Eastern Penitentiary and Liberty Bell

It was an interesting place to visit but you certainly would not want to live there. This amazing architectural and socially significant institution is nestled into downtown Philadelphia. The link below does the most “justice” in explaining this unique and visually rich building. I highly recommend it on your Philly attraction list.  The above is the central hub with wings going out in several directions. This allowed for very few staff to keep an eye on the halls.


The exterior walls are 35 feet thick.


This link  will provide a much better explanation to understand this very unique place.

The doors into the hallway were added at a later date. There was a small opening for food.  The access was through the courtyard area attached to each cell. Two 1/2 hour daily breaks outside along with work brought to the cell was the daily routine. One book (the Bible) was issued for the duration of the years of the sentence. Many of the prisoners did not know how to read.  A side note- we visited on a magnificent fall day. The temperature in the prison was San Francisco can’t get warm creepy  damp and  chilly. I could not imagine what winter would feel like. The audio tour info said summers were unbearable. How any could make it through multiple years of that plus isolation ?

We took the headphone audio tour as the human guided tour did not match our schedule. I  had a million questions.  If you happen to go try to time a tour so you can get lots more details. There were a few displays with prison reform slanted facts and figures. The tour guides seemed to be law students from a nearby school.

Meanwhile back on the outside here is a great memorial to the black soldiers in WWI.

City Hall.

We had the Bell to ourselves at closing time. It was a great afternoon to swing by Independence Hall.

Sadly, this was Philly Lite. So much to see and a plane to catch back to Florida. Did you know that Philadelphia designates a portion of every construction project to public art and has the most public art of any city in the world ?

We will finish with some Ben Franklin since he got a lot of the Philly party started.

Ben Franklin Wisdom

Make it your best day.



Dearly Beloved. Gears are shifting here in the nanadventure planet. If you are bored silly reading about running in this blog this is your day. My new companion is Flo Rida. You can puzzle on the pun, it is courtesy of Michele V who is far more clever than most of us.

The next big thing is a crossing of the USA by bike. The route will be the southern tier from San Diego to St. Augustine FL. Departure is early March. The trip is supported and truthfully they had me at the word chef.

My new best friends are the SMBC bikers. Above are the views from Ft. Hamer on the Tuesday ride. If you see Flo and I around Bradenton on the scarce safe biking roads give a toot and toss me some water and sunscreen.

To prepare for low tech days during the camping days of the trip I ask that you please FOLLOW the blog to get the updates for nanadventure.

Much obliged and know you are appreciated and give purpose for me to keep pushing the envelope of activity and groan…..learning new tech skills.

Yesterday I spent 4 hours trying to upload a route to this new concept called a bike GPS. If you find me somewhere deep in the Everglades after a wrong turn, please call Debbie.

Make it a great day.

Love to all,


Atlantic City Marathon

The wonderful aspect of waking up and living another day is all the new things  to learn about the world and your own little world. This trip was a great learning experience in many ways. First of all I planned too casually and did not build in enough time for a travel glitch. Tropical bad thing Nestor popped up quickly and instead of being in New Jersey drinking water and eating spaghetti and walking the beach we were still in Florida looking at a potential OCTOBER hurricane. A pop up hurricane. Who knew ! We made a quick decision to at least get to the airport area Friday night for a Saturday flight to a Sunday race. I kept saying GIRRRRRL what part of making sure #48 gets done did you not get ??  The storm hit as lots and lots  of rain Saturday morning. The new fun fact for both Debbie and I is that driving in the dark (somehow Florida dark is the worst)  is no longer safe for either of us. Then add blinding rain.  People there might be a debacle on the roads. Friday night hotel, nice dinner, thank you very much.  The 1 minute trip to the airport was perfect for the two old bags from Cortez Villas. All that worry was unfounded. Thank you Southwest- wheels up ahead of schedule.

After a smooth arrival in Philly and a lovely  fall drive to Atlantic City we acted like big shots. Valet Parking, bellhop the luggage, upgrade to ocean view room. Bam Jersey Shore the two old Florida  bags are here to party. After an early bird 4pm  dinner to keep our reputation intact, we went out on the wild, wild edge and rode the ferris wheel. More on that later. It was a lovely night. Although the mind was screaming “FUNNEL CAKE will make you run very fast”, the marathon food police locked that thought up.

The major thrill for every hour of darkness was our view of the ferris wheel color  light pattern. I swear to you after two nights watching  the same color pattern never repeated.  There were countless patterns of color and movement.

Sorry I was not at all  sorry to spend the hour before the race enjoying this view and being very grateful for Debbie coming on the trip to experience all this and my decision to go around the states again.  Another lesson learned is experiences shared are immensely richer.

The pre race start line just an elevator ride away  meet and greet was terrific.  We had SETH (hit that link he has a very  very good blog), Andy, Tina and Jeff, JC and lots of Maniacs doing the Baltimore /Atlantic CIty double. Since I had a ferris wheel to look at all night I did not do the double.

The conditions were perfect but we all knew that pesky pop up Nestor was due to hit in about 3 hours. Thank you to Debbie for this picture at mile 9. We went into MR G’s  for matching tatoos but they said if you cannot drive in the dark you cannot get one, so I just kept running.

The rain hit as scheduled.  The second part of the route went through some lovely sections with great water views.  Fortunately: I learned how to pick up my feet and not snag a nail pop on the boardwalk with my shuffle- I mean  run.  I was moving fast enough that I did not get cold and also fast enough that I missed the total tsunami that hit 15 minutes after I finished. The choice to stay directly at the start/finish was perfect. Elevator ride, hot bath, good New York pizza-WIN.

Somehow I broke 6 hours which has not happened for a blue moon. My angel Debbie waited outside almost all day enjoying the boardwalk. Debbie also  graciously did not gamble my 26 cent road find from the race. The penny has a Mason symbol stamped on it. This penny is from 1978. Google says that was a thing in the 70’s to stamp coins. The 70’s live on today and the Mason stamp is available on Amazon for $49.  Again-this is why we walk the world with eyes wide open eh ?

We enjoyed an insanely decadent casino buffet, a very plush sportsbook lounge to watch some NFL and cha ching I won $52.50 on a penny slot. No there was little sleep to be had, there was a ferris wheel to ogle. Life is beyond good.

Number 49 will be next August in Wyoming with the wild horses in Green River and 50 will be in Delaware next fall. My new project is gearing up so to speak to ride my bike across the USA. I will blog of course about that adventure and the antics to prepare. Readers !  Get your passports ready. The DebNan summer 2020 experience will include bike/barging it in Holland and are you ready for this- swimming in the Greek Islands. Did I say life is beyond good ?

Feel our love, thank you for reading, do not  EVER invite us out after 5 pm West Coast Florida curfew, appreciate today and explore forever.

Your pals in fun,

Nan and Deb


Maine Marathon

State 47 Maine was a few hours after state 46 in New Hampshire. The early start had a great sunrise over the cove. In addition they even blasted some great music to send the velocity impaired on our merry way. The route was beautiful and the fall colors got better by the hour. My “run” efforts were unsuccessful in passing the robust walkers. Something about accepting the things you cannot change was in order. The first groups of regular starters came flying through and I got an education on running tangents. This strategy was also the purpose of the green line laser used the following weekend when the male world record was broken. And of course a shout out also to the female world record broken in Chicago the next day. This of course proves the secret powers of a good deep dish pizza.

Back in Portland ME Julia G came through with a great pace group right on time. Question for the pacers: does your arm get tired from holding up the sign ?

In the last few years it is possible to accomplish many states in multi day series with generous time limits. Wonderful news. An observation regarding this is the party in the back of the pack at larger events has disappeared ! I miss the good chats and laughs with my peeps. My headphone free policy stands !

At a late mile there was an angel with pickles. Magic stuff. My tank was empty from the two days of running but that was a great boost. The skies got dark, the wind picked up and temps dropped.

Hank the other angel came back on the route in the late miles to say hurry up before the chocolate milk and pizza are gone at the finish line. There is the first half of the marathon: miles 0-22 and the second half: miles 22-26.2. It felt extra good to stop, get warm sweats on and put on sandals.

The previous day in NH there was a runner in a ketchup costume and lucky me, I had a photo shoot with the mustard version in Maine. Congrats on your first double Brian. (Insert condiment joke here.)

That is fake smile at mile 22. Skies had darkened, temps were down, the tank was below empty and wind was up but heck it’s a marathon not a cake walk.

Hank my running husband is local in N. Berwick so the post race meal was authentic and delicious. Chowder and fish sandwich at Billy’s on the estuary in Wells.

Check it off-46-47. It was a great fall weekend in a wonderful part of the states. Next up is 48 Atlantic City NJ.

There are no short cuts to any place worth going. -B.Sills

Bristol NH

New England fall colors ? Yes please.

This trip got off to the best start when I caught a quick visit with the best co workers Linda and Kath. These gals are gold.

My 46th running state was New Hampshire in early October. Quick ! Sign me up. New England is really wonderful and what could be more fun than running all day in the colors ?

The trip started in the capitol Concord. The building is the size of a small elementary school with lots of history. I was mesmerized by the regiment flags from various conflicts, primarily the Civil War.

Early the next day Hank on the Hill and I got the band back together and took it out n the road for a Bristol NH and Portland ME double the next day.

Someone was fired up to light this candle !

This was mile 21.

The route was hilly, conditions were perfect and there was an early date with a start line the next day in Portland ME. It was a great day to run and a beautiful route. I love fall colors and pretty lakes-who doesn’t ? . After just returning from great open water swimming in AZ the lake looked extremely inviting to take an October dip.

After inhaling some pizza and a chocolate milk elixir it was off to Maine.

Hank picked up packets, chef Nan wrangled take out, bags were repacked and in a few short hours the start line in Portland was open for business.

Here are a few more fall shots to get you through to spring flowers.

Thank you for following the blog and the 50 state journey. New England ! Amazing.

Love to all,

Get out there-winter is coming and Game of Thrones is not. 😉


Lake Powell Strel Swim

A few of the gang that swam in Croatia and a few new adventure seekers decided to do the  Strel Lake Powell trip. Wow. This is one of the most unique places on the planet, extremely vast and very remote with amazing swimming and hiking.

I believe the videos give a clue about the huge scale of the geography and the height of the canyons. Merely leaving the marina there was a feature similar to Devil’s Tower in WY that appeared miniature.

After a morning swim in Cathedral Canyon and a perfect lunch, we hiked to Rainbow Bridge. This is only reachable by a 50 mile (one way)  boat ride or a 4 day hike with no available water. This was carved by water. WOW.

Our guide Nina and #1 fun seeker Sherry were the winning combo on Day 3. Disney is calling but we have more Strel trips to take so they will have to wait.

Ann K, Dee R, Nan, Sherry

The swimming was great with some long time friends and some wonderful new additions to the posse.


In Cathedral Canyon. After swimming in the wide sunny red rock:

our guide directed us down a narrow slot canyon.

Nan and Paula enjoying a life lesson in saying YES

This my friends is the reason to say yes. You have heard it here: the time to get to your bucket list is while you still can.

All the credit to Sherry below for finding these Strel swimming adventures.

How about this dinosaur track !

The afternoon swim was in Cascade Canyon and it was beautiful.

The forecast called for very high winds on day 2 and they delivered, resulting in a no swim day. We thoroughly enjoyed 2 great hikes to Toadstool in Grand Staircase Escalante, a tour of Glen Canyon Dam and a hike to Horseshoe Bend.

After another great lunch we had a look at Glen Canyon Dam:

The dam is a tiny bit smaller than the Hoover dam produces power from the Colorado River. Of course the dam has created Lake Powell, which is massive stretching north for 158 miles.

Our final activity was a hike to Horeshoe Bend. Another jaw dropping place.

Sandstorm or desert couture……you decide.

The next day was picture perfect for swimming. The destination was Navajo Canyon

At the red sand beach the lunchtime entertainment was a mermaid sighting.

September was a great time to visit as the temps were reasonable,  and crowds were down. I will share with you that the vast majority of the folks touring this area (lots of great National Parks close by) were from outside the USA. The best favor you can do for yourself and personal enrichment is to get out and see this country. It is amazing in so many ways. What natural site have you been to that pops up as a must see ? Shoot me a message about where your favorite wonders are located.

We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong

Sending love to all,



Antelope Canyon

Feast your eyes. This incredible Antelope Canyon hike is in Page Arizona. We had a few free hours before the Strel Swim Lake Powell tour started to experience this canyon. This my friend is the flat light in early afternoon. I cannot even imagine what the golden hour looks like.

The tour is allowed with a Navajo guide and we had a great young lady, Cody who took us through. Her photo tips were invaluable for the rest of the trip to make our photos sing.

The senses were bombarded with the light, the awe and personally, a good dose of spirituality.

We flew into Flagstaff from Denver and drove 2 hours to Page. In the immediate area are Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge, Horseshoe Bend, Grand Staircase Escalante, Glen Canyon Dam, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Colorado River rafting and on and on.

My sincerest wish is that you can go see this place and tilt the chin back, drop the jaw and murmur Oh My (insert higher power). What a life highlight, and there were 3 more magnificent days ahead with the Strel swim tour.

Go just go.

Sending love to all,