About brandib1977

I'm a single gal living in rural Appalachia. I have a job that keeps me busy and a to-do list so long I'll never see the end. Adventures- both big and small- are an important part of my life. Since I don’t even have a houseplant depending on me right now, I’m free to do basically whatever I please. This blog tells some of those stories. Life is pretty darn good!

Happiness Is….

Happiness is a stroll down a street you’ve walked a hundred times only to find something new.

I’ve seen these downtown Chillicothe buildings many times but never viewed them as a collection. I like the way the little one is nestled between those two large structures. It’s so tiny and yet it draws the eye right in!

There are a few more pictures from this walk that I’ll be sharing soon. But for today, let’s all pause a moment and try to view something commonplace with a fresh eye.

Road Tripping Red

Both Friday and Saturday allowed some free time for backroads wandering. These two days resulted in some wonderful memories and good fodder to share here. I wanted to start with this series of images.

This car was parked outside an establishment near Athens and I couldn’t resist whipping in for some pictures!

Check out the rocket lights!

And of course the fuzzy dice and hula girl!

Imagine road tripping in this beast! Remember what I said last month about red things? There was a similar car in the same parking lot but it was a different, sort of gold color. I didn’t even give it a second look but this flashy red left me practically drooling!

Who knows what kind of car this is?

Saint Bernard Catholic Church

Earlier this month I told you about a journey through the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region. One of the most extraordinary finds of the day was this church in Corning.

The original Catholic Church on this site was a wood structure finished in 1886. It was raised in 1914 and replaced with this lovely gothic brick church. The cornerstone says 1915.

I had driven through a portion of Corning and was headed up St. Rt 13 toward Rendville when I caught a glimpse of this beautiful church presiding over an otherwise modest town.

Of course I had to get a closer look!

The doors! Aren’t they beautiful?

You can tell it has been well tended and loved these last 105 years. Here’s one more look.

Happy Retirement!

My dad celebrated a happy milestone yesterday. He retired from the company where he worked for 37 years.

They were good to him, treating him like a friend rather than just another employee. In return, he worked hard for them and more than earned his keep.

Employees and employers everywhere could learn from their relationship and the mutual respect they share. An employee who feels valued will do far more for your company than one who feels like just a number. He worked hard every day of those 37 years and took pride in what he did.

It sounds like it was just another workday and that’s the way he wanted it. He’s a quiet guy and doesn’t like to call attention to himself. I think he was grateful to just punch out and come home to find my mother and I along with my brother (I’m actually an only child- he’s a dog) waiting on the porch just like any other day.

The difference is that he got to leave his work problems behind and never has to go back. He’s been working since he was just a teenager so I can’t imagine the glee he must feel knowing he doesn’t have to get up in the morning and work for someone else. He can putter in the garage and get started on my mother’s “Honey-Do List” which she swears she doesn’t have but none of us believe her.

I’m glad that he will finally have time to relax and enjoy life more. Happy Retirement Dad!

Adventures, Covid and Staying Safe

I should be packing my bags right now. I was supposed to fly to Denver Thursday and meet a friend before taking a solo road trip home.

Covid cancelled that.

So I decided to take a shorter road trip to some place I’ve been wanting to go. Charlottesville, Virginia has rich history. Ashtabula, Ohio has covered bridges and a drive along the lake to find lighthouses sounded fun. I thought about Harper’s Ferry or Gettysburg.

But none of these options excited me when I considered how many sites are closed and that I would need to wear a mask on outdoor guided tours of historic sites in the July heat.

My indecisiveness and the logistics were starting to stress me out. Long story short- Covid has cancelled this too.

Instead, I’ll hold onto my vacation for another time and will settle for a long weekend for now.

Friends have been asking about my approach to safe adventuring in the time of Covid. I’m not thrilled to spend a lot of money traveling far to stay in hotels and mask up at Monticello. However, I do enjoy day trips and local adventures to get me out of the house and keep me somewhat engaged with the outside world.

Here’s a rundown of what I do:

Local state parks have been a true blessing. Before allergies ran me out of the woods for a few weeks, I was hiking regularly. Fresh air and a good stretch of the legs felt amazing after being cooped up all winter.

Photography has provided a great excuse to go for a drive. Sometimes I visit local places that are familiar but my favorite thing is to travel a new road. I like photographing old barns, churches, streetscapes and anything else that draws my eye. It’s fun to travel with a map and camera on the seat next to you and good tunes blaring from the radio.

Social distancing is easy when it’s just you puttering around on a quiet hiking trail or in the car.

I have also ventured to a handful of small businesses. For example, I took my first horseback ride at Uncle Bucks Riding Stable this spring. The average horse is six feet long so it’s perfect for social distancing. I’ve been in a few local antique malls as well. With the economy sputtering and small businesses struggling, it is important to me that I support small businesses when possible.

I don’t go anywhere that’s crowded and work to protect my personal space wherever I am. Of course, I’ve always done that and am kind of enjoying the new six foot rule.

There are some logistical issues if you’re going to be gone for a while. You can either adventure for as long as your bladder will allow and go home – or you have to find a restroom. There isn’t an abundance of restroom options in small towns or on back roads. Fast food restaurants have been closed and there aren’t many rest areas off the highways.

My approach has been to find either a Walmart because the restrooms are close to the door or, if I’m in a town with options, nicer stores like TJ Maxx usually have clean restrooms.

I mask up, carry hand sanitizer in my pocket and dash in and out somewhat quickly.

Another practical matter is food. Depending on my mood and devotion to eating healthy, I either pack a lunch or opt for something quick. Vegetarian and vegan options are limited but Taco Bell will make its entire menu vegetarian just for you, BK offers the Impossible Whopper, and if you feel like venturing into a store, some grocery stores like Meijer have fabulous salads and fruit options. Most local dairy bars have walk up windows where you can order a tasty shake and grilled cheese. A lot of mom and pop restaurants will take phone orders and some will offer curbside pick up.

There’s often a city park around for a picnic. If nothing else, I find a corner of a parking lot and people watch while enjoying lunch.

Gas pumps always seem filthy (especially now) so I either touch them with a paper towel or sanitize when I’m done.

I have a short list of things that I always take with me and have added a few items since Covid found us.

– Maps – I always take my atlas and any county maps that might prove useful. You never know when you’ll be in a place without cell service and will need help navigating.

– Extra shoes and socks – Uncomfortable feet are irritating and I’ve found myself with wet feet after a ramble through a dew covered churchyard more times than you would believe.

– Pen and paper- I jot down things along the way including topics to research, unusual road names and places to check out another time. Any belief that I’ll remember this stuff on my own is a pipe dream.

– Practical stuff – I always take my camera with an extra battery, phone charger, cash and cards, paper towels, a garbage bag, a couple of plastic grocery bags, an apple, and an insulated water bottle. You never know when you’ll have muddy shoes to clean or stash and those plastic bags come in handy. I’m really bad about finding plants and dirty old antiques that I don’t want touching my nice upholstery but a garbage bag covers the seat nicely.

Since Covid. I’ve added to the list a gallon jug of water, some masks and plenty of hand sanitizer.

So there you go – my guide to staying safe while adventuring during a pandemic is pretty simple. Keep your distance, stay clean, be smart but don’t be afraid. Living in fear isn’t healthy. We all need fresh air and an occasional change of scenery, even if it is just a drive around the neighborhood to get an ice cream cone.

What adventures have you enjoyed recently?