always go by bicycle
cycling is a great way to explore america.
also if you want to find yourself.
the guy on the picture just broke up with his girlfreind and took a biketrip to relax and think it all over.
very nice and thoughtful guy.
you always meet cool people on the state forest camps.Related to:
Putt Putt Golf & Games
Putt Putt Golf & Games is a fun area franchised all across the United States. It is mainly known for its mini golf courses, but there are other activities such as go cart racing, bumper boats, a game room, and there is a canteen where folks can eat and drink between activities. Lee, Bill, and I went there to try out go cart racing and mini golf. I wasn't too keen on the go cart races at that age, but I improved impressively at mini golf over the weeks. In 36 holes, I made 4 holes-in-one. I went into both things with no illusions or delusions: if I didn't crack up the go cart with me in it and if I shot below 90 on the mini golf, I could hold my head up high. The important thing is being able laugh at myself and have fun.
Equipment: They provide all the equipment you need.Related to:
- Family Travel
Folks, bowling is not yet up my alley. How Lee talked me into going here in August, 2005 is beyond me, but I won't let some heavy ball make a monkey out of me any time soon. Games are normally $6 and bowling shoes are about another $5. (There is a reason why I often say uglier than a rented bowling shoe: see third picture.) They have it written on there security device embedded. Who would want to steal something that ugly? It is often more economical to go as a large group to rent out a lane for a period of 2 hours. Lee and Bill bowled well, but as for me, well, that's something else. I am getting better over time. I would have done better still in March, 2006 if Lee and the other clowns in my group didn't put their balls on the alley when I was trying to bowl and if Lee didn't put ice in my shoes.
Equipment: You can bring your own ball and shoes, but they have that stuff there already.
Little League Sports
In the USA, various sports form leagues to cultivate youthful interest in that sport. My friend Lee coaches a baseball team called the Cyclones. They were invited on 27-28 May to the state tournament in Covington, Virginia. Almost any sport has a type of little league, but the most popular sports are baseball, softball, basketball, football, and soccer. Pictured is the Mechanicsville Cyclones versus the Franklin County Elite. They lost 3-9 in that game, but went on to win 13-2 against the Chilhowie Rattlers. The game was stopped in the 4th inning because this league has a slaughter rule which ends a game where one team is winning by more than 10 points.
Equipment: A baseball bat, a ball, and a glove are needed.
High School Football
Unlike many countries, in the United States, public schools sponsor sport programmes. High school football is an autumn ritual all from Maine to Hawaii. Usually, the games take place on Friday evenings, with Saturdays reserved as a makeup day in case of bad weather. The photo (please enlarge) shows the 2005 homecoming game at Lee-Davis High School. Traditionally, homecoming games are set up such that the home team plays against a team they could most easily beat. However, the Armstrong Wildcats hammered the Lee-Davis Confederates 38-13 and then had the cheek to do a victory circuit around our track. Despite the loss (due to the graduation of a few key players), I had fun hanging out with my younger friends Adam, Will, Katy, and Lee (all Lee-Davis graduates) and Jessi (Lee's girlfriend).
NASCAR is the most popular form of American auto racing. It used to be exclusively a southeastern pastime, however, NASCAR has races in Delaware, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and even California. NASCAR fans are fiercely loyal to a specific driver or make of car (Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet) such that there is a fierce rivalry between the fans. The Daytona 500 is the most important race of the year. Unlike many sports where the most important race closes the season, the "world series" or "super bowl" of racing is at the beginning of the season. While fans may argue amongst themselves over who is the best driver, there is a points system tabulated throughout the season (late February through to mid-November) that gives a more objective assessment.
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League hosts games from October through to June. It used to be that professional hockey teams were only popular in cities noted for cold weather. However, now hockey fever has caught on in places like the Carolinas, Tampa, Atlanta, and Nashville. That demand for southern hockey teams was influenced, to a large degree, by come-heres (Northern transplants). Aside from the National Hockey League, various colleges and universities in the northern tier of states have NCAA (National College Athletic Association) teams.
Every autumn, there is a hunting season for different kinds of game and fowl. Rural areas see hunters all over the countryside. In some places, hunting season is treated like a national holiday. Some trade unions even negotiate for members to have the first day of hunting season off. While gun laws may be lenient in most states, hunting is very stringently regulated in terms of the age and number of the game one is allowed to bag. Hunting licences are strictly enforced and it is mandatory, for their own safety, for hunters to wear blaze orange vests. For those animal rights activists, particularly from outside the United States, save your breath. The United States will NEVER outlaw hunting. Even if it did, I suspect the unenforceable prohibition would be defied on a widespread basis.
backpacking is a great sport
Backpacking is a great sport and there is no better place to do it than in one of the great National Parks of the USA. With no shortage of incredible scenic beauty and an extensive network of trails traversing them, there are trails to suite all levels of backpackers.
You will need to carry everything you need for the trip with you and also everything back out. A good backpack makes that easier so don't scrimp on that part of your equipment. Make sure to get one that fits your body too. We are all different and so are the packs. Get yourself a good pair of waterproof boots and break them in before the trip. Thick cushiony socks are a blessing when hiking long distances over rock terrain. When you buy boots, wear the same socks you plan on hiking in so they fit together. We never hike in shorts. We prefer very light long pants which dry easily and provide protection from not only the sun but also bushes, rocky surfaces, and biting insects. Likewise, a light long-sleeved short helps up top. Synthetic layers are the key to keeping warm and dry. Rain gear is essentials no matter how dry it is when you start. It can rain at any time, especially in the mountains. Long underwear is great for chilly mornings and evenings if you plan on spending any time out of your sleeping bag. Warm hat, warm hat, warm hat, warm hat. Don't forget one.
What types of food should you be carrying? Dried food is the lightest though it comes at a cost. We find Mountain House to make a good product. It is not gourmet food but it's tasty enough, light to carry and very easy to prepare. You basically boil water, pour it into the plastic pouch the food comes in and close it for ten minutes. We eat some nuts while we're waiting for extra protein. The two-serving pouches from Mountain House are a bit meager. It might be enough for two small people but when you are carrying so much weight over passes, you need more calories. We generally add some starches to the pouch to flesh them out: instant mashed potatoes for the stews and instant rice for Asian style meals. We follow up the meal with a liquid soup like ramen noodles which provides warmth, liquid, sodium, and also helps clean out the cup we just ate our meals from. Breakfasts are either cereal bars or oatmeal. Tea is easier to deal with than coffee and hot chocolate seems to taste great in the mountains on a cold morning. It's also less to carry back as wet tea bags can get heavy. You will need a small camp stove as fires are not permitted nor practical for cooking in the backcountry.
Equipment: Bring a sleeping bag appropriate for the temperatures you will be sleeping in. If it will get down to 0F, don't count on staying warm in a 32F bag. I cannot stress how important a good sleeping mat is. It will go a long way in keeping you warm and comfortable: two things you do want after a long day of backpacking. A good quality tent will round out what you need to be comfortable in the mountains. Get a light one but one big enough for the number of people who will be sleeping in it. We find we need a three-person tent even though we are just two people. It's a bit heavier but we enjoy our time in the tent more with the extra space. It is also our car camping tent and we would not go with a super small tent for a six-month trip like we were on. It would be nice and ideal to have two tents.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Hot air ballooning is worldwide. We've been fortunate to have seen several during our various stays on the west coast. If you have an opportunity to be in the area of such an event, GO! Looking at all the designs and being your own judge is exciting in itself, but listen to participants tell their tales and you won't be bored!
Equipment: For the spectator: Bring water and a picnic meal. Camera, chair and of course sunglasses and/or visor.Related to:
- Family Travel
Hiking to the picnic tables
This is a sport for many Americans ... okay, a few of us consider it a sport if you have to HIKE half a mile up the mountain to get to the picnic table! This is on the outskirts of Alamogordo, NM. We stopped off at the mountain base for a picnic area that overlooked the whole area, plus some. Touring the country is not just going to all the hot spots ... stop awhile a check out the whole landscape. You shouldn't be surprised to see vast differences from one county to the next ~ the white line across the top portion of the photo is "White Sands National Memorial" ~ quite a different look than most others photos of White Sands.
Equipment: Be sure to have some field glasses or binoculars. Good walking shoes and don't forget your picnic lunch!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
ProBowl, good reason to fly to Hawaii !
What better excuse to fly to Hawaii than to watch football? Or should that be what better excuse to fly a football than to watch Hawaii? Well, at any rate ... if you're going to be here in early February anyway, make plans to go to the ProBowl game. Arrive early, do a little tailgate partying, bring lots of snacks and drinks, but leave them at the car before you go in the stadium for the game. Tickets range from $25 to upwards of $200, but don't wait till the end of January to try to purchase one!
Equipment: Ticket. DON'T forget to bring your ticket! A camera, food for before the game, drinks ... your pick! Raincoat (JUST IN CASE) ... and the attitude to have fun!
Catch a NFL Football Game
If you are in the United States in the autumn then you simply have to catch a NFL Football game. This is a sport that is almost unique to the United States and to see a game in a full ballpark can be a truely magical experience if you consider yourself a sports fan.
It is true that American football is an aquired taste. Unless you are familiar with the rules it is difficult to understand what in blazes is going on here. I find it bemusing attempting to explain what is happening on the field when I talk to Europeans about the sport. They just do not have time for all the apparent stoppages in play. Therefore for those Europeans and Asians who want to go to a game while in the States, I would suggest that they attempt beforehand to get some understanding of the game or even go with an American aquaintance who explain what is going on. Probably more than any other sport a football game resembles a military campaign. Like war there is a great deal of strategy in play here and to appreciate the game more you have to understand that the anticipation of the next play is part of the fun.
The first American football game that I saw in person was in September 2001, the first game after the 9/11 attacks. What you see here is Duane Culpepper of the Minnesota Vikings blowing a pass in the final seconds of the game which the Chicago Bears won 17 to 14. The game was played in Chicago's famous Soldiers Field which is now being rebuilt.
Equipment: If you go to game, be prepared the weather. Games never get cancelled because of the climate. In the game I went to it was raining throughout the first half. A raincoat and layered clothing would be a good idea.Related to:
- Family Travel
Fishing in Alaska
Alaska is a fisherman's paradise. This photo was taken while my friend and I were on a half-day charter trip of the coast near Juneau, Alaska. The trip was delightful, not only because we actually caught some salmon but because of the stunning scenery of the surroundings. There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen also. We glimpsed a whale in the distances and there were a large variety of birds to be seen including bald eagles.
Equipment: Our charter provided all of the equipment including the latest in fishfinding technology.Related to:
In a country where professional athletes command 8-figure salaries, and the Olympics have turned into billion-dollar industries, there is something to be said about the relative purity of college football. When programs are successful, students often feel the pride of associating with a winner, and national championships almost always figure in fireside reminiscences in later life. There are few venues where communal cheer and good fellowship are as sharply displayed as in a college stadium.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
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