Walking Across America

The group that I am in at work has little interaction with each other. We are a collection of professionals that work with many others in the organization, but really have only minimal need to interact with each other on a daily basis. It doesn’t help that we also have people physically located in four locations, spread across three states. As a result, when you look at things like team cohesion, interaction and dynamics, our team is somewhat of an outlier.

In order to try to build some sense of team unity (which is a major key to satisfaction at work), we spend time and energy looking for opportunities to act as a team.

This past spring we launched our Walking Challenge to try to build some common purpose as a team. During this challenge we decided to walk across the country. Yup. Across the good ole USA.

Here is how it worked. We started at the office in our most eastern location, Pittsburgh, PA. For each mile that someone walked or ran (or for every four miles biked), we advanced our team a mile along our path. This walking had to be for the sole purpose of exercise, so you couldn’t count any mileage from walking to your car, around the grocery store or any other walking you needed to do for your daily life.

The path that we plotted out started in Pittsburgh and hit the following locations:

  • Stop #1 – Cleveland, OH. A majority of the team works here (myself included).
  • Stop #2 – Kalamazoo, MI. Picking up our last two team members.
  • Stop #3 – Navy Pier, Chicago. We figured that by the time we got to Chicago, we could celebrate with a little deep dish pizza. We hit this pretty quickly and passed on the celebration.
  • Stop #4 – Camp Randall Stadium, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. We planned to have a celebration of brats and cheese. We were in the middle of many vacations, so alas, no brats.
  • Stop #5 – A BBQ joint in Kansas City, MO. We actually did celebrate this milestone by going out for a BBQ lunch.
  • Stop #6 – The Big Texan, Amarillo, TX, which is the site of the 72 oz steak challenge. Our plans for steak for lunch seemed a little much, so we skipped this one.
  • Stop #7 – Walter White’s house in Albuquerque, NM. As I drafted the path and am a huge fan of the show Breaking Bad, I found the house that was used for the exterior shots for the home of the main character and made that a stop. We celebrated this, not with the blue stuff that Walter cooks up, but with a Mexican food lunch.
  • Stop #8 – Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Our plans for a buffet was satisfied by a team meeting where we brought in a buffet lunch.
  • Destination – Santa Monica Pier, CA. Our celebration of finishing over 2800 miles was put up to a vote and once again we decided to get Mexican food.

I was an active participant and one of the top two walkers, finishing with over 500 miles.

We started on May 1 and had a target of finishing by September 15, but actually ended up only a few weeks late.

Tortilla Soup

Photo May 03, 12 20 14 PM - Featured Size

This flavorful soup is surprisingly light.

Photo May 03, 12 09 17 PM

I used the Blendtec blender and a handful of fresh veggies.

Photo May 03, 12 15 44 PM


Photo May 03, 12 16 00 PM


Photo May 03, 12 20 09 PM


Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Servings: 4 cups 


2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1⁄2 large carrot
1″ slice red pepper, approximately ⅓ ? c
1⁄4 avocado
2 tbsp onion
1 chunk onion (approx 2 tbsp)
1 oz pepper jack cheese
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 tsp no-salt herb seasoning
3⁄4 tsp kosher salt
3⁄4 tsp garlic powder
2 c warm water
1⁄2 c black beans
½ cup corn


Add all ingredients but tortilla chips to jar in order listed. Secure lid and select “Soup.” Add black beans and corn, secure lid, and press “Pulse” 2–3 times.

Heat as desired.

Nutritional Info: Servings 4.0
Sodium 350 mg
Serving Size 1 c
Carbohydrates 5 g
Calories 60
Fiber 2 g
Fat 3.5 g
Sugar 3 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Protein 2 g
Cholesterol 5 mg

Source: http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/tortilla_soup

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese3, kosher, Low Carb, Mexican, Recipes, Soup and Stew, Vegetable4, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

One Comment on “Walking Across America”

  1. February 3, 2015 at 4:43 am #

    I reckon you could add a splash of tequila to this! Looks great


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