Saturday, March 31, 2012

Do I Have To Go Back To Work?

After yesterdays little kayaking expedition and the back soreness from helping my dad haul an elliptical up the stairs of their house, I wasn't really interested in doing anything but staying right where I was on my couch last night.  I even had invites on the table for different things, but I just wasn't going to budge.  That was until I got the text from Matt.  Now there is different people that you can kind of pass off when they make claims, but when MCarver says put on your pants because tonight's going to be awesome you take notice.  So, to my initial dismay, I put on said pants, combed my hair, brushed my teeth, and headed out the door to meet them over at the Hard Rock.

The night just wouldn't have started right if we didn't eat all of those crab legs.  Somehow I survived that portion of the night without getting a spot on the white shirt I was wearing.  I have to admit, I was pretty proud of that little fact because i'm constantly blemishing perfectly good looking clothes with one thing or another.  We headed out of there to meet up with some of Leah's friends.  Now her friends had never been there and were pretty willing so they wanted to check out everything.  I'm not always the biggest fan of some of the places we went into last night, but if it's for a good cause (entertainment) i'm always up for it!  

After we had spent a little time taking in a little music from the Dustin Kahlil Band at center bar we headed over into roadhouse to see what was happening.  We were having fun listening to the music and people watching when Matt walks over to me with a proposition.  The proposition was in the form of tequila in shot glasses with a little salt and lime.  I guess if we are going to do this we better do it right!  Down the hatch they went and Kyle's switch was being flipped.  Tequila is my weakness.  Everyone reacts differently.  As for my reaction, it's something like "look out here comes Kyle Go-Go party mode."  

SN:  There was a guy at the bar there that refused to believe that I wasn't Zac Brown.  I could've probably used that to my advantage and gotten drinks for my entire crew, but I still had morals at this point and couldn't bring myself to do it.  He kept telling me how great the song "Colder Weather" was.  I just nodded and left.  I wish I could say that no one else misidentified me for the rest of the night but that is not true.  The nights are riddled with random Alan and Zach comments.  I need to start writing them down.  Back to the night...

While I was beginning to feel the tequila warmth spread throughout my torso I was informed that we were headed up to the ledge now.  One of my friends had already asked me, that night, if I was going to be headed up to the "tool" bar.  I answered honestly with "I can't make any promises."  Good thing I did because "tool" bar here we come.  As we were walking in I had to pull Matt aside and make him promise that he wouldn't let me take any more shots at the moment.  Between the evil mixture of crab legs, beer, and tequila, if I had added anything else to that mixture it probably would have all returned back to the world through the same entrance that led it to my stomach.  So, thankfully this isn't one of "those" stories this time.  We stayed in there for a bit.  It was hotter than hell in that place and Matt kept presenting me with small glasses of a wonderful blue concoction so my situation wasn't improving.  

We decided to press on and head over to the Beau.  This is when things began getting a little funny.  (At least we thought it was funny)  As we were about to head out the front doors of HR Matt stopped us to expose a discovery.  He found shoes!  They were just sitting there as if someone had just walked out of them and never turned back.  We may end up on a news report or some hidden camera show, but Matt decided to just go ahead and carry them out with us.  If they are yours, you can figure out how to contact me! haha

Recognize these???

If you've been to the hard rock then you've probably seen the little ad car on the west side of it up on the side walk.  Chances are you've probably taken pictures in front of it.  I seem to be collecting pictures of myself with all kinds of different people in front of it.  It's kind of a running log of my social life.  Anyway, we decided we needed one last night so Matt flagged someone down.  Sometimes you just end up picking out the winners.  We all squeezed in for the picture, smiled, and waited for the flash.  Flash!  Thanks man, we really appreciate it.  Here was the result I saw when looking at my phone.

Nice!  We all look like we're having such a great time!

We flagged down someone else for a second attempt.  This one turned out a little bit better.

I can remember saying, "Ok, everyone come in close so
we all look like best friends!" I think we may have even
pulled it off!  haha I make myself laugh sometimes.  
Notice the shoes between my knees? 

I'm pretty sure it was raining as we were making our way down the sidewalk to the Beau, but we didn't care.  I have a long list of stories related to the Coast nightclub.  Most of them involve either myself or someone in my group getting kicked out.  We have a real love/hate relationship, but we were giving it another shot.  Speaking of shots apparently I was ready for those again at this point too because the Jager bombs we had just tossed down had me to the point of can't sit still.  I'm not a club type person by any stretch, but when I get into that condition I always think that I am.  Oh well, I'm sure everyone else ends up enjoying it.  

This song played at one point and I'm sure I annoyed 
everyone to no ends because I couldn't stop singing it!
As "cool" as I think that I am on these night, i'm sure
it's a lot more like Seth Rogen's character here.

On the topic of "cool," that is something that I am not.  Everyone reacts to their increasing levels of inebriation differently.  Some people get angry and want to yell and fight, that's not me.  Some people cry, not me either.  Some people get really annoying, can't rule that one out you'll have to be the judge.  Then some people are kind of like me.  I can get a little talkative.  I'm definitely laughing because everything seems funny, and I get way more out going and friendly, but that's pretty normal for most people.  I always wish I had "game," but sadly I just don't.

We stayed in there for a while until Matt and myself completely had ourselves convinced that we needed to be at Mezo's.  We parted ways with some of the group, dropped Leah off on my couch, and me and Matt head for "home."  I call it home because i'm pretty sure that's what I called it when I walked in there last night.  This place was popping for 3 in the morning!  It was a full house and they were all having fun.  I sure do love that place!  Mezo introduced us to her strawberry flavored pudding shots which were amazing enough that we instantly ordered more.  We hung out there and watched the crowd dwindle down before finally calling it a night.  

I woke up this afternoon with that awesome headache.  My dresser was littered with receipts and my hands were covered in the various stamps of the different establishments we had visited that night.  I looked in the mirror and had to laugh at the way I looked.  

I always censor the crazy people I meet.  I guess
i'm no exception!  

The headaches may not be fun, but they are endlessly worth it.  It turns me into the guy above when I wake up, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  This is the stuff life is made out of.  Who doesn't want to have great stories from the "good old days" when they "grow up?"  It's not me because i'm busy at work cataloging my list of tall tales.  Enjoy it while you can.

Until Next Time,

Friday, March 30, 2012

Paddle Faster I Hear Banjos!

So, here's the story.  I have been trying to do a lot a lot lately.  More specifically a lot that i've been talking about doing for a long time.  I've been making lots of plans and mainly just taking some time to myself to cross some of the things off of life's to do list.  Today I checked another one off.

My friend Jason and I have been talking about getting kayaks for probably a year and a half now.  The key word in that phrase is talking.  We end up texting each other late a night during work talking about how great it would be to be able to go take some paddling trips and what not.  This past week we made the joint decision to stop talking and start accomplishing.  So needless to say, we headed out yesterday with a mission in mind and came home with 2 brand new kayaks!  

What do you do when you get 2 new kayaks?  Well you take them out of course!  We headed out early this morning up to one of my favorite sections of black creek.  We parked my truck at the take out spot and headed upstream to launch.  Looking at the creek at the launch we could tell this might be a quicker trip than normal.  The creek was HIGH and FAST.  The crazy thing was that we could see the water line well above where it was today.  

The creek itself was in pretty rough shape.  All of the high fast water has taken it's toll on the creek. The banks have been eroded back pretty far which led to a lot of trees falling into the creek this year.  It might be a little hairy when the creek gets back down to normal level, but as for now most of the trees were well below us making for an easy run.

Taking a little break at one of the sandbars.  

You can actually see some of the eroded banks of the far shore.

Now, this is the first time i've ever ran this section of creek in anything besides a canoe.  The kayak is going to take a little getting used to, but I think i'll get the hang of it.  I'm so used to just free floating with the current in the creek.  The only problem with that was that the kayak really loves to float........ backwards.  I'm not even going to lie I just let it go.  I did a lot of reverse kayaking today.  I would just turn around and make sure I wasn't about to clobber a big stump or run through a wasp nest hanging out of the lower branches.  

I didn't risk bringing my camera with me on a maiden voyage so all the pictures on here today were taken by Jason on his phone.  There was one thing I wish I would've had an opportunity to photograph.  As we were headed down the creek I heard a bizarre sound.  When I looked up I saw a duck kind of skimming across the surface of the creek.  It was quite peculiar.  It seemed like a bit of a panic.  As we got closer I realized what was happening.  Against the shore I spotted her entire brood.  There must have been around a dozen tiny ducklings furiously paddling in the current and her strange behavior must have been some form of protective measure.  

Working on the reverse float.

Beautiful day on the creek!

I'm pretty sure we set some pretty good time on this stretch today.  We finished the 7 miles in around 4 hours.  I know that doesn't sound that fast, but at barely float speed with breaks that was pretty quick.  It's usually a full day trip for me.  As quick as the trip was, i'm still beat.  The sun will really take the life out of you sometimes, but I sure am glad it time for warm weather fun again.  I'm looking forward to dropping it back in the water again already!

Until Next Time,

Check this machine out!  We saw this down on Biloxi beach yesterday.  
We couldn't resist a closer look.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1000 Awesome Things

I don't often post like this, but when I do it's typically for good reason.  You can be the judge on that one.  I follow quite a few blogs, so i'm always catching up on new posts.  I was flipping through my list the other night at work and came across a post by Neil Pasricha over at 1000 Awesome Things.  There was just something about the title that caught my eye and told me I needed to take a look.  The post was titled #19 Remembering all you've learned from old boyfriends and girlfriends.  The title alone depicts a post that could take you in many different directions.  What did he mean by all you've learned?  I had to know so I clicked on the link and began reading.  As I was reading I kept looking down at the post to see if I could see the end because I wanted it to just keep going.  

Relationships are tough sometimes.  They are filled of many ups and downs.  I know only a very select few people that have fallen in love with and married their first love.  Coming to the end of a relationship is never easy.  (No matter how easy some people say it might be.)  There are many reasons people go their separate way.  My favorite from this post was:  

"Or maybe you were in a relationship where you couldn’t really explain it but smiled sad smiles with weary wet eyes because you both just knew it was over"

Have you ever been there?

The whole point of that post was to evoke emotion and that it did.  He says that it's ok to explore those past relationships because they were shaping you into the person you are today.  Isn't that the truth!?  They may have ended badly, but you don't have to go on only thinking negatively about the situation.  

Ok I feel like i'm babbling now.  Follow the links to the post and see for yourself!

Until Next Time,

Friday, March 23, 2012

He's Got the Moves Like Jagger

I didn't really feel like sitting around the house last night, so after hanging out with some friends for a bit I headed down to Mezo's for karaoke night.  Now i've been down there for a couple of these nights, but last night took home the prize for the most bizarre.  The typical Thursday night crowd down there is mid 20-30 somethings just kind of chilling out and having a good time.  There was a good bit of this demographic, but there were a couple of treats thrown in.  There was a bit of an older crowd mixed in and this older crowd was something else.  They were straight out of the 60's!  It was like they had been transported back in time but in their present bodies.  There was even a couple of the super trashy crowd not commonly seen in there.

When the karaoke started up they seemed to be the only people signing up.  The first song that was sung was Tiny Dancer by Elton John.  I'm going to call the character of the night Jagger because he sure thought he was.  From the way he held the mic, to the way he moved and waved his arms, he knew that me was Mick Jagger.  He was the one that started the night off with tiny dancer.  He only knew about half of the words and didn't bother looking at the screen for the rest.  He mumbled out the first verses while the majority of the crowd sat there stunned or laughing.  Then it happened.  I was sitting in superb anticipation while he was nearing the chorus.  There is so much potential for disaster or glory.  The music builds up and then, to my amazement, the entire bar breaks into song! "Hold me closer tiny dannnnnceer!"  I was thinking "it this really happening right now?"  He may not have known the words, and he may not have been able to sing, but he knew how to pick a song and work the crowd!  I began smiling at this point and waited to see what was on it's way.

A man with stocky build and a big burly beard got up.  I was wondering what he might possibly sing?  Is it going to be some Hank Williams Jr. or maybe Lynyrd Skynryd?  No!  He sang, and knew every word of, the Humpy Dance!  The humpty dance is your chance to do the hump.  Do the humpty hump!  Then we went back to the sixties again.  A lady that had been kind of just walking quietly around the bar all night got up and sang Me and Bobby McGee.  Of course it was terrible, but that's beyond the point.  It was happening.  The most bizarre night of karaoke was in full swing.  Then it became pure madness.  

Guess who was due back up?  Here comes Jagger back up to the stage.  He has had several more drinks by this point and was ready to get his act into full swing.  What is he going to sing this time?  Then he goes for it.  He chose Honky Tonk Women by the one and only Rolling Stones!  It was time for him to truly become Jagger.  He grabbed that mic and started to strut.  The music started and he lit into the song.  A crowd had gathered out in front and began to dance. (I really love drunk people watching!)  He is really getting into it.  He hits the chorus and the place erupts again.  The entire 60's crew is singing along as well as the 20-30 somethings.  Then something even crazier happens.  One of the "super trashy" crew comes in, hits the dance floor, and next thing you know her shirt is swinging around her head!  She is in total free spirit mode dancing it out for everyone's entertainment.  When she was done singing she spent a few minutes going from person to person in the bar and randomly flashing them.  I looked over at the karaoke host, who is also one of the bartenders, and we both gave each other a puzzled look.  A look that was the equivalent of saying, "is this really happening right now?"

We both agreed that this was one of the most bizarre crowds that we had ever seen in there.  My mind was completely boggled by everything that was happening.  You really never know what you are going to run into when you head out downtown.  Last night was just further proof to me that I live in one of the best places that you could imagine.  I love Ocean Springs!

Jagger was just living the dream!

Who Jagger really thought he was.  I often wish
I could be transported back to these days to catch
some of these amazing shows!  Rock and Roll was 
a completely different beast back then.  Look at it!
No fancy pyro, no lights, nothing!  They are up there
with their instruments and mics and straight up 
attitude!  It's pure madness there!

So, i've got a question for you guys today.  We are talking about Jagger from last night here.  Do you think he is secretly a total genius or nothing more than a local drunk?  Think about it.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free Music That Doesn't Even Suck!

Free music isn't a hard thing to find online these days.  That's a true story.  Plenty of bands are willing to promote their music with free stuff, but not all of them are even remotely good.  I came across something that left me in amazement today!  Anyone that's been around me for any length of time has heard me talk about Star & Micey.  If you haven't heard of them i'm going to tell you right now to go and listen.  Now let me tell you the best part!  They have a TON of free music on their website!

I had already gotten everything I could get my hands on, but obviously hadn't spent enough time browsing their website to find this little gem.  I just spent the last little bit downloading and listening to everything I could.  Honestly it's all pretty great!  I loved the rawness of the Mississippi Wine - Alabama Whiskey album.  If you're looking for a more polished and accomplished sound their newer Emerge Memphis Sessions may suit your needs a little better.

The best word that I can think of to describe their sound is Real.  There is a lot of emotion in the music and that really comes across in their recordings.  You can feel it.  It's easy to tell that they aren't trying to impress anyone but each other.  They play the music that feels good and it really works.  I truly wish more bands could figure this fact out.  My favorite newly discovered song, so far, has been Grace Askew from the Emerge Memphis Sessions.  Go get it people!  You have no excuse when it's free!

I think I finally have enough for a little bit!

To find your way to the downloads page follow this link.  Your going to land on the Emerge Memphis Sessions downloads page.  Make sure you get that one, then look over to the right side of the page for many more opportunities for great music!

I've posted this video before.  If you've never heard them
before, this is a great way to meet Star & Micey!  This
song is also available for download on their site.

I've provided links to their Facebook and website above.  Here is their twitter.  If you can't find them you can no longer blame me!  Go and and enjoy their gift of free music!

Thanks guys!

Until Next Time,

I Don't Hate the Rainy Days

As I got to work last night the skies were starting to darken up pretty significantly.  I had seen the forecast and the weather was definitely on it's way.  As the night progressed we started hearing the thunder cracking outside and were seeing the lighting flashes outside the windows.  My anticipation was starting to grow.  I was wishing I was at home enjoying it for sure.  The good news is that it isn't something that will just blow over in a hurry.

I think we left work at the perfect time this morning.  The rain was just light enough that we didn't receive a thorough soaking on the way to our vehicles.  Within minutes of leaving I found the down pour.  I could barely see at one point.

Driving down the beach to my place.

As I was nearing my apartment the rain lightened once again allowing me to make it inside without  getting soaked.  I got inside and looked out over the harbor and began seeing the potential.  There is nothing like sleeping with the sound of the rain and wind.  The good news, this is a REALLY good rain.  It's a good hard rain.  My only real plan for today was to take a nap and catch up on a little sleep.  I don't think this is going to be a problem at this point.  There are plenty of other things that can make a rainy day very enjoyable, but today i'm going to be satisfied with this rainy nap.

Well i'm off to fulfill my plans for the day.  I hope you're not a rain hater!  Enjoy it..

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Natchez Trace Part 2

Looking back at this point in my trip, I wish I had made the decision to just stay put at Rocky Springs and not push it for the rest of the day.  Hindsight is 20/20 right?  I guess I know for next time at least.  

It was about 2 in the afternoon when I left Rocky Springs.  I was thinking that with the extra hour of daylight I wouldn't have a problem getting to Jeff Busby State Park around mile 180.  I made it in plenty of time, but at the expense of spending more time visiting the sights of the trace.  

Back on the road

Around mile 90 you come to what I consider to be the highlight of the trace between RS and JB.  The trace runs right along side of the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, MS for about 10 miles.  The best part of it is that is all you see.  No buildings, no crowds, just you, the trace, and the reservoir.  The only drawback to this portion of the road is there was a little more traffic.  With the close proximity to the state capital, this section of the trace is used as a bypass for many of the residents.  This was the only portion of the entire trace where I felt like anyone was trying to rush me.  I'm not easily persuaded and never sped up.  I was on a mission to take it all in.  I came to a great overlook on the reservoir, so I had take a little while to lay back in the grass and enjoy the peace.  

Me enjoying my little spot of peace and quiet.

I'm not always a huge fan of the solitude that comes with being alone, but it's not always a bad thing.  I am always surprised at how refreshed I feel after an extended period away from it all.  It gives you too much plenty of time for reflection.  You can only hide from yourself for so long when you have that kind of time.  The amazing thing I always find is how much you truly learn about yourself.  It can be an emotional roller coaster.  One minute you're laughing and the next minute you're crying.  You'll catch yourself yelling at the top of your lungs, talking to yourself, singing to the radio, and sometimes just sitting there silently.

There isn't a lot to get real excited about between the reservoir and Jeff Busby, but that was the perfect time for all of this emotional dwelling.  It's a good stretch and no less pretty than any others.  The only real landmark I even took a picture of was a sign depicting the area where the former Choctaw boundary was when the former travelers were making their way through to Nashville.

I arrived at Jeff Busby State Park around 6 in the evening.  I headed up the road, following signs, to an overlook in the park.  It wasn't much of an overlook being in Mississippi, but it was still worth the 2 minute drive.  After I was satisfied with the sights, I headed to the campground to claim my spot.  I got some puzzled looks when all I set up was a hammock.  Most of the other residents at this park were is motor homes, so I was a little out of place.  The good thing was that, like all the other parks, it wasn't that crowded.  The only problem I had was that the person directly beside me decided to crank up their generator right as I was laying down.  Luckily they only ran it for a bit and cut it back off.  

My bed for the evening.

Dinner time.

The sky that first night.

I have to admit something.  My night didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped it would.  I've been doing plenty of camping early this year, but the weather is completely different now.  The warmer weather makes for a completely different camping experience.  The two biggest factors were bugs and the dew.  I got eaten alive and by midnight I had crawled up into the cab of my truck and gotten a lot more comfortable away from the bugs.  When I got up everything that I had left out was soaked from the dew and I spent the entire next day trying to dry it out.  Lesson learned!

Make sure to check out my ENTIRE album on Facebook.

Check back often for the latest chapters in my journey!

Thanks for the continued support!

Until Next Time,

Monday, March 19, 2012

The St. Patrick's Day Massacre

This day had the potential of turning into a completely different story, but because of the amazing friends I have it turned into another one of those memories I hope we will be talking about when we are old.  My original plans involved me going downtown to our local pub crawl and probably calling it a night early.  Thanks to Matt and very little convincing I decided to catch a ride over to Waveland to celebrate St. Pat's/Leah's birthday with the rest of the crew.

I still started out downtown though!  I met Perry and Lucy down at the Government St. Grocery for some lunch and an amazing Abita Strawberry.  The food down there is fantastic and the fact that they had the strawberry in stock, there was no other choice for me!

If you haven't tried it you must!

When we finally made it over to Waveland we got right down to business.  We started washing and purging all the crawfish and working our way into the keg.  

Logan torturing the crawfish!

Me "examining" the crabs.  Delicious!

Once we had the first load into the pot we decided it was time for the first toast.  I came prepared for this moment and broke out my little surprise!

Green Jello Shots!  Oh yeah!

With the jello shots down the hatch, the party was ready to take off.  We kept an even keel on any shenanigans until all the eating was done.  Eating crawfish in too impaired of a state can be dangerous!  They were SOOOO good too.  This is the first I think anyone of us has had all year.  Once bellies were full we kicked it in to high gear.

We headed inside to escape the ferocious bugs and cranked up the music.  We polished off the jello shots and Matt decided it was time for the Irish car bombs.  I'll never turn one of these delicious collaborations of Irish liquors down.  Matt admitted to me, the next day, that he doesn't remember much after this point! This is where I insert hysterical laughter to myself.  haha.  The night didn't end there for me.

After the car bomb experience a couple of us were standing at the bar flipping cups just showing each other how good we were at it and we decided it was time to begin the games.  We all decided that we were WAY too good at flip cup and that beer pong sounded like a much better idea.  Matt's brother and myself went outside to retrieve the table, walked it through the door, and relocated it into the kitchen.  Perfect fit!  We established the ground rules and then battled it out in rock, paper, scissors to determine which team would go first.  Before we began I decided we needed another round of the Irish Car Bombs.  This probably wasn't the best idea, but Matt set them back up (even though he doesn't remember this) and down the hatch they went.  

Time to play!  We got it going and it was easy to see, from very early on, that this wasn't going to turn out well for my team.  Cups were leaving our side of the table in a hurry and with back to back shots Perry and Matt's brother cleared the table and filled my stomach with way too much beer.  "Uh oh... i'm not feeling so good guys" was the only words I could really say after this game.

I ambled around the house for a bit denying the inevitable, but who was I fooling?  I made an announcement to the room that I would return in a few minutes and headed out the back door.  I returned a few minutes later victorious (you can fill in the time gaps here) and ready to rock!  I was in full on Kyle go go mode and started yelling for someone to set them back up.  I insisted that everyone return to their feet and return to being awesome.  They all did because they are awesome and we continued into the night.  I continued my losing streak in beer pong, but it didn't matter because we were having a blast!

Perry in the middle of another beating!  It 
must have been the tight t-shirt that gave him
his powers! haha.  I remember taking this picture
because I thought the way the other team
decided to consolidate their cups was hilarious!
3+1+1= Really guys?

The night continued on and eventually wound down.  Some people left. Others just fell asleep where they were.  I was the last one awake.  I was laying on the couch thinking about how great of a St. Pat's this was.  I really do have some amazing friends and wouldn't trade any of them for anything in the world.  We get a little crazy from time to time, but that's just life!

We woke up the next day and for the most part felt pretty miserable. I remember Matt asking how the table got into the kitchen and then retelling the nights events!  I felt ok, but I must've still had some alcohol in my system because my hangover didn't set in really hard until after we ate Waffle House.  We were all pretty slow moving on Sunday, but we still had a plan.  We were going to recover the best way we knew.  We loaded up and headed down to the beach.  Once we got down there everyone started feeling a lot better and all the smiles and laughter started to return.  I enjoyed receiving my first sunburn of the season.  It was the perfect relaxing ending to a pretty fantastic weekend!

I'm back to work tonight.

Until Next Time,

Happy Birthday Leah!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Natchez Trace Part 1

When planning this trip, I honestly didn't make too many plans.  I kind of had a rough outline of the things I wanted to do, but I didn't really know what to expect.  All I knew was that it was time to get away for a bit and hit the road!  

Day 1 started early; 4am to be exact.  I hopped in the shower and got clean for one last time, threw everything into my truck, cranked it up, hit play on the ipod, and hit the road!  The weather was a little ominous that first morning, but after seeing the forecast I felt like I would go through it all before I got to Natchez and my trip should be fine.  I was feeling good hitting the road.  I made one more pass down our little beach then turned it north.  

The music was loud and I made it to Hattiesburg before I knew it.  The weather was BAD at this point so I decided to swing into my favorite breakfast spot Wards.  I took a few minutes to look over the map on my phone and decide on my best plan of action.  I pointed my truck east and headed out on this journey.  Before too long I had successfully made it clear of the weather and the skies opened up into a beautiful blue for a bit.  It didn't last long enough before it was overcast again.  

The only thing that I HAD to do before getting on the trace in Natchez was to go see the Mississippi river.  I'm sure anyone that's been on trip with me that get anywhere close to the river aren't far from being sick of hearing me talk about it.  There is just something about it that connects me.  So much history on that river.  I can see why Mark Twain was so inspired every time i'm close to it.  When I finally made it there I had to spend some time just hanging out.  I sat on my tailgate and did a little writing as I soaked it all in.

My view over the big river.

When I was finally satisfied with the amount of soaking it in I had done it was time to locate the trace.  This turned into quite the task.  I felt like I drove around in circles for hours and just kept missing it.  In reality it really didn't take very long, but needless to say when I finally found it I felt accomplished.

And it begins!

I was finally on the trace.  Here goes nothing right?  444 miles at 50mph is exactly what I needed. I learned quickly that you can really spend a lot of time out there and not make it very far at all.  It took me well over 3 hours to make it past mile marker 17, but there is just SO much to see in that first stretch.  I stopped at the 2nd largest Indian mound in the United States, Emerald mound. I visited the restored Inn that was the first stopping point for travels on the trace 200 years ago, Mount Locust.  Then I got to do what I was really interested in doing and that's some hiking!  I spent some time talking to one of the park rangers at Mount Locust about access to the original trace sections.  He made it a point to let me know that this is no Appalachian Trail.  Most of the original trace is long overgrown, part of the current trace, and just gone with time, BUT there quite a few sections of the original trace still remain.  Along the parkway there were numerous signs pointing to sections of the original trace.

Me near the top of Emerald Mound
(Note: Emerald Mound was a ceremonial mound, not a 
burial mound.  Therefore you were allowed to visit the top.  
The burial mounds along the trace were viewing only.)

Mount Locust.
Had a great tour from a volunteer named Mike.  Thanks again!

My highlight of day 1 came between mile 16 and 17.  The ranger directed me to a 3 mile stretch of the trace off the beaten path.  He explained that it wasn't very well marked, so not many people use it.  There was no sign to it off of the parkway, but once you got off the road signs did direct you there, but it definitely didn't look like it was used much.  That is right up my alley!  After following a small path you emerge on the original Natchez Trace.  It was amazing.  I could really feel the history in there.  How many people had walked over this same spot in the last couple hundred years?  Which important historical figures have been right here?  This is what I needed!  I felt completely connected to the history and was completely taken in by it.  One of the fantastic features of this area is the soil.  It's a very light soil that is quite easily eroded.  This, coupled with the foot traffic over several hundred years, has left the trace sunken pretty deeply in places.  It was kind of eerie walking through the trace when you couldn't see what was above you.  I felt like this would've been a pretty great ambush place for the trail robber's of the past.  I plan on coming back and I plan on spending much more time on the trail systems of the trace.

Me on a sunken section of the Trace.

Why is this always an unavoidable aspect of such 
greatness?  I did my part to leave no trace and picked
up several items during my hike.

After my time on the original trace I headed back to the road and pushed on.  The drive was amazing at this time of year.  Everything was in bloom, the temperature was nice, so it all made for a very enjoyable drive.  I don't know that I ever rolled my windows back up.

The next point of interest I came to was the ghost town of Rocky Springs.  This was also the first campground on the trace.  It was somewhere around mile marker 58.  This is one of the great aspects of the trace.  The three campgrounds along the way were all no fee, no reservation campgrounds.  Everything was very clean and accommodating.  All of the campgrounds were also at places of historical importance.  This ghost town was once home to over 2,600 people, but now all that remains is a church and a couple of rusting safes.  There was a great little trail winding through the former town site and plenty of informative plaques to explain everything you could want to know about Rocky Springs.  The really great thing about this town is that the church is still maintained to this day.  It was built in 1837.  The doors are always open, so I stopped in for a visit.  It was very nice and quiet considering I was the only person there.  I took a couple of minutes to sit down and hang out in there.  It gave me the perfect opportunity to do some thinking and reflect on different aspects of life.  

The Rocky Springs Methodist Church

I pressed on over another 100 miles from Rocky Springs this first day, but I think this is a good spot to cut this post off for today.  I don't want to make these posts too long and unbearable.  After all, even I don't like reading posts that are too long!  There is much more to come!  Check back often.  As soon as I finish my full albums I will be posting links to them on here.

Until Next Time,

The entire album!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quick Update Take 2

I put some good mileage in today. Well, 200 miles isn't nearly as impressive when it takes you all day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I made a LOT of stops today in my journey to get to this spot. I'll be posting in excruciating detail when I return home! ;) I called it a day at Meriwether Lewis state park tonight after paying my respects to the man himself. I snapped a couple more iPhone pics for you. Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Update

Travel day 1 is hopefully going down as a success. I started early and covered a lot of ground. I called it a day at mile marker 193 at the Jeff Busby campground. I managed to grab the last spot and happen to be the only non rv camper out here! Tomorrows destination is M. Lewis state park with multiple stops along the way. Did some hiking on the actual old trace and I've been taking tons of pictures! I snapped one with my iPhone so you could get a quick peek.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Life is Made Of

If you asked me what makes my world go round, I wouldn't have to think long to answer that question.  Friends make my world work.  I may be a little biased, but i've definitely got some good ones.  Over the last 2 days/nights i've gotten the chance to spend time with almost all of them.  Thinking about that even makes me feel a little accomplished! Of course there are stories that could be told, but this time I think i'm going to just keep them for us.  I promise there will be more stories to come in the future, but this time I just feel like this was something I needed and it just seems a little more personal to me.

I will tell you this.  I did something last night I haven't done in a long time.  I was awake long enough that I hit the point that I just decided to tough it out and watch the sunrise.  I can't tell you the last time i've watched the sunrise by choice.  Actually I do remember when it was!  It was back in October when I was out in Arizona.  I wanted to see the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, so I set my alarm for that. 

Anyway, I took a few pics.  The colors weren't as amazing as I had hoped they would be, but they can't be perfect every time.

The sun working it's way up over my little spot on the harbor.

The moon hung in there pretty late with me this morning.

Well, it's official.  I will be heading out on my adventure EARLY tomorrow morning.  I went and picked up some road supplies a little while ago, so it's really feeling close now.  I can't wait to get some miles under me and get this thing going.  I'm going to be heading straight to Natchez to start.  I've got to get down to the river before I start.  It's just one of those things I do.  I'll try to keep some updates going while i'm on the road, but look for some extensive posts when I get back.

I just want to say hey to all my new readers!  Thanks for finding interest in my little section of the world!  And of course thanks to all my faithfuls out there!  I appreciate everyone's continued support.

Until Next Time,

Oh... I'm going to have to write a post sometimes about all the nicknames people give me, or the celebrities they all want to compare me to.  Just because I have a beard doesn't mean I look like every bearded person you know of! haha...  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why I Don't Do Pre-Workout Supplements

There is a simple answer to this question, but i'm not a simple answer kind of person so here goes.  Me and my buddy Jason work out together from time to time.  I like having someone like him to work out with because it really pushes me to take it to the next level.  You will never get the results you desire without pushing yourself.  Me and him joke around a LOT about working out, so when I got the text yesterday that he was on his way with some "get jacked" juice, I knew I was in for it.

As time goes on, i've become more and more cautious about using different supplements.  Not necessarily because they are bad, but because I just don't tolerate that kind of thing very well for some reason.  I'll have a bad experience, go a couple of months and just kind of "forget" about it.  So when Jason showed up with a shaker full of pink liquid yesterday I was thinking, "hey, maybe i'll give this a shot again."  

This is the pink liquid in "JUG" form!

When we showed up at the gym and it was doing exactly what it's designed to do.  I had a ton of energy and we were blowing through our workout.  I'm sore enough today to prove it!  As the workout progressed, I started feeling it.  I wasn't feeling so hot.  I could feel it down in my stomach, but I kept just suppressing it and keeping on.  Then my mouth started watering a little.  I was thinking, "Oh no, this can't be good."  "Just walk it off, breath deep, and you'll be fine."  I started basically walking laps around the gym and wasn't really working out anymore.  When Jason asked if I was done, "oh yeah" was the only thing I could say.

After the workout Jason suggested going to Coffee Fusion for a smoothie.  I thought this sounded like a great idea so we headed in, ordered, and sat down.  About 2 minutes after we got our drinks I started feeling REALLY bad.  The kind of bad when you know the ending is inevitable.  My mouth starting watering like a faucet and I just said, "we need to go!"  We hopped in the truck and headed off back towards my place.  I had the window rolled down so the wind could blow in my face just hoping to make it home.  It seemed like the traffic wasn't moving and my place was farther that it's ever been.  When we got downtown all I could see was the people all around, so I quickly redirected Jason down a side road to get out of site of the crowd.  We were finally getting close and I was thinking that I just might make it.  I was WROOOONNNNNG!  I couldn't even speak.  I just pointed to the side of the road and out the window I went.  

Dramatic Re-Creation!  It kind of tasted and looked
exactly the same both times! haha, sorry for being
a little gross.

Needless to say, I've sworn that stuff off again for now.  Now we just wait and see if I "forget" again.  Let's hope not!  After this little event, I felt 100 times better and was able to continue my day without further incident.  

When I got back home, the construction workers were hard at work beginning the remodel of the recently vacated apartment.  This past fall the little complex I live in was completely remodeled for the first time since it was built back in 1957!  They were all remodel, but #1.  So finally they are tearing it out, much to my daytime sleep attempting dismay.  When we pulled up there was an off yellow tub laying in the driveway.  Talk about right out of the 50's!

Need a tub?

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to the National Seashore

Yesterday, after donating blood, I was told to not do anything strenuous for at least 24 hours.  That pretty much eliminated any plans I could have made for my one day off. After a little nap, I just couldn't find it in myself to stay around my place any longer, so I put on my shoes and headed out.  It was a supremely beautiful day, so I decided to head down to the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park, or at least our little section of it.  This is a pretty unique aspect to our little town of Ocean Springs.  We have a national park right in the middle of town!  

I started out, after parking my truck, by the trail head to the Davis Bayou Trail.  I always make the detour across the road to see if the alligator is visible on any given day.  I lucked out this time!

We have alligators all over this town, but this one is probably the most consistent viewing opportunity.  My dad had one living in the storm drain at his store one time.  They kept feeding it so it didn't leave until animal control finally dragged it off.  The biggest gators i've ever seen have been out on the barrier islands.  They are a little more free to do their own thing out there so they tend to get pretty big.

After visiting with the gator I headed onto the trail.  I've spent quite a bit of time on this little trail.  At 1/2 mile it doesn't take long to get around.  The appeal to me is that it's close and quiet.  I came out here when I was training for my trip to the Grand Canyon.  I would walk lap after lap with my weight vest on.  It paid off in the end.  I did something a little different this time.  I took my time!  I even grabbed one of the visitors guides and followed the points of interest.  In all the years i've been coming out here this is something i've never done.  It was a good little guide.  Plenty of info on the flora and fauna of the area and even some info about the ancient sand dunes that created the elevation changes in this area.  That explains the sandy trailbed!  I could have done without all the Hurricane Katrina references though.  

The trail is really nice and maintained.  Lots of great cover and I sure do love walking below all the Magnolias.  I'm looking forward to the bloom season.  That will add good smells the the benefits of heading out there.  

The Magnolia Cover

Fallen trees have led to some interesting rest opportunities.

After finishing this trail I followed the road around the old CCC camp trail.  This trail leads the the former site of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) headquarters from 1938-41.  I've always been fascinated by history and especially the history of the gulf coast.  The old roadbed is still visible in places off the side of the trail.  Then you come out to the overlook of the bayou at the foundations of their former dining hall.  It's a little visited point in the park and is definitely worth the short walk.

Three trees growing out of a single stump or three
trees that have grown together over time?  I'm not
sure but it's interesting either way.

View across Davis Bayou.

If you ever need to get away for a few hours, this is definitely the place to go.  It's small enough that it can all be seen in that amount of time and if you aren't from around here it's a great opportunity to learn about our coastal ecosystem.  I feel like i'm starting to sound like the Ocean Springs tourism board or something.  Come visit our town!  I guess i'm just proud of this little place and proud to have grown up here.  Again, if you're ever in town send me an email and i'll point you in the right direction.

Until Next Time,