Remembering a friend lost in a motorcycle crash

No matter how safely I drive, I’m always nervous near anyone on a motorcycle because he or she is so exposed as they ride. It saddens me to learn of reports about any motorcyclists killed in accidents.

A personal reason is that one of my friends died in a motorcycle crash when he was only 28 years old. His name is Shane and it’s hard to
believe that it’s now just over 15 years since he’s been gone. My mom and his mom were had been friends since 4th grade and then sometimes while I was in elementary school, we went over to their house. Our moms talked and my friend and I hung out, he showed me his music cassette collection. He said I was really quiet. I had a crush on him and would mostly smile shyly at him. I still liked him when we were in 7th grade homeroom together, but after that year, didn’t see him much even in the halls. I finished high school years at a private campus. We’d cross paths here and there in our local area, talking for a few minutes and I found him attractive, yet by then my heart was stirred by a guy at my small private school. Even though we lost touch and I saw him less often, Shane will always be special as my first crush overall and I’ll miss him forever.

Posted in Cars, Motorcycles, Safe Driving | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating the Outer Banks and its historic lighthouse move

Warm weather days make me wish that I could take off for a week-long stay at a favorite coastal setting, the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I haven’t been there since June 2004 and stayed at the Cape Hatteras Motel; the next visit is well overdue. With enough family members, I’d love to rent one of the large beach houses. Another option I’d love to do is RV camping, with the area’s famed beacon in the distance.

If I were there now, I’d join in on events marking the 20th anniversary of the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move. Saving it from approaching seas was an impressive engineering project to tackle, no question. I’m pretty sure I took a photo of the original site back in ’04, yet it’s not in my album of that trip’s photography on my current laptop. All were taken with a film camera and stored away somewhere. Whenever I get back to the Outer Banks, I’ll have to climb the lighthouse and take in amazing views.

How did I miss this year’s day celebrating such an inviting destination? Maybe I’ll be there for the next one, to check out any festivities in the area. I love this place for the relaxed atmosphere, scenic views and rich maritime history. Although I’m not yet certain when I’ll get to return, there’s always OBX spirit in my heart from afar. I hope I’ll be able to get some family in on traveling there in my mom’s memory, since she never got another chance to visit.

This marina scene at dusk is one of my favorites from ’04.

Posted in Beach Houses, Camping, Coastal, Family, Historic, History, Lighthouse, Lighthouses, Maritime, North Carolina, OBX, Outer Banks, Scenic, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A friendly encounter on the road and a quick car show stop

My best friend and I met up in the King of Prussia area for lunch and some shopping on the first sunday of the month. It’s a long drive for me and I was running late, hoping that nothing else on the road would be cause for any stress. Dealing with a tail-gaiter always bothers me, since it happens even if I’m going a little over the speed limit or if I can’t go any faster while behind a slow driver. In the latter case, I don’t want to ride too close. Yet no aggressive drivers were anywhere near me that day.

In fact, I had a friendly encounter instead. As I got closer to my best friend’s area, a guy in a Camaro similar to mine was coming from
the opposite direction. He flashed the peace sign at me out his window, so I held up the peace sign back to him. My BFF and I joked
that it was Camaro flirting.

Hanging out with my friend was unusually short that day and back in my area a car show was being held at a saloon. I was unsure of the exact timeframe of the event, but figured I missed it. Then I decided to make a left turn toward the site and didn’t see anything at first. I turned around in a shopping center to cross an intersection and beyond that, spotted a group of motorcycles, cool cars and a crowd of people. So, I entered that lot, parked among vehicles registered for display; nobody minded about it. Just as I was struggling to straighten my park job, extra cautious next to a classic muscle car and some people standing to the other side, it started raining. A slight drizzle
gradually got heavier and that brought the car show to a close only moments later. So, I was there long enough to hear some awards won and to take five photos. But among those I took photos of, one surprised me and for that reason was my favorite for my short time there. I had
walked up a small grassy hill and past this awesome Dodge Challenger on its passenger side and turned around to see…

Usually, a classic Camaro is my favorite among cool wheels on display. But even after seeing so many Challengers around, I never saw one with a “Fast and Furious” reference. Maybe I’ll see a blue Yenko Camaro exactly like what was used in the boat jump stunt from “2 Fast 2 Furious.” One of the two Camaros I saw at this car show was unlike others I’d seen, due to its color combo.

This 50’s pick-up truck was the only car of its decade at the event and won an award in the category of its time period. I always love the
flame detail on classic rides.

I’ve seen these three at different events before; classic Camaro, Firebird and a patriotic antique done up as a hotrod.

After that photo, the rain was just too much and I had to put my phone away. So, now I’m looking forward to whatever car show is coming up next.

Posted in Antique Cars, Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Classic Cars, Dodge Challenger | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge, Week 4

I want to start out this post mentioning a few struggles I’ve had with various exercises or classes, only because I’ve had some improvement. By the way, the photo below is of a token that attendants pick up at the front desk and are handed in to the trainer at the beginning of Edge Strong classes.

Doing a plank has been difficult for me and in my foundation class last night, one workout station included that. While in a plank
position, the exercise involved pulling a soft disc-shaped bean bag under from the opposite arm. I had the most trouble with this as I
held myself up with one arm, pulling the bean bag one side to the other. Part of the problem was that the bean bag kept catching on the
floor mat and the arm I held myself up with would get weak. But I pushed myself to get through, keeping myself up off the ground for at least three times each way. For each exercise, my classmates and I had 40-45 seconds to do them, before a quick rest as we transition to
another move.

There was another station that included a plank-jack exercise with a push-up while in the plank position. However, we were allowed to do push-ups on our knees if we felt more comfortable that way. Our trainer said we could mix push-ups with some plank-jacks, which I would dread. I think there’s always one exercise nobody likes. Anyway, last night, it turned out that the plank-jacks weren’t so bad. I don’t know if I could do 40-45 seconds worth, but I managed to get in five of them between push-ups that I did resting on my knees.

Sometimes, certain exercises that require balance are hard for me to do without wobbling out of my stance. I think I’ve become a little bit more steady in the past few weeks.

I love Zumba, but my one struggle with it at times is the coordination element. This also goes for when I’ve taken kickboxing; when I do a punch, I feel as though I’m doing the move awkwardly instead of in a way that looks tough. But I’m still new at kickboxing and I’ve taken Zumba classes more often. I’ve been able to keep up with the moves for the most part, yet I’ll have a moment or two when I get out sync or I’m doing Salsa dance steps wrong. I can’t help but picture Jennifer Grey as Baby in “Dirty Dancing,” when she is practicing how and where to place her place, how to pose them. Or when she is dancing on her
own to the song “Wipe Out,” messes up and gets annoyed with herself.

Despite the coordination issue, I found myself wondering something interesting. Has any Zumba instructor ever once bumbled through dance moves, yet over time became coordinated? If so, maybe I could get past
those uncoordinated moments completely. What if I could be a Zumba instructor? It’s totally out of nowhere for me. However, another element that I improved with quicker than I expected was just being able to get through a Zumba class. The first time I took one, I was intimidated about what it would involve, how intense it might be and I
needed to catch my breath more often. Now, I’m keeping up with the overall pace much better. Well, I don’t know about the Zumba
instructor possibility, but I want to at least be nearly as good at the dance moves.

So, that’s all for the moment. More to come once week 4 wraps up and I get closer to healthy goals.

Posted in Diet, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Health, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Edge Challenge at Edge Fitness

One of the malls in my area had been torn down, leaving only two of the main stores, Sears and Boscov’s. The site is back in business now as an open-air walkable shopping promenade with a cut-through lane.
Several restaurant chains have been drawing customers in and earlier this year, I joined The Edge Fitness, which has a wide range of
amenities. Group classes (Zumba, kickboxing, spinning and more), personal training, a weight-lifting area, women’s only exercise room, a children’s exercise area and a cinema. You can use treadmills, stationary bikes or ellipticals while catching favorite big screen
hits; a different movie plays every day and each month has a new round of choices. Oh and at this gym, you’ll hear a cheerful shout-out when a new member is signed up.

Since becoming a member, I’ve tried both Zumba and kickboxing for the first time. Before learning that The Edge Fitness offered these
classes, I had been curious for a while about where to try them. Another class I’ve taken, foundations, includes 8 stations for working
out using kettle bells, dumbbells and a variety of exercises without weights. I’ve also been working with a personal trainer one day each
week. Whatever the workout, A nice treat afterward is one of the shakes offered at the cafe; there’s a flavor for everyone’s taste and
they come in low-calorie or high protein.

The challenge began on May 22 at 6 p.m., with several gym locations kicking off the 8-week event. Participants had head-to-toe before
photos taken, a weigh-in and introductions to everyone with their trainer and teammates. We all stated our goals to achieve by the end
of the challenge; mine was to lose 20 pounds and to be healthier overall. There’s even a $10,000 prize waiting for a lucky winner!

When it comes to diet, having a wrap of grilled chicken or turkey strips has been one of my favorite healthy options to eat. I add a mix
of peppers and onions, some red pepper hummus and reduced fat provolone cheese. Also, I’ve had a lot of diet soda over the years. If
I went a few days without the carbonated beverage, I felt starved for one. Lately though, I can’t drink it at all. I drink water throughout
the day now.

I’m going to post more about my experiences and results during the Edge Challenge as each upcoming week comes to a close. I got a bit
behind in these first few with a lot going on outside of gym visits. During week 2 of the challenge, I took on an outdoor Zumba class as
another exercise first toward my goals. When I signed up, I hoped it wouldn’t be too sweltering hot out for the early day in June; it was a
fairly comfortable, breezy day. At the start of week 3, I hit my lowest weight at weigh-in before my personal training session. Later
today, I’ll be going into challenge week 4 with a personal training session and I’m hoping for a new goal reached.

Posted in Diet, Edge Challenge, Edge Strong, Exercise, Health, The Edge Fitness, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A memorial for my mom in honor of her birthday

This past week, my mom would’ve turned 65 and as a memorial to her, I wanted to post about some of the things she enjoyed. It was very sudden when she had the emergency which led to her passing. She had been able to take care of errands, even within 12 hours of what happened. Although she had a few long-term health issues, there was no sign of a problem because of her abilities with getting groceries and general shopping. It’s a long story, which I wrote about in an earlier
post about what’s been going on in my life.

My grandfather on my mom’s side of the family was born in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so she always had a love of that coastal
destination. Her parents would take the family there often when she and her brothers were kids, staying with relatives. Having family ties
also grew my mom’s interest in the local history, from lighthouses to the long-ago ships that sailed by or wrecked just offshore. When I was very young, my parents took me to the Outer Banks and I still remember that Tropical Storm Dennis was hitting the area. Out on the Dunes after the winds settled down to light gusts, the sand blowing around felt like bee stings. After that trip, we didn’t have a chance to return until June 2004. We took my grandmother with us and my Uncle
Dennis joined us as well for part of a week at the Cape Hatteras Motel. During that trip, we stopped to visit relatives who were into
ancestry. That was one intention of going to the Outer Banks. My mom loved to learn about the family history and in casual research, she
found out that we may have had a lighthouse keeper in our background. It’s a good thing that we went there at the time because again, we
never had a return visit for the rest of my mom’s life. Since 2004, she always hoped to go back and see older relatives one more time and
to see how things have built up over the past 15 years. I inherited my mom and her mom’s love of all things maritime and have been wanting to visit the Outer Banks again sometime. Hopefully, I could return there in her honor, maybe making it a family trip with my cousins.

Another interest my mom held close to her heart was military history, also coming through her father, who served in the Navy during World War II and survived Pearl Harbor. When my grandfather had time off at one point, he stayed in Perth, Australia. My mom had always dreamed of traveling there at least to follow in family footsteps. My dad is also a Vietnam Veteran, having served in Army with the 101st Airborne Division. Having these direct military connections, my mom always enjoyed talking with veterans when she spotted one wearing a hat or shirt related to their service. Whenever we saw a group of USA flags on display somewhere, it drew curiosity to stop by and check them out. They were set up to pay tribute to fallen soldiers, as well as first responders.

When I was younger, my parents and I went to a number of car shows, even Super Chevy where cool cars were parked on display and others took to drag racing. Although this was mostly an interest for my dad, my mom had a few favorite cars as well. She loved the classic Chevy Impala and in earlier years with my dad, sometimes she drove a Camaro he used to own.

Classic rock music was another pop culture element my mom enjoyed. Her generation grew up with The Beatles. Later favorites of hers included Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor. Although she wasn’t too much into movies, she liked the Loretta Lynn biopic “Coal Miner’s
Daughter.” She was a fan of Lynn and Patsy Cline, whose music my grandmother also loved.

These are just a few of the things my mom loved in her time and we had a relationship that allowed me to share these interests. We all miss her very much and of course, her passing is still hard to believe. I’m going to add related photos in later, since certain ones I wanted to
use are scattered in several online albums or far back on my phone.

Posted in Ancestry, Beaches, Coastal, Family, Health, Historic, History, Lighthouse, Lighthouses, Maritime, Military, Music, North Carolina, OBX, Outer Banks, Patriotic, Pop Culture, Ships, Travel, USA, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Closing of Glen Onoko

Photos of waterfalls in various state parks have me inspired to venture along trails and take in these spectacular sites for myself. A few are within a short driving distance from where I live, including the falls at Ridley Creek State Park.

Lately, I’ve been awaiting the chance to explore more of my home state of Pennsylvania, for starters, to follow waterfall trails. I first
heard about Glen Onoko through a Facebook group page, where many members shared their photos of waterfalls. Right away, the hiking
destination became a must-see place in my home state. As a bonus, it’s on the way from my town to Ricketts Glen State Park, which I’ve been wanting to go back to for so long. My first and only visit there was during high school, when a few teachers arranged a winter camping trip for those of us in an outdoor adventure club. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos from that experience. Anyway, the combo of two places would make for an amazing road trip through natural beauty. I’ve been wondering if there are any spots that allow for views of waterfalls from where people can set up tents.

Then last month, I began to see posts on Facebook about Glen Onoko closing on May 1, along with a petition against doing so. From various comment threads, the decision to close was due to unsafe trail conditions. Having never been there myself, I don’t know any detail about the terrain in getting to the waterfalls. Now that the falls trail is closed, I hope that it can reopen sometime in the future.
Many who have been there would love the chance to go back; others like myself await a first time to take in the trail’s beauty.

Until then, I need to get more gear for such adventures anywhere. This past winter, I purchased a pair of hiking boots, although they might not be the best for an all-out hike.

Since there are plenty of park trails I haven’t been on, as well as not trekking through Ricketts Glen in years, I want to have the safest footwear and other essential items. I heard about the opportunity to hike Glen Onoko and see the waterfalls, scheduled within the last few days before closing. I would’ve signed up, yet simply didn’t feel I had the right boots and
lacked anything else needed.

Posted in Adventures, Broadway, Camping, Glen Onoko, Hiking, Nature, Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen State Park, Ridley Creek State Park, Scenic, State Parks, Travel, Waterfall, Waterfalls | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment