2021 in Review

As usual, to escape the cold in Ohio/No. Kentucky, I traveled to Cape Coral, Florida for 5 weeks in late January/early February.  Because I didn’t qualify for the vaccine yet, I again stayed away from people, except for a short trip to see a friend in Clearwater.  It was quite lonely, but I bicycled, walked, and even jogged some.  Went to the beach a couple of days per week to walk, jog, and read.

In March I received both of my vaccines.  So in April I visited Austin and San Antonio, Texas with a friend.  This is the San Antonio Riverwalk.  I spent my honeymoon here with my late husband back in 1994.

I began renting out my spare bedroom/bath to as an Airbnb.  I met some wonderful people – it was like the United Nations – People with roots from the Philippines, Africa, Poland, Mexico, and Jordan.  Amazon employees, traveling nurses, a med student, etc.

I planned a road trip to North and South Carolina to hike and check out waterfalls and some of the towns I’d never been to, like Greenville, S.C. (which I loved), Hendersonville, N.C., (quaint), Bryson City, N.C., Highland, N.C., and Ashville, N.C. (which I had been to).

Lake Janaluska, N.C.

I planned a trip to Alaska for 10 days in July – 2 nights Glacier Bay, 1 night Fairbanks (didn’t see it – just wanted to take the scenic train starting from there heading South), 4 nights Mt. Denali Nat’l Park, 3 nights Anchorage.  This is the view flying into Juneau.

I took a small boat cruise to see a glacier in Glacier Bay National Park

I took the scenic panoramic train all the way to Seward, stopping for 4 nights in Denali Nat’l Park.  I stayed at a lodge located 92 miles (the farthest you can travel) into the park.  And 3 nights in Anchorage.

On the 7 hr. bus ride back to the lodge, we saw some wildlife (I’m not posting all of it).

The guide told us we were so lucky because for the 4 days I was there, Mt. Denali was either in full view or mostly full.

I went hiking with a small group of people…

I went kayaking as a day trip in Seward from Anchorage on the train. 

In September I went to Ft. Lauderdale for 5 days with a guy I dated for a couple of months.  He made me laugh so much, but I found out he was an addict.  I truly had feelings for him after years of looking, and went through some emotional pain.  But, nothing could ever come close to the pain I experience since losing my son.

In October I went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana with a friend…

A couple of weeks after that overnight trip, I had hip surgery.  I’ve been walking and doing exercises and it’s healing.  I also got my booster shot in November.

In December, I drove 1 ½ hrs. to Richmond, Indiana to see a friend and spend the night.  We went to the Warm Glow Candle Factory.

I took a solo day trip (2 hrs.) to Columbus to the Franklin Park Conservatory.  It was lovely.  They had Chihuly glass art mixed in with flowers and the architecture.

While I was in Columbus, I went to a place called Otherworld.  It has over 40 rooms filled with lights and interesting displays.

I also spent two nights in the Ozarks in Missouri with a friend.  It was a long drive – 8 ½ hrs. each way. We hiked at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (odd name) and had lunch at J.B. Hooks Restaurant, which had a fantastic view and the food was pretty good.

I celebrated Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law, as usual.  New Year’s Eve was spent alone, grieving for my son.  That’s his birthday.  I’m hoping this coming year will be less lonely for me.  I’ve planned a month long trip to Oahu in late January/February and a 3 month trip to 5 European countries in the Spring.

2019 in Review (a little late)

2019 was a tragic and heart shattering year.  It began with a trip to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.  I was gone for 18 days with people I didn’t know, on an adventure tour through Intrepid Travel.  After a short introduction to Santiago, Chile…

We took a bus across the Andes

And spent a couple of days at a ranch in Argentina.  I took this time to recuperate from the worst intestinal bug I’d ever experienced.  I had a doctor come to my hotel room because I was so ill and dehydrated.  When you go through the loss of a loved one, it manifests itself physically in addition to emotionally.

We then moved onto Mendoza, Argentina (wine country), which was gorgeous.

Buenos Aires was next on the agenda.  Very vibrant and busy!

Next, we visited the amazing Iguazu Falls, from both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides.

Finally, we arrived in Rio de Janerio, Brazil…

It was an interesting trip, but I didn’t feel like myself.  A week after arriving home, I flew to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for the annual Urban Adventures conference, and was ill there also.

In May, I moved to my lovely condo with a beautiful view of the skyline of Cincinnati from the Clubhouse/pool.

I began online dating and was beginning to feel more settled, when my only child, my beautiful boy, Justin passed in July.  If you’re a parent, it’s your worst nightmare.  This is the last photo of he and I taken 3 weeks before his passing.

Unless you’ve lost a child, you can’t fathom the suffering, pain, and grief you go through. He was my universe, my heart. Eleven days later I went on a solo 1,000-mile road trip to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.  I was trying to distract myself from the horrific grief.

Detroit, Michigan
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Toronto, Canada

I continued with the travels…next was Three Oaks, Michigan with my girlfriend for a long weekend, where we explored Indiana Dunes State Park.

I climbed Mt. Leconte (3,000 ft. elevation change – 11 miles roundtrip) with a friend

And on the way home, met another friend at Red River Gorge, where I spread my son’s ashes at Whittleton Arch Trail.  He used to love going hiking/camping there.

I led a group on a hike nearby my condo.  I found some solace in the woods.

My next trip was to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, and Death Valley Nat’l Park, California with a friend.

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Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, CA
Death Valley Nat’l Park, CA
Death Valley Nat’l Park, CA

I finished the year with a trip to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida

I discovered the travel was a temporary shallow distraction, but I continued searching for beauty.

In between the travel, I was working hard continuing to build my company, Cincinnati Urban Adventures. We were having a great year – 2,500 passengers and I now had 7 freelance Tour Guides.

I grieved for my son and sometimes I would feel guilty that I wasn’t grieving for my husband as much. It’s odd that there’s a name for someone who has lost their spouse “widow” and lost their parents “orphan”, but the grief is so heavy and heart-wrenching, there is no word for a parent who has lost their child (only child for me – with no hopes of being a biological Grandmother).

2018 in Review (a little late)

2018 began with a photo shoot for Cincinnati Refined.  This is called Broomball.  Players wear gym shoes instead of skates and use a broom-shaped stick to slap the ball into the opposing goal.

Here are additional shoots I did for them.  This annual event was called the Polar Plunge…burr.

The Benison Event Center in Hamilton, Ohio.  At one time, it was a bank.

The Monkey Bar & Grille in Maineville, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati)

Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, Ohio

Wine Over Water, held on the Purple People Bridge (a pedestrian only bridge), featuring wine merchants from around the area, live music, and general mingling fun in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The UniverSoul Circus was a quite spectacular!

The annual Flying Pig Marathon.  This was the women’s champion.  I got a little emotional while taking this photo.

The Camargo Hunter Trials in Indian Hill, Ohio was a great event for action shots!

I was very busy growing my business, Cincinnati Urban Adventures.  I had hired two freelance Tour Guides in 2017 and together we took 1000 people on tours (anywhere from 1-12 people per tour unless it was a private tour).  By the end of 2018, I had hired an additional 3 guides and we took 1700 people on tour.  We moved into first place on Trip Advisor!

I did a handful of photo shoots for my business Sherry Lachelle Photography…

A senior photo shoot

For a friend’s new business website…

On June 2nd, my husband of 22 years, passed away from Cardiac Arrest.  I gave him CPR until the medics arrived.  This is the last photo I took of he and our dog, just a few weeks previously.

We lived on 5 acres in the country (only 40 minutes from downtown Cincinnati) and for the following 11 months before selling our home, I had the huge task of selling most everything he/we had accumulated through the years.  Some of the big items were a boat, Harley, hot tub, jeep, truck, car, tractor, log splitter, and so much more…4 bicycles, 3 chain saws, 3 lawn mowers, 3 ladders, snow blower, power washer, welder, hunting, fishing, golfing stuff, so many tools.

I was devastated.  My son was devastated.  He was closer to Randy (his step-dad) than his own father. 

Later that year, my son and his girlfriend announced their engagement.

I went to an outdoor concert with friends and it poured rain the entire time.

Went boating with a girlfriend…

I visited a friend in Dunedin, Florida for a week in December…

I was so happy my son joined me at my brother’s house Christmas Day. His fiance chose to stay at her family’s.

After Randy’s passing, so many things reminded me of him, coming across food items he liked while at the grocery, hearing a Harley’s rumble, and of course Face book gives you reminders.

There were other family and friends get-togethers throughout the year.  I tried my best to cope with the grief and have a happy and full life. 

Merry Christmas from Florida

Spending Christmas in Florida is fun!  This is the first time my husband and I have been somewhere warm over the holidays.  After savoring a home cooked turkey dinner, we headed out to the hot tub and pool and got a little silly.  We talked about past snow skiing trips while enjoying the warm weather.

Not looking so happy here…

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Really happy here…

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New Playmate at the Beach

My husband arrived in Florida yesterday and I was one happy camper beachcomber!  I greeted him in the airport parking lot with a kiss and a homemade frozen Pina Colada.  We enjoyed a delicious fish dinner at the condo that evening with our friends Wayne and Deanna.  This morning following a fun bicycle ride, we headed to Fort Myers beach for relaxation and a nice long walk on the beach.  Of course I took my camera to see what new sights I could capture…

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This colorful mermaid kite caught my eye…

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Day Trip to Sarasota, Florida

Day Trip to Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida not only has beautiful beaches, it is also home to Ca’ d’Zan, meaning “House of John”, a Venetian-style mansion built-in the 1920s by John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus, and his wife, Mable.  The John and Mable … Continue reading

Day Trip to Fort Lauderdale

Located on the Atlantic side of Florida, Fort Lauderdale makes a great day trip from the Fort Myers area on the Gulf side.  Yesterday, a new friend “Deanna” and I drove a little over 2 hours to check out what’s changed in Fort Lauderdale since the Spring Break days of the 70’s.  Researching on Trip Advisor, our first stop was the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, formerly owned by Frederic Clay Bartlett, an artist and his wife, for use as a winter retreat to escape Chicago’s cold winters, dating back to the 20’s.  The tour of the home lasted over an hour.  The architecture was interesting in that there is a courtyard with doors leading to each room (i.e. most of the rooms are not attached to each other, you’re required to go back out to the courtyard to access another room).  The grounds were beautiful with tall palm trees, small ponds, and flowers.

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A little sitting area in the courtyard…

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An ornate lamp Mr. Bartlett made from an oil drum…

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Fun Weekend with Dee

My friend Dee came to visit me in Florida and I’d like to share some of the fun we had.  Friday started off with a trip to Cape Coral Yacht Club for a “fun in the sun” drink and a bite to eat while watching the sunset!  Unfortunately, the weather dropped about 10 degrees shortly before she arrived (68 degrees/48 degrees), so she had her Alpaca sweater and fingerless gloves on for the first evening.

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We headed to Fletchers, a local club, for some live music and dancing.

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Long Day

Saturday was a long day, a great day, a fun-filled day!  It started with dropping one of my girlfriends off at the airport, followed by a trip to Fort Myers Beach with my remaining friend.  We took a walk on the pier and saw men fishing, pelicans resting…

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Had to get a close-up…

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I think he was thinking, “Look at all of the pretty colors”!

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Kayaking in Florida

Mullock Creek Marina in Fort Myers, Florida is one of those places only the locals know about.  My friend who lives in Fort Myers hooked us up and we had a wonderful afternoon kayaking through an estuary (for those of you who don’t know exactly what that means…”An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea”).  It was a steal at $25 for an all day rental.   Partly cloudy skies and light winds made for a perfect afternoon.

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I took my camera in a large Ziploc bag to protect it.  Here are my friends…

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Here’s Wayne catching a large Tarpon fishy…

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Another Day at the Beach

Yesterday, my friends and I headed to Ft. Myers Beach for some fun in the sun.  We went farther South this time and picked a spot that was less populated.  This pelican was diving for fish…

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The ladies taking a nice long walk on the beach…

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More birds…

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First Few Days in Florida

My two girlfriends (who are sisters) and I drove the 16 hours from Ohio to Cape Coral, Florida in two days and arrived on Monday afternoon.  Back in the day, we would’ve driven straight through.  To take advantage of the remaining sunshine, we changed into our bathing suits and headed to the pool.  A friend who is like a relative very generously allows me to stay at her condo which is near Ft. Myers.  There is a small stretch of beach with a fun restaurant bar called Cape Coral Yacht Club about five minutes from the condo.  After relaxing for a bit at the pool, we headed there for a casual dinner and to watch the sunset.

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Tuesday, we couldn’t wait to see the beach…

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Road Trip to Florida

I’ll be heading to the Fort Myers area of Florida this weekend to spend the month of December and I’m so excited!  You may remember when I visited two years ago during my six-week Couchsurfing road trip through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.  I’ll have my Nikon D5100 with me this time, so I hope to capture some amazing sights!  Here are some photos from 2012.  Most of these are from the Rosemary and Seacrest Beach areas on the Gulf…

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This resembles a spine…

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Tarpon Springs, Florida

As I’m revamping my site…I came across this post I neglected to post while on my 6-week road trip adventure…so…a break in the regular telecasting…

Tarpon Springs is another quaint and historic town in Florida!  Through the years I’ve visited most of the “fun in the sun” areas in Florida…Miami..Key West..Ft. Lauderdale..Orlando..St. Augustine..Ft. Myers..Coco Beach…Panhandle, so I was surprised to discover a few of the quaint towns in the Tampa Bay area.  Staying with a local and receiving guidance from her made the difference!  Thanks Zully!

Today, I ventured off on my own and explored the Tarpon Springs area.  With a population of over 23,000, it has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the U.S.  The main street (E. Tarpon Ave.) has some street art (which you know I love) and antique stores.

Browsing in the windows, one store caught my attention–Tarapani’s.  It has been run by the same family for 101 years–I spoke with the son and Grandmother–who were the only people in the store.  They had some very interesting items and paintings…

This beautiful park was located at the end of the main road…

If you turn right onto Alt. Rt. 19, it will bring you to Dodecanese Blvd.–turn left and you’ll find a street filled with Greek shops & restaurants and the Sponge Docks…

Lots of fishing boats were docked.  Some with sponges…

This flower’s beauty stood out to me…

I walked to the end of the street where I found these fishermen.  Notice the fish in mid-air.  I asked permission to take a photo and they said sure and stood there.  I said, “You can keep working” and the guy on the left said, “Oh, thanks!”.

Walking back to my car I took a final photo…

Driving through a residential area of Tarpon Springs, I spotted this lovely home…

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Tarpon Springs and will come back again soon!

Sunset Magic

A couple of days ago my friends–April & Wayne–and I were at Fort Myers Beach to listen to one of Wayne’s favorite bands at the Holiday Inn, which is situated on the beach.  Being a local, he knows where to go!  Of course, we had to witness Earth’s daily wondrous display of beauty…the sunset!

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When looking back at this photo…we don’t recall what we saw…but liked the photo…

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April and I both like to do handstands, cartwheels, and generally just act like kids…so we rushed out in the sand and Wayne started snapping…

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We both really liked this photo…it’s quite funny with all of the legs flailing around…

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This one has a frenzied motion appeal…

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Now we’re to the calmer…controlled stances…

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We want this for everyone!

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After all of that fun…we danced for a while!

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It’s fun to engage the crowd!  April pulled these gentlemen up to dance and they were quite surprised and good dancers!

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I’m leaving Florida today to drive back to Cincinnati and will arrive tomorrow evening.  Just in time to put up my Christmas tree, do a little shopping, baking, attend events and get used to the chill!

I had a great six-week road trip and loved meeting all of the new people, seeing new sights, and experiencing new activities!  I’m very grateful and also grateful for all of you!! 🙂