Road trips are the best thing on earth, if you do them right. Right is when you just get in the car and go. Maybe you have a couple days notice to plan for a minute, but anything over a week and it’s going to just go to crap. In fact most trips are better on a whim, depending on how complicated of a trip it is.
I believe this all comes down to expectations. When you only have a few minutes to plan something you don’t have enough time to get overly excited. You immediately get into planning/prep mode and the next thing you know you’re gone and you’re on this journey that’s going to take you to…wherever you want. If you plan too far ahead you get excited, then you worry about the weather, or maybe there has been a rogue uprising that has made it unsafe, or you see that a cruise ship is stuck in the middle of the ocean and wonder if that will be you. For me it all comes down to setting expectations.
Expectations have got to be the hardest thing on this planet to manage and setting up for disappointment is the easiest thing in the world. In fact, it’s a big ass trap. Developers and other support type roles in companies experience this all the time. As soon as you get a project, you want to impress the person that gave it to by telling them how quickly you’re able to get it out. You want them to feel like they’re in very capable hands and that you’ve got it. You let them know you can knock it out in a just a few days and boom…a couple days after your deadline and you’re still working on the project. It takes a wise person one to understand how strong their skills are and to be humble enough not to overstate them to your clients. This is something I’m trying I’m working on, and there are some great people I work with who are very masterful at this. I salute them, but I still think an epic road trip beats out all other trips any day.
It’s my white whale. It’s been 14 years in the making. My last chance was 2007 and I’ve been on the hunt for something that I was just a shy too late to experience. It was just out my reach. I just didn’t have enough jingle in my pocket to mingle. No more…I’m ready, prepared, and waiting. Now, let’s take a journey.
A journey back to 1999; when life of computing was on the verge of destruction as it approached Y2K; when Prince was played for weeks straight on the local 97.9 radio station; when a junior in high-school cruised in his ballin’ white 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with burgundy interior, with 2 of the biggest subwoofers $1oo could buy in the trunk. I’m that junior. I’m that balla and I’ve never stopped boomin’…not in my head at least.
Every morning I would pick up a neighborhood freshman on my way to school, pop-in my favorite CD, and on track 2 my favorite song would play. It would sometimes get obnoxious, but I would always come back to it. It asked to be played. During the next months my curiosity and love of this band I knew nothing about grew as I stumbled upon MTV playing an amazing video about a dog and a boombox that rocked my socks off. I just couldn’t get enough. Until my college years started and my musical taste made a pivot. I followed the trend of being untrendy.
In 2007 I returned to my roots with one of favorite jobs of all time, a door guy at a club where my sister was a dj. It was an extremely hard moment in my life emotionally, and some of the most awesome times. My sister and I were not very close and working with the same friends brought us together. It’s one of the best moves I’ve made and I thank Ryan and Jason for taking a chance on a prep kid running the door at their indie club. Sometimes you discover how much harder, better, faster, stronger you are when you’re covered in sweat and dancing your tail off until early in the morning. Especially when your sister drops the music. I wish those times were still around, but I’ll save this for a deeper post. While working one night I heard a slight mention of something that I remembered from my past. I think Vegas was in the conversation and an awesome show was going on out there. Yeah, that band that boomed in the Cutlass was going to be there, but they’ll make their rounds to other cities. Right? Right?
I missed it. I’ve had to relive it through YouTube. I saw what it was like to be there and watch the music live. That’s not enough. I wanted to be alive too.
I made it a point that a live experience was now a bucket list item. My obsession grew more and more to the point of infesting much of my 2009. It’s attached itself into a weekly habit of constantly keeping a watch out for tours, new albums, or even small appearances in movies. No matter how small their part, they make everything better. I’ve put a watch on SongKick.com. I’ve been saving for a trip. I’m waiting and I’m ready…just give me a hint of a sign.
SXSW ’13 started today. My wife and I were trying everything we could to go, but it would of taken nearly 1/3 of our savings to make it happen and it’s so BIG! There is so much that you feel like you’ll almost miss everything. We decided that it’s not for us this year, but maybe another year. No problem then. Today is just a basic Saturday. Let me just make my weekly search.
Wait…wait…I need to adjust the “Search Tools” to search only the latest in the last month. Ok, it’s working now. Oh hmmm that’s cool.
Wait! What? What’s that? There it is! There it is!!!!!! Samantha! There it is! The words I’ve been waiting for! And they’ve been waiting for me for nearly 4 days and I didn’t know it. The talk of something new. Not based on a movie. Not based on an assumption. But crap your pants proof that something is coming. It’s an article about posters going up all over SXSW. Maybe not exactly “crap your pants”, but pretty damn close. It’s proof! Something is happening! Why am I not at SXSW!!!?
Then I find out about an SNL ad that ran during last weeks episode… I’ve just crapped my pants. Where have I been these last weeks!? Why do my parents who watch SNL every week subconsciously know about this and I don’t. They probably didn’t even see the ad. They probably were looking down at their dogs who just pee everywhere. Don’t waste your ad there. Waste it on me!
I’m so excited. While writing this I put on a YouTube playlist and just let it run. Oh man my hopes are so high, and hate having high hopes. You don’t want to set your heroes up to fail. Nobody wins. This is why I refuse to watch movie trailers. Nothing ruined, no expectations. They’ve blown my expectations out of the water every time. They’re so beloved by so many groups including the groups that hate “main stream” and these guys ran an ad on SNL. They’re last shows have been seen as some of the best in the world and I just want to be apart of it.
Well, Yvette is gone. This past Saturday I dropped my motorcycle off in Tallahasee. It has been sold. I did well on it. I figure the whole experience of having a motorcycle with tires, service, parts, accessories, and a speeding ticket probably only cost me a total of $1,000 after I have sold everything. That’s pretty good I think for enjoying something for over 3 years. That’s a little less than a $1 a day. I tried to show as many people how to ride on it as I could. I just really wanted everybody to enjoy it as much as me. It was a sad day, but I had my fun and now it’s done.
December and November were quite the busy months, as I’m sure they were for everyone. Sam and I went and did a quick run through of 2 Disney Parks (Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom) around Thanksgiving to get into the Christmas spirit. We even enjoyed an awesome dinner in Germany within Epcot.
Movember! Jacksonville kicked some booty in Movember this year. We raised over $14,000 and worldwide the organization brought in over $60,000,000. YeeehaW
New Years though took the cake for good times. Exhausting, but good. My friend Jon, his fiance Dominique, her sister and husband, and Sam and I all met up at Epcot around 3:00 in the afternoon New Years Eve. It was the busiest I had ever seen the parks. They closed Magic Kingdom at around 10:00 am due to capacity. They wouldn’t even let you park at the transportation and ticket center or take the monorail from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom.
It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but here we are.
This was a great month for work. Adecco (Modis) has made me permanent at the company. Now I get benefits and healthcare….wooo! It has been a few years on the healthcare, but my mom is hyped about it.
I have cut my hours at Dos Gatos to only working ArtWalk. I love this job, but the late hours were killing me. J and Joy really have been some of the most understanding/awesome bosses I’ve ever worked with and J taught me quite a bit about the inner workings of a bar and I bet I barely scratched the surface. J if you happen to read this, thank you for giving me the chance to work for you and Joy. I truly appreciate it.
On another note, women think chivalry is dead, but I think a general respect for your fellow man/woman is just in the gutter now-a-days. Especially in respects to the bro code….read it….live by it. No one ever went wrong by giving somebody respect. It’s kind of like not drinking (J don’t read this): No one has ever said man I was so sober last night that me and my buddy got into a fight, spent a night in jail, and I have the worst headache!
This week I might be going to Vampire Weekend with Beach House opening for them, but I will def. be seeing the Flaming Lips on Friday at the St. Augustine Amphitheater though with my very amazing woman. Please see picture above for an amazing shot of what’s to come.
From the evening of 20th until late the 24th will be my Smoky Trip Do Over. It’s going to be cold, but I can’t wait. I’m scared, nervous and excited all at once. I bought the “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” , the 1974 philosophical novel, to keep me company. If you don’t know anything about the book it’s not what it seems.
The next week for Halloween I will be visiting my little sister up in Brooklyn. I’m very excited to see my sister operating on her own and for her and I to get some time together. It’s been way too long. She has a speakeasy she wants to take me too…..way to go sis!
Upcoming November: Movember starts Nov. 1 with the Shaving Party at Dos Gatos. Get your baby face on and let your upper lip know it won’t be cold for too long….there’s a stache on its way. This is the same event I did last year as well to help raise money for prostate and testicular cancer. Join me!
Later that month I will be running Thanksgiving Outback Classic Half Marathon and will be volunteering with Sam at a soup kitchen (not sure which one) later that day…..
It should all be a great time. I have to say this has easily been a great year and appreciate all my friends for helping make it happen.
This years trip was a little bit closer to home and little bit more chill, but still a whole lot of fun. In my 27 years of living in North Florida I’ve never made my way to Savannah, GA. I’m not really sure why it took me so long to visit. I love St. Augustine and the travelling distance to Orlando isn’t that far and Savannah is a pleasant combination of both. Now that this door has been flung open little trip are now probably going to happen quite often.
I enlisted the help of the beautiful Samantha (Sam) to help show me around and explore this little city. She has been here a couple times…so I used that as an excuse to rope her into joining me and showing me around:)
Day 1 – Friday:
Traveled to Savannah and checked into the Residence Inn in Downtown. It was nice, friendly, clean and well priced. The room had a full kitchen, lots of space and a rocking chair on the balcony….woo! Rocking Chair! Cabs were super cheap to get to River St. (in the range of $4 and easy to get).
Due to my extreme craving for Krystals, we split a Sack Full! I would like to think we split these evenly, but I dominated that bag and pretty much ate all fo them (i know…I know) , we were both weren’t that hungry for dinner till much later. We went out at about 11 and hit up the very nice Bohemian Hotel on the riverfront and went to their rooftop bar called Rocks on the River. Great Decor, decent service, but we were looking for something a little bit more quaint…and near food. The bartender we hit Sweet Melissa’s
Sweet Melissa’s =mmmmmmm’s: The bartender at the Bohemian said this was hangover food and not that good without a lot of drinks…HA…whatevs man. I would totes go this place daily. I couldn’t think of why it was so good, but Sam nailed it, “when your cheese is thicker than the main crust, but the end crust is still substantial that makes for a tornado of feelings….”
We then made our way across the street at a place called Circa 1875. Loved the layout, design and decor of this little gem. They have certain parts of the bar (the actual bar top) sectioned off with little walls making nooks and space for varying party sizes. It makes talking with somebody quietly while still ordering drinks extremely easily. My only problem with this place was the lack of knowledge of traditional drinks. I guess working at Dos Gatos here in Jax has really spoiled me for amazing drinks. I asked for a Sidecar which is pretty traditional and up there with the Manhattan and they didn’t really know how to make it. A bartender by the name of Catfish came through and even though didn’t make the drink they got close enough.
We left Circa 1875 and walked back across the street to the other side of Sweet Melissa’s to hook me up with a burger and fries. The best part was I could cruise the streets with a drink…and then get it “refreshed” at the next place….except that last refresher put me over the top. After the burger, fries and finished drink…i was asleep :0
Day 2 – Saturday:
We checked out of the Residence Inn and made our way to the second hotel “The Mansion on Forsyth Park”. It’s quite the little eclectic experience and has art everywhere and neat modern designs inside this traditional building making for a cool experience. Check out some pics! There are some great restaurants in the area of this hotel and the hotel offers a free Chauffer service. They will pick you up and drop you off pretty much where ever you want within historic Savannah. It was great. It also across the street from a very nice park where you can watch people play Ulitmate Frisbee all day.
We walked down to a cool Urban Gourmet Grocery Store called Parkers Market. We need one of these in Downtown Jacksonville….hardcore! It’s a gas station (3 one sided pumps), convenience store, and fantastic deli. It sounds weird, but it’s the coolest store that I’ve ever been in. We had an assortment of wonderful salads, a curry chicken salad wrap, homemade cookies, a 320z Stella Artois (Yeah…That’s right!…a 32!), and a Pomegranate Leachy Fruit Iced Tea thing. All of it delicious. We then continued to walk and just explore the city. It was warm out, but it was fun.
After asking around a bit we took the recommendation from our bell hop at the The Mansion and went to an awesome New York Style Italian restaurant called Leoci’s. They hand make their pasta to order! It was very nice (a little tiny/cramped), but the food was fantastic. You have to go….bring an appetite!
Day 3 – Sunday:
It was a little bit of a late start, but we checked out of The Mansion and went hunting for brunch. We ended up at J. Christophers (recommendation of the front desk guy at the hotel). So glad we did. I had the billy goat omelet…it had everything and goat cheese….what’s not to love. Sam had one their skillets with a sunny side up egg on top….which kicked booty as well. We then split the Blueberry Crunchy Pancakes (blueberries + granola + Pancakes = a little place not of this Earth)
We made our way to Tybee Island to enjoy the beach for a bit and hit this little random shop called Fish Art to try and find some cool antiques (We both LOVE antiques 😉 ), but no go. We also had a little mexican at this place called MexiCali. It was ok…we didn’t die.
We then made our way back to the J-ville with little traffic, a little rain, but big smiles.
It was a great weekend and can’t wait to revisit. Hopefully it will be less than a year before I get to do a trip like this again…and little miss Sam is around to join me.
That’s right, its going to happen again and this time I’m doing it my way.
Motorcycle – Check
Windshield – soon to be checked
Camping Gear – Check
Rain Gear – Check
Straps to keep all attached to motorcycle – Check
I’m going to the smokies again, but can’t decide on when to do it. I’m thinking late September or early October. I still have 90% of my supplies from the last trip so that makes things easy.
My last trip was pretty ambitious. It covered 4,500 feet of elevation over a 30 mile period and is a major reason for the previous trip not being completed. This time will be better and I also get to ride the “Tail of the Dragon” on the bike instead of in a car. Woo!
I took my sister to the Wizardy World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adeventure on Saturday. They do a good job, but I think Disney would of done a better job.
Things I liked:
The ride is awesome. People are going to get hurt on the conveyor belt that puts you on the ride. It’s super fast with no railing and you have to transfer to another belt that is moving at a different speed, but other than that….its awesome. Take your sandals off!!!!! They don’t tell you this….you just have to know. My toes were just holding on for dear life to my flippy floppies. It’s super innovative, it incorporates a little something from every style of amusement park rides available and it’s pretty intense and would scare me when I was kid.
Butter beer: It’s just plain great. I really liked it and may try and make my own. I’m sure there are recipes out there.
The park employees: Universal has a program for interns that brings students in from England. That way they have an authentic Harry Potter land…..very clever!
My sister and I both feel that they did a good job, but something was missing. A gay man or multiple gay men or just an anal retentive somebody to really nail down the little details. This is why we believe Disney could of done it better. I hate picky people, but now I see why they are needed. We both feel it could be due to the scale of everything. Maybe they didn’t have a ton of space, but things just seem small. Maybe children will feel differently over this factor….as they should (they didn’t make the movie or park for adults).
I understand that the point of anything in business is to make money, but Universal really rakes you over the coals. For example: Disney has free fast passes for almost every ride. At Universal you have to pay quite a bit more money to have a fast pass, but then (without notifing the purchaser) they don’t work on the new Harry Potter ride. The price to get into the park went up to around $90 a ticket just for Islands of Adventure when the new section opened which just sucks to pay that much for a single day. They try to upsell you go to the basic Universal Studios….which is the lamest park in the world (they got rid of some of their best rides….specifically King Kong).
Tips and Tricks
The main trick I would say is get to the park about a half hour before it opens so that you can walk to the Harry Potter section. The line was only 45 min which isn’t bad for a new ride. At one point it was at 2.5 hours. Also, it is super duper hot right now. I live in Florida and the heat was just terrible this past weekend. If you are able to push it off till October or November it will be worth it to wait. Maybe in that time lines will go down and Universal will go through and tweak things a bit to button up some of the loose ends my sister and I saw.
Lines are going to be crazy. Just be ready for it. The line to get into the Harry Potter gift shop was over a 1.5 hour wait that wrapped around the whole area. The candy store on the other hand was like a 5 min wait….I bought the Every flavor beans which I thought was a joke, but its not…the first one I ate was Lima bean followed by black pepper and then potato….mmmm delicious.
Well Smoky never said that, but I like it and it’s my blog and I can make up whatever words a fictional character says.
Well Thursday (4/15: End of Tax Season) I’m getting laid off and I’m Super Excited. In a previous post I mentioned I was trying to do a cross country motorcycle trip that would take around 30 days. Well due to losing my job I now have the opportunity to do a 5 day backpacking trip in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with my good friend Matt….Wooo! What do you when you don’t have a job? Vaca!
This trip doesn’t include my motorcycle, but it does involve hiking and camping….so 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Plus, I still needed to buy a new wind screen for my bike and some decent saddlebags. When I get money…those items are going to happen. There is a road that we’ll be traveling down that I wish I could take my bike on known as Tail of the Dragon. It’s 318 curves within 11 miles!
So what is there to do in a National Park? Wrong question: What can’t you do? The weather is supposed to be great. Highs in the lower 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s. Now that’s great walking and sleeping weather.
Below is the itinerary. When I mention “campsite” it’s the only site around for a few miles. This isn’t Hannah Park (which is awesome as well, but in its own way. Stayed there 2 weeks ago and had a blast at the beach). It is just a designated clearing with a fire ring so that the park knows your location. When you check into the park there is no gate. Just a billboard where you fill out a permit and that’s it…you’re on your way to roughin it.
25-26: Sandusky and Columbus, OH; Bogota, Colombia; New York, NY
My first plane ride I was 20 on my way to Vegas, but other than that I really haven’t been very far or seen very much. I’ve never even been to Miami.
Well I’m planning on making up some time. I’m thinking about doing a cross country trip on my motorcycle. I thought of this trip about 2 years ago when I bought my bike, but I was in school. Then I got a job that I couldn’t leave for more than a couple days at a time. Now I have a job that isn’t going so well (long story, but in short my boss won’t train me and I’m learning absolutely nothing working only 30 hours a week). I’m hoping that around May I can line up a new job for the late summer (I’m thinking about teaching, but that is something I need to put more thought and research into during these next few weeks.) After doing some research online it’s sort of common for people to do this, but one blog was of paticular interest to me from a 21 year old who did it in 2006.
If you need anymore inspiration for a trip this video will help. It’s a car trip that went to all 48 states, but they made a wonderful 3.5 min video:
Click here to see a very rough map of what I’ll be doing. Actually the map was just used for distance calculations and I would rather use back roads for the trip.
These are my calcs so far:
Distance/Gas: 8,300 miles, 75 gas stops @ $3 per gallon = $800+/- in gas.
Time: at 55mph for 5 hours a day it will take 31 days.
I plan on camping 70% of the time and finding a hotel or stay at a friends the other time.
I’m not sure if this trip will actually come true, but I sure hope so. I would like to try and do this in late May or early June.
There is only a few times in your life that you can take a trip like this. I’m not married, I don’t have any kids, no house, and may not have a job. So what better time than the near present. Also, being that 2012 may be the end of the world….I gotta get it in while I can.
Below: My bike, but I don’t have the front fairing and this is a 1200. I have the 600. I have to buy a windscreen.