Don’t Ever Let Us Navigate

We had beautiful weather here today and as usual, such weather put us in the mood for a lovely walk in the woods with Riley. It’s been a long time since we walked up the hill from the Wilson Mills trailhead to the Forest Picnic Area, so that’s where we headed. We figured that once we reached the top of the hill we’d stop, give Riley some water, then head back down via the bridle path that more or less parallels the paved trail. I’ve included a handy map below.

This is where we should have walked

So we had a lovely walk up the hill. Riley’s still in training, so we shoved a teeny smidgen of chicken-like product in his mouth around every fourth step. We passed quite a few other people walking their dogs or riding bikes. When Riley managed to ignore the distractions, he got a treat. We even passed some guy on his horse, looking all jaunty in his boots and goofy hat. He caused Riley to go eleven and a half seconds without a treat. Then the danger was past. And Riley got a treat. We reached the top in around a half hour, and after Riley had his water and even more treats, we headed into the woods to start down. This is when we seem to have taken a wrong turn.

We passed a family walking their overexcited mutt as we entered the woods. This took our mind off paying attention to trail signs and onto Riley’s behavior, and our first bad decision was made. We meandered off in the general direction of Chardon Road.

As we continued down what we believed to be the correct path, it felt to me like we were headed a little too far north, but no big deal. We’d end up where we needed to be. Or, you know. Not.

When we broke out of the woods at Oxbow Lane, I knew we had a hike on our hands.

Notice the aborted attempt to correct our mistake by following what is apparently a little-used bridle trail into a swamp. We made it to about where the little horsey sign is before we got tired of slogging through mud and underbrush, turned around, and headed back out towards Chagrin River Rd.

Then we took another detour. We decided that, rather than walk in traffic through the twisties (not shown on this map, but trust me, they’re there), we’d walk the loop through Riverview Rd. A pleasant diversion that added another mile to our trek.

We finally made it back to the car, where Riley drank most of a bottle of water and we laughed at ourselves for managing to get “lost” in a Metropark. And that’s how we turned a 4 mile walk into a 7 mile odyssey.

Oh, and…

We have a new banner. The increasingly inaccurate “freezing our asses off” banner was starting to get on my nerves. Problem is, all my Joe-n-Dave pics are here at home and every time I thought about making up a new banner I was at my office. Figured I’d throw in a few color tweaks while I was at it. Makes me feel like I know what I’m doing after spending five hours today not getting other web-ish to work.

Here’s an idea…

See, we’re already booked on this cruise. Seven fun filled Caribbean ports of call: San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia (where we were wed), Antigua and St. Kitts. So, so, all you have to do is plunk down like $650 per person plus $375 each for flights and you’re golden! And the best part is, it will probably all fit on your line of credit!Bad Idea Canucks We can share car rentals and you can hang out mostly in our balcony state room. It’s cheaper when you buy in bulk! So, what do you think?? Huh? Don’t make us cry :(

What I Did For My Summer Vacation by Joe M

This is not THE post, it’s A post about our recent trip to Europe. I shot over 1800 photos, all RAW. I’ve never shot RAW before so I have to find my way through processing and converting to a usable file type such as jpeg. Anyway, we spent two weeks in Europe: 3 nights in London, 2 nights in Utrecht (outside Amsterdam), 1 night in Manheim (Rhine Valley, Germany), 2 nights Lucerne Switzerland and 6 nights in Paris. We were blessed with near perfect weather the entire trip so most of the photos turned out nice with perky blue skies and zippity doo dah rays of sunshine.

Highlights include a [near] sunset “flight” on the London Eye. I say near sunset because when we asked what time the sun would set that evening so we could book our flight accordingly, the hotel staffer apparently provided us with the sunrise. I can’t complain though as this is London and there’s the language barrier to contend with and what not.

In Germany we stopped in the Black Forest. I was very taken by the beauty of the region and I intend to visit again. There in a little shop I bought a ridiculously huge limited edition stein which I may or may not ever see as I had it shipped. We also stopped at the Rhine Falls. I’ve never been to Niagra but Diana has and she says the Rhine Falls are much more picturesque albeit not as grand. I’ll provide photographic evidence of this soon.

In Paris we took a ride on ferris wheel which is set up only during the summer months. If you’ve been before, it’s situated roadside beside the Obelisk at Place de la Concorde at the foot of the Tuileries Gardens. I managed some pretty decent shots from our basket but they need a bit of work. I couldn’t keep the basket from swinging and spinning as I shifted about jockeying for the best position to shoot. Not such a highlight was our had-to-do-it visit to Paris Disneyland. I say had to do it because if I didn’t I’d be kicking myself wondering what I’d missed which was pretty much nothing. We did manage to steal a 15th Anniversary limited edition wine bottle which we’d bought while dining at their version of the Blue Bayou. We asked the waiter if the specially engraved bottle was a keepsake and he said absolutely not which we found strange so yeah, we smuggled it out of there.

I must say, I do enjoy museums. In London we visited the British Museum. There you can partake in these little free, short tours of specific areas. The tours are quite informative and bring a lot of meaning to some of the artifacts which can quite frankly all start to look the same after a while. You can only wonder at so many hieroglyphics before they all start to look like something an 8-year old put together. So we did that and another one in a library room which focused on the Age of Enlightenment. I’m all fascinated by that era and shit now. In Paris we visited the d’Orsay where you find paintings and art you’re likely to recognize. I get all into it when I visit the d’Orsay. I really need to brush up on my complete lack of art knowledge and stuff.

Like watching the polar bears at the zoo

Joe and I, and our lovely wives, had an unusual experience during our trip to Washington. We took the Metro over to Union Station in order to catch the Tourmobile that’d drag us past all the usual tourist stops along the Mall and out at Arlington. Because of construction on Arlington Bridge, we ended up waiting 40 minutes in the sun on a sweltering day instead of the promised maximum of 20 (we gave up and got our money back, but that’s another story).

While waiting in line, we were treated to a surreal show. A rather large woman living a bohemian lifestyle decided she’d had enough of the heat (or possibly her own b.o.) and that the best place to cool down (or rinse the stink off) was one of the fountains in front of the station. Right there by all the traffic, cabs, commuters, and tourists, she made unconventional use of the water.

Walking up to the fountain, she began by emptying various bits of scrap paper out of the pockets of her pants. Into the fountain. Then, oddly, she removed her belt and tossed it in as well. It was at this point that we all considered donning welding goggles in advance of her disrobing.

Luckily, she kept her clothes on, for the most part. She leaned over and started splashing water on her armpits and over her head. This wasn’t effective enough for her, so she went ahead and climbed in.

She kind of wallowed around for five or ten minutes in there. By this time, the majority of us Tourmobile waiters were staring in dumbfounded silence. She eventually stood up and fished her belt off the bottom of the pool and threw it up on the pedestal that held the urn above her head.

By this time Joe had had enough of the heat and enough of shooting photos of her (oh yeah…photo credits: Joe), so he wandered off to find shade and take pictures of a dragonfly that was buzzing him. Because of his lack of commitment, we sadly have no pictures of her unbuttoning her pants, turning at about a 60° angle away from us, and mooning someone standing over by the Postal Museum.

The girls and I do, however, have mental images of the side view of her cottage cheese ass to keep us company at night.

Note: On the infinitesimal chance anyone’s still waiting for an accounting of our racing day at Nelson’s Ledges: I’ve posted a few pictures of the experience on my Flickr account.