Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skipping Stones

       It's all simmering now, waiting for the Marsala to become gravy like before dinner.  Sienna the toddler has invited me to three tea parties, put stickers all over Tut and Ketza, and even helped feed them after!  I have arrived in Michigan, a week ago to be exact, and have had a very home-style session.  I spent the week at Krieger's, which was really relaxing and motivating.  I got a of work done with the book, and finally feel like it's coming together.  It was tough to fund motivation for writing and the book in general while I was down south.  I worked on it a lot in short bursts, but now it seems like an even flow.  I've been able to write for a bit, then take the time to focus on my next story.  I want the stories to be so rich and connecting, I want the reader to feel as if I'm telling them the story over a fresh pint.
       Now I haven't been able to come back to Michigan since October, which was much earlier than I thought, but I have been able to give six sled dog assemblies up in Oxford, and hopefully get another good review from the Oxford Leader.  They were as fun as ever, and Tut and Ketza did such a good job.
       Michigan beer, Michigan beer, Michigan beer.  I love it.  I have been doing all this traveling in other people's hometowns, and to have the chance to visit mine and pour back a few local brews means a lot to this journey.  It's so much more about the journey than the destination.  I'm super excited to get settled in to North Carolina after I get back in April.   I'll get a place with a yard for the dogs, or close by park, and then a job working anywhere.  It'll be so nice to spend a summer  set in a sower pace.  Erin and I will be able to plan our wedding, and set a date.  It's been life on the road for me, but I'm excited to start living life a bit differently.
       So as I once again leap into the unknown, I have faith that my path will bring a reward sweeter than Ephemere, and that my truck won't break down in the middle of Death Valley.  OK, the remaining states in order are: Texas, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa.  If you are interested in helping out with gas or beer money, feel free to hit the donate button at the bottom of the screen. I am in the works of planning a fundraiser for the book this summer, but every bit helps me out so much.  If you are located in one of these states, expect a phone call and a couple muddy paws on your carpet, because we're staying the night!  Take care everyone, I'll talk to you after my recording session with Dave menzo at www.davemenzo.com. Peace!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Mile:over the hump

       So here I am, ready to embark on my last leg of the trip, sitting down in the now famous Burlington North Carolina.  I have taken the last week and a half off of the beers, in part because of all f the fun of hanging out with PJ, but also to cleanse my pallet.  I must say this week has been great.  I am finally caught up on everything in the book.  It's tough when you're behind, but when you have motivation and great people around, it makes closing in on your goals seem like a breeze...well, maybe not a breeze, but you get where I'm going with it.
       On Valentine's day, I planned out a nice dinner with Erin, at our new favorite Indian restaurant in Greensboro.  We ate a hearty dinner, and after erin gave me my little presents, I told her I'd be right back with hers, because they were unwrapped and in my truck.  I took a deep breath, opened the door to the restaurant, and in I went awaiting my future.  I walked towards erin and as she looked up she said, "are you going to play me a song on your guitar?"  I asked if that was OK, and set down a few other presents in front of her.  I sang a song I wrote for her, talking about growing old, falling in love, sewing our seeds, and lastly, would she marry me.  I looked in her eyes and told her confidently that I asked for her Father's approval, and called her brother in Nashville to ask for his blessing.  Crying what at the time I hoped were tears of joy, she said YES and excitedly I stood up to the clapping audience and said, "She said yes!"  A nice group of older folks offered to pay for our dinner, and off we went to the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra to see the Valentine's day performance.  At halftime, I walked up to the sound engineers on the balcony and asked if they'd somehow mention this new engagement to the vocalist, and maybe he'd give us a shout out.  So the second set opened and to Erin's surprise,  John the singer told the audience that "Joe from Alaska asked Erin from Burlington if she would marry him, and Erin said Yes!" The crowd clapped, Erin cried again, and we kissed knowing that this was the beginning of the rest of our live's together.  So that is the story, the happiest day of my life, and now that Erin's told her Grandparents, I am excited to tell the rest of the world the hottest news in our life.  Thank you to all the people and dogs involved in getting us together, I am now ready to head west to celebrate the breweries out there, knowing my soul mate is with me wherever I go.  I love you Erin.
       First stop is Michigan to present my sled dog assemblies to various schools around Oakland County.  I have booked many, but still am looking to book more.  After a $3,000 transmission rebuild, I am anxious to work for some cash to help get me across the country, the Alaska nest egg gets smaller by the day this time of year.  I'm luckily great at camping and finding friends along the way, it wouldn't even be financially possible if it weren't for those two things.  I'll post again once I get to Michigan and let you know what states and when. I will be in Colorado by the 22nd of March, that much is certain.  Until next time, Go Wings and your 22 at home victories, and remember, keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, February 10, 2012

There are bears, in the distance.


       It's a cold day here in North Carolina, maybe fifty or so.  I just completed the third tour for the book, and am eagerly awaiting the final chapter.  I started out a month ago traveling west towards Nashville, then down to see my brother in Florida, and am now back where I started.  It was about three thousand miles in total, but the driving was easy.  Erin blessed me with her presence half way through my Florida visit, and we did a lot together.  We went canoeing at Jaime's work, an estuarian (sp) research center north of St. Augustine, and saw so many birds.  The ride back in reminded us of paddling in Juneau battling the tide working double time to make progress.  No alligators this time around, but we were ok with that.  We then spent a day with Pj and Jaime searching for the elusive manatee in a river fed by a natural spring.  In the winter, the manatee's and other fish swim inland to enjoy 78 degree water, but due to the warm winter, we only saw one or two.  The state park was delightful, and we got lots of good shots of all kinds of critters.  We then ate philly cheese steak sandwiches and headed home. Pj surprised me with Dogfishhead Olde School barley wine, that sent is both to the moon and back.  This stuff was more powerful than a week old fruit cake that sat in the sun.  After playing several games of darts, we turned in.
       Erin visited her friend in Orlando, and brought back one of my favorite breweries, Orlando Brewing, beer!  All of there beers are USDA organic, and they all dominate Florida's craft brews.  I must admit after sampling hundreds of beers, OBC is at the top five for sure, not that I have any right to judge beer, I mean, it's beer, right?  haha, I'm learning more and more about what I'm doing, and am super excited to move on to the next phase of the book, publishing.
       Erin and I drove north two days ago, leaving behind the Pawelek's, and heading back to NC.  My mind seems to be spinning, as there is a lot going on.  I'm about to embark on a 6-10,000 mile journey, have enough money for gas, and have to say bye to my girl for two months!  But this is the life I desire right now.  Leaving loved ones behind isn't at all how I look at it.  I'm in part doing this so our bonds become stronger, and building trust is essential to those who I love.  I am super excited to go out to California to see Adam, and just as excited to share my time with Brad in Colorado.  I look at this like I look at everything.  My mind works like a chainsaw; it burns best when it's almost out of gas.  It's a combo of the starving artist with the drive of a husky.  I know that I might run into the storm, but the chase is all I see, whether it presents me with a perfect trail to run on, or labyrinth of loose leaves.  These experiences will better my life, and give my kids something to dream of when they find themselves at a crossroads.
       I have locked in only one sled dog presentation at St. Johns technical high school, at it was a blast.  Erin brought the dogs in and tut immediately thought he had died and gone to heaven, I mean seriously.  The chairs' legs had tennis balls on them to prevent tearing the carpeted floor, so Tut came into a room full of literally a hundred tennis balls, and he tried getting each one as fast as possible!  It made the kids laugh, and the Ketza and Tut ran free during the assembly, which set an incredible tone.  I can't thank the teachers who helped set this up enough, it means a lot to me to bring my life's experiences to guys and girls on the brink of starting their lives.  Simply wonderful!
       So as I engage full throttle light speed here we go Mush!, I am nervous as hell as to what awaits me around the next bend.  I know that if my truck breaks down I have Tut and Ketza to pull the truck to safety, and enough twinkies from Uncle Joe to last a winter, so why should I worry?!  I thank all that have helped get me this far, and I am truly blessed to have all of this love in my life.  When I return from the trip I will be looking for work in NC while I finish the book, which will hopefully out by next December.   Self publishing is expensive, but like Walt Disney said, "We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make movies."  Talk to you guys and girls in a week! Stay tuned for a video of something....beer or music, probably both!