Monday, January 22, 2018

Medicine--do you worry?

When we are healthy, it is easier to take time to find something that is gluten free for us. It is not easy, it is just easier than when we are sick.
Thankfully, a pharmacist has stepped in where Congress and the FDA has not. This mystery person created www.glutenfreedrugs.com with a link within for lists: http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/list.html .

The pharmacist's contact info/email is on there as well, so if you're prescribed something you're not seeing on the list, you can email the person and get a call back.

I know that most --not all--but most prescription drugs in the USA are made with corn starch as a filler. This is helpful unless you have a corn allergy!

For short term prescriptions I have stressed over it, not worried about it, and also found out ahead of time. My most memorable is when I verified an antibiotic post acral lentiginous melanoma toe surgery was gluten free only to have a reaction to it/hives within days and have to go off it instead. I've not worried about some medicines that are short term (like Diflucan) since I figure it's going to mess with the digestive tract anyway :-P
This is the only place I've found for verifying prescriptions ahead of time. I have also called the drug companies from the pharmacy which can be done during the day, but not after hours. It can be frustrating, but the pharmacists don't know this information any more than others. Sometimes they'll hand you the long, small print, package insert. Sometimes I've been handed the bottle, other times I have requested the information so I can call. Information needed to call: Prescription name, strength of dose, type of medicine (liquid, tablets, capsules, etc), NDC number, Lot and Expiration dates from the bottle, as well as the name of the manufacturer, and the phone number of the manufacturer. When I've called, it's taken no more than maybe five minutes to get the information. I worked at a pharmacy in college and recall people asking then about ingredients (before 'everyone' having a cell phone) and the pharmacist would hand the customer the patient insert. Pharmacists don't know what is gluten free and what is not. I appreciated the Target pharmacist who was always wanting to learn. She appreciated hearing about the gluten free drugs list created above and liked having that as a source of information, but not all pharmacists or pharmacies are open to this. I miss Target having a pharmacy.
The cat's medicine. The bottles are great to reuse for storage.
In this case, the pins from men's dress shirts!
I currently use Walgreens and have had them switch a long time maintenance drug from brand to generic without my knowledge --and which I refused--that my prescribing doctor had no clue had even been released (the patent isn't up for a couple more years, so go figure on that FDA!) I was upset that the law allows them to sub out a generic on a prescription that is already being filled (I know they can fill generic from a brand new script), that they essentially canceled my actual brand prescription, and they didn't contact my doctor to get a new prescription right away--I had to do that the next week when I found out. I have had a couple friendly pharmacists at this location but I think they aren't there any longer. For over the counter medicine I have called the companies from the aisle at Target and asked. I called on Mucinex a couple years ago. They don't add gluten, but don't test for gluten. Some say on them. I can't give any recommendations on here, since I have to avoid soy oil and sucralose as well. I ended up ordering my throat lozenges from Amazon earlier this month as Target no longer was carrying the brand I had gotten (Zarbees). My throat was so raw, I just kept drinking hot tea all day long and added honey. I went through a whole 'bear' of honey in one week.
Be well! Stay hydrated. Wash your hands well. Wash your gloves and scarves, or use Purell or Clorox wipes on your leather or vinyl gloves that can't be washed. I keep a container of purell in the car that I use after being in public places and before driving away in the car. Sometimes I forget, and I start the car and touch the steering wheel, so I slather the purell on the hands and wipe the wheel down and the the start button.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Piggies in a blanket

Welcome to 2018!  We have a whole new year in front of us! 

I, unfortunately, started off the new year with a really bad chest cold.  I was out of the loop for a good ten days, and still had coughing and poor energy for another week.  The Mike even made me go to the doctor!   I haven't been this sick since January 2015, and I ended up finding my Melanoma then. So of course, now I am worrying! 
Road salt crystals building off of slush in the garage
I finally counted up my exercise jar ($1 per exercise day/event) and got my bibs together for 2017.  I didn't even have a hundred dollars, but that is more than in 2016.  My goal for 2018 is to have over $100, but I  am off to slow start.  Yoga, treadmill walking, and weights at the gym have already been done. I lost so much energy being sick that I am being sure to start off slow. 

Exercise jar for me = $1 per exercise per day. If I change clothes/change gear and do another workout, then I add another.  Running/walking is $1, if I do weights that same day it's another $1 and so on.  
Starting off the year with beautify from my Christmas Cactus 
Once I was feeling better, I decided I needed another pair of shoes. Switching from the other brand, due to blisters/rubs, back to Asics again meant that I only had one good pair. Since i want that for the treadmill/indoor stuff, I needed a pair for outside.  Hence, I went to the running store and got a new pair for indoor work :-)  Aren't they preeettttttyyyy? 
 
Other stuff has happened ;)  but tonight I gave The Mike the option of pork chop and left over sweet potato and butternut squash, or pigs in a blanket which I have not made in a long time, maybe in a couple of years. 

Chebe and Teton Waters Ranch mini hot dogs!   

I cleaned out the freezer and found two very little partial bags of potato items!  Alexia are gluten free, soy free, and tasteful! 
When I mixed up the Chebe for these, I used my food processor to get it nice and mixed up/smooth. I added about half again as much cheese, after all I wouldn't be able to add in a slice of cheese for these.
Add caption
The parchment paper i had on hand happened to have grid work on it. Turned out this was a good thing today. I made gentle marks through with the pizza roller, and then did the actual cutting after removing the top layer. 



I did roll the dough fairly thin, knowing the Chebe dough would 'poof' up a bit. 

I drained the package of mini hot dog by Teton Waters Ranch, then patted them dry. 

It was VERY easy to make these.  Place the mini dog on a square, fold over one corner, and continue to roll the dog to the other side.  Push down when it's upside down to help set the seam. 




Put upright on the baking pan or parchment paper. 


Beautiful!   
With the leftover dough, I made regular rolls. 
 While the fries were on the pizza stone, I put the pigs in a blanket on the cast iron griddle I'd preheated in the oven. 
 Even baking on parchment paper on the cast iron, they got nicely browned on the bottom. 

Pigs in a blanket, served up with some potatoes and peas :)  um, does the ketchup count as tomatoes?
We had Clementine Cuties as an appetizer, so we did have fruit too!  


Piggies in a blanket aren't for every day, but they are occasional meals. :-) 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Ginger! Gingerhouse that is.


Gingie! Gingy! Whichever is the way you say it, gingerbread is awesome, and making a gluten free house is so much fun.  I recall decorating one when I was a kid. I helped my niece and nephew make one a few years ago and was a little jealous, so last year I found a recipe and used my 1:1 gluten free flour mix to create a gluten free gingerbread house at home.  (Link to my 1:1 gluten free flour recipe) 

I found this recipe at Simply Recipes for "how to make a gingerbread house" and substituted out the flour.  The Mike made the pattern cutouts with cardboard from the dimensions and sample pattern in the recipe link. That was one of the reasons i liked this link and pattern, as it gave suggestions.  The Mike did make some modifications to the layout this year based on last year's construction. Namely, we varied the chimney measurements, and we added a cutout gingerbread base as well, so we could move it around while making.  
Michael's craft store had Wilton gingerbread decorations earlier this year and I managed to get some while I could.  I say that because today we were running out of the mini gumdrops and sought out more at Michaels. Today, the section was depleted of most decorations. 


Another thing to mix up the decoration was that instead of making my own royal icing from scratch this year, I just bought the Wilton's box mix, used my Kitchenaid and added water.  I put a piping/icing bag in a Weizen beer glass to fill it with the royal icing mix.  This glass shape worked well as the to of the bag easily folded over the edge of the glass.  Ironically, this glass is used for "wheat beers". 

The Mike got to roll out the dough. I still have problems with my wrist from the car collision two years ago. (FYI: Don't slam on the horn if you think the dude running the stop sign is going to clear the intersection).  Mike rolled out the dough, and used the cardboard pattern pieces he made to measure and then cut with the pizza cutter. It made a LOT more sense, and a quicker process, than cutting out with a knife. 

We cut the dough into quarters and then used a quarter of the dough at a time, to keep the other fresh. We also bought those Wilton rolling pin edges for rolling to a certain measurement.  That was faster than last year measuring with a ruler! 

After baking came making :-)   First we had to fix the foundation problem, as the base broke when I was removing the parchment sheet from the cookie sheet.  It slide off the cooling rack. #Oops !  Thankfully it happened on the bottom piece and not the pieces. I prepped the jelly roll pan with the large piece of aluminum foil for easy cleanup in the new year.  The Mike called himself the Construction Contractor.  I piped in the mortar and he smoothed into the joints.  #Teamwork.  
The royal icing has egg whites in it and allows for great adhesion.  After constructing the sides, we left the house alone for an hour or so to firm up. Then we added on the roof tiles.  We put small bamboo skewers in from the roof down to the interior to hold the pieces in place for setting up.  Last year we used tin cans and that worked, but we liked this better. When it was dry, we removed the skewers and frosted over the holes :-) 

Windows on, roof decoration, side decoration, then icicles The ridge vent was decorated, then the front.  I smoothed frosting over the aluminum foil and covered with unsweetened coconut flakes from Trader Joe's.  I bought the Brachs regular size gumdrops for finishing off the decor.  
While Wiltons and Brachs don't say "gluten free" specifically, they are not made with gluten. They are made in a factory that also processes wheat, but that disclaimer is voluntary for a company to add--so if it's not there and it's not labeled gluten free, there's no guarantee the item actually is gluten free.  I say this as a disclaimer, because I feel comfortable using Wilton decorations for this house but I know other Celiacs may not feel the same.

Finished house: 
 

The recipe does make extra dough which is great in case you break a piece. We left that dough alone until after everything was baked, and then I cut out bells, trees, angels, camels, and gingerbread men.

Happy Holidays from The Quirky House to yours.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

10K? SURE!


I had the opportunity to do a 10K recently. Normally the race is in November as a tribute to Veterans, but was moved up about a month due to conflicts with the group hosting the event.  The positive was that I was able to participate. The negative was that there was another race, the weather was damp, and not many people showed up--about half of what the normal turnout.  However, since the race was moved up a month, the wind was not as cold, and the temperature was not as cold. It did rain before the race, as we were all standing under an overpass near the starting line. 

For the race, two descendants of those the race is named for were on hand for the event. One raced and one sent us off.  Some Gave All. 


I was chatting with someone under the overpass before the race when a woman I've played running tag with passed by.  She and I met in July at a race, where she'd pass me, then I'd pass her, and so forth. We finished very near in time to each other.  We met again at a race the start of October and the same thing happened.  It's always fun --to me-- to encounter another enthusiastic runner who is out for her own race and can liven up a run.  It was good that we were there together, as we were running together in the 10K without trying.

The course was new this year owing to convoluted road construction on a highway through town.  We wouldn't be able to easily cross the road as in years past, so the organizers had us mostly run along the river. This was a nice path, paved, and a few short, steeper sections. The rain held off during the actual race. 

Up until the last two blocks, the other lady and I were running together even though we were running our own race.  I didn't have it in me in the last block though, and with my full out sprint she crossed the line ahead of me!   

Maybe it was the change in course, maybe it was the lack of brisk wind in the face on the course, maybe it was that I've had another year of healing. Regardless, I happily bested my time from last year by two minutes! 

It was also this race that made me say "get new shoes".  I've been wearing Brooks the last two years because I kept winning a free pair at expos :D  However, after horrible blisters from the June marathon I walked, and those spots being 'hot' and sensitive at this 10K, I decided to go back to my Asics GT.  Just putting them on my feet felt better and the sensitive area wasn't rubbing.  It's all about the shoes, folks, and getting what works for YOU. 

September: Went on vacation, ate out, and wasn't sick

I didn't have any races in September, except the Virtual Running Club National Park race. I did this last year because I wanted the medal shaped like a park ranger hat! This year it was the outline of the continental US.  The tshirt has that on the front and then has Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, and a couple other islands placed appropriately on the shirt. The Mike and I both had National Park shirts to wear on our vakay. . . and we did stop at a national park (or two)!   

The Mike has vacation he has to use, so we decided to use some of it! (He's been unable to take it all the past couple of years).  We decided on Niagara Falls via Canada and camping! Like we have camped together, once, in twenty years! We have slept in the car at a rest stop on the way to our destination. We have slept in the car on a quick trip to Leadville to crew for a fellow bicyclist, at the last minute, arriving at midnight and getting up at 5am for activities. However, we have only 'camped' once and that was a few years ago, for one night only.  I usually do some great planning for our vacations, but this year I wasn't getting much in the "between here and there" search.  I even looked for races, and they were either on the Saturday we were leaving home, or they were on Saturday or Sunday we were returning home and not where we needed them to be, ha ha.  The plan: Rent a minivan and use it for camping.  This meant we had to pack light. We were able to secure a Dodge Grand Caravan, the only minivan that has stow and go back seats so we could set up the air mattress there.  Yes, we literally slept in the car!

Funny and cheap fix:  The Mike had picked up a dashboard GPS unit for $10 at a garage sale because he wanted the parts. Turned out it actually worked!  We used that for the trip versus tying up my data on the phone  and versus spending $8 a day for GPS in the rental.

We took our Thirty-One soft sided cooler for the trip because it'd fit behind the driver's seat.  One caution: it tends to leak if you have something on top of it. .  . for this reason we wouldn't take it on vacation in the future, but for about town or weekend trips it'd be great.  We put a garbage sack under the cooler to protect the carpet.  Packed inside: containers with Hormel ham and turkey; cheese sticks, as well as sliced cheese for sandwiches; mustard; fruit cups; milk; a few cans of soda/pop; Chobani yogurt; and hard boiled/cooked eggs; We did plan to dine out along the trip as well.  In another Thirty One tote, we had chips, crackers, pumpkin seeds, Canyon Bakehouse bread, pretzels, mamma chia packs, plates, paper towels, silverware (not plastic), Tanka bars, The Mike's granola bars, and a few other snacks. 

Day 1:  Indiana:  Introduced to Bonefish Grill. A spendy first meal, but we had a cooler with us for breakfast and lunch items.   

Bonefish Grill Gluten free meal at the front; The Mike's gluten fish & chips in back. 
I think Bonefish must have changed their menu in the last five years or so. I have only been to one location previously, and I remembered a lot more fish on then menu than the $$$$ entrees on this gluten free menu.  Plus, they didn't even offer to bring The Mike bread.  Like, just because *I* am gluten free doesn't mean he should have to go without bread --he does at home, but the restaurant is the time for him to splurge!.
Fall Flowers in bloom frequently on our travels
Our first night travel we played it like we have in years past. . .just drive until we are tired. We learned you can't really do that when needing a campground.  $30 to park the car on a grassy spot, have a picnic table and access to the building with bathrooms and showers. We felt we were hobos compared to the folks with RV and golf carts for getting around! 

Breakfast was a piece of Canyon Bakehouse bread with Sunbutter on top, hardboiled eggs, cheese stick and Chobani yogurt for us. (How did I live so long without Sunbutter in my life?  I never cared for peanut butter and these days peanuts don't like me!  Sunbutter is one of the few sunflower butters that is made in a facility without peanuts (like, what's the point of those other brands!).

We took a stroll to the lake on site, cleaned up and hit the road. We had places to go and things to see!  First up, Henry Ford Museum complex in Dearborn MI.  I had looked ahead of time at the website, but since I didn't know the differences for the different areas I decided we'd just make a decision when we got there and talked to someone about our options.   We decided to go with Greenfield Village and the Innovation Museum.  We erroneously thought we'd have enough time for both in one day.  (Note: you need a full day for each, and could probably spend a whole week here seeing everything).  What is Greenfield Village?  It's a historic village that Henry Ford himself started. It has homes and businesses, vintage transportation, the Wright Bros shop, Edison's Florida home, a pottery, a weaver, a printer, glass blower, so much more, and a roundhouse for trains, and --this is cool---you can go beneath a steam engine, seriously!  Have you ever seen the underside of a train engine?
Steam train engine undercarriage via the "pit" 
I had no idea that Ford created such a complex. He basically wanted to collect buildings and things that were of interest to him and put them in a village he created.
 We had packed cheese sticks and Tanka bars in my purse and snacked on those during the day.  After a eight hours of exploring, we were ready to find a place for dinner and get a campsite.  Using the Find Me Gluten Free app we found Buddy's Pizza and got a gluten free pizza for carryout.  I was unprepared for the question: Do you want it cut?  I've never been asked that before. She said a lot of celiacs don't want it cut, but they do use a clean/separate blade so I said cutting it was fine.
We found a campground for the night, although it too was more for RVs than cars/tents.  It was also close to the shower/bathroom building.  Nice place--definitely a Good Sam(aritan) club--we had someone offer to start a fire for us. I hadn't packed any firestarters or matches! 

My mind kept niggling at the name of the town, Monroe Michigan, but I was coming up with nothing as to why.  Turns out that this is Custer's home town. Yes, that Custer!  Civil War hero at the time he was celebrated here, before he went West.   The campground had some fliers and one of them looked good for breakfast, and was on the Find Me Gluten Free app too: R Diner.
R Diner, Monroe MI
We both had woken up and said, "We need a sit down warm breakfast today".  So glad the R Diner had a brochure at the campground. This diner is colorful, bright, airy, and right on the main drag, so it's easy to find.  They did have UDIs gluten free bread, and knew of gluten free/celiac needs, but I was throwing a wrench into the works with not being able to have soy oil.  The waitress was feeling so bad for me. I asked if they could poach eggs. YES! she felt so great about that. I asked for some spinach and cheese too.  She brought  it out and was not sure about how I was going to be with the presentation. I was ecstatic.  I said "This is how I often have my eggs at home!" (Okay, fine. I don't poach eggs at home). Spinach, eggs, and cheese. What else does a gal need? 

We took some time to find out what Monroe MI had. It has the La-z-boy headquarters. It also has a National Battlefield called River Raisin.  What? You've never heard of it? Your history books didn't cover it either?  Remember the Raisin was apparently a rallying cry for the War of 1812.  One of the Rangers said it was like "remember the Alamo".  The Ranger put the park in perspective and said that while most National Park areas have one or two views to share, he has five: US, British, Canadian, Native American, and French.

We got back to Dearborn and went to the Innovation Museum.  We didn't have enough time to see this in eight hours, let alone the six hours we had in the day before closing.

Presidential cars through history:
JFK's car
modified -after that event- into a hard top for Johnson's use

FDR's car

Not my first Wiener-mobile
This Museum is amazing. Trains, cars, trucks, race cars, machines, massive gears, planes, farm implements, and more we didn't even get to see!  Before leaving the museum for the night, one of the museum workers suggested dinner to us of a fairly new establishment called Ford's Garage. It's a mini chain and not affiliated with the museum. We thought "why not".  They do have a small gluten free menu. Sadly the piston onion rings were not gluten free. Not that I expected them to be, but they looked really cool on a funnel.


"Uncarburator burger" 

We crossed into Canada and found a campground for the night. It wasn't crowded since it was after Labor Day now and we had good access to the facilities.  In the morning we stumbled upon a gluten free bakery. The Mike was driving and he saw the LARGE sign while I had my head in the map.  Healthy Creations Gluten Free Bakery.  SAY WHAT? A bakery that is totally gluten free?!  Sign us up!  They weren't open. We went to a nearby park in London instead. It was so clean and beautiful. The whole country is clean, manicured, well kept! 
Back to the bakery we went. I wanted everything, but with small room for food that wasn't going to happen. I thought I was picking things that were going to cost a lot:

Four fresh from the oven muffins. 
 A brownie, and one or two cookies. 
Under $10 Canadian 
with the exchange rate it was under $9 US.       
Why didn't I insist on buying more?

The woman was so helpful. She said her sister owns the business. She knew what I could have and couldn't have with my soy oil issue.  DELISH. Highly recommend.

Because we have to do something in the town of London, I found a museum for us to go to.  I actually had in my head that it was a museum about the Mounties. . . um, no. It is the Regimental Museum.  We went to a military museum in another country. Fascinating!  We found out why Queen Victoria's seal/initials are still used, that there are a LOT of hat pins that can be awarded/earned in the military, and saw this amazing Flanders Field Cross bearing the names of Some Who Gave All.  
Next stop Niagara Falls Canada
Dinner view
 Elements restaurant at TableRock in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. They had a lot of options and said they could simply modify several dishes for me, which gave me more freedom on the menu.
"The Seafood Ravioli hold the ravioli" This is what the manager called it ;-)  I was given extra veggies in this filling, tasty, appetizing entree. It was REALLY good!  

The Mike's Strip Steak, with that nasty Gluten  :P 
We usually don't do dessert, but with creme brule on the menu, of course we would!  The Mike ate the blueberries for me :-) 
Creme Brule YUM!  
I LOVE Canada. This is our second trip into the country with my food restrictions of celiac, soy intolerance, no peanuts, no chickpeas. . .and I feel I'm forgetting something.  I try to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup because I don't like how it makes me feel like my tongue has been coated.  HFCS is not a problem in the most common form--soda/pop.  I drank more Coca Cola on this trip than I have in a while---not really a good thing, right?   Mexican Coke in glass bottles in the USA is what I normally get, or Hansen's (from California) root beer or ginger ale which I can get at Trader Joe's a few times a year.  

View under Rainbow Bridge on the walking path.
After we had a long day of sightseeing, with Tanka bars and cheese sticks for snacks, we stopped at Boston Pizza on Clifton. It came up on the Find Me Gluten Free app, so we said 'sure'! 
TWO sides to the gluten free menu! 

The Mike's gluten pizza (round) and my GF pizza (square)
Our desserts were a little different. . . I would have liked that brownie, but I went for the pudding and gummie worms GF dessert.  Don't judge: when was the last time you got gummie worms in a restaurant?! 
Does the wonderful energy of the Falls ever get old?  (No. The answer is No. I can't believe you even thought about it!)
Breakfast before heading out for sightseeing. The KOA had cute Nutella jars, so we had to get those.  The summer sausage I had brought from home purchased at Natural Grocers. No MSG. No gluten. No soy. Very tasty.
The beautiful Butterfly Conservatory was amazing. 
Fort George. First foreign military museum for us.  The Fort grounds are well cared for, and the employees have fun--the Musket demonstrator had us laughing with the demonstration. 

We crossed over to the USA, found a campsite, the visitor's center and got a tip for dinner. Lewiston NY up the road a bit.  Water Street Landing had a lot of variety on the menu in general, and an option I felt safe with for my gluten and soy needs was the burger. I wasn't so sure about the bun, but the waitress said it was gluten free--who has ever had a gluten free bun that has seeds on top?!  I halfway believed her, but was a little dubious since I asked for no potato chips and then they were served on the side. I cut off the burger that was touching the chips and didn't eat them because they were fried in soy/vegetable oil. 
If you've never been to Lewiston, it's a historic town to see on a gentle Niagara River and a place where many of the slaves seeking freedom crossed into Canada.  

Later, we went to a grocery store in Niagara Falls NY to restock our cooler. I was ecstatic to see a freezer section full of gluten free delights.  I splurged and bought a cake I didn't really need :D  It was about two inches tall and four inches square.  It also took me four days to eat it. The cake was really good and the frosting was overly sweet to me.  


The USA falls allow a person to get MUCH closer to the action. 

Rainbows viewed with the Rainbow Bridge in the distance. 

In case you go to Niagara Falls, let me share with you something we did not know while we were in Canada--if we had, we would have stayed at the KOA another day. You can WALK across the Rainbow Bridge into the USA/Canada.  You have to have your passport on your person. It is fifty cents. Quarters fed into a machine, and paid when you leave Canada to cross into the USA.  It's where you can get the international photo of one person in one country and your travel partner in the other country. It's where you can pose with one foot in each country (of course, then you can't get the photo and the sign). 
Hershey Store, Niagara Canada

We walked across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada for lunch. Why?  Because I knew we'd find gluten free food in Canada in the tourist area and I honestly didn't know where to get close gluten free/soy free food while we were on the States' side.
  .
Hard Rock for lunch: 

Just look at that GF Bun!   The waitress said she knows of at least a dozen types of GF buns available in and around Niagara of which she is aware!  A dozen!  It was light and tender too. 
We joked we should have gone to Hard Rock Niagara USA as well. They're both "right there".  I haven't been to a Hard Rock in the USA since before I was aware of my food restrictions.

After some more sightseeing, we started our return home.  

We camped at Evangola State Park, which we stumbled upon as it was getting dark. We had a nice campground area with paved parking for our camping. We bought some firewood only to have it start to sprinkle after we started our fire. We hopped in the car. Then it stopped and we started the fire again. Then it rained again, but not for long.  Third time was the charm with the fire ;-) 

In the morning, we packed up and went to explore the park.  
It was a smart move with this view for breakfast. 

Lake Erie
Before our trip, I tried to find local races to do along our route and came up empty. While we were enjoying our breakfast there were people walking around with bibs. . . a low key 5K was being held at the park.  LOL--the park ranger didn't even know!  Sadly, I left my running shoes and gear at home in trying to keep packing to a minimum.  I had hiking shoes, birks, and boots. I thought another pair of shoes would be too much. Plus, no sports bra was packed either.  No run for me. 

We headed on down the road and in the afternoon stopped at a Wendys for lunch, and made a trip to the grocer across the road for some more yogurt and browsing. 
These are AWESOME. They're huge too!  


We also found this gluten free pasta, so we had to buy a couple boxes. :-)  

I've cooked it up since then. It is really good and definitely one I'd buy again. Shocking, since I don't much care for corn pasta, but I do like rice pasta.  
It's made in Italy, and packaged in the states by Dakota Growers.

We were exploring a bit more before getting on the road again, and we encountered packet pickup for a marathon on Sunday. UGH. TWO races I did not have on my radar that I could have run in. Okay, just kidding. I wouldn't have been able to do the marathon, because it was in Pennsylvania, on Sunday, when we needed to be MUCH closer to home!   It was still sad to see running events and know I couldn't participate.  



After our last night of camping, we went for an exploratory hike before getting back in the car. 
Art in nature.  At first I saw a tree cut down, and was sad that humans cut short nature (along an undeveloped lakeshore area). Then I saw a tree root/trunk as a shoe climbing up out of the Lake. :-)  (Marblehead Ohio--you can see Cedar Point rides across edge of the lake). 

A pit stop was needed:  Culvers.

We needed to get out and walk/explore and we pulled off the interstate / toll system at the point for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Part of this is a state park and part of it is national park area. There are also sections of this that are private, and it was weird to drive from protected land to open land and back to protected land.  

For all the exploring/travels we have done, my husband had not seen Lake Michigan up close. WHAT? I exclaimed when he said it.  We HAD to go to the Lake. The parking lot/swim area is in the state park which has a fee for parking. Do not balk at this. It is well worth it.  A large changing room building, a large art deco building that has concessions in the summer, and  wide open beach for the water.  There are plenty of hiking trails too, if you have the right footwear. 

Enjoy the road. Get out and explore. Don't let food issues hold you back from seeing what nature has to offer.  Pack a cooler. Pack a campstove if you need to do all your food prep.