The Western Maryland Rail Trail

New Post on our Bike Trail Blog!

Views and Reviews from our Bikes

The Western Maryland Rail Trail, Big Pool, MD The Western Maryland Rail Trail, Big Pool, MD

Bike Trail Views and Our Reviews

The Western Maryland Rail Trail, Big Pool, MD

This is a Rail Trail.

The trail begins in Big Pool, MD.  We turned off the exit and found the lot very easily.
The first thing I noticed was that the parking lot was filled with old people.. well, older people. Older than we are.  John says, “It’s Monday morning!” I have to give him that one.  It’s true.  This is our first weekday rail trail ride. As we are pulling into a space, we encounter an Amish woman on large recumbent tricycle riding through the parking lot. We also hear a rooster cocka doodle doo ing, not in the distance. Nope. Right across the street.  It’s very peaceful feeling.

Western Maryland Rail Trail: View of Rails and Water Western Maryland Rail Trail: View of Rails and Water

We read a little bit about this trail before our arrival and decided to break…

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A Few Things I Picked Up in Spain

Ensalada Mixta - typical Spanish salad

Ensalada Mixta – typical Spanish salad









This post is a #MyGlobalLife Link up post.

I read the latest post by Cate (of and once again I was transported back to my experiences of living or traveling abroad. She posed a question that acted as a nice prompt for me. Her question:

What have you incorporated into your life after living abroad?

I love this prompt. I had not thought about it too much lately, but I used to be very mindful that I was doing things I picked up from having lived in Spain. I spent my Junior year of college in Pamplona, Spain.  It was a fabulous experience.  I did indeed pick up some Spanish habits, if you will, which I brought home.  I was doing those Spain things because they not only became ingrained in me while I was there, but to remember the experience and probably as a way to hold on to it and make it last.

I think that the most significant changes to my pre-living abroad self were in my writing.

  • I can’t write sevens any more without putting a cross through them the Spanish way.
  • I abbreviate words using Spanish abbreviations.
  • I write notes (personal and when I went back to school, and later work) in Spanish and English

However, one of the best habits I picked up was a the result of a big revelation: I had never felt so good physically and emotionally as I did when I was living in Spain. Why was this? I realized this improvement must be because of a dietary change I had made. Figuring out this riddle was the key to carrying on my feelings of physical and emotional well being when I returned home. While in Spain, I got into a habit a of eating an “ensalada mixta” every Friday night at a great pizzeria in Pamplona (that appears to no longer be there, according to a quick Google search). This salad consisted of lots of lettuce, tuna fish and hardboiled egg with an oil and vinegar dressing. It was so delicious! The restaurant (and maybe all Spanish restaurants) would put a ton of salt and olives on the salad if you didn’t request not to have it, which I did faithfully. I don’t care for olives or lots of salt in my salad. I discovered that the tuna fish I had on my salad (and probably the fact that I was eating a healthy salad,) and a healthier diet than I ate while in the U.S., lead to my feeling so good. I was able to increase the amounts of the Omega 3s in my diet by eating more tuna fish and salmon when I got home to the U.S. What a great thing to continue when I got home, no?

“Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at”


Yoga Chants and Meditation

I have so many “irons in the fire” as they say, that I may want to make a full retreat from everything and everyone by Thursday. As it stands now, Thursday morning will be my first chance to get back in the pool since last Friday morning. I swam on my own on Friday since there were several issues that prevented our Masters group from having our regularly scheduled practice. Those who know me, know that extreme stress and an absence of chlorine are not the optimal circumstances for me. My optimal circumstance is chlorine amounts that are in direct proportion to the stress amounts. So, having a schedule that prevents me from swimming is a “red flag” as I say. Oh boy. I just had a flashback to the robot from the old TV show Lost In Space, zipping around, with robot arms flailing, and saying, “Danger, Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!” That is either a sign I’m more exhausted and on the “edge” than I thought or that I still have my sense of humor. I’m not sure which it is, but I do realize that I am going to need to add a self-care widget, if you will, to my calendar before I lose my mind. I’m going to grab my yoga music/chants cd and do some meditation for tonight and hope that tomorrow brings an opening in my schedule wide enough to get in some lap swimming or the Yoga for Athletes class tomorrow night. Namaste.

The Case of The Missing Smoke Detector

We spent a good portion of the day in search of a missing part of a three part project that my husband had planned to complete today. He wanted to get a couple little projects done around the house. I was doing my usual laundry and housekeeping chores. And, since it’s Alex’s last day home of Fall Break, we were also running around getting him stuff he needed for round two of school. So, when John asked me where the new smoke alarm was, I could vaguely remember seeing it somewhere. Unfortunately, I could not remember exactly where. We both looked around the closets upstairs. He went looking downstairs in the basement, where, incidentally, the other two were stored waiting to be installed. I checked a couple places on the first floor and suggested a few others for him to check. We both kept coming up empty handed. How does something get lost in our own house? This is crazy. Of course, it’s not the first time we’ve misplaced or plain lost something in the house, but it is weird. We think between the two of us we’ve looked everywhere. Yet, we still haven’t found the third smoke alarm. So, I finally put on my Nancy Drew detective hat and asked him how long ago he bought them to do this project. He said he bought them two or three years ago. Ummm. “OK, I’m done looking,” I say. Followed by, “We’ve been so busy these past two or three years that you’re just deciding to do this project now?” I was laughing at the irony of how urgently we were searching the house for something that had waited almost three years to be done. However, it does make sense that it would occur to him to finally replace our working smoke alarms, since he just replaced/updated our working carbon monoxide detector. I still have no clue where the third alarm is, but it is less shocking that it is missing given the amount of time it has been lying around here…somewhere.

A Barcelona Excursion of a Fitness Kind

I took a fun trip down memory lane this evening looking at pictures from a trip I took with my daughter's college soccer team to Barcelona, Spain and London, England in 2011. It was not my first trip to either country. I love visiting Spain. I would live there if I could. We had a fabulous visit and saw many of the amazing sights for which Barcelona is known. I got to experience a different side of the city when I snuck off all by myself to one of the lesser known sights during one of our “free times.” I found a pool! It was an Olympic size (50 meters) swimming pool, called Piscina Sant Jordi. I had asked the hotel concierge where I could swim without a membership and he recommended this pool. It was delightful. I was able to walk there from the hotel. It only cost five Euros to get in, and I had a lane to myself! It was a little different though. I'm not accustomed to swimming in a 50 meter pool. My Masters practices take place in a 25 yard pool, with an occasional summer practice at an outdoor 25 meter pool. But, I was so excited to swim, I definitely didn't mind the longer distance to get to the other end. There were two other striking differences that were a little more disconcerting. The first was that the pool was very deep, again I think because it was built to Olympic specifications, and I couldn't touch the bottom at either end. I'm used to standing between sets and not hanging on the wall like a little kid. It was strange. The other tricky thing involved the black lines at the bottom of the pool. In all the pools I've swam laps in, the black line is in the middle of each lap lane. Like a visual path for swimmers to circle around. At Sant Jordi, the black lines were under the lane lines. This caused me to end up swimming onto the lane lines several times. Ouch. It definitely gave me something to think about as I swam. Was this a European thing? An Olympic thing? Was it always like this or do they change the configuration depending on who is using the pool? At any rate, my entire trip was greatly enhanced by being able to swim in this lovely pool. I highly recommend mixing a little of your favorite pastime/fitness routine into your trips abroad, if at all possible. Go for a run (ask about safe routes before leaving your hotel), rent or bring your bike and go cycling (pay attention to local traffic rules), or go for a swim. Enjoy your journey!

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It’s a Good Thing

The stars, moon and sun are aligning so that we have an opportunity to sneak in a before Parent’s Weekend visit with our son in North Carolina. Great news, right? Well, the plan has taken on a life of its own. It went something like this: If he makes the club soccer team, we will try to get down to watch one of his games. Hurrah! He made the team. “Send us your schedule, sweetie.” Oh, look! He has a game on a day Alyssa doesn’t! Hurrah! We should go, if he makes the travel squad. He made the squad, hurrah! I tell him we are coming and I’ll bring him a big bag of food! That’s when the wheels came off, so to speak. We planned to drive to the field, which is closer to our house than his university, watch the game, give him a bag of goodies, give him a kiss and a hug, and turn around for home. Well, he got all excited and said, “Sweet! And, we can go shopping for stuff, too! And, Hannah, Natalie, and Kristen want to come to my game, too!” Ooopsie! See, how we lost it? How can we say, “No, sorry, darling, not what we had in mind.” Well, obviously we could say that, but the truth is we miss him. And, he needs us and wants us so, who wants to turn that down? Not us, apparently. So, John started researching hotel rates at our last rest area stop. Yes, we are back on the road again. Good thing we have an Empty Nest, or all this traveling would be out of the question. Wow, how the mighty have adapted.