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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Easy Velvet

Last month I told my girlfriends that I had never been on a horse. Refusing to believe it, they quickly scheduled a day to take me out and break me.    

same hair

 

After signing the liability waiver and being told that I didn’t really need a helmet on my first time riding, and that I “should be ok, as long as I don’t fall off and break my head”, it would be a understantment to say that I was a little nervous.    

 
I was given a horse named Velvet for my first ride. I picked her because she was blonde and sweet, like me. My friends chose to ride the beautiful beasts Muddy, Solider Boy, Kia and my poor friend Erin got stuck with Lucy, who I heard the owner refer to as Lucifer when saying “make sure the new girl doesn’t get that one”.
 
I had been on a pony once when I was a kid. Boy, that was some adventure. We went in a circle, three times! I thought I had experienced the extent of what these creatures had to offer, but my friends assured me that this was going to be something I wouldn’t forget.
 
I was told I would be following the cowboy instructor and leading my pack of friends. He wanted me close by since I was the least experienced and the most sarcastic when it came to listening to his directions.
 

looking for my seat belt

 

expert riders

 

Our cowboy quickly gave us nicknames that he made up on the spot when yelling at us. He refered to my friend Megan as “Payless” after misreading her last name, Bayless. Payless was constantly being told to “keep up”. Her horse was huge and a little old and it didn’t really want to participate the in group activity. Erin’s name was usually shouted, followed by “If that mule doesn’t move just give it a kick!” Elizabeth and Emily rode behind me and weren’t usually talked to, since they knew what they were doing and just trotted along. I was refered to lovingly as “Blondie” and was told to steer my horse like a car and watch out for trees.    

"Payless" on Kia

 

The first part of the trail was easy enough, until we reached a steep hill covered in mud. We were told to lean back in our saddles and point our toes up so we didn’t fall off. It was quite the abdominal workout.    

 
Every once in a while we would stop for a second, mainly so our cowboy could yell at Erin, and our horses would try to eat whatever plant was in sight. Then wewould take off really fast and I would be forced to stand up a little on my horse, or face the consequences of a bruised butt later.
 
Going fast on the horse was thrilling, however I felt no control over Velvet whatsoever. In fact, I pretty much let her steer herself which is not what you are supposed to do. I learned my lesson when she got close enough to a tree for her to pass by it unharmed. She must have forgotten that I was on her. She would have never run my leg into a tree on purpose.

um, giddy up?

 

We wandered through the woods for 45 minutes. We went up hills, down hills and across streams.
 
“Come on Payless! Come on Erin!” our cowboy would yell at us as he practically sat backwards on this horse to observe our ride.  “Good job Blondie,” he would praise,  for I had not fallen off of the horse and killed myself… yet.
 
On the last leg of our trail our cowboy told us we would be moving quickly, and to again stand up a little on the horse to avoid being hit in the crotch. Here we go!
 
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. EASY VELVET! GEEZ! Ouch. Ouch.
 
 
Pulling into the stables after a long ride was a relief. I really enjoyed myself, and I had gotten a good workout with tensing up my muscles and trying not to fall off and all.
 

playboy cowboy

 

Our cowboy was super excited that we wanted to get a photo with him. He referred to himself as “Playboy Cowboy” with a huge smile.
 
 
My adventure riding as horse was certainly a fun one. I didn’t expect that as soon as I got off of Velvet, I wanted to get back on immediately to keep riding.
 
But I knew I had to go home. I needed to take some aspirin and ice myself in unusual places.
 
 
 
 
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 I have been to Indianapolis many times before, and each time gets better than the last.  This time was different. With most of my adventures, I focus on seeing the sites and taking in every experience I can. During this trip, I focused on the people.     

My 3 day trip, I really only went out to spread my wings on the last. It was foggy and rainy for the first two, and room service was excellent. But wondering back to my hotel on day 3, I walked past a site I had seen many times before, but this time, noticed something different.     

Glorious.

 

The state Soldier’s and Sailor’s monument, located in the circle of the city, was something that I always admired. During the day it was the hub of the city. Traffic through it’s round-a-bout and carriages lined up to the side of it were just some of the elements a potential onlooker would notice, but I saw the buffalo castings and the fountain and the stores surrounding it- especially the Chocolate Cafe. Hello!     

But on this day, I saw something about it I had never seen before, it was OPEN. How  had I never noticed this before? It opens? What is there to open? It’s a statue. Tisk Tisk, little did I know. It wasn’t just a huge and beautiful statue, but you could actually GO INSIDE of it and go to the top. To the top? Who would want to do that? Everydayadventuregirl, what’s who!     

It was $2 to ride the elevator to the top, $1 for students. The stairs, all 331 of them, were free to climb. So on my merrily way I went, climbing the short and eroded metal staircase. I climbed over 500 stairs during my visit to Warrick Castle in England, so this would probably be a piece of pie. Apple. With ice cream on top.     

I was in much better shape then.     

After about 150 stairs I started to get a little dizzy. Why was I wearing a coat? It’s summer.   I had to focus on     

Don't walk on the Scientology Step

 

something to keep myself from falling over the railing and into the elevator shaft. I began to read the dedicated plaques on the steps to pass the time as I walked. Steps were dedicated to deceased loved ones, given to people for birthdays, or sponsored by clubs. A lot of veterans had steps dedicated to them, which I loved. There were a few odd-ball ones, like one sponsored by a sorority, and this: A tribute to Ron L. Hubbard “Dianetics”. Interesting….     

I finally reached the top. I remember the woman in the gift shop taking a break from selling ‘coon skin hats and civil war replica bullets to tell me I could ride the elevator down for free if I walked to the top, and thank goodness for that, because I would still be up there if she hadn’t said that.
 
I’ve been to the top of the Sear/Willis Tower. I have been to the top of the Rockefeller in NYC. Adding to the list, the top of the Indianapolis  monument. Even though the view from the top wasn’t as exciting as the others, this monument is only about 21 feet (6.4 m) shorter than the 305-foot (93 m) tall Statue of Liberty. (Thanks, Wikipedia).  From the outside, it did not look that big at all, and now here I was, looking at everything the city had to offer.

I think I see the mall.

 

 
Guy and Girl- I didn’t catch their names, but I met a lovely pair of friends at the top of the tower and we chatted a while. They were from St. Louis and somesmalltown, Indiana and were visiting for the week. They asked me if I knew where the mall was (sure, ask the blonde girl) and if I knew where the canals were.  Giving into my stereotype, I was able to point them in the direction of the mall in a heartbeat, but I had no idea where the canals were. 
 
We talked local flair, things to do in the evening, and how much we hated the stairs. They too took the cheaper scenic route to the top. We also discussed college and road trips. I told them I wrote a blog about my adventures and comedy and whatnot and I told them I would most likely mention them. “Oh, fame!” he said. They were very fun to talk to and were the kind of people I really enjoy meeting on trips.  We rode the elevator down together and parted ways. I hoped they had a fun weekend. I wish I had known their names.
 

whatstheirfaces.

 

I also noted a a few others who apparently weren’t as excited about the trip to the monument as I, chick and dude were. I don’t know who they are, what they look like or why they were mad about it. They chose to express themselves with a sharpie. Oh graffiti. You make me laugh.    

The day was winding down and I was getting hungry so I hustled back to my hotel to change clothes. This was my first and last time up here. I really wanted to check out the comedy scene in Indy, so I facebooked a local comic who told me about an open mic night at a local bar, the Goldmine.    

Thrilled, I put on my little blue dress with flowers and hit the town for a quick bite and a writing session.    

On my way out of the hotel, I ran into a homeless couple selling homemade art on the street. Since I have the word “Sucker” written on my forehead, I was the perfect person for them to sales pitch to. “Homemade art, $1” the sign read. I looked down to see a painted piece of wood and a few matchstick boxes, colored with crayon. I bought a matchbook. At least they were making an effort!    

folk art.

 

I believe I at least bought myself a little good karma, if nothing else.    

Ashley- Laughing at me outside of Rock Bottom Brewery was Ashley, a local legend who thought it was funny that I bought a matchbook. He said he was very familiar with all of the homeless in the city, given that he lives downtown and is always out and about, but he wasn’t familiar with the artists on the corner. We got to talking, because hey, this was my “people” trip, and he was very friendly! I went in for dinner and sat at the bar next to him, and we talked over a pizza and a sweet tea vodka. Well, that’s what I drank. He had something something Red Raccoon. He was a club promoter and from what I could determine, a very popular guy. He knew just about everyone at the bar.    

Ashley talked to me about the comedy scene in Indy, and gave me an idea for a good joke. “I have the original touch screen phone,” he said. “See, I can touch it.” Hilarious. I’m full.He left to pick up his friends from the airport (nice guy) and I finished my pizza and joke writing. I then headed out to The Goldmine, where I was hoping to walk in and get some stage time.    

I'm full.

 

Luckily for me I got there early enough to talk to the guy who runs the open mic. I got 8 minutes of stage time. It was probably the best set I have had in a while.
I am very thankful I got to meet Guy and Girl, Ashley, and all of the Indy comics that preformed that night.
 
Seriously.
 
What a cool crowd. I even received a special shout-out from the headliner! “Girl, you killed it,” she said. “I thought you were going to suck. Way to go!”
 
Thank you, Indianapolis. I’ll be back.

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The quirky journey that is life. I’ve had 125 visitors. Yay. That’s not a lot, but you must have found it on your own, since I’ve only told 3 tight-lipped souls about this.  

So here is an artsy photo.

 

Thanks for looking. 

Update: 5/5/2010. I have now told 4 people. Katie, you know who you are. And now everyone else does too…

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Milwaukee… why didn’t anybody tell me?  

This week landed me in Milwaukee for the first time. It’s around 50 degrees here, very sunny and SO Beautiful! I can’t believe all this was hiding in Wisconsin, a state that I only looked to when someone mentioned Bret Favre or cheese. Tisk Tisk on me. I should know better than to judge a book by its dairy facade.  

I’m staying at the luxurious Pfister Hotel, one of the few hotels on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was too good of a deal to pass up, and might I say, the views from my window are fabulous. They also have a near rooftop pool, a spa, shops, and a few players from the Atlanta Hawks currently staying on the 19th floor.   A little history, the building was built in the 1860’s. It used to feature a skylight but now has a beautiful painted ceiling. When the new owners took over in the 1900s, they found a large collection of origional victorian art in the vault. Score. It was worth more than that they had paid for the building.  

The ceiling that made me want to cry

 

The view from my window

 

  The architecture in this city is to die for. The mix of old and new compliment each other very well. Every few seconds my eyes wander from one pretty building to the next.  

On the other side of my bay window is Lake Michigan. Yesterday, I took a stroll down by the water. Right on the lake is an incredible art museum and a children’s science museum. Both were closed at the time but left enough of an impression on me to know that next time I come to Milwaukee I would like to see both.  

Today’s adventure:  

This morning, as I visited a building, I was able to get on the roof with the maintenance personnel. I got the most amazing view of Lake Michigan. I could even see as far as Kenosha.  

I am also sad to report that I somehow lost the bow on one of my favorite turquoise shoes. These shoes have taken me a lot of places, and I am sad the bow is no longer with them. However, I feel they are still wearable, if I decide to de-bow it’s twin.  

Shoes before Buddah- pre bowed

 

In the afternoon, I was given a real treat. I was able to go onboard a 1880 replica ship, a 3 Mast schooner. I had only seen a vessel like that in movies: The Goonies, Captain Ron, etc. It was amazing. I had never seen anything like it up close, and then I got on board and got the grand tour.  

The grand tour came to a sudden hault when the crew needed help hauling the mast. Tug tug pull, tug tug pull, tug tug pull and a couple rope burns later, I was glad I was able to experience some hard crew work. I couldn’t believe how much goes into sailing and upkeep. The crew lives on the boat for 3 months, working 12 hour days. A small shower, tiny living quarters, and low pay are some of the negatives. But man, what a view to wake up to.  

I was also suprised to see the Captain of the vessel was a very small, very pretty woman. You go girl.  I did some work in the engine room, getting very dirty and almost losing my hearing, but it was an amazing experience.  

I'm on a boat

 

The ship was docked next to the Aquarium and Science Museum. Naturally, after my work was done, I took a look around.  

Some things I did to end my trip were:  

pet a starfish  

sit on a bed of nails  

found Barnical Buds  

I wasn’t expecting to even like Milwaukee, but I left loving it.  

Buds.

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This week’s adventure took me to Lexington, Kentucky.  

And they're off!

 

Mint Julip.

 

 

Some friends took me out to Keenland, a beautiful horse track surrounded by acres of bluegrass. The tailgating was like nothing I had ever seen before. Classy women in hats and pearls, preppy boys in ties and boat shoes, all binge drinking and grilling out in a mile long parking lot before 11AM. Drunk was the mission, chugging was the execution. I just sipped my Mike’s Hard Lemonade and sat in the sun until the race started, that’s more my style… 

get your tailgate on.

 

The inside of Keenland was beautiful. We had reserved seats, and we grabbed them as soon we were done watching the horses for the first race.  How would I bid? According to looks and name. No statistics. 

My favorite bid of the day came early. The long shot, Snuggs and Kisses, was the least favored horse to win. Still, she was wearing red, and she was beautiful. So I put $2 on Snuggs to win. 

Snuggs came out in full force, gaining the lead of the race and maintaining it until 3/4 of the way, where she dropped into 3rd. Still, cheering on her was the most fun I had that day. I love a good long shot. Full of surprises. 

pretty girl.

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Over the weekend, I visited my lover, Chicago. He says Hello. 

I got there in time to watch him dye the river green, rock out in the House of Blues, and then play some serious Jenga. 

Willis, or Sears, Tower

 

 
 

Blinding Lights.

 

 

 

Happiness.

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Going through Kentucky, I did my usual GPS search for local attractions. I didn’t see anything I loved so I hit up the website www.roadsideAmerica.com   one of my absolute favorite sites for my road trips. 

I came across the post for Colonel Sanders grave and decided I had to go for the following reasons: 

  1. In the movie Elizabethtown, Claire takes Drew to that very spot. Obviously I love that movie, see older posts.
  2. I love me some KFC.
  3. Why the hell not.

So I grabbed a two piece and a biscuit and took a trip over to the cemetary to pay my respect (when can I ever say that again).  The website said to follow the yellow line in the road, which I did, and it drove me right up to the last resting place of the late great inventor of original recipe. 

And here he rests.

 

Right as I pulled up, a song came on my ipod. It was coincidently, a song from the Elizabethtown soundtrack. It also happened to be a song about death, a very beautiful song, “Long Ride Home” by Patty Griffin. 

mad respect yo.

 

I paid my respects, enjoyed my chicken picnic, and loaded my car back up. I also saw a few other graves which I would rate as “very cool” on my gravesite rating system. One was from a man, died in his 70’s who wrote “I had a great time!” on his tombstone. I loved that. 

I did, as I usually do on these trips, have a deep prolific experience. I drove past a man, laying next to a grave in his lawn chair, looking up. It appeared to me that he had been there for quite some time, and that he probably goes often. He was old. He was alone. It made me cry. 

I also got to see a few other beautiful sites along the way. I drove by the distilleries way down in Kentucky and came by a park. This park has the most wicked awesome tree I had ever seen. I took plenty of photos. 

badass tree

 

and me.

 

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