Posted by: S.G. Miller | March 22, 2013

starting a new project

I learned a lot while out traveling, even if I wasn’t able to reach my goal and I had to cut my trip short regardless the experience taught me a surprising number of things. One of which is that I love food. This may sound kind of like a “duh” statement to most people (“who doesn’t love food?”) bur for the majority of my life I’ve either taken food for granted or had no real appreciation for the art of cooking.

My number one favourite post to write was “A Farewell to New Orleans” mostly because it reminded me of the wonderful meals my girlfriend made for me (or more often, made me make for her) and how rewarding and morale boosting a good cooked meal can be.  Since I decided to start a food blog and begun doing research (ie making a “to make list” based on my grocery inventory) I found that many recipes can be great made by very inventive and talented home cooks but what I found to be overwhelmingly annoying was the shear lack of precise language and clearly organized steps that anyone can follow.  I’m not saying I’m better at writing directions for recipes than the average kitchen cook, but I feel like I can improve recipes based on my experiences (engineering classes pound instruction writing into your head “write the instructions like you’re expecting your reader to have zero expertise; don’t be afraid to write too many instructions; be annoyingly precise” ect ect).

Also, I feel if I’m not traveling I have no reason to continue writing for a travel blog. I’m not shooting this blog in the head, I’m just taking a hiatus on this blog for a while.

If you like food and want to keep up with what I’m eating/making (might even post my roommate’s creations, she’s going to school for baking and I can tell you she makes one mean cupcake like these Pink lemonade cupcakes with candied lemon slices on top she made a few weeks ago? O good grief…)  you can find me at my new food blog (with a much simpler URL) samishungry.wordpress.com

 

Hope to see ya’ll there,

-Sam

 

Posted by: S.G. Miller | March 11, 2013

Review on Along the Edge of Ameria

<a class=Along the Edge of America” border=”0″ src=”http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348675002m/240397.jpg&#8221; />Along the Edge of America by Peter Jenkins

My rating: <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/541961856″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Along the Edge of America was my first Peter Jenkins book. I’ve heard good things about his first book, A Walk Across America, which was one of the main motivating reasons for me to read this.  Along the Edge of America is set approximately 22 years after Jenkins walked across America and opens with a man on top of the world. Money was good, wife was fine, children are intelligent and healthy but then It all comes crashing down around his ears with the arrival of the divorce papers. From this deep depression Jenkins finds that it’s time for him to go on another adventure. Faced with the obstacles of age and obligations to his family he has to find a non-pedestrian mode of travel. His research and desire for the challenge of conquering a new medium he decides to purchase and travel by boat from the Florida Keys along the Gulf of Mexico.  What ensues is a journey of personal growth, reconnecting with his father, and discovering the more subtle history of the south as told by many colourful figures ranging from alligator hunters to former drug smugglers to old southern belles.

Along the Edge of America is a eventful and riveting read filled with adventure and peril that comes with the big blue sea.  I’d like to read more by Jenkins but I feel like it’s a solid first impression of this well established travel writer.
<br/><br/>
<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/11839243-sgmiller”>View all my reviews</a>

 

Posted by: S.G. Miller | March 8, 2013

S.G. Miller:

This is an excellent example of a fellow cyclist in my home town of St. Louis knowing his rights and educating the authorities when being questioned about his right of way. Please share and re-post and be nice to cyclists.

 

Originally posted on ThinkBicycling:

This came about as a result of my being pulled over by a local police officer in Ferguson, North St. Louis County, where I live. I was controlling the 12 ft. curb lane on a four-lane MoDOT-maintained 35 mph arterial road, heading south towards the Ferguson business district, when a platoon of cars caught up and passed me at around 11 am on a Monday morning. However, I observed what appeared to be a police car staying in lane behind me. A short time later I heard what sounded like a request to move over.

By a remarkable coincidence, I was passing the home of two local bicycling enthusiasts and one of them, Ms. Blue Tapp Scheffer, who works from home, heard the policeman’s order. Minutes later, Ms. Scheffer sent the following e-mail to local cyclists, as well as to Mr. John Shaw, Ferguson city manager, and Councilman Dwayne James…

View original 790 more words

http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2013/03/02/state-lawmaker-says-bicycling-is-not-good-for-the-environment-should-be-taxed/

When I read the headline for this story, I thought it was something from The Onion, however this is a real statement made by a very uneducated individual in office. This is just sad folks, how did this guy get elected?

His “evidence” is “‘You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,’ he said. However, he said he had not ‘done any analysis’ of the difference in CO2 from a person on a bike compared to the engine of a car”. Let’s just pretend for a moment that this vein of logic IS true (and remember we’re entering pretend land). If a raised level of cardiovascular work leads to a harmful amount of co2 being produced by people is hurting the environment why would he target bicyclist? I mean every high school, college, and city has several athletic teams for sports such as football, soccer, baseball, track, and lets not even consider the damage the Olympics could be causing with not only a chain of marathon runners passing a torch producing co2 and the person them selves breathing hard.

Now coming back to reality, we can easily disprove that this has no valid grounding.  Please, be conscious of the people you vote for.  A man who spills a glass of water on the waiter made a mistake, a man who says something like this is not a mistake it’s a reflection of his education. Vote smart folks.

-Sam

 

Posted by: S.G. Miller | March 3, 2013

Coping with Failure

This past Friday, after almost five straight days of riding, my knees threatened full rebellion if I pressed on further. They throbbed so bad each day that even standing up or walking was a chore.  I knew if I pressed on my body would break and I’d be stranded somewhere. This was not a viable option.   With much regret and sorrow, I must officially announce a premature end to my bicycle tour and have gotten a train back to my home, St. Louis.

I will continue writing, maybe on this blog maybe on a new one. I’m going to continue in the vein of bicycle news/tips and tricks as I’m taking this time to go back to work and focus on developing my passing interest of bicycle maintenance and repair into a job.  I’m enrolling in grant writing classes this spring/summer and will be writing grant letters for local bicycle advocacy groups.  For now, my travel writing is on halt but I’ve been inspired to continue writing about food.  When I get a more regular income you can expect to see reviews of local St. Louis gems (and as St. Louis foodies know, we’re a treasure trove for excellent small restaurants).

I almost certain that this announcement will isolate many of my readers and for that I’m sad but that’s just how the chips fell, folks.

It maybe a while before I have more content to post, but probably not more than a week or two (finding a new job and school will consume a lot of my time, however I have a feeling that even juggling a job and school will take less effort/time than trying to couch surf and study maps and find camp spots).

 

Thanks for all the reads and support folks,

-Sam Miller

Posted by: S.G. Miller | February 20, 2013

A Farewell to New Orleans

NOTE: I do apologize for the late posting, I haven’t completely committed to posting every Monday but it has been a rather convenient day to wrap up and reflect on the week past. However this last Monday I spent the entire day riding from Norco, LA (about 25 miles out of New Orleans) to my new host in Baton Rouge. It was a long and tiring (and at times wet) ride but that’s another article. So enjoy, folks!

After two very dense weeks of new experiences I felt it was time for me to move on from this strange and sometimes magical place called NOLA. However what terrified me most, more that riding more than 120 miles to my new destination, was: how am I going to wrap up this whole experience? I arrived in this strange limbo just after the super bowl and just before the festivities of the month long Madi Gras celebration continued where the city was calm and serene (well as serene as NOLA gets) and yet there was this strong undercurrent of energy tugging and pulling on my senses that I couldn’t quite understand; until I went to my first proper Madi Gras Parade.  Then I understood what all the pent up energy was all about.

Now what my real problem didn’t just lie in writing about Madi Gras and how crazy it gets in NOLA because anybody with a tv, an internet connection, or with a set of ears has some idea about this crazy catholic holiday (it’s debatable how catholic it is, but that’s a debate for another blog and blogger) and so I really didn’t want to just approach it from the relatively trite angle of “OMG! MADI GRAS IS SO AWESOME! LOOK AT SOME PIX GUYS!!! LOLOLOL” yet the idea of a picture blog post did appeal to me since I’ve never tried it before and I do have some good pictures, but not all of them were of the party (in fact almost none of the pictures of the floats turned out good enough to make the final cut) and even if they were all of they party they would fail to capture my genuine experience of NOLA.    So with out further adue, I present my best rendering of my stay in NOLA in pictures:

IMG_0016

The first night I arrived was a very wet night indeed.  I was cold and hungry and was already dreaming of hot miso soup and trying out my instant coffee after a nice shower. My host had other plans, she decided we should go out to this small little pizza place on the corner (I really wish I could remember the name) and get a bite. What I have there is “Cheese calzone with Red Gravy”. I’m a rather adventurous eater and was craving to try something local and when I saw “red gravy” I was sold. “What sort of exotic gravy is coloured red? What is it made of?” So many questions with some surprising answers.

What I’ve learned from looking at menus around NOLA is that “gravy” is a very general term for sauce (this might be a NOLA thing, it might be a LA thing or it might be a Southern thing in general, I’m not sure yet but if any one is curious I’ll keep you updated) so the red gravy turned out to be what I’m more familiar as calling a marinara sauce (so delicious no matter what the name) and the calzone was another surprise. The only calzones I’m familiar with look more like a pizza folded in half, however this pie of sorts was a decadent ball of dough filled with a mix of 5 molten hot cheeses making it a little painful to dig into but the first bite will make you crave more.

IMG_0082

These are Beignets (which took some serious searching to find the proper spelling on) which are (very basically, you can read more on their exact definition and history here) french style donuts. These pillow shaped pastries are every bit as sweet and soft as they look. Again, I really wish I could remember the name of the Cafe we got these at, I want to say it was Cafe Du Monde, but just ask around with the locals. It’s not quite an easily over looked mom n’ pop shop.

I will apologize in advance for the next few pictures, I had some technical difficulties transferring them  from my phone to my computer and then sorting and they accidentally got deleted so I’m gonna have to borrow some from the web.

This is the surf n’ turf poor boy sandwich from the Parkway Bakery & Tavern. This is easily the messiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Something to understand about po’ boys (if you’ve never ordered one) is that the guy or girl will ask you if you want yours all dressed up or not. In my opinion the *only* way to order a po’ boy sandwich is all dressed up and that comes with lettuce, Tomato, pickles, and mayo (and at some places this includes hot sauce).  This bad boy was all dressed up and came with (product description from menu) “slow cooked roast beef topped with golden shrimp covered in gravy”. Here’s that gravy word again, in this case it’s basically beef stock.  The guy I was with split a large one of these and a side of these:

Cheese fries with gravy. This delicious mess perfectly complimented our sandwich making a hot mess of a comfort food feast.

This basically concludes my tour of NOLA, I feel that experiencing the food and sharing it with all of you is a much more genuine and authentic representation of the strange and wonderful city we call New Orleans then covering a holiday which only happens once a year. I do hope you’ve enjoyed my first picture post. I don’t take many pictures, but when I do it’s probably gonna mostly be of food.

Now go get a damn snack! (I know all this has worked up a fierce appetite in me anyway)

-Sam

Posted by: S.G. Miller | February 17, 2013

Leaving for Baton Rouge tomorrow Morning

Preparing for my bicycle ride to Baton Rouge from New Orleans tomorrow morning and it just dawned on me: What’s in Baton Rouge? Anyone got any ideas for me? I’m open to suggestions.

Posted by: S.G. Miller | February 14, 2013

This one goes out to a very special woman in my life

Dear Delia,

There are some moments a man will never forget; his first kiss, his first bike ride free of training wheels, his first pet ect. The first time I laid eyes on you is one of those moments.

You make me laugh, you make me cry. You make me happy and you make me mad. You’ve inspired me and you’ve chalanged me.

Every moment with you, happy or sad, is a treasured gift. I’m lucky to have you in my life, whether I like it or not.

Happy Valentine’s Day sweet D,

-S.G. Miller

Posted by: S.G. Miller | February 11, 2013

New Orleans: a Huge Small Town

Bike path, no automobiles, NYCDOT SR-1801

Bike path, no automobiles, NYCDOT SR-1801 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since my arrival this week in NOLA I’ve noticed many things, some of which locals pointed out to me and some of which I’ve discovered for my self. The most prominent thing I’ve learned about this city is it’s one of the largest small towns I’ve ever had the pleasure to explore.

My second host works for a bicyclists advocacy group called bike easy, when I told him about my biking experience in the city has been very pleasant and even mentioned how much I liked the super wide bicycle lane on St. Charles Street (according to him the bicycle lane on St. Charles is brand new as of last week, a direct manifestation of his group’s work over the last year) he was noticeably surprised that I hadn’t had many problems with the roads and even more surprised when I told him the relatively high (in my relatively limited experience coming from St. Louis whom is a budding bicycle city) the number of cyclists this city has, to borrow a phrase from the halo universe “THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!”.

Also a unique thing here that many local bicyclists seem to take for granted are “community bike shops” which are, apparently (I have yet to go but plans for next week after festivities die down) a bike shop that is open to the public to use their tools and parts (tools are free, parts cost a minimal donation) and I believe they even have classes/seminars. The two I’ve been recommended to by several cyclists are Plan B (The New Orleans Community Bike Project) and RUBARB (Rusted Up Beyond All Recognition Bikes).

The sense of community is extremely strong here not only are their community bike shops, co-op gardens, extremely helpful and friendly locals but there is also a program here called “The Little Library” which is basically a take-a-book, leave-a-book program to help promote literacy and preservation of culture through literature for everyone.

This city is the largest small town I’ve ever been in, everyone around here is very friendly and more than willing to give a visitor a recommendation or directions around this uniquely laid out city. It is because of this communal feeling that I met a friend who runs a charity, the New Orleans Cooperative Development Project whom has offered me a writing gig. The details can be found on my facebook page “Exploring New Perspectives”.

The NOPACenter is hosting a fundraiser event on 23rd of February from 2pm to 9pm. It’s going to be at the corner of St. Charles and Henry Clay (exact address for us visitors: 6200 St. Charles st) it’s a free concert and BBQ. Any one in the area should come check out this event because, if nothing else, who doesn’t love a free concert?

I hope my visit to NOLA continues to be exceptionally excellent as it has been so far.

-Sam

Posted by: S.G. Miller | February 5, 2013

Baptism by Flood

A few weeks ago I wrote my farewell letter to sedentary life minutes before I planning to leave St. Louis, however as life would have it many things went wrong in last-minute testing and I was held back for a couple of weeks. My parents offered to buy me a train ticket to New Orleans to keep me from being sent out in the cold. A part of me feels like this is cheating since I was intending this bike trip to start in St. Louis however the weather has been completely miserable and so I can justify the extra help.

Today I arrived in New Orleans Amtrak station around 3 pm, half an hour early according to my ticket. After getting the pedals and handle bars adjusted back to their rightful position I was ready explore this new city.

Upon leaving the station I was greeted with a glum cloudy sky that was just beginning to drizzle. I really don’t like the rain but I was on a time schedule and I figured if I kept pace I’d be at my host’s house in about 30 minutes.

Being dropped in a new city is like being a fish out of water, however given the wet weather welcome New Orleans gave me, I felt more like a cat in water. Leaving the Amtrak station, I went in search of Magnolia street. A seemingly easy task, according to my map. However with only a temperamental itouch on hand (TIL touch screen devices are almost useless when damp, apparently water is interpreted as hundreds of small fingers touching the screen at the same time) and no sense of orientation this would prove a much bigger task than originally expected.

After about three hours of increasingly heavy rain and many wrong turns, I finally arrived at my hosts house. Soaked and exhausted, when I climbed the steps of my hosts house I hadn’t even the strength left to fully bring my bike in. My unassuming host, offered her help much to my relief. She showed me my room, offered me a towel, and introduced me to her two adorable dogs. Promptly after a well deserved warm shower, she took me out to dinner and we shared pleasant conversation about good reads and the small local book stores.

My first day on this trip has been a trial of will and morale but at the end of the day I was aptly rewarded to a pleasant host, a warm meal, and enjoyable conversation. In review, my day could have been better but it couldn’t have had a better ending. I have high hopes for the rest of this adventure.

Remember: there’s no use in being mad about getting rained on, it’ll just make that hot shower at the end of the day that much more enjoyable.

-Sam

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