As some of you may recall, I 'paused' smoking a few years back. Actually today marks 3 years since my last cigarette. Yep... still not smoking and I doubt I ever will again.
This weekend, is also the 3 year anniversary of my first road-trip into Yellowstone National Park, (I have since logged about 75,000 miles in road trip'ing since). Today I will pile myself, my son, and the wife into the van to re-live that weekend with me. While my son has gone with me a few times since 2009, the woman has never been up there. In fact, this past March was the first time she ever went on a multi-day road trip with me. I came back alive... it was in serious question at times.
This will be my first true 'weekend off' since Todd and I started this whole thing 6 years ago! Although I have taken many trips, I always have the laptop and a cellular connection with me and have always worked on the road. This time I will be different.
So, over the course of this weekend things may be a little quiet. Todd does not normally handle my part of the daily operations of Race2Play, but he will be doing his best for the next 72 hours... bare with him eh? The Stewards will also be doing their best to handle all the races this weekend, but if something comes up that prevents one from being there... you veterans know what to do... lead the way and have a great weekend
PS - Ironically, today also marks the start of the closed-beta of Race2Play in 2006
My 280z... the only woman in my life has returned to me after a year-long break-up.
Last March the emissions testing station refused to test her anymore because it "did not have a key ignition". Since it was stolen back in 2004 I had only a switch and button starting system which they now deemed 'unsafe' (nevermind that many modern cars now start by pressing a button).
Anyway, she sat in the garage for a year, complete ignored, and she left me because of it. Today, with a new key ignition and some fresh fuel, she passed the emissions test and took a trip to DMV for some new stickers.
I'm going to give her a sponge-bath today, give her some new fluids, and maybe a dozen roses to make up for my neglect.
Man do I love to hear her purr! digitty-digitty
Picture form Sept 2009 on our Romantic drive to Yellowstone, which turned out to be the last big drive we took together.
Have we all forgotten what it is like to be a new person at a new school, or job? Is it any different when you are new in an online community?
Too often new members are attacked by our veteran members, even though that very "veteran" may have been new to our community just 3 months ago himself. Is it more helpful to attack the newcomers or to take them under your wing and assist them in the ways of Race2Play? Is it more helpful to avoid racing with them or to ask them to practice with you so they can come to a race more prepared?
If you were that newcomer (again), which would you prefer our veterans do to you?
The fact is, we should be thanking them! If it were not for the hundreds of new members at Race2Play each month, us veterans would not have anyone to race with. Lets not forget that sim-racing is a very small hobby and most online racing organizations struggle to find new members. We should feel lucky that Race2Play brings in the amount of new people as we do, so we always have full grids and hundreds of races each month.
In a few days, my son and I are back on the road for a 5-week long road trip totaling just over 4100 highway miles across 8 western states.
The first week of the trip is spent in Yellowstone Ntnl Park with Conor joining us. This is a first time visit for both Conor and my son, so I am pretty excited about showing both of these 'kids' the park.
After the week is up, Conor heads back into Colorado on his own while my son and I head West into Portland for a few days before heading South into California to visit my family for a few weeks. Then, the week long drive back into Colorado taking the southern route past many National parks.
The trip will span the entire month of July, and then some, and will have us visiting;
- Grand Teton Ntnl Park (WY)
- Yellowstone Ntnl Park (WY) (I was there in Sept 2009)
- Craters of the Moon Ntnl Monument (ID)
- Crater Lake Ntnl Park (OR)
- Redwood Ntnl Park (CA)
- Yosemite Ntnl Park (CA) (I was there in April 2010)
- Kings Canyon Ntnl Park (CA)
- Sequoia Ntnl Park (CA)
- Death Valley Ntnl Park (CA)
- Zion Ntnl Park (UT)
- Grand Canyon Ntnl Park (AZ)
- Canyonlands Ntnl Park (UT) (I was there in April 2010)
- Black Canyon Ntnl Park (CO)
I also plan to hook up with a few R2P members along the way;
- Tristan Bayless and his glorious hair
- Charlie Parker
more to come...
I do plan to document the trip, near-daily, as best I can with Internet connections and such. I will do the daily posts at my personal website so my Mom can keep track. Photos will be uploaded to my album as often as possible as well.
As some of you know now, (thanks to DiPino, McCarrell, and Onofrey for blowing the whistle on me), I have been a little quiet lately. To Todd's dismay, I purchased a very large van to take some road trips this year. The van is effectively a class-B RV, complete with bed, storage, fridge, toilet, electrical, etc. I added in some gas burners, and a cellular Internet connection (Yea, I am a rolling WiFi hotspot baby) and I was good to go.
While I promised I would keep it fairly local, it quickly turned into a 8000km (5000 mile) road trip across the western USA. In early April, my son and I took the new van on a short 1000 mile tour of western Colorado and into Utah. It was a planned 5 day trip around some of the National Parks we have nearby that I had yet to visit.
Our trip took us to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Mesa Verde National Park. We hiked in the "Fiery Furnace" in Arches, drove on the "Island in the sky" in Canyonlands, and toured the home of 2000 year old Pueblans in Mesa Verde.
My son jumping a gap in the Fiery Furnace hike in Arches
1000 ft sheer drops on the Island in the Sky, CanyonLands
Not only was it fun and exciting, on our first multi-day road trip together, it was educational for both of us. We documented our trip on the TM.net blog for any of you who care to read up on it.
Only a few days after returning, a phone call came in from my Mother back in CA. The mum needed some help, and everyone in the family was coming to the call, myself included (private matter, but not health related at least). I was back on the road and headed West back to Northern California for a scheduled 2-3 weeks to help get things in order. This time it was just myself with my son still having school to deal with.
After 3 days of driving the 1200 miles to CA, I arrived to a somewhat orderly emergency. Most things were already settled or being settled and I worked for a few days just doing a little "cleanup" as more things were resolved. That weekend I took a drive up the coast (HWY-1) and planned an overnight camp, but it turned into a single day affair. But the next weekend, the same weekend as the Longbeach GP... which I nearly drive down to go see, was National Park week. Across the USA, all National Parks were free, and I was only 3 hours away from Yosemite National Park. You guessed it, the very next day I was in the van and making to climb up the mountain.
I spent 3 days in Yosemite; I hiked more than 20 miles, ran into my first bear on the trail (holy sh*t!!!), shared the trail with a couple deer (hey those things have hooves!!!), and climbed a sheer rock cliff to get to the top of a waterfall in the snow (slightly exaggerated but close enough). This was my first trip to Yosemite in 22 years and it was amazing. One odd thing that I noticed... most people visiting the park were not from the USA. We Americans are too lazy to even go to the parks? Well, not me...
After, I spent a few more days hanging out with my family before heading back to Colorado. We hit the Academy of Sciences in SF and drove over the Golden Gate bridge (not something a Californian does often as it costs way too much).
When it was all said and done, more than 5000 miles were driven (and at 13mpg, that is well over $1000 in fuel alone). I camped at countless Walmarts, Truck stops, and National Parks. I watched the sun rise at the Salt flats in Utah, ate lunch at mirror lake in Yosemite, floated above the land in Canyonlands, watched rocks balancing at Arches, climbed 600ft waterfalls, escaped a Brown bear in the Sierras, and ... well, I had the time of my life this past month. Im back now, though not for long as I have two more trips to take before my son goes back to school in September... stay tuned.
On August 31st I announce my "pause" of smoking (I do not quit). While I do not need the pats on the back, I did want to give an update on where I am today. My family may be tired of hearing my updates, so you guys have to listen to me blabber on about it now.
First, let me explain where I was back on Aug 31st:
38 years old and had been smoking for 22 years. I have always weighed in between 135 and 145, and at 6 foot tall, that translates out to "real skinny". The most I had ever weighed was 151, but that lasted only one week before I dropped back into the 130's. I have not excercised since my teens where I used to run cross country and 5 minute miles. While I did not have the illness of obeseity, I doubt I was much healthier than a 400lb adult male. I couldnt have ran across the street to save my life.
When I paused smoking, I chose to start going to the gym at the same time. At first it was only a day or two a week, but it soon grew to a 5-day per week schedule. I sometimes go twice a day 'just because'.
During the first month without cigarettes I gained an amazing 25-30 pounds, growing to 165lbs. All of my clothing no longer fit. I quickly began eating much healthier though I am limited by some major allergies to just about everything natural. I have to take a lot of suppliments as I can not eat raw vegetables or fruits without major discomfort. I can, and do now, eat at least one salad a day in replace of a normal meal. I have found that I like them in fact. I have been able to hold 160-165 since and have almost lost my entire gut (it was small, but it was the only real body fat I had).
Today, 123 days since my last cigarette, I workout 1.5 to 2 hours per day, 5-6 days per week (R2P duties permitting). I went fron being unable to jog a 1/4 mile to now running 10 minute miles. Today I ran 3.6 miles, so far limited only by length of time I have for my workout. I feel I can keep running, but I have not tried beyond 40 minutes yet. I can ride a stationary bike for 10-12 miles, limited only by the amount of pain in my ass from those damn seats.
I have been lifting weights as well, to fill in muscle faster then I am shedding fat. Right now it is balancing out to hold a steady weight. My arms have increased by 2 inches in diameter. My legs will no longer fit in my old jeans. My chest... well, that has earned me a few times of being felt up by the wife of 17 years.
Basically, things have been going very well. I feel like I am a decade younger, but I still have a long way to go. I still have not had a cigarette, and rarely think about them any longer. I am still 163lbs today, but a lot more of that weight is muscle now. I am all in for challenging myself into becoming stronger, and healthier. This may be way down the road, but I really want to do the Ironman in 2012... I think I will :-)
You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet the past few days. Yes, I decided to take an unscheduled, lat minute, multi-day adventure... just me and my 280Z.
Saturday, following the broadcast of the 2.4h of Leinz event, I packed the car up with some basics and took to the road for the 9 hour drive from Colorado to the Yellowstone National Park in NW Wyoming. I have been there once before in the early 90's and I have been wanting to go back for years. With this being the last real opportunity (for me) this year, I decided to get on with it.
My Datsun and I had many adventures over the past 3 days and 1400 miles; From early morning deer dodging (and coyotes too), to mud slinging on the interstates (yes, 3" deep mud for 10+ miles!), to Buffalo stampedes, the adventures were non stop.
I have paused smoking indefinitely. I'm no quitter, so I will not "quit", but I figure a 50 year long pause should work around that little issue.
I made the decision today not to buy that next carton of smokes. I will be forced into waking up tomorrow with no tobacco in the house (can you smoke coffee? hmmm) and I just promised my 11yr old son I will not buy another pack. That is one promise I can not back out of, and that is why I made it.
As a warning, please do not take anything I do or say personal for the next few weeks. I suspect I will be cranky, moody, cramping, gaining weight, retaining water, hungry for pickles and ice-cream, and maybe even shedding a few tears... hourly. If you all can put up with me during this time of transition, then I am willing to see it through.
It is not often I get out to do this sort of thing, but this past Saturday evening there was a local twilight air show that I just could not pass up. The though of watching these planes fly around against the backdrop of a setting sun on the Rocky Mtns... well, judge for yourself
I was actually planning to drive to Yellowstone, just my son and myself. Instead, my mother informed me of a family camp trip in California this same week. We have not done this since I was a kid... at least not one I was invited too. So, with all my brother's kids attending I could not allow my son to miss out on the fun of such a large scale camp trip in the Sierra.
I was lucky actually, as Conor was out in Colorado July 15th through the 20th. Conor is from Los Angles and driving back to California the same week I needed to arrive in CA. Lucky break (for both of us) as he needed someone to help him stay awake for the 2 day drive, and I really did not want to drive my Datsun for 1200 miles. We rolled out early on the 20th, chopping through CO pretty quickly. We paused more than a few times to see the scenery...
... arriving in the "middle of no-where, Utah" late in the evening for a quick bite at Denny's and a nap at the Hotel before heading back off in the morning for the 2nd leg of the drive. Nevada... well, Nevada was boring. Nothing worth seeing, or doing. We rolled into CA just after a quick dinner (In-n-Out baby!!!) in Carson City and arrived at my mums early enough for another Denny's meal and to get caught up on the past year Ive been in CO. I met the new dog, the old dog, and the wild turkey that roam the neighborhood... damn, no shotgun!
After a day of recovery, we rolled 10 minutes up the Sierra's to some Yogi Bear camp site, complete with pool, arcade, WiFi, showers (nice ones too), and electricity in every stall. heck, they even had cable outlets... this is not camping like I remember. All together, my Mother spawned 5 boys and 1 girl. Between us, we have given her 11 Grand kids (only 1 from me) ranging from 2 to 21 years old. Also attending were some of our friends; another family of 5 and a few addition girl-friends of those not yet married, Aunts, Uncles, pets, etc... making for a very large outing. We called a single cabin, two trailer sites, and a tent site our home for 4 days.
My son had a blast with all his cousins, and that is all that mattered to me. It was 1,000,000 degrees and no breeze at all in the hell-hole called California, and we were at altitude! Of course, I did not pack a pair of shorts (dumbass!) so I suffered badly until I was loaned a pair so I too could enjoy the cool pool.
I too had a great time, (minus the heat), and would like to thank all the Stewards here at R2P for stepping up big time. Normally they are not left with so many races to attend to on their own, but from the 20th to the 28th of July, they have had to take over my job so I could go play with a family I have not been much a part of for the past 20 years. I did a lot of reconnecting... and apologizing. For the first time in a very long time, I feel as if I have some brothers, nephews, and nieces again... some I am meeting for the first time.
Again, a huge thanks to the small group of Stewards that are the backbone of the Race2Play community.