Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Linger- (The Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 2) by Maggie Stiefvater

4 star
Stiefvater’s second book in the Mercy Falls series does not disappoint. The reader is gently guided through the events that happened in book one and brought up to speed as to what Grace and Sam are doing now that they have found not only each other but what they also believe is the cure that will keep them together forever. It is also the opportunity for readers to finally meet the new wolves that we only got a glimpse of in the first book, Cole and Victor.

Cole and Victor were best friends who had everything and were on top of the world until their hectic drug induced lives were no longer enough to keep them satisfied. When Cole met Beck and heard of the alternate life he could live and forget the life he was currently leaving it was not hard for him to say yes to the strange and physically painful lifestyle choice. Convinced that it would solve both their problems, Cole talked Victor into becoming a wolf. Now that they were both wolves and it was beginning to warm, they both questioned their decision. It was not until Cole met Isabel that he began to feel human again, which was exactly what he did not want. Slowly with the help of Isabel, Sam and Grace he tried to become a better man and in the end was the key to saving Grace.

Just like the first novel the second novel is a sad romance where love ones will be lost in the struggle to understand and protect the wolves of Mercy Falls. But it is not just a tale of loss, it is also one of new friends and unexpected friends.

Grace and Sam fought for each other in the first book only to have parents and shifting come between them in the end and the cure they once thought would end it all is just a temporary fix that proves they are no closer to knowing the truth about their conditions.

Like the first book the youthful love Grace and Sam have for one another borders on obsession, but both when put in the position where they only have themselves to depend on, find that while empty, they can survive (at least temporarily without the other). It is with the help of new friends like Isabel and Cole Sam and Grace continue to hold onto each other.

Warning this book has an unexpected and somewhat sad ending for fans of the love affair between Grace and Sam. But not all hope should be lost as the dawn of new knowledge into the werewolf condition leads Sam, Grace and Cole closer to a real cure.

Readers who enjoy romances that are not sickly sappy and the Twilight series (Team Jacob) will enjoy this book.

Novel Moments:
"A scientist has a frog and he says, 'Jump frog.' The frog jumps ten feet. Then the scientist writes down frog jumps ten feet. Then the scientist chops off one of the frog's legs and says 'Jump frog' and the frog jumps five feet. Then he chops off another leg, and says 'Jump' and the frog jumps two feet. The scientist writes down cut off two legs and the frog jumps two feet. Then he cuts off all the frog's legs and says 'Jump' and the frog just lies there. The scientist writes down the conclusions of the test: cutting off all the frog's legs makes the subject go deaf." - Cole to Isabel Linger 

Book Citation: Stiefvater, Maggie. Linger. Scholastic Press. Nook edition.

Want to know what the rating in this post means? Check out the Ratings Key.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park CA

"Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. " ~Ansel Adams

Photo taken and edited by Amanda Perez-Carroll

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rancho Oso Santa Barbara CA

Rancho Oso is a dude ranch that is 13 miles (about 30 minutes) from Santa Barbara CA. It is a campground that is both open to the public and available to Thousand Trails members. It offers 108 full hookups and 25 water and power only (down by the pool). There are also tent sites, rentals, and wagon's (near the front of the park). They offer horseback riding, horse boarding, dog demonstrations and other ranch activities on the weekends. It is a really popular park on the weekends.

Williamsburg Outdoor World VA

Outdoor World Williamsburg VA (9)

Where is Williamsburg VA Outdoor World?
Williamsburg VA Outdoor World is located in Williamsburg VA not too far from Colonial Williamsburg (about 9 miles). It is pretty easy to find and so is Colonial Williamsburg which is a big attraction in the area and worth seeing if you stay at this Outdoor World.

Here is the address:
4301 Rochambeau Drive
Williamsburg, VA 23188

GPS directions are correct on TomTom when you use the above address.

This park is available to TT members who have a contract that includes Outdoor World campgrounds (e.g. Elite Connections), Outdoor World members and some spaces are available to the public.

How many campsites does Williamsburg VA Outdoor World have?

Williamsburg is listed as having 17 power & water, 132 full hookups 58 Park Models. There are a lot of Annual Campsites here (members leave their RVs on site so this number is decreased). Some of the best sites for larger rigs are near the clubhouse/pool and many of those are already occupied with annual sites. There are more in a treed section away from the clubhouse, but beware some of the roads are pretty tight and are hard to turn around on. If you venture down to where the rental cabins are it will look like you are stuck without a turnaround, you can use the RV storage area to turn around or back up the hill (steep) so you can turn around in the parking lot in front of the clubhouse. It is recommended that you walk or drive a small car around to look for a spot before driving your rig, that way you know where you can turn, turnaround etc. Also beware low hanging branches, there are not too many but some.

What amenities does Williamsburg VA Outdoor offer?

Williamsburg VA Outdoor offers the following:

• Basketball Court
• Clubhouse – Nice area and a well stocked book / puzzle shelf
• Game Room- A really large space, with lots of variety of games and a jukebox.
• General Store
• Horseshoe Pits
• Indoor Pool- Very nice indoor pool with nice bathrooms
• Laundry Facility
• Mini-Golf- Nice but watch out for bees there is a large beehive in a tree near the mini golf and they actually have signs that warn you about the bees.
• Picnic Area
• Playground
• Shuffleboard
• Outdoor Swimming Pool
• Volleyball Court

Things to do near Williamsburg VA Outdoor World
Williamsburg VA (24)

Williamsburg VA Outdoor World is in a really great location for doing things. One of the most popular and closest things to do is visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Battlefield. We highly recommend Colonial Williamsburg. You can walk around the “town” and if you want to go into some of the buildings and see some of the demonstrations you can buy tickets at a ticket window right at the beginning of the “town” (look for the large lines). The one day plus ticket (which if you want to go to the governor’s mansion you will need is $46 per person. Details can be found at  Colonial Williamsburg Tickets

Other things to do:
Busch Gardens (about 12 miles)
Water Country USA (about 12 miles)

Photos of Williamsburg VA Outdoor World & surrounding area:
Photos of Williamsburg VA Outdoor World can be found in my Williamsburg VA Outdoor World Photo Album. And photos from Colonial Williamsburg photos can be found in my Colonial Williamsburg VA Photo Album.

A Few Words on Williamsburg VA Outdoor World:
Generally the Outdoor World parks are a smaller than some of the popular Thousand Trails parks. Some have tight roads so folks with bigger RVs should scout out the roads before driving down them. This particular Outdoor World is in a great location and as such is really popular and may be hard to get into in the on-season. It is well maintained. The only things to really consider before going are low tree branches, site availability and smaller roads located in the cabin section.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking In Santa Barbara CA

We successfully made it to California this week and are really enjoying the fantastic weather that Southern California. It is great walking weather, mild heat and no humidity. This week we are walking around the Santa Ynez Recreation area on a working dude ranch. Talk about a great walk in the mountains… horses, cows roosters… mornings are quite different in the mountains of California. And the best part and perhaps the most surprising about the California mountains is that they look like they should be extremely hot , because there is not a lot of green here in the summer, but the temperature is pretty mild. For the first time in awhile I could take my HJ-112 off my waistband and actually see the screen not condensation from the humidity!

Here are some pictures from walk this morning…READ MORE

Thousand Trails Members: This post refers to Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara CA. A post just about what Rancho Oso has to offer coming soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ELS buys Western Horizon Resorts

IMPORTANT WHR NEWS Western Horizon Resorts is excited to announce the culmination of a business transaction with ELS, Equity Lifestyle Properties. Effective immediately, ELS, has taken over as operator and owner of Tall Chief Resort, ... located in Fall City, Washington and St George Resort, located in Hurricane, Utah. Two Sunbelt properties, Valley Vista Resort in Benson, Arizona and Desert Vista Resort, located in Salome, Arizona were also part of this transaction and are now owned by ELS. Western Horizon Resorts is working with ELS to make a smooth transition of operators. Membership usage should remain status quo at this point, but please check our website periodically for updates. We will make every effort to keep the members informed of any changes. We believe the resorts will benefit from this business transaction and hope to make the transition seamless for our members. Look forward to some exciting opportunities with this newly created relationship. (From WHR's main page to read more about WHR visit their website)

Heading West

Over the last week we have planned and begun a trip west. It has been an adventure already and we have only been on the road for three days. Since I knew this week would be mostly spent gaining miles in the RV and not walking or jogging I made sure we fit in as many miles as we could last week. We ended up with 19 miles, some fitness workouts and a yoga session before we hit the road. After two days of driving we finally were able to get a 3.75 mile walk in while we stopped for a day off of travel in San Antonio Texas. It was nice to get moving again and add some miles to my HJ-112. Final destination Southern California… hopefully we do not have any more trip highlights like the one below… READ MORE

Monday, August 09, 2010

ChiRunning and the Art of the Long Run | Active.com

Updated August 18, 2010 
ChiRunning is actually a pretty useful strategy for runners. It is all about perfecting your running posture and if you can successfully do so it feels like you are being propelled forward. It is hard to maintain such a posture after years of bad posture and I ended up with sore hips and shins after trying it for a week but it is something I will continue to try to incorporate into my running. Here is a video about the correct posture for Chi Running....

And if you want a good book to read about it check out ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.

If you have tried or currently use Chi Running please share your experience. 

It is all about form first, then distance and then speed. I am looking into Chi Running this week and will be giving it a go. I will let you know how it works out. ChiRunning and the Art of the Long Run | Active.com

Last Day of Omron Training Plan

Today I officially did my last day of training with my Omron 5k Walking Training Plan. The 8 weeks flew by with my HJ112. I logged a total of 185.74 miles over the last 8 weeks. It ended today with a soggy 5.67 miles. Maverick and I headed out for 2.62 together then I dropped him off at home and headed back out. I only got about 2 miles farther when it started to RAIN. I walked/jogged a mile home in the pouring rain. It actually was pretty fun and a relief from the heat and humidity of Florida summers. My only worry was my HJ112 pedometer, my cell phone and IPod getting wet. Luckily I carry a zip lock bag with me when I walk so I can put all my electronics in it with no worries about walking in the rain.READ MORE

Regis University Review “You stay long enough and they let you teach”

“You stay long enough and they let you teach”
Hi everyone, I am on mission to expose universities who are over charging and under preforming. I have started with my Grad School Regis University.  I have complained and complained to William Hathaway-Clark, Associate Vice President for Student Enrollment and James M. Dorris, Ph.D. Professor and Dean with no result therefore this page is dedicated to exposing them.  Please like it if you would like to help get the word out. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Regis/606520469379401
Honestly save your money and go to a good state college Regis is not worth the cost or time.  During my MBA at Regis 25% of my courses were taught by faculty who graduated from the same MBA program I was enrolled. 50% of the courses taken were just about the same and don’t tell anyone or they will discipline you.   

I actually was removed from a course in 2010 for responding to the instructor Terry DeWinters (who had recently graduated from the same MBA program I was enrolled) question…
“Do you feel this has gone overboard and has created some unethical circumstances?  Why or Why not?”
 Electronic communication has not gone overboard. In fact it’s less invasive than phone solicitation, direct mail and door to door.   However the collecting of personal information is becoming more invasive.  This could be considered unethical depending on use.
Many companies use false advertising in their marketing plans which is unethical. Companies like Regis are walking a thin line when ethics are concerned.  This program lets everyone in who can pay and provides less than adequate facilitation.  This unethical behavior is all sold to us under the guise of a Jesuit institution and becoming leaders in our communities. However what really happens is that good people are separated from their money and are provided little to no service. In truth one can most probably receive better service at Macys buying a pair of jeans. 

As this behavior continues unchecked many good people will forego the quality environment of a state school to find they pay many times the cost for a degree that lacks the real value one achieves from a good state institution.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hot Weather and Balloons

I am sure my fellow teammates and walkers out there can appreciate that summer training means having to deal a lot with heat! I have seen so many of your posts which talk about updates “from the surface of the sun” here is Florida even in the wee hours of the mornings it feels like the surface of the sun.  The heat I can take a lot of but the humidity is difficult to train through. Walking outside is more like taking a swim some mornings than walking.  Yesterday I went to look at my HJ-112 only to discover that the displayed was fogged up! READ MORE

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Driving through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Above is a video of a drive through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in July 2010. We entered the park through Gatlinburg Tennessee and headed towards Clingmans Dome. If you are an RV and are thinking about driving through the Smoky Mountain National Park you are not alone, many fifth wheels and Class A’s drive through the park each day with success. The speed limit throughout most of the park is 35 mph, there are winding roads and steep grades.

If you are looking for a campground nearby here is a list of RPI and Thousand Trails campgrounds. There are also many local, KOAs, Enjoy America's and in the park itself are primitive sites in 4 campgrounds.

Thousand Trails Locations
Cherokee Landing (Naco) in Saulsbury, TN is 181 miles away from Gatlinburg
Natchez Trace (Naco) in Hohenwald, TN is 291 miles away from Gatlinburg

RPI Locations:
Breckenridge Lake in Crossville TN is 107 miles away from Gatlinburg
Lake Cove Resort in Dandridge, TN is 37 miles away from Gatlinburg
Big Buck Resort (RPI Preferred) in Hornsby, TN385 miles away from Gatlinburg
Mill Creek Campground and Resort in Pigeon Forge TN is 7 miles away from Gatlinburg