Tag Archives: exploring

Celebrating the Rainy Summer Days

27th July 2013

It has been one wet, muggy and downright gross summer here in Atlanta, but as with any rain, there are always sweet rainbows to follow, or better yet, skies like these.

The other plus side is mud. Yes, the kind five-year-old boys usually go giddy over, however, this summer I’ve joined that club too. I don’t think it’s a secret by this point that I take any time outdoors that I can get. Living in Atlanta vs. let’s say Breckenridge, it sometimes seems that groomed parks or urban trails might be the best we can do for a little spin with mother nature. And although I do love those places, it is the muddy, gritty, root-filled trails that make my heart sing. Surprisingly, Atlanta is filled with those paths too.

fog on the river

This summer’s weather has lead P and I to get a little more creative with our post-work hiking outings. It has lead us to not so well marked cliff-side trail detours (which also led to a LOT of chigger bites. Gross), afternoon canoeing adventures when the well-versed option for a tubing trip was squashed thanks to too high (and too bacteria filled) water, and most recently it has lead me to try my hand at mountain biking (try being the key word here).

I came home from today’s biking adventure a little sore, covered in Georgia red clay (my shins may now be stained in red streaks), feeling slightly accomplished, and excited to tackle it all over again.

Sometimes when mother nature throws you a few too many cloudy monsoon days, the best thing to do is to get out, explore and embrace all she has to offer. Just be sure to pack a towel and an extra pair of Chacos. That’s what washing machines are for after all.

vida after river

Summer, let’s call this my official plea to never, ever leave. Unless you want to take a short break for October, but then come right back now, ya hear?


The Butterflies, Bees and Broken Glass: Great Urban Race 2013

14th April 2013

You know those pre-first day of school butterflies? The ones that leave you ready to throw up and want to just quit the whole thing before it even starts butterflies? Welp, for some reason, I couldn’t shake those same little butterflies on Friday night, the eve of our third Great Urban Race.

Couldn’t sleep, terrible dreams, woke up every 20 minutes butterflies. And for what? An awesome day of exploring where I knew I wasn’t going to die (fingers crossed, they had made me throw up while eating squid and unhand-cuff myself at a mob museum in the past), making friends with strangers would be incredibly easy and I was going to partake in taking obsessive amounts of photos and video…long story short, I’m a big wimp.

The good news, we survived.

The better news, we placed 11th.

The best news, we get to plan a trip for the National Championships this November in Puerto RicoGreat Urban Race Atlanta

As excited as I was to be finish and be rid of my nerves, the Great Urban Race isn’t your typical run as fast as you can for X amount of miles and cross the finish line race, as they say it best, GUR is a wild urban adventure and the stories that go along with it are the best part.

After winning tickets to compete last minute in 2012, P and I wound up falling in love with this race concept and followed it to the National Championships in Las Vegas last November (you can read all about those adventures here and here).

In 2013, we came prepared. No more of the single smartphone, map-less planning for us.

We arrived at the starting line with a map ready to go and were lucky enough to have one of our best friends join us as photographer / navigator extraordinaire. We also met up with some dear friends who were crucial in helping to solve the clues and keeping us all going.

We split the clues 50 / 50 between our two teams and less than 30 minutes after the starting horn, we were off and running with a plan and most of the clues solved. The worst part was over, phew.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play of the next hour and a half, but here are some of the highest points:

1. We got to walk on broken glass. How cool is that? And despite what it looks like, it didn’t hurt one bit (I was pleasantly surprised).

2. The photo tic-tac-toe clue is always a favorite. This year we opted for: take a photo with a stranger with a tattoo (how cool is she?), take a video giving a stranger a high five and Tweet a photo of all teammates “Smizing” (apparently a Tyra Banks thing? I don’t think we mastered that one).

Our tatto friend. How great is her hair?

Our tattoo friend. How great is her hair?

"Simzing" Yeah, not sure Tyra would approve.

“Simizing”  Tyra wouldn’t approve.













3. The next clue took us to a “secret” prohibition bar in Edgewood that is actually buried behind a bookcase in a pizza joint named Vesuvius. So. Cool. We put our googling to the test to answer questions like “What Minnesota republican was the major voice behind he National Prohibition Act in 1919?” in record time.

4. We dug up our best “every good boy deserves fudge” knowledge to decipher music notes to give us a phrase, and then act like them in a photo. We were bees if you can’t tell from our stellar impressions.

Our best bee impressions.

Our best bee impressions.

In all, it was another fantastic day and took me to more parts of the city I haven’t explored on my own (which is secretly my FAVORITE part about this race). A huge, huge thanks to all of the stop locations for their incredible generosity and pure southern hospitality (check out a list of our favorite places below).

Now, just as we were a year ago, we are counting down the days to Nationals  where we will be in the hunt for the $10,000 (or more likely, another great adventure to share). Until next time masterminds.

It's not all fun and games: sometimes they make you think TOO hard.

It’s not all fun and games: sometimes they make you think TOO hard.

Our tops picks for the 2013 race locations (aka, go check out these places Atlanta):

  • Vesuvius Pizzeria: look for the bookcase in the back hallway. Have a great time.
  • iwi fresh Garden Day Spa: these ladies make their own amazing body scrubs. They smell SO good.
  • Joystick Gamebar: old school arcade games and drinks, could you ask for more?
  • Cafe 458:  not only was the staff super sweet, all of the proceeds, including tips, go to support programs and services that aid the homeless.