Sunday, November 12, 2017

Naples Botanical Gardens

Saturday November 11th

 Liz, who is a member of the SoWe Flo cycling group, invited me and a friend, Mindy, to tour the Naples Botanical Gardens.   It was member appreciation weekend so Liz had a few free passes to visit so we accepted the gracious offer.

There was a special exhibition provided by the National Sculpture Society called " A Blessing of Animals" Exhibition.  These metal animal sculptures were scattered throughout the park so it was fun to try and find them while exploring the gardens. 

The gardens are tucked away on Bayshore Drive which is near downtown Naples.  It's one of the best kept secrets of Naples.  Here is a link to explain more about the gardens.

This park is funded totally by private donations.  It is amazing that such a large venue can be privately supported.  It took a big hit when the hurricane came through Naples but since I didn't have a reference point of before versus after the hurricane I couldn't believe the beauty (and serenity) of these gardens even after the storm severely damaged the gardens.

Although I don't know much about plants and gardening I was interesting in learning about native plants of SW Florida.  There was a butterfly garden , an orchid garden, and several other themed areas of plants which made for a very interesting time.  The gardens are quiet large so we only saw half the gardens but hope to go back to see the "nature" section of the gardens another time.

Here are some photos I took while exploring.

 The sign say Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  That represents the three phases that this plant will go through in it's lifetime.  Green is Yesterday, purple is Today and the White is tomorrow

Lily pads

 Bromelade which is pronounced Bro-mir-a-lad
The colorful center is the plant growing more leaves

 Asian Gardens

 This garden was named after it's donor

Here are some of the animal sculptures we spotted during our visit.  These are just a small representation of the exhibition. We unfortunately missed many as they were hidden so well within the gardens.

The House of Lords which is some type of bird...maybe an egret or heron

Wild Instinct which is the Panther

Stella the Pig

It was a great day spent with friends and learning more about Florida.  I hope to go back to these gardens very soon.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gettysburg Fall Foliage Weekend

November 2, 2017

Philly Bike Club hosts a fall foliage weekend each year in Gettysburg.  It's one of my favorite events so I decided to fly back north and attend this year's event after a four year hiatus.

On Friday we did a warm-up ride of 30 miles around the area.  Rich W was the ride leader and the ride was faster than I expected....even with the hills!    I was not able to keep up so I did the ride at my own pace to give me a preview of the area.   We stopped at DeJa Brew coffee shop for our break. 

A whoopie pie is chocolate cake with marshmellow creme in the center.  In this case the cake was made of pumpkin to celebrate the season.

For the rest of the weekend we decided to avoid all Gettysburg Battlefield rides offered because of the amount of tourists....and cars....that visit the area every weekend. So on Saturday Alan L and Dave G and I decided to ride with the local club, Hanover Cyclers, for a 25 mile coffee ride.  They were checking out all of the coffee shops in the area and rate them once they have visited each one That should take about three weeks.

We saw these along our route.  They came up towards the bikes to be friendly
Some of the riders on the coffee ride.  We were waiting to regroup at a stop sign and saw the cows in photo above.

We stopped at Merlin's Coffee Shop at mile 23.

The Hanover Cyclers--- Bryan the leader of the ride is seated
The riders on the coffee ride
 In the afternoon we did a second ride with the Hanover Cycling Club minus Bryan, the ride leader. Jim took us to Cordorus State Park.  It was voted as one of  most beautiful state parks.   I didn't see on the sign the organization that voted it the best.  This park is very large and had many scenic overlooks. This park is 3,500 acres so there is a lot of places to explore and one hill that is a tough climb.

It was a beautiful 25 mile ride with lots of rolling hills as well as that one major climb around the last part of the lake.

Here are some photos of the various viewing points of the lake.


Once we were back at the hotel there were some additional activities.  One of those activities was pedaling a stationary bike to make a smoothie.

The president of Philly Bike club pedaling her way to a smoothie!

 We had a nice dinner at Bay City Grill restaurant.  As always there is a Philly Bike Club cake for dessert!

The weather held out until Sunday morning .  It was not safe to ride so there were lectures on various topics presented by some of the "experts" in the field who happened to be cyclists.  We didn't stay and headed back home after a nice weekend of cycling.  

It was a great weekend and I hope to go back again for next year's event.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Amish Country Classic Ride

Saturday September 9, 2017

Al L, Rich B and I decided a while back to skip the Lancaster Covered Bridge Ride and attend the Amish County Classic.  The ride is still in Lancaster but in a different area of the county.


It was a very early morning as we decided to drive up to the event the day of.  There was no mass start so it made that decision a lot easier although we were one of the last to start the ride.  We decided to do the metric and started at 8:45 AM.

It was a chilly start.....53 degrees!  For a Floridian like me that's really cold!  However the scenery and the ride were definitely worth the trip.  It made me wish for a simpler life and wishing I could actually do it but I know myself and know at this point in my life it's not possible.

 Look next to the second's a horse and buggy 

A better photo of the buggy w Rich B in the forefront in his cycling gear.  What a contrast!

The first part of the ride was rolling hills and lots of farmland.  It has a different look that the farmlands in the Millstone area or Hunterdon County.   We were lucky enough to see one covered bridge.

The Conestoga Covered Bridge

We knew that there was one tough climb ( Welsh Mountain) at mile 20 but we really had no clue how hard that climb would be.  It was a one mile 444 ft climb and very tough with grades of 10-14%. 
 The rest stop at the top of Welsh Mountain

What is this food item?? Laura OLPH should know this one
It's a Whoopie Pie!  Chocolate cake with marshmallow creme in the center.

Rich B loves these things and I happily gave him any that were suppose to be mine.  I think at last count at the end of the ride he had six!!!  I was very happy to pass on these although I ate one small piece to keep Rich happy and experience part of the Lancaster culture.

From the left...Rich B, Al L and me.  We made it!!!

This was at the top of the climb and I was glad it was over.  I wish I would have been able to take a photo on the decent.  It was one of the most beautiful views of the countryside I have ever seen.  I was at 36 + mph and didn't want to hit the brakes on that decent for a photo.

 The rest of the ride was rolling hills.  Here is one of the small churches I saw along the way.

If you zoom in on the photo you will see that this is an Amish Mennonite Church

Unfortunately at mile 30 Al L went down after going over some potholes.  He was hurt but decided to try and finish the ride.  At mile 46 at the last rest stop he abandoned because of his knee was locking up.  I decided ( happily I might add because the headwinds were strong) to go back with him in the SAG to the EMT's.  Al decided he was well enough to not go to the emergency room and go home with us.  He is still very very sore drop him a note and wish him a speedy recovery.
Rich B finished the ride and met us back at the end of the ride.  He saw two more covered bridges on the last 18 miles.  Oh well.....maybe next time.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Surprise Historic Ride

Thursday 8/17/17

Joe M and I decided to take an easier ride from the house today since it was such a beautiful day.  We were going to do a 26-28 mile moderately hilly ride until we changed course near the end of the ride. We ended the day with 31 miles and lots of memories.

I had wanted to go back to Washington Crossing National Cemetery and ride inside the park to see it rather than view it from the road.   Here is a link to the park for some additional information.

Washington Crossing National Cemetery

It was interesting to see how the park is laid out and how all the headstones are upright and at a angle.  Here are some photos of the park.

Entrance to Park on Highland Road
Gravestones upright and at a perfect military angle

The visitor center

There is even a bike lane that surrounds the visitor center

It is certainly a site worth visiting.

I had asked Joe M how far the Garden of Reflection was from this location so we decided to visit that 911 memorial site once we left here.  It was 1.6 miles from the cemetery on Woodside Avenue.  Here is a link with more information.

Garden of Reflection

Here are some photos from our visit.

A piece of the World Trade Center tower

Visitors have put rosaries and other items to remember their loved ones

A mailbox ...not sure why this is here?

A guide to the memorial gardens

The memorial fountain

The fountain where the glass name plates identif  the victims both Bucks County as well as all of the victims

The first of the glass plates that surround the fountain.  They are in alphabetical order.

A memorial bench located on the path surrounding the fountain

There was an additional stone plate that said that there were 17 victims from Bucks County, PA where the memorial garden is located.  See below and look closely or enlarge the photo to see the writing on the stone.

A play area for children
The play area
It was a sad reminder of what is now history.

With the events of this past week including Charlottesville, VA and today's Barcelona, Spain terrorism attack.....I have to wonder what has happened to the people of this country and all countries to want to bring such death and destruction.  It is a sad time for sure.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ride to Carversville

Sunday 7/30/2017

Today four riders...three female and one male... went to Carversville, PA on one of the most beautiful days this summer.  It's Team Estrogen and a I call it.  Look at the photo below and you will understand.

We headed up the ridge via Aquetong Road and took the less hilly way to Carversville via Sugan Road.  Sunday's are busy on the PA roads even in this area so we were extra cautious to pay attention to the traffic.

Here are some photos from the rest stop at the Carversville Deli

 Team Estrogen and one Male

It seems that I have more than once found myself with a Team Estrogen and one Male.   There was a ride in Florida that had Joe B as the one male and there were four other females.  It's rare to find this mix of riders but it seems as though there are more females joining in on the adventure of road riding.

This puppy seems to have a permanent spot at the window when her owner visits the deli.  The owner puts her on the ledge while he visits with friends inside the store.  She constantly looks inside to make sure she sees her owner.  It's a win win for both....she gets to hang outside getting lots of attention and her owner gets to visit his friends!

The Carversville Inn across from the deli.  Fleecydale Road is one of my favorites!

We changed the route on the ride leader ( thank you Blake for being flexible) and headed down Fleecydale Road towards the river.

Enlarge the photo and look at the sign on this house.  It says Fleecydale Cottage.  I keep waiting for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to come out and say hello!

Fleecydale is under construction and it seems that we often find ourselves on a multisport ride.

That's me carrying my bike across a plank that is supporting a heavy piece of equipment.  This was actually one of the easier bike carry-over the construction sites that I have experienced with this group.  Tom H. should have been with us as he often seems to find these type of road conditions/construction.

We headed back towards the ride start location via River Road.  Sunday's are very busy on this road but we managed to stay safe.   Once in New Hope, PA ( also a very busy town on Sunday) we headed back up Mechanic Street and up the hill out of town and out of traffic.

There was a stone structure ( I think it might be a house or a garage) that was picture worthy at the top of this climb.  Thank you Perpetual Headwinds for providing these photos of that structure.

You had to be there to really appreciate this structure.  It looks like part of stone building that has fallen apart but it has a beauty to it.

We made to back to Yardley Park and Ride with 47.3 miles and 2,400 ft of climbing.  Great ride with a great group.