Thursday, March 29, 2012

The first rough Draught!


      The research for my book is officially finished!  I have grown into a new person, as my cocoon has unveiled and dropped in the new spring light.  I am happy to announce I also have two publishers currently interested in my idea, and as soon as I find me a job, I will begin the final stages of publishing my book!  It's in no way sad to me that the traveling has come to an end.  I feel like I've been driving for something for some time now, in a way in search of a new home.  Much like any nomad, we seek a place where our minds can grow, but have trouble staying in one place too long due to resources.  I have everything and more where I am now, and have all of you to thank for helping me get to where I am at.
       Sadly my visit with Brad in Colorado was cut short due to the passing of Erin's grandfather, Bill Myers.  This Man battled cancer for quite some time, and his body was simply exhausted.  His service was yesterday near Burlington, NC and the turn out was nothing short of astounding.  He influenced so many people in his life, and for a humble Lutheran, his accomplishments at the service did not go unnoticed.  Bill was a giver, and a role model for all that he met.  I'm very thankful I had the chance to get to know him, and the support of the family through this hard time was very admirable.  It was an honor to be included in the weeks events celebrating the life of Mr. William Myers.
       Now that I am back home, reality is setting in more and more each day.  My Fiancee has been working for a logistics company north of Burlington, and I'm on the hunt for a solid J.O.B myself.  I'm very hopeful that  one of the three jobs I have interviews for will pan out.  They are very exciting, however I'm going to keep it on the down low until I decide which one will work best with mine and Erin's life.  It is a tough transition for me to go from being employed six months out of the year guaranteed in AK, but the benefits of being with Erin erases any doubt in my mind that I'm doing the right thing.  I am so excited to start working so we can plan our future together.  I'm so happy to be in such a great spot in life, and know that in just a few short weeks I'll be back in the swing of things with my eye on all kinds of new goals and ambitions.  Basically that means camping, going to the beach, and catching a few Phish shows this summer.
       From California I made it to Nevada, Utah, then Colorado.  Brad(bff) and Tina got a new pet dog who I spent some time training, and I think she made some ground while I was there.  His bro and bud came out for the bachelor weekend, and by the lack of sound of it, I assume it was a blast.  The weather was great, warm, and sunny, and I know that the time I spend with Brad is always time well spent.  We partied at Woody Creek Tavern, and as always Aspen Brew co's pub house.  I love how Aspen is so expensive, but it's filled with just as many snow bums as any other mountain town.  After a long winded long board ride into town, we took the bus back and Ol' Joe sacked out on the couch with all three dogs, cementing my whispering skills to code Orange.
       After the news of Erin's Grandfather, I hopped in the truck early Friday and started the 1,800 mile ride back, making it in Sunday afternoon. I visited Nebraska breweries, as well as the last two in Iowa.  I had a long ride back, but the second I saw Erin, I knew every mile was well worth it!

       This weekend I'm going to start shifting gears with my blog.  I will walk you all through the publishing process and keep you updated on what is involved in getting your dreams on a page.  On Saturday I'll post a rough draft of my Introduction to the book.  I find that when you get your thoughts out there for everyone to see, you can revise and edit much more productively.  Okeedokee everyone, I'm off to walk the dogs and go check out my parents new house in Apex, NC.  Thank you all again for the support and couches, and meals, and poop bags, and some of the best laughs I've ever had!

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Free We Fly!

Mile: Chicago->San Fran in six days

      Back on the road..but in a much awaited style that only a rugged ginger like myself can call home.  I am thankful right now for my amazing truck.  She has been my home, my transportation, my safety net, and a delightfully expensive date.  I have taken good care and in return have driven an astonishing 160,000 miles since January 2002. 24,000 of those miles were in last 2 years, and 7,000 of those 24k in the last 2 months. It's great how life works, even for the robots that help us get done what we need to do, in the name of exploration and a good libation.
       I left Chicago and followed the northern rim of several tornadoes south west towards Missouri.  I had a blast with Tyler and Rachelle in Chi town, I got to see some old old friends that rekindled the spirit of what I am doing, but more importantly, why.  Tyler home brews on the reg, and we sampled his coffee stout that I thought was perfect.  But I've never home brewed, so you apparently hold a lot to the standards in which you brew.  The beer is your meal you've prepared, your baby, your good friend.  The passion Tyler had for brewing sparked something in me that I had been waiting for since I catapulted myself into this lifestyle of beer drinking across the USA; the desire to brew myself.
       I entertained the thought, but with the coming months being spent finding work and a place in NC so Erin and I can continue our life together, what better opportunity to have some space and start brewing some small batches myself!  Thanks Tyler, you did your job boy!
       On down the road I met up with Karl in kankakee, IL for some fat boy breakfast.  We worked together all of SE Alaska, and his comedic nature and good heart hinted to me that what I had been up to was nothing short of a great chance to see old friends, and especially when your two dogs tramp on in the house looking for His dogs' chew toys.  Haha, within minutes Ketza was in the corner, gums bleeding from chomping on a raw hide.  Thanks Karl!
       That night I stayed in a cabin north west of Missouri, a $30 night in a cabin with a toilet, not bad at all!  Erin helped choreograph a lot during this out west trip, and even though she's miles away, it was situations like this that it feels good to have someone so special in your life.  Not only has she found me breweries along the way, but all kinds of cool stuff to do.  I usually don't take her up on the really cool things though, and that's because one day our family will be back here, and we can all share it together(mostly true statement)haha.
       Oklahoma was next, and I had a super time talking with the brewer of Marshall Brewing Company in Tulsa.  I asked lots of important questions and took as professional photos as possible, but Eric knew I was just one lucky dude doing what is is I'm doing.  After talking for a while, the sound of the jackhammer extending the length of the drain became distracting, so we both shook hands, and I hopped back in the car, heading for Choc Brewery on my way to Dallas, TX.
       Eric had told me that if there was one brewery to hit up on my way, it was Oklahoma's oldest brewery, Choc Beers, located in Krebs.  You have to check out there story, I visited and and enjoyed it, but the history is exceptional.  SO on down to Dallas I went, and stayed with Rachelle's cousin Keith, a friend of mine I've know since high school.  We caught up, but he had work early the next day hanging out over Dallas in a high rise crane picking building materials while communicating with two other cranes below him.  I left early, still full from legit mexican food and a real coca cola the night before, and headed to two more breweries in Texas.  I was heading to Albuquerque, NM, and had long drive ahead, so I picked up several six packs of different Texas beers to try in the hotel that night.  I awoke from my room after arriving into Albe to a crazy news story about a hijacked school bus on the highway.  I slammed coffee, got an oil change, and hopped on the highway to see several, like 50, cop vehicles surrounding a school bus with no tires, and a hood smashed into the median.  No kids were in the bus, the driver was detained, I think they shot him though.
       Westward we were bound towards Arizona to stay with friends from the glacier dog camp in Alaska, who live in Tempe.  I loved this drive, it was super beautiful, and very spiritual.  I loved all the cheesy indian stores selling me route 66 tshirts and tweed blankets, and also the cactus growing all around me.  That night we ate at Mellow Mushroom, and graced Four peaks brewing with our presence, though none was needed, it was packed to the gills with people.  The night was early, and I was super tired from the road, and ready to get to California!
       California is huge, I mean in lots of different ways.  The people, culture, geography, it's all across the board.  I drove to El Segundo to meet up with Marc and Ashley, a couple who I took on a tour last summer in Juneau.  We hit it off in the summer, and stayed in touch for a very long time in the hopes that we'd meet up.  Well, we did, and it was nothing short of rock star status.  After a moo cluck oink burger and a pint of blue moon, we headed to El Segundo Brewery's "Blue Ale House."  We got a solid tour from Rob, who I think was way cool.  I tried making jokes, some of which were funny, but I think he too had a good time with us.   His weekly beer was sage hopped, giving it a local front of the house garden aroma.  We talked beer for a long time and I got some leads on other breweries to check out in NoCal. We went back to the house and jammed out on the guitar, piano, and even harmonica until we lost our voices.  Truly a hole in one on this trip.  My first time to southern California was matched with a great time, and on top of it all, I was headed to San Francisco the next morning.
       That's where I am now, downtown hanging out with Adam, who is truly one of the best. He greeted me with jumbo shrimp, cocktail style, which anyone who has heard my Wrestlemania story knows this was unbeatable.  I just got back from Lafayette park with the dogs, and met a cool couple who promised to get me in touch with a friend in North Carolina, and one in LA who might be good future connections.  Our dogs played for a while, and then I headed back to the apartment to write to you!  Tonight hopefully we'll Skype again with Erin and Katie, it is entertaining.  SO until next week, drink fresh, drink local, and please, drink with a friend.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Goodbye Mitten!

      Mile: 23,000

        I had a great time in Michigan!  I rocked out six sled dog assemblies, and was lucky enough to have CJ at the local paper write an article about it.  You can find that HERE if you want to read more.  I spent about two weeks in Michigan, which was long enough for me to record the song I sang to Erin when I asked her to marry me.  The song, "I'm wishing" was recorded in Ann Arbor, MI by my very good friend Dave Menzo.  To give you an idea of how perfect this session was, the last time we recorded was 2001.  We have both come a long way since then, but there are only a few people on this earth that I can connect with on the musical level, and Dave is at the very top of that list.  Being a singer/songwriter that usually doesn't have a band playing with him, I find that my tempo and time can go all over the place, so when I record I need someone who gets my music to harness it in it's purest form.  Dave did just that, and even helped me with several harmonies throughout the song.  You can download "I'm wishing" at my STORE.
       I spent several nights with my old Moosejaw buddies, who are also my canoe trip buddies, down in Royal Oak.  I sampled lots of Michigan brews, and I have to say, even though it IS biased, that Michigan beer far exceeds several of the states I have been to.  It's just the perfect state to brew beer, I guess.  The taste, the selection, and the culture all flow into one river and create a following as devoted as a Lion's fan.  I visited the Beer Baron in Livonia on my way out to Ann Arbor, and I highly recommend this store if you need any and all information on Michigan brewing.
      Yesterday I visited my new niece Claire at my Cousin's house in White Lake, MI.  They are great parents, and I always enjoy stopping in for a little bit and seeing my Michigan family.  We went for a walk with the dogs and Audrey, who's 2nd Birthday is today, and then I got in the truck and headed to sweet home Chicago.
       Lake effect snow is the perfect start to my last leg of the trip.  I have 5,000 miles to go until I'm in Nashville, TN for Easter.  The weather will be everything I'm sure, but I made the decision to leave Michigan a bit later than planned due to all these tornado's spinning around the midwest.  The cold front now has pushed south, and clear blue skies awoken me this morning, as the sun peeked through the cityscape of Northern Illinois.    I'm staying with Tyler and Rachelle, friends from High school, that I haven't seen in probably six years.  Tyler has a home brew on tap in his apartment, and even though he is his biggest critic, I think that it is a killer coffee stout.  He ground up the coffee this time instead of steeping whole beans, and the taste is blunt up front, and the finish is smooth as silk.  I am most envious of his kegerator, but soon enough I will be settled down and have the space to brew my own beer too.
       Today I am a writing machine.  I have lots of work to do with planning my trip out west.  I will be just south of St. Louis, MO tomorrow, about a 7 hour drive, and the next day push through to Texas, the 1st of only eight states left on my journey.  I am trying to get to Brad's in Aspen by the 20th, so I have lots of road to cover between now and then.  Today I will hopefully finish content for the breweries I have visited thus far.  I am trying to suggest good camping spots, and must sees for the breweries, as well as a short write up of what they have to offer.  So far I have eighty-four breweries chosen for the book, and about 50 of them are completely done as far as book content and writing go.  So today I will finish what I have done so far, so that I can focus on traveling!
       Well that sums up where I am at.  Erin and I are excited to be living in North Carolina this summer, she has been working full time for about a week now.  When I get back I'll hopefully have an idea of where I'll get a job, and then rent an apartment until Erin and I move in together.  I've got a few leads for work, but once Erin and I decide where we want to be after we get married, it will be easier to gain residency and go back to school to finish my Bachelor's degree.  I'm excited as ever to start a new chapter in life, and the momentum I've created from my dog sledding days has refined my mind and established a strong sense of self.
       For now I have made a promise to get Tut and Ketza out west as soon as possible so they can say they've been to every State in the Country!  We were born to be, born to breathe, strong as the wind, wild and free!