Florida Trip 2016: Manatee Springs State Park

Months ago Tyler and I went on a mini-road trip to Florida. I wrote about our Honda Fit camping conversion here and making dehydrated meals for our trip here. I am finally getting around to writing about the rest of our trip. I have quite a backlog of adventures to write, so without further ado, please enjoy this blog post haiku.

20161229_130321 Continue reading “Florida Trip 2016: Manatee Springs State Park”

Eight Mile Training Run at Sweetwater Creek State Park



Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, was a girl named Morgan, who did a very silly thing. She signed up for a half marathon. Why would she do that? No body knows. Perhaps the wonderful ladies of the Tough Girl Tribe might have an idea, as they are awfully inspiring. In any case, Morgan needed to train. Recently, she’s spent all her time exercising her brain.

Morgan started her morning by lazing in bed. Her stomach was having none of it and demanded to be fed. She reluctantly crawled out of her covers. She made herself an apple and almond butter tortilla wrap, a tasty pre-run breakfast. Morgan pulled on some shorts, thankful that it was not nearly as cold as when she ran the Hot Chocolate 5k, the first chapter of this saga. But it was not time for Morgan to run, no not yet. For today, she was going to run on a trail, even if her pace matched that of a snail!

Continue reading “Eight Mile Training Run at Sweetwater Creek State Park”

Florida Trip 2016: Dehydrating Dinners


As I alluded in the post about converting our Honda Fit to a campervan, I dehydrated a couple of dinners for our trip to Florida. When we went on our road trip this past summer, Tyler and I mostly cooked our dinners. Which means that we brought all of the cooking equipment along with us. There was one night while we were at Grayson Highlands, where we opted for dehydrated Mountain House meals. We were hungry after a long day of hiking, and we needed to drive into town that evening so I could send a mandatory work email.

Continue reading “Florida Trip 2016: Dehydrating Dinners”

Fit Conversion and the Beginning of Our Florida Trip


As a graduate student, I don’t get much time off. I distinctly remember the horrified faces of undergraduates when I tell them “no, I don’t get fall/winter/spring/summer break off. I still have to do research.”

Grad school, at least getting a Ph.D. in a natural science, is this odd combination of work and school. Technically, I’m a student. I am working towards a degree. But I don’t get school holidays, I’m not actually taking any classes, and I’m getting paid. Much more like a job, if I’m honest.

Continue reading “Fit Conversion and the Beginning of Our Florida Trip”

Zombie Camels ride at Chicopee

Photo credit: Ef

Oh hey there, Chicopee,
Don’t cha remember me?

Dad and I rode on your trails,
Read this post for the details.

With the Zombie Camels, we’ve returned.
Back to the woods, for which my heart yearned.

We started our ride from the Left Nut brewery,
With much laughter, antics, and tom-foolery.

Vroom, vroom, we sped
Down to the trailhead.

There we picked up the rest of our group,
Making ourselves a rather large troupe.

We rolled out riding Tortoise first.
At the intersection, we dispersed.

The fast group left by going right.
Soon after, they were out of sight.

The slower riders split in two,
Dad led the group with just a few.

Only John, Jeff, Dad, and me
Bombed down Village trail with glee

Up Red Tail, Dad rode strong,
Far behind, I chugged along.

Next, we rode to Confusion Corner via White Tail.
Best be careful here, lest your sense of direction fail.

We continued on White Tail, only half-way round,
til we hopped on Flying Squirrel, a biker’s playground.

On Flying Squirrel I broke
a metal tire spoke.

Down White Tail to the creek crossing
Up Granny Climb, gears were dropping.

Finally we rode Tortoise out,
Seventeen miles, give a shout!



ABCs of Thanksgiving

Dad and I hiked Springer Mountain during Thanksgiving weekend.

A is for apples, quite possibly my favorite fruit

B is for biking, one of my favorite outdoor activities.

C is for chemistry, a passion of mine and my livelihood.

D is for Dad, who takes me on all sorts of biking adventures.

E is for electricity. I use it everyday.

F is for family. I love mine very much!

G is for Gauss, my goofball dog who loves to accompany me wherever he is allowed.

H is for hiking! A walk in the woods soothes my soul.

I is for the internet, without it my life would be so different.

J is for journal, which keeps my life organized.

K is for kindred spirits. It is nice to have someone to share the things you love.

L is for labmates. We support each other through thick and thin.

M is for Mom, who takes me out for lunch and shopping.

N is for Nancy, one of my very best friends and who introduced me to Thanksgiving ABCs.

O is for outside, my favorite playground.

P is for philanthropic people. Their generosity has made such a difference in my life.

Q is for questions, the basis of science. I am a very curious person.

R is for rock climbing. There is no better way to quickly tire me out!

S is for siblings, my older sister and younger brother.

T is for Tyler, my wonderful husband.

U is for ungulates, cows in particular. I am an avid consumer of dairy products.

V is for the Vaughns, my second family.

W is for waterfalls, such fantastic places to explore.

X is for xenon arc lamps, which I use for my research.

Y is for youngsters, like my baby nephew. He is such a cutie!

Z is for zucchini, quite possibly my favorite vegetable.

Recently, Outdoor Adventures or more aptly named “Biking with Dad”

Last week I posted about some of my non-outdoor adventures. While it’s true that I’ve been having more non-outdoor adventures lately, I still try to make getting outside and active a priority.

A little while ago, I wrote about mountain biking at Chicopee Woods with Dad. Since then, I’ve been biking with Dad a few other times. We rode at Chicopee Woods again, Tribble Mill, and Blanket’s Creek.

Chicopee Woods
The second time at Chicopee Woods, we mixed up our route. We started on Tortoise, took the new Village Trail, rode Red Tail, and the first half of White Tail to Confusion Corner. Normally, we take White Tail to the intersection with Flying Squirrell, ride all of Flying  Squirrell before jumping back on White Tail, ending at the dreaded gravel Granny climb. Continue reading “Recently, Outdoor Adventures or more aptly named “Biking with Dad””

Recently, Non-Outdoor Adventures

A picture of Goose! Because who doesn’t like pictures of puppy-dogs curled into a little ball sleeping?

Usually, I blog about my outdoor exploits, but adventure isn’t just for the outdoor realm. Sometimes an adventure is exploring a new part of town, trying a new restaurant, or visiting with family.

Work has really picked up for Tyler, which is great! However, it means that my use of the car is somewhat restricted. Instead of my usual outdoor activities, I’ve been adventuring in other ways.

One day when I didn’t have a car, my mom came down to visit. We went out to eat at a local restaurant that I have never been to: Highland Tap . There I ate a delicious salmon BLT. I got their mix of fries and onion rings as a side. While those were still good, I wish I had opted for a side of brussel sprouts. That’s what Mom got. Luckily, she is nice and shared them with me. After lunch, Mom and I went shopping for some new tops to go with my new tights. We found several shirts for me. Success!

Continue reading “Recently, Non-Outdoor Adventures”