My Latest Adventure in 2015

My Latest Adventure in 2015
I'll be walking the Camino this fall from August 11th until approximately October 5th...eventually will spend a week in Paris before returning to USA on October 20th

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Well this begins my last week of training.  I had a really good week with 54 miles all with my full pack except for the last day which was my longest day:  14 miles.
Starting with last Sunday of 2 miles around the lake in the sun, Monday was 7.59 miles, Tuesday 6.71 miles, Wednesday 8.02 miles, Thursday 8.35 miles, and Friday 6.95 miles.

I've nearly worn the top of my pack out with constantly repacking.  Jim is getting excited and walking more miles every day.  I have made contact with a couple from Phoenix who will be meeting me in Pamplona and we will spend the first night together in a small Pension and travel together to the starting village in France.  I'll spend the night there to deal with possible jet lag and since they have two days in Barcelona to recover they will immediately head up the mountain . 
I have my twin sister Mary to thank for the connection, she found them on a website called trails.  It's going to be a good beginning.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Hard to believe that 2 weeks from Tuesday I'll be on the airplane to Spain!  This weekend has been a bust for exercise as family has filled the days. 
Jay was down with Tom for water polo tournment...Wendy & Keith went to Oregon for a wedding so we got some time with their dog.  Mary & Tushar had two full days of real estate classes so along with Ruby and Jim had the two boys both days.  As I was a family weekend.

To recap my week on Monday I walked 5.7 miles in 2 hours. On Tuesday I did 5.17 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
On Wednesday I hiked 7.16 miles in 2 hours and 38 minutes. Thursday was my  biggest day when I hiked 11.18 miles in 4 hours and 40 minutes. On Friday it was 7.91 miles in 3 hours and 9 minutes. Most days I had my pack on my back. It weighs 17 pounds. Everything I read says that I should eliminate 25% of what I have in there before I leave home. That may be a struggle to choose what to take and what to leave home.
Today we did the in an out around the lake which is 2 miles.. it was very warm. I'm looking forward to starting back with my pack again tomorrow on Monday. I did learn last week that when my socks don't feel good in my shoes it's time to sit down take off my shoes and change my socks. I didn't on Friday and I ended up with 3 blisters little ones but all the same they hurt.  Buen Camino

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


This is a bit late but trying to keep in the habit of posting...Last week was 8 am to 4 pm...sometimes earlier and sometimes later at the rummage sale at our local church...we started on July 10th and the final day was July 19th.  Long days of constantly being on my feet so I logged many steps but not out in the open air.  But it was a great success and although the final figures are not in they raised just over $30,000. for our parish!  Here are photos of just two corners of the massive sale!

But I did get up very early and managed to walk 4.76 miles on Monday before going to work at the church and again on Tuesday I walked 7.78 miles.  By Wednesday....too tired to do the miles.

On Monday July 20th, I was up and out early for 5.07 miles and again on Tuesday for 5.17 miles.  Today, July 22nd I carried my backpack (17 pounds) and walked 7.16 miles in 2 hours, 38 minutes.

Hope this finds all of you enjoying life and finding bright spots in each of your days!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Well the test posted so I'll  give it another try.  It was a good week and I walked 40 miles.  My longest day was 11.68 miles on Thursday.

This week begins the annual rummage sale at our church so I may not get as many miles in as I usually do.

Here are some photos of what is happening with the drought...and a grass fire in the 4th of July. .. probably from fireworks.  It was right at the top of our hills where I usually walk.

High in the hills on Thursday. .. can't get much higher in our town.


Having some trouble posting tonight so I'll do it in sections.  I did 40 miles this past week, only taking Sundays off.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Week six was only 40.9 miles but two day I carried my backpack (3/4 loaded)!  And we hosted a 4th of July party for the family.
Sunday was a day off....Monday was 9.7 miles....Tuesday was 5.6 miles .......Wednesday was 13.7 miles.
Thursday was a gold star day since I carried my backpack for the first time around the lake for 4.09 miles.  Friday we cleaned house for our family party for the boat parade that started at 9 pm.
Saturday was the 4th and we enjoyed a slow 7.8 hike in the hills with my backpack.  Today has been a rest day watching the the Tour de France and the finals of the FIFA woman's soccer.  Great game!

The hills are very brown which is normal in the summer as we live in the high desert.  We sometimes forget as we water everything and usually have beautiful green landscaping everywhere.

But because of the drought they have stopped watering the public greenbelts along the streets and everything is rapidly turning brown.  They have installed special sprinklers for each tree to hopefully keep them alive.   If the predicted rainstorms happen this should all be green when I return home at the end of October.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


It's been two weeks since I've taken a day off....but today is Sunday and I've decided to take one.  It's Mass with the family, a memorial service and then a flotilla with neighbors in the late afternoon.

My scorecard for last week:
Sunday....5.30 miles, Monday. ..4.47 miles, Tuesday. ..12.84, Wednesday. ..4.10 miles, Thursday. ..7.26 miles, Friday. ..6.44 miles, Saturday. ...8.10 miles.  A total of 48.51 miles.

My first ever adventure into the state park that is within walking distance of our home.  I've tried some new things today in my quest to learn more about posting on my cell phone.  Hoping that is all works.  Buen Camino

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Last week I made a mistake and put it was the second week for the second time. so yes this is week 4. Leslie in Oregon: love seeing your comments yes I am aware of the disappearance. I'm walking east to west so I will end up on the ocean at the end.  The photo is of my oldest daughter Jenn who paces me on a long hike once a week.
I'm actually 2 days late in posting this but for the fourth week I did 45 miles : I took sunday off and on Monday June the 15th I did my longest ever hiked it was 16.9 miles and it took me just under seven hours to do the walk. I then sat down and reevaluate my days on the actual journey to make sure there were no more 16 mile hikes. I gave up my days off and spread the miles over the extra 3 days. on Tuesday June the 16th I did 5. 11 miles in less than 2 hours. on Wednesday 6. 11 miles and on Thursday 6.9 miles. Friday I stretched my pace and did 10. 44 miles and then saturday I relaxed and did 2 miles around the lake just to keep my feet moving. I hope you're enjoying keeping up with my progress it keeps me moving just knowing that a few of you out there are  following my story. the backpack is nearly done and then in another week I'll start caring  it every once in awhile.  I'm typing this on my cell phone so that I can learn to do it before I go on my trip as this will be my only computer during my journey.   buen Camino

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I learned a few things last week:  1)  socks with toes in them are fabulous!   No new blisters.  But today I exchanged my new size 9 for size 10 shoes for use on my journey.  The 9 is fine for walks under ten miles but over that my toes begin to hurt!

So after making three trips to Big 5 Sporting Goods and several other sporting goods stores I still could not find my shoe in a 10.  I even looked on the Internet and everyone was "out of stock"!

Today I decided to return the second pair that I have not worn and then spend the $100 for the shoe that is similar but not the same.  Twice the cost!   I took another look when I returned the shoes and my prayers were answered!  Someone had returned a size 10 that is in perfect condition!  So I am now set with shoes and will give them a run tomorrow when my daughter Jenn and I do a long hike.  Then back on the shelf for use for only long walks until time to go to Spain.

Last week's milage:   47.37 miles   (M: 7.14; T:2; W: 10; T: 5.07; F: 12.52; S: 10.64)

Jim is walking three to five miles most days and every once in awhile we meet and walk together for a part of our journey.  He still has not made up his mind about going on part of my trip.

Buen Camino

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Last week I walked fifty nine miles.  My longest day was fourteen miles in five and a half hours without stopping.  I was dead tired by the time I stopped.  But after three hours of rest I felt much better.  Each day I get stronger.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


   Sounds a bit much for a 76 year old woman but I'm determined to complete the pilgrimage done each year by thousands of people across the top of Spain.  To prepare for this journey I have begun to walk each day.    I try to do some hills in addition to my walks around the lake.  I've been racking up a minimum of five miles a day and sometimes more.  Today was a record breaker as I started early in the morning and completed ten miles!!!   My legs are killing me this afternoon and I also managed to get my first blister today before completing three miles.

     Tune in and watch my progress.  Next weekend I'll carry my pack on one day to see how I'm doing with the packing.  It's a process of trying to carry as little as possible but still have everything that I need.  Yes...these are the sandals that I'll be wearing on the hike.

     I'll begin to make these posts from my cell phone soon and hoping to discover how to post photos on the web for you.  But, the posts may be much shorter than usual and fewer photos for sure!

As they say on the camino....buen camino

Friday, May 8, 2015


   We were all up early and out on the curb by five forty-five in the morning.   The taxi arrived about ten minutes early so by our scheduled six o'clock we were loaded and on the road.   We used a taxi service that we were able to pre-order on the Internet.  And, we were able to specify a mini van that was perfect for all of our luggage and the wheelchair.

    By leaving early we saved a bit on the fare since we didn't have the morning commuters that would have extended our half hour drive to possibly an hour and a half.  But, we had to wait for half
an hour to check-in at the airline counters after we arrived.  Mary and Phil were on US Airways and we were on American Airlines; they were next to each other for check-in so we were able to stay together until they were all checked in.  After going through security; another bonus for arriving early as we breezed through easily with no stress, we found our gate and settled in with free wifi but no electrical outlets that had power.  Lots of outlets but none of them worked!


   Our gates were a bit of a walk, we were at 50 and they were at 37; just long enough to be a good leg stretch and we each made the trip once to say our final goodbyes.  Our plane was a new one and they had stretched the leg room in the main cabin; a real bonus for the tall men.  Even when the person in front of you leaned back; you didn't feel crowded.  We had a full flight from Paris to Dallas and they kept us busy with movies and two meals.   Great crew with lots of service with a smile!

     We generally stay awake coming home because it's daylight the whole way.  This time we have a different experience in that after we'd purchased our tickets with air miles, they changed our flight and we ended up with a sixteen hour layover in Dallas, Texas.  We reserved a room at an inexpensive hotel near the airport with shuttle service.  So we've been able to have some dinner, go for a walk, shower and get some sleep soon.   We have to be back at the airport by five o'clock tomorrow morning for the final three and half hours of flying in LAX. 

    A pleasant way to arrive rested after a very long trip.  There are storms warnings for the Dallas area tonight.  It may be an interesting night!  And so ends our trip; thanks for joining us on our journey.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015


    We woke to beautiful sunshine for our last day of adventures in Paris.  Spent some time getting ready for tomorrows trip to the USA and then walked to Mary and Phil's apartment at eleven o'clock.  Jim hailed a taxi and we were off to Sainte Chapelle to see the beautiful floor to ceiling stain glass windows in the top chapel that was built as a home for the "Crown of Thorns" from Jerusalem.   Over the centuries the thorns were removed and distributed throughout Europe but the crown remained in Paris and is now kept at Notre Dame and displayed to the public on special events such as Good Friday during Lent. 

     The lines were long but because of Phil's wheelchair we were allowed to go through a special entry so that he could use the elevator.  Jim was the caregiver for Mary and Phil and went with them.   Jim has been in the chapel many times over the past twenty years but this was the first time there was no scaffolding inside of the chapel for the cleaning that has been in process for many years.  That, with the sunshine, made this a very special visit for Jim.  Because of the special entry we were limited on the number of people so I elected to stay outside because of the ramps that Jim would have to push the wheelchair up during the visit. 

      After they returned to the street we walked from there across the Seine River to the Left Bank.  We noticed that the water is running so high there were no boats on the river today; very unusual.    We walked through several of the small streets around St. Michel and ended up at the bookshop Shakespeare and Company and enjoyed the wonderful views of Notre Dame.

     Everyone was hungry so we walked back to St. Michel Blvd. to a favorite crepe shop and Jim and Phil each had a jambon and fromage crepe while Mary and I enjoyed a cappuccino drink.   And,
this was also another check mark on the list of things to do:  sit outside of a shop for food and/or drinks and watch the people stroll past.  By the time we finished, Phil was ready to return to the apartment so we hailed a taxi and scooted back to the apartment.  One could really get spoiled using taxicabs but this was the easiest way to get Phil from place to place on his Paris Adventure.

     Everyone took time to rest and I caught the Metro to the tenth arrondissement to check out a
new Hostel called Generator that has just opened.  It really impressed me and I'm looking forward to hopefully staying there at the end of my trip this fall before leaving for the USA in October.  It's a new chain of Hostels all over Europe and although it's in an "edgy" and upcoming area of Paris; their prices are good and it looks great.

     Back to our apartment to finish packing and cleaning and then we walked to Mary and Phil's about four o'clock.  We first played our last two hands of Hand and Foot, finishing the game we started on Tuesday in Normandy.    Mary and Jim won!
  Then we headed out about five thirty for an early dinner.  We intended to eat at the Italian Restaurant on their street.  Oops....all of the restaurants were closed from four to seven o'clock!   One exception:  The Chinese we enjoyed our last dinner in Paris at the Chinese Restaurant with the windows open to the street and it was just warm enough to enjoy the ambiance!   I must say that although rain was predicted for every day of their short vacation; we've had beautiful sunshine ninety percent  of the time!  God has been good to us. 

     We're back in our apartment after helping Mary strap up the wheelchair for shipping as baggage but leaving it so that he could still use it as a walker until he has the airport wheelchair.  We used two luggage straps and lots of plastic ties.  Tomorrow we will walk the five minutes to their apartment and the taxi (van) will pick us all up at six o'clock in the morning for our trip out to Charles de Gaulle Airport.    I'll probably do a wrap up blog after we get home, so for now ...  au revoir

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015


     Our hotel outside of Bayeux was very nice last night and we even added the French Breakfast to our bill so that we'd start out the day with full tummies!   It was about half past nine when we left the hotel and headed towards the American Cemetery of Normandy.  We got a bit turned around before finding our way; arriving at the site above Omaha Beach about ten o'clock.  The sun was shining and the wind was blowing very harshly but we were delighted that the rain did not come down until we were leaving the cemetery.

   Jim said that one of the most special moments came when he was pushing Phil in the wheelchair and a young french man came up, touched him on the shoulder and said "thank you" softly to each of them.  He probably thought they'd fought in WW II, but they each had their time in the service; Jim right after Korea and Phil was actually in the Vietnam War.   So the thought was much appreciated by both of them.  This visit had much more meaning to them personally than to Mary or to me.

     Back in the car before the rain drops began to fall; we drove further west to Pointe du Hoc where The Ranger Units scaled the cliffs.   It's a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the actual site so we mentally said our thank you to the boys, took some photos and continued our day of remembrance.  Yes, we were only youngsters but we all remember those days in the 1940's.   And Phil is feeling the effects of all of the walking that he has done in the past few days.   Yes, he walks and uses his wheelchair as a walker sometimes when he is feeling good. 

   By half past twelve we were at Sainte-Mere-Eglise where the soldier hung all night on the church steeple when it caught his parachute.  The moment was added to a movie starring Red Buttons and called "The Longest Day" about the D-Day Invasion.

    You'll see a new monument that is very unusual in the slideshow; a huge silver woman symbolizing Peace I think.   Very modern and unusual.   Not my cup of tea but the boys loved it!

    On our return trip towards Caen we made several serendipity stops; first one was at a German Cemetery along the highway called German Cemetery at La Cambe.  It was actually an American Cemetery until 1947 when those bodies were shipped home to America and they moved the German bodies into the cemetery.  They have a book listing all of the men buried and we found five Brockmanns (my maiden name), seven Benders (Phillip) and nine Jansens.  We are all of German descent several generations back.  

   Our second stop was at the fishing village of Port En Bessin that is right on the English Channel.  Found the fish market and many little shops.  The boats were done for the day and tied at the docks.  From there we went off at Bayeux and enjoyed driving through the Centre Ville admiring the half timbered buildings and tiny shops along with the Cathedral. 

     Soon we were back on the highway and the rain came in buckets for a short time.  Happily it was sunshine again when we reach Caen and returned the car before walking across the street to the
train station.   There we checked into the Assistance for Handicapped and when the time came, Phil was once again put on a lift and into a special car for wheelchairs.  They are fantastic.  They even called ahead and when we arrived in Paris they had a taxi waiting for us so that they could deliver Phil right to the curb and put him in the taxi before returning to the station.  Marvelous; we wondered if the trains in the USA have such a program for the Handicapped.

     By nine o'clock we were all safely back in our apartments and getting ready for our last day tomorrow.  We've ordered our taxi for the trip to the airport early Friday morning and the weatherman says it looks like good weather tomorrow.  Hope you've enjoyed reading about our day.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015


   It was seven o'clock Tuesday morning and we were all standing outside of Mary and Phil's apartment waiting for the taxi cab that we'd ordered using the Internet.  He arrived right on the dot of seven and we were off on our adventure to Normandy for two days and one night.  Best of all the rain has stopped and we're expecting mostly wind for today when we arrive in the north.

    Soon we were at the Gare Saint Lazare train station and headed towards the office for assistance for handicapped that I'd found on Saturday when I purchased the tickets.  We'd been told to arrive about an hour early if we wanted to use the service and we were at least an hour early and they had us wait in their waiting room until the team of three arrived to facilitate Phil's train adventure.  We were along for the ride.  First we headed for the toilets so that everyone could use the facilities before getting on the train.   Then we were off to the platform for our train.  They punched our tickets for all of us and handled Phil in the wheelchair.  Mary, using the cane, had to hustle to keep up with them.

     It was amazing; we had our own car!  There was a lift to put Phil on the train without his having to get out of his chair.  The car is designed for up to three wheelchairs and their caregivers.  It had electrical outlets for us to charge our phones and a handicapped bathroom.  We occasionally had people coming through from other cars but we mostly had it to ourselves for the two hour journey.  Plus they put us on early so we didn't have to wait in the station. 

    We saw sunshine, rain, sunshine, rain and finally sunshine in Caen.  Along the way we went through the towns of Mante, Evreux Normandi, Bernay, and Lisieux before arriving in Caen.  We were very excited seeing Lisieux as we could see the Basilica from the train.  Mary and I spent hours there on our trip in 2009 to see the home of St. Theresa of Lisieux and the Basilica.  Lisieux is the second town of Pilgrimage in France, the other is Lourdes in the South of France.

     We had people waiting for us when we arrived in Caen to take Phil off of the train and into the station.   We crossed the street and picked up our rental car at Enterprise Rental Service.   We have a black Citeron with GPS...this time build-in.   She finally got us out of Caen and over to the Caen Memorial, but not without lots of U-Turns!

   It was about noon when we arrived at the War Memorial Museum.   We spent about two hours there before heading back out on the road about two o'clock to find the Arromanches Les Bains on the coast.  This is the area where they built huge floating docks to unload equipment right after the invasion.  It worked beautiful for a short time and then a major storm tore it apart.  Today pieces are stuck in the sand, some close and more off in the distance.  At low tide you can actually walk to some of the ones close to shore.

    A fun note:  while there we walked to a store so that Mary could find a key chain for their travel tree; and Jim handed me a bottle of liquor to purchase made from apples as that is very popular in this area of France.  It is called Calvados.   I was surprised when the clerk said forty two euros.  Wow...Jim is springing for a really good bottle.   Only later when he opened it in the hotel room and discovered it was forty proof did I mention the price...he was shocked....he thought it was two euros!  Not sure just how we'll drink it all before we leave for home on Friday.  We may leave it for our manager of our apartment.

  Leaving there we drove further west along the beach to the Batterie de Longues; a group of four huge concrete buildings that each housed a gun that could shoot two miles out into the water.  Jim didn't remember that we'd seen these in 2012; but it was still fun to see them again.  We have good friends who live in Florida who just posted a photo at this site on Facebook a few days ago.  They stopped here during a cruise!  Small world.   It would have been fun to accidentally see the Hermans here.  We've done that more than once during our years of traveling.

     By this time it was nearing four o'clock so we decided to head for our hotel outside of Bayeux for the night.  We had some problems with the GPS and actually ended up using an app on my phone to get us to the Hotel.  But it's clean and close to the highway for tomorrow.  We walked next door and had an early dinner before playing two hands of our favorite game in the lobby.  I've been busy with two days of journals to do.  But, love to do it while it's fresh in my mind.  We had rain just as we arrived at the hotel.  Hoping for sunshine tomorrow as we visit the American Cemetery.

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