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The Journey Thru a Photographic Life

Walk. Stop. Repeat. AND THEN WE RIDE!!

Walking 500 miles is hard. Walking 500 miles with a 15lb backpack is harder. Walking 500 miles with a 15lb backpack across a country where you don’t speak the language makes it fun. 
  
The days are pretty much the same. Wake up early (4:30-5). Get ready. Start walking in the near dark. Walk 5-10 km. Find an open bar. Drink cafe con leche and eat some sort of pastry. Walk some more. Stop and have a coke and bocadilla. Walk some more. Stop at an albergue. Check in and get a bed. Take a shower. Do the day’s laundry and hang it out, hoping it dries before the end of the night. Take a nap. Get dinner. Get the laundry. Get everything ready for tomorrow. Go to bed. 

Do all of that while talking and dealing with people of different languages and cultures. 

  
No, it isn’t really fun. Yes, it’s really fun. It’s way outside my comfort zone and it forces me to deal with things differently than I might normally, but that’s a good thing. 

Doing things under different conditions makes you better. It makes you stronger. Sometimes it makes you reevaluate how you do things. It often makes you reevaluate how you do things. 

  
I look forward to the walking. It’s hard only because it’s long. And hot. But the walking is nice. It allows you to think and almost meditate. 

  
Which is ironic, because we are now riding bikes for the next four days. After realizing that we may not make it up Santiago on time, we revamped our trip a bit. We can ride the “flat” meseta in four days instead of eight. Cool beans. Not. 

Riding a bike across the country brings an entirely new skill set and soreness to the game. My ass hurts. My arms hurt. My hands hurt. My body hurts. 

Plus, the meseta is NOT flat. Not even close. The uphold suck and the downhills are sometimes rutted, rough, and narrow. On the other hand, some of them are fun. 

  
Bottom line? I’m still alive and mostly having fun. More later. 

  

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Posted 2 months ago at 11:49 am.

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Sticks and Stones Will Melt Your Bones

I’m not going to post every day of my walk because there just isn’t enough wifi and time. Mostly wifi. So, I’m going to try to post slightly shorter, more observational types of posts more often. I know I’ll accomplish at least two of those. 
I’ve learned a lot on my journey. First, trekking poles are awesome. Most refer to them as sticks; as in “Do you have your sticks?”, “How do you like your sticks?”, or “Nice poles!” Ok, they’re not called sticks as much as I’d like, but it goes with the title of the post. 

They really do take 25-30% of your weight off your legs and make moving for long periods of time much easier and, at times, more fun. 
The ones I have are from Costco. They were about $35, made of carbon fiber, the grips are cork, and have built in shock absorbers. 
I bought some gnarly rubber tips for the points before I left. The carbide steel tips work great on natural trails, but not on cement or asphalt. They tend to slip. Plus, they make an awful racket. I refer to the pilgrims who don’t cover their steel tips on cement as Ricky-Ticki. That’s all you hear as they pass by; tick tick tick tick tick tick. 

 
Rubber for asphalt and cement.  

Steel for natural trails.

 I’ve also learned that there are at least four ways to use them, depending on the terrain, pace, and desired affect. 

 
The first it the left foot/right pole right foot/left pole method. It’s great for steeper uphills and really adds power to your walk because you’re using your arms to help you up the hill. 

  
The second is the double pole. You use both poles at the same time as you take two to four steps. It’s good on less steep uphills and flats. Again, you get power from your arms as you walk. 

   I will post this video when I have better wifi  
   Third, you have the option of double stepping. You only use the poles every two to three steps. You don’t get much of an assist from the poles, but it helps your rhythm and balance. It also good on long, boring sections because it helps you count steps. (Counting steps gives you something to do and takes your mind off the fact that you actually conceived, planned, and are committed to trying to go through with the ridiculous idea of walking across a European country.)

  
The final method of using poles is to use them as brakes as you go down hill. Seriously, this takes a LOT of stain off of your knees as you descend. It is a universal thought that downhills suck SO much more than downhills. 
Yea, I like my poles. And if your wondering why I wrote so much, it’s because when you’re walking 6-7 hours a day, you have a lot of time to think about things.

The second observation I have is that Spain has a lot of stones and they are in love with them. Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that most of the planet is covered with stones, but the Spanish tend to display them in ways that bring the stones to your attention. 
They plant entire vineyards in fields of stone. I didn’t even know that was possible. 

  
They stack them.

  

They pile them. 

  
And they mound them on every conceivable flat surface they can find. 

   
 I have no clue why they do it, but they’re good at what they do. 

My final observation is one for which I have no photographic evidence. As great of a country as Spain is, they missed the entire concept on the following two items. 

One, ice machines. It’s 98 degrees outside and they don’t make ice! WTH? I talked to one bar owner and she told me she gets what appears to be a seven pound bag of ice per day. Every fast food and mom & pop place in the states has an ice machine that cranks out gallons of ice an hour and these people count the number of ice cubes they put in your Coke if you want it cold. 

Second, it’s 98 degrees outside and they put 28 warm bodied people in a room to sleep and the ONLY source of air movement in the room is the one open window which they shut at night to keep the room quiet so you can sleep. You can’t sleep when it’s 98 degrees outside and 105 inside. The solution is called a CEILING FAN!! It costs $60. You plug it in, turn it on. & and the air moves!! What a concept!! 

I get not having AC, but no ice or ceiling fans?!?

You were able to navigate the the planet when it was shaped like a pancake, but now that it’s a globe you sit in the heat and suffer?!? Spain, get it together!!

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Posted 2 months ago at 10:16 am.

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Pamplona!

Pamplona. That’s where I am. 

  
I’m laying in a real hotel bed, clean, dry, warm, in pain, blistered, thread hanging out of my toes, and listening to accordion play “Those Were the Days My Friends” through the open window while the nearby cathedral bell strikes the hour. I am in Pamplona and I am amazed and thrilled to be here. 

  
The last three days have been…um…interesting…to say the least. I’ll try to give you a quick summary of each. 

Thursday: Right. Left. Repeat. Friday: repeat Thursday, but longer. Saturday: repeat Friday, but longer. Sunday: repeat Saturday, but still longer. At the end of the day you eat and collapse into bed. And there you have it!

Ok, not what you’re looking for? How about this: The walk from Orisson to Roncesvalles was brutal. Yet, looking back, it was fun. It started out in a heavy fog that lasted until it got heavier. I wore shorts and shirt sleeves most of the day. It wasn’t warm, but I was hot from hiking. 
We had about a 25m warm up and then the road went straight up. Or so it seemed. We walked 18km, the first almost half was up. As we continued to climb, I realized the forms I thought were rocks were moving. They were sheep. And cows. And horses. But all I saw was rocks. 

  
Those are all animals who are more than willing to share the trail with you and leave little (sometimes big) gifts for you to step in. After a while, you become adept at identifying the three animals just from their dung. You often mistake poop for slugs and vice-a-verse-a. The slugs are huge, black, and slow. Slow as in, they don’t appear to move. As a matter of fact, Torye actually celebrated the time that she found one that was moving. 

  
The walk (march?) continued until we found a food truck on the side of the road. He is one of the last stops in France before you cross into Spain. He had a sign that says one more kilometer of uphill, five kilometers of flat, and five kilometers of downhill. All of it bullshit. And I know, I looked at a lot of male bovine fecal material over the past 15km. 

It was like five km up, flat at the top of the col, and what seemed like ten km down. And when I say down, I mean 45 degrees down. In the mud. Over slippery roots, rocks, and what I assume are the remains of past pilgrims, although the they could have been slugs also. 

  
All of this is done in a fog/mist so heavy that it was like rain under the tree canopy. It was at this point I found out that maybe I should put on a jacket or something to get warm. How did I find out? I stopped to take a leak and couldn’t button or zip up my pants. My hands were in a permanent trekking pole holding position and no amount of movement got them into a pants buttoning coordination. I was able to zip up, so I continued unbuttoned until I worked my finger loose. The above picture is of me crossing the French/Spain border. 

Finally, Roncesvalles came into view and we stayed at our first true albergue. Here’s the routine: take your soaking wet, stinky boots off and put them into a room with 150 other pairs of wet, stinking boots. Get a bed in a cubicle with three other people. Gender not important. Stand in line to take a slower. Shower while wondering if anyone will notice you’re using all of the hot water. Hand wash your dirty clothes and hang them up to dry, knowing full well they won’t. Go to dinner with some of your Camino family. Pick up your not dry laundry. Go back to you cubicle. Hang up the really wet stuff to dry over night. Pack away the rest. Wonder why it suddenly got dark and realize they turn the lights off at 10. Listen to the rest of the pilgrims fall asleep. Fall asleep. You fall asleep in about 30 seconds. 

   
   The lights go on at six and one of the hosts walk by announcing ¡Buen Camino! which I think translates into get your ass out of bed and start walking because thats what everyone did.

  
No breakfast for the first 3-4km until we stopped at a bar and had something pretty good. No clue what it was. Some small uphills and then downhill. And more downhill. And still more downhill followed by, you guessed it, more downhill. 

Torye was walking in sandals because her shoes were still soaked from the day before. By the time we reached Zuburi, she was loudly announcing her discomfort between bouts of word selection that would have blushed her Navy brother. All of this while trying to poke holes in the planet by slamming her trekking poles into the ground hard enough to crater the trail. This was not someone who should be brought through a small Spanish town. 

So, I turned to my left saw an albergue sign, walked in, and got us two beds for the night. Expensive, but probably less so than bailing her out of jail for assault and battery on some poor albergue host. 

   
Below is the sign showing that the albergue has floating beds, allows singing in the shower, an amphitheater, and water in a happy box. 

 That night, we had dinner at an outdoor cafe with an ever growing group of pilgrim friends as they got done with their day. It was awesome. 

    

        

The third day started with a trip to the Camino store. At least that’s what I call them. It’s a store that caters to Camino pilgrims with everything you could possibly want on your pilgrimage and more. And it all at pretty reasonable prices too. 

After that we started out with the intent of getting something to eat after 1-2km. No. Nothing was open. Nothing was open for over 10km. That’s like half way. 

I was NOT doing well. I had to eat. So I did. A bocadilla, an omelette, a donut, another bocadilla, two cokes, and a crap ton of water. And after 45 minutes, I picked up my pack and started walking again and I didn’t want company. I was suffering and needed to focus on getting done. Besides, I wasn’t going to be good company. So I walked alone. 

All the way to Pamplona. 

Entering a large city is interesting. You walk a couple of kilometers through large blockhouse apartment complexes which are still more pleasing to the eye than anything at home. The problem is that my Camino family is strung out behind me, or so I thought. I stopped once to tour a fulling mill. (Google it!) I spent 15-20 minutes touring the museum, looking at the exhibits. In that time Cailean passed me. 

Cailean is a college freshman who seems to be able to carry some sort of jet/rocket pack on his back because he just flys up the trail like its flat or downhill and he’s wearing roller skates. Anyway, I’m walking with Henry from Germany and as we are ambling down the road this cheery “¡Hola!” booming out from in front of us. It’s Cailean. He stopped at the city limit and was waiting for the rest of his family. I waited with him and within 20 minutes his sister, Meaghan, and Torye joined us. 

We had been tasked by their parents to find a hotel to stay at for the night. This was a problem because none of us had Internet to search for a place. To top it off, the city was in the middle of a festival to start the running of the Bulls next month. 

  
Ok, being in Pamplona during a Sunday festival is über cool, but it does create one small problem: nothing is open except bars. We didn’t need a drink. We needed beds for six. Finally, we found another Camino store where he directed us to a really nice place about 1km from where we were. The others were pretty tired and the parents would be too, so I took it on myself to get this done. 

Using my super human strength, or what others would call a second wind, I scouted the route, waited for the others, went in with Meaghan to ask about rooms, and we got three rooms for the group. 

When I say that I went in with Meaghan to ask about rooms, I mean she asked questions in Spanish while I stood there looking almost intelligent and comprehending. Those of you who know me would say stupid. It got better when the girl behind the desk said “English?” 

The end result is that I’m in Pamplona, I’ve had three hot showers in the last 18 hours, slept in until 10, and have eaten well. We’re spending an extra day here before moving on. 

More later. 

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Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 9:33 am.

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My Introduction to My Camino Family

I was in St. Jean Pied de Port three days ago. Since then, I haven’t had any wifi that really worked. Such is the life of a pilgrim. Now I have it, so I’m back.  

We left SJPdP as a group heading UP to Orrison. It’s about 8km or 5 miles. (You’ll need to figure out the conversion factors yourself in the future.) and it felt like 8km up too. In reality, it’s only about 800m or roughly 2400′. In 8km, that’s pretty steep, but doable. And we did it in under four hours. 

  
The Pyrenees are very scenic. At least the lower parts. After a while, you just begin to concentrate on walking. The sequence is important. You’re really screwed if you don’t get it right. Left, right, left, right works. Left, right, left, left? Not so much.  

   

  

 The real challenge wasn’t the walk, although it was difficult, it was the near 30 hours of travel with almost no sleep and the six hours of sleep on a nine hour difference time zone on top of the walk. The bottom line is that we all made it. And that’s where the fun began. 

   

 We all checked into the same room. The same room as a guy from Mexico and a guy from Poland. Both of them were asleep. At one in the afternoon. WTH? We were as quiet as possible as we divided up the four remaining beds. 

There is a pecking order in albergue (al-bear-gay) beds. First choice is the bottom. You get to sit down and organize, get dressed, put your shoes on, whatever. The second choice is the top bunk. You have to organize your stuff on the floor, dress standing up, and find a place to put your shoes and socks on; usually the one or two chairs in the room. Plus, you have to climb up and down a little ladder to take a leak in the middle of the night. I thought that was all of the choices. I was wrong. 

I got the upper bunk with the 4×6 wooden beam running down the middle of the length of the bed two feet off of the mattress. It added to the excitement of getting into and out of bed. It was an added element of danger to albergue sleeping, which is fraught with farters, belchers, sleep mumbles, individuals who can’t exit a top bunk without falling (you know who you are), guys who open the window in the middle of the night, girls who close the same window ten minutes later, several encores of that sequence over the next 30 minutes, those who turn on their headlamps to see and also want to see if you’re awake by shining the light in your eyes (the answer is “yes, jerk, I am now”), and snorers, of which I am told I am the champion in the advanced extreme elite division. Yea me. 

There is also an etiquette in albergues. One, elders get the bottom bunks because the sound of shattering bones when they fall off the ladder and hit the floor trying to get to the bathroom tends to wake you up in the middle of the night. And, two, if you get a bottom bunk, you don’t get the chair(s) in the room.

These two sleeping beauties, both of whom were probably making the pilgrimage to remember how the Pyrenees looked before they rose out of the abyssal plain and formed part of Europe, not only took the lower bunks, which is ok under the rules of etiquette and time honored: first come, first serve, but they also took both chairs to put their packs on. That means that there was one individual who got the remaining bunk and the rest got the three upper bunks with no chairs. And I ended up with the head cracker bunk. Again, yea me. 

To top it off, they strung a clothesline across the room, about face high (no matter how tall you were) to dry their jeans, shirts, and skid-marked tighty whiteys! Seriously dude? Who does that? Wipe your ass with TP, not your chonies. But I digress. 

We got everything worked out and met the rest of the 28 albergue travelers. We did so over a communal dinner of gruel which tasted very similar to vegetable soup, but with nothing in it, some sort of chicken dish, and a flan dessert. Afterwards, we each had to stand up, introduce ourselves, say where we were from, and tell everyone why we were walking the Camino. Thus began our Camino family. 

These are the individuals who drift in and out of your life as you walk, stop, eat, sleep, and suffer on the Camino. You walk and talk for awhile together and if one of you stops to rest the other keeps walking and that is not considered unusual or rude. It is what happens. 

If you are heading to dinner or have stopped at a bar for lunch and see one of the others, you invite them to join you. You share ideas, stories, hardships and the hilarity that follows, and you get a little more personal than you would with an casual acquaintance. They quickly become friends.

The downside is that this is the stuff my nightmares are made of. One, being social with individuals I don’t know and am not supposed to care about, but do. Two, I’m supposed to remember names. I don’t do names. I have to look at my license each morning to remember who I am. How do I remember someone’s name who I just met and have only talked to over a dinner? But I’m pulling it off. Why?
Because they’re my Camino family. 

  

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 1:37 pm.

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I’m Back. I’m Good. And I’m Gone. 

  
Two years ago, I took a trip that at the time, I didn’t think was a big deal, but it turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. It was a turning point. I drove across the United States. It took three weeks. I crossed 29 states. I saw 18 national parks. And I did it without driving on an interstate. 

You can read about it in the previous posts because that was the last thing I wrote. I wanted to write more, I just didn’t find the time. Or the muse. Or the desire. The bottom line is I didn’t write. 

In that time, both of my parents passed away. I got divorced. And I think I got lost. I knew I needed to find a focus I my life. Maybe more than one. 

Somewhere in there I was wasting my day watching Netflix and the always correct “Suggestions for Mark” popped and suggested Martin Sheen movie called the way. Bored, I watched it. After five minutes I sat in awe and somewhere in there I cried. 

Sheen plays an optometrist named Tom who was doing pretty much what I was doing. Waking up, doing his job, going home. The usual. He was living the life he chose. His son died in France and he has to go pick up the remains. While there he learns of the pilgrimage his son was making called the Camino de Santiago and does the pilgrimage for and with his son. 

By the time he completes the journey, his life is changed. He is open to different experiences, meets new people, and learns the vision his son had. 

It is a great movie. I watched it again and somewhere during that viewing, I posted an invitation on Facebook saying that I was going to walk the Camino during the summer of 2015 and inviting any and all of my friends to join me for any or all of it. 

Usually, I tell myself I’m going to do something big or challenging and then find a reason not to do it. Why? By actually doing it, I could fail and whatever I said I’d do, was outside my comfort zone. My thought process this time was that by posting it publicly, I was committing myself and by inviting others, I was stepping way outside my comfort zone. 

I’m not a party social person. Yes, I like people. Yes, I socialize. But I never feel comfortable and at ease. I figured that I might actually make the pilgrimage because of the post, but I figured that nobody was going to join me. 

I was wrong. I got commitments from a friend, my cousin and her husband, a colleague, and my sister. My teacher buddy had to cancel because he hurt himself and couldn’t walk to train properly and my sister ended up going to Spain early with her husband to watch the Spanish GP and walked part of the Camino with my niece. 

That still left three. How can I bail out when three people said they were going to walk with me? I was committed. That wasn’t a bad thing. Just scary. And exciting. And really scary. 

The last 10-12 months have been consumed with learning, evaluating equipment, planning, and just being excited or scared or both. 

I was scared because I’m not sure I can do this “hiking 5-7 hours a day, sleeping in hostels, eating food I’m unfamiliar with, talking to people I don’t know, traveling with companions and taking into consideration their needs, and going into each moment not knowing what I’m doing next” thing. To make more interesting, I don’t have a second language. As a matter of fact, if you ask my students, I struggle with my first language. 

If you’re wondering why I’m excited, read the above paragraph. 

  

  
Yet, after being up for almost 31 hours that included a three hour trip to the airport, an eleven hour flight to Paris, a three hour layover, a hour long bus ride, another two hour bus ride, and several hours of finding accommodations, food, and stuff, I’m here in St. Jean Pied de Port. I’m ready. 

  
I’ll try to post as often as often as possible depending on time, how tired I am, and if the muse strikes me. As a friend said “Writers are so emotional.”

Until then, I’m good. I’m living my life because “You don’t chose a life, you live a life.”

  

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:16 am.

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Td’M – The Lists

On the road

The final tally.

8674.5 miles

37 days

 

The states

Outbound

  • California
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Delaware

Homeward

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • California

The National Park System

  • Lassen Volcanic NP
  • Lava Beds NM
  • Crater Lake NP
  • Craters of the Moon NM
  • Grand Tetons NP
  • Yellowstone NP
  • Devil’s Tower NM
  • Jewel Cave NM
  • Wind Cave NP
  • Mount Rushmore Nat. Memorial
  • Badlands NP
  • Cuyahoga NP
  • Gettysburg National Cemetery and Military Park
  • Shanandoah NP
  • Great Smokey Mountains NP
  • Petrified Forest NP
  • Montezuma Castle NM

The Monuments/Memorials While in D.C.

  • Martin Luther King
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • WWII Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Viet Nam War Memorial

Others

  • Statue of Liberty (Saw, but didn’t visit)
  • Old Post Office Pavilion Protected Area

Ways in Which My Sister Tried to Kill Me

  • Personal water craft
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Kayaking
  • Segway tour of the Washington D.C. Monuments
  • Walking tour of NYC
  • The Book of Mormons in NYC
  • Karate
  • Carting
  • Driving an Aerial Atom (ok, it was just in the driveway, but…)
  • Phillie’s game (They were ahead by one with three outs left and lost…)
  • Crew (I didn’t do this, but I watched my sister do it and the river STUNK!)
  • Wawa
  • Eat
  • Observed two veterinarian surgeries

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Posted 1 year, 11 months ago at 8:54 am.

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Td’M – The Route Recap

The route taken during the T'dM 2013

The Route

Five weeks and two days, 8674.5 miles, 29 states, 17 national parks and monuments, 10 national monuments in Washington D.C./NYC and one great trip to fulfill a dream. It started while on five day throw away trip to Utah. I visited Bryce Canyon NP, Cedar Break NP, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Somewhere on the road, my sister posted on Facebook that I was already half-way to Delaware, so I should just continue the trip and see her.

Other than the idea that my sister is geographically challenged, there was a thought in the back of my mind that maybe the trip was doable. One small problem. I had surgery to remove a cancer from the back of my neck. Nothing serious, but it was scheduled and the follow-up was a week later. So, I had to go home.

The surgery time also gave me about two weeks to plan, pack, and prepare for the trip. Sandy (my FJ Cruiser, more about that in a future post) needed some modifications. Plus supplies had to be bought and packed. It was time well used.

The start was scheduled to be the morning of the 7th of July, but the stitches came out on the 5th. Sandy was packed and the trip planned, so why not leave two days early? That’s what we did.

This trip, years ago, was planned to be a loop up the 395, east through Nevada toward Utah, north through the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone, and back to SoCal. This took a little bit more planning and a northern detour after Mono Lake.

The planning didn’t detail roads or highways, just general routes. I used AAA maps and highlighted the places I wanted to visit and the main roads between them. It was not my intention to follow those routes, but to use them as a guideline and find a more specific route as I traveled.

I installed a RAM mount for my iPad in the cockpit area of Sandy and each road traveled was usual found on my iPad as I went. There were times when I had to stop at an intersection and spend some time zooming in and out of the app I was using to determine which road took me in the direction I wanted to go. Most of the time I was right, sometimes I was wrong and I’d have to backtrack or a new route had to be found.

The end result was a life changing trip of a life time.

I have made corrections (mostly spelling and grammar) on past posts and will be reviewing the trip, equipment, thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned during the trip.

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Posted 1 year, 11 months ago at 9:12 am.

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Td’M – Road Trip Day 20: A True Memorial

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DAY 20

150 years later it seems to still bear the scars of battle. Open space where maybe there shouldn’t be. The unheard silence quashes the sounds of nature. Visitors speak in hushed, reverent tones.

Nothing prepares you for the emotions that rise up to almost choke you when visiting a site with so much importance, so much history, and so much of our country’s blood shed to defend two opposite ideals.

7,863 men lost their lives and over 27,000 were wounded. To walk among the grave markers in the cemetery, reading the names of individuals who fell 150 years ago, thinking about who they were, what they did, and how they lived, makes you look inward at your own life.

Sprinkled throughout the names are the unknown. A marker representing an individual who was unrecognizable or unable to be identified. In addition to all of the above questions, you ask yourself if their family ever learned of their sacrifice or if anyone even missed them at all. It’s a sobering thought, the idea that you could lose your life for a belief and no one would ever know.

You have to wonder about about what we lost. Was their death also the death of a new idea or a cure for a disease or a future leader? Who did they leave behind? How did their families fare after they were lost? Every marker represents a past, a unique history, a different story. But they all have one thing in common.

Gettysburg.

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Some states lost many.

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And some not so many.

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For some, we’ll never know.

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But they all fell here at Gettysburg.

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Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 7:35 am.

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Td’M – Road Trip Day 19: I Love Lucy

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Day 19

It was wet last night. Very wet. When I say wet I mean the creek we camped next to was dry when we went to bed became FULL and dangerously flowing by the morning. It rained and it rained hard. For over eight hours or at least that’s when I finally went to sleep.

The Howling Moon RRT was great and kept us dry. Kinda. It didn’t leak, but it was still moist because of the humidity and the moisture we brought in on our clothes. No problem. It was a good test of the tent and it passed with flying colors.

After getting up, drying as much as possible, and packing, we hit the road for…Jamestown, PA. Why? What’s in Jamestown you ask?

The Desilu Museum. Yes, that’s right the home of I Love Lucy!!

Ok, I thought it would be a bit hokey and a quick “Ya, there’s some Lucy crap. Lets go.” type of thing, but NOOOOO! It was interesting. They had the sets, the costumes, props, and other memorabilia on display. Everything reminded me of episodes and jokes. The sets were really cool because you could see the size and such. Seriously, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience.

After that we drove south through Pennsylvania toward a more sobering visit at Gettysburg. That’ll be interesting too. And thought provoking.

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I always thought the kitchen was yellow.

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The set when they were visiting Hollywood and staying at the fictitious Beverly Palms Hotel.

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Some of the costumes and props from the show.

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Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 7:37 am.

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Td’M – Road Trip Day 18: NFL Fail, NP Fail, New York

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DAY 18

It’s raining. It’s been raining all day. We woke up, packed up, and hit the road. Immediately, there were wet spots on the windshield. They continued through the day, into the evening, and it’s still raining as I lay in bed writing this.

I looked at the radar in the early afternoon and the storm is following us. I think it’ll pass over sometime during the night. At least I hope so.

Today was another travel day with a couple diversions. We started in Ohio, headed northeast through Pennsylvania, and are camped in southwest New York.

Along the way we stopped in Canton, OH to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I was so impressed with it, that I didn’t get a single picture. Seriously, it was nice to read about all of the players I’d heard about or seen on TV, but in all honesty, it’s like looking at a bunch of jerseys that you could buy on the gift shop.

Next was the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Again, I was so underwhelmed that I didn’t take a single picture. Seriously. It’s green. It’s a canal. It’s nice. It’s not a National park. Not after seeing Yosemite or the Grand Tetons.

Tomorrow is another exciting day. We’re going up visit Desilu Studios and the Lucille Ball Museum. Not my idea, but I’m looking forward to it.

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WE ARE SPARTA!!!

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Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 5:30 am.

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