October 31st, Halloween, it is a day of costumes, candy, parties and tricks or treats. Halloween a holiday so celebrated by both young and old with parties and decorations it is second only to Christmas. Halloween or All Hallows Eve, is the day before All Saints Day, a day to celebrate the dead, especially those saints that did not have their own special day. So how did it come about that celebrating the dead the spirits, became so spooky? Are all spirits ghoulish? Wasn’t it supposed to be a celebration about family members and saints?
To dentist’s it is a day to celebrate a possible increase in business from all of the treats consumed by children and adults alike! (It is said that one quarter of all candy sold in a year in the United States is sold for Halloween!) For law enforcement officials it is a day to be extra watchful for all of the prankster’s tricks and to children it is a day of candy and fun.
Halloween is not celebrated in all countries around the world. But some countries celebrate in a similar manner such as the Hungry Ghost Festival in China, El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and Latin America, and Ghede in Haiti just to name a few. Since it is not Halloween does that mean they don’t say “Trick or Treat?”
Airlines fly basically to most all countries around the world, so will they celebrate the holiday by giving passengers a “trick or a treat” with air fares? Will it be a trick aka increases or a treat aka an airfare sale for passengers wanting to book a flight?
The biggest trick of this Halloween weekend was from Mother Nature, she gave us the historic snowfall that fell and crippled the mid Atlantic and northeastern states.
As many of you know, or should know if you follow my website and books, I have never officially lived more than one block from Lake Erie. In as much I thought maybe for those of you that don’t know her I would provide you with some facts.
She was formed years ago by the movement of glaciers through the area. Proof of this monumental event is still apparent and can be seen at the glacial grooves site on Kelley’s Island.
She is the southernmost, smallest and shallowest of the five Great Lakes. Her south shore mostly borders Ohio but also has shoreline in Pennsylvania and New York. The north shore borders Canada. Because of her shallow depth she is also the warmest of the Great Lakes.
Lake Erie is divided into three distinct basins, the western, central and eastern basin. The western basin is the shallowest with an average depth of thirty feet, the central average depth is eighty feet and the eastern is one hundred twenty feet.
Lake Erie is a gem: she is home to the wonderful Lake Erie Islands, Ohio’s playground. She supports recreational and commercial fishing, and you won’t find a better tasting fish than Lake Erie Perch! She also supports commercial freighter traffic, traveling in from foreign ports. Our lake has countless distinctive lighthouses and sandy beaches. In addition there are hundreds of ship wrecks below the surface for sport scuba divers to explore. She is a source of enjoyment for jet skiers, water skiers, tubers and sailors.
Her shores also boast numerous vineyards due to the rich soil.
She is also supposedly home to the “Lake Erie Monster,” a mystical creature possibly related to the Loch Ness Monster.
But don’t let her fool you, she can be as mean and wicked as they come. Because of her shallow depth’s storms arise quickly, going mill pond like to ferocious waves virtually before your eyes. At times waves are large enough for the brave to surf on!!!
As a weather maker she controls our temperatures, keeping her nearby shores frost free until late in the fall season. In summer the breezes from her waters keep the shoreline cooler than the inland areas. Temperatures seem to be related to mileage; each mile away from her shore often represents a degree, either plus or minus depending on the season. So far this season she is keeping us warm and frost free.
Snow fall levels are generally controlled by Lake Erie too. Since the shallower western basin freezes first the eastern side picks up more moisture from the open water and consequently gets a larger snow fall total. (I am real glad I live in the central basin area.)
Lake Erie is special and the “old girl” represents home to many of us, regardless of where we may roam.
There is another condition out there to worry about… a contagious condition, a condition far more long lasting, with no vaccination available and no cure!
Before we were married my husband Ross didn’t have the opportunity to travel much. But for over thirty-four years he has followed me around the country and the world, as I search for new and exciting experiences, many times asking me “Where are we going and why are we going there?”
Everyone that knows me knows that I have an incurable case of wanderlust, a strong desire to explore the world, but until a short time ago I didn’t realize it is a contagious condition!
Recently during the annual General Motors shutdown for change over and while our boat was in the shop for repairs my husband said to me “I have two weeks off and I am not staying home without a boat...find us a cruise or someplace to go.”
I was surprised; he was requesting to “go.” I had only been home for 10 days from a previous trip and am usually “settled” for at least a month before I get the itch “to go.” But since he seemed to be inflicted we did go. I was unable to find a reasonably price trip on such short notice so we headed south a road trip to North Carolina and onward to Florida.
Then three weeks after we returned home from that trip, he said to me “I have three days off and we don’t have plans, want to go to…?” (Oh he’s got it bad!) We never have to worry about having leftover vacation days; we never seem to have enough!
He has caught it for sure, inflicted with wanderlust, the restless condition that now seems to me to be a contagious condition! So if you spend time with me, you better be careful!
"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - J.R.R. Tolkien
Anytime it is sunny and in the 80’s on Ohio’s north coast in October qualifies as a “beautiful day.”
A good day to be outside, enjoying calm bakes, corn and hay mazes and pumpkin patches. Not wanting to deviate from this fall tradition I went with my family and friends to Maize Valley Market and Winery in Hartville Ohio this weekend.
Maize Valley Market and Winery is open year round with farm fresh Ohio produce, Amish goods and over two dozen wines. But we were interested in the wine and their fall Harvest Happenings events. They claim to have over 100 acres of fun. Apparently their fall Harvest Happenings has been occurring for a number of years because the place was jam-packed with people, scattered among the pumpkin patch, sun ripen grape vineyards and fields.
This weekend they had a pumpkin cannon, unlimited hay rides, “Nashog” races (pig races), petting farm (May to November), corn maze and a Megasaurus, a fire breathing car eating monster! Plus a number of other fun activities for kids, a tire maze and hay bale crawl to name a few. Oh and I almost forgot…wine tasting (at $.25 a glass)!
Unfortunately we arrived late in the day so we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy all of the activities. Shortly after we arrived the Megasaurus crawled out of the nearby woods and proceeded to eat two cars, leaving one severed in half and the other burning, much to the cheers of the boisterous multi-generational crowd.
Walking back down the hill we went into the winery for tastings and to order sandwiches for dinner. The inside of the winery was hectic probably due to their fall harvest. If they continue to draw that size of a crowd I believe they need a few changes with their food and wine ordering to be more efficient. As we sat eating our dinner out on the covered patio we listened to the live music entertainment (or at least sometimes it sounded like music!)
Having had listened to enough of the often off key musical combo we took our wine glasses, remaining bottle of wine, “Hanky Panky” and headed to the eight acre corn maze.
Each year there is a different theme for the corn maze like NASCAR and a Salute to Military. This year’s theme celebrates 150 years of the Pony Express. It was very dark as we approached the maze, with only two flashlights and our cell phones as light. Thankfully we had clear skies and a near full moon; it was a perfect fall evening.
At the entrance we were given a work sheet with trivia questions to answer at clue boxes located throughout the large maze. There was also a map of the maze; smart thinking Michelle took a picture with her cell phone. Ahh, technology and our younger generation, I would not have thought of that!
We were then off, twisting our way through the tall rows of corn stalks, senior citizens wandering in and around the paths lead by my younger brother, (his night out with the geriatrics) attempting to correctly navigate our way through the carefully planned out maze. We spent about an hour in the maze … until closing time, and even with the phone photo we were unable to figure out the maze puzzle. We never found all of the clue boxes or the correct way out!
It was a fun and very affordable evening. It is appropriate entertainment for all ages and as we left we were already making plans to return again … deciding we needed to get there earlier in the day to enjoy all of the activities! We even got a call from the kids on the ride home to check and see if we were “Okay?”
Last year for Christmas my girls gave my husband and me the NASCAR Driving Experience as a gift. We finally scheduled a date for our experience at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord NC in the heart of NASCAR country for September supposedly after the heat of the summer. We had a three hour experience package including a five minute drive and photo package.
After driving through the under track tunnel and into the infield we began our morning with a 9 o’clock check-in. We were part of the 10 A.M. group which included about fifty drivers; there were three females in our group, Sara, me and another lady. We received our one piece fire suits, audio headsets, pagers and
5 x 7 photo vouchers. After dressing in our fire suits we stood in pit row and watched in anticipation as other drivers prepared for their turn to drive until it was time for our 9:30 A.M. photo shoot with the NASCAR Experience car.
After finishing photos we half undressed from our fire suits (it was hot, record breaking temperatures for September in Charlotte) and we were escorted to the garage for our driver’s meeting. The hour long meeting started with an informative video presentation followed with an over view and question/answer session with a crew chief. We learned about track terminology…apron, turns, rpms, back stretch, spotter and more importantly we also learned about safety.
After our meeting we headed back to pit row and waited for our pager to go off signaling it was our turn to get ready to drive. Cars were assigned to us by driver size since the car seats were made for specific drivers. (Everyone that follows NASCAR knows that Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards are not the same body size.)
In the helmet area we were fitted with our helmets and used our headsets to be connected with our spotter for our in-car communications. Our headsets were taped into our ears before we were fitted for our helmets and the headsets were checked to make sure they were functioning correctly, our only source of communication with our spotter since we were alone in our cars.
There were ten cars on the 1 ½ mile oval track as we raced, eight driver experience cars and two ride-along cars. I was the last of our group (husband, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend) to drive. I was assigned the #07 Clint Bowyer Jack Daniels car.
I walked to my car, had a neck collar put on and climbed through the window before my steering wheel was put on and my window net was put up. Then I was off, shifting every 2500 rpm’s before exiting pit row in fourth gear. We were instructed to stay on the apron until we hit the back stretch or for some until completing a full lap. My spotter had me on the track by turn three. There was no lead or pace car, I was on my own.
My top speed was 148.77 miles per hour, which is very close to the 150 miles per hour top speed allowed by the restrictors on the cars. The riding along cars (a different NASCAR experience) top speed is 180 miles per hour but they were driven by professional drivers. At one point while I was driving my spotter said to me “Stay low, stay low, the #18 Kyle Busch car is going to pass you.” It wasn’t Kyle Busch driving but it was his car. The five minute time limit only allowed me four laps before I got my “checkered flag”; to drive more laps a more expensive driving package would have had to be purchased.
The NASCAR driving experience is a total adrenalin rush, you can feel a G force against you as you round the turns. I can now see how the drivers loving the feeling of being behind the wheel on race day. Since I will never blast off into space or be behind the controls of a jet airplane it was probably the fastest I will ever go legally. It is as real as it gets!! Upon completion we received a certificate of completion, an honorary racing license and our photo.
It was definitely a “Bucket List” “Things to do before you die” activity and a memory we will talk about often!!