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”

Fort Mountain, aka the time I hiked 9 miles


A couple weekends ago, I hiked 9 miles. Which is a lot, for me. I’m pretty sure that is the farthest I have ever hiked. Needless to say, my legs were very sore the next day.

Whenever I go off adventuring on my own, my mother tends to ask “You went by yourself?” in this tone of voice that implies, “I rather wish you wouldn’t do that, but I suppose I can’t really do anything about it since you are a grown woman afterall.” And to that I say yes!

Continue reading “Fort Mountain, aka the time I hiked 9 miles”

Labor Day: Mountain Biking at Chicopee Woods

Me and my bike. Those orange splotches are in fact not mud; my bike is blue with a few random orange patches.

Return of the morgan-drawings! This rare art form has only been featured once before on the blog.

A little over a month ago, my dad and I went mountain biking at Chicopee Woods on Labor Day. Chicopee is a fun place to ride, though we don’t tend to ride there very often. I suppose that’s because it is just a little longer of a drive, and since there are three other trails that are closer, we often choose those instead.

Continue reading “Labor Day: Mountain Biking at Chicopee Woods”

Roadtrip 2016 Day Eight: Nashville, our last day

Ashley eating a sushi burrito at the Tomato Arts Festival.

This is the last blog post in the roadtrip series. If you missed any of the previous posts, no worries! Click here for a complete list. 

Ashley woke early, early to get ready for the 5k race, but I didn’t even notice. Ashley’s bed was wonderfully comfy. She even had blackout curtains, so I slept far later than any other day. I was just stirring when Tyler got a phone call from Ashley. She was finished with the race and was stopping at the bakery. Did we want anything?

Continue reading “Roadtrip 2016 Day Eight: Nashville, our last day”