Taking advantage of freebies on Veterans Day

My day started at 6:00 a.m. when I went to the gym to work out. Then I headed to Bob Evans for a complimentary breakfast since I’m a Veteran.

Later I stopped at Applebee’s…

And finally I went to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse for dinner and met a potential date there. He’s also a Veteran. We split our entrees. I don’t usually eat at these places but it’s nice to have complimentary meals.

Happy Veterans Day!

Esporta

I decided to join a Fitness club…Esporta is a 12 minute drive for me. I was there at 5:00 a.m. this morning and worked out for about an hour. They have a variety of classes, water aerobics, yoga, boot camp, zumba, spinning and also have a sauna and hot tub. Looking forward to taking some of the classes.

They also have racquetball courts and a basketball court.

I’ve been working out off and on for almost 45 years. I’ll be back in fighting shape before you know it!

Halloween Party

I went to a Halloween party last night. It was at a couple’s home located 30 minutes from my home in a suburb of Cincinnati. Their costumes were quite creative.

I only stayed a couple of hours. People were still arriving when I left. I’m not into large gatherings anymore and am not close to any of these people. I used to live near this area of town and it actually made me sad driving through it. I began missing my son and husband and the life I used to have.

Their home and landscaping is beautiful.

The fire was so hot you couldn’t sit by it. More creative costumes…

I wasn’t going to attend but changed my mind the day of. I’m making more of an effort to get out and do things.

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Mishaps

A few months ago I decided to have my kitchen and bathrooms remodeled. I was taking a walk in my neighborhood and there was a guy painting a garage, so I asked him if he knew of anyone. He gave me the referral and after a five week wait, they began. During the five weeks, I picked out the tile, faucets, granite, etc. The owner of the remodeling company said he could have it complete in three weeks. They began in the guest bath and one week into the project, a pipe burst. I had been taking a nap (I only average 5 hours sleep a night) and upon awakening, went to check out their progress. They had left for the day about 45 minutes before I woke up.

Approaching the door I heard a noise and when I opened it, water was gushing out from behind the new vanity. I tried turning the water off but realized a pipe had burst. That’s when I noticed the carpet in my foyer was completely soaked and partially in my guest bedroom. After turning the water off at the main line in the laundry room, I frantically called the owner and the guy that did most of the work and left them a voicemail. I called the owner back again, he answered and said they were on their way with fans. While I waited the 45 minutes for their arrival, I began researching water damage and called a water damage restoration company. They told me I would need a lot of “air movers” (a certain type of industrial fan), and an industrial de-humidifier.

Initially upon arrival, they thought they could salvage the carpet but realized they couldn’t. After cutting it into more manageable pieces, they took the screen off of the guest bedroom and threw it outside. Wet carpet is very heavy. They only had two fans with them and I told the owner what the restoration company told me, so the following day he had a company come out to survey the damage and give him an estimate. The following day the baseboards were removed and the equipment was set up. The noise level was off the charts…think jet plane taking off. After moving everything from my office and guest bedroom into the great room, I stayed in my bedroom or on my patio for four days until they removed the equipment. Nine days later new carpet was installed.

The night of the “mishap”…

Before and after photos…

Granite, backsplash, and new sink in the kitchen…

Master bath…

Master bathroom (the shower was enlarged)…

Guest bathroom (the photo isn’t the best…looks like there’s blue stripes on the walls, but there aren’t)…

Guest bathroom (tub removed)…

The middle drawer of the vanity needed to be replaced from the water damage, but it was missing the hardware, so I’m waiting for that to arrive.

I painted both bathrooms. The three weeks turned into 4 ½ weeks, but I’m pleased with the result. The only good thing about the “mishap” was that I now have new carpet in my foyer, guest bedroom, office and steps. Including some new decor, the project cost $22,000.00.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Autumn

My friend Scott and I left Tuesday Morning on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I had booked an Airbnb for two nights above Gatlinburg. It was more room than we needed, with three bedrooms and two baths. The highlight of our lodging was the view from the balcony on the third floor.

The following day we did a 2 1/2 mile hike at Laurel Falls.

Autumn is my favorite season, I love the colors!

We stopped to check out Mannish Branch Falls, but weren’t able to cross the creek to see it up close.

Our next stop was “the Sinks”.

Our second hike was 5.5 miles at Rainbow Falls. The elevation change was 1,500 ft.

The mountains were dusted with snow.

Since it hadn’t rained much for a while, the falls were smaller than usual but still beautiful.

We saw two bears from the car.

All together we walked over 10 miles yesterday, and my body knew it. After a hot shower, some pizza, and a couple of Tylenol, I was almost good as new.

Blink 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Last night I went with a friend to Blink in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s an annual global art display, spanning 30-blocks, with 39 large-scale projection mappings, murals, interactive light sculptures, music from over 80 bands, and diverse entertainment from both local and international artists. It lasts for four evenings. We walked about three miles to see about two-thirds of it.

This is in an area called Over-the-Rhine

Washington Park, also in the Over-the-Rhine area, had some beautiful installations.

Cincinnati Music Hall

Fountain Square

There’s even a parade

One wall of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

My friend Scott

Next to the Moerlein Lager House near the Ohio River

The Banks area near the riverfront

The beautiful John A. Roebling Suspension bridge crossing the Ohio River into Covington, Kentucky

I highly recommend taking a road trip to visit Cincinnati during this event!

Eden Park to Mt. Adams Hike in Cincinnati, Ohio

I had a date Saturday morning to take an urban hike. I suggested meeting at Eden Park Overlook and hiking to Mt. Adams…approximately 3 miles round trip.

Eden Park

Eden Park Overlook

We took a break at The Bow Tie Cafe and had some water. The view was gorgeous!

View from the Holy Cross Immaculata Church

He wasn’t a match, but it was a beautiful day!

Meetup.com Hike in Ludlow, Kentucky

Yesterday, I led 11 hikers on a wooded 3.6 mile loop trail at Devou Park in Ludlow, Kentucky. The trails are seven minutes from my home. I’ve been a member of Meetup.com for 15 years and am an Assistant Organizer for the Tri-State Hiking Group, one of the meetups. Recently, I’ve been making more of an effort to get out to meet people and do more activities. In the past three years since the death of my husband and son, I’ve tended to isolate and lost my passion for most things in life, except travel, which I’ve used as a form of therapy. It was a great 1 ½ hr. hike with wonderful weather.

The leaves are finally beginning to change color.

Afterwards, a couple of the hikers and I went to The Standard Covington Restaurant in Covington, Kentucky for dinner/drinks. This morning I scheduled the same hike for an upcoming Saturday.

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

On Sunday (10/2/22), my friend and I left our Airbnb in Louisville and went to the Speed Art Museum before heading home.

We both loved it. It has a variety of art…modern, Ancient, African, European, Kentucky, etc. Plus on Sundays it’s free.

Next we drove to Libby’s Southern Comfort Restaurant in Covington, Kentucky. We both had the yummy Shrimp Roll.

It was a quick 30 hour road trip filled with good food and interesting places.

Louisville, Kentucky Road Trip Part 2

Picking up where I left off from the first part of our Louisville road trip…we checked into our Airbnb at 4:00pm on 10/1/22. It’s located in Paristown Point near the Highlands neighborhood. It was clean and modern.

We had some wine and relaxed on the front porch, before getting ready to go out for dinner. On the eight minute walk to our restaurant, we passed a number of other restaurants. You’ll notice the friendly people as I took this photo…

We dined at Taco Luchador. It’s very inviting with inexpensive delicious tacos.

On the walk back to our Airbnb I noticed the unique lighting…

Tomorrow I’ll post about our Sunday in Louisville.

Louisville, Kentucky Road Trip Part 1

My friend and I left yesterday (10/1/22) from my place in Covington, Kentucky and drove an hour and 43 minutes to Louisville, Kentucky for an overnight stay. I had been to Louisville once before about nine years ago on a girl’s trip. I took my bicycle since we would be cycling for part of the day. We couldn’t check-in to our Airbnb until 4:00pm, so I had an 8 mile bike route pre-planned on Google maps. It included riding through the neighborhoods of Smoketown, Nulu, Downtown, and Old Louisville. I researched the LouVelo bike share so my friend could rent a bicycle. There was a station 7 minutes walk from our Airbnb, so I parked the car and we purchased a 300 minute plan ($25) for her. I’ve only seen this friend a few times in the past 8 years. I met her when I took a group of people to four countries in Europe back in 2014 and she joined the group. Although she’s 16 years younger than me, she doesn’t bicycle very often and never in a City, so she cycled quite slowly.

I discovered that Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville. Here’s a sculpture in his honor.

We passed Louisville Slugger Field

The downtown architecture is nice

We stopped for a tasty lunch at the Sidebar at Whiskey Row restaurant

As we passed a playground, I suggested we take a swing

After three hours of exploring and having lunch, I drove us to the Ohio riverfront where we walked across the Big Four Pedestrian bridge to the Indiana side of the river. The weather was perfect!

Come back tomorrow for the final part of our day/evening.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 9

On Friday, 9/10/22 my friend Sherry and I walked (I rode my bicycle) less than 10 minutes from our hotel in Mackinaw City to the Star Line ferry that takes you to Mackinac Island. The ferry ride takes about 20-30 minutes. There are two ferries to choose from, the other is Shepler’s. They’re about the same cost. I took my bicycle on the ferry for an extra charge of $14 and Sherry rented one on the island for 5 hours. We cycled 8 miles around the island. We both agreed it was the best cycling experience we’ve had because the island is car free, the paths are wide and flat. You do need to watch out for the horse dung and the multitude of horse drawn carriages close to the main areas of town.

We passed beautiful homes.

We both agreed the parents of these children shouldn’t have allowed them to climb these rocks.

We walked up lots of steps for this view.

Back in town…

About two-thirds of the way around the island, we stopped for lunch at the Grand Hotel. They had a buffet for $75 (nope), so we opted for sitting in the bar area and had their sliders which were good.

The inside is quite colorful and pretty.

Down by the docks…

Leaving the island…

Later that evening, the view of the moon was beautiful from our hotel room…

Suddenly there was a beautiful display of fireworks which was quite unexpected…

My 10 day Pure Michigan road trip was everything I had imaged!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 8

On Thursday, 9/8/22, my friend Sherry and I drove three hours from Marquette to Mackinaw City for a two-night stay. We arrived around noon and since we couldn’t check-in to our hotel until later, explored the town a bit and had lunch. Of course we purchased some of the famous fudge.

Me being silly…

We drove 5 minutes to our hotel, the Best Western Plus Dockside Waterfront Inn and checked in. The view of Lake Huron from our balcony was lovely.

After settling in, we relaxed at the shore…I even went swimming for a few minutes.

We made our way to the pool/hot tub for more fun and had the place to ourselves.

After showering we walked less than 10 minutes to the Hook Lakeside Grill for a drink and dinner.

Pretty views…

Tomorrow I’ll post about our trip to Mackinac Island

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 2 – Pictured Rocks Cruise

Continuing from Part 1 of Day 7, we arrived at the Pictured Rocks Cruises and boarded the 2:00pm cruise that lasts 2 ½ hrs. There’s an open-air top deck and enclosed bottom deck. Originally, I was planning to hike at Pictured Rocks, but with more research discovered the best way to see the beautiful cliffs/rocks was by boat.

The rock formations were beautiful!

My friend Sherry

The Captain took us into a small cove

We drove back to the Airbnb and walked across the street to Blackrocks Brewery and split a flight of beer and then walked 5 minutes to a pizza place for dinner.

Another beautiful and fun day in the UP.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 1

Wednesday morning, 9/7/22 my friend Sherry and I drove 50 minutes from Marquette to Munising Falls. It’s only a ½ mile round-trip walk to the falls.

Back in the car, it’s only 10 minutes to Wagner Falls

Next, I drove 20 minutes to the Upper and Lower Overlooks near Miner’s Beach. The view was beautiful from the Upper Overlook.

The Lower Overlook view is nice also…

Lastly we drove 20 minutes to the Pictured Rocks Cruises, arriving at 1:20pm and waited in line for the 2:00pm departure to see Pictured Rocks from the water. I’ll post about that tomorrow.