Whadda CAVE!!!

Now that we have gone fully “barefoot”, what I mean is that I no longer use tennis shoes anymore, just my Merrell Barefoot shoes; it was time for another test. As you might recall we somewhat foolishly took a 4 mile hike before we were ready, well weeks later our feet and muscles have been transitioned. This weekend we traveled to Mammoth Cave to take a four-hour, four mile underground tour. This was my first spelunking trip and we picked a “difficult” one to get a little challenge and exercise. I say difficult but we didn’t squeeze into any holes or have to crawl, just ducked once. The difficulty rating was from the elevation changes. We looked into one of the more intense tours but one required you to shimmy through 47 inch openings, which would be a little tight for Josh.

I’m going to be honest here, by the end I was ready to be done. The inside of a cave only has so much draw for me. I know many of my twitter and blog friends are going to hate hearing that, sorry Ree. The first half of the tour is a trek to the in cave dining room. Just a tip for Vegetarians, consider packing in your lunch. After a little breather we were back at it. Onto the harder part of the journey; the pace becomes faster, climbs steeper and closer together. We also transitioned into the wetter parts of the cave, with slippery rocks, bugs and oh so cool dripping water. The entire trip culminates with a walk up and down 46 steps to view an area called Frozen Niagara from all angles.

We had a great time trying to figure out how to take shots in the low light and not looking like dudes stopping to pose. Oh and the shoes, my legs are sore today but no more than they would be had I worn heavy stiff boots. Survey says, GO BAREFOOT!!!!!!!!

***This blog is not sponsored by or connected to Merrell/Wolverine Shoe company.  I simply believe in the product and wish to share my experiences.***

Went For a Drive

You would think that two people whom travel by road as much as we do would never want to go for a drive on their day off. But the call of the Blue Ridge Parkway in early wildflower bloom was just too much. That and the $55 a pop ticket price to the Biltmore Mansion, sent us winding through mountain passes.

We even stopped at one over look for a little nap, talk about a lazy Sunday. It was very nice just to enjoy the sights and the wind. We did find our way to a Microbrewery too.

So often we try to pack entire weekends worth of fun into our Sunday off, most of the time without getting much relaxation. Laundry must be done, shopping and a long list of “fun”. This tour is really starting to get to us.

In My Bare Feet

If you looked at the images here before reading, you’re probably wondering why I’m taking photos of shoes. Especially since I don’t often promote products here. This isn’t really a promotion but more of an explanation, we have started going Barefoot.

I’m sure you have seen those funky shoes that go between people’s toes around, yeah I think they are weird too. However we been reading a great deal about the Barefoot running movement and the recent availability of shoes. Think super lightweight compact-able shoes. Great for someone living from a suitcase.

After finding out more about Merrell’s new Barefoot running shoes we decided to at least try them on. That task alone turned out to be a little difficult. The shoes are not widely available, it took us about three weeks to be near a dealer. Oh and what a dealer we found, this amazing outfitter in Ocala Florida. Needless to say we didn’t just get the shoes. I digress; there is also a training program for the shoes, to get you used to the unique stresses.

We diligently followed the program until the hike that we took these shots at presented itself. Five miles was a bit too long for beginners. But who cares we had a blast trying to take “product” shots.

I’ve got to share with you how much both Josh and I love our Barefoots. He wears his all the time, after wearing dress shoes all day it feels great to slip into these. I am still amazed at how good my legs and feet feel, and how enjoyable walks are. Plus they take up so little room in my suitcase, less than slippers. Now we are still in training, but if you are at all interested in going Barefoot go try the Merrell variety.

***This blog is not sponsored by or connected to Merrell/Wolverine Shoe company.  I simply believe in the product and wish to share my experiences.***

Our 4th the Tourist Part

Along with spending the weekend with friends and enjoying wholesome activities we also tour a few local hot spots.  Before the grandkids arrived our friend’s parents took us on a county-wide tasting.  These are still a little new for us but so much fun.  We started at Veritas Winery where our hosts were members.  You can tell what kind of events the winery had in mind when they build the grounds and main building.  It is just the perfect spot for a wedding.  Not only do they have amazing lobby, stunning gardens framed with rolling hills but the reception room is set like something you find in the Wedding magazines.  I could have spent the day walking around, had it not been 90 out I might have.

With that said the wines we tasted were all very strong and spicy.  For someone who is just learning I didn’t really like any of them.  These are more for someone who had developed a pallet.  Heading down the road a bit we found King Family Vineyards, when we pulled in it looked like we were going to be almost alone there.  However we didn’t see the second parking lot full of visitors.  never the less our tasting was very personal and in-depth.  This had the feel of being at someones farm, a million dollar farm but a farm.  It was very low-key and friendly.  The patio was filled with families and there were kids running around.  One crazy feature was te polo field.  Yeah a polo field in the middle of nowhere.  Gives you perspective on the type of folks that live around the area.  We even got a tutorial on the sport from a young player who was working in the stable.  He was wonderful, I am sure we asked some really stupid questions but he just answered everything with a full explanation.  A true embassador for the sport and local club.

Even though the wines here were a little lighter it was still to strong for my taste.  Our friends did get a bottle of this dessert wine, that we had last night.  Josh grilled some pound cake and Katheryn poured the wine on top and added a scoop of ice-cream.  Folks I am telling you that this is the way to eat pound cake.  I would even bet that adding any type of booze to grilled pound cake would we heavenly.

Last but not least was Starr Hill Brewery and their free sampling!!!!  Yep folks I said free beer.  The Jomo, main lager, was something that we all enjoyed.  The light flavor and perfect hop is a winner.  We were delighted with stories about each beer from the bartender, I am sure this is a coveted job.  Love is a summer Hef that is now brewed year around, most woman prefer a hefeweizen or a wheat beer.  I think they have done a wonderful job tapping that market.  Since Love is no longer seasonal they have brought out a lime accented lager for summer, yuck!  Around the taps we went in to stouts and IPAs.  All good but the winners were Jomo and Love.  The growlers were filled and we went back to nap and tap into the goodies.

Oh Momma

After leaving the Maryland and DC area we headed for Kansas City, the barbeque capital.  It just so happens that my hometown is not too far out of the way and not only was it Rugby Alumni weekend at WIU but one of Josh’s closest friends was turning 30.  So how could we pass up a trip to Illinois.

I spend most of the weekend with my mom, shopping, cooking and just hanging out.  We had some grill experiments.  Did you know that you can make Pizza on the grill!!  I’ll tell you how if you want.   We even hit a my favorite kitchen and cooking store, found poaching cups to take my quest to make Eggs Benedict to the next level.

We also got to visit with Aunt Vicki and my grandma, just all around the perfect weekend.  That is because it was also a Rugby weekend.  Josh has not really played in two years, after his wrist was injured.  Every spring the WIU Rugby team hosts a game where there Alumni play the current teams.  It is usually tons of fun and great to see everyone.  We have not been in a few years and with this being the addition of a birthday celebration it was sure to be a good time.

We were not disappointed, so many of the old boys and girls showed up.  I can’t believe how many folks we caught up with.  Mom and I drove over to see Josh play, I have to say he looked good out there.  But I always think he is good.

I have to say that I did feel a little old but still it’s so much fun to relive glory days.

Playgrounds

There is just so much fun to be had with a five year old, however I did start to feel a little creepy chasing him around with a camera.

This is the park where we got married.  Almost three years ago we exchanged our vows in this gazebo.  It was a perfect day and one of the most magical places on earth for me. 

Hopping Good Time

I mentioned that we spent Easter weekend with Josh’s brother and nephew, well that also included a little egg hunt and other must do Easter activities.  Like trampoline jumping in the windy Illinois weather!  I have to say I was pretty tempted to join them.

We soon got down to business and egg hunting.   Instead of it being a free for all and someone getting more eggs than the other, two different kinds were hidden.  I was pretty cute to see them helping each other find eggs.

Now to be missed what the egg dying, honestly you just can’t do it without making a mess.  And yes that is a Batman symbol on his chest.