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Back to Biking Basics

Nancy Dorrans

There’s a sense of freedom and control that wraps around me as I pump up my tires, don my helmet and head out and off the Portland peninsula on my bicycle. I don’t ride to race. I don’t ride in a pack. Sometimes, I ride with friends, but often it is just me and my bike.

My “go-to” ride is from my West End condo on High Street, over the bridge to South Portland, down and off the Eastern Trail through Wainwright Fields to Highland Avenue. Then left on Pleasant Hill Road, and right on Route 77 to Higgins Beach. The total trek is about eighteen miles round trip, or twenty miles if I return via Crescent Beach State Park. This ride never gets old or redundant. As I visit the ocean, I take a deep breath and feel grateful to live here with this ride at my back door! Continue reading…

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Spring Camping at Kentucky’s Natural Bridge State Resort

Last month I traveled south just before Easter. While it was still cool, damp and gray/brown in Portland, where I was headed spring was in full bloom. My sister had invited me to join her and her husband along with my father, nephew and his girlfriend, and some other family friends for a three-night camping adventure. We headed to Natural Bridge Kentucky State Resort Park, about three and half hours northeast of Knoxville. The park is adjacent to the Red River Gorge geological area and Daniel Boone National Forest.

The Shasta camper.

Natural Bridge State Resort

The park has a campground, and this is where my sister and her husband set up with their recently renovated Shasta Compact 1963.

The resort also has a lodge and cabins for rent, which is where my dad and I stayed. All told, for our Kentucky Easter camping adventure there were thirteen of us plus three dogs crammed into two cabins, two campsites and one lodge room.

The Red River Gorge in Kentucky is “Gorge-ous” and quite popular with rock climbers and hikers of all ages and abilities. A few trails allow hiking with dogs. The area boasts over 500 miles of trails through rugged terrain made of limestone cliffs and exposed limestone rock faces.

According to Hiking the Red, a complete trail guide to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge written by Bluegrass Group Sierra Club, “…this trail network is larger than any other National Forest in Kentucky. Activities include hiking, camping, picnicking, hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, horseback riding, bicycling, rock climbing, spelunking, bird watching, photography, nature study, and more.” Continue reading…

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Bermuda Adventure – Beyond the Beach

Adventure Travel Trade Association “Adventure Angels”.

Earlier this winter I was invited by the Bermuda Tourism Authority to learn more about the island as an “Adventure Destination.” This is the tale of my Bermuda adventure!

Bermuda is known around the world for its pink sand beaches, bright clear turquoise waters, golf courses, colorful architecture and sailing culture. But it is much more than that.

This is why I along with three other adventure travel advisors – all members of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and self proclaimed “Adventure Angels” – were invited, to experience a different side of Bermuda, “Beyond the Beach.” We arrived with great expectations for our four-day adventure. Continue reading…

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Sunny Side Positive Posts

One of my Facebook friends posted this plea in late January that we “Stop POSTING POLITICS EVERYONE!!” Okay I get it. Although I’m excited that so many citizens are getting involved, organizing their energy and action, there also is so much, too much true news, false news, fake news; much of it confusing, constant and all consuming.

So, just after I saw my friend’s post, I decided if she and others were tired of politics that I would start posting something positive and non-political on Facebook each and every day for 100 days, the first 100 days of the new administration. That’s a lot of positivism and I thought my idea would go viral. That didn’t happen but what did happen is that a lot of good positive things have been happening to me now that I’m focusing on the best moment of every day.  Mind you, I’m still staying active and engaged locally however more of my energy and attention is on the sunny side starting with my first simple positive post on January 25th. “Post #1 TODAY the sun is shining in Portland, Maine!”

February posts begin with the positive news that there is new growth on my Christmas cactus. On Groundhog Day an old friend shared a group photo from 1986 when I was a ski instructor at Boston Mills in Peninsula Ohio.  “Ski Ohio?” you may ask. “Are there mountains in Ohio?”  No, there are no mountains but there are valleys and the Cuyahoga Valley is where I learned from the best instructors how to ski and more importantly the skills I needed to help other people learn to ski – Something I’ve been doing almost every winter ever since!

As an independent travel advisor and group trip coordinator, I enjoy a flexible schedule however working for myself can get overwhelming at times. I made sure to post how very grateful I am to be connected with many strong, smart, caring people that help support me and my work, especially my peeps at coworking space PelotonLabs; my amazing co-working family that share weekly yummy crockpot lunches and an occasional spontaneous late night dinner!

From the middle of the month and through February Vacation week, most of my positive posts have been  about volunteering as a ski instructor for New England Disabled Sports and helping teach some international ski groups at Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH.

New snow in two storms kept me up in the White Mountains and I got to take first track runs after the big storm with Loon Ski Patrol pals before meeting my group of lads from Northern Ireland that were there for their mid-term break. With fresh snow all day and only their third day on skis they spent plenty of time picking themselves up while laughing the whole time. Such quick learners we ended up touring most of the mountain by days end. “Now that’s Good Crack Fun!” one of them said…Good crack fun!

February Break week I was assigned to teach a sweet 4 yr old mildly autistic boy ~ just one of many New England Disabled Sports success stories! His parents are thrilled; he is beaming and we had a great week with spring temps skiing with the scouts in the Seasonal Ski School program. Loon is celebrating 50 years this year and the scouts were lucky to get to ride in the Golden Gondola, feed the birds and ski with Rocky the squirrel!

Seems to be positive posts have a snowball effect. Back in Maine I visited Julie Bernier at her new shop Earth Angel Arts in South Portland and now I have a Julie Bernier original piece of positive art plus the same day my missing snowman earring appeared from under my car seat.

Upcoming positive posts hopefully include the return of Old Man Winter before the end of March!

April will bring new growth and an Adventure Marketplace bus tour to New York City April 28-30th

See for more details on the NYC tour and other adventures and try giving the sunny side a shot – It is working for me!

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Maine to DC: Nancy Goes to the Women’s March

Nancy Dorrans at the Women’s March in DC, January 21st.

While in Iceland last November, days after the election I heard the low rumbling across the ocean of a few women organizing a Women’s March in DC the day after the inauguration.  Through social media I learned that two of my friends had already purchased their airline tickets, and others were trying to figure out how to get there. That evening as I drifted off to sleep, the idea that I could help get people there from Portland struck like lightening and I sent a quick email through my iPhone (before it got doused by an Icelandic waterfall) to my contact at a local charter coach company to reserve a coach for that weekend.

I got an immediate response, “Can you CALL ME ASAP about this? We have so many requests. I would take you first… But need to chat with you. We have had a dozen requests just today so we are pretty limited.” Continue reading…

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Nancy Organizes Trip to Women’s March in DC

“Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now, with every breath I take let this be my solemn vow…”

-By Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller in 1955

This song (initially written for and sung by the International Children’s Choir of the Granger Dance Academy in Long Beach, California) has a catchy tune and stays in my mind whenever I hear or read “Peace on Earth” anywhere. I recall singing it first as a Girl Scout and at various church services over the years, especially around the holidays.

This New Year brings lots of promises of Peace on Earth and wishes for happiness, health and prosperity. I am hopeful that peace is possible. Where do you find peace?  Does it come from within or is it external? Do you want to be active and organized with others, using your voice and public spaces to be heard and to help create peace through action? Do you prefer a quiet place, somewhere serene to find and feel peace? Maybe you’re on an Adirondack chair on the dock overlooking the view from the lake at Camp, or you are at peace surrounded by the tranquil turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea?

Peace is a sign, a feeling and a cause. It is like the wind, you can feel it and hear it but you can’t see it. I’m a fan of peace and am looking within and reaching out in my role as a travel advisor and group coordinator to help “Peace Out” in 2017. Continue reading…

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