Advertisements

Four State Vacation

It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation.  I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.

As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there.  We booked two plane tickets and a rental car.  We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it.  We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.

road trip through colorado

So where to begin?

We flew into Denver.

We stayed for a few days in Denver.  We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs.  We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.  

While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.  We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.

Next, we headed out West towards Utah.  My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not.  It’s only about 400 miles, right?  Plus, we would see what we would see.

Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway.  We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.

Reunited with Angela and it feels so good. 25 degree running…well not so much

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Then we continued towards Utah.  It was a scenic and beautiful drive.  Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice.  No internet, blogging, or Facebooking.  Just the road and rocks on either side.

We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race.  Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall.  We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

The race itself was tough.  NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember).  There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way.  You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

No, seriously it was painful

Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group.  It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.   Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.

After the race in Utah, we drove South.  We stayed the night, woke up the next morning and explored both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Hiking in Zion National Park

Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either.  I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each.  Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation).  Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.

Made it to Bryce Canyon for incredible views of the Hoodoos and Rainbow point.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it.  A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

We've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon…so we did.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado.  We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.  It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did.  It wasn’t too crowded when we got there.  You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…

For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out.  We saw a lot of cute towns.  We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing.  We decided to stop and take a photo at the top.  It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.

For Halloween, I traveled to 11,000 feet and dressed up like someone who likes winter.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado.  It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain.  I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience.  The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).

I didn't wake up thinking I would take my first ATV ride this morning, but here we are.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver.  We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days.  Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on.  We should have started our trip that way!  We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.

We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network.  If you’ve never been, you have to go.  It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ!   There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.

They are most known for their Burritos.  Even with running and hiking, I left full.

King Chef Diner Colorado Springs

Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go.  At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.

In summary:

12 Days
4 states
Over 100 miles run
Highest elevation 11000
Lowest elevation 3200
Temperatures between 28-80 degrees
And 2600 miles driven (on the dot)

I had one of the best trips of my life, and it was nice to spend time with my husband before he deployed.  One day we want to do something similar again, but going North to Montana and that way.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been on a road trip?

What is your favorite vacation?

Advertisements

A Day in the Life on Global Running Day

I don’t typically blog “day in the life” posts, and actually, I haven’t been blogging much on Fridays either.  I run out of things to say by Friday, or I don’t feel like blogging.

I’m not sure how it happened, but Wednesday was one of the busiest, but most fun days I’ve had in awhile so I thought I would share.  It doesn’t hurt that it was Global Running Day either.

If you followed LOLZ blog last year, you might remember seeing one of my friends Montana.  Montana is a good friend, and I ran and raced with her several times.  Unfortunately, (but fortunately), a job took her to Rhode Island.

She was back in town for a couple of days, so we were able to start Global Running Day together with my longest run in a while (6 miles).  The run flew by, and it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  As I continue running, I can’t say it feels amazing, but I feel mentally good about where I’m at right now.

After that I got ready to head up to North Jersey.  I like New Jersey for many reasons but since it’s a small state, driving “across the state”, isn’t a big deal.  When I lived in Texas, it was also 90 minutes to drive to a big city.

I met up with my friend Devon at the Urban Griddle in Newark for a date and what better place than a diner?  Devon is one of my good friends; I just wish we lived closer! She recently ran the Boston Marathon and PRed with a 3:06.

After a fun couple of hours, I made the trek back home.  As most people know, the New Jersey Turnpike is great…until it’s not.  The Delaware Memorial Bridge had a construction fire and they closed it completely down.  It’s the main arterty of East Coast travel.  They also completely shut down the turnpike at exit 4 (my exit).

This created a massive backup on both the turnpike and 295.  The Garden State is typically known for traffic, but it’s unusual for it to be on the turnpike on a weekday.

That was no big deal, except with every vehicle getting off and going through the toll at exit 4, it created a huge backup.  It took me over 90 minutes to go 3 miles.  Needless to say, I spent most of the time contemplating my escape route incase I had to use the bathroom.

After that, I stopped at home for enough time to eat and headed off to work.  As most people know, I work at a running store and you have to celebrate Global Running Day there right?

We had a big group run complete with raffles from various shoe companies and Lululemon.  We had a tremendous turnout with over 200+ people.  As much as I would love to have run with the group, it’s important for me to take things at my pace right now.  (Plus I ran with Montana and I didn’t need a bonus run).

Finally, I got back home at 9 and by that time, I was ready to go to bed.  (Not that that is any different than any other day).  In all, it was a great and wonderful day.  I caught up with so many friends and it made me appreciate the sport even more than I do now.

Questions for you:

How did you spend Global Running Day? 

Do you like to stay busy or prefer relaxing time? 

Visiting New York City

After my husband came home, we decided to go visit New York City.  Even though we live approximately 90 miles away, we rarely go.  Between, traffic, tolls, and parking it’s not the easiest place to get too.

So last week, we decided to take the train from Trenton.  It was an easy process, and we made it to Penn Station and into Manhatten.  We ended up staying on 57th street close to Central Park, Broad Way and Times Square. We had booked the hotel before I decided to stop running, so we had planned to run in Central Park.  One day we will (that isn’t the New York City Marathon!)

While in NYC, we didn’t do a heck of a lot.  Both my husband and I are relaxed and we like to take trips with not a lot of plans.  We figure it out as we go along.  For the most part, we walked around New York just looking at sights.  We did go see some of the big things like the Empire State Building and Times Square.  I’ve been before, but it’s always fun to see again! empire state building

We got close to the Empire State Building but opted not to go in.  empire state building

Times Square

One thing we both wanted to do is get a New York Bagel.  As someone who went to college in New York (way upstate at SUNY Potsdam), we got used to good NY bagels.  NJ just doesn’t compare.

My favorite is a Nova Lox.   It was a good bagel (not that I’m an expert) and I have no complaints. 

The one thing we did do was go see a Broadway.  We booked tickets to “Waitress” starring Sara Bareilles.  I like Sara Bareilles as a songwriter, and the Broadway was about a diner waitress…how could we go wrong?  It was excellent, and I highly recommend it if you’re ever up that way.

Before leaving, we also checked out Ellen’s Stardust Diner near Broadway.  The Diner is unique in that the servers are always performing.  You get a meal and a show.  You’ll see your server perform for the entire restaurant.

ellens stardust diner me

We had a great weekend away.  It’s funny, as I mentioned, New York is not a far commute for us, but we never go!  We will definitely go back sooner rather than later.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to New York City?

Where was the last weekend trip you took? 

Life in Alabama

As most people know, I lived in Montgomery for just over 5 weeks.  It wasn’t long, and it went by quickly.  While I missed friends back in New Jersey, I had an enjoyable time in Alabama.

alabama sunset

Alabama Sunset

I kept busy, so I wasn’t doing “tourist” stuff every single day.  Both my husband and I were able to get out, and we visited a few different cities, including Birmingham, Atlanta, and Pensacola.

John's City Diner Birmingham Fancy

Even though we were busy, we managed to travel on the weekends and went to quite a few places.  We wanted to make the best of the month and who knows when (or if) we will be back.

Here are a few highlights of what we did do.

We visited the Wright Brothers replica.  There is a full-scale replica of the first plane the Wright Brothers flew right off the highway.

It was great to see that as well as all of the planes on display at the Maxwell Air Force Base.  planes montgomery

When we went to Atlanta a few weeks ago, we relaxed and hung out with personal friend Laura.  Laura has been a friend of mine for years, and it was so great to see her again.

laura-s-and-i

In Pensacola, we chose to visit the Naval Aviation Museum.  Can you tell we can never get away from planes?  My husband was more fascinated with the engines of planes.

naval aviation museum pensacola

One of my favorite parts we saw were visiting the Cathedral Caverns in Woodville, Alabama. It’s a large cave with a lot of different rock formations.  Cathedral Caverns Woodville Alabama

The opening of the cave measures of 25 feet high and 126 feet wide!

Cathedral Caverns Woodville Alabama

There are some of the most beautiful formations ever created including one of the biggest stalagmites in the world.

Cathedral Caverns Woodville Alabama

Finally, we also made a quick stop to the wildlife preserve: Tigers for Tomorrow in Dekalb, Alabama.  It’s a nonprofit wildlife preserve which cares for over 160 rare and exotic animals.  Many people don’t know, but back through high school, I had an interest in wildlife conservation and looked at colleges focusing on zoology.  My interests changed, but it’s still important to me. Tigers for Tomorrow Dekalb Alabama

The trip was no vacation but it was a breath of fresh air from New Jersey.  We saw new places and tried new things. Of course, we ran races too:

Races Run While South:
MLK Drum Run 5k (18:40) (Birmingham)
Polar Bear 5k (18:42) (Atlanta)
Pensacola Double Bridge Run (58:41) (Florida)
Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01) and my husband’s marathon recap (Birmingham)

In summary, it was a great few weeks, and it was fun to see a different part of the country.

Questions for you:
Have you ever lived somewhere temporarily? 
Have you been to Alabama before?

 

Mini Trip to Upstate New York

Mini Trip to Upstate New York

Last week, my husband and I went on a mini vacation through Upstate, New York.  Those who have been reading LOLZ blog long enough, know we both went to college in Upstate. While we have both been to New York since neither of us had been that far north since graduation. When we left last Sunday, we had no plans and played everything by ear.  After getting home from the Run the Bridge 10k, we just packed the car and drove north.

First, we drove to Lake Placid.  I hadn’t been there since January of 2011.  Last time I went to Lake Placid, it was -30 (not an exaggeration).  This time it felt like the Caribbean and was between 30-40.me running lake placidLake Placid and the Adirondacks are beautiful.  My husband and I both miss it so we spent a day hiking.
hiking in the adirondacksWe went to the Adirondack Loj and spent time hiking there.  It was much colder in the mountains, and I was glad to have mittens, a hat and winter jacket.  We even saw snow on the ground.  hiking in the adirondacksAfter spending a couple of days hiking in the Adirondacks, we headed west to our alma maters in Potsdam, NY.  It’s crazy to think over five years ago, I started LOLZ blog in Potsdam.  potsdam new york

A day in Potsdam was enough.  Honestly, I’m four years out of college, and my friends have graduated, so there isn’t a whole heck of a lot up there for either of us.  A day was enough.hiking in the adirondacks tim and i

We headed down to Syracuse and spent the day enjoying that and meeting up with one of my closest friends (and well known “interneter” (is that a word?) Heather.  We met up at one the local breweries, Empire.  I’ve been to Empire several times and have had a positive experience every time.Heather and IFrom there we relaxed and ran in one of my favorite Upstate, NY parks, Onondaga.  I’ve run several races there, most noticeably, the Lake Effect Half Marathon where I was able to raise 2500 dollars for Ophelia’s Place as well as win.  That race still holds a lot of memories for me and is one of my favorites.  I’ll eventually get back there to do it one year.

The trip was such a great time.  My husband and I enjoyed visiting.  Upstate New York will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I went to college, met my husband, began to love running and made many of my adult friends.

It feels like such a blur since living in both Potsdam and Oswego.  Even though it has only been three years, it seems like a different lifetime ago!
Questions for you:
Where did you go to college? Have you been back to visit?
Has it snowed yet where you are?

The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

This summer, my husband and I hiked a lot.  It was a fun hobby, and we saw a lot of neat and unusual things…most recently a bear.

Even though I’m a blogger and having content can be an issue I decided not to stop and take a photo “for the blog.”  In fact, photographing the bear didn’t cross my mind because honestly, I was scared AF.

This guy on youtube was bolder than me…who knows it could have been the same bear.

So let’s rewind to the entire hike.  We arrived back at the Delaware Water Gap around 12.  We had hiked to Sunfish pond the week before and wanted to go back and explore more trails.  The only thing that worried us was parking, but we shockingly found a spot pretty easily.  (There were around 100 cars in the park but grabbed the last one).

We decided to take the blue dot trail.  It was labeled easier than the Appalachian, but honestly, it was straight uphill for 2 miles.  At certain points, I wish I had taken rock climbing at my college.  Fun fact, for those who don’t know, I took backpacking at school…Delaware Water Gap

The first two miles were almost exclusively uphill on loose rock.  We were rewarded once we made it to the top and took some fun pictures up there.

Delaware Water Gap

We ended up taking a back trail which spanned about 5 miles.  We said we would turn around at 5 miles (because we didn’t want to end up getting lost).  Around 4.95, we saw two hikers coming in the opposite direction.  They said Sunfish pond was about 90 minutes away.  We figured it would be about the same distance to the pond as turning around, so we pressed on towards the pond.

Delaware Water Gap

No less than 15 minutes later we saw the bear in the middle of the trail.  Honestly, I stood there shocked, terrified and unsure what to do.  Would it attack? Was I a goner?  I looked like a deer in the headlights.

I was in pure shock.  I made eye contact with the bear, and he ran into the woods.  It was an older adolescent bear who probably weighed 300 pounds.  My biggest fear was that he was running towards his mom.  You never mess with a momma bear.  Even though brown bears are more harmless than Grizzlies, they are still wild and dangerous.

After the bear had left, we stood silent for about 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes felt like an eternity.  We continued along the path to Sunfish pond and never saw any sign of any bears.  We came across two other hikers, and my first thought was more people so we should be okay.

The rest of the hike went without any more issues. We saw a snake but other than that, we made it to Sunfish pond then hiked the 4 miles back down the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the hike a lot but seeing the bear was one of the top 5 most terrifying moments of my life.  I saw a few bears while running in college but they were far enough way they didn’t notice me.

Other hiking posts:
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain
Hiking at Bear Mountain Again
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Hiking to Sunfish Pond (where we were hiking in this post too)

Questions for you:
What is the scariest moment you’ve had recently?
Have you ever come into contact with a wild animal? 

Hiking the Delaware Water Gap

As I mentioned in a post earlier, hiking has been something my husband, and I have both gotten into recently.  New Jersey isn’t the state you think of when thinking of great hikes but there are a lot of different fun and exciting trails we’ve taken.

I first got into hiking when I was completely injured from running.  Hiking made me feel healthy and strong.  Even though I’m healthy again, my husband and I are still enjoying the adventure of hiking.

Earlier in the week we drove up to the Delaware Water Gap in north west, New Jersey.  It’s one of the furthest points from our house and took about 2 hours to drive.  We wanted to hike to Sunfish Pond.

Sunfish Pond is a glacial lake formed from the last ice age.  It took us about 4 hours for the entire hike.

This is always a welcoming sign:

bear county

After hiking about 3 miles, almost completely up, we made it to the top of the mountain.  It was a gorgeous view over the Delaware Water Gap and we could see into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

hiking sunfish pond view

We continued along the trail to get to Sunfish pond.  The pond was well worth the hike.

hiking sunfish pond 1

sunfish pond

t and i

We spent a little while out there and headed back home.  Since it has rained recently, there were a lot of small waterfalls and creeks.  Last time we hiked, most of the falls were dry!

hiking sunfish pond

Other Hiking Related Posts:
Hiking the Hollywood Sign
Hiking to Hemlock Falls
Hiking at Bear Mountain Park (Getting Lost)
Hiking Bear Mountain Part 2

Questions for you:
Do you enjoy hiking?
Is it flat or are there mountains where you live?

%d bloggers like this: