Posted by: athike2011 | September 8, 2011


After a bit of a delay helping Sunita get settled after her car accident, followed by a final dinner with her, Eli and Sabrina, I set out towards my aunt Joan’s house in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I got about 250 miles the first night before deciding to call it and sleep in a rest stop. The next morning I finished up my 500 miles drive through PA and OH. I saw more speed traps and people pulled over in western PA and Ohio than I have in the last 5 years combine.

I got into Fort Wayne around 6:30, right after my cousin Brad got back from his first month away at college. We ordered some Pizza and spent the evening playing cards.

My cousin Becca in the middle and Brad on the right.

The next day we hung out for a bit in the morning before going out to slightly late breakfast followed by grocery shopping. We got back and it was a beautiful day out so we sat outside in the sun relaxing in the hammock while Sierra thoroughly enjoyed their large open yard. A little while later Joan, Becca and I went out to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant called Loving Café. From there we did a frozen yogurt desert at YoYo’s , where I managed to eat way more than I meant to or should have.

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After that we set out for Amish country to go to a little corner store, which I was told is a favorite of my sisters whenever she is out visiting. The store was pretty neat and there were a ton of Amish folks out on their horse and buggies, though a lot of them have solar panels on their houses, use gas powered blowers and weed whackers, and some even tuck their cell phones into their waist line. I also learned that Amish people apparently don’t believe in front porches or steps, if you look at an Amish home there is a one and a half foot height difference between the door and the ground with just a straight drop.

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When we got back to the house, a few of us decided to take a brief afternoon nap, but feeling like I overdid it with the yogurt, I went on a bike ride instead. The ride was nice other than the 98 degree heat, I unknowingly rode for about 10 miles with 20 mile an hour winds at my back down the road from the house. It was astonishing the damage that the horses do to the roads. There was a huge dip in between two obvious wheel lines from where the horses constantly trot along. The ride back to the house was much more of a workout as the lovely tail winds turned into punishing head winds, keeping me struggling at 16 miles per hour.

After a cold shower we sat down outside for an amazing dinner of rib eye steaks, baked potatoes, caprese salad and sweet corn. We sat outside for an hour or so after dinner just talking and enjoying the lovely night. Eventually a stray thunderstorm moved through and we shifted inside to watch The Kings Speech before heading off to bed.

We headed out early this morning for Gregg’s families house for a labor day BBQ. It was nice to meet his side of the family since I had not before today. We had delicious lunch with Greggs dad’s smoked brisket and pork, along with some of his brothers homemade BBQ sauce. There were a few shared birthdays which were celebrated with a cake and a few gifts. We hung out for a while, talking about my travels and playing with Gregg’s nieces before heading home. It’s a two hour drive each way so by the time we were almost back to their house, we were all ready to eat again so we made a stop off at pizza hut for a quick dinner. Fully comatose we were all pretty useless for the rest of our evening, all in all a really good day.

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We all slept a little later today and my cousin Brad packed up his stuff to head back to college this afternoon. We decided to go to a Japanese place for lunch before Brad and Gregg headed out. This was the first time I have had real sushi in a state that does not touch any ocean, I was a little unsure, but it was actually quite tasty. We finished up lunch and the guys headed off to get Brad back to school. Joan, Becca and I did a little driving tour of downtown Fort Wanye and made a stop at a local chocolate place, which is a favorite of theirs. It was a cool little place, quite pricy, but really good. Once back to their house we were all ready for a short siesta before dinner. We ate dinner when Gregg got back and I took the opportunity to show them the pictures I took on the Appalachian Trail.

The next morning I spent planning for the rest of the week, where I would go, what I would do, etc. A little after noon Gregg and I went to a Irish pub for lunch, which was not only quite good, but they also carried Kilkenny Irish Cream ale, which I had never seen in the U.S. before that. For lunch we parked in a parking garage across the street, the type where you take a ticket on the way in and pay a cashier on the way out. However when we went to leave there was no one in the booth, no sign, no way to pay and a gate blocking our exit. We sat perplexed for 5-8 minutes looking around trying to see what we missed when finally an older gentleman walked casually from across the street and back into his booth. Apparently he decided to take a bathroom break so we were just stuck with no explanation until he returned. When we got back I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and playing with Sierra.

I slept in again this morning, I figure I might as well do it while I can as it doesn’t happen in the car very often. I worked on my blog and read the paper for a while and made myself a sandwich for lunch. Around one I headed to my aunt Joans school to sit in on her first grade class for the afternoon. It was fun to watch her work and meet all her kids. I think this is the first time I have set foot in a first grade class room since I was in first grade. It’s a very different experience as an adult, I must say she has the patience of a saint. I stayed with her class for all of Math and until the end of the day. Once all the kids were gone, Joan and I sat and talked for a short while before she headed off to pick up Becca and I went to check out a local outdoors shop with a free bouldering wall.

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Climbing as a lot of fun, but I realized how much of my finger and upper body strength I have lost since being gone, it’s something I’m going to have to work on again when I get home. The bouldering wall was also in a basement making it very very low, even for bouldering, much more technical moves and hard traverses, not sure if it’s really my style, but I still enjoyed myself. I got back to the house just as Gregg was taking Becca to her music lesson for the evening, leaving Joan and I to have dinner. Once they got back We went out to get Ice cream from a place down the road. Becca and I stayed up probably later than we should have watching TV before finally turning in.

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These are the 6:50am faces…

Now on to Kentucky and the sweet taste of bourbon.

Posted by: athike2011 | August 30, 2011

Videos From My Travels

So I finally figured out how to get all the videos off my camera! These are videos from the Appalachian Trail and after.

Also just to update everyone on my plans, I am going to be heading out to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Thursday afternoon. From there I will head back down south visiting family along the way. Once in Florida I am going to pick up some of my grandmothers furniture to haul to my parents house in California before heading back up to Washington. I will be doing more frequent blog updates again during this time, and once I’m done, I will switch back to blogging about past travels.

Videos From the AT

Georgia Mountains

North Carolina Mountains

Entering The Smokys

Charlies Bunion

Beginning of the Tornado Strom

Walk in the Woods

Crazy Wind Storm

Second Tornado Storm, most of the lightning is past the half way point

Cowboy Camping on Cedar Cliffs

Senandoah Thunderstorm

Rattle Snake

Bruins Win the Stanley Cup

Cross Country Trip

Clouds on Lone Mountain

Sierra Running in the Tetons

River in the Tetons

River in Mississippi
Posted by: athike2011 | August 26, 2011

Cuba 2002 and Funny Blog Comments

These are all pictures from a trip I took in high school to Cuba, mostly around Havana.

I also noticed that my blog automatically filters out spam comments, some of them are pretty amusing, thought I would share.

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Cuba 2002

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Overnight stay in the airport

Arriving in Havana

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Havana bike tour

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Street festival

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The city

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Working on a local farm and playing some baseball

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Coffee plantation

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Posted by: athike2011 | August 24, 2011

The Big Day

This is my 100th post! I never thought I would write this much or the blog would last this long, but this seems like a fitting post #100!

This last weekend my best friend Eli Jacobson married his long time girlfriend Sabrina Smith. This was the basis of my decision to hike the Appalachian Trail instead of the Pacific Crest Trail, and also what brought me back here on my cross country trip. The wedding was a fairly large gathering with lots of family and friends from both sides.

The weekend started off Friday with a potluck and about a third of the guests. The BBQ lasted till the mosquitos got bad and things moved inside. At that point I headed back to the hotel to catch some sleep so I was plenty rested for the big day.

Eli and his cousin Jules getting ready for the big day

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Reading the vows


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Eli and the McKays                                    My family and the Eli

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The happy couple with the bridesmaids

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Reception and cake


The first dance

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On Sunday there was a small brunch gathering followed by everyone helping pack and cleaning everything up. For the most part the wedding went off without a real hitch, lots of little fires to put out here and there, but overall it was quite nice. The biggest problem was the misplaced Uhaul keys during clean up. They managed to get packed into the truck and the Uhaul people didn’t have a spare. Eli, his dad and uncle ended up waiting around until 8pm for a locksmith, but eventually made it back just fine.

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