Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who gets hypothermia in August?!?

Did you know that more people die from hypothermia in the summer than in the winter? Contrary to popular belief, freezing air temperatures aren't a requirement for hypothermia. Hypothermia strikes anytime weather conditions, including rain or water temperatures lower a person's core body temperature below 95° F. 

Why is this germane this evening? Because Chris and I were discussing developing hypothermia on our ride this evening. Temperatures on our way home were in the low- to mid-60s while we were traveling approximately 55 miles per hour. For August, it was CHILLY!!!

I usually put the liner into my jacket when it's below 70 degrees, especially if I'm just wearing a t-shirt. I didn't even think to pack my liner for this evening. It was in the upper 70s and sunny when we left the house just before 5 for our dinner ride. But, with just a t-shirt, I was freezing as we were coming down PA 504 from Phillipsburg through Black Moshannon State Park on our way home. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We have to head out on our adventure before we can head home, right?

Getting ready to head out and look...only 1/2 tank of gas.
We gassed up and headed out PA 550 toward Bellefonte. Before reaching Bellefonte, we turned onto Spring Creek Road to head back to Fisherman's Paradise to see if anyone was fishing (and more importantly, catching!). 

Fish & Boat Commission Offices at Fisherman's Paradise
No one was landing any lunkers back at Fisherman's Paradise, so we turned around and headed back out Paradise Hill Road to Rishell Hill Road to PA 144 through Milesburg. Out of Milesburg, we took Moose Run Road to Thomas Hill Road back to PA 144 which we followed up to Snow Shoe.

We had a great run up PA 144 with no traffic ahead of us.

In Moshannon, we picked up PA 53 which we took all the way to Philipsburg and our dinner destination - Sarina's. When we were seated, the waitress told us that they were "offering complimentary Coors Light - one per person." Being responsible motorcyclists (and discerning beer drinkers), we passed on the freebies and ordered iced tea (me) and Diet Pepsi (Chris). We opted for hoagies for dinner - I had the turkey and Chris got the cheesesteak. We split an order of French fries. Sarina's bakes their own (delicious!) bread and stuffs their subs. Needless to say, I have half of a hoagie for my lunch tomorrow!

After dinner, we took US 322 to PA 504 down through Black Moshannon where the temperatures dropped 10 degrees from 71° to 61° in a matter of minutes. Both of us said, "Brrrrr!!!" That's when our conversation about hypothermia started. Chris reminded me that hypothermia is part of the weather-preparedness discussion on the first night of MSF training. Clearly, I was feeling unprepared!

We turned onto Beaver Road at Black Moshannon State Park, where the sky was taking on lovely shades of blue, pink, and purple. 

We crossed US 220 and took the Julian Pike up over the mountain to get back to PA 550 to get home. Just as we were approaching the bottom of the Pike at PA 550, I spotted a deer on the right in a field. I said, "There's a deer on the right," just as Chris began braking...hard! I'd spotted "the decoy" in the field while Chris had spotted "the runner" in front of us! My deer stayed where she was, although she did give us the hard stare as we rode by. Chris' deer disappeared into the bushes across the road. 

We had an uneventful ride along PA 550 back to the house. We got home at 8:15 having logged 92 miles in three hours and 15 minutes with a dinner stop. It was a lovely evening ride...and, I don't have to pack a lunch in the morning. Score!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pineapple Ponderings, indeed.

"Why pineapples?"

That's what my buddy, Matt, asked me today at lunch when I mentioned how "pineapples are my thing." 

For as long as I can remember, I've known that pineapples are a symbol of welcome. I started decorating with pineapple "stuff" when we moved into our first apartment - pineapple candles, pineapple artwork, pineapple plates, and pineapple lamps. Not all at the same time, mind you; but I've amassed quite the collection in the last 15 years or so. 

Several years ago, when I was a member of Toastmasters, one of my first speeches was on the symbolism of the pineapple. It seems that pineapples as a symbol of welcome began with the Carib. As the Spaniards began arriving in the Caribbean, they came to realize that they were welcome if a pineapple was placed at the entrance to a village. The Spaniards took this symbolism back to Europe where it spread throughout that continent and was taken to the colonies in North America. If you've ever been to Colonial Williamsburg, you know the pineapple is well-represented in the decor there.

In addition to all of the home decor I've collected over the years, I also have several pieces of pineapple jewelry - a gold pendant, earrings, a silver pineapple bracelet, and a Pandora pineapple charm. I even have a shirt with a pineapple on it, as well as a pair of sandals with pineapples! 

After explaining some of this to Matt, he wondered if there were different varieties of pineapples like there are other fruits like apples (e.g. Gala, Empire, Pink Lady, etc.) and oranges (e.g. Valencia, Navel, and Blood). I said I didn't think so, but that I couldn't be sure. Matt correctly guessed that not knowing would bug me enough that I'd wind up researching it tonight...ha-ha-ha!

To my surprise, there are many cultivars of pineapples. The most commonly grown variety worldwide is the Smooth Cayenne. In addition to the Smooth Cayenne, other varieties include: Hilo, Kona Sugarloaf, Natal Queen, Pernambuco, and Red Spanish. So Matt, you were right! 

A sampling of the varieties of pineapples grown in St. Croix in 2011.
So there you have it. Tonight's pondering was literally about pineapples! 

Do you have a thing? If so, tell me about it in the comments section; I'd love to know!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!!!

In 2011, for Chris' birthday, we did a nice little two-day motorcycle ride since his birthday fell on a Saturday. This year, it was my turn for my birthday on Sunday, July 29th. Originally, Chris was supposed to teach a Basic Rider Course on Saturday, so we made plans to go away Sunday to Monday instead. Even with Chris giving up his course to another coach who needed the hours to remain "legit," we kept to our Sunday/Monday travel plans and headed to Erie, PA for the night. Our overnight accommodations were courtesy of a friend who works at the Sheraton Bayfront, which was a lovely gesture!

We left Sunday morning around 11 AM with a rough idea of our route to Erie. In June, I met our friend Matt for lunch and mentioned this upcoming trip. Matt suggested we follow PA 36 as much as possible - that it was a much better option than US 422 and definitely better than the interstates! The best part of this plan was heading south on PA 550 so I could finally...FINALLY...snag a decent picture of the gorgeous barn with the Red Man painting!

Thumbs up for a birthday getaway!!!

It's about time I got a good picture of this barn!

And here's a close-up!
On our way to Erie, we passed through Prince Galitzin State Park. We may have passed through here once or twice before, but we've never stopped to actually visit and/or partake of the recreational opportunities here. I'd like to remedy that. PGSP seems like it has it all! Camping, a beach, boating, hiking, horseback riding!

We did stop at an overlook while riding through the park.

Believe it or not, there's a boat out there!

And with 10X zoom, here it is!
Running on empty (no breakfast), we decided to stop in Punxsutawney for lunch. We found a Wendy's just off of PA 36. It was packed inside - the after church crowd, I suppose. We had a quick lunch at Wendy's before pointing the bike in the direction of Pennsylvania's tidal waters. Riding through Punxsy, I managed to snag pictures of a few more of the Phil statues in/around town.

We took a detour off of PA 36 when we got to Cook Forest State Park. Instead of remaining on 36, Chris took a side road that followed the river. He said he didn't think I'd mind the detour because of the scenery. He was right.

What I wasn't able to capture in the photographs were the TONS of people out in the river in kayaks, canoes, and inner tubes. Whenever there was a break in the trees along the road where I could snag a decent picture of the river...well, there simply were no tubers/kayakers/canoers to be seen! But there were plenty of them, trust me. If I hadn't already been having so much fun on the motorcycle, I have to say that lazily floating down the Clarion River in an inner tube seemed like a pretty cool way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

We joined back up with PA 36 and continued northwest, passing the restaurant where we'd stopped for lunch in April 2011 during our day ride for the 2011 Burger Run with Jerry, Leisa, David, Jeremy, and a few others.

Stop at Knotty Pines for delicious subs!

National Polish Alliance in Titusville, PA

Lots and lots of cruisers in and around Titusville on Sunday!

The paint job on this barn may have faded a little...

Titusville, PA on a gorgeous July day.

Before too long, we were rolling into Erie. The first exciting sign I saw was this one:

I know where we'll be having breakfast on Monday morning!!!
We arrived at the Sheraton at 5 PM and immediately got cleaned up to head outside to walk around, take in the sights, and find a spot for dinner.

The view of the convention center and the lake from our 7th floor room.

Muskoka Moose made the trek to Erie with us!

The Victorian Princess

The marina in front of the hotel.

A helicopter landed at the nearby hospital.

And took off again shortly thereafter.

We opted for the nearby Smugglers Wharf for dinner.

My Caribbean salad and my birthday pina colada!

My coconut shrimp.

Chris' chicken fetuccni Alfredo.
Following dinner, we walked back to the hotel. On our way back, we came across an old Suzuki Katana, a tow boat, and a car from Maine with two GORGEOUS wooden kayaks atop!

Back in our room, we watched the Olympics and Chris gave me my birthday present.

Spying on a sailboat from our room.

Muskoka Moose held my present.

Ooooo, a tiny little box...what could it be?!?

Yes, yes, yes!!! A Pittsburgh Penguins pendant!!!
When we noticed it was almost time for the sun to set, we ventured back outside to take some pictures and then go in search of dessert. I think the sunset pictures speak for themselves!

Back inside the hotel, in the lounge, for birthday dessert.

Watching the Olympics while we waited for our desserts.

Chris' cheesecake on the left; my key lime pie on the right.
Key lime pie as birthday cake? WIN!!!
We stayed in the lounge for about an hour watching the Olympics in the comfy chairs before retiring to our room for the night. It was the women's gymnastics qualifying night and we both decided that McKayla Maroney is a) awesome and b) most likely an elf. LOL! She's adorable and kudos to her for rockin' the vault the way she did!!!

With another birthday "in the books," Monday would mean a return trip home...but not before we encountered some wild animals...stay tuned!!!