Category Archives: Food

DAY 189 – 03/17/2013 – LARPing in Trotwood, Ohio

Rolling through gray hills, we sought a campground. Parking overnight at Walmart has its charms. But, so few that we really prefer a nice campground in a park. Well, actually, our favorite thing is to park somewhere off the grid. Someplace where nobody else is and amenities are nonexistent. Where we see only woods and sky.

But, in a populated area just outside of Dayton, Ohio, an official campground is the way to go. We saw Sycamore State Park on the map and navigated our way over. We found the park alright but were having trouble locating the campground. Could it really be that small, grassy area with a spot-a-pot, right across a street from a row of houses?

Unconvinced and without signs for guidance, we drove deeper into the park, down an unmarked road. The skies overhead were roiling with sinister rain clouds, ready to drench us any minute. Where the heck was the campground?  But wait, we must be getting close to something, there are cars parked along the road up ahead.

A young man got out of his car and ran, as if he were late for something. Um… he’s wearing a cape and carrying a giant sword. Oh, where the heck are we?


Around the next bend, we saw even more people with capes and swords. And horns. And clubs.


OK, now we see. These folks are LARPers! Live Action Role Playing.


We stopped to say hi. They looked scary but turned out to be very nice! They were happy to pose for some photos as they prepared for battle.


They also knew where the campground was. That grassy lot with the spot-a-pot was it.

In summer, the lot would be pretty with leaves on the trees and warm breezes. In nicer weather, the locals hike and ride horses on the park trail system. But tonight, it’s cold and wet but a good-enough place for the Tramper to sleep for the night on the way back home to Baltimore.

Yep, we’re headed East. The Tramper Voyage will soon take it’s Baltimore hiatus. Oh, we’ll still be blogging. We have a number of summary posts in mind. A map of the Voyage, technical stuff from David, etc. And the Photo of the Week, of course, will continue.

Yes, we have lots of things to post. So, stayed tuned.

Meanwhile, we observe that homemade apple cobbler for dessert made the leafless Sycamore State Park park warm and cozy!


– Jane

DAY 144 – 02/05/2013 – Reality Check!

Without meaning to, I have definitively demonstrated the fat burning potential of man vs woman. David and I have, in the vast majority of instances, had the same amount of physical activity over the last 5 months. During the Voyage of the Tramper, we have hiked the same mountains, kayaked the same rivers, biked the same trails and skied the same mountains.

And yet, David is losing weight. And me? Well, I seem to be gaining!


That was not one of the anticipated benefits of the Tramper Voyage. New, exhilarating experiences? Check. Beautiful vistas? Check. Meeting new, fun people from all over the country? Check. Lots of outdoor fun? Check. Getting slimmer and healthier? NO!

I do believe I am stronger. Especially, I am stronger than my cancer-treatment all-time low. I can now bike or hike up a mountain and ski moguls (and powder!). But, what’s missing from my fitter-self picture is this: My clothes are now more snug than when we left Baltimore! I am, frustratingly, gaining a bit of weight.

Here's the fat-a** Julie Andrews climbing the Alps to flee the Nazis.

Here’s the fat-a** Julie Andrews climbing the Alps to flee the Nazis.

How is this possible? Well, a number of factors seem to be at work here. The two standouts are these: I am middle-aged and I am a woman.

When I was working and looking forward to our trip, I anticipated how much more fit and slim I would get. No job to take all my time and energy so it was a given that my clothes would get a bit baggy on me. This has not happened.

So, I believe it’s time for me to acknowledge the differences between men and women, as far as weight goes. According to WebMD, men, because they have more muscle mass than women, burn more calories, even when sitting still. Women have a greater amount of fat, naturally. And, this article from the Mayo Clinic explains that women lose muscle mass after menopause. Muscle burns  fat, so the equation is quite simple, really. Men are much more efficient than women at fat-burning at any age.

Iris's figure stays slim and girlish

Iris’s figure stays slim and girlish

According to, “the bottom line is that if a man and a woman recline in a field and stare at the sky for an hour, the man will burn more calories than the woman.” Aargh! That’s frustrating as heck! To make matters worse, middle age slows down metabolism.

I really can’t expect to get more physical activity than David. He’s just so capable of putting more into every bike and ski ride than I am.  My level of activity is so high right now, if I try to ramp it up too much, to lose weight, I might hurt myself!

So, the advice of Weight Watchers to “Move More”, won’t really help me. Because I’m moving plenty!

The second tenant of losing weight is to eat less. There! That’s where I have erred these past months! I am eating the same foods, in the same way David does. And me with my fat-conserving, slowed-down metabolism!

It was a bit hard to find these chunky photos of me. I usually delete them all!

It was a bit hard to find these chunky photos of me. I usually delete them all!

We eat well. We pay attention to good nutrition. We eat for energy and rebuilding and good health. But, we love butter as well as spinach salad. Ice cream as well as an apple a day.

So, while David can go on eating Ben & Jerry’s, I guess I need to have an orange instead. If I don’t soon pull myself up short and stop eating so many fats and so much white sugar, we are going to look like Jack and Mrs Sprat!


It would be just sad to weigh more at the end of the Tramper Voyage than at the beginning!

– Jane

DAY 120 – 01/12/2013 – Apres Ski Hot Dogs

Gabe leaned his head out the window and said, “Y’all are crazy!“.

Mark, the oldest.

Mark, the oldest.

David and I have heard this before. And we love it! Hearing that phrase means we’re doing something out of the ordinary. Not necessarily something truly insane, which might have terrible consequences, but something a bit daring. Maybe something cool that others might hesitate to try.

The day was absolutely frigid on the mountain. After just a couple of runs, you’d have to come inside to warm up.


Asher, with his motor home in the background

But, you know, I was jones-ing for hot dogs cooked outside over a fire. It’s one of the joys of camping and we are, despite the weather and time of year, still camping.

So, when we arrived home at about 4pm, we decided to dig the snow out of our campsite fire pit so that dogs could be cooked. Digging got us nice and warm.

It also drew the attention of our wonderful neighbor, Gabe. He and his wife have 4 cute boys. Before Gabe pulled his head back inside the warm motor home, the boys were interested in cooking hot dogs on a fire, too. Has any boy ever not been interested in a campfire?

from left, Mark, me, Adin, Asher and Marci, their mom. Adin is still very little, so he got cold, cried, and went back inside before he cooked a dog.

from left, Mark, me, Adin, Asher and Marci, their mom. Adin is still very little, so he got cold, cried, and went back inside before he cooked a dog.

The two older boys suited up and brought over a couple of logs they had collected. Their mama must have taught them to never go to someone’s house empty-handed! That’s so dear.

The Livingston boys are really helping me out. I miss my small friends at home. Back home, there are Charlie, Julia, Katie and Jack across the street. Austin and Emma are a few doors away. I see my godson, Parker, a lot. My step-grandson, Zealen, lives a little farther away now but I see him as often as possible.

David with Mark & Asher

David with Mark & Asher

David calls me the ‘Baby Whisperer’ but, phppbt!, I just like to play. And kids are little, innocent miracles (especially when you can give them back).

So, anyhoo, we cooked some dogs on sticks over the fire. Yum!

– Jane

Jane is truly one of the very few adults I know who “GETS” kids.  She listens, prompts their input, and doesn’t seem ever to look over their heads and ignore them.  I HAVE NEVER SEEN HER ANSWER A PHONE OR TEXT IN A CHILD’S PRESENCE!  She is present to the moment she is choosing to share.  I never know quite what to say to little ones, I just wait to see what’s on their minds and hope I can add something they care about too.  I can’t help but be instructive; ask leading questions and hope to trigger them to solve their own little challenges.  I guess that’s whispering too…?


Sleeping With The Dead… 12/22/2012

Another first for us: we spent the night parked in a cemetery! And it wasn’t at all creepy. It was quiet and dark, far enough from the main road. Full of people, yet no one bothered us.


Our destination was Big Bend National Park. We stopped in the tiny town of Marathon, TX. It was late. Sunset was an hour ago. We saw the sign pointing to the town cemetery and decided to take the advice of the RVer we met back in Sopchoppy, FL.

Nervous at first, we parked and put up the foil/bubble/foil window shades David made to block our interior lights (and for warmth in the winter). A dog barked in the distance but soon settled back down. Headlights on the road far outside the cemetery came and then went, passing us by.

Soon, in the cocoon of the Tramper, we settled in and slept that night like the residents all around us.

Sunrise view from the cemetery

Sunrise view from the cemetery

We vowed to do this again. It’s free and, so far, easy. The downside? Well, it is “stealth” camping so I don’t get to indulge my interest in examining old headstones.

In the morning, we packed up and drove out of the cemetery at first light.

Luckily, Marathon recently got Internet. We stopped at a yummy cafe for breakfast and WiFi before hitting the road again, bound for Big Bend.

Cafe in Marathon, TX

Cafe in Marathon, TX

David tried a Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast!

David tried a Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast!

– Jane

DAY 81 – 12/4/2012 Cedar Key, “another suggested stop”


As we reluctantly waved goodbye to our hosts, Zealen asked; “why do they have to go”?

Zealen with Alex & Daria

Zealen with Alex & Daria

Its so hard to leave the familiar and known love.  We always try not to overstay our welcome (and in this case pray we didn’t leave our colds behind).  We leave because we are traveling, we seek our road rhythm.  Boy, its hard to leave when a four year old wants you to stay.

Our next two plus hour drive stretches to nearly four. But as we started heading for any “green on the map” we focus on getting to Cedar Key.  A delightful cat owner neighbor on Jekyll Island had said “it’s nice there” and cat owners are reputable sources for this kind of information.  So we took our chances driving to a campground without a reservation once again.  Bruce at Sunset Campground, Cedar Key, FL greets me at about 7 PM and asks if I mind “just parking and using Scout’s Honor” to register in the morning.  On my honor…

The MilkyWay makes an appearance.  Through whatever combination of preoccupation, city lights or temporarily ignoring the environment, we haven’t seen the sky for days.  Life IS like that…we chug along noticing whatever we’ve chosen as pertinent and see nothing else.  Ever notice how prominent telephone poles and wires look in pictures sometimes when you barely notice them in life?  At least that is a good function of our selective attention.

But I digress.  I can’t see any constellations, there are too many stars in between.  The night is a peppered canvas in every direction.  The Milky Way splashes dramatically right through it all.  Jane and I meet a fellow camper via his small Schnauzer with a fresh haircut, and even rapt in his storied Western travels, BOTH of us notice a shooting star off over his left shoulder!

Later we fed ourselves, and wandered to the water’s edge for more joyous sky.  By the way, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts embraced by the balmy Florida evening.  Crickets abound and chatter in every direction.  My first flashlight aimed at the water triggered an equally abundant and multi-directional chorus of splashes and movement.  Unseen fish or bugs or bug eating fish were on the move.  Scanning the cove scared a roosting bird, so I quickly doused the light again.


The natural fisher, no net required…


– David


Peilcan flying lessons

So many choices...which fish should we order today?

So many choices…which fish should we order today?