2013 Year in Review

Last year I had this to say about 2012.

“2012 was such an amazing year I’m not sure how I’m going to prevent 2013 from being a letdown.  How do you follow up that act?”

Well, needless to say 2013 blew 2012 out of the water.

The Move:

This was the biggest thing that happened this year so I might as well mention it first.  On May 28th, 2013 (a day after my birthday) I got in my car and started driving.  I would drive for the next 4 days nonstop through 10 states and all four time zones.  Until that day I had lived in North Carolina for my entire life.  I arrived in Portland on Friday May 31st at about 7PM local time (by that point I had no clue what time it was anymore, my body still thought it was 10PM).

There are two major “life changing” aspects of this move.  The first is that somewhere (and I still don’t know where it came from) I found the guts to uproot everything and leave everything behind, for all intents and purposes jumping off a cliff and hoping someone at the bottom would catch me.  The fact that a multitude of people, including Lisa’s family, friends and church community did catch me is astonishing and leads me into the second aspect.

From June until November I was essentially “homeless”.  Yes, I was not the traditional “sleeping on the streets” form of homeless, but I had no place to call my own and very few possessions.  I cycled through a series of “foster” homes and couch surfed while I looked for jobs and looked for places to live on my own.  If it weren’t for the people who opened their homes to me I wouldn’t be here.  To know that everything you have at a certain moment in your life, food, warmth, roof, bed, access to a phone to call loved ones, is provided by someone out of only the goodness of their hearts is incredibly humbling.  It is a debt I can never repay, and one that will never be called upon.  No repayment was asked or is ever expected from these amazing people.  Lisa’s church preaches to help the poor and those less fortunate.  These people surely took that to heart and “practice what they preach”.

You can read about the Westward Journey HERE.


After “The Year of the Race” in 2012 with 15 races in four different distances, 2013 was certainly a step back, but not in a bad way and certainly for good reasons.  2013 featured 7 races including 3 half marathons stretching from Florida to Oregon.

2013 started the same as 2012 with the Running of the Lights 5K at Tanglewood park.  The run through the Christmas lights that started at midnight on New Years day was a repeat for me.  However, this year Lisa had flown out from Portland to come visit me and happened to be here on race day and so she ran this one with me and this was our first race together.

A few weeks later I would travel down to Orlando Florida to run in the Walt Disney World half marathon.  This was a pretty amazing race but unfortunately was marred by a serious knee injury.  I was able to finish the race, but had to walk from mile 9 to the finish in the surprisingly hot Florida sun.  My parents and brother and sister were there to support me and cheer me on and also cheer me up after my disappointing finish.  3:36 was my worst finish ever, but I finished.  I suppose I had plenty of points where I could have dropped out and told the race crew I quit, but I plodded along and made my way to the finish.

In February, I would suffer my first DNS (Did Not Start).  I had signed up for the Pilot Mountain Payback “Heavy” half marathon before I was injured at Disney and I decided I was going to try my best to still complete it.  I had completed the 3 in 3 months I needed to qualify for the Half Fanatics, but now was going to try for 6 in 6 months.  Due to my injury I was not able to run for several weeks and not able to put in any serious mileage at all.  The “Heavy” was about 14 miles so longer than a half and would have been my longest run to date.  I was still dead set on running it until the night before the race.  I was literally in a panic.  I wasn’t sure I could do the distance, it was snowing that night and conditions on the course were going to be horrible.  After a long conversation with Lisa, who told me that if I was so upset about the race I should skip it, I decided not to go.   A few days later, I found out how awful the course was, with creek crossing that were waist deep, and how many people skipped and how many people did not finish and I knew I had made the right choice.  I wasn’t happy with it, but I was at peace with it.

In March and April I ran a pair of 10Ks, a repeat of the St Leo’s 10K and then a new race, the Hope for Hospice 10K.  The first one I merely wanted to finish, which I did in a respectable 1:13, while the second one was part of the training for my second half marathon and I finished a tough course in 1:11 which was only 3 minutes slower than my 10K PR from last year.

In late April I ran my second half marathon of the year, the Kings Mountain Half in Kings Mountain SC.  I was excited to run this race since it ran through a Revolutionary War battlefield, but that ended up being a huge disappointment since the “cannons and monuments” portion of the battlefield was nowhere near where we ran.  An out and back on some access roads with nothing by trees to look at was a HUGE letdown.  Also, towards the end of this race my calves cramped up really bad and I ended up walking from mile 11 to the end.  My 3:08 finish was better than Disney, and slightly better than my first half in New Orleans, but nothing close to a PR.  About the only saving grace was this was my first race in South Carolina, so it was a new state for me.

At this point, the rest of my 2013 race calender got completely erased.  The races I had planned for the Fall were not going to happen and the races for May and June I needed that money for my move across the country.  It would be a while before I would race again, but me and Lisa started running together as often as we could once I got settled in Portland.

In November we ran our second race together, a 10K, and my first race in Portland.  The Cause and Event 10K was a fantastic event that supported many different causes.  The course was mostly greenway through west Portland/Beaverton neighborhoods.  Of course, being Portland in the fall, it rained on us during the race, but it was mostly just a slight drizzle.  I got to meet some of the people who help run Camp Lutherwood and raise some money for them so that was all good!

In December, we finally ran our first half together in Portland, the Foot Traffic Holiday half.  A nice run through Northeast Portland, it was COLD and rainy, but a really nice course and well supported.  Other than my bad cramps for the last two miles it was also a great run.  Lisa rocked it! We finished in exactly 3 hours which was not a PR for either of us, but not our worst finish either.

The next run for Lisa and I will be another midnight New Year’s Day race, but that’s for 2014!


While we didn’t do as much running over the summer as we planned, we certainly took advantage of the gorgeous weather and Lisa introduced me to one of her favorite past times.  Hiking! What else does one do in a place full of mountains and trees? I was quickly hooked.

We started out with an “easy” hike that turned out to be quite a journey.  The loop around the Trail of Ten Falls was about 7 miles or so of mostly flat terrain, but then at the end there was some steep switchback stairs and a steep uphill climb to the last falls which really took it out of me.  I was completely exhausted by the time we finished but it was totally worth it.  The scenery was unbelievable and you couldn’t believe you were just a short drive outside of the city.  It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.

The next hike, merely a week later, was the shortest in distance, but by far the most challenging.  We drove up to Timberline Lodge, which is about halfway up Mt Hood (roughly 6000 feet elevation) and hiked out to Zig Zag Canyon.  It was only about 2 miles there and two miles back, but it including dropping down into several smaller canyons, as well as the terrain shifting as we skirted along the edge of the timberline.  At times we were deep into an old growth forest bushwhacking through underbrush and giant ferns and then at other times we were sliding through a sandy/rocky type landscape with not a tree in sight.  We lost several hundred feet of elevation on the way out to the canyon and while the way out was a nice “walk” the way back to the lodge was suddenly extremely uphill and turned into a “climb”.  This however, was an incredibly rewarding hike.

About two weeks after that we embarked on our third hike of the season which started out innocently enough but turned into quite an adventure.  We had planned on hiking up to Wahkenna Falls and then taking the trail back down along Multnomah Falls.  Unfortunately, through a combination of a poorly marked trailhead and a confusing printed map we ended up parking and starting at the wrong place.  We got onto the Angel’s Rest trail and of course we were several miles into it before we realized it but we continued on to the top of Angel’s Rest. We climbed about 1400 feet along the way and were rewarded with an amazing view up and down the Columbia River.  Across from us was Washington State and we could almost see all the way back to Portland.  At this point we continued along the trail which we thought would take us to Multnomah Falls.  We crossed a creek and then lost the trail and were a few minutes away from becoming very lost.  A couple and their dog emerged from the brush and warned us not to go that way since the trail was overgrown and faded.  It turned out they had just come from where we wanted to go, so they showed us the way.  We parted ways at the top of Wahkenna falls as they headed to Multnomah but without them we would have been seriously lost.  We made our way down the side of Wahkenna falls which was absolutely breathtaking and made our way back down to road level.  Now because of where we parked, we had about a 2 mile walk along the side of the road to get back to the car.  This was terrifying since there was no shoulder and warnings to NOT do what we were doing, but we had no choice.  What was supposed to be an easy 4 mile hike turned into a very challenging 9 mile hike, but we survived it and made it.


Lisa loves to travel and we’ve done our fair share of it even if only in the local area.  Shortly after I arrived in Portland, we headed out to the Oregon coast and took in Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay and Newport.  The Oregon Coast is not like anything I have ever seen before.  Rocks and cliffs and lava flows and trees right up to the water line.  It resembles close to what I expect the Northeast looks like up around Maine.  Also, a month ago we went to Seattle which was a really cool trip and a place I’ve wanted to go for a long while.  We will certainly be headed back there soon I’m sure.


Changing jobs is never fun, but moving all the way across the country meant quitting my job and then trying to find a new one.  After 3 months that felt like FOREVER I landed a job in Vancouver at a company that makes vitamins and herbal supplements, so I got back into the Food Science industry to a certain degree.  I’m doing quality work but also a decent amount of paperwork and regulatory responsibilities.  They weren’t kidding that the job title “Lab Administrator” is a “little bit of everything”.


This part hasn’t gone so well this year, but I’m not too terribly upset about it.  I started the year at my lowest weight ever at around 235, but my Disney injury sidelined me for a long while and I ended up putting a little weight back on, probably close to 245.  Then after I moved I’ll admit that I put on several more pounds as I ate my way around Portland (no regrets AT ALL).  I’ll be finishing this year in the 260’s so I’ve actually gained weight, but I’m still way under where I was in 2011 and most of 2012, so I’ll take that and jump into 2014 with both feet.

Can 2014 build on an incredible 2012 and then an epic 2013? Stay Tuned!!!!!!


The Westward Journey

I’ve been in Oregon for almost two weeks now, and between seeing the sights, meeting a LOT of people, and spending as much quality time with Lisa as I can (and a job interview!) I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write about the trip itself.

The first thing I will say about the trip is this should NOT have been a four day drive.  I seriously underestimated some of the times and distances and several of my “12 hour” days turned into 14 hour or longer days.  This should have been a 5 or even 6 day drive. Yes, I made it safely and in one piece, but it was a very stressful trip when it didn’t need to be.  I don’t plan on doing it again anytime soon! Next time I go back to North Carolina will be by plane!

I knew the trip would be an adventure, but I started out with a little more adventure than I really planned on.  I had two more boxes of books that I needed to mail before hitting the road.  I used Media mail rates to ship most of my books to make room for other things in the car.  One of my boxes they refused to mail because it was in an old liquor box which is what the books had been packed in.  My first thought was to use tape to cover the logos, but you could still see them even through duct tape, so I had to find a box at KMart to repack the books so I could mail them.  Then I had to go back to the apartment to get the last few things (the items for the front seat now that the boxes were gone) and pack them into the car.  As I was putting them into the car I realized to my dismay that it wasn’t all going to fit.  I pulled a bag out of the trunk, pulled things out and stuck them into little pockets of empty space and then threw away a few things that could be easily replaced and made room for my overnight bag in the trunk instead of the front seat.  Now I was finally ready to hit the road.

I left North Carolina at about 10:30 AM on Tuesday May 28th.

The first day’s drive was an easy one and I had planned it that way since I wasn’t expecting to leave until about midday on Tuesday.  The first day I was stopping in Nashville Tennessee, about a 7 hour drive from Winston Salem, all of it (until I got into town) on 40 westbound.  I got on the road and started heading west.  Because of how my car was packed I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to navigate through narrow city streets so I decided to forgo my attempt to get into downtown Nashville.  I also happened to hit the city right at 5:30 local time in the middle of gridlock rush hour.  I was stopped for a good little bit and then crawling at 5MPH and by that point I just wanted to get off the road and get to my hotel.  Thankfully, my hotel was the first exit after I got off of 40 and onto I-24 that would take me North towards Missouri.  My hotel was on a access road that paralleled the interstate, but I missed my turn and stayed on the road that the exit was for and as I looked for a spot to turn around I happened to pull into the parking lot of a BBQ joint.  Well, I think I had just found dinner!













Jack’s had “Tennessee Style” pulled pork, which is what I got, as well as beef brisket, which I also like.  They had several sauces to choose from.  The first one I tried was a Texas style sauce, which had some sweetness but was very spicy and the second one was a Kansas City style sweet sauce that I liked and so I went with that one. Mac and cheese and baked apples as sides and a decently good cup of sweet tea and it was a great dinner.  Settled into the hotel and relaxed, which at that point was exactly what I needed.

If I remember correctly, I think I set my alarm for 7AM local time (8AM EST), but I ended up waking up early, I think around 6:30, so after a light breakfast of a muffin and coffee at the hotel I think I was actually hitting the road about 7.  From Nashville I headed North on 24(West) until I got into Kentucky and passed through the western part of that state and into Illinois.  Around Paducah, Ill I took 57 west to about Mount Vernon, Ill.


















How’s this for old school? This was at a gas station in the middle of nowhere in Illinois and I had to drive several miles off the interstate to get to it.  I had stopped one exit earlier which said it had a “normal” gas station which ended up being closed.  I could tell by my mileage (and that it took 12.8 gallons to fill me up) I was running on fumes at this point. I was seriously afraid of running out of gas but along that stretch of highway there was NOWHERE to stop.

At this point I got onto 64 West and headed towards St Louis.  I had left early and was making good time, and I had some fun things planned in St Louis so I decided this time I was going to stop and see things.  I got into St Louis and had no problems finding Market Street (where the Hard Rock was supposed to be, it’s actually two blocks off Market but has a Market Street address because of the mall it’s attached to) and then I turned off to look for parking, and started to go into a lot that turned out to not be public parking and then I promptly got lost.  I finally found parking off of 6th street which was fairly close to the Arch, but I wanted to eat first, so after calling Lisa to help me with directions I set off in the direction of the Hard Rock, which was on Market (supposedly) between 18th and 19th street.  That doesn’t sound like that far, but oh it was (Lisa mapped it at about a mile) and it was HOT in St Louis, upper 80’s or low 90’s and bright sun.  But that meant great pictures, like this one.













So, I finally asked someone on the street who was able to point me in the direction of the Hard Rock and I finally found it.  I’m happy to say it was totally worth the effort, I got one of their “Legendary” burgers, which had bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and grilled onions on it and it was amazing.  I also had a free birthday dessert coupon from the rewards club and it was a brownie with ice cream that was also pretty amazing.  At this point I either needed a long walk, or a nap.  Turns out a long walk was in order to get back down to the arch.  I made it to the Arch and paid my 10$ and took the elevator up to the top.  Warning if you haven’t ever been, the little elevator cars that take you to the top are very SMALL.  They have 5 seats in them, but the way they are arranged only three adults max could get in one since the other two spots would not have room for their legs.  I honestly didn’t stay at the top very long, maybe 10 minutes, but it’s such an amazing view and such a unique experience I’m very glad I did it.













Here is a view of downtown and Busch Stadium from the top.




















This is the view looking straight down from the Arch.  Surprisingly looking up at it from the bottom made me more dizzy and unsteady than looking down at the ground from the top.

Having killed about 4 hours in St Louis it was time to hit the road again, I had a long way still to go to the second stop in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I headed out on I-70 towards Kansas City and motored along.  Unfortunately this is where things start to get a little crazy.  Eastern Nebraska including Lincoln was experiencing some bad thunderstorms including tornadoes.  Lisa was very worried, although I was still 8 hours away and the weather where I was was fine, so I was trying not to get to worried about it.  Since I wasn’t stopping to eat in KC I took the I435 loop around KC until I got onto I-29 North.  At this point I thought I only had a short drive until I got into Nebraska. Boy was I wrong.  I still had several more hours of Missouri to go, and it was starting to get dark and was beginning to show flashes lightning off in the distance. Also, I hadn’t looked at the map and instead of counting down, the exits were counting up and so I really had no earthly idea how much further I had to go which was a bit of an unsettling feeling.

I stopped at a rest stop and noticed the highway I was looking for (State Route 2) actually didn’t cross I29N until I got into Iowa.  I wasn’t expecting to go into Iowa so this was a little bit of a shocking discovery.  By this time it was starting to rain.  As usual when you are passing through an area rather than sitting still, the rain doesn’t last long, but it would be really heavy before it went away, and then 20 minutes later, pass through another area of downpour, as I made my way through the bands of the storm.  I stopped at a gas station in Iowa once I got on Hwy 2 to get a drink and I asked the lady behind the counter how far away I was from Lincoln Nebraska. She said it was about 45-50 miles.  I sighed in relief and said “Oh thank God, I thought I’d never get out of Missouri” and she said, “Oh? The Black Hole?” Seriously… No kidding.  It took me at least 8 hours to drive through Missouri.  Later I realized I had driven the entire width of the state East to West, and then also most of the distance across the state North to South.

Not to be outdone but the rest of the day, getting to my hotel once I got into Lincoln was also an adventure.  Hwy 2 would join Interstate 80, which is how I would be going out the next day, so my hotel was right on the interstate, but when I got to the exit I had two choices, I80 East or I80 West.  I had written I80E on my directions, but based on a map I had looked at I thought I needed to go West, so I took I80W.  First thing I noticed was I had written down exit 199 for where my hotel was, but the exit numbers were in the 300’s.  The first one was 397 and then they went down from there.  I called Lisa and she was trying to help me, but I had a bad signal and it kept dropping the call.  I figured I probably wrote it down wrong and needed exit 399 instead of 199, but I was going the wrong way.  By the time I figured this out I had passed the last exit out of town and I had to go another 12 miles before I found an exit to turn off and turn around at.  So here I am in the pouring rain, at midnight trying to find my hotel somewhere in Lincoln Nebraska.  Not that I could have after the day I had, but while I was driving down 80 west I had the fleeting thought of “Well, hell, at this point I might as well keep going”.  I finally got turned around and got back into town and of course, much to my chagrin, the Hwy 2 interchange was exit 398 and my exit at the hotel was the very next exit.  Would have saved about a half hour if I had gone the right way.  After leaving Nashville TN at about 6:30AM, I arrived at my hotel in Lincoln right at Midnight.  An 18 hour day.  Yes, that included 3.5-4 hours in St Louis, but still that was 14 hours of “seat time” which was more than I had estimated. I had thought the third day of driving would be the worst, but hopefully it couldn’t be any worse than this.

Since I had gotten in so late, I let myself sleep until 8AM (which I still woke up a little bit early) and so I didn’t hit the road until about 8:30.  The weather had cleared out and it was a nice day, but sadly there wasn’t much to look at.  There’s not a whole lot going on in Nebraska to be brutally honest.













I had to drive for a while, but I found the middle of nowhere.

I did stop at a pretty good place for lunch in North Platte Nebraska, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was a BBQ type place that also did steaks and burgers etc.  I got a baked potato that had beef brisket on it.  It was really good, and although it was small it was really filling.  Quite tasty. The best news about Nebraska was that I got 410 miles on one of my tanks of gas because it was so flat and straight.  A couple hours after lunch I got into Wyoming, and I was starting to get into some hills just a little bit but not mountains quite yet.  I was planning on stopping in Cheyenne, but I was doing good on gas and also not hungry so I kept going along a little bit further into Laramie before I stopped for dinner and gas.  At this point I was about to get into the Rockies and wanted to make sure I was good to go.

This is the point I wish I could have taken pictures while I was driving.  The Eastern Wyoming landscape is just amazing.  There are no trees (it may technically be High Desert but I’m not sure) and the hills and mountains just look like random piles of rock strewn about.  It really reminded me of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars, I even saw a rock that almost looked like a hood ornament.  The other thing was, the Rockies at that point don’t seem so high, but when you’re already at 8000 feet elevation, that’s deceiving.  I could see snowcapped mountains both to the South (in Colorado) and to the North (Possibly in Montana, or northern Wyoming) but that one spot was a pretty straight shot through the mountains without getting to curvy or high up.  I imagine that’s why they put a wagon trail through there 200 years ago.  Makes sense.

At this point it was getting dark, and I knew I was going to have to stop for gas soon, and I was passing through the town of Rock Springs, which really did make me thing I was driving through Cars Land.  Just this little town dwarfed by these huge rock formations.  I kept looking for a Shell station since I had gift cards but didn’t see anything, and then as I got back out of town I was thinking, well I hope I can make it to a gas station.  I knew I was getting close.  I had seen signs for a huge truck stop that was about 30 miles away, and I figured I could make it there.  My “get gas” light turned on about 15 miles away from the exit I needed, and in my head, I know I had plenty of time to get to the place, but it was a little nerve wracking since I knew I was going to be coasting in on fumes again.  I stopped and got gas and also a cup of coffee since I still had a couple more hours of driving to do.  I was about an hour away from the Utah border and then had about another hour until I got to Ogden where my next hotel stop was.  It was dark now so no more sight seeing, just driving.

The roads getting into Ogden were very hilly and curvy and yet had a very high speed limit (65MPH) which made me very uncomfortable.  If I was a local who lived there, or if it had been daylight it might not have been that bad, but as it was in the dark after another long day of driving it was extremely tense for the last hour or so.  I finally got into Ogden and had a little bit of a mini adventure as the exit numbers were not even remotely close to what I was looking for.  But in this case it turned out to be because another highway joining in and then the numbers changed.  This hotel was much easier to find and I got settled in for the night.  I checked into my hotel in Ogden at 11PM local time.  My watch was still on Eastern and my cell phone was updating automatically, but at this point I really didn’t have a clue what time it actually was, and I wasn’t even sure what day of the week it was anymore, I just knew I had one more day of driving.













Good morning from Ogden Utah.

Finally, the last day of the trip.  The day I get to Oregon.  I was ready to hit the road, but also by this point I was so done with driving.  Each of the days weren’t too bad until late into the night when it was dark and I was tired, but this day I was only about two hours down the road and I was mentally done.  I was just ready to be done driving.  There wasn’t really anything exciting about this day, but Utah and Idaho were fairly scenic up in the mountains.  I stopped for lunch in Boise Idaho at a place called McGrath’s Fish house (a chain that is here in Portland as well) and got Rainbow trout for the first time (it was really good!).  It said it was “from Idaho” so I figured why not give it a try? I’m glad I did, it was very good.  At this point I was about an hour away from the Oregon border.  I still had a long way to go, but at least at that point I would know I was almost there.













I made it!

I had finally made it to Oregon.  I had about 6 more hours to go before I got to Portland, but at least I was in the right state.  Lisa had asked me to pay attention to what I thought about Eastern Oregon so I could compare it to Western Oregon and I have to say, Eastern Oregon really threw me for a loop.  It was like driving through a topographical map.  The hills and mountains were grass covered but had NO trees.  You could see every dip and crease and crevice in the hills and it was like driving along the surface of a 3D globe where the surface was 2D but it had “depth”.  It was pretty surreal.













This is what they mostly looked like, many of them with even less trees than this one has.  It was kinda crazy.  After I passed through the Cascade mountains the scenery changed to more of what you expect of the Pacific Northwest with very tall evergreen trees (Mostly different types of Fir trees as opposed to the Pine trees back home).  At this point I was following the Columbia river right along the Oregon/Washington state line as I made my way into Portland.

At about 7PM Local time (which my body still thought was 10PM) I finally made it to Portland!!!!











This is what it’s all about! Finally get to be here with Lisa. I’m glad I finally made it.

So, all told I drove about 2800 miles, starting at 10:30 AM on Tuesday and finishing at 10PM (eastern time) on Friday for a good 84 hours of travel (about 42 of which was “seat time” in the car). I passed through 11 states along the way counting North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon (and made it to Washington State my second day here to visit Lisa’s family).











This is my state’s visited map from before the trip – 16 states (and DC), although I feel like I’m missing a couple from here.











And this is my states visited map from after the drive (including Washington from Day 2), 26 states (plus DC).  I’ve now visited half the country! You can see where I cut a swath through the middle of the country.  I’ve got the Eastern seaboard from Pennsylvania – South and most of the Southeast taken care of.  The Northeast is still unexplored (I’ve been to Mass. for a job interview and NYC for an airport layover, but those don’t count).  Somehow in all of my adventures in the midwest, Indiana got missed but I’ve been everywhere around it.  I’ve got the entire West coast covered now, but I know me and Lisa are planning a trip to Seattle at some point, and also eventually a trip to Disneyland, so Washington and California will be repeats I’m looking forward to!

And that my friends, is how you drive across the country in 4 days.. although I don’t recommend it.

(Totally worth it though!!)

Changes in Latitude…

I’ve lived in North Carolina all my life.  Born in Charlotte, grew up in Marshville (country town east of Charlotte), college at NC State in Raleigh, first job in Greensboro, back to Raleigh for more school, current job in Winston Salem.  I’ve bounced around the state and hit several of the major metro areas, but always been within the state.

In two weeks that changes.  Two weeks from today I will embark on a four day, ten state, 2800 mile journey across the country to my new home in Portland Oregon.

This is both exciting…. and terrifying.

Of course waiting for me in Portland is my amazing girlfriend Lisa, who is both the reason for the move and the source of my courage to do it.  Everything I’ve heard about the Pacific Northwest is positive, from her, from friends who have been there, from friends who are dying to go.

One of the huge things with this move is I am cutting free a lot of ballast that’s been dragging me down for the last couple of years and through move after move.  I’m not taking any furniture with me, if it doesn’t fit in my car, it’s getting left behind (the current source of my anxiety), no furniture and even my “collectables” and memorabilia has been pared down to what I truly cannot live without.  Turns out “stuff” doesn’t make you happy.  Love and attention from a loved one and your friends and family does.  Who knew? This is a mind blowing revelation and YES I fully understand I’m 32 years behind the curve here.  This should be something known from a young age, but as my parents will attest I am stubborn and hard headed.  I’ve needed this sort of “clean slate” reboot for quite a while.  This will be very good for me, mental healthwise.

The trip itself is an adventure it it’s own right.  I will pass through at least a portion of 10 states including – Half of North Carolina, half of Tennessee, a small cut through of Kentucky, the bottom “point” of Illinois, all the way across Missouri, all the damn way across Nebraska (flat and straight), all the way across the southern part of Wyoming (just above the Wyoming/Colorado border), cut across the top corner of Utah, into the bottom part of Idaho and then finally all the way across Oregon from East to West.  This will include stops in Nashville, TN, St Louis, MO, Lincoln, NE, Kearney, NE (Fort Kerney), Cheyenne, WY, Ogden, UT and Boise, ID.










That’s quite a trip isn’t it?  Interestingly enough, once I get outside of Kansas City, MO I’ll be following pretty closely along the route of the original Oregon Trail.  Which makes sense when you think about it.  Wagon road over time becomes the easiest way to go West through the mountains.  Wagon road becomes road becomes highway becomes Interstate.

The wheels, speaking of wagons, are in motion now.  I’ve given my final notice at work, I’ve told my landlord I’m leaving, I’ve cancelled my YMCA membership.  I’ve started a series of dinners and meetings with friends I’m jokingly calling my “Farewell tour”.  I’ll hang out with my parents and my best friend this weekend, friends from work after my last day, and my running buddies the Saturday before I leave.

Obviously there will be some disruption in the blog as it may be a couple weeks before I get everything back up and running depending on computer/internet situation where I am living, but I promise I’ll be back up and updating before long and with lots of cool new pictures of hiking around Mt St Helens, running in Seattle, maybe doing something totally crazy like the Hood to Coast relay, so stay tuned, it will be worth it.. I promise!

“Head West young man.. haven’t you been told, California Portland, Oregon’s full of Whiskey, women and gold…”

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.