Thursday, July 30, 2015

Backpacking, Hanging Out and Turning Forty. One.

First of all, school season is back sniffing around and I realized I am in this gig for 2.5 more years, 3 at the most.  Time to start weaning away from being a roamschooler and start doing my own thing  So, I have started up a second blog and have been doing all the 'just me' stuff over there. Though I do digress here plenty, this started as our family unschooling blog.  I don't want to be just a homeschooling mom any more, I need to start branching out and finding other ways to connect with people. So after a couple minutes of thought, hiking, camping, backpacking, nature study...yeah.  Those are my people.  And happily, I can still maintain a few current friendships that can carry over to post "our kids get along so well, let's do things together" era, as I have a few truly awesome friends.  :)

Speaking of awesome friends, Jacki and I have a birthday tomorrow!  She will be 40 and I will be 41.  I love that we share the day.  :)  This year, like last, I am going to the lake to swim.  Though this year-I can walk!  I will never, ever take that for granted again.  What a gift to be able to move freely and without pain.  I have been working so hard-hours each week-on getting stronger and having better balance and better core muscles.  It's showing!  I was able to do the 13 mile Fiery Gizzard Trail last weekend with a 25 pound pack in 9 hours of hiking.  

I hiked with Melissa, another mom I met who lives just over the TN line.

Then Tuesday I walked 12 miles on the Richard Martin Trail in 4 hours.  With a 12 pound pack.  Elevation change is a HUGE factor and RM only has about a 50 foot change.  I was tired after both hikes, but recovered and was ready to go again quickly.


Melissa picked up a friend!

What 97% of the trail looks like

Me,10 miles in!  Heat index was over 110, I drank 3 liters of water!

Back at the middle!  

I have been taking it a little easy to let my feet toughen back up.  Being wrapped and rubbed and coated in Stephanie's concoctions made my callouses soft!  Hit her up if you have an ailment, she is a little nuts about the miracle powers of her witchy oils, but some do help!  Her bug spray is the best all-natural repellant I have tried.  And I have tried at least a dozen.

Yesterday was an easy day, we went to Gina's to celebrate Phoenix's name change and their moving MUCH closer to us.  It's less than half an hour drive now!  They moved to nearly where we used to meet 'halfway' to swap kids.  STOKED.  We snacked all day and when it cooled off, played in the pool for an hour.  Perfect day!  Lots of yammering and catching up with the other moms and guacamole.  Yeah! Jake calls a group of moms a Squabble and a group of teens a Mope.  hahaha

Draft blocker.

All the kids?

Chicken House Horror!

I agreed to have one final party here, before the chicken houses get stocked.  There are 1.5 of the 4 houses ribbed in now.  The trenches they dug to put up the walls hold water, as does the bowl-like area between the house sites and the road.  So far, they have been just hauling in more gravel to cover the water.  I still think after 6-7 days of steady winter rains, it's going to be cold Chicken Soup over there.  Between the guy overseeing the construction being unable to dress for the weather and the total disregard for the simple fact that it's CLAY they are building on, I have stopped worrying so much about the impending smell and have started placing bets with myself about time until failure.  The last time their chicken houses fell into ruin, they let the bits of them blow over here for about 8 years before they decided to clean up any of it.  With fire, of course.  I threw away sheets of styrofoam after every breeze.  Crappy neighbors and worse farmers and even worse stewards of the land!  Triple Threat.

In other, better news, my first 2 trail guides came in today. OMG, those things are $$$.  I have my eye on a third long trail, but can't justify $24 for the guide and $20 for the maps plus shipping.  I will have to before I tackle it, $50 is nothing when compared to being lost or unable to find water.  But they really do have you over a barrel and with reroutes, you can't just buy a guide and be done, it has to be within a year of the trip. So if you miss your dates or want to go again later, you have to buy it again!  GARH.  I need to start writing trail guides.  But first, I need to get on the trail!  :)

Matt's on his way home and we are going to get groceries this evening because he has a Magic tournament tomorrow and a gig Saturday.  Being an adult is way cool.  I already got to pay the bills due before August 15th and scrub algae off the dog water pool and repaint part of the front porch today.  :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

FL Zip

It all happened so fast, I can't call it a trip, it was more like a zip!

Matt had a business trip mid-week to Ft. Walton. They wanted him to work all day Wednesday, drive the nearly 6 hours there, be up and at the meeting Thursday morning from 9-2 and then drive back home.  So, I asked Katy and Amanda to HELP and I got Ben and Chan situated and headed out with Matt around 6 Thursday evening after dropping them both off at the pool for the HS swim!

We got to the hotel at midnight, checked in and Matt had to work about an hour via laptop to get some stuff set up on a different project for Thursday morning.  I zonked out, we were back up at 5:30. Well, Matt was. I slept another hour because my morning routine is this: put clothing and shoes on, brush teeth, wash and sunscreen my face, put my hair into some type of thing that keeps it away from my face.  DONE.  I bathe before bed, I can't sleep dirty/sweaty from the day.

We had breakfast and Matt filled up on eggs and sausage.  EW.  I had a waffle with fruit and nuts.

Matt hitched a ride with his boss, who had arrived just BARELY behind us.  The hotel was $210 for the 8 hours we used it.  It was a $79 room at best.  If we had been paying, I would have rather slept in the car! Our huge window opened to a view of the back of the check in portico about 5 feet away. Stucco.

I checked out and put my bag in the Kia and hit the road!  I knew I had until at least noon, so I headed to Pensacola about an hour away and walked/ran on the boardwalk and sand trails at the Bluff Park I had wanted to see when we were camping there (in the rain!) back in May.  Then with my shoulder-length hair dripping sweat, I headed to find a hair cut.  And hour later, I was leaving with my head freshly cropped and tea tree oil on my scalp to help the heat rash I have been maintaining for a couple weeks now. Aaaaaah.

From there I went to the National Seashore visitor center and talked to the ranger a long time, she was so nice!  Then I walked the Naval Oaks trail and wandered off the trail into the bay and kept going wading alongside the shore.  I walked to the other parking area access and kept on walking, stopping half a mile from the bridge.  Matt called while I was taking pictures of a pirate ship that was flying by.  He would be done around 2.  It was 11.

all my pics were taken on auto and are straight from the camera.  It was a zero effort photo day, literally point.  Shoot.

I wandered and waded a while longer, then headed back toward the car.  Got there around noon and decided to drive along the coast a bit.  I pulled over at a beach to swim and it started pouring.  So, back to the car and by then I wanted some lunch anyway.  Chick-Fil-A to the rescue!  :)  I decided to get it to go and drive on over where Matt was having his meeting and eat in the parking lot and maybe catch a nap since it was still pouring.  When I got to the intersection a half mile away, he called to say they were done.  So I pulled up and finished my food while he was doing the 'nice to meet you' routine.  We headed off to find a bit of beach!

Here comes the rain!

Tiny park where we stopped for Matt to get out of his work clothes.

Out on Okaloosa Island

We had nearly the whole beach to ourselves, there were 2 other families in sight, the WHOLE beach.

Then we left and drove the mile or two into Destin.  OH! Found everyone!

There's a bar near the middle of the above pic and of course the inflatable climbing wall and slides!  AWESOME!

Not even a mile past Destin.  WOW,  no one!

I squealed.  I LOVE Scooby Doo

We stopped and picked up some cheap beach towels because we had 6 and now we have 4.  Now we have 9.  So.  Math.

Decided to head toward home in case we wanted to see anything else while the sun was still up.  And we were already really tired-with 6 hours of driving ahead. Blah!

More heavy rain.

Wild pigs!

The lady who cut my hair told me to color it. hahahahahahaha!
She said, "Oh Honey, you'll look sooooo much younger!"
I asked, "Well heck, how old do I look?"
She believably feigned surprise that I will be 41 next week.  I tipped her when I left.

Me at the highest point in FL.
The 2008 trip to Disney, we were at the lowest point-45 feet underground in a cave.

Even with a plaque and a sign, Matt still consults his GPS.

The plaque is that granite block in the right 1/3 of the shot.  Don't the bathroom and the picnic pavilion off to the left look higher?  This happens every time we go to 'the highest point' in any state.  I immediately see 10 places that HAVE to be higher.  hahaha

Oh, Found out the highest point isn't where the sign is,
it's a 400 foot by 900 foot plateau in the woods behind the park that you can't see.  I applaud the state for not shaving the trees.

Half a mile later, we were in Alabama.  

We popped in to the Florala State Park, saw Lake Jackson and took a couple shots, got gas and kept on going.

We stopped one more time to get dinner and dragged into the house at midnight.  I had taken over driving around B'ham, but just before Cullman, I got SO sleepy.  That was a hard half hour, it was foggy and it made everything blurry and sleeping feeling.  I was eating and drinking from our snack cache and wiggling around, stretching and trying to keep alert.  I kept slowing the car down because it felt like I was hurtling along WAY too fast.  I didn't think I was going to get us home, but as soon as I got off that Interstate corridor, it got better and I made it safely.

We sort of got a few things from the car and I woke Jake up to scare him silly and tell him we were home.  We crashed and that was our trip to FL.