Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New England, New Angle Man


I left New York City about five days ago, and had a very enlightening experience.  In a city full of art, I was challenged with the highs and lows of city life.  Parking proved to be fun, but also the mindsets of the people I came in contact with.  My two friends out there, both successful in their respective fields, were a ray of sunshine in a very unforgiving metropolis.  Not that anything in my mind could ever be perceived as negative, as those who know me know this is my way, but it was like a good painting.  Some people you converse with you enjoy, their canvas bright with color and infinite lines.  Others dark and dismal, faded and shaded.  But who am I to judge either, for they are both great examples of good art.  If it makes you think, become opinionated, and effect you, it has done its job.  To me it was summed up with Central Park.  The dogs and I cruised the majority of the trails in the park, after some fesh snow hit the ground a few days before, and saw so many messages written across the landscape.  Now before I get too weird on you normal folk, keep in mind I have travelled 7,500 miles since October when this journey started, and I encouraged readers to stay tuned while I mold and become more perceptive to my surroundings.  Well, with that said, I am here. 
       The ground of Central park, covered in stone, scattered with select varieties of tree specimen, lay frozen to mother nature's cold way.  There were tunnels, overpasses, ponds, and well landscaped gardens.  But in the middle of the winter, you can see the towering buildings on all sides, closing in what I'm sure is a decent park in the summer.  Those who told me of its beauty stood corrected as my dogs rarely looked up to see the path, only looking up when necessary to find the next scent.  It was metaphoric of the city life.  You work, walk, eat, sleep, repeat.  In New York though, you have everything.  Though much is imported, it can be found everywhere., anytime.  So, needless to say, this Alaska lover started craving fresh snow, fresh air, and a new angle on his mindset.  That's when I decided to pack up, and head north to New England.
       Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were next on my list, and I spent a day or so in each.  Boston was great, I had a very good brewery tour at Harpoon, they were a very cool bunch and hooked me up with some great swag.  The temperatures dipped slowly into the teens, and as I pulled into York, Maine, I was approaching the negatives with wind chill and all that fun stuff.  Luckily Erin helped me find some great things to do in Boston the night before, so I was eager to stay in and work on the fine details of my book.  Organizing, computing, drinking a few brews that I had stashed away from my brother's own strawberry blonde homebrew(thanks Jeremy, those were the last ones, didnt want 'em to freeze!).  From Maine, I headed just a couple hours west to Loudon, New Hampshire, where I am now.  I am fighting off a cold, which is almost gone, and then I will head to Plattsburgh, New York, to see another pal that I mushed dogs with on the Mendenhall Glacier in 2008.  We will visit Magic Hat Brewing in Burlington, VT, as well as several in upstate NY. 
       I am so lucky to see so much.  As I start heading back towards Michigan, I think of all the people who I've met, chilled with, and fell in love with.  I am also very thankful that I get to share this journey with my dogs, who have grown nice bushy coats to withstand the cold.  I have followed suit without a shave in about four months.  It is now I feel most alive, as I slowly exhaust my summer funds, tighten the reigns, and pack light through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine.  It is now I define my Alaskan teachings to dance with mother nature across the Eastern United States.  It is now, I go to bed...in a Red Roof Inn:-)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Population Porter

       Virginia was my last stop in the south, and was fortunate enough to hang out with a good Navy friend and his wife before his deployment to the East.  I played a show in Norfolk, an incredible time, and then planned my trip north through Delaware towards Pennsylvania.  The Eastern shore of Virginia was a great transition or maybe a final wave  goodbye before the intensity of population overload. I set my compass on Milton,  DE, and those of you who love beer love Dogfishhead Brewery.  They are fun and creative, but stay very true to there recipes.  The 90 minute IPA, the 120 IPA, they blow your mind.  If you are a fan of Pales, this is your brewery.  I stayed the night in Wilmington, trying out Iron Hill BC, and then geared up for Philadelphia the next day.  Philly steak and cheese, you all know me by now, was oozing down my face as I walked the streets looking for the southeast Philly taproom.  That night Ryan was playing a show on the Upper east side, and it was fun to be around friends from way back in the day.  I find that my mind has grown with each step or mile I've moved.  This adventure is a true test of how well I am able to survive in several different elements.  I like to explain to people I meet that this traveling lifestyle is similar to my dog sledding experiences in Alaska.  I am faced with decisions every moment, making sure that I enjoy my present self, but also set myself up to succeed when I get to where I am going.  Knowing that I can camp out at anytime helps, but as my journey has continued to New York City, that option has diminished.
       I called up a friend from college, and was so lucky to stay at her loft in Brooklyn.  I stayed for three days, making dream catchers for an art show, walking the streets photographing graffiti everywhere, and eating some of the best Mexican food I have ever tasted.  The subway system, the live music everywhere, the hustle and bustle, it is all poetry in motion for the encouraged mind.  The dogs enjoyed a dog park under the Brooklyn Bridge several times this week, and for the time being, have been very patient with all the noises, pigeons, and infrastructure.  They are huskies, they are wolves, they survive.  I am human, I am a wolf, I survive.  We are a pack, we are connected, and I depend on my dogs now like they depend on me. 
       I walked Times Square, found on my second attempt 22 varieties of M&M's at M&M World, ate more pizza than Manhattan could throw my way, and drank a few really good German beers @ Heidelberg.  Now I am with Neal, a friend from High School, who is studying to become a doctor.  We people watched, he diagnosed the pool player with thyroid issues, and we traveled about last night from 90th and 1st.    Now I'm off to Central Park, to run with the dogs and take some pictures, and am hopeful that I can spend some more time in the city.  You truly have to be your own out here, much like Alaska life.  Just like Mother Nature, the grind of NYC cares not about your plans, nor your welfare, it simply is.  It is your choices that determine your welfare, whether it be driving recklessly to move 3 miles in two hours in rush hour, or 1,000 miles through Alaska's wilderness on dogsled during the Iditarod. 
       Thanks to all for your donations and helping this trip thrive and stay very much alive.  I am heading to Upstate NY next, then Portland, ME.  I have only 5 states left to visit and it is almost coming to the half way of my total journey.  I am excited, nervous, anxious, and patient for the weeks to come.  But for now I am just anxious, to get another slice of that incredible pizza!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Magnetic South

Mile :6,300

       The winter has been great.  I have been sipping on some great beers to ring in the new year.  Though ashamed to admit it, I just finished a Michelob Ultra.  Sometimes in life you need a reminder that what your doing is for the greater good.  At least it's that way for me, sometimes.  I am 100% sure after drinking that fizzy stuff that if you want to drink beer to lose weight, you're absolutely crazy.  The caloric intake of ones' self is probably the first thing you should throw out the window when cracking a cold one, especially a local craft beer.  With that said, I know will resume my blog entry.
       Camping, in all of its glory, is a remarkable experience. You get to the site, unload, and set up your necessities.  Gathering firewood is essential in the Carolina mountains, whether it is cold or not.  The dense pine forests, mixed with some dogwoods and brush, illuminate with the dancing flames to create a safe yet mysterious landscape.  Erin and I drove around Uwarhee National Forest for four days, finding campsites in some beautiful areas.  The dogs were kept on a run I made for them, seeing as hunting season was in it's last days and we all know how much huskies look like deer..well maybe just Tut.  I had the remaining six or so brews that my brother Jeremy made, we're calling it Park Village Ale,  and a Trader Joe's Vintage Ale.  They were both unique, but from opposite ends of the beer spectrum.  PVA had such a good feeling to it, smooth and tasty.  That to me says it all, when you can simply say, "yup, that's a good beer alright."  The Vintage Ale was full bodied, and very spicy and aromatic.  It was smooth like the PVA, but had a little kick to it.  I sadly also finished the last of the Stroh Rum, which if you've ever had the stuff, you'd be right there with me in how sad of a moment that was, haha.  After our last night in Hanging Rock State Park, Erin, myself, and the poochies hiked to the top of hanging rock, named after a rock that sits on the edge of the mountain, and, well, you know, you can figure out the rest... It was a coyote howl at 4am kinda trip, everything was cooked great, the fire was always warm, and we were dialed in to the travel Scrabble, though rarely did better than a four letter word.
As I leave North Carolina Monday I will miss the hospitality that the South has given me.  I don't judge anyone ever, and know in my heart that there is good in almost everything.  I am thankful that I've had a full belly, as well as my dawgs.  We are about to set out on another journey North, and Winter as I know it will become a reality as I start breaking out the Carhart and Bunny Boots.  Thank you all that have let me into your life, it has been a great experience for me, as well as the readers that are starting to follow my journey.  The book is moving along great, I have been working on my short stories, editing them as needed, and trying to remember thos memorable life moments that we all have had.  
       The next two weeks I will be heading North to the New England area, and will be fortunate enough to run into my good friend Ryan, who is a member of Prussia, a progressive Indie/rock band from Detroit.  I have long known him and his brother Drew, and will follow them on their first East Coast tour for a few shows.  Check out their website here!  I have been playing shows myself the last couple of weeks, and have a blast playing in Greensboro and Elon.  I look forward to more shows and will try and have some info sooner than the day of the show, haha.  In two weeks I'll be in Maine, and will have covered four more states on the list.  Alright guys and gals, have the best week ever and see you on the trail!