castle and then it was a matter of hoofing it up the hill! Thankfully the trail was mostly in the shade because it was so hot I felt like I was still in Florida. 

(Travel note: Germany is hot in September!)

But the sight of the castle as we rounded the last bend made it all worthwhile.

You can walk all around the castle, the courtyard and the surrounding hills but the only way to see inside is by guided tour. Tours in German run ever 10 minutes and English every 25. Our tour guide was funny and gave an interesting history of the castle. He also informed our group that the next Eltz son in line to inherit the castle was currently single. Several in our group offered up their daughters! I'm not sure I'd want the responsibility of keeping the castle in the family. 

After the hike up and exploring the castle we had to refuel at the outdoor cafe before heading back down to the car. 

Curry bratwurst was on my list of foods to eat on this vacation and happily it was on the menu. And of course we couldn't pass up a little dessert. 

Chocolate and cherries a perfect combination!

All in all it was a great day. A nice hike in the forest, a tour of the castle I wanted to see and dessert. 

Life is good!

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday- 
mostly about walking. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day 4 - Oh the Things You Might See on a Walk

Walking gives you the chance to see things you might miss if you just zoom by in a car. Oh course some things you might prefer to miss! Such as this Golden Silk Orbweaver commonly called a banana spider. If you walk anywhere in Florida you'll probably run across this giant spider. The female can grow to 20-25 mm and her web can be a meter across. Many a hiker has walked into a web stretched across a trail. 

If you can get beyond the creepiness of these big arachnids you'll find they are really quite beautiful. Just try and avoid that sticky web!

I spotted the Golden Silk Orbweaver on the Spanish Pond Trail at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Reserve - US National Park

Get out and take a walk and see what you can find!

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about 

walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 3 - Walking Tips - My Favorite App

Map My Walk

My favorite walking app is Map My Walk. The app keeps track of distance, duration, pace and elevation. It also calculates calories burned on the walk. Which is good and bad. It's nice to know that I'm burning calories but I also know 622 calories is just about equal to a hot fudge sundae. That's probably why I can't seem to lose any weight! It all balances out.

My favorite thing about this app is that it's free. (also my favorite word) It works well for me and I get an email showing my weekly progress. I even get notifications when my friends complete walks and there's challenges I can join.The app uses the GPS on my phone and shows a detailed map of my walking route. I can use it offline so it saves on data.

I find tracking my progress is a great motivation to keep walking and this app does the trick without being too complicated.

"Everywhere is in walking distance if you have the time."
Steven Wright

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Day 2 - Inspired Sunday

The best cure for jet lag is to stay up! 

We'd flown all night and our flight arrived at the Frankfurt Airport at 9 am (3 am our time). From past experience we knew the best way to beat jet lag is to stay up even though the body's saying it's time for bed. So our friends picked us up and we headed out for our first day of adventure in 

The Nurburging is a popular motorsports complex located in the town of Nurburg, Rhineland-Palatinate about 164 km northwest of Frankfurt. The race track was interesting but our real destination was the Classic Race Museum  located 5 km from the race track. 

So off we went. 

The guys checked out the museum and met the owner who apparently was a pretty interesting individual.

The girls decided to save our 6 euro and instead have a coffee in the museum's cafe and to take a walk through the small town. I was delighted to find just a short distance from the museum this small brick church. 

Maybe because I was tired or had too much caffeine but I've no idea of the name of the church. I only know if you make it to the Classic Race Museum take a short walk to the corner and you'll find it! There's no parking but the town is tiny and the church is well within walking distance of all the houses. 

Next time you're in a new place take a walk. 
There might be something interesting around the next corner.

For the month of October I'm going to be writing everyday mostly about walking. I hope I might encourage someone to get outside and take a walk!