The Biggest Leg yet…

In an effort to get north fast, I’m going to stay with a family in Bellingham, WH. They do a lot of sailing, live right on the water, and sound pretty nice over the phone. Check, check and check. My rationale for all this driving is wanting to explore Canada some, but not wanting to do so late in the year. I’m not (more importantly, my car isn’t) ready to be that far north around November and December. Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 3.50.27 PMI need to be heading south again towards the end of the year, and seeing as it’s already almost half way through June (of ’13, seriously when did that happen?) I pushed through by far the longest single drive I’ve done so far. From Ellicott, CO, where I was, through Salt Lake City, UT, onto Seattle then into Bellingham, WH, my final destination. This was 1,553 miles, about 24 hours of actual driving time, and completed in three legs over the course of a few days, each being in between the letters to the left. This was five new states I’ve yet to visit and connected with some old friends.

All my drives are done at night. Both longer legs were started in the evening and completed the following afternoon. Nothing super exciting happened over the drives (except me not getting in a wreck and dying, which I think is pretty sweet) but driving by myself for 8-hour legs is getting easier all the time.

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I generally think saying things like, “The road is a funny place” is a really gross thing to put on paper, so I won’t. But in those long long legs in the middle of the night, when of course the only stations coming in the FM are country, and when of course your CD player is on strike for whatever reason, something is talking to you. Not really in words you and I speak, but more of a weird vibe pumped through some spiritual IV.

When you have nothing to listen to and only a very boring task (not hurling your car off the cliff six feet to the left) to complete, you just start going through everything in your mind. Your to-do lists are revised until you convince yourself none of it even needs to get done anyway. You run through all these different fantasies because you have the time to. When else, besides on the phone with your parents, do you have tons of time to zone out and contemplate just about everything.

It washes you out, sort of shakes the spiders out from the spaces besides your brain.


“Uncle Ed” as he’s so called in certain circles of the Kennedy family, was nice enough to put me up at his quite-fabulous Salt Lake City estate. I’ve met him once, at a family reunion, but I don’t remember. He’s closest to the Steevers and we spent our evening driving to some of the choice skiing hotspots of Salt Lake, though it wasn’t quite the right time of year. 101_0415He drove like a race car driver with something to prove and confirmed my suspicions the Utah drivers are of a tougher cut than, at least I. Literally, in that state, every one was passing me all time. Maybe when you learn to drive in a state with a disproportionately high number of elderly, you just drive like one anyway. Hard to unlearn methinks.

Also, earlier in the day I drove out to the Great Salt Lake, which I highly recommend you not do if you’re in the area. It has a smell that puts the Bay of Tampa to shame. It’s the second saltiest body of water in the world, which peaks it at about 7 times saltier than the ocean. I was sticky for days, don’t go.

The Great Salt Lake. I went so you don't have to.

The Great Salt Lake. I went so you don’t have to.

Also, the library in Salt Lake city is one that puts all others I’ve seen (I’m talking to you Washington DC) to utter shame. I took a bunch of pictures of it, but you could imagine. I stayed with Ed just long enough on Wednesday to complete my TSLCI work before hitting my longest leg, Salt Lake to Seattle, about 13 hours.

It went really well as a whole. It’s pretty amazing how actually getting a good nights sleep helps out so much. Only then end was rough. Through some weird cosmic event, I rolled right into Seattle in rush-hour traffic and my (lovely, always has my back) GPS took me right through downtown, even though I later figure out we could have just stayed on the highway and gotten off later. It’s funny now, but for about 30 minutes I was flipping out in the car. It was the end of maybe 17 hours of driving and some sleeping too. 1427033-3759829-633-HBut I finally got a to Cameron’s house! This guy I haven’t seen since the Plant High days, and we haven’t hung out since our glory days of underclassman. This was my first really good friend in life, and though our time chilling was brief, we had some good times. I can’t believe I was biking around South Tampa with this cat maybe 12 years ago. Essh I’m getting old.

The rest of the Seattle trip was pretty standard. Spent waaaaaay too much money on drinks, I dragged Cameron up to the Space Needle and went to the famous marketplace. 101_0425

So I just got to my current gig this afternoon. Bellingham, WH, with John and Katrina, who live right off Samish Lake and promise tons of sailing while I’m here, which looks like it will be about two weeks or so. This is my fourth set of strangers to stay with and I think it’s going to work out real well. More to come!

Thanks again to Jim, Darlene and Hal for putting up some weird stranger in their house. Great people.

Thanks again to Jim, Darlene and Hal for putting up some weird stranger in their house. Great people.

Flying some small airplanes…

So for the past two weeks I’ve been staying with Jim, Darlene and their son Hal at the Springs East Airport in Ellicott, CO. I stay out in this small terminal building by the runway which acts as sort of the lobby for the establishment. I mostly help out with carpentry stuff, which I prefer to most outdoor work anyway, and the food here is great and the vibe is great too.

At the beginning I got a little lonely because there wasn’t anyone there my age or humor level (ie – no one here is really immature). However, and these are key reasons I went on this trip, I stuck it out for a few days and found I had tons in common with these folks. I love cards, so do they, I like to tease people I like and SO DO THEY! We’re all currently besties thank you very much.

As promised, I’ve gotten to go up in a few small airplanes. The first was an CR-4, a sporty little number with this guy named Tom. I think that was his name.

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This thing was slick. Average cruising speed of about 150mph and we did a few dives and got up to 4gs. For those 5th graders reading this blog, a G is normal amount of gravity, something like 9.8 lbs per square inch. Two Gs is twice that and so on and so forth.






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What was cool was how much you FEEL like you’re in a plane. There’s a small compartment up front, but the only room in this guy is for you to sit. The propeller is RIGHT there and every change in the plane’s direction you can feel. When you ride a commercial jet you have to look out the window to know you’re actually in the air. This thing had great maneuverability and Tom did some pretty cool stuff.


And then!

So that was about ten days ago or so. It was my second day here.

Then on Thursday this great older guy I met took me up in his Pietenpol (peet-in-pole)This was a plane that was popular in the late 1920s. Now, obviously this isn’t a plane from the 20s, but a plan that was followed.

Of course I didn’t take a picture of the whole plane, but look how cool it is!

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This guy’s name was Gil and he was pretty rad. He had been flying since the early 50s and had been able to see the change from propeller-driven planes to the jet-drive 101_0375ones. Of course my camera ran out of batteries half-way into the flight, so I couldn’t get a picture with this gem of an old man, but you can see him beside me in that picture to the left. This is the kind of guy who starts out a movie with a story and is the narrator the whole time, telling you his life story, as a younger him acts it all out. We talked for well over an hour after the flight and I wish I could have recorded the conversation. He was sharp as a tack, funny, and just so kind.

I asked what these weird circles were for seriously no less than a dozen times and I've forgotten now

I asked what these weird circles were for seriously no less than a dozen times but I’ve forgotten.

Metaphor time! If the initial plane (the CR-4) was a pretty sweet roller coaster right out of Islands of Adventure (a wink to my boss FL friends) then the Pietenpol was like riding Falcor from The Neverending Story. I know I know, why would I ever want ride some stinking coaster when Falcor is ready to rumble? I’m afraid I’m not licensed to answer that question:)




This was my favorite part about the whole plane riding in general. This is a FAA-regulated warning because both of the planes are home-built projects.

They basically say, “Hey passenger, some dude built this, and then no one official really looked over it, so good luck with that.”

Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Love you monkeys!

This thing lands like a dream…

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