WILSONWR   77,951
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A Little Introspection

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I have not been successful during the past two 5% challenges. I get the fitness minutes in, but I don't lose the weight. I seemed to be so busy getting big "fitness" numbers with easy and fun activities that I wasn't doing enough of the really strenuous aerobic exercise. I also was still recovering from the recent passing of my wife, and I wasn't watching my diet very well.

I was just about ready to not sign up for the next challenge, when it really hit me. I was simply "whining." I certainly can't blame the 5% challenge or my wife's passing for not losing weight - there is only one person responsible for that. So I have signed up for the Summer 5% Team and I've started a 10K Walk/Jog Program starting today. I just finished 35 minutes of walking for 4 minutes, then running for 1. I followed it up with another 10 minutes of just walking to cool down. I went 3.1 miles at a 14:32 pace during the 45 minutes. Instead of concentrating on just fitness minutes this next time, I'm going to start concentrating on aerobic minutes and add other minutes (mowing lawn, disc golf, etc) as I can. I owe it to myself to get back in shape.

Thanks for all the encouragement - especially to that great Teddy Bear team!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJOY-EVELYN 6/30/2014 12:20AM

    You've been through a lot and the grieving process is ongoing in many ways. I'm glad you're joining the new challenges . . . I've been getting a little complacent myself and am hoping to make some progress towards Onederland this challenge.

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JAZZEJR 6/27/2014 12:04PM

    Bill, I'm just seeing your introspection-kick-yourself-in-the-
behind blog :) Yes, you can do it, and you have begun a great program. Adding in those little jogs will really fire up the metabolism, and eating about 20% less will help too (I don't care what the charts say). I'll be right behind you, so don't slow down!

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IMIN2GENES 6/22/2014 4:23PM

    So glad you signed back up! You'd be sorely missed!!

Sounds like you've got a good plan going now!

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IMEMINE1 6/10/2014 9:46AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DNRAE1 6/8/2014 9:05AM

    Yup, me too! Need to really get off my duff, and start meeting some goals! Thanks for the reminder and inspiration! Have a great day!

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JOYFUL1977 6/5/2014 11:18AM


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LINDAF49 6/4/2014 12:02AM

    Hi Bill, just dropped in to check on some spark friends and you were one I had to know how was doing...So saddened to hear of the passing of your wife but delighted in reading of your vacation to VA and Pa and then Mardi Gras

I have had my life changed greatly - gradually got more tired and weak through the winter and finally got heart test on May 1 and then the 23rd had two heart stents put in...Just recuperating and adjusting to being pain free and the long gradual return of strength. Started with three minute walks, increased for 4 minute and the last two days did 3 walks of 5 minutes each on perfectly level ground or in house ... so will continue to increase one minute every two days if I continue to do well. Still not allowed to do stairs or lift more than 5# or drive car but hoping for Dr release on the 11th. Also learning HEART healthy diet which is too broad a term but fine tuning the concern against sodium and "bad fats" and taking a new handful of pills daily...thinking I will return to SPARKS as the computer seems to be agreeing with the changes that they have done. God bless you and looking forward to news from other Sparks friends too.

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QUEENIEBELLE 6/3/2014 11:27AM

    Awesome attitude Bill! It can be slow going but it's worth it to hang in there. Just think of all of the small changes you've made that are now good habits. Build on that and you'll get there- one good choice and a lot of sweat at a time! I'm ramping up my cardio too- really need the fat burning. emoticon

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LASARRE 6/2/2014 11:58PM

    So glad you didn't give up! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PICKIE98 6/1/2014 11:13AM

    you are really breaking up the time and doing different things.. grab a neighbor's dog and toss them a frisbee!!haha!!

Good for you for revving your engine!!!

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KALISWALKER 5/30/2014 2:49PM

    I am cheering for you Bill. Doing something new changes things up and you aim for new milestones.

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SNOWFLAKELILYM9 5/30/2014 4:42AM

    You can do it Bill. It's been a rough time for you but you are a fighter and a persever and you will succeed. You 've done it before and you will do it again. Keep pushing and hang in there.


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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 5/29/2014 2:38AM

    emoticon I'm glad you signed up for the Summer Challenge. I think this is the first 5% Challenge where I have gained weight instead of lost. I was the Last Teddy Bear Standing in the Winter Challenge and will most likely have the distinction of having gained the most weight in the Spring Challenge. Life happens...but still we press on! In previous years I would get depressed and give up for months only to undo the good I had accomplished & gain even more weight. My objective now is to hang in there and move toward my goals, even when I get off the path for a bit. I'm so happy you are choosing Not to give up. Keep moving forward my friend. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon, cuz we are emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/29/2014 2:43:22 AM

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/28/2014 11:09PM

    I am so glad you signed up!!!!!!!!!!!! You can do this........I am here if you need to be reminding of this fact.

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MUSIC2HISEARS 5/28/2014 8:40PM

    I am very glad you signed up for the 5% challenge! I know that I can definitely relate to the feeling of frustration when it doesn't seem to come off, but know that it isn't the program...it is just me.Thank you for blogging about this!

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LYNCHD05 5/28/2014 8:36PM

    You ar so right fill. And, we are all,happy that you are going to be part of our team again. I too work out quite a bit but I do lack the aerobic activity. Which I know I need to increase. We should talk!!!!! 8-))

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CATHYGETSFIT 5/28/2014 6:21PM

    I'm glad you signed up for the summer 5% challenge and to be a Teddy Bear again. It's understandable to gain weight after such a tragic loss.

Realizing that eating properly is a big key in this is half the battle. You seem like you are getting your head back in the game, so to speak. It sounds like you're getting back on the right track.

We'd miss you if you weren't a Teddy Bear again!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NHES220 5/28/2014 4:17PM

    Good for you. I think it is always good to take a step back and look at the situation. I'm sure you've been going through a tough time. But I know you have the strength to do this and you will succeed!

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JUSTME29 5/28/2014 2:58PM

    I'm finding the same thing. It's time for me to really focus on me, and on doing the right things to get healthy and more fit.

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TERI-RIFIC 5/28/2014 1:46PM

    It's a wise decision to re-up for the 5%. Your plan sounds right on. Run/walk intervals are great for me. I run 30 sec. Walk 45 seconds. I like the shorter intervals even though it seems kind of goofy.
emoticon emoticon

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ADRIENALINE 5/28/2014 1:15PM

    Thanks for joining the Teddy's again. Gaining weight after a tragic loss is practically expected. It has happened to me each time I lost one of my family folks, Mom, Sister and Dad.


When you are ready you'll be able to get back on the program and the pounds will fly off!

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/28/2014 12:16PM

    I, too, can understand where you are coming from. If I don't track my food, plan ahead for meals and snacks, all the exercise in the world isn't going to make this work. It is a combined effort that creates the results and I KNOW that - just don't always follow it.

Thanks for joining the Teddy's again. I'd miss you if you weren't in the den. You know you have the support of all the bears. Onward and forward!

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PCOH051610 5/28/2014 10:16AM

    I can really relate to what you wrote here. I need to kick up my cardio so the weight comes off and not just concentrate on getting the fitness minutes in.

Are you going to be a Teddy Bear again?

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A Great Vacation

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I just got home from a great 2 week road trip vacation. I traveled almost 4,000 miles and visited friends in North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It was the perfect vacation to take my mind off the recent passing of my wife. I thought I would share a few pictures from the trip.

I first stopped in North Carolina to visit friends from my Air Force days in Texas. I had a great time visiting and seeing the local sights. The beach was also really nice there.

From there I went to Richmond to visit some very good friends of my wife and I. This visit coincided with what would have been our 15th wedding Anniversary. Although a sad day, my friends were great at lifting my spirits. We relived some great times we had with my wife.

Then I went further north in Virginia to visit a friend whom I worked with at Brooks AFB (also in San Antonio) for 15 years. She and her husband moved to Virginia after the base closed in 2011. We visited numerous local wineries and breweries one day and then watched my friend complete a half-marathon the next day. Here she is at the finish - I wish I could be in that kind of shape!

The next day my friend and I walked nearly 6 miles at Sky Meadows state park. Part of the hike was along the Appalachian Trail - here we had a great visit with a hiker who had been on the trail since March 2nd! Here is a picture of me along the trail.

The next day I did some hiking on my own while my friends worked. Here is a view along Skyline Drive on my way to the first hike.

On the first hike to "Mary's Rock," most of the hike was on the Appalachian Trail. I met many more people who had been hiking since early March, and they all had interesting stories. This particular hike was very demanding, with 2 miles of steep incline. The walking was also over rocky ground. You even had to duck under one fallen tree.

When I finally got to Mary's Rock, I was able to climb up top and get a full 360 degree view of scenery in Virginia and West Virginia. It was breathtaking. Here are a couple of pictures from Mary's Rock.

I did one more hike that day, for a total of 6.1 miles. It felt good hiking in the mountains!

From there, I went to Pennsylvania and had a great homemade lunch at the home of one our Teddy Bear members on the 5% Challenge. SVELTWARRIOR and I had a great visit, although it was way too short. I'll have to plan better on the next trip - I also need to take a picture!

From there, I went to Canton, Ohio to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was interesting seeing all of the exhibits of the NFL players I grew up watching.

From there, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. I spent 5 1/2 hours there, and could have easily spent another 2 hours looking around. They had some incredible footage of our musical heritage.

From there, I went to Indianapolis to get some craft beers that we can't get here in Texas. After that, I made the long trip home. It was a great trip that was made extra special by those I visited along the way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJOY-EVELYN 6/30/2014 12:21AM

    Such a great and beautiful trip. So enjoyed your sharing with us both in word and photo.

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IMEMINE1 6/10/2014 9:50AM

    That sounds so awesome. I love to see different places and things. We usually just do day trips.
Sounds like you had a great time.

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TWEETYKC00 6/5/2014 6:57AM

    I'm so glad you could get away and have a good trip with your friends.

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MAVERICKDR 6/5/2014 6:53AM

    You had a great trip. But you're never very far from those memories. It's a shared experience of an interstellar kind now. Be blessed!

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DNRAE1 5/31/2014 9:42AM

    Wow! Your pictures show what a wonderful time you had. Lots of good friends, exercise and great place to visit and explore! So glad you had such a wonderful time!
I'm going on a cross country road trip in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to seeing friends and family and great sights along the way!

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DAWN14163 5/29/2014 7:55AM

    That sounds like a great trip, what a lot to pack in! Lovely photos too, interesting to see what the different parts of the US look like. You're doing great - keep enjoying life!

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BARBIE176 5/28/2014 11:36PM

    Sounds like an awesome trip, Bill. I m glad you had the chance to take it and that you felt refreshed from it. My Bill took a trip like that with a friend of his when he was going through a difficult time before I knew him, and he came back with the same feeling so I can only pray my trip has the same effect for me. Thank you for sharing.

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NHES220 5/28/2014 5:57PM

    Sounds like a fantastic trip - you sure packed a lot in! Glad you got to pick up some of your craft beer on the road to take home! My neighbor is a big craft beer guy and he goes to Three Floyds in Indiana. We're planning a trip to Greenbush in July and in Naperville, not far from where I live, they have an Ale Fest in the summer.

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/28/2014 10:26AM

    Wow you packed a lot into two weeks! Way to go. Really enjoyed the pictures- thanks so much for sharing. My son in Asheville, NC lives literally across the street from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail is somewhere nearby. We haven't been on it when back there visiting but will fit that in somewhere along the line. So glad you were able to spend what would have been your 15th Anniversary with good friends of both you and your wife. Wonderful to be able to reminisce together. We just had our 15th last month and I can't even imagine how you would have felt alone on that day; really happy you shared that particular day with them. So proud of you for doing all of those hikes. I had better get moving and get in better shape or get left eating you and Jim's dust LOL. I don't do the hilly hikes due to mild COPD but there's a lake we do you'd like. Try to stay cool in the heat of the summer and talk soon-HUGS. Sandi.

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PCOH051610 5/28/2014 10:14AM

    Thanks Bill for taking us along on your wonderful trip. That trail sounds demanding, yet, rewarding.

I'd love to eventually have a face to face meet up with anybody from my Spark circle......so it was great you got to meet up with SVELTEWARRIOR

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/27/2014 11:18PM

    I love the pictures!!! You sure did do a lot of traveling. I totally enjoyed having lunch with you and would love to do it again......... I have to think about the picture though...LOL

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IMIN2GENES 5/27/2014 8:42PM

    What fun! Thanks for sharing your awesome pics! I wish I would have known you were coming so close... I'm in northern MD. Maybe next time...

Glad you had such a wonderful time on your travels!

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KALISWALKER 5/27/2014 8:26PM

    Bill I really enjoyed seeing your pictures. I smile whenever I think of you meeting Mo in person. Wow what fun to meet a Spark buddy!

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MUSIC2HISEARS 5/27/2014 7:55PM

    Oh, I wish I would have known you were going to be in Indy! Your trip sounds like so much fun!!! Glad to hear you had a great time!

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PICKIE98 5/27/2014 3:39PM

    Wow. What a fantastic trip!! Just think of all that southern fresh air you breathed in,, take some back to Texas!

Beautiful pictures, as usual. Nothing beats visiting vacations so you can mingle with locals and others who are vacationing!
Beautiful weather too, I assume.. I know your friends were thrilled to have you with them!!

Thank you for sharing our trip with us!!!

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TERI-RIFIC 5/27/2014 12:38PM

    Awesome trip and great pictures! Lots of different and fun activities. You may need a rest after that vacation. It's good that you are keeping busy and having fun even if there is some sadness in it all, still. I always keep in mind that the loved one who has passed wants you to be happy and have a full life. It's hard to recover after the loss of a spouse and it seems like you are doing very well. Stay strong and keep up the positive attitude.

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/27/2014 12:12PM

    Whoa! You obviously had a good time and got to so many interesting and diverse places. How cool that you got to walk on a bit of the Appalachian Trail! The beach looks gorgeous - you sure packed a lot in! You may need a vacation to recover from the vacation!

Glad you had fun and got home safe and sound after all your adventures!
Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us in words and pictures.

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LASARRE 5/27/2014 11:41AM

    Sounds like an awesome trip. Great pix!

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JUSTME29 5/27/2014 10:10AM

    It sounds like it was a great trip! I've always wanted to hike even a tiny part of the Appalachian Trail. I don't see it in the cards for me, but I'm glad that you had the chance.

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SLIMMERJESSE 5/27/2014 9:51AM

    What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing the great pics.

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World Walking Day

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Yesterday was World Walking Day and the American Volkssport Association (a national nonprofit organization of nation-wide hiking clubs) sponsored a walk in San Antonio, Texas. Since my wife used to be the Executive Director of this organization, I volunteered my time as the "official" photographer. I also got to do the 10K walk in a very historic part of San Antonio. I wanted to share of few of the pictures taken during this celebration.

Here is a picture of some walkers registering for the event.

Here are the current President and Executive Director of the organization. They stamped the walking books of the people who finished the walk.

Here are a few pictures of walkers along the route.

While the early morning sun played havoc with taking pictures of many of the scenic locations, there was still a lot of cultural and historic things to look at.

Here I am during a portion of the walk. Yes, I still need to lose some more weight...

All in all, it was a great day for walking and I got to meet some great people! I also got to see some new parts of San Antonio!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPY-DESTINY 5/19/2014 6:04AM

    I love Texas!

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/15/2014 9:55PM

    Great pictures, Bill. I'm a little late in catching up with friends blogs. We've been really busy with household projects and it seems I'm only online to log in and spin and read a couple quick things. I'm taking more time for friends starting today! Very important.

You're on your road trip #1 already so hope that's going well. Be sure and send a note and let me know how it was when you get back. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

Again great pictures and blog. You look good- so happy you got out for this. Discovering new-to-you parts of town is pretty cool too. Take care. HUGS- Sandi

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FLORIDASUN 5/11/2014 8:33AM

    Sooo happy that you shared this wonderful event. Thanks for sharing it with us! I think you look terrific and I'm so happy that you are pushing yourself to get out there and continue to enjoy the events that you DW also loved. Believe me Bill...she was RIGHT there with you encouraging you and supporting you as you took all of these lovely shots.

I LOVE San Antonio...such a beautiful and scenic little town!


Bobbi Anne

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/10/2014 10:50PM

    Looks like fun on a lovely day. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures. I may have to see if I can get myself down there to do this walk next year.You look like you were enjoying yourself. GOOD !!

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IMIN2GENES 5/10/2014 7:26PM

    Thanks for sharing! Looks like it was a lovely day and what a nice way to honor your wife. I'm sure the folks there were happy to see you and grateful for your help!

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ADRIENALINE 5/8/2014 4:56PM

    Beautiful pix Bill. Thanks for sharing them.

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PICKIE98 5/8/2014 4:16PM

    Very nice pictures,,
IT looks like beautiful scenery too! Totally different day than your hike!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/8/2014 9:25AM

    What a nice event! I remember the Alamo from a family cross country trip in the 70s and also Volksmarches when we lived in Ohio. A great organization.

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IMEMINE1 5/7/2014 5:24PM

    emoticon Beautiful pictures and at least you are out there. emoticon

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COLUMBINE2 5/6/2014 9:18PM

    Loved your blog & pics! My cousin used to participate in this group...many years ago. It sounds like a terrific hobby & something to get hooked on! I'm glad you have photography as a hobby, too. That can really be fun & help you through hard times.

You look great and sound like you're finding ways to be happiness. Good for you! I'm sure that's what she'd want you to do ...live your life and be happy!

Thanks so much for sharing your fun day! Have a good day tomorrow, too! emoticon

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JAZZEJR 5/6/2014 4:25PM

    What a beautiful place to walk. Been a long while since I visited San Antonio. I want to return soon!

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GOODGETNBETR 5/5/2014 10:46PM

    Looks like it was truly an emoticon day.
Thanks for sharing

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BDTHOM 5/5/2014 10:26AM

    Wonderful day for a walk around town Bill. Love AVA activities. They are a great way to get exercise and do some sightseeing in your own neighborhood.

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CATHYGETSFIT 5/5/2014 2:51AM

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. It looks like a great place to go for a walk. I'm sure the weight will come off soon. It looks to me like you really are working on it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/4/2014 10:05PM

    What a beautiful historic place to walk!!!!!!!! I loved the photos,thanks for sharing

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EJOY-EVELYN 5/4/2014 4:30PM

    Great feat in a beautiful city. No wonder you maxed out on Teddy Bear miles yesterday! Here I figured you were workin' the great outdoors at the ranch.

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PCOH051610 5/4/2014 1:42PM

    Loved seeing these pictures!

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TERI-RIFIC 5/4/2014 1:18PM

    Love your pictures!! What a great day. I've been in San Antonio. It's a very pretty city. Hot, though. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if there is a volkssport club near me? emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALISWALKER 5/4/2014 12:17PM

    Bill I enjoyed seeing your pictures. With all the walking, disc golf, gardening and tracking you will have the weight off in no time. Have another great week!

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SLIMMERJESSE 5/4/2014 12:11PM

    What fun! Thx for sharing these nice photos. I was on the realtor.com site this week for San Antonio. There's this huge hotel-like condo complex with a 1 bedroom for $31K! Not sure what it's like to live on the 16th floor or what area of town it's in.

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FITWITHIN 5/4/2014 11:58AM

    Beautiful place to celebrate World Walking Day.

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    Thanks for sharing the photos. I have never been to this part of the country so this was all very new to me. The route looks wonderful. I like the picture of the mural very much. The light is not so bright as to obscure the detail. It was kind of you to volunteer and I'm sure your wife's friends were glad to see you.

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Hill Country Hiking Lessons

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A few weeks ago, I joined the San Antonio Adventure Club. It looks like a fun group with numerous activities almost every day. The latest hike a few days ago was definitely the "adventure." We planned to do a 5-mile hike in the Hill Country State Natural Area near Bandera, Texas.

We met the event leader in San Antonio and rode with him for about an hour to the location of the hike. There were only 4 of us on this particular hike. On the drive there, he hit a wild turkey and did damage to his bumper, hood, and roof. It's amazing the window wasn't shattered. This was an omen of things to come...

Here we are at the start of the hike. I'm the one in the back with the big hat.

The event leader wasn't that familiar with the area, so the park staff gave him a map with a 5-mile hike mapped out. The weather was hot (96 degrees by the end of the hike) and the terrain was challenging in places. It was a nice area, though. Here is one picture showing the terrain.

Here I am about a third of the way through the hike.

After 2 hours into the hike, we knew something wasn't right. We still showed a long ways to go on the map, and the woman in the group was starting to suffer from heat exhaustion. We rested her in the shade often, poured water on her head, and I gave her my hat for some extra sun protection. A little further on the hike, another hiker had his hiking boot come completely apart. We had to use tape to keep it in one piece!

After 5.5 miles, the woman was starting to get light-headed. We located a county road about a third of a mile away and sat her under a tree. We left the hiker with the bad shoe with her while the event leader and I walked another 2.6 miles to the car (making it a total of 8.4 miles). When we got back, the woman felt much better and we went into town for a very late lunch (about 3:00 PM).

So this was quite the "adventure," and hopefully everyone learned a lot. I actually felt pretty good in that I was the most fit of those in the group (and the most prepared). The first lesson learned is that you shouldn't "lead" a group unless you've been on the hike yourself. You should also bring twice as much water as you think you'll need. Luckily I had some to spare to help cool down the woman. While everyone had sunscreen, even 50 SPF wasn't enough protection that day. Hats and collared shirts help a lot. We all brought snacks, but luckily I brought a few extra things like tape, ace bandages, a first aid kit, and a few other items. I will probably even expand the things I bring next time.

The main thing is to know your trail and let people know what they should bring before going on the hike. Sunscreen, water, and snacks are not sufficient for a difficult day hike. The good thing about going through something challenging like this is that we got to know each other very well, and I think the hikers gained some valuable experience for their next hike. I know that I was only as prepared as I was because of past mistakes I made myself. All in all, it turned out to be quite the adventure, with lots of stories to look back on.

Happy trails!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 5/10/2014 10:44PM

    Sounds like quite an adventure. They should all be glad you've learned from past mistakes and therefore could help avoid bigger problems this trip out.Glad to know it all worked out and everyone was okay. I agree that sounds a little warm to be out hiking.

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PICKIE98 5/8/2014 4:13PM


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IMEMINE1 5/7/2014 5:25PM

    Very nice photos. emoticon

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BDTHOM 5/5/2014 10:27AM

    High adventure. Remember your headlamp when you do that evening walk.

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TERI-RIFIC 5/2/2014 5:16PM

    Wow. Lucky you were there. My shoe came apart during a hike, once. Not fun! Love your pics.

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/2/2014 5:16PM

    Wow that turned out to be more than the adventure you bargained for! Good heavens. They were fortunate you were so well prepared. I can imagine that they will be well prepared next time. I really feel for the woman getting heat sick- that would be me. I just cannot take the heat. I'll bet she will REALLY be prepared next time. Good job on doing the entire hike. Working on the ranch has paid off in more ways than one- betcha that's helped keep you in shape. Thanks for sharing the pics and adventure.

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/1/2014 10:33PM

    I bet they are glad you were so prepared!!!! You saved the day

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EJOY-EVELYN 5/1/2014 10:08PM

    Love the photos and landscape! What lessons learned, indeed! This could have ended much more tragically. Glad you home and safe again. It may be a while before you take on such an inexperienced trail blazer. I'm staying inside these days as the temps rise to the upper 80F and 90F. It's good to walk and stretch inside when the weather is this warm.

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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 4/30/2014 8:26PM

    Wow! So happy you were prepared & in shape. Glad the woman was alright. Sounds like the other guy needs to invest in a new pair of hiking shoes! lol. So thankful everyone made it home in one piece. You DID get in a lot of fitness minutes though. How many hours did the hike take?

Comment edited on: 4/30/2014 8:27:32 PM

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LYNCHD05 4/30/2014 4:41PM

    Sounds like quite a day and something for me to think about on my next hike. Shame on that leader for not being better prepared.

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SLIMMERJESSE 4/30/2014 10:42AM

    I've often thought about relocating to San Antonio. Seems like a lovely city. Thanks for sharing these great pics.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/30/2014 10:37AM

    If YOU hadn't been so prepared, things could have turned out much worse - like those news stories that pop up now and then. "Hikers lost in ____"
Sounds like that leader wasn't qualified to lead.
I remember a bike tour in Germany (easy pace designed for families) where a kid crashed and I had the only first aid supplies. Grandmas can be counted on for things like this, but I was annoyed that the leader didn't have them.
I'm glad you're back safe and sound.

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PCOH051610 4/30/2014 10:23AM

    Gracious Bill, that sounds like quite the adventure! I was going to say that you were the smart one wearing a wide-brim hat - baseball hats just don't cut it.

I once got "lost" in a small wooded area that was surrounded by busy streets. Looking back, I realize I had let my panic get the better of me. Believe it or not, our Pom found the trail while the Lab stayed close to me and whined.

I'm not sure I would ever survive a hike in your temperatures! Today, it is sunny but only 6 degrees (Celcius) and people are out wearing shorts! I'll be sticking to my jeans, t-shirt, fleece jacket, etc emoticon

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Mardi Gras fun with my son

Friday, March 07, 2014

My wife and I always enjoyed the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, but we had never been to the really big parades. A year ago we made reservations for the last week of the parades to finally see them. Unfortunately my wife passed away in January, and I was going to cancel the trip when my son said that he would go with me. Although I really wish my wife could have been there, my son and I had a great time. We attended 17 parades and got so many beads, stuffed animals, toys, and aluminum doubloons that we gave away all of the beads thrown at us the last three days. Our car was stuffed to the top coming back! Here are a few pictures of our great trip.

Here is a picture of the church at Jackson Square.

Here are my son and I at one of the parades.

Here is Bourbon Street during the day. The people in the balcony are throwing beads to the crowd below.

For the most part, there were lots of people in the parade crowds. We were in a more family oriented section of the parade on St. Charles Street.

While the floats are beautiful to look at, the main purpose of the Mardi Gras parades is to throw souvenirs to the parade watchers. While I didn't get a lot of great pictures because the sun was right behind the floats, I did get a few of the Krewe members (parade club members) throwing things.

Although not a great picture, there were some really nice floats. This particular one, called "Smoky Mary" had 8 trains attached to the tractor. I really don't know how it made the street corners!

There were also a lot of fun characters in the parades. Here are a few.

You even had several celebrities in the parade. Here is Quentin Tarantino throwing beads.

One of the big parades on Mardi Gras day was Zulu - an African heritage parade. This was a really fun parade, but you had to be on the street before 4:00am to ensure you had a good spot (and the parade didn't get there until 10:00!). My son and I braved the coldest temperatures at Mardi Gras since 1899 - and it was raining! One of the prized "throws" was the hand painted coconut. Very few people get them, but because of the cold and rain, my son an I managed several! The following pictures are of some of the Zulu tribesman and two of the coconuts we got.

The floats throw their trash in the street as they empty their bags of souvenirs. The city cleans it up after the parades for that day. Here is one such scene after a parade.

My son and I got enough stuff to share with everyone: my grandkids, his kids, the neighbors, local preschools, etc. Here are a couple pictures of each of our "stashes."

Now I just need to recover from the "vacation!" Take care, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REGILIEH 5/10/2014 8:45AM







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IMEMINE1 3/22/2014 10:39AM

    Thanks for sharing your good time with us. That's emoticon

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JUSTME29 3/10/2014 9:05AM

    That sounds like such a great time with your son. I've always wanted to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

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BDTHOM 3/9/2014 11:21AM

    What a great trip to share with your son. Thanks for sharing.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 3/9/2014 8:23AM

    I'm so glad you shared this blog. I'm feeling better but needed a mental 'pick me up' this morning.
I agree with FloridaSun. Your wife's hand guided all that treasure to you.
I've never been to NO. This makes to want to go.

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IMIN2GENES 3/8/2014 9:25PM

    Sounds like you had such a wonderful time despite the cold and rain. You're pics are so much fun! I'd love to go sometime. I'm quite sure your wife is smiling down on you and your son and glad you were able to enjoy it together. I'm sure she's proud of you guys!

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BBONET 3/8/2014 12:49PM

    Wow!! It really seems like you had lots of fun and lots of "things" Glad you decided to make the trip with your son, I am sure your wife is happy you decided to go with your son. You know she was really there, throwing those beads back with the two of you.
The pictures are awesome -- thanks for sharing!!!

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FLORIDASUN 3/8/2014 9:26AM

    Fantastic fun...your wife was right there...directing those guys where exactly to throw those cool coconuts...can you even imagine how much time it took them to make them? As a crafter from wayyyy back I KNOW! I'd save those treasures to put a big coconut smile on your face when you are feeling a little low.

Your son is very handsome and I'm so glad he shared this trip with you. What a guy to encourage his dad to have a little fun in his life after so much sorrow.

I'm sooooo happy you shared this blog...I smiled ALL the way through it and I'm sending you big radiant hugs...and lots of rest! You know you had a GOOD, GOOD time when you are exhausted from the experience when you get back home! emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 3/7/2014 11:19PM

    Loved the pix Bill. I have a feeling your dear wife was right there with you, in spirit, every step of the way. And especially, helping you catch the stash! lol. What a great son you have to go & enjoy the parades with you. You're making new memories now & creating a new norm in your life. emoticon emoticon

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    Your wife would be happy that you and your son enjoyed the trip. I am glad you had a great time. I absolutely love the pictures.

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NWFL59 3/7/2014 9:23PM

    Wow, sounds like y'all had a terrific time and thanks for the pictures. I just attend our local parades and sometimes go over to Mobile's and Pensacola's. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PICKIE98 3/7/2014 7:59PM

    I love those two cocoanuts!! Those are things to keep and treasure for later. You really did make a haul! I imagine the weather was quite cooler than you are used to at home,but you two guys sure made the most of it!!

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MTNGRL 3/7/2014 7:03PM

    Bill, what a great blog. I was so happy to see all those wonderful pictures. Almost felt like I was right in the crowd. I've never seen such close up photos. I am very pleased your son went along. All the 'booty' you both brought back made a lot of little ones happy. I can imagine Jackie looking down and joining you from Heaven in celebrating such a good time and not missing a minute of the fun.

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GRACEOMALLEY 3/7/2014 5:56PM

    I am so pleased you and your son went - and I believe your wife was smiling down on you both, knowing you were missing her. You definitely returned with quite a bit of "booty" and how lovely that you shared it with so many. That definitely says good things about the type of man you are and the type of man your son has become. I know how it can be when you need a vacation to recuperate from your vacation, but that's okay. Take it a little easy over the weekend and you'll prob ably be back to yourself by Monday. Keep smiling!

Thanks for sharing the pictures. It looks like so much fun.

Comment edited on: 3/7/2014 5:57:35 PM

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CATHYGETSFIT 3/7/2014 5:18PM

    I'm glad you were able to go and had a good time with your son. I think your wife would be happy that you went with your son and had fun. Those are great pictures. The guy in the recliner made me chuckle! You and your son really made out with a lot of goodies! I'm glad you're going to share it with neighbors, grandkids, schools, etc... Hope you are able to rest up from your vacation and think about all of the great memories the two of you made on your trip together.

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LYNCHD05 3/7/2014 3:14PM

    My DH always said he would like to go to Mardi Gras but it never happened. For one thing we life way to far away. That is wonderful that you and your son made the trip together. Wonderful memories for you both. Now to divvy up all those treasures. Can't believe how much stuff they give away.

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BARBIE176 3/7/2014 12:15PM

    It sounds like a really fun time. I am glad you and your son were able to go, and I am sure your wife was smiling down on you. It seems overwhelming all of the stash of goodies you accumulated. I know when my daughter lived there they went to a lot of the parades and they too accumulated so much stuff, especially the beads. How awesome that you are going to share it with the local schools and everyone. I hope you recover from your vacation quickly!

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QUEENIEBELLE 3/7/2014 11:41AM

    I LOVE it that you two went! I'm sure your wife is so happy you did. The guy in the recliner in the parade cracked me up- now that is my kind of float. The coconuts are really cool too. We will have to do Mardis Gras some time- sounds like a ton of fun. Maybe you can tell us how /when/what/where to book etc. You'll have to fill me in on the details. Trade you an Az.. souvenir for a Mardi Gras souveinir!! GREAT pictures. HUGS.

Comment edited on: 3/7/2014 11:47:25 AM

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KALISWALKER 3/7/2014 11:26AM

    What fun! I had no idea there was such an assortment of things - hats, toys, ball, beads, etc. I am glad you followed thru with your vacation, you needed it. Great pictures!

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LASARRE 3/7/2014 11:22AM

    So glad you had a great time. Your wife would be happy knowing you went. It looks awesome. I can't wait to get there.

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EJOY-EVELYN 3/7/2014 11:14AM

    I'm so glad you and your son had a chance to honor your wife. What a delightful set of pictures and I can't believe the stash goodies you and your son brought back. Holy cow! That was one very full car you returned home. Glad you and your son had fun.

Comment edited on: 3/7/2014 11:15:46 AM

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    So glad your son stepped up and helped make this happen. Looks like you really got a lot of swag.

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_RAEVEN_ 3/7/2014 10:42AM

    Great pictures. I love the guy in his recliner. That's the way to live. LOL
When you said you had gotten a lot of things I had no idea how much you meant.
I'm so glad you had a wonderful time with your son.

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IDICEM 3/7/2014 10:30AM

  What a wonderful time with your son! And a great haul to share with the folks. I never made it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras but did two Lafayette (grad school). Such fun. Glad you made great memories with your son.

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/7/2014 10:13AM

    She would have been so happy that you guys did that. What fun! I've always wanted to experience the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

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