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Completing a 50-State Journey

Hiking in the United States

Part of June and July 2011, I traveled to Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Kansas to hike in the canyons of the west and to visit the last of the 50 states I had yet to see. This was a fulfillment of another goal of mine. Each departure is bittersweet, always the lure to see, do and learn new things draws me, yet leaving family, the love of my life is difficult. I am fortunate to have an understanding husband and my lure to be an adventurer began long ago. Not until college graduation had I traveled far beyond my familiar surroundings of Maine. Dreams become reality and with that I learned some valuable lessons: hard work, perseverance, restraints, and values, all make life worthwhile. Continue reading

New York City Marathon

I ran the New York City Marathon, November 3, 2002. I had always dreamed of running a big marathon and this is big in every way. There are 33,000 runners, many volunteers, security and officials. The logistics are incredible.  There are so many people who want to run this race that it is on a three year lottery to get registered unless you are an elite runner. I had been accepted the year before when I planned to run a marathon on every continent but a change of plans when the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Marathon was canceled I rescheduled my last two races for the Seven Continents and eliminated NYC.

I came to NYC and registered at the Jacob Jarvis Convention Center on Saturday. My family drove to NYC to support me and we went to the theatre on Broadway on Saturday night. A night out wa special.

On the morning of the marathon, runners took shuttle buses to Staten Island where we had to stay warm for several hours until the start of the race. I had on several layers of warm up clothing which was discarded into huge bins for donations to places like the Salvation Army.  It was freezing as I sat on the cold ground inside a large tent.  The start was on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 11:15 am. But it took longer to start as the thousands of runners both on the top and bottom layers of the bridge were sent off at once. It was about a mile just crossing the first bridge which is so high above the water.

It was an exciting race going through the five boroughs in New York City.  There were helicopters, the Goodyear Blimp and more than a million spectators cheering us on during the race. It was grand to run over the famous bridges in NYC and each ethnic section was tremendous.  Bands were playing, people cheering and fire departments blocked every main artery and were out to cheer us, too. As I was running down the middle of Manhattan it is the only time I have ever felt that I was looking out instead of in on the great avenues. It was so impressive.

I was happy to cross the bridge to the Bronx because I knew it was a short distance before heading back to Manhattan and Central Park to the finish.  I could hear the crowds cheering while on the bridge long before I saw them.  Soon after I entered the park I spotted my family. I had been watching for them for quite a few miles then only a couple of miles remained and the finish. After the finish was a long tunnel of volunteers. One handed me a finisher’s medal, another handed me a bottle of water, others were passing out metallic capes to put on to keep us warm, and then there were tables of bananas and fruit. Then I continued to walk to an area with UPS trucks where I picked up my bag with my warm up clothes.

I walked still in the exit area blocked off from the public to sections marked off with color codes. Here I went to the Family Reunion area designated by color and then to the letter of your last name. The numbers are on huge posts starting with z. It was a long walk to get to G. Here I took off my running chip and passed it in and together with my family left that area of Central Park and walked along the streets to our nearby hotel. Once again I had finished an amazing event and I took in the final details. For me the next adventure is just around the corner. Don’t let age stop you, you are as young as you feel.

Old & New Travel Adventures

 Until I went to Africa and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1997 I had never traveled without a family member. Now I have traveled by myself to all the continents and many countries in the world. My husband is busy with business and hobbies that keep him near home but on special occasions we find time to travel together. We went to the Bahamas many years ago and again quite recently. It is amazing to see such changes on this small island. We have sailed to a few of the Caribbean Islands. Puerto Rico and Aruba are two that we enjoyed. And some of the islands are more relaxed like the Virgin Islands and some more bustling like the French and Dutch Antilles.

In 1969 my husband and I traveled throughout Great Britain hostelling. It was a safe, inexpensive and enjoyable way to travel. We went to the investiture of Prince Charles and saw the Royal Family. Things have changed since we first traveled. Things are more costly and much more safety precautions are in place. Yet there is something that draws me to new places, making new friends, and trying a new adventure.

Canada is our next door neighbor and we take advantage of the beauty and culture to visit the nearby provinces. Quebec is a special place we go time and again because of the great shopping, fine dining experiences, French culture and so much more. New Brunswick is so scenic especially the Gaspe Peninsula. Nova Scotia along the coast is so beautiful, Prince Edward Island is a charming place, Newfoundland is a natural scenic wonder and so beautiful and Labrador is for outdoors wilderness adventures. We make opportunities to visit as much as possible.

We traveled to Iceland and last fall to Eastern Europe during the off season with fewer tourists, and found it was less expensive and just as much fun. Iceland has its charm with its glaciers, ponies and small villages is a restful place to visit. We traveled by boat on the Danube in Eastern Europe as well as by car through seven countries, Hungry, Bulgaria, Rumania, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia,  and Slovakia. Each country is special with its history, government, people and culture.

Last summer we went to Bermuda as a family surprise gathering for our daughter’s birthday. It is fun meeting people and viewing historic sites. A few years ago my daughter and I traveled and hiked in Turkey. We still talk about that great adventure together. Our son traveled with us to Egypt. We sailed on the Nile and stopped at the ancient historical sites. Later we drove to an oasis and stayed and continued further on to the Black Sand Desert and the White Sand Desert part of the Sahara and camped under the stars.

What’s next? A book launch this year is planned and you can be sure, travel is still on my agenda.