Archive for the ‘Road travel’ Category

Explore Gullah culture on paper, land, and water

February 26, 2012

A fascinating book just crossed my desk — “Gullah Culture in America,” by Wilbur Cross. Just out from John F. Blair Publisher, the book delves into the past and present of the Gullah people, descendants of African ethnic groups who were brought to America as early as the late 17th century and were forced to work on plantations in South Carolina and later Georgia.

I’ve written about the Gullahs before. Lina and I visited several Gullah spots in coastal South Carolina in 2007. The two most fascinating were the Penn Center in Beaufort, which works to preserve and document the Gullah and Geechee cultures, and Sandy Island,  inhabited by Gullah people and reached only by boat. We kayaked in, and the story I wrote for the Boston Globe about that little adventure is below.

The National Park Service is working on a Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The website isn’t updated, but I know there has been slow progress on this project. Some day the important Gullah stops between coastal southern North Carolina, where the corridor begins, and northern Florida, will be well marked and open for business. I can’t wait!

According to author Cross, today, more than 300,000 Gullah people live in the remote areas of the SC and GA sea islands of St. Helena, Edisto, Coosaw, Ossabaw, Sapelo, Daufuske, and Cumberland, their way of life endangered by overdevelopment in an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Here’s my Globe story, which ran July 22, 2007.

PRECIOUS AND PRESERVED: A Gullah community, undeveloped land, freshwater wildlife – all just miles from busy Myrtle Beach, SC

SANDY ISLAND – After a day of cavorting around this beautiful, undeveloped freshwater island, we wondered if our final stop would bring a happy ending or a hostile one. It was hard to imagine the latter, but we had been forewarned.

Water plants in shallow waters of the Waccamaw River near Sandy Island

We had rented kayaks to reach Sandy Island because there is no bridge or ferry service to this 12,000-acre swath of land between the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee rivers 15 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The day so far had been blissful. With the occasional flying fish keeping us company, we had paddled past wetlands sprouting dancing grasses and the knobby knees of cypress and tupelo trees. On land, in the Nature Conservancy preserve, trails of white sand canopied by stately oaks and Spanish moss took us through stands of longleaf pines. Now, for our final stop, we steered our bright blue and red kayaks back up the Waccamaw on the island’s east side and over to the Sandy Island public boat landing.

To the right of where we landed was a dock holding a few small boats, as well as the Tours de Sandy Island pontoon boat, and the Prince Washington, the “school boat” that ferries local children across the river, where a bus waits to transport them to mainland schools. Many islanders shuttle to work, using jon boats to reach their cars parked at the mainland launch, some 10 minutes away along a canal that is lined with street lights for nighttime boating. Our destination, just a few feet up from the shore on the left, was the island’s only business, Pyatt’s General Store, housed in a small yellow frame building with a front porch.



Mid-century modern in Sarasota, Fla.

February 12, 2012

Umbrella House (1953)

Modern-day Sarasota is known for its thriving arts scene and contemporary homes and offices, but what many people don’t know is that sprinkled among the new buildings are world famous examples of another modern movement, which I wrote about last month for a Florida website after Lina and I visited there in December. The Sarasota School of Architecture came of age in the early 1940s and continued through the mid 1960s, and many examples remain.

“Unlike many historical buildings, their beauty isn’t encompassed in rich ornamental details, but in integrating post-war design with how to live in the tropics,” said Lorrie Muldowney, Sarasota County’s historic preservation specialist.

Making these older homes even more relevant today are the properties they share with current “green” or sustainable design — natural air flow, passive design, connecting the inside to the outside, and native-plant landscaping.

Joe Barth Insurance Office (1957)

Leading the Sarasota School were architects and designers Philip Hiss, Paul Rudolph and his one-time partner Ralph Twitchell, Victor Lundy, and Jack West. Hiss first developed the neighborhood of Lido Shores (just off busy St. Armands Circle), which still contains the highest concentration of Sarasota School homes.

To start your study in Sarasota School architecture, here are some of the most interesting and accessible stops from the guidebook “Tour Sarasota Architecture,” available free of charge at the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Umbrella House (1953), 1300 Westway Drive

This Lido Shores home designed by Paul Rudolph is arguably Sarasota’s most notable. In 2005, it was purchased and restored by museum exhibit designers Vincent and Julie Ciulla. The simple, stately cube home is shaded with a trellis-like “umbrella” installed by the couple after the original one was destroyed in a storm. “It gets all of its fame from the outside, but the inside is really the beauty of it,” said Vincent Ciulla, who offers tours for a fee. “It’s a bunch of planes and surfaces and lots of movement in the space. Rudolph played with the space in a very beautiful, balanced way.”

Hiss Studio (1953), 1310 Westway Drive

Next door to the Umbrella House is Hiss’s original studio, a glass rectangle raised on steel columns that was one of the first air-conditioned spaces in Sarasota. While you’re in Lido Shores, use the “Tour Sarasota Architecture” guide to walk or drive by more than a dozen other Sarasota School homes.

Sarasota City Hall (1966), 1565 1st St.

Situated downtown on a lush lawn, the white, low building is filled with angles and planes. Architect Jack West allowed for natural light, but added overhangs to keep out the direct sun.

Joe Barth Insurance Office (1957), 25 S. Osprey Ave.

Many businesses have come and gone in this angular structure featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and steel columns, designed by Victor Lundy. Its current occupant, Genevieve Tomlinson, owner of Zen Body-Zen Health and Asian Tea Bar, says customers appreciate the integration of exterior and interior. “It’s like being outside when you’re inside.”

St. Paul Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall (1959) and Sanctuary (1968), 2256 Bahia Vista St.

St. Paul Lutheran Church Sanctuary (1968)

Parish administrator Arleen Austin is accustomed to receiving visitors. “We get tourists from all over the world familiar with Victory Lundy and wanting to see his architecture.” Admirers are drawn to the simple, soaring lines of both buildings and to the altar wall, dramatically lit by window slits along the tall sloping roof.

Sarasota High School Addition (1960), 1000 School Ave.

Sarasota High School Addition (1960)

Architect Paul Rudolph designed many public buildings. Sarasota and the former Riverview high schools were among the best known. After much outcry, Riverview, beset with maintenance issues, was demolished in 2009. Meanwhile, the addition Rudolph designed here is not only intact but getting a needed renovation in 2012, said administrative assistant Lyn Campbell. The minimalist all-white structure includes large openings for ventilation, raised floor levels, and shaded areas on the stairs.

South Gate Community Center (1956), 3145 Southgate Circle

Walk to the back to this serenely sited neighborhood center to see Victor Lundy’s large, sleek glass room with newly restored terrazzo floors, used as a social hall. “This is a well loved building,” said manager Dan Beswick. Next on his wish list is to remove the acoustical tile ceiling and restore the original pine. The center, set on five acres along Phillippi Creek, is also a perfect picnic spot.

With your tour complete, you may be in the mood for some mid-century modern merchandise. If so, Jack Vinales Antiques, 500 S. Pineapple Ave., is the place to shop. Vinales, in business since 1992, stocks furniture, dinnerware, jewelry, and art from the 1930s through the 1960s, with a specialty in mid-century furnishings and lighting.

If your interests extend to bigger-ticket items, such as a mid-century home, Sarasota realtor Martie Lieberman of  Modern Sarasota specializes in them and lives in one herself. Lieberman is a founder of the Sarasota Architecture Foundation, which occasionally hosts Sarasota School lectures and building tours.

DeCordova Sculpture Park a beauty outside and in

December 8, 2011

Ozymandias by Douglas Kornfeld

I hadn’t been to the DeCordova for almost a decade, and couldn’t wait to see its expansion both inside and out during a trip to Boston last month.  Formally the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, it’s adjacent to a large pond in the lovely, historic town of Lincoln, northwest of Boston. Somehow, even though the DeCordova is listed in various guides, it remains a best-kept secret. Below were some of our favorite sculptures, but you must also go inside to see current contemporary exhibits, check out the cafe, and do not miss the gift shop, one of the best places to buy craft in the Boston area. If you’re feeling ambitious (we didn’t have time), take a walk along the Sandy Pond Trail, which circumvents the pond. It’s a great place for lady slipper viewing in the spring. Whatever you do when you get there, just get there!

Diane (right) and friend Vicki have a heart to heart in front of Two Big Black Hearts by Jim Dine

One piece from Armour Boys by Laura Ford

Eve Celebrant by Marianna Pineda

Testing a World View (Again) (left) by Tory Fair, Humming by Jaume Plensa

In the shadow of the Pilgrims

November 17, 2011

Original and still-grand entrance to Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

We’re tooling around New England the week of Thanksgiving, and while we won’t be in Plymouth channeling the Pilgrims, we will be on the move. Here’s what I can’t wait to see (not counting my friends, of course!) Downtown Brattleboro, Vt. Specifically I’m curious about the after-flood effects, hoping that recovery has been going strong. The expanded DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass., long one of my favorite spots in metro Boston. My old house in Quincy and downtown Quincy, which I’ve read is being redeveloped in a major way. The mightily expanded Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; I’m really eager to see that one. Finally, in Portland, Maine, the ever-evolving downtown. We’re also taking the ferry to Peaks Island, which I managed to never do when I lived in New England. Away we go!

Starry, starry nights amid Indian culture in NM

November 1, 2011

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is in a remote region of New Mexico

We’ve been home from our eight days in northern New Mexico for a month now and I have two strongly lingering images – our meals and our night of camping at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

I’ve already written my piece on chile peppers, with a recipe, for the Boston Globe food section (to be published soonish), but could not sell anyone on the idea of a story on Chaco. Which is crazy! But it was just as well because that meant I could enjoy myself instead of run around interviewing people and taking notes about everything I saw.

Instead, I inhaled it all in slowly – the history, the breathtaking terrain,  the up-close petroglyphs, the unbelievably intact Indian ruins and, oooohhhhh, those dark star-saturated skies.

See the blue dot straight ahead, near the canyon wall? That's where we camped!

Thanks to Southwest Airlines’  humane luggage policy, we each got two bags for free, so used our extras to stash camping gear for our one night at the park, at Lina’s urging. (Thank you, my ever-adventurous mate!)

We loved almost every minute of our 20-hour blitz. We arrived midafternoon, enjoying the minor thrill of the eight-mile-long dirt road that leads to the park. (Take the north entrance if you don’t want to get stuck.) First we picked out at campsite in the tent-only area, amid boulders and backing up against a cliff. Heaven!!

Pueblo Bonito is famous for many things, including its intact walls and doorways

Next we high-tailed it to 2 p.m. tour of Pueblo Bonito, a Native American “great house” that was lived in from the mid 800s to the 1200s. It once towered four stories high, with more than 500 rooms and 40 kivas and is one of the most excavated and studied sites in North America, as well as one of the most intact. Although our guide went way over the scheduled time, he was fantastic and brought the history alive, and the archeology history was as interesting as the Indian history.

We toured a few other sites and then reached the petroglyphs just as the late afternoon sun was spotlighting them. They were the most intact and closest I’ve ever seen!

Up close and personal with petroglyphs

We had just a little time to set up camp and share a beer before we zipped over to the visitor’s center for what we thought would be the dark-sky talk and a chance to look through the telescopes. Chaco is the only national park with its own observatory. Well damned if the astronomers weren’t at a conference – um, thanks for letting us know? A ranger gave an interesting presentation on the Civilian Conservation Corps’ involvement in the park in the 1930s and ‘40s, but we were feeling very pouty and whiny about the whole star thing. Until….

We returned to the campsite around 8 p.m. and the sky seemed to go from dusk to black within minutes. I looked up and – WAM, BAM, LOOK AT THOSE STARS, MA’M! I told Lina, who needs astronomers? Of course I would have liked a walk-through of the skies, but wowie, zowie, they were amazing — Milky Way, of course, and shooting stars and dancing constellations. We each laid down on a bench of the picnic table, wrapped up in our blankets, and watched in awe.

Lina's "just one more," Kin Klatso great house

That night we heard the eeriest sound. The only reason I knew it was coyotes is because a ranger had warned me. Wow.

After visiting a few more ruins in the morning (“Just one more” is Lina’s motto in life), we were back on the long dirt road, headed back to the big city.

North Carolina: Variety vacationland indeed

May 9, 2011

1965 tourism brochure

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “Where are you off to next?” That’s, of course, because I write about travel, along with a lot of other things (food, sustainable agriculture, the environment, artisans).

My answer a few years ago might have included Lombok (Indonesia) or Lofoten (Norway). But these days, I’m more apt to mention Laurel Springs or Lumberton, both towns in North Carolina. I spent much of 2008 and 2009 driving some 23,000 miles researching my guidebook “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” and this year I’m back on the road promoting it.

While some people seem disappointed and even sympathetic that I’ll be traveling around the Tar Heel state, as if my very life had been downgraded from first class to cargo hold, that assessment is far from the truth.

Cold Mountain in Haywood County in western NC

Absolutely, international and cross-country trips are fascinating, fulfilling, and fun. But so are adventures in your own backyard. I felt almost as giddy in 2009 exploring downtown Saluda (south of Asheville) as I did in 2006 walking around downtown Salta (northern Argentina).

So as my NC friends are contemplating their summer travels, I’d like to put in a plug for North Carolina. And, no, a trip to the same beach every year does not count, although it’s a lovely tradition and you should keep it up.

Outsiders have already figured out how great we are. Almost 37 million people visited last year, and we’re ranked an impressive sixth in the nation for tourism. Americans’ keen interest in our state has helped me sell dozens of NC travel stories to newspapers and magazines since returning to the Triangle in 2003. (I grew up in Raleigh in the 1960s, back when the state’s license plate read “Variety Vacationland.” Now I live in Durham, which, you might have heard, the New York Times listed among its worldwide “The 41 Places to Go in 2011.”)

Colorful ceramic wall at Penland School of Crafts

Here are some of my past travel-writing destinations in hopes that they’ll give you ideas. West of us: Waynesville and Cold Mountain, Asheville, Penland School of Crafts, Black Mountain, the Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, The Edible Schoolyard and Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, and the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte.

And of course I’ve written about my hometown, both its renovated downtown and the Duke Lemur Center. Heading south and east, I’ve done articles on Pinehurst, Manteo, Bald Head Island, New Bern, and Red Wolf Howling Safaris and hang gliding on the Outer Banks. One of my favorites was a story about camping on a platform over a swamp while following the Roanoke River Paddle Trail, which has been reprinted in several publications. And I visited hundreds more places for the book, which includes write-ups of 430 farm-related destinations.

Camping platform along the Roanoke River Paddle Trail

Next up, I’m doing stories about the eclectic offerings in Saxapahaw (go soon before the word really gets out) and “No Taste Like Home,” a series of “forage and eat” dinners in Asheville.

Even when I’m not writing, I’m exploring. While I’m in Charlotte on my book tour in May, I’ve set aside time to check out the new Levine Center for the Arts, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Mint Museum Uptown, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I don’t care much for car racing, but I’m still eager to check out our state’s hallowed hall of horsepower.

Tourism will be in the news on May 10, NC Travel and Tourism Day, when state travel leaders congregate in Raleigh to tell legislators and the public how important the travel business is — visitors in 2010 spent a record $17 billion here.

Lemur at the Duke Lemur Center

But you’re not going to tour North Carolina because it’s good for the state. You’re going to travel our some 78,000 miles of blacktop because it’s good for you. Because it’s fascinating, fulfilling, and fun, no matter which of our 100 counties you venture into.

As for where I’m off to next, the list includes Southern Pines, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Flat Rock, Hendersonville, Wilmington, Asheville, Black Mountain, West Jefferson, and Boone.

Can’t wait!

Old Salem, N.C., a Moravian miracle

January 23, 2011

Friendly gunsmith demonstrates how he makes muzzleloaders

What does Wachovia Bank have to do with the Moravians? Funny you should ask…

While touring Old Salem, a history museum/attraction and a neighborhood in Winston-Salem, NC, last week, we learned the answer. Salem (which later joined with Winston) was settled by Moravians, a German-speaking religious sect, in 1766. They came from Pennsylvania to build on a 100,000-acre tract called Wachau, meaning stream and meadow.

When William Lemly decided to move his tiny bank from Salem to next-door Winston in 1879, he needed a new name. Voila: Wachovia, the English form of Wachau. Of course Wachovia will soon be but a banking memory when Wells Fargo finishes its takeover, but that’s another story.

Here’s what I most enjoyed about Old Salem, which re-creates life in the 18th and 19th centuries:

Home Moravian Church constructed in 1800

The whole area has a nice feel because the town, and Salem Academy and College, have grown around Old Salem, which makes it seem more authentic.

Several acres of gardens focus on heirloom plants, impressive when you have a tight budget and staff. Originally, each lot in the community of 300 Moravians included a garden. In the spring and fall, they grew cabbage, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower; in summer, squash, okra, peppers, cucumbers, beans and peas. I can’t say it looked great in the dead of winter, but spring is around the corner!

The St. Philips complex includes the restores 19th-century church for black worshippers. Apparently the country’s largest community of black Moravians lives in Winston-Salem. The congregation now has a bigger, newer church, but still worships here on fifth Sundays and during special events. The brick church, from 1861, is the oldest standing African American church in NC. These days, a large number of Moravians internationally are black, with many congregations in Africa due to a long history of mission work.

God's Acre, burial ground of the Moravian Church since 1770

God’s Acre, a 1770 burial ground, is still in use. The evangelical Moravians organize their cemeteries in large squares reserved for “choir” groups within the congregation, and even today are separated by gender instead of family unit. No comment on that.

For folks who need more modern-day action, yes there are gift shops, dining options, and costumed interpreters playing such roles as gunsmith, pharmacist, potter, tailor, tinsmith, and baker.

The 1858 Coffee Pot marks the northern end of the historic district

The 1858 Coffee Pot was once used to advertise a tinsmith business and now graces the northern end of the historic district. That’s a lot of coffee.

The newish Visitor Center is quite impressive. Open since 2003, it contains a couple shops, very nicely done illustrated timelines, an auditorium, and a ticket area. We remarked that the woman handing us tickets and maps explained the layout and attractions to us as if we were the first people she’d ever shared this information with instead of the 2 millionth. Quite remarkable! She helped set the tone for a lovely day of yore.

Seeing America at World’s Largest Yard Sale

October 5, 2010

This was first published Jan. 17, 2010, in my Boston Globe column “Where they Went.”  Now that the 2010 yard sale has passed, it’s time to make hotel reservations for 2011. Seriously. Do it now. Take it from the Dianes.

Diane Bouvier (left) and Diane Cormier at the giant yard sale

WHO: Diane Bouvier, 50, of Athol, Mass., and Diane Cormier, 51, of Ashburnham, Mass.

WHERE: Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio

WHEN: Four days in August

WHY: To tour part of The World’s Longest Yard Sale along 654 miles of US Highway 127 from Alabama to Ohio.

Diane Cormier tries out a really big lawn chair for sale in Ohio

THRILL-SEEKERS: “We both like going to country auctions and poking around in antique stores. It’s the thrill of the treasure hunt,’’ Bouvier said. The two nurses have been friends since working together at a Worcester hospital 15 years ago.

SHOPPING LIST: “You have to plan ahead to go,’’ she said of the event started by a man in Jamestown, Tenn., in 1987. “Diane figured out the amount of driving it would take each day and looked for the closest hotels. We booked them and the flights in April. We used the sale’s website to get little tips and a feel for what was going on.’’

TRASH TO TREASURES: “Sometimes, fields were set up on both sides with tons of tables, and the whole community was involved, and other times it was personal yard sales along the way,’’ Bouvier said. “There was a huge variety of stuff for sale. It ran the gamut from flea market to high-end dealers.’’

Diane Cormier with popular Southern game of Corn Hole in Kentucky

DOG DAYS: The friends set off from Nashville, cash in hand, in their rented box truck, heading for Crossville, the nearest town on Highway 127. “The traffic picked up heading there, but mostly it was totally spread out. There were license plates from all over.’’ They would typically get out of the car at least 10 times a day, and walked a lot during stops. “It was pretty hot. I liked that people put water out for dogs,’’ she said. “You could really tell that everyone was getting into it. Bargaining was expected, but it was all good-natured. Everyone was having fun.’’

CHECKED ITEMS: On the second day, in Kentucky, both women found things on their lists. “Diane was looking for an old fireplace mantle, the top and the sides. She was also looking for two old cowbells for her camp, and she found those, too. I got a lampshade for an antique lamp I’d been looking for.’’ They were happy with the prices, too.

FRIENDLY FOLKS: “I got a little taste of the culture there,’’ she said. “Southern hospitality holds true. One man pulled us out of the ditch we got the truck stuck in.’’ Other shoppers were friendly and chatty. “At the hotels at breakfast, everyone would ask, ‘Are you yard-salers?’ We met a lot of mothers and daughters.’’

NICEST NICKEL: Bouvier’s “best bargain’’ came on the final day. “For five cents I got a 6-inch ruler stamped with the name of a company – and Route 127. It was the perfect souvenir.’’

‘Green Book’ was bible for black travelers

September 26, 2010

Sometimes you read about an injustice that you didn’t know about and it just hits you, like, wow, how could that be? I never thought about racism in regards to travel. Duh.

And, sure, I know that race issues in America are far from settled, but thank god there’s no longer a need for “The Green Book.” I read about the travel guide in the New York Times last month. The Green Book was a guide for African-American travelers, listing places they’d be welcome at, from restaurants, to gas stations, to lodging. It was published from 1936 to 1964. (I recall such gay-friendly guides in the 1980s.)

The Green Book, officially “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” was started by a postman, Victor Green, and was unofficially distributed at Esso gas stations and other spots. Apparently Esso was the only station to regularly welcome blacks. Can you imagine traveling and not knowing if you’d be allowed to stop for gas? Or food? Or to use the restroom?

Calvin Alexander Ramsey

The Atlanta writer Calvin Alexander Ramsey is bringing the book to light. He’s written a lovely children’s book called “Ruth and the Green Book” (Carolrhoda Books, $16.95 — a perfect gift!), staged a play about the book in DC earlier this month, and he‘s reportedly making a documentary about it.

The Times story said this: “Until he met a friend’s elderly father-in-law at a funeral … Calvin Alexander Ramsey had never heard of the guide. But he knew firsthand the reason it existed. During his family trips between Roxboro, N.C., (near us here in Durham) and Baltimore, “we packed a big lunch so my parents didn’t have to worry about having to stop somewhere that might not serve us,” recalled Mr. Ramsey, who is now 60.

To that I say, wow. And thank you, Mr. Ramsey, for spreading the word, for reminding us of the pain, the fear, and how it wasn’t all that long ago that Americans of a certain color couldn’t travel freely in America. 

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Lois Lane!

July 30, 2010

The Noel Neill (Lois Lane) statue was officially unveiled on June 11, 2010 (source: Fox2Now).

Superman’s gal-pal Lois Lane finally got her due in Metropolis, when the Illinois city erected a statue to honor Lois, a.k.a. actress Noel Neill.

Being a reporter myself, I couldn’t help but wonder where Lois was when we stopped by Metropolis in 2007. As much as I missed her, I did get a little sidetracked posing in goofy super-cutouts. Wessel, too, kept mugging for the camera. Who can resist?

The famous Giant Superman Statue

We were in awe of the giant 15-foot Superman statue, which you’ll find by following the signs to the “Giant Superman Statue” in Superman Square next to the Super Museum and souvenir shop.

The city of 6,500 on the banks of the Ohio River grows by leaps and bounds every June, when some 30,000 Superman nuts, I mean fans, fly in to celebrate the Man of Steel. Superlatives abound and costumes are donned. I’m sorry we missed it. Sort of.

Diane as her professional alter ego

One attendee for years has been Noel Neill herself, and this year she was the star attraction. I’m impressed that at 88 she would even attend such a madcap event. She was there for the unveiling of the statue, on June 11. More than 300 bricks surround it, engraved with donors’ names.

Next up for Noel is fans are trying to pull a Betty White by using a Facebook page to beg the producers of “Smallville” to put Noel/Lois on a segment next year, its 10th and final season. It’s about time, I say!

Wessel will need all his Superman strength for the upcoming week

In other unrelated news, Wessel and I will need Superman-size strength next week when we cycle some 200 miles of the C&O Canal rail trail. Yes, it’s flat, but consider that we will be carrying our own gear, and, much worse, we are sooooo out of shape because every time we planned to do a training ride it would either rain or the temps would soar to 100. So, keep us in your thoughts and keep the kryptonite away!