The Journey – the virtual US tour – first stop Dorney Park

Okay, folks, here it is.   I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to figure this out, but ya’ll know I set a 1000 and 1000 goal for the year (1000 miles….  followed by a long term goal to virtually travel across the US…   and 1000 lbs of clutter removed from my house).   Last night, I was playing with Google Maps and mapped out the route from NYC to Los Angeles, both walking and biking.   Believe it or not, there IS a difference.

To WALK the US (via Rt. 40), Google Maps estimates 913 hours of walking 2,763 miles.  To bike it (on official bike trails), Google Maps estimates 256 hours of biking 3,031 miles.   I mapped and printed both.  (I’m a total geek, I know!)

Because the route literally takes me through the smallest towns in the US, I had to do some work with Google to identify recognizable landmarks along the way. I’ve made notes on my printout so I won’t forget. It’s almost comical, but since this route doesn’t include interstates, it’s made up of short distances on dinky roads, sometimes marked in feet not miles. I love how most of the landmarks noted are food places! Appears that I just passed Rita’s, one of my favorites!

As of now, since I started my journey, I have traveled approximately 100 miles.  According to the route, I am approximately near Allentown, PA (technically, a little west of Allentown, more near Fogelsville or Hamburg).

Being from Pittsburgh, I have many experiences traveling across the state of Pennsylvania, usually via the PA Turnpike (Rt. 76).   In the recent past couple of years, I have two experiences specifically with this area which I appear to be traveling through virtually on my US walking / biking tour.  The first was a visit to Dorney Park. The second was the Cracker Barrel we dined at after my son and his girlfriend completed the Spartan race in Palmerton, Pa. Famished by the time we got there, they were tempted to order one of everything on the menu.

Dorney Park:

My kids and I love to experience amusement parks – and by experience, I mean EXPERIENCE.   We all love thrill rides, and we all have tremendous stamina for fun – we usually do parks from the time they open to the time they close.  We only allow fellow park enthusiasts to accompany (and trust me, it’s a very, very select few who have passed the test – nothing worse than being at an amusement park with someone who doesn’t ride everything!)   Several years ago, we created an Amusement Park Bucket List Challenge for ourselves – specifically to visit as many amusement parks as possible (Usually coupled with a meal at a Cracker Barrel… and we put pins on our Cracker Barrel map to show where we’ve been).  Our loose goal is to visit 3 new parks a year – parks we’ve never been to.  Being from Pittsburgh, of course, we’ve grown up going to Kennywood Park, usually multiple times a year (and frequently been to Hershey Park and Idlewild Park and Sandcastles). Of course, we’ve also been to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH,  which, in our opinion, so far, is our favorite.  We decided we’d like to experience other parks, though, so made a list of all of the Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks and have somewhat systematically been checking them off of our Amusement Park Bucket List.

We visited Dorney Park a few years ago.  It was probably the 3rd or 4th of the Cedar Fair Parks that we’ve visited.  It’s approximately 4 hours from our home near Pittsburgh, so we left early one Saturday morning and drove straight to the park.   We purchased our tickets on-line, and arrived at gate opening.  Since it was so near our home, we were undecided about doing a day-trip, which we’ve done for other parks such as Hershey, Cedar Point, Kings Island, so we didn’t make any hotel reservations beforehand.

We found the park to be very clean, with decent organization (we pay attention to things like line organization, etc).  There are eight thrill coasters there. For the early part of the day, the lines were relatively short – we typcially use this time to ride all of the thrill rides – we map them out in an order that makes sense, and try to cover all of the thrill rides or unique rides (that we haven’t seen at other parks) before riding any of the standards.   On this particular day, we had probably covered all of the thrill rides by 4 pm, even though it was a Saturday. Incidentally, there were several Rita’s stands at Dorney. 🙂

We noticed when we bought our tickets that there was a discount price offered after 4 pm.   We also noticed that, after 4 pm, many people took advantage of these tickets.  The park got significantly more crowded after 4 pm, and the clientele changed significantly as well.  We noticed several times where an individual would stand in line and essentially “hold” a spot for 20-25 of his friends to join at the very last minute – despite signs all around the park indicating that line cutting was forbidden and violators would be kicked out of the park.  Several times, this happened right in front of us.   Typically, if someone held a spot for a friend, or someone in their party joined, I wouldn’t make an issue of it – but to have 25 people jump in front of you in line is beyond rude.  What was disappointing about Dorney Park staff, however, was that, although they were very much aware of the line violations, they did precious little to address.

By 8 pm, we had ridden and put up with all the crap from other patrons we wanted to, so we left the park. We’d certainly been able to drive back home that night, but at some point in early afternoon (before the crowd changed), I had made an on line reservation at a local hotel, so we set out to find it. Although it was a chain (that I won’t name), it was different than we expected. Run down and a bit sketchy, my daughter remarked that she’d seen the room before on an episode of Criminal Minds. We noticed a police car a few doors down and figured he wasn’t just visiting. Always up for an adventure, we stayed the night! We got up the next night and ate at the Cracker Barrel in Fogelsville before heading home.

Overall, our Dorney experience was ok, although not as good as some of the other parks we’ve seen. I’ll sure more about them as we travel across the country!

Be virtually blessed from Dorney Park!

SB

copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

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The whole playlist

Hi, friends! For those who have been following me, you may have seen individual posts on the songs that currently make up my gym playlist – you know, the songs I play super loud through my earbuds while I’m walking / jogging on the treadmill. While they work really well for my feet to keep a steady pace on the treadmill, I have discovered that they don’t work quite as well on a bike (I guess because the more steady you pedal, the faster you go, which messes up your pace… or maybe I’m just less systematic on a bike, I’m not sure). Whatever the reason, the list is probably most appropriately titled the “Treadmill Playlist” Be that as it may, it was already named when I began the series, so it sticks.

Here it is in its entirety:

Gym Playlist # 1: Walk This Way (Aerosmith)

The Gym Playlist # 2: Back on the Chain Gang

Gym Playlist # 3 – Sweet Dreams are Made of This

Gym Playlist # 4 – Monster (Skillet)

Gym Playlist # 5: Back from the Dead (Skillet)

Gym playlist #6 Burn it down (Skillet)

Gym Playlist # 7 – Anticonfirmity (Krystal Meyers)

Gym playlist #8. Walk. (Foo Fighters)

Gym playlist # 9 I ran (flock of seagulls)

Gym Playlist # 10 – A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton)

Gym playlist # 11. Rio (Duran Duran)

Gym playlist #12. Everlong (Foo fighters)

 Gym playlist # 13 Meant to Live (switchfoot)

When I keep pace with the beat on all the songs in my list (even Anticonformity), my pace ranges from 3.8 to 5.0 mph, and I finish at 3.564 miles and 502 calories burned.

I’m not sure if it’s because of OCD or I’m just strange, but I like when things end “evenly”. It would be nice if exactly 50 minutes would be exactly 3.5 miles and exactly 500 calories. I’ve discovered that there is always a compromise as the workout never worked out exactly evenly. In my mind, I struggle with this: which number is most importantly even: the distance? The calories? Or the time?

And then, of course, I feel frustrated that I spend nearly an hour of my crazy-schedule life and have ONLY progressed 3.5 miles. Sure, it’s 3 miles more than before I tied my laces, but it’ll take forever to get to 1000 at that pace.

The struggle is real, my friends.

By the way, over the past few weeks, I’ve had quite a few distractions in life which are trying to get in the way of fitness progress (and, in fact vying for my attention on many other ways, too). I refuse to let them win, and am working to reprioritize / juggle some things in order to continue the workouts.   Although I have continued hoping on the treadmill, using my recumbent bike and rower, and taken a few “long” bike rides at the gym, I’ve been less good about actually tracking my total mileage.  Ive honestly lost tract of my total mileage. One of my 2019 presents to myself is a wellness journal, though, and I’m hoping to get meticulous about tracking immediately.

Keeping it real, my friends.  

 Copyright 2019 Journey For Life all rights reserved

Gym playlist # 13 Meant to Live (switchfoot)

The very last song on my playlist is Meant to Live.   In one of my past employment lives, I worked for a company that, ahead of its time, had a gym for the convenience of its associates.   In addition to the gym, they had full cafeteria food court and free soda all day every day for its associates.  TGIF parties, complete with beer kegs and wine bottles were frequent at this entrepreneurial company that was, at one time, voted the best place to work in Pittsburgh.   I consider myself lucky to have worked there, and have many contacts from there with whom I am still in touch.

I was in my twenties then, and had two tiny tots at home, who were born 11 months apart from one another (yikes!)   I really appreciated being able to use the gym at work.   One of my gym buddies at the time was Peter (you may remember a little story about his dog in Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 3)

Peter was an avid runner, and would often occupy the treadmill next to me.  Sometimes while he would run beside me, I’d peak over at his MPH – it was not uncommon to see him run for long periods of time at 8 or 10 MPH. I recall this song being one of the songs he would listen to (this was long before iPhones and earbuds, and the gym had a stereo system that its users were actually free to use, subject to learning how to work together to agree on music selection). The music was generally cranked super loud to be super motivating – the louder, the better.

too loud.png

(Just a quick humorous aside (sorry, I digress – look, a puppy!): One of my most embarrassing recollections of using that gym occurred the day I forgot to bring my work clothes to change into after my workout – and didn’t discover until AFTER I had worked out AND showered.    Luckily, the company had an on-site store and I was able to purchase a shirt (although it was a size 2X because they were going through a clearance) to wear with my sweats that day at work….  memories ;-))

At any rate, I learned this song long before I learned anything about Christian music.  I knew that Peter was a Christian and often went on missions trips with his church.  I liked the music of this song, but paid little attention the lyrics at that time.  As I read them now, however, there are so many that I connect with – “fumbling his confidence”, “failed attempts to fly”, “Have we lost ourselves?” (often, I’m afraid, we lose ourselves), “whether mice and men have second tries”, “We were meant for so much more”, “We’ve got more than this world’s got to offer”, and I could probably go on to recite the whole song.

More than any of the other powerful lyrics, however, are two lines of the song that stand out among the others.

“Maybe we’ve been living with our eyes half open;

Maybe we’re bent and broken”

bent and broken

Some of us are bent and broken.  In fact, if you aren’t bent and broken to some degree, I would think you haven’t truly lived.  To be daring enough to live life to the fullest, we are bound to have some bumps and bruises.  As a parent, one of the hardest lessons to learn is to allow our kids to get some bumps and bruises – to figure out life on their own.  Being bent and broken is neither a badge of honor, or a sign of shame – it’s simply a tool that God uses to shape us into what He wants us to be.

Often taken out of context, this reminds me of the verse in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to His purpose.”

God never wastes a hurt.  God never wastes a bruise.  He uses them all to shape who he wants us to be.

What hurts have you experienced?  What have they taught you?   It’s a good day to reflect on how they have helped to shape who you are…   and think about who God wants you to be.

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

BTW – I just want to thank all of you who have emailed me, texted me, commented on various posts you’ve read, letting me know they’ve encouraged you.  You can’t begin to know how much that encourages me – thank you for blessing me!

 

Meant to Live:

Fumbling his confidence

And wondering why the world has passed him by

Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments,

And failed attempts to fly, fly

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

Somewhere we live inside

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

 

Dreaming about Providence

And whether mice or men have second tries

Maybe we’ve been livin’ with our eyes half open

Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

Somewhere we live inside

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

Somewhere we live inside

 

We want more than this world’s got to offer

We want more than this world’s got to offer

We want more than the wars of our fathers

And everything inside screams for second life

 

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

We were meant to live

We were meant to live

Songwriters: Jonathan Foreman / Tim Foreman
To hear more of my story, (fiction laced with reality), please pick up a copy of Masquerade, (also available on Amazon).   If you’ve read it, and liked it, please feel free to leave a review at amazon review)

Gym playlist #12. Everlong (Foo fighters)

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you may remember a post from a while back about my gym playlist being adulterated somehow (probably during phone upgrades or what have you), leaving only FooFighters’ Everlong. On my re-entry to workouts, I played it on repeat for a whole 2 miles.

Original post

I’ve kept it on my list as I recreated, and it now occupies item #12.

You have a choice today. Get out to the gym today, or at least off your couch. 😉

Be blessed, my friends.

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

Gym playlist # 11. Rio (Duran Duran)

It’s actually slightly faster pace than Playlist # 10 and I’ve thought about switching them, but I kind of like slowing down and then speeding up, so for now, I’ve kept it what it is.

Rio

This song has no particular meaning for me, but has a cool bass like that I like, and reminds me of the 80’s, which were mostly good to me (though there are some parts I’d like to forget, and others I simply can’t remember for various reasons)

Because I’m not particularly wedded to this song, if any of you have any other suggestions as a good treadmill beat song, please comment below.

Stay cool, my friends.

Blessing, SB

1000 miles and 1000 lbs

I mentioned my lunch with my former boss (who I also wrote about in the piece: Exceptional!) in yesterday’s post. Because he’s a bit of a fitness buff, he asked me about posts I’ve made about 1,000 miles of fitness, etc. I shared with him my goal is loosely defined as 1,000 miles of exercise (walk, run, bike, row, swim) but because of an upcoming “century” bike ride fundraiser, I thought I’d eventually focus on biking. He loves to bike and immediately offered to help me train as well as participate in the century ride with me.

Further in our conversation, we talked about de-cluttering our lives in general. He lost his wife to cancer several years ago and has been going through the process of getting rid of things he no longer needs. My kids are currently in the process of de-cluttering their bedrooms in the event we need to switch bedrooms in our home around to afford a different no-stair option for my mom, who lives with us, after her recent heart attack.

While cathartic in many ways, the emotional piece of de-cluttering can be challenging. My youngest daughter cleared an entire dresser, filling three and a half large garbage bags with clothes that no longer fit. She asked me before discarding each one. For 99% of the items, it was a no-brainer… but the “my mom rocks” t-shirt that my best friend gave my kids when they were small, I had to think twice. In fact, I still have a t-shirt that belonged to my father, who died 40 years ago; but there’s something about it that will always remind me of him and I can’t bear to get rid of it. Someday, I know my kids will go through my things and, not realizing it’s sentimental value, get rid of it. That’s ok. For now, I will keep it, along with my “my mom rocks” t shirt as a reminder of days gone by.

As part of our challenge to one another, as we discussed fitness goals and de-cluttering goals, he challenged me to do 1,000 miles of exercise AND shed 1,000 lbs of clutter this year (or 1,000 items, but he assured me that a book of 300 pages doesn’t count for 300 items!). I laughed and gladly accepted his challenge.

Here’s to 1,000 miles and 1,000 pounds!

Be blessed, my friends.

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

Gym Playlist # 10 – A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton)

Just because of the title (since my current goal is 1,000 miles) and the cool keyboard part at the beginning, this song makes # 10 in my playlist. Besides, the video of the ornate baby grand cruising across the country in settings varying from beaches to cities is fun, if not a bit on the corny side. It’s a 3.8 mph song for me, and good to begin the cool-down of my treadmill workout.

“A Thousand Miles” is a piano-driven pop song supported by a string orchestral arrangement. Carlton says that the song is about ‘lost love’, but has not said exactly whom the song may be about.[1] She has also called the song “a combination of reality and fantasy. It’s about a love that so consumes you that you do anything for it. That’s how I felt at that time.”[2] (Wikipedia)

IF I could fall into the sky

Do you think time would pass me by?

‘Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles

If I could just see you tonight

Wishing everyone could find a love that so consumes you’d walk 1,000 miles for it. For me, my 1,000 mile journey is for my friend, whom I love dearly.

Just keep swimming, friends.

Blessings,

SB

A thousand miles