Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

A Visit to The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Italy is famous for its beautiful countryside, lakes, history and architecture including the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In 2016 I was privileged to go on a tour of Italy which included a stop in Pisa with a visit, of course, to the famous Leaning Tower.

The history of this tower is intriguing and I would like to tell you about my visit.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Work started on building the tower in August 1173 and it was completed in 1399. At completion, it was originally 60m high but today it is 56.67m on the highest side and 55.86m on the lowest side, with getting close to 300 steps to get to the top. It was quite early during the build that the tower began to lean.

The tower is for the bell to summon the worshippers to the Basilica. There is also a Baptistery forming a row of buildings, the Baptistery first, then the Basilica and headed up by the Tower of Pisa. Unbaptised Catholics were not allowed into the Basilica and hence the Baptistery is a separate building.

As the tower was built there were attempts to correct the leaning by adding structures at another angle. This means that if the leaning tower today was stood upright it would still be wonky as a result. If you look carefully at the tower you can see the change of angles as the tower was built. The reason for the lean of course is the soft ground and it has also affected the Baptistery and Basilica but due to the width of these buildings, this is not really noticeable.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is now Stable

There have been many attempts to prevent the Tower of Pisa from falling down. There is a good reason not to straighten it – the tourists would not come in the same numbers! The most recent work has finally stabilised the tower and it now sits leaning at about 17 feet (5.18m) off the perpendicular. This final work was completed in 2001 and the tower is no longer moving towards disaster. You can pay to climb the steps to the top of the tower but make sure that you are fairly fit and be prepared for a strange feeling due to the lean. If you wish to climb the tower and it is advisable to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment on the day. Numbers are limited.

Standing at the base of the leaning tower and looking upwards made me feel quite dizzy and others standing next to me felt the same way. It must be our brains trying to straighten the tower coupled with the fact that beautiful white cumulus clouds were moving across the sky. It was a weird feeling!

Interestingly, the word Pisa comes from an ancient Greek word meaning ‘marshy land’, which perhaps in hindsight, should have given the early engineers and architects a clue about how good and deep the foundations should have been.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa - photo taken from a side street

The City of Pisa – More than the Leaning Tower

Pisa has more to offer than the leaning tower. It is a famed also for its university, which is the 19th oldest in the existence in the world, founded in 1343. The students form a large part of the population of the City of Pisa. The University of Pisa is a public research university and has students of the highest calibre. (see the photo below)

There are some beautiful buildings in Pisa and it’s well worth exploring away from the area that the leaning tower is located. Many of the tourists turn up on coaches, look at the tower and leave so even a few hundred yards away it can be much quieter to explore and take in the everyday Pisa. If you ever do get the opportunity to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa make sure you allow enough time to take in much more of this interesting and beautiful Italian city.

The University of Pisa Italy

I hope that you have enjoyed a glimpse into a visit to The Leaning Tower of Pisa. This post has been written by guest blogger Roland Millward from England. You can read his blog here at Roland Millward – Blogging about Life, People & Travel.

Why is the Ocean Brown at Galveston Island?

Why is the water brown?

I asked this question myself the first time I saw the sea at Galveston Island, Texas.

Is the ocean really Brown at Galveston?

Yes

Is the water dirty on Galveston Island?

No, not really dirty in the sense you mean.

Answers… I promise answers.

I wondered these things myself and before I would stick one toe inside the water there, I looked it up. I wanted a scientific explanation (dumbed down enough that I could understand.)

Here’s why the ocean water is brown in Galveston:

The Gulf of Mexico is fed in part via the “Loop Current”. This is a nifty term that scientist like to use ūüėȬ†¬†¬† This ocean flow (or current) send warmer water from the Yucatan Channel northward into the Gulf of Mexico. As this current comes in it bends and then heads towards Florida.

( I am no artist, but I drew a diagram to help you visualize.)

Loop Current ChrissyAdventures

Loop Current brings in warm water

The Loop Current is one of the strongest and fastest in the Atlantic Ocean. This is what happens in the lower portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Now… the upper portion of the gulf is affected by other factors. Look at my terrible diagram and notice the pink arrows from Louisiana towards Texas. Notice how the current is kissing the coast of Texas there?

The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf.¬† Not considering the tributaries this river has, the Mississippi alone carries roughly 2¬†million tons of sediment each day. This sediment is dumped into the Gulf waters around and near Louisiana heavier than other areas. But this sediment is also joined by sediment from the Red River. You see, the Red River joins up with the Mississippi to create the Atchafalaya River. Guess where that river empties…

Yep, it’s the Gulf of Mexico. Are you starting to see a trend?

Sediment of Mississippi River Map Gulf of Mexico

Sediment of Mississippi River as indicated by red markings

The¬†currents (above in pink) indicate how the sediment in carried in¬†two directions. Those currents carry a large portion of sediment to the coast of Texas. ¬†Sediment in other beach areas of the US have sea flora on the ocean floor that help trap sediment and clear the water. The ocean around Galveston is mostly shallow. Shallow water has a high sand and sediment turnover … literally. Therefore the water has a brown color that cannot be seen through.

The brown ocean water is very warm, almost tepid. Although it is murky water,¬†it’s thoroughly relaxing to swim¬†in the warm water.

Have you been to Galveston and seen the brown water? Did it bother you or did you enjoy it just the same! If you’d like to read more about Galveston Island, please click here to visit a guest post I wrote about it for Mr Roland Millward’s Travel Blog.

Visit Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

While we were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in northern Texas, we asked several folks, “what is there to do in Dallas?” or “What are things to do in North Texas?” Often we were told about local parks. We did visit these local parks and were pretty disappointed. So began our search online to find things to do and places to go and adventures we could enjoy in North Texas. We discovered the panhandle area and the beautiful photos of that area. Amarillo was also in that neck of the woods, so we thought…

Why not?

I can’t remember if it was my husband or I that found Palo Duro Canyon State Park, but the pictures online were absolutely gorgeous. We dug out some Best Western travel cards¬†and found a pet-friendly Hotel in Canyon Texas. ¬† We prefer a Hotel to other accommodations.¬† After we booked our room, packed our bags (and our dog), we hit the road.

My husband chose our route based on the less travelled. He knew it would take longer to drive from Dallas to Canyon Texas, but it would allow us to see smaller towns, avoid toll roads and several hours of bumper to bumper traffic where cars freely weave in & out on multi lane bridges like they’re on a Nascar track. (I’ll share those back road adventures in another article.) The total drive took us roughly 6 1/2 to 7 hours. Please keep in mind, we drove easy, stopped often and enjoyed the sites along the way. The drive from the DFW area to Canyon would have taken only 4 1/2 to 5 hours if we were more destination focused.

Arriving in Canyon Texas, a small town about 20 minutes outside Amarillo Texas, we immediately noticed it was a cozy place. Main Street literally being its main attraction, the people were very welcoming and the traffic was slow. The pace of life was much more easy-going. The weather was beautiful.

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The entrance to Palo Duro Canyon is about 8 to 10 minutes away from the Best Western Hotel in Canyon Texas. The following morning we had coffee and packed a couple of bagels, various snacks & plenty of water for our adventure.

One of the most important thing to do in Palo Duro Canyon is stay hydrated. The weather there can be tricky and the canyon floor can easily reach over 110 degrees for several hours each day.

At the entrance¬†we waited in line for about 25 minutes before we paid $5 per person. It’s important for any visitor to know that this park is highly populated as well as many of Texas’ other state parks. In the event the park is at full capacity, the Park Rangers pass out tickets to hold your place in line until they’re able to allow admittance (which can take up to 4 hours). I highly recommend being one of the first in line or you may not be able to visit the park on the day you arrive!

Palo Duro Canyon is very well-kept. The park rangers regularly patrol the canyon for exhausted visitors that may need a little aid. There were signs posted everywhere stating at least a gallon of water per person was recommended for each hour. We sweated this much or more and drank about a gallon an hour each on the trails.

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Shortly after we entered there was a beautiful look-out point fabulous for taking photos! We also noticed the cabins located off to the right. The park rents these cabins out for overnight stays. They looked very nice, but we did not go inside any of them.  Traveler tip: If you are looking to rent a cabin, do it well in advance Рpossibly several months out.

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From that point we ascended down on a curvy road toward the bottom of the Canyon. We passed the theatre area where the Texas Musical Play was presented in the evening. Ticket were available for purchase, but we did not attend.

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Next there was a store/deli/tourist shop. The prices were a bit higher there then if you weren’t inside a Texas State Park but not too terribly unreasonable.

What did they sell inside the Trading Post?

They made homemade ice cream which was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend you try at the grill! One serving was large enough to share but not knowing, we ordered two. Their french fries were absolutely great and my husband’s said their hamburger was totally delicious. They also sold water and gasoline for those who were low on fuel. This was also the place to find t-shirts, postcards, and any other tourist gift and memorabilia to commemorate a visit.

There were too many campsites to count. We saw primitive, modern, and large RV Park sites as well. There was also a section on the far side of the park for equestrians. The camping sorts available were numerous and we saw people from all walks of life on different budgets enjoying their stay.

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There’s a small stream of water that normally runs through the bottom of the canyon according to the Trail Maps. The creek beds were mostly dry when we were there.

The many hiking trails were varied from super easy to extremely challenging. I loved hiking there because the brush and trees provided shade to cool off at different intervals.

The dirt in the Palo Duro Canyon is red. The rocks are many colors though. The contrast was beautiful and made for some gorgeous photos.

The flora in the canyon included small & large trees, several types of flowers and cacti, and many tumbleweed type bushes. The creatures we saw in the canyon include lizards, rabbits, roadrunners, turkey and other birds. Signs along the way read that it was possible to encounter other types as well, but we didn’t. I was a little afraid that we would be in contact with a rattlesnake, but we got lucky and never saw one.

Things to do in Palo Duro Canyon included:

Biking, Hiking, Camping, RV Park, Bird Watching, Horseback Riding, Caving, (we saw at least 3 caves for the brave to explore. I wasn’t one of the brave!) and much more.

It was a dusty adventure in the Palo Duro Canyon. We stayed for about 5 1/2 hours on the trip hiking roughly 10 miles that day. When we left we were covered in the dusty red dirt from the second largest canyon in the United States.

It was rather surprising that the Palo Duro Canyon was so little known to the various folks we spoke to in¬†Texas area. I don’t understand how such an awesome place was so unrecognized by the locals.

Enjoy the slide show and leave me a comment about things to do in Texas. I love suggestions!

 

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What is Bigger in Texas?

Have you ever heard it said, “Everything is bigger in Texas”? ¬†I’m here to tell you it’s true. ¬†Almost everything I saw while I was there was much bigger than any place I’ve traveled. ¬†Here’s a touristy perspective of Texas.

  1. The sky is bigger in Texas. It’s HUGE! ¬†The sky is massively vast and will consume not only your immediate vision, but your peripheral vision too. Have you ever taken a photo with a fish eye or panoramic lens? That’s the best way I can describe how your eyes perceive the sky in Texas. In fact it’s so encompassing, your mind may go into shock. I remember the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean from the shore line & how vast I thought it was. I was filled with awe. In comparison, the ocean seems so manageable after seeing the sky in Texas. And that is an honest compare after seeing the ocean from almost every beach on the east coast and the gulf. It’s just big.¬†20170520_204824_HDR
  2. Food is bigger in Texas. The chicken fried steak is bigger than the plate it’s served on. A serving of biscuit & gravy is enough to feed a family of 4. Tea glasses are so big, I had to use two hands to drink it. The only small food servings you can find are at National Chain restaurants like Olive Garden or IHOP.20170613_142325
  3. The spiders are bigger in Texas. So are the cockroaches. One evening I was having a smoke on the patio and a cockroach at least 5″ long and 2″ wide came walking up to me like everything was normal. I screamed, stomped it and it just looked at me and walked away!
  4. The crows are bigger in Texas. They’re a Mexican breed I was told. They have an eerie scream like a sound effect from a horror movie. They’re also big enough to pick up a Buick and fly off with it. (That may be a slight exaggeration.)
  5. Trains are bigger in Texas. They’re really long with several engines pulling them. Actually many towns were either made or broken by the Railway. The northern part of Texas being rather flat allowed for easy railway access to transport goods. These same railways were the cause of a few ghost towns too. Trains are a bigger deal in Texas than many other states.
  6. The affluent population is bigger in Texas. Look up a town named Plano, TX. Enough said!
  7. The highways are bigger in Texas. I’ve been in some congested cities, but oh my… If you haven’t been to Dallas on a bridge over a bridge that’s over another bridge that’s over the toll road below…you haven’t lived. Most of the highways, interstates and toll roads are 5 or 7 lanes wide all the way and up to 150′ tall.
  8. The traffic congestion is bigger in Texas! I don’t care where you live or how bad your roads are, if you haven’t driven to Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio in Rush hour you’ve never seen bad congestion.
  9. The tolls are bigger in Texas. It can easily cost over $20 one way on one road to go about 35-40 miles…without getting off on an exit (which is when you’re usually charged for a toll)
  10. The shopping options are bigger in Texas. Name a national or regional store. It’s in Texas along with thousands of home grown mom & pop shops.
  11. The windmills are bigger in Texas. The largest windmill farm in the U.S is in Texas in the town of Electra.20170611_155805
  12. Jalapeno peppers are bigger in Texas. Oh I’m sure there’s a town here or there in other places that love jalapenos but in Texas almost every restaurant will off you a jalapeno with your order. Order a hamburger, you’ll get a jalapeno. Order a salad, you’ll have jalapenos sprinkled on it. Want an ice cream? Guess what they’re going to offer you on the side:¬†¬†¬† ¬†Jalapeno!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Every grocery store has a large display of jalape√Īos they show off with much pride.
  13. Electric company choices are bigger in Texas. In every neighborhood, folks have a choice of at least 2-10 electric companies. Shoot… at home, half¬†of my state has 1 electric company!
  14. The hiking trails are bigger in Texas. Hiking is a big deal for folks in North Texas. Afterall, they either live on a farm in the middle of nowhere or are crammed into a city with millions of people. Nature takes their mind off all that. Every hiking trail we found was so crowded with thousands of people, it was difficult to enjoy nature…you couldn’t ¬†hear nature for the conversations & people!
  15. Pride for their state is bigger in Texas. Texans love other Texans and they love their state. They are living in a state that has almost every terrain possible in the US and almost every weather pattern. Texas could easily be self-contained and self-supporting. The economy in Texas is great and the job market is ripe. Texans take pride in their heritage and home lands. Don’t underestimate a Texan either. Most are well educated and street smart too (which is¬†a nifty combination). Many folks fly the Texas state flag in their yards. Businesses fly it just under the United States¬†Flag or right along next to it. ¬†I understand now why so many people are dedicated to their state here. It truly is The Great State of Texas.
  16. ¬†Mom and pop retails stores are conveniently located all over the state. I love to shop the home-grown entrepreneurs and the products are usually unique and home grown. There is a pride weaved into every product and¬†“Bigger than Life” dose of love¬†gently added to each piece. You don’t have to drive or fly all the way to Texas to experience some of the unique products though. Shopping on line has made it easy.

 

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Come Join Uplifting Inspirational Group

I have added a group to Facebook for the Chrissy Adventures Page.¬† The group is designed to be a place¬†that is positive and¬†inspirational. I post there every day¬†…well, maybe not every day.¬† But, I shouldn’t have to. I encourage everyone to share positive and/or inspirational posts in the group.

The group is open to the public to join, but only for a limited time. This group¬†may become private at some point.¬† I would absolutely love it you’d come join in!¬† I have many friends that love to¬†write. This would also be a good place to share your positive or inspirational writing.

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Here is a link to the group. Please “join” and then feel free to share the group with your friends. You can even add your friends to the¬†group if you like. ¬†The goal is¬†all about making a positive experience in a negative world. I have admired many of your writings and I would love it if you would take time to share those writings in this group as an active member adding others as we go along.

 

When everything seems to go wrong

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Have you ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong (or at least it feels like it)? That pretty much sums up the past month for us. ¬† I’d rather not go into every detail on this post because it would be pure negativity. I could choose to see it that way or I can remind myself that everyday is an adventure!

Not all Adventures are full of fluff, glitter, happiness, and wahoo. Some Adventures involve hard work or strategic problem solving.  Some may even test your strength emotionally or physically.

I read a quote somewhere once that said life is not measured by the breaths that we take but by the moments that take our breath away. ¬†I must say, this is a very wise quote. Although most of us see this quote in a very sweet, positive and possibly even romantic way, ¬†I’m here to tell you that this quote is true. Even if what took your breath away was getting slammed in the chest by some horrible calamity, or that moment that shocked you beyond comprehension.

Every day is what we make it, so make it an adventurous one.

Everyday Adventures Linkup

Hey¬†y’all. I hope everyone is doing great! I am going to¬†host a link-up party.¬† This party goes live today and will be open until 12 noon on 6/1/2017. The theme of the party is Everyday Adventures and I know that this is something that everyone can write about!

Anyone that says, “I haven’t had an adventure” or “nothing exciting worth writing about ever happens to me” is not seeing life with appreciative eyes. Every breath you take has potential to be adventurous and every moment you have with your kids is definitely am adventurous challenge.

No kids? No Family? No Problem! Your life is individual and special! Just because kids tend to be challenging, I mention them. They certainly aren’t required, ha ha!¬† Close your eyes and recap your day… There is something special, adventuresome, or otherwise wonderful that happened.¬† It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you think it is. It’s huge to someone else and maybe even therapeutic!¬† Here¬†what our badge will look like:

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Linkup parties are mutually beneficial for writers and photographers. Consider joining below and increasing your traffic today! Do you see that little frog? Click on the box now to fill out the form and add your link to this post!  Our next Link-up will feature the top 5 visited sites from this party!

100 Reasons Why You Should Call Your Mom

100¬†Reasons Why You Should Call Your Mom… No, really – call her!

I know the drill, I’ve done it myself.¬† It’s been a while since you spoke to your mom (or accepted one of her calls) so you are thinking…maybe, just maybe – you should call her? YES, you should… and here are 100 reasons why!

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    1. She is your mother for better or for worse.
    2. She did the best she could at the time and she always wished it was better.
    3. She thinks about you every time she sees someone your age.
    4. She misses you dearly
    5. She likes to see and hear about your successes.
    6. She is your biggest fan.
    7. She thinks about you every time she speaks with someone on the phone that talks the way you do.
    8. Although you are human,  you can do no wrong.
    9. She is proud of your accomplishments. Even the little ones that you don’t even remember.
    10. She loves you.
    11. You took up residence in her body for almost a year without paying rent or helping buy groceries!
    12. You were the apple of her eye.
    13. She was your primary dietician during  your formative years.
    14. She put off things she wanted to do, so she could spend time with you.
    15. She bought you that article of clothing you were dying for instead of going to the dentist to have her teeth worked on.
    16. She always fed you. Even if she was hungry after supper, she made sure you were full & happy.
    17. She cleaned up your vomit & probably didn’t complain.
    18. She held you tight when you were sick and sat up with you all night. Although she knew she would catch your illness, she did it to comfort you.
    19. She always dressed you first and didn’t take much time for herself.
    20. You were her world…and probably still are.
    21. When you broke something, she took the fall for it.
    22. She stood between you and many butt-bustings. She was your shield.
    23. Your mother is the only woman in your life that will never judge you for being you.
    24. She may be spastic at times, but she handled all your crisis Like-a-Boss.
    25. She would improvise when you ate her office work…or peed on it.
    26. Your Mother protected you from sharp objects.
    27. She cuddled and reassured you when you were sad.
    28. When you were lonely, she was your friend.
    29. She protected you from the boogie man & the zombie’s in the walls.
    30. When you are hurting, her heart is breaking.
    31. She celebrated all your tiny victories.
    32. She celebrated your big Victories
    33. Your Mom gave you breathe and you took hers away
    34. Your hopes were her aspirations for you
    35. She fixed your favorite foods often to make you happy.
    36. Your dreams were her goals
    37. She paved the way for your success.
    38. She worked to help you in school and then came home and worked there.
    39. Your mom encouraged others to see the best in you, even when you were at your worst.
    40. She may not have kept the house immaculate, but she made sure your clothes were always clean.
    41. She skipped naps while watching you sleep.
    42. Your Momma gave it everything she had!
    43. She tried to dazzle your friends to make you cool.
    44. She liked your music even when it gave her a headache.
    45. She baked your favorite sweets to make you happy.
    46. She told every teacher that doubted you where they could go!
    47. She stayed awake to make sure you were breathing.
    48. Your Mother stayed up late at night worrying about you.
    49. She called everyone she knew to track you down when you were late coming home.
    50. Moms have a special heart given by God.  Her heart misses you.
    51. She sees you with eyes of confidence.
    52. Her arms are always ready to hug you.
    53. She’s always waiting on your call.
    54. She watches he driveway…incase you might drive up.
    55. Even though she may disagree, she will take your side.
    56. She removed gum from your hair patiently.
    57. She cleaned the stains out of your underwear!
    58. She would suffer a million calamities for you.
    59. She has patience with you.
    60. Your Mother was purposely objective to your mate for your emotional safety.
    61. Your children are her crown in life.
    62. She loves your pets like your children if you do not have any.
    63. Her life was put on hold to raise you, and she never regretted it.
    64. She delights in your career and brags on you regularly to her friends.
    65. She prays for you all the time.
    66. When she shops, she thinks of things that you need or would like.
    67. She celebrates your birthday more so than you do!
    68. Your Momma remembers how tiny your hands were.
    69. She is always lighting a candle for your life.
    70. She knows your vulnerabilities and keeps them safely secret.
    71. Her hips are slightly off-center because she held you so much while you were young.
    72. A mom never forgets the time you only wanted her to comfort  you.
    73. She is a fixer – always striving to help you fix something.
    74. Mothers come in many forms – not all biological!
    75. Even if she wasn’t really your mom, but just a lady you looked to like-a-mom, she knows that and never forgot.
    76. God changes the mind of a Mother. This is why you think she is a little crazy.
    77. One day, she will not be there to answer the phone.
    78. A day may come when she doesn’t remember who you are.
    79. There may be a day that she can no longer speak verbally.
    80. She has carried the weight of every tiny thing she could have done better on her shoulders.
    81. She remembers every single mistake she made – and is hard on herself.
    82. You can release her from the Mother-Guilt she carries.
    83. She is a strong woman your mate should look up to.
    84. Every little wrinkle on her face she wears as a trophy from your childhood.
    85. Each gray hair on her head is a reminder for her of what she once was to you.
    86. She sees herself in your face.
    87. She realizes when she has gone too far.
    88. Your Mom knows when she should stay silent, but can’t help herself.
    89. She invested her entire life into you.
    90. She still dreams about when you where a toddler.
    91. Her mind races with thoughts about how you are.
    92. She still wants to help you.
    93. Her life was forever changed by you.
    94. Her thoughts were forever changed by you.
    95. You made her stronger than she thought she could be.
    96. She feeds off your energy and thriving life.
    97. Every busted vein in her legs is a sign of her love – walking the floor with you while you were a fussy baby.
    98. She never regretted you!
    99. You were not an accident.
    100. You make her the happiest woman alive when you call!!

 

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