Baltimore: The City that Doesn’t Wish to Rent

I like to travel on the fly. I don’t often get the opportunity but I like to go to a place without any real plans. Since I was on my way to Washington, DC, I thought I’d arrive a few days early. I brought along my faithful traveling companion, Sweetie, and the adventure began.

I was due in DC on Sunday; we arrived on Tuesday. We’d decided on the flight to visit Baltimore, a city neither of us had visited before. We had no hotel nor car rental reservations.

To rent a car, we had to take a shuttle from BWI (Baltimore Washington International airport) to the off-site car rental site. Let me tell you, they stuffed that shuttle tight. I was nearly bopped on the nose several times by an overstuffed backpack carried by a man with a bad sense of balance.

At the off-site building, we found about 10 rental agencies. Sweetie began with Economy. I’d used them before on spontaneous trips. We’d never had a problem before. Economy didn’t have any cars available. So he moved to the next booth: Alamo.

You’d think that Alamo, being named after our home state, would be friendlier but they wanted to see an itinerary before they’d rent to us. We’d been traveling paperless so we had no itinerary. A helpful agent suggested that we show them the paperless itinerary (from our email). However, there was no free wifi in the building and no one was willing to share their password to the wifi system.

“Why do they need an itinerary?” we wondered. We never got an answer but three more places wanted the same thing.

Dollar was willing to rent to us without an itinerary but we were rejected there because we only had my bank debit card (which functions as both a credit and debit card). They wanted a real credit card.

Sweetie made his way around the building from kiosk to kiosk int he two hours we were there. In the end, there were only two rental agencies he didn’t try because Avis finally agreed to rent us a car.

It took us over two hours to find someone willing to rent us a car "on the fly."

Inside the Building

Geocaching: A New Easternmost

Geocaching.com keeps lots of statistics. Some of my favorites are most eastern, western, southern, and northern finds.

Since 2011, my most eastern find has been I am the God of Leaky Caches and Soggy Log Books. In addition to logging a new state (Delaware), I’ve now logged a new most eastern find: Light Pole Park.

This is on the boardwalk. The cache is located at the end of the boardwalk.

Near the Cache but not yet there.

Wonderfully Silly Cache!

Sweetieheart and I were on a trip up the Panhandle to visit my mother. We stopped off to buy gas and to stretch our legs. As Sweetieheart paid, I pulled out my trusty iPhone and looked for a nearby cache.

We got a hit less than 300 feet from us. It’s title led me to believe that the cache could be located in this unique piece of art.

There's a cache in there!

We were right and we had a laugh at the silliness of this wonderful cache.

Found in the barrel of a large gun.

Can I lose weight just by walking?

Depending on your weight, walking 10,000 steps a day burns 250-600 calories. The more vigorously you walk, the more calories you burn. You can lose weight with walking but, in my opinion (and I’m NOT a doctor), it’s better to walk for health than walk to lose weight.

I just prefer to keep it positive. My goal is not to get thin; it’s to get healthy.

How do I know if I’m active?

An inactive person walks 3,000 steps or fewer a day. 10,000 steps is approximately five miles. That’s 30-60 minutes of walking a day!

Why 10,000 steps?

According to legend, the first pedometers only had four place numbers (ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands). One step after 999, the pedometer rolled over.  Thus, a health recommendation was born.

Volksmarch: Lake Highlands

Less than a week until school begins. How should I celebrate? By re-walking my original first walk.

I don’t remember how I found out about volksmarching. I don’t remember how I found out about this particular volksmarch. I do remember Sweetie and I being totally lost and some kind folks at the Starbucks walking us through the steps to walk a volksmarch.

I grew up in citrus country. As a result, I can't stand most bottled OJ. Except this one.

Fueling Up

Four years later, we can fill out the paperwork on our own. We’re also much better at reading the directions than we used to be. We have an official walking backpack with all the gear we normally need: sun and bug repellant, a hand towel, spare pens, band-aids, snack bars, and water.

This walk was memorable for several reasons.

  1. We encountered our first Little Free Library. As a reading teacher, I’d heard of them but I’d never seen one before.
  2. I had my first sports injury. I pulled a tendon and was on a cane for several weeks. (A very dramatic injury for the first weeks of school.)
  3. Less than a month later, the Starbucks management decided that they would no longer host the walk box. I hope it wasn’t because of anything we did!

Thanks, Lake Highlands, for hosting us for so long! Thanks for starting us on the walking path!

Little Free Libraies are run by readers for readers.

My First Little Free Library

Laid Up

So I’m laid up ion the couch with an upper respiratory infection. Light glares into my eyes, causing more weeping. My glasses weigh heavily upon my face. For brief moments, I can breathe easily through a single nostril before the congestion reappears. Sneezing leads to the usage of much Puffs Plus. Post-nasal drip abounds. So I visit Facebook because I can control the amount of light emitted by the computer screen and I’m bored. Today marks day 3 of being sick.

None of my friends are fulfilling their purpose of living interesting lives on Facebook to keep me amused. I delve into my groups. I’ve recently joined the AVA (American Volksmarching Association) group. In this group, I can live vicariously through the pics of other volksmarchers who are visiting exotic realms such Las Vegas, Florida, and Hawaii.

I learn that there is a Fitbit group for Volksmarchers. I join the group even though it’s now been two days since I last did any walking beyond the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and couch. (I love my Fitbit!)

And from John McClellan of Florida, this interesting post appears:

Avid Volkssporters — this year’s AVA Convention is fast approaching, what Issues should we be talking about there, and what Ideas do you have to reverse the current decline in clubs and events?? GO!

Quite frankly, this has laid heavily on my mind for the past year or so. Volksmarching has added so much to my life. I’d love to share this sport with others. But what can we do about the volksmarching image? Is there even a volksmarching image in the mind of the average American? Is this a sport which doesn’t really exist yet?

I’d love to attend the AVA convention but it’s held during the school year. I know that is one issue I have with AVA: the idea that volksmarching is limited to the retired and the elderly. I’d like to see more families embrace the sport. I love meeting young families (some members in strollers) on a volksmarch. I love seeing checkpoints which are dog-friendly.

And then I run into the digital divide. Many of our elders are uncomfortable with technology and our clubs are reluctant to invest in technology because they don’t wish to turn off the members who are less comfortable with technology. On the other hand, many of the younger set can’t function without technology. They just don’t do paper. Clubs without a strong electronic presence can’t lure this demographic in. Who do we turn off: those uncomfortable with technology or those who require technology?

All of these profound conundrums run through my head as I wait for the antibiotics to kick in. And I kick myself because it’s a beautiful day for a walk and I’m laid up in bed.

The IditaWalk 2015

This is the third year I have participated in the IditaWalk. From February 1st to March 31st, I promise to walk for at least 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 1034 minutes, matching the distance of the Iditarod, 1034 miles.

The IditaWalk benefits Bronson Camp in Nome, Alaska, but it also benefits me. Iditawalk 2012 is the challenge which helped me achieve my second fitness goal that I had ever set in my life. The first fitness goal I ever set was back in high school when I wanted to lose weight for my senior pictures. I lost 30 pounds and kept it off until I began working as a teacher. The stress and time required of teachers was too much and I gained 60 pounds my first two years of teaching.

Last year my fitness goal was to complete the IditaWalk as quickly as possible. This year I’m not into speed. I’m into stress reduction.

And I will complete the IditaWalk 2015!

The Big Blue Cache

It was one of those ho-hum kind of days. I really wasn’t in the mood to do any of the piles of housework I had to do. Nor was I in the mood for a movie or to play on the computer. So I did what I always do: I headed over to Half Price Books.

Construction rerouted me and I ended up at a stoplight not on my normal route. Construction also meant that the light was out of sync. As long as I was bored, I decided to check my geocaching app. What’s nearby?

Lo and behold, on the other side of the light was a geocache! The hint: “look for the blue.”

I ended up behind a doctor’s office near the trash next to the bright blue recycling bin. Hanging on for dear life, was a blue cache filled with trinkets.

The whimsical cache brightened my day. After all, my favorite color was blue and I believe deeply in recycling. I felt lucky to be living in such a wonderful day and age. GPS, geocaches, and books have all brought life to my life. My ho-hum day became my lucky day as my attitude changed. I replaced the cache and proceeded on my errands with a happier outlook on life.

Found near my house.

The Big Blue Cache