Tag Archives: PegLeg Pete

Buttermilk Trail – Richmond VA

Last week, I was in Richmond so I took advantage of some of the city’s urban trails. Richmond has some pretty good trails … my personal favorite is Belle Isle. But I headed Southside of the James River and decided to do the Buttermilk Trail/Belle Isle/James River North Bank loop – about a 6+ mile loop categorized as moderate. I took Peg-Leg Pete with me – my trusted sock-monkey who loves adventure.

I’ve done Belle Island several times and have been on Buttermilk – but never done the whole loop. I started early, since I dropped my wife at the airport around 530a. I had a great breakfast at Moore Street Cafe and headed over to the Forest Hills area of Richmond. Very few urban trails in the Richmond area were open so early, so I was glad to find the James River Park having their parking lots available.

The trek started normal – it’s an urban trail, keep that in mind. I was on a well travelled path, it was not very secluded, I could always hear traffic, the railroad tracks ran along the trail and it has a well-graffitied set of rail cars parked on one of the parallel tracks. I pondered if these were there to block the view of the river as well as the city’s building across the river.

The trail was more a trial-bike trail with ups, down, some bridges over a various gully, and more. It has some historical markers to let you know about the area and how it got the name Buttermilk – which was from the Buttermilk Spring where farmers in the 1800’s cooled their milk before market.

I crossed the river portion between the Buttermilk and Belle by hop scotching across the rocks. There was a bridge a little further down – but I choose the rocks. To get there, the city has provided a short pedestrian bridge to cross over the railroad tracks without harm. I say pedestrian, for you had to walk up 3 flights of stairs to get above the rails.

Belle Island was great. You get more of the escapism there (no pun intended since it used to be a prison-of-war camp location during the civil war.)

If you want to know more about Bell Isle, check out Trip Advisor’s page here. Here are some of their pictures …

Now – here’s where my trek took a weird turn. I got to the Belle Isle parking lot. I had dropped some my water along the way (probably during rock jumping) and it was still early morning. BUT the heat index had already hit over 100F. I was drenched, tired and figured I ate too big of a breakfast. SO I checked AllTrails and it said I was less than 2 miles in and over 4 miles to go. Normally six is pretty easy, but I made excuses … food, heat, too long meandering on the rocks and the island itself, new Merrel Moab 3s (I pretended I hadn’t broke them in.) The remainder of the trial was new to me – trees? shade? asphalt? I did something I normally would never do. But since I was on an urban trail, and I could never do this in the Blue Ridge – I called a cab. Yep, was gonna hitch a ride back to my car. Oh the adventurer in me – I told myself I would try a new restaurant to make up for it.

I waited – 10 min … 15 min … 25 min. I surrendered to not having a cab. I decided to walk back over the shorter distance I had already traversed – so I called to cancel the cab. Hey, I had a 25 minute rest period.

I went back – took the bridge and made it back to my car. But it seemed a LOT longer than 2 miles. A LOT LONGER!

Here is why. When using AllTrails as the guide, I didn’t take into account that Buttermilk Trail has about 4 parking areas spread out along Riverside Rd. You can jump into the trail at various points. And I jumped in on the far north point (not the main starting point according to the app.) This walking some on the trail before even getting to the official start of the trail. Thus, on this hike, I HAD walked the majority of the trail – and therefore the shorter conclusion to the hike would’ve been to continue on the loop. But no, I had to go back as an in-and-back, thus making my hike even longer.What a noob move.

At least I didn’t pay for a cab – I did get to walk in shade – and I got to cross the bridge I had missed the first time through.

All in all – I was outside, I was in nature, I hiked. That is a good day.

Day Two – Road Trip ‘21

Day Two.

A lot more road, a lot of rain, a lot of relationships.

It was a weird night. So tired from the drive and the hike. Yet sleep eluded me. Maybe it was the distance between my love and I — or that there was more driving to do once I woke. I’m used to hotels, but this one seemed to suck out of me the ability to sleep. Finally, I pulled the sheets off the bed, covered the couch and sprawled out on it – sleep came quickly and lasted long.

Morning was great. Who doesn’t like a hotel breakfast that has been adapted for Covid – everything is individually wrapped, microwaveable, and such. It was no Granny Bees (my normal local breakfast spot.) But I count it such a blessing.

Before I headed out, I did one more round to the National Park. I realized yesterday I visited the western mountain portion of the park. While it held beautiful, more primitive trails and the highest point in the ZigZag Mountain range, it wasn’t the most visited section. So I drove back and went to the iconic Mountain Tower. The drive up the mountain was switchbacks galore – right, left, hairpin turns, and keep repeating. The altitude change wasn’t too drastic. I’ve driven the Blue Ridge/Smokies and the Rockies. I’ve visited Zion and Yosemite. But this one was wonderful too. And at the zenith of the drive was the Tower.

This historic landmark isn’t the original tower – nature, fire, wear and tear made that one replaced and updated over the years. I paid my fee, and ascended the spire. Beauty. Majestic. Calming in its grandeur. Seeing the surrounding mountain range makes one feel a spirit of tranquility – even with storm clouds, nothing took away from this moment. It and countless moments of reaching an apex and overseeing the wonder of God’s creation is one of the reasons I continue to hike up hills and bergs.

Once descended and back in the historic town, I stopped to see some actual ‘hot springs.’ I mean, its name came from them. When you read and discover the history, the legends, and the celebrities that had partook in the experience of the hot springs – it draws you into the legacy that embraces the location. It’s like I became part of the history itself. Next time – I will stay at the historic Arlington hotel.

This time, I just walked the historic zone, embracing the moment. Peg Leg was with me. He did his photo shoot and made a few friends. That’s one of the perks of traveling the National Parks – meeting people from all over. I walked for a bit with a young man from Ohio. I gave a water and shared a conversation with an elderly man from Oregon who returned to Hot Springs to visit where he grew up. I took a picture for a Colorado Springs Couple by the hot spring. West Virginia, Florida, Texas … coast to coast, border to border. Americans are not only what you see on the nightly news (riots, protests, etc.) It’s made up of wonderful, friendly, caring people. People exploring sea to shining sea.

So now the 5 hours to Dallas. Interestingly, once I got back not the road, the rain hit. Not too bad (at first), but enough to make one drive more defensively. I made the road south … and every mile, every minute, brought me closer to my destination – to see my son whom I haven’t seen since last autumn. Twice a year is all he can handle.

Once I came close – it was like the forces of nature wanted to make it a battle – torrents of rain, lightning, hail, limited visibility – the way the quick Texas storms can pop up, move around, and shake one up to the bone. At one overpass, a large wave of water came from the truck just ahead and to the left. My steady four wheeled steed was shaken and I hit a water pocket – knuckles white and prayers lifted – I was going school zone speed, but my wheels momentarily were on the top of the water and not cutting through them. With the back side of the 4Runner slipping slightly, swimming the top of the water, I hydroplaned for the briefest and longest few seconds. Maybe it was the heavier weight from carrying the oak, maybe it was my excellent driving skills (ha, not), or maybe the providential protection from our Lord – but the wheels caught and I felt myself breathing again.

I made it through and I made it to their homestead. Reunion, smiles, fist bumps (not a hugging person is genetic for both father-son.) Great conversation, great time just being together – me, son, daughter-in-law (and two dogs who dominated the conversation.) After a quick Krogers run by Calvin & I, she cooked dinner and we enjoyed the shared meal. Then, we watched Godzilla vs Kong. How is Tokyo still in existence after the many times Godzilla has destroyed that city?

The beauty of nature. The danger of nature. Both seen in the same day. And God is there in both and all between.

The legacy of locations draws one in, but in the end, these type of locations remind us there is something we are all searching for, a place to connect, a purpose for being. This existential discussion is way beyond this blog. Yet we all face it, we all yearn for something. From all over, from all walks of life – we search fo that which fulfills. And that fulfillment can only be temporarily met in creation – it is only truly fulfilled in the creator. Look beyond creation something greater.

And finally, day two reminded me we are creatures created for relationships. We need each other. (SPOILER ALERT AHEAD) – Kong realized he needed Godzilla, Godzilla realized he needed Kong. A great line – He is not your enemy. Too often we make enemies of others when they are not our enemies – they are people just like ourselves looking for something. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. We need to wake up to that fact.

Such ends the lesson from Day Two – what will tomorrow hold?

Coffee at BuzzBrews

Moving to Appomattox from Dallas has its advantages. As I got back to Dallas, I already want to get back to the traffic of central VA – I will roll slowly behind an Amish buggy as long as needed if I don’t have to pay toll and wait in a parked ‘expressway’.

But …

I do miss the coffee spots that are 24 hours, the 100 year old El Fenix, and being close to my son. Oh, I guess being close to his soon to be bride as well.

PegLeg at BuzzBrews with Black Magic coffee

This adventure to Dallas has a purpose. Our only son is getting married. And we need adventures in our lives. Walking along the shore at sunrise, hiking to the peak of a mountain you’ve never been on before, escaping into a great work of literature, discovering new (to me at least) truths from digging into the Bible.

But marriage – what a great adventure. As I ponder our son’s big day, I asked my wife if she would do it all again … with me. She said yes (good start) … then I asked with the same enthusiasm. She didn’t answer so quick. I’ll stick with the first question as the victory.

I love this adventure we are on – but all adventures take work. So I will continue to work on this great adventure with her.

Top of Hump Back Rock in Va

For today – she wanted the coffee and oatmeal from BuzzBrews in Downtown Dallas – and I try to give my babe what she wants. Okay, I wanted it too.

Lisa at the BuzzBrew Coffee bar – she choose Texas Maple Pecan brew

Don’t stop taking on adventures. And if you’re married, enjoy that adventure too.

Calvin – you’re getting ready to take that great step into a lifetime of adventure – treasure it, treasure her.

To every reader – Have some coffee today and enjoy the adventure people.

Black Eye for a Wedding? Go as a Pirate

The days are getting closer. My son is getting ready to exchange vows and enter a life for which no man is ever prepared.

As I travel to Dallas, I am excited about the new stage of his journey. But I also realize we are parents of the groom, so no one really cares much about us. So to overcome this obstacle, I decided I would do something special to make me stand out. As I checked in the oil and the fluid levels in the car, a gust wind slammed the hood closed. Unfortunately, I was still under the hood and the huge hunk of metal slammed down on my face. I was fortunate in that it hit above my eye, to the side of my eye, and below my eye but never hit my eye.

Immediately, I put ice on my face and said a prayer that there would be no damage or that no visit to the hospital would be necessary. There was blood, there was pain, but mostly there was embarrassment. It’s not too bad, but considering that I’m getting ready to go into the most photographed time of Calvin’s life, I wonder if this was God’s sense of humor.

The blood stopped, the pain was numbed, and Lisa felt little sympathy. Calvin says I can wear an eyepatch, kind of like a pirate. Since I’m taking Pegleg Pete, I can get a little eyepatch for him too, and we will go as two pirates.

The next 72 hours will be interesting. We will see if my eye turns black and blue. We will see if I can find an eyepatch that would match his color scheme. But most of all, we will see how much fun I will be able to make of Calvin because he’s getting a mani-pedi. Something I’ve never done. The things we do for our wives.

Life does not always go as expected. Paul even wrote that if you get married you should expect some worldly troubles. But this thing I do know, Calvin has found a beautiful and sweet bride to be. And I know they will make it through the good times and the bad times, because they’ve got the Lord at the center of their relationship.

Have a blessed day, and make sure your hood is secure if you’re underneath it.

Jump Rock Trail Highlights

It started in the dark, early hours of the morning. I headed out towards Goshen Natural Preserve. A trail called Jump Rock. But the beauty hit me even before I got there. Once off I-64, I traveled the back roads. Splendid farms, rolling hills, cows, and the sun breaking over the mountain tops.

Then I travelled along the Maury River, there was some awesome shots of nature.

Once I discovered the empty parking lot to the trail head, I parked and headed to the swinging bridge that took pedestrians across the river. I guess the parking lot was empty for there was a sign noting the bridge was closed for repair. It said the Goshen Pass bridge was closed. I wasn’t exactly sure it meant this one, so I gingerly walked across. That’s me, a daredevil. I don’t ever remember walking across a swinging bridge, so across I went.

I had not charged my phone all the way, so I turned it off to save for spot checks and pics at the summit. This meant less pics along the way. Within a mile, I saw deer running away and rabbits leaping across the path. There were signs of bear (that which they left behind), but no bears were spotted today.

It was a pretty step climb. About 2500 feet in about two miles. Few switchbacks and some very sharp angle trail at points.

This is a web photo but shows a great view of the lake.

The leaves were just beginning to turn. Lower altitudes showed lots of yellow; and the higher you go, the leaves were turning red. The trail was marked well at times, but not so well at others. I followed a blaze, but I soon discovered it was not the regular trail. With a Boy Scout reservation near by, I think many short cut trails had formed over the years.

PegLeg Pete and I made it to the summit, (I think, since phone had died, And the blazes stopped, I had to guess at this) and enjoyed the views, a bit of early lunch, and a rest on the rocks.

My early lunch … always try to have beanie weenies at the top. Peg Leg jo Ned me.

These three are shots at the rock outbreaks before the summit, but the spot was perfect for me.

About 8 miles, some good to great views, but pretty steep at times. I saw no one until I got back to the swinging bridge. A family was enjoying water fun in the river.

I did take one summersault tumble on a slippery rock on the trail’s descent, but I almost always take at least one tumble – it’s the way I roll (literally).

On an exciting note, this is the last hike photos on my iPhone 6. My 11 should arrive in two days – longer battery, and much better camera.

I wonder what will be the first trail my iPhone 11 will photoblog?

Kiddies, Candy, and Craziness

Palm Sunday. Tornado Watch. Windy Gusts. Put those together and you’ve got a great day.

Evergreen had a great Sunday service. We had over 200 in worship … 1st since I’ve been here, I think. Kid’s singing ‘hosannas’, palm branches waving, adult choir specials, organ solo, colors of the cross, and so much more as God’s people remember His love on the cross … and that’s why we praise Him (among the many reasons, that is).

Then the afternoon. Right in the middle of my normal Sunday afternoon nap, we scheduled our kids’ fun activity of “The Hunt.” We watched the weather, for Appomattox was under a weather storm/tornado watch.

Face painting, cookie decorations, slushees, cotton candy, poster coloring, noodle battles, hot dogs/bbq, crafts, outside play, and fun fun fun. Around 75 kids, at least that many adults, and you’ve got a riotous grand time. Some stayed home thinking the weather was gonna win today … I know they’ve seen the pics and now realize they missed out.

Now, a few opportunities for lessons for our kiddies. One kid took a dive when all the youngins got released for the egg hunt. A skinned knee didn’t stop him though. It was sweet to watch the little ones find eggs and share eggs with other kids.

Candy was shared (not too much, but plenty of sugar in the cotton candy, cookies, and slushees).

A highlight was the crazy game with our 3-5th grade. After the craziness, a leader shared about how many think what Jesus did for us was crazy; but what the world sees as crazy, we know it was because of love – His love for us.

And for a special moment, even Peg Leg Pete made an appearance. Quite a day.

This blog doesn’t do too much but share the joy of a great day. But that’s okay, sometimes we just need to share with others things that make us find joy.

What makes you happy, and with whom will you share it?