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Month: May 2016

What the heck is Geocaching??

What the heck is Geocaching??

What the heck is Geocaching??geocaching

I don’t know about you, but I loved treasure hunts as a kid, anything with a mystery attached to it piqued my interest. Geocaching has brought the treasure hunt we knew as kids to another level. It offers people of all ages the chance to discover a city or area in a different way.

I love to travel and although I enjoy experiencing all the things that you are supposed to see in a location, it is often that my favorite spot is a hidden gem or something I stumbled upon by accident. Geocaching allows the participant(s) the adventure of seeing parts of a city they may never have seen otherwise, the unknown if you will, even in their own hometown.

I had lived in New Orleans about 6 months (and visited numerous times prior to moving) when we tried geocaching for the first time. It was extraordinary! We found places that even Eric didn’t know existed and he was born and raised here. We combined geocaching with letterboxing and used both www.geocaching.com/play & http://www.letterboxing.org to “plan” our route.

Interested? I thought so! In order to start your next adventure, you must first go to the sites listed above or download their corresponding apps (Yep, there’s an app for that!) and sign up for an account. You then put in your location and pick what area you want to explore! Once you find the geocache, you open it, sign and date the log book and most importantly, re-hide the geocache exactly where you found it. It must be in the right spot for the next treasure hunter.

I am learning what Geocaching is and it looks Awesome! #Geocaching #Letterboxing Click To Tweet

The sites are also a great resource for clues if you should need them and can tell you how often people are actually able to find the “treasure” or geocache. It helps to carry a notebook and pen with you as you will want to leave your mark, like the treasure hunters before you. If you are letterboxing as well, there may be a stamp hidden within the letterbox you can use to commemorate your journey.

There are 2,354 Geocaches near New Orleans. Our treasure hunt included many legendary locations:

And a few locations that didn’t work out quite the way we planned, but we still had quite the adventure getting there!

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore and use Geocaching as your guide!

 

Darcee SniderAbout Our Guest Poster:

Darcee Snider is a Wyoming native, who appreciates the work ethic and strong values that growing up in the Cowboy State afforded her.  New Orleans has been a part of Darcee for a long time and she is excited to now be a part of New Orleans. She believes there is truly nowhere else like the Big Easy and the experiences it affords its citizens; she can’t wait to share them with the family and friends that are sure to visit.  Passion for literature, food, history, adventure and music are reasons why living in New Orleans is such an important part of Darcee’s story. She writes each chapter by enjoying the wonders of the Carousel Bar, exploring the WWII Museum, walking the streets of Uptown, navigating the hidden gems of the French Quarter and eating a Po-Boy at Mahony’s.

The 4 Leaf Clover Project: Sharing a little Luck

The 4 Leaf Clover Project: Sharing a little Luck

Four Leaf CloverWhen I was creating my Bucket List Project several years ago, I remember being able to bang out 80+ things in the initial writing of my list in that old composite notebook.  It came easy to put down travel, adventure, and even self Improvement items on my list!  But when I went to read what I had written down, almost off of them were about me!  This kind of disturbed me a little cause I was raised to always help others whenever a situation presented itself.  So I thought that I needed to make sure that I created a part of my bucket list devoted to trying to give back to the world or offering help to those who may need a little bit, hence The Helping Others List.

Now anyone could put “FIND THE CURE TO CANCER!” or even a bit more sensible, “#7) Do Missionary Work in a 3rd World Country” on their list like I did.  But then I came across a quote that inspired me:

Mother Teresa“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa

Can you image, Mother Teresa admitting that?  I mean she must have cared for more sick and helpless people in Calcutta than I can even imagine.  But I stopped and realized that it even if I cant do something major (toss a boulder if I may) then maybe I can manage small little genuine projects that will be my little stones to cast!  Right?

Therefore, I started dreaming of creative little ways to help, say thank you, or just give back to the world!  Now this The Helping Others List is a work in progress but its hands down one of my favorite parts of my overall Bucket List Project because it allows me to come up with creative ways to accomplish the main goal of this category like:

141)Find some 4 Leaf Clovers & Give them away to Someone Who Needs Luck!

Finding 4 Leaf Clovers

So why would anyone Need a 4 Leaf Clover?  How does that Help others & make ripples in waters of life?

Well sometimes we hit a bump in the road. We may pray for improvement & hope for a bit of Luck to carry us out of a storm! So my thought was that these 4 Leaf Clovers, I had found would hopefully assist people who needed some hope. It may or may not actually be Lucky but to me, they are Symbols that someone out there is rooting for, praying for, & Loves you!

Now according to lore, they Say that each of the 4 Leaves of a Clover stands for Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck! So whichever of the 4 someone needed (perhaps all 4), my hope was they got them!

Then when they had come to their Lucky Place, my hope was that they would “Gift” the 4 Leaf Clover to someone who truly needs it & if Possible, let me know where it is

How I made it Happen

So is finding a 4 leaf clover totally dumb luck?  I mean we all hear the stories of 4 leaf clovers but has anyone actually seen even 1 in person?  I mean tradition holds that if you find a white clover that has four leaves, you are lucky.  So am I trying to force the impossible?  The answer is and was for me, not if you believe you can find them and then a little research.

It’s widely cited that just 1 out of every 10,000 white clovers has four-leaves. If the odds of finding a four-leaf clover are truly 1-in-10,000, how much area do you need for 10,000 clovers and where do you find those patches?  Well in New Orleans, after a little research, good weather, and “Luck”, I found them in 2 places:

But then the hard part came. Between the 2 areas I found 6 actual 4 Leaf Clovers (3 in each area).  Awesome but who would receive them?

Finding a Four Leaf Clover is on my Bucket List! #bucketlist #4leafclover #fourleafclover Click To Tweet

Well, 2 found in the soil by Flood St & Dorgenois St in New Orleans, were coming up in vacant lots where homes were destroyed by the levee breach from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.  But to me, it reminded me that despite unbelievable devastation, life would find a way to bring beauty back!  To me, these Clovers embodied a spirit of Rebirth, Regrowth, & Renewal!  Therefore, I needed to send these 2 clovers with their story to 2 people who needed to believe in a 2nd chance.

Now with the 2 found in Audubon Park next to the Famous Etienne de Boré Oak, also known as the TREE OF LIFE in New Orleans had a different motive.  The Tree Of Life is a Famous Oak tree that’s nearly 400 Years Old. It has seen New Orleans through its greatest and worst times yet still continues to Stand Strong and Grow! To Celtic People, The Tree Of Life represents Wisdom, Strength, Longevity, & REBIRTH!  So I felt that these 2 needed to go out to people who were searching for strength.

So I went to Hobby Lobby and got small little frames and set them up to be displayed and mailed out.  Then I started to look around and over the summer of 2015, the last of my 4 frames was given away with hopes that these small “stones” that were cast across the waters were able to create many ripples.

Framed 4 leaf clovers

 

90-Year-Old Woman Says No Chemo So She can Travel The Country

90-Year-Old Woman Says No Chemo So She can Travel The Country

Robert Frost

I have been very blessed and lucky in the first 40 years of my life to elude major illnesses or injuries.  But as you get older you start to think & notice things, like Heart Disease, Strokes, & of course the most evil of them all: Cancer.  Perhaps this is because I entered an era of my life where others my age started having to deal with those issues while those older than me, like my parents, seem to be facing those challenges a bit more regularly.

Now from 20-35 years old , in typical macho, ego-centric, male fashion, I develop thoughts of a fighter.  You know, the “That won’t ever happen to me and if it did, I would kick [Insert Disease Here]’s ass!” type of thinking.  But as I get older humility is sneaking into me, and I start to wonder.  What would I do if my doctor told me I had something like Cancer?  Would I fight?  Would I accept pain and misery, to sign up for “potentially life saving” Chemo?  Knowing me, the answer is a most confident: PROBABLY! But is there another option?  Well for for 90-year old northern Michigan resident, Miss Norma, there definitely was  another option: “the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference”!

   DRIVING MISS NORMA (as shared to Eric by Driving Miss Norma)

Miss NormaSome time in 2015, as Norma’s husband of 67 years, Leo, was dying in a hospice center, another medical crisis suddenly arose.  After having some blood detected in her urine during a routine exam she was sent for an ultrasound, and then another. The day after Leo was admitted to Hospice we learned that she had a large, likely cancerous mass on her uterus.

Two days after Leo died, Norma found herself sitting in an OB/GYN office talking about treatment options.

The Story of Miss Norma is truly inspiring! #MissNorma #bucketlist Click To Tweet

You know the drill: surgery, then radiation and chemo in some order. When the doctor was finished he asked her how she would like to proceed.

A tiny woman at 101 pounds and under five-feet tall, an exhausted Norma looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.” The gynecologist, and the confused first-day medical student who was observing, looked to her son Tim and daughter-in-law Ramie for some clarification.

They had had time to talk to Norma beforehand about the likelihood that there would be some bad news coming from the doctor. She made it VERY clear to us that she had no interest in any treatment. Her family  “got it” and were in complete support of her decision.

Norma with a Slingshot

But what next? They couldn’t imagine leaving her in a nursing home, especially after she’d just walked down the long halls of the local Tender Care Hospice to visit Leo in the last room on the right, reserved for the dying. No way. There was also no way she could live at home alone without Leo—they were a well-oiled interdependent team for more than six decades.

So Tim and Raimee explained to the well-meaning doctor and his student that they live in an RV and that would be taking her wherever she wanted to go. The doctor didn’t hesitate to say, “RIGHT ON!” They asked if he thought us irresponsible for this approach. His reply was telling:

“As doctors,” he said, “we see what cancer treatment looks like every day: ICU, nursing homes, awful side effects. Honestly, there is no guarantee she will survive the initial surgery to remove the mass. You are doing exactly what I would want to do in this situation. Have a fantastic trip!”

So Norma packed her bags, grabbed her dog Ringo,airstream with ringo and started touring the country in an Airstream RV with her son, Tim, and his wife, Ramie. Six months into the journey, her cancer symptoms have lessened, and she’s in no pain. Her travels have taken her to New Mexico, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Florida. Her adventures include participating in a Native American ceremony, visiting Disney World, and riding in a hot air balloon. “We love traveling with her,” Ramie says. “We’ve been to a lot of these places, but we’re seeing them through fresh new eyes and it’s fun to see her reactions and meet people on the road.

She was recently interviewed and these are my favorite highlights:

  • When asked how she’s kept her positive attitude, “Just keep on going every day, that’s about it.”
  • After losing the love of her life, her advice is to talk about the good times: “Storytelling is really, really helpful.”
  • “People shouldn’t be afraid to travel,” she said. “No matter your age.”
  • “I’m having the time of my life!” Norma told The Huffington Post

I have been following Miss Norma’s Adventures for the past several months and was honored when her team granted me permission to share her story on The Bucket List Project.

To keep up with their adventures, visit Miss Norma’s Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma.

My Hopes & Goals of 2016

My Hopes & Goals of 2016

Benjamin Franklin

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

~Benjamin Franklin

Ok So I realize that it is already mid May and that 1/3rd of 2016 is already over but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t plan it out!  I just didn’t share it yet!   In fact, every January, I tend to sit down post Christmas and start Bucketlistlusting (is that a word?) from my Old Notebook.  Then I literally create a year graph and draw out how I think I can manage it.  Then I place it by my notebook in a place where I and anyone can see it to always remind me of my commitment to my dreams, hopes, and goals of the year!

My Mad Plan to Take Over the World?!?!
My Mad Plan to Take Over the World?!?!

But if you read my Welcome Page, I stated that I needed to always post it online for 3 Main Reasons:

1) I need Everyone’s help…keep me accountable, help me find ways to accomplish my goals, or just cheer me on!!

2) I want to help others with their own Bucket List Items.  #103 on my list is to Help anyone Complete an Item on their Bucket List within 1 year of them Helping me Completing one of mine!!

3) I want to Inspire People to Dream & then to GO OUT & COMPLETE THEIR BUCKET LIST!  If I can do this, then ANYONE CAN!  Too many people, my Friends & Family included, just go through life living a mediocre existence!

Therefore, I am here now to post up my 2016 goals for The Bucket List Project & perhaps some insights on how I am going to pursue these items this year.

Now 2016 is a Special year for me in that on February 25th, I actually took my 40th lap around the Sun!  So I decided to go after a couple of big ticket items. So Below, I will list what I had written on my Graph and add or tell you what I have already changed.  Let me know in the comments below if there is anything that is on your list this year or is there anything else that I should add or subtract.  Also, let me know if you want to join me on any of these adventures or projects!

February

  • #199) Raise a Minimum of $2,500 for a Charity I Care for Angel’s Place in New Orleans
  • #200) Explore my home state of Louisiana
    • c)  See the Preservation Hall Show Live

March

  • #202) Ride in a Submersive Underwater Bubble (S.U.B.) in the Bahamas

April

  • #118) Geocache in 4 Cities (#1 New Orleans)
  • #200) Explore my home state of Louisiana
    • b)Visit Tabasco on Avery Island
    • g) Boudin & Beer at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou
    • h) Zydeco Brunch at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge
    • s) Drive the Bayou Teche Byway

May

  • #78) Experience the Kentucky Derby
  • #104) Finish Reading the 5 Major “Arts” Books
  • #203) Start Reading my 11 Classic Adventure Books
  • #77) Experience the Indy 500

June

  • #188) See the Synchronous Fireflies in Elkmont, Tennessee
  • #5) See my 6 Pack Abs

The Next 3 were added to June/July 

  • #109) Walk the Camino de Santiago from France to Santiago, Espana
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Family in Leon, Espana while I am Hiking the Camino)
  • #153) Drink Port Wine in Portugal

July

August

  • #55) Return to Fenway Baseball Park to See the Red Sox Play the Yankees
  • #54) Go to a Summer Olympics
  • #124) Travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Brazilian Friends I met in 2012)

September

  • #187) Travel to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada
  • #108) Do 4+ OutDoor Adventure “Mud Races” (4th & Final is the Spartan near Banff, Alberta, CA)

October

  • #167) Celebrate Dia De Muertos in Mexico
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (Stay or Visit with Mike Poissenot for Dia De Muertos in Mexico)

November

  • #70) Climb the Statue of Liberty
  • #79) See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Person in NYC
  • #89) Travel to the Niagra Falls

December

  • PREPARE FOR THE ADVENTURE OF MY LIFE!!!!!

 

It is Better to Live 1 Day as a Lion than 1,000 Days as a Lamb!

 

 

Boudin & Beer at Fred’s in Mamou

Boudin & Beer at Fred’s in Mamou

Located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country, is the small town of Mamou.  It is famous for its music, musicians & bills itself as “The Cajun Music Capital of the World.”

Mamou Welcome Sign     Now that all sounds nice & cute but why would anyone take the 3 hour drive from New Orleans, a city with tons of music, just to go to some small town in the middle of nowhere?  Well throughout my project, I have experienced this unique feeling of accidental discovery, especially of simple & small hidden gems.  I guess the best way to describe this happy feeling is when you find a $5 bill that had been forgotten and left in your pants or coat pocket.  When you discover this simple lost treasure, you instantly smile.  So, when I was writing out my list I decided to go in search of little secret gems in my home State of Louisiana, to find that proverbial hidden treasure in my own backyard.  This is what brought me to Mamou, Louisiana to complete:

Cajun Music Capital of the World

#200) Know my home State of Louisiana:

              g) Boudin & Beer at Fred’s in Mamou (Completed on 04-30-2016 with Darcee Snider)

GETTING THERE

Fred’s Lounge (420 6th St., Mamou, LA) is a unique experience to say the least & getting Fred's Lounge Historic Signthere adds to the experience.  There are many ways to get to Mamou, however we took I-10W to LA-13N.  After taking the easy drive up the LA-13N, you finally get to the town of Mamou.  Look for the Hospital sign or just take a right on South Street at the beginning of town and a left on 6th and you are essentially on their “Main Street”.  We drove up on a stormy Saturday Morning so we were able to park across the street, but on a beautiful day it would be easy to imagine tons of trucks and motorcycles lining the streets.  As you walk up to the old door you immediately notice the historic sign outside describing the history of Alfred “Fred” Tate, how he bought the bar in November of 1946, and all he and the Lounge did for Cajun Music.  After checking out the sign, just open the door and dive right in to the heart of Cajun Country!

                                                                              NOW GET READY!

Welcome to Fred's LoungeFred’s is high energy!  Being that it is only open on Saturday mornings beginning at 8:00am and ending around 2:00pm, it gets rowdy fast.  But as soon as you walk in the door, you realize you are going to have fun and can’t help but smile. (Like finding that $5 in your pocket). It isn’t a very big venue but includes a big horseshoe bar to the left and directly across from it is a Cajun band of some 4-5 musicians set up right smack dab in the center of the bar where they are broadcasting their Saturday-morning Cajun-music radio show that has been airing on 1050AM since 1962.

Packed at Fred's In MamouNow despite all those people taking up space on the dance floor, this isn’t a free sit-down concert!  Be prepared to Dance!  Despite the small space, you just can’t help yourself because the music takes control.  Old farmers, young cowboys, Harley riding bad asses, tourists and locals alike all can’t resist the music. Everyone grabs a girl and starts dancing.  The music is truly unbelievable. It’s that old Cajun French that few understand anymore but everyone still feels inside them.

The Legend of Tante Sue

After the death of Fred on July 15, 1992, his wife Tante Sue remained at the bar.  Tante SueFrom the way the stories go, she is a pistol of personality with a bad addiction to cinnamon that only shots of Hot Damn can cure.  She would have all kinds of random fun according to the many visitors of the day.  It is said that first she would take the microphone for the weekly tradition wherein she read the guest book to see which visitors traveled the farthest and would give away Cajun prizes such as a seasoning and sauce gift set.  Then, she would walk around to all the dancers and drinkers with a white cake box handing out slices of Boudin and shots of Hot Damn to go with their Beer!

Sadly, Tante Sue doesn’t work there anymore.  But as of April 2016, she is still around. So you may catch her walking down Maine Street with her gun holster filled with a flask of hot damn, when you visit Mamou.

I want to go to Fred's in Mamou, Louisiana for Boudin, Beer, and Live Cajun Music! Click To Tweet

THE BOUDIN & THE BEER

So without Tante Sue did we still have BOUDIN & THE BEERDefinitely…well sort of…kind of….

Day drinking isn’t a big deal coming from a city like New Orleans, but several beers midmorning while Cajun dancing is a unique practice of those skills.  Fred’s is a beer hall, with Coors’ Light flowing like water.  However, if you really want the experience we recommend their specialty beer:

The $2 Schlitz Schlitz Beer

Now if you aren’t a beer drinker, they have great Bloody Mary’s or you can get a Double Crown & Seven.  You may even decide you need the liquid courage of several shots of Hot Damn in honor of Tante Sue!

Now unfortunately, with Tante Sue’s departure, they don’t seem to be handingKrazy Cajun Cafe out slices of Boudin anymore.  What the hell is Boudin? Basically, boudin is a combination of cooked rice, pork, onions, green peppers and spices injected into a natural casing and served everywhere from the fanciest restaurants to gas stations.  In my personal opinion, it is even better rolled into meat balls and then deep fried!  Now I know that all sounds unbelievable, but as they say in New Orleans, “it ain’t dere no more,” at least at Fred’s.  So, when you decide you can’t dance anymore or savor another sip of Schlitz, walk across the street to the Krazy Cajun Café (411 6th St, Mamou).  Krazy Cajun Café has some of the best breakfast food around.  The pancakes and omelets are awesome and they have daily specials for brunch and lunch foods. If you stick with breakfast definitely get a biscuit as your side cause it was awesome.  Also, I personally recommend sitting at the old diner counter and talking with the staff.  They ladies working there were unbelievably friendly and told us the stories of Mamou, their own children and all the news & gossip of the town.  It was a perfect end to this great adventure.

Have You Ever Been To Fred’s Lounge, the Krazy Cajun Café, or anywhere cool in Mamou? Tell me about Your Experience in the Comments Below?