Some miscellaneous thoughts while wondering when I might get to use my snow shoes this winter
The weather outside is not so frightful, so winter sports lovers are feeling the frustration. Snow mobile owners must be wondering when they'll get to blaze a trail.
Pennsylvania boasts 2,500 miles of marked trails for snow mobile riding, but there has been little opportunity to explore them so far this winter. It's not exactly a team sport; however, large groups of snow lovers comb the state's forests on their machines, including night rides behind the glow of headlights.
Many enjoy stopping to warm their bodies and fill their bellies at rural restaurants and motels, so the lack of snow must have an impact on PA tourism.
Of course, skiers, both downhill and cross country varieties are also suffering, while the Farmer's Almanac unfortunately calls for more rain than snow in the coming months.
The winds of change are blowing through NASCAR during this off-season, with teams scrambling for sponsors and drivers trolling for teams as the clocks quickly ticks down to February and Daytona. We always seem to need a scorecard at the beginning of the NASCAR season until fans can get up to speed on who's driving what for whom, but this year, the changes seem not only more plentiful than most years, but also later in winter break.
Most notably, Kurt Busch's split with Penske started a chain reaction of moves. Busch will climb into the No. 51 to race for James Finch. AJ Allmendinger will get Busch's old ride in the Penske No. 22, Aric Almirola is going to the 48 vacated by Allmendinger and Cole Whitt is jumping from the truck series to take Amirola's old ride with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
In another notable move, young talent, David Ragan will drive for Front Row Motorsports next season after being let go from Roush.
There have been almost as many crew chief changes, highlighted by Greg Zipadelli leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to join Stewart-Haas and Danica Patrick.
With the economy forcing sponsors and owners to be more cautions than ever before, stakes are higher than ever, and that may make 2012 a defining season for all of NASCAR.
Change is also the order of the day in Happy Valley, and it seems football fans are trying to get on board with the new Penn State coaching staff.
At the same time, it's not easy saying so long to old friends. Certainly the announced hiring and the departure of most of the Lions' long-time assistants could have been handled differently, perhaps with more respect to a group of guys who served the Nittany Nation for so long.
It's not the fault of the new regime, so Penn State faithful are struggling to balance loyalty for the outgoing group with support for the next chapter of Penn State history.
Still, it's hard to imagine a game at Beaver Stadium without Joe.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org.