Flew To SLC To Snowkite, Ended Up Sleeping Outside On Top Of Skyline Drive In -20F. Cold. Fun.

Skyline is the quintessential West coast snow kiting destination that deserves every ounce of its reputation. The scenery was amazing and the terrain was varied and extensive. Almost every day we wanted to ride there we were able to ride, except for when the storms were rolling through. Traveling with Zeb for 10 days was fantastic, he had already been to skyline countless times and he was pretty good at predicting the winds and the conditions at the top of the mountain. Zebulon is the only kiter I’ve ever met that is actually weirder than I am so it gives me immense satisfaction traveling with him. Whenever people are like ‘dude you are so weird’ I can always be like ‘Yes but my buddy Zebulon is even weirder, why he’s from the Crabnebula galaxy’.

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The trip started off pretty insanely when Zeb texted me that a woman had given birth on the flight he was on and he had gotten re-rerouted to Denver. Apparently this is a pretty uncommon occurrence as it ended up making the national news. The last time he had flown in an airplane the person in the seat behind him had stopped breathing so he had to give him CPR, that’s some bad flying karma. When I met Zeb in Salt Lake City my bags hadn’t made it there yet, so we had to wait a couple of hours till the next flight brought them in. We ended up getting a humongous Chevy Malibu rental car and Zeb had acquired conjunctivitis (pink eye) on the plane so we had a prescription for antibiotic eye drops called into the nearest pharmacy. Zeb had gotten one of the new Android phones and it ended up being a real boon to have with us on the trip, the phone impressed me so much that I can’t wait to get a google phone of my very own. It did voice activated navigation with real-time traffic updates so you can see how slow the Freeways are moving. I’ve been waiting a long time to get that functionality out of my phone, and it’s all free.
Continue reading “Flew To SLC To Snowkite, Ended Up Sleeping Outside On Top Of Skyline Drive In -20F. Cold. Fun.”

French Canadians Really Know How To Have A Good Time In The Carribean

I met Norm at one of my many trips to Hatteras that I take whenever I just can’t get my kite fix in Ithaca. I was down in NC for a couple of days riding by myself and I pulled into kite point and saw their larger than life camper retrofitted greyhound bus and the Flysurfer kite and I immediately struck up a conversation with Norm. I knew from my paddling experiences that French Canadians in general are some of the friendliest people you will meet in all of North America. Norm and his crew did not disappoint. He invited me to sleep in the driveway of their overpriced rental home which I gladly took them up on. It is quite fatiguing when you poach a sleeping spot under these million dollar homes thinking you’ll get woken up by the cops at any minute, but I could not afford one of those nice $150 tickets for sleeping in my van and being a world-class kite bum.

Photo by Thilde Jensen
Photo by Thilde Jensen

After a while my buddy Gregg showed up and he camped in their driveway with his minivan too. It was heaven, kiting all day then warm showers and our own toilet by the pool. We made all the Canadian’s dinner one night to show our gratitude and they were incredibly hospitable for the entire week. Norm even let me fly his Speed 3 15 demo he had borrowed from Ted. That demo kite inspired me to buy 2 new Speed 3’s for my quiver. After I returned, Norm invited me to tag along with them to the Caribbean for a week so I bought a ticket to fly out of Montreal and join them for a week of kiting madness.

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High Peaks For 3 Days … In Crocs

On Friday night I got home from work and tried to figure out what I was going to do that weekend. I had a bunch of commitments, but I really felt strongly like I should blow them off and go backpacking by myself for 3 days. When I sat at my computer looking at my Netflix movies piling up and thinking to myself “I really need to get around to watching those movies” that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I quickly packed my gear and by 10:00 I was on the road.

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I slept in the minivan 1/2 way there and made it to the high peaks by about 9:00 the following morning. The Garden Lot was full, which is common on the weekends so I had to park at the airstrip a whooping 3 miles away and catch the shuttle. Basically the ordeal sucked, I had to wait for the 2nd shuttle, then they tried to shake me down for $3 for the shuttle and I didn’t bring any money with me. What do I need cash for if I’m hiking in the woods? I hit the trail by 11:00 up John’s Brook.

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If Only You Knew How Good The Wild Blueberries Were On Top Of Acadia National Park In Maine

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On the way UP

Orion and I had been planning on going to Acadia for the last 2 years and the time was finally right to take a week off and go. It was a fantastic trip filled with epic bike journeys to the top of mountains as well as several very difficult non-technical climbs that Orion did amazingly well on. The food in Maine was fantastic and we managed to have a great time despite the intense level of overcrowding that traveling to Maine in the peak of tourist season can bring.

The first day we spent 7 hours in the Boston Museum of science. There were some fantastic exhibits on Critter cams and Black holes as well as lots of other exhibits that Orion loved checking out. There was a robotic dog called Ibo and a touchscreen whiteboard where Orion showed off his Scratch programming skills by making an Octopus which consumed everyone else’s fish when it touched them then grew to take over the screen.

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Forced 8 Year Old To Hike 10 Miles In A Foot Of Snow In Crocs, With Plastic Bags On His Feet. Then Witnessed An Avalanche.

Avalanche!
Avalanche!

Reading through my travel journal and downloading photos from my camera gives me such a rush. Did I really go all that way? Did I really see and experience all these amazing places. The memories flood my brain and I remember the epic trip that was our latest adventure.

There was a close call or two with a charging Buffalo, insane hikes up snow-covered mountain passes in Crocs, enormous avalanches, as well as the typical Eye Dissections and Owl pellet dissections. The trip was made up of countless hikes and bike rides and night after night of camping out in new and amazing locations. Once we met up with my sister in Yellowstone the weather took a turn for the worse. We spent a week in hail/rain/snow storms which I was really unprepared for, yet somehow managed to enjoy myself in. After 3 weeks on the road we had run out of food, money and clean underwear so we made a beeline back home.
Continue reading “Forced 8 Year Old To Hike 10 Miles In A Foot Of Snow In Crocs, With Plastic Bags On His Feet. Then Witnessed An Avalanche.”

Hatteras NC, The Best Place I Know To Be Endlessly Harassed By Gun Toting Government Officials

This trip down to the outer banks in 2009 could not have been more different from the solo trip I took down there about a month ago. A month ago I was incredibly emotional driving down there and it seemed like I could not stop crying. When I finally got there even though it was windy I didn’t want to ride. I finally forced myself to get up and go out and ride and then that place worked its magic on me. The cold water and wind was refreshing and soon I found myself remembering who I was. That whole week I spent alone drawing, reading, kiting and generally working on trying to improve myself and my outlook on life. The rangers harassed me constantly; they even went so far as to ask me if I had any weapons or drugs in the car. I thought it would be funny to reply “What do you need officer,” but decided against it. Everywhere I went the rangers would show up, it got to the point where I didn’t even want to talk to them; it was like a game, they would pull up in their big ranger truck and wherever I was at I would just leave. Feeling totally emotionally volatile and extremely vulnerable the last thing I wanted to do was deal with the law or get a ticket for something stupid, so I kept moving, never staying in one place for very long, riding when I could and hanging out in the van when it was raining.

Ride every day.
Ride every day.

Continue reading “Hatteras NC, The Best Place I Know To Be Endlessly Harassed By Gun Toting Government Officials”

Wintertime Got You Down? Drive As Far South As You Can Before You Hit The Ocean.

Coming home from a great trip always makes me feel more than just a little bipolar. While traveling I am so incredibly happy and centered and when I return back home to my comfortable house with the nice heat and fuzzy bed I am so completely and utterly miserable. Looking over the photos from this 2 week trip in the winter of 2008 with Orion filled me with memories of excitement and wonder, he travels so much better than any child I have ever met. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to spend this time with him as he grows up.

The first day we went to Smithsonian Museum of American History in DC. There was a hands-on exhibit with Elie Whitney’s cotton gin, and another really great exhibit on inventions that I really enjoyed. The next day we drove to Charleston, SC which had an excellent aquarium there. We went on a behind the scenes to see the Sea Turtle hospital. Had a couple of giant
300lb Loggerheads and some smaller green turtles. We also took a trip to historic Fort Sumter which was a National Monument. It was insanely windy, on the boat on the 2nd story it was hard to stand up. Orion got a Jr. Ranger program completed, I made him do all of it for his homeschooling. It was pretty cool being at the place where the civil war started.

Continue reading “Wintertime Got You Down? Drive As Far South As You Can Before You Hit The Ocean.”

Bushwacked My Way Through The Jungle With Kite, Found Only Thai Man With Machete And Loincloth

The secret spot
The secret spot

Although I generally avoid going to the same country twice, Thailand was beautiful enough and the food is good enough to visit it a second time. This time instead of traveling around the entire time I was there I was lucky enough to settle down for over a week on the island of Koh Phag Nan and kiteboard for most of my visit.

Getting there was a little tricky, not once but twice we boarded a flight then were kicked off due to technical difficulties. In all my years of flying this has never happened to me even once, so it was something of a shock to have it happen twice on the same trip in different cities. Many other travelers were quite disheartened but Sun and I did a good job of taking everything in stride. The airport put us up in Tokyo in a very nice hotel with an amazing breakfast buffet. We were amazed by the efficiency of the Japanese and their very nice flush toilets with 15 different buttons for assorted butt-washes, deodorizers and even a fake flushing noise.

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Honduras Is More Than Just Awe-Inspiring Temples And Great Snorkelling

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There are precious few moments in our lives that we truly cherish and strive to remember throughout our lives. The first time we kiss the first woman we truly love, catching our children as they are first brought into this world, and the passing of loved ones. For me there were many moments on my trip to Honduras in 2008 that were really moving. I had been trying to introduce my son to snorkeling for the last 3 years to no avail, but on this trip he finally did it. He didn’t want to stop, for 3 days straight he explored the magic of the seas snorkeling side by side with me for almost 3 hours a day. When we would return to the hotel he would even practice his snorkeling in the pool. That feeling of holding his hand and exploring the wonders of the reefs was one that I hope to never forget.

That was really just a small part of a much larger trip. We explored the Mayan ruins at Copan, did a jungle zip line canopy tour in La Cieba and then snorkeled in Utila. I was able to kiteboard one day for about 4 hours in Utila which made lugging my kiting gear across Hondoras worthwhile. I met an amazing German woman who lived in Utila most of the year teaching kiteboarding. She lived on a sailing ship with her dog and sailed back and forth to shore in a little dingy. I could see myself living like that when Orion is off to college, sailing to the Caribbean and teaching kiting to foreigners.

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If My Sister Really Loved Me, She Would Have Never Tickle Tortured Me As A Child…

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After 3 weeks on the road my return home is hard. Everything has its place, everything is organized and there is stress around that need for organization. I was so much happier sleeping in my van on the side of the road near abandoned diners and in rest areas along the freeway. I forgot how hard it was to live in one place … everything is like a dream. I know what I’m doing and what I’m supposed to be doing but so much of it feels like I’m sleepwalking.

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Traveling across America in 2008 was amazing, I remembered why I’ve done it so many times in the past. With Orion in tow it was even more fun. We surfed down sanddunes on our bellies under a full moon, we rafted down raging rivers in Colorado and climbed the huge alien like rock formations at Joshua tree for hours on end, even at night. I saw a lot of beauty that I didn’t know existed in the US. Huge windfarms with the dancing blades of 200 foot high towers as far as the eye could see. The hoodoos of Bryce were the most amazing and beautiful rock formations I had ever seen in my life. It was fantastic wandering into Bryce canyon with no idea what to expect only to be amazed beyond belief. The hike up to Angel’s Landing at Zion was breathtaking and frightening at the same time. It was amazing to watch Orion carefully and successfully navigate it with me nervously holding onto a rope tied around his waist. I knew if I fell I’d have to let go quickly and if Orion fell I’d have to hold on for dear life. Orion was amazing and added so much to the adventure for me. To watch him grow and learn was the greatest reward of all. He was very interested in the Jr. Ranger programs, which added so much to the trip for him he achieved at least 8 Jr. Ranger badges! I flew my sister in from Oregon to Las Vegas to camp with us for a week of our journey and it was so special to be with her. I can’t imagine the trip without her, she was so amazing with Orion and they have such a nice relationship even though she lives thousands of miles away.

Continue reading “If My Sister Really Loved Me, She Would Have Never Tickle Tortured Me As A Child…”