Mini goes to LaCrosse Wisconsin!



(Mini stopping to enjoy one of the Locks on the Mississippi River)

Mini Says: “I love Bicycle rides. My family loves me because not only am I cute but I’m practical too!”

One of the passions BigMan and I developed this summer was bicycle riding. Initially I picked it up to add to my fitness regime since it’s such a wonderful calorie burn and it gives me the freedom to eat the way I want to be able to eat, instead of eating like a rabbit counting calories. As the summer wore on and we got in better shape, increasing our distance, we decided to take a ‘Mini’ vacation to LaCrosse Wisconsin to ride the very first bike trail in America. Sparta, which hosted a train rail line back in the day, converted that rail line into a bike path when it was mothballed and a new line put in. Now, if you ride from the trail head in LaCrosse to Sparta, you can log 21+miles. From Sparta, you can continue up another 10+ miles to Tunnel #1, which is not only 1 of 3 wonderfully hand carved tunnels, but also a winter bat sanctuary.

Hubby and I ticked off over 40 miles Day 1 by riding from LaCrosse to Sparta and back again. Burning over 3,000 calories, we were able to fully enjoy amazing food and fun beverages in downtown LaCrosse. Then Day 2, Mini hauled the bikes to Sparta. We unloaded them, and started the 3% grade climb up to tunnel 1. Since it was sunday and we still had a drive back home, we only went as far as tunnel 1 before we headed back down.

The trail is all packed limestone. So, if it’s sunny and dry, its a breeze and we could cruise an easy 16 mph on the flats. We discovered however, that after a rain shower overnight, the trail is slow where it was damp. Be sure to have at least hybrid tires on your bicycle or it could be a rough go.

If you are near LaCrosse WI and have your bike on your roof….I highly recommend the ride. The ride sports some amazing views and downtown LaCrosse is quaint, full of friendly people and a great place to grab a post ride bite!

We fully enjoyed ourselves having a healthy vacation….

And Mini loved being admired, as usual!

(Mini getting ready to take a nap, at the bike path trail head in LaCrosse)



(Limestone bike path from LaCrosse to Sparta)



(Vistors Center in Sparta. Head left and its ALL uphill!)




(Tunnel #1. About 10 miles from Sparta. The doors were installed to close in winter to protect the bats)



(The Tunnel is long, dark and drippy. Bring a STRONG flashlight if you want to go on to Tunnels #2 & 3)


Fitness Buddies

In the past when the flurries began, I would hole up in my little homestead to wallow in depression, eat, getting fat while waiting for the stimulating and motivating warmth to return. As part of the mental reboot achieved at camp this summer, my desire to never return to the the larger clothes size and feeling older than I look, outweighs my loathing of the cold. So, as one of my trainers would say ‘Suck it up Buttercup’! I donned walking mittens and a hat, warm wooley socks and dressed in layers. I leashed up my ‘kids’ and off we went, trying to enjoy the season as best as possible. 

Walking Little Mister always starts off a little rocky, it’s more like trying to herd cats than it is actually walking a dog. Small distractions, like sticks, only feed a puppy’s natural ADD. 



Finally, we settle down, and actually walk, albeit the amount of ground he covers, criss crossing back and forth, vastly outmatches my distance. 




I change the routes occasionally, this time heading towards the soccer fields nearby, which borders on a closed sandpit the City has made a nature area. As a reward for walking on the leash nicely, I let them off leash to explore and run. (Puppies need to RUN) 



I think that face says all…Happy, Happy, Happy. 




After a few ungraceful tackles on Big Girl, it was time to leash up and finish walking. 

Who knew fitness could be fun? Well, it can be…when you have fitness ‘buddies’. 

Me, Myself and I

With the graduation of my youngest from High School and my turning the big 5-“O”, I am now officially weeks away from becoming part of that ‘empty nest’ group of parents. For 20 years, I have dedicated my life to my children, my husband and all the various animals that have gone through our home for 20+ years. 

 Funny, I really had not thought much about turning 50. I guess, part of the whole mystery of father time is we never really ‘feel’ the age that shows on our drivers license. But no matter what I feel inside, the march of time and the abuse of life has taken a toll on my body. I’ve had quite a number of surgeries, and battled the roller coaster life dishes out as I’m sure a majority of people do. My mind might feel fresh and young, but my body lets me know I have all 50 years of living life in it. 

I love to cook. I love to entertain. With some of the physical limitations I’ve dealt with have over the past few years combined with the natural slowing of a metabolism, changes of hormones, and a state which boasts weather I’m not a fan of,  a few pounds has settled around the waistline. Any other time in my younger years, I would just cut a few calorie, increase my exercise and BAM, the weight would drop. But, over the past 2 years, my exercise ‘enthusiams’ has resulted in blown out knees, severe back pain and a frozen shoulder. NOT. GOOD. Most certainly very discouraging.

 So, out of desperation, I called a friend of mine who went to a health and fitness camp and who had great success in achieving what I am desiring….a mental reboot. A treat to myself. A controlled environment that is supportive, encouraging, motivating, and a place to lose a couple of pounds, all under the close supervision of personal trainers, nutritionists and cooking experts. 

So, that is where I find myself right now. Sitting in my room after orientation, at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa, working with the staff and crew of The Biggest Loser Program. This is the beginning of my journey into a new phase of my life. My goal is to get fit, so that when my grandchildren want Grandma to hike up Black Butte with them, Grandma can. I don’t know how much energy I’ll have to post every night. I have high aspirations to share as much of my experience as possible, but the agenda is pretty full and packed with exercise and movement beginning at 6am and ending at 6pm. I might be crashing by 8pm!!! 

I am quite excited, if not a little nervous of the unexpected. What a novelty this is for me, doing something completely on my own, (with the wonderful support of my loving hubby I might add) not with anyone, just me. I do this for my husband, I do this for my kids and their future children. But most of all, this is for me, myself and I.


ps) I will be trying to post the delicious, and healthy, food they will be serving us. You can follow me on my facebook page, see the link button. If I have the energy at night, I will try to post the photos here also. Wish me luck!

pss) I will be changing the look of my blog very soon. I will be the same me, just an easier to read look. Just a heads up!