Adventures in retirement: The bicycle ride

There’s an expression out there that goes like this, “It’s like learning to ride a bike, once you learn you never forget.” I took that quote to heart when after twenty years of not riding I decided I needed a bicycle. It would be good exercise and I’d get to enjoy the great outdoors.

With new found determination to do this together, my husband and I went on the hunt for a couple of beach cruisers. We didn’t want fancy gears and such. We live in Florida. It’s flat! 10003197_10202713622355454_938887894_n

Three days after bringing home our purchases, we pulled out the old bike rack with plans to take our inaugural ride. First off, my husband bought a bike with 32” wheels, making it hard to mount both his and mine on the rack. So, after a bit of a struggle, we managed to get mine in the back of our small SUV, and off we went.

I quickly discovered that what the above quote doesn’t say is that thought you might remember, it doesn’t mean your agility level is at the same place it was when you were a kid. Used to be when I felt I was losing control, I could swing my leg around, push the bike aside and end up on two feet. Now, with barely my toes being able to reach the ground when sitting on the seat, and a lot less dexterity in my movements, I was feeling a bit nervous.

Determined to make good on my promise to exercise more I forged on, following my husband for nearly two miles. Yes, my legs felt a bit like jelly by the time I was through, but I wanted to go again. After a quick break, we decided go halfway, so once again I followed my husband through the parking lot of this lovely park as we found a back way to the trail. This is where I made my mistake. Instead of walking the bike down the slight grassy and sandy incline, I played the brave girl and rode.

One trip to the emergency room, and two broken ribs later, I struggle to move and breathe. My goal is not to give up riding, but to use the brains God gave me and make wiser decisions next time—whenever that time may be.

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Adventures in retirement: The $400+ day drive

Today’s beautiful weather prompted me to push for an afternoon drive. Though I had plenty of writing/editing and such to keep me busy, I couldn’t bring myself to remain indoors. I wanted to walk, enjoy some water and breathe in some fresh air. After a bit of discussion, we opted for St. Marys, Georgia, roughly 45 minutes from our house.

untitledRick, seldom without a camera, chose his Canon S100 a compact single lens that takes excellent pictures. This wasn’t about pictures as much as simply being outside. We climbed into the car and backed out of the driveway. Before we were fully in the street, I looked through the windshield, having felt a small bump, and pointed to a small black case sitting close to the grass. My heart sank. We pulled back in and I prayed we’d run over a rock or something else—anything else. We hadn’t.

After a quick examination, Rick quickly discovered that the $400 camera was toast. Instead of getting upset, he simply went into the house, grabbed a different camera, and we took off. The drive was lovely and the walk perfect. As opposed to St. Augustine (one of our options), St. Marys was devoid of tourists and traffic. The perfect afternoon.untitled

We stopped for lunch halfway home and got in just in time to feed the dog—who knows exactly when it’s four o’clock. By the time I finished dishing out the dog’s food, I went in search of my husband, knowing exactly where I’d find him: on the computer, ordering a new camera.

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Adventures in retirement: Always be prepared—the final leg

Our three day adventure came to an end at 3:30 this afternoon. We left Orlando and drove to historical Sanford, situated next to Lake Monroe. We’ll, likely go back in May for the St. John’s River Festival of the Arts.

Though light rain pelted our windshield most of the way home, we enjoyed taking the back roads, driving through such cities as DeBary, DeLand, Crescent City and Palatka.

Fog seemed to be a running theme in our mini-trip. While visiting Sarasota, the fog was so thick we could barely see the water. After finally making it to Naples, my husband told me he wanted to get up early the next morning so we could get some sunrise pictures. He woke me from a sound sleep at 6:36 a.m. I hadn’t slept well (shoulder pain issues), but climbed out of bed, showered and dressed. Halfway through applying my makeup, my husband tells me to take my time because it’s foggy outside. Say what? He couldn’t have looked before waking me from a blissful dream?

This morning, I showered before looking out the window. When I did…you got it. FOG. Rain fell shortly afterward, improving visibility while giving us time to slowly get ourselves moving—not a bad thing when you’re retired.

I got to thinking about our short trip as we drove home. In the twenty-two years we’ve lived here, we’ve traveled down both coasts, up the middle of the state, and through the panhandle. I can proudly say we have traversed the majority of the state of Florida.  Bring on the rest of the country! 62276407321096218

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Adventures in retirement: Always be prepared! Part 2

Well, it turns out we did not look for a hotel before leaving Naples, because we had no idea where we would end up. So much for being prepared!

canstock11467865In truth, all worked out well. We did drive a bit further south to The Everglades, but knew we wouldn’t be staying the night there, so no small town worries. We took my sister’s advice and signed up for an air boat ride. Now, I am not in the least bit a boat person. I can get sea sick just thinking about boats. Putting that aside, I was quite excited about the prospect of weaving through the mangrove trees and catching a few glimpses of the wild life.

My husband, ever the photographer, snapped dozens of shots of the few birds we saw and the thousands of mangrove roots. We zipped over grasses and sand and did the obligatory 360 spin in open waters. And as crazy as it sounds, I found myself wanting more open waters and long, fast sprints. Maybe next time.

Opting to stop in Orlando for the night (definitely no hotel issues there), we drove up the center of the state instead of taking the coast road I had originally thought we might. It was a nice change of pace, and I now know where all the Florida oranges come from. Another discovery was how many lakes Florida has. Sheesh! You’d think we just moved here instead of having lived in the state for twenty-two years. lol! untitled

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Adventures in retirement: Always be prepared!

My husband and I took off on a last minute road trip—nothing major, just two or three days. Instead of going to our favorite laid-back place, Cedar Key, we opted to head to south Florida instead.

Back in the days when we were young and stupid (perhaps I should say young and adventurous), we never made hotel reservations. We simply took off and took our chances. Case in point, when we went on our honeymoon, we flew standby (because we both worked for an airline) to Italy, took a train into the city, because we wanted to stay close to the Colosseum. Thinking nothing of the fact it was midnight,  my husband found us hotel, and not a bad one at that. images

As we aged, we became a bit less adventurous and chose to book our rooms in advance—except for this trip. We weren’t sure where we would end up on our first night, so my husband suggested we do things the old way. BIG mistake! Apparently we hit on the tourist season and either there were no rooms, or the cost was far more than we cared to spend. After several calls, we found a place and grabbed. We could see the hotel from our car and took what we thought was the turnoff leading to the place. Another BIG mistake.

The turnoff took us not to the hotel, but to a section of the Interstate known as Alligator Alley, which is a toll road. We explained our situation to the woman manning the booth, paid our $3.00 and asked if we could turn around. She told us we could when we reached the first exit—20 miles down the road. Needless to say, this did not make us happy, but to make matters worse, we only had 70 miles worth of gas in our tank.

We did contemplate using one of those U-turns designated for “official” cars only, but figured we’d end up being flagged by a policeman and fined. When we finally managed to find our way to the hotel, we were down to our last gallon of gas. At that point we were so worn out, we checked in and decided we’d gas up in the morning. To add insult to injury, our no smoking room practically knocked me on my butt with the cigarette smell the moment we stepped inside. Thankfully I brought some air freshener with us. Since there were no more rooms we were pretty well stuck.

We’re planning on visiting The Everglades tomorrow, and I’m praying my husband will find us a hotel before we leave. I’m not sure I can take another day like today.

Stay tuned for our continuing adventure.

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Adventures in Retirement: Memory Issues

My husband and I left our home on the coldest morning North Florida had seen in a very long time, and drove to Biloxi for a few days.

Now, if you live in Florida, you know winter is pretty much a non-existent season. It can be 55 one day, and 75 the next. There are occasional freezes, and an actual snowfall in 1989 (so I’ve been told on more than one occasion). On January 7 we woke to temperatures in the teens—very unusual.

In order to prepare and keep the pipes from freezing, my husband turned on the outside faucets so they would drip and keep the water flowing. We did the same thing inside, having the bathroom and kitchen taps dripping. This is a common practice for many, but one we don’t use often.

You can probably guess where this is going. The inside taps were turned off before we left on our drive, but it wasn’t until sometime around two o’clock this morning (Jan. 13) that the outdoor faucets came to mind. And it wasn’t until sometime around two o’clock this afternoon that I remembered to mention the water situation to my husband. 

At least now I’ll know why our next water bill is higher than usual—or will I even remember?

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope and pray the year ahead is filled with love, joy, peace and prosperity.

After a rough 2013, I’m looking forward to what adventures await in the coming year.

For many reasons, my blogging sort of disappeared last year, but I’m determined to put my best foot forward in 2014, and wow you with my wit and wisdom as my husband and I explore retired life.

Now, I left my job two years ago to pursue my writing and help assist my aging parents. With the loss of my mother a year ago and Dad getting older, he will definitely be part of the year(s) ahead. Just this morning, my husband and I took him to the emergency room. What a way to start the year, right? *rolls eyes, shakes head and takes a very deep breath*

During the coming year, Rick and I plan to take a series of road trips. I’m looking to discover some inspiration for future books, while Rick will pull out his cameras that have been gathering too much dust lately. We’re both very excited about a different way of life, and just a bit nervous about spending so much time together. Lol!

I hope you will follow along as I share some of the things we learn while living retired.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Days 365-366

Wow! I accomplished my goal. I’m so thankful for having participated in my “Year of Thanks.” I’m glad God put this on my heart, and that I followed through. I’m also thankful for friends who participated in whatever way worked for them.

A few months ago, I was determined to do this again in the coming year, but I don’t feel that’s the direction God has chosen for me.

I’m thankful for being able to share Mom’s journey with so many of you, and touched by all the feedback I’ve received.

I wish everyone a blessed and prosperous 2013. Looking forward to see what God has in store for all of us. ♥

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Day 364

I’m thankful for a nice final day in Houston. We had lunch out, then shopped for a neighbor who has been keeping her eye on our house. Afterwards, Jamie and I found a little tea house and enjoyed some English Breakfast tea and peppermint scones. What a lovely afternoon. 

Packing is about done, and we head home in the morning. Thankful for a great time with family, and looking forward to a safe drive home.

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Day 363

I’m thankful for another safe day of driving in Houston traffic. As much as I love my family, I could seriously never live here again. Rick, the kids and I checked out a “Diners, Drive-in and Dives” restaurant near Galveston. I wasn’t as impressed as the others, but it was a nice time.

Now, we are beginning the packing process. Final day tomorrow, then headed home.

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