Creating a strong password is very important to keep all your information safe.  It is also important to create passwords that you can easily remember but are difficult for a computer to guess in a certain amount of time.  Below are some rules to help you create strong passwords.

  • Length – Make your passwords long. In general, the longer the password the more time it would take a computer to guess your password.  Most systems require a minimum 8 characters.
  • Complexity – Use the entire keyboard to create your password.  Include letters, numbers, punctuation and symbols in your password.  Most systems will tell you what characters are allowed in the password.  To increase complexity stay away from common word-to-letter, word-to-number, letter-to-number conversions. Some examples include changing “to” to “2”, “for” to “4”, “e” to “3”, “s” to “5”, and “and” to “&”.  It is safer to create your own conversion rules for passwords.  Never share your conversion rules with anyone.
  • Variety – Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.  Criminals that steal passwords on one website will likely try the same username and password on other websites.  If you use the same password they will gain access to more than just one of your accounts.  Protect yourself by creating a password for each site and if possible a unique username for each site (this is not possible on most websites since they use your email address but when possible use it).
  • Replace– Passwords are safe for only a certain amount of time.  It is best to change your passwords at least twice a year.  This is done for a variety of reasons.  If a person was trying to crack your password by changing it you have caused them to start over again in cracking it.  If your account has been compromised without your knowledge changing the password keeps it from being insecure for a shorter amount of time.
  • Avoid
    • Using personal information such as your name, birthday, family members names, pet names, etc.
    • Dictionary words in any language
    • Words spelled backwards, common misspellings and abbreviations
    • Sequences or adjacent letters on the keyboard.

Sample Strategy

What to do Example
Start with a sentence or two  Complex passwords are not square.
Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence  complexpasswordsarenotsquare.
Turn words into shorthand, intentionally misspell works, and use your own conversion rules  cmplx9aSswor6sRnotL7
Add length with numbers, punctuation, or symbols  cmplx9aSswor6sRnotL74262012!

Recipe by: Unknown

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Serving Size: 2-4

Tools: Soup Bowl, Cutting Board, Knife, Stir Spoon


  • 8-10 Small Mushrooms (any fresh mushroom you can find in an American grocery store will work)
  • 1 Tomato
  • Tofu (half of one box)
  • 1 Green Onion
  • A very small piece of Ginger (a little)
  • Two pieces of Cilantro (optional)
  • Chicken Broth (fat free and low sodium)


  1. Slice the mushroom and tomato
  2. Cut Tofu into squares (don’t have to be too small)
  3. Cut green onions into small pieces
  4. Cut Ginger into very small pieces
  5. Cut cilantro into small pieces


  1. Heat up a pot. When the pot is very hot, put a little chicken broth.
  2. When chicken broth is hot, put tomato into the pot and stir until tomato is soft and the tomato juice is out.
  3. Put Ginger and part of the green onions in pot.
  4. Pour chicken broth into the pot (you can decide how much you need)
  5. Put Tofu in the pot (make sure Tofu is in the middle of the soup)
  6. When the soup starts boiling, turn down the oven, and switch to medium/medium high. Let it cook for around 20 minutes. (make sure there is enough liquid in the pot)
  7. Put the rest of the green onion and cilantro in the soup.
  8. Eat

(If you like, you can add a little sesame oil before you serve.)

  1. Slice the mushroom and tomato
  2. Cut Tofu into squares (don’t have to be too small)
  3. Cut green onions into small pieces
  4. Cut Ginger into very small pieces
  5. Cut cilantro into small pieces

The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes found in the panhandle of Idaho has more than 71 miles of paved path.  This beautiful path takes you through mountains, valleys, and finally into a chain of lakes.


The George S. Mickelson Rail Trail in the Black hills of South Dakota is a great place to ride bicycles, walk and run.  The trail is operated by the South Dakota State Parks and is kept in great condition.  Trailheads are spaced along the trail with water and a shelter at many of them.  The Mickelson Trail in the Rail Trail Hall of Fame.

This trail requires a trail pass which is available at all trail heads.  There is a daily pass and an annual pass.  The trail is so wonderful it is well worth the small price to ride it.

I have ridden this 114 mile long trail many times.  Riding North to South gives the best experience since it is mostly down hill over the entire length.  The trail starts is Deadwood (yes the same Deadwood as the HBO series) and continues through the hills and onto the prairie  to Edgemont.  During your ride you will come across many old trestle bridges and tunnels.  Most of the Tunnels and the biggest trestle bridge are between Dumont and Hill City trail heads.  This area includes Mystic which is one of the heavier used trail heads and busiest section of the trail.  Between mystic and Rochford is a beautiful ride by a stream.

There are four long hills along the trail.  The first is the climb out of Deadwood which has two routes.  The shortcut goes past an old mine before steeply climbing back to the railroad bed.  The second hill is the mystic to Hill City climb.  This is a long gentle hill with many views and tunnels along the way.  The third is the climb from Hill City to Crazy Horse Memorial.  Finally the last is right outside Edgemont which you have to climb over to get a grand view of the town.

Many people have ridden the entire trail in one day and some have done out and back rides in one day.  The average rider can expect to go 30 to 40 miles in a day.  Expert riders can do the whole trail with the many water stops along the way a support vehicle or people is not needed.  The trail winds through four towns so you can get food and drinks along the way.

The Mickelson Trail is a perfect place to ride for both beginners and for experts.  You can find out more about the trail from the links below.

Mickelson Trail Website

Rail Trail Hall of Fame


The Black Hills of South Dakota cover an area of 125 miles north to south and 65 miles east to west.  This area is full of canyons, rolling hills, grassland, streams and lakes.  In the southern hills is the Black Elk Wilderness that surrounds Harney Peak the highest point in South Dakota and highest point east of the Rocky Mountains.  On top you will find an old lookout tower with a view of the entire Black Hills.  I suggest taking your binoculars so you can view the entire hills with ease.

The Black Hills have many geological features which make it a great place to visit.  Since there are so many I will just talk about a few of my favorites and in later posts go into more detail on each spot.

Starting in the Northern Hills is a town called Spearfish.  It is a beautiful and growing town.  Just to the South is Spearfish Canyon which is one of the most beautiful canyons in the Black Hills.  The drive takes you up a winding canyon with Spearfish Creek on one side and towering 1,000 foot high limestone cliffs on each side.  The canyon has two famous water falls, Roughlock and Bridal Veil Falls.  There are many pullouts along the way allowing for drivers to stop and take pictures of the stunning beauty.

The Black Hills have a famous Rail Trail called the George S. Mickelson Rail Trail.  This 114 mile long trail takes you North to South for almost the entire distance of the Black Hills.  The trail passes through many beautiful areas along the way and is a must see for hikers and cyclists.  I find the trail much more fun to bicycle than walk.

Another trail that goes the length of the hills from North to South is the Centennial trail.  This mostly single track trail winds through the black hills from Bear Butte to Wind Cave National Park.  There is a short section of the trail that goes into the Black Elk Wilderness where cyclists have to go around the wilderness. by riding over  the Iron Mountain Road to Trail # 15 then up the Iron Creek Road till the Iron Creek Horse Camp where you can once again rejoin the Centennial Trail.  As you travel through Custer State Park watch out for buffalo.  The bull buffalo like to hang out near the trail especially near streams.  Be on the lookout so you do not startle one of these giant beasts.

I suggest stopping by one of the Forest Service offices spread throughout the Black Hills to get information on places to go.  They are full of information and many of the people have lived in the area for years and know the best places to go for your desired experience.

Below are some links to the Black Hills.

Black Hills National Forest

Mount Rushmore