Tuesday, November 21, 2017


 It was my birthday weekend and the wind forecast for the east coast was looking good.  I loaded up on Friday and headed east.  I was excited to finally get to the coast around Charleston and check out some of the windsurfing spots that I have been researching on the internet.  But this trip was about more than that.  It was about some alone time, soul searching, figuring out who I am, and who I want to be.  It seems that recently, I always have a dark cloud hanging over me, and I want to know why.

I'm sure some of it can be attributed to the time of year.  The expectations and excitement that used to consume me this time of year have been replaced with reality.  Maybe I have no yet accepted this reality.  But in order to accept it, I have to understand it and know what the new reality is.

 I made it to Mt Pleasant and checked in at the hotel.  If I'm going to make more trips like this,  I need to find cheaper lodging options!  But its my birthday, so  I enjoy the nice room and biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

After checking in and dropping my luggage off, I head to Station 29.  A couple of kiters are set up.  I chat with them to figure out important info like currents.   With the tide change of almost 6 feet,  depending on when and where, combined with wind direction,  a person could wind up far away from where they get on the water.
 I set up and play around for a couple of hours.  The wind is light, but I stay out, getting the feel of the area and looking forward to some strong wind on Saturday.

 Saturday rolls around and I head to the beach.  And wait, wait some more and wait most of the day.  Other wind seekers come.  Some stay, some go,  some come back later.  We are all looking at the forecast and waiting.  Finally enough wind comes in that I can at least scoot around on the water.  As I'm out, still getting a feel for the area, I stop and chat with some old dudes who are friendly.  We get a good laugh out of the bad forecast and I head back out. 

I head down the coast a bit to where some kiters are playing.  They have huge kites rigged and are making the most of the tame conditions.  There are 1 foot waves rolling in, so I take the opportunity to try wave sailing. 
 It turns out to be pretty fun and not to complicated in these mild conditions.  
The sun starts heading closer to the horizon and the wind totally dies.  I catch one more wave and pack it in for the day. 

Sunday, I take my time getting ready,  take a walk up the bridge to look at the harbor and then head over to Demetre Park.  A tiny little parked, tucked into the harbor side of James Island.  There is 1 windsurfer and 1 kiter.  The wind is good, but with the tide going out, the current is picking up to a point that going out is futile, unless I want to wind up out in the ocean.  I should have been there 2 hrs earlier.  But I wasn't.
I point the truck east and head towards Columbia SC.  Lake Murray is next on the list of spots to check out.  2 hrs later, I pull into the SC& G park.  The lake is covered in whitecaps and 1-2 foot swells.  Holy moly.  My stomach churns with excitement and fear of the unknown.  I chat for a minute with a sailor to make sure there is nothing weird that I need to watch out for, then rig up and head out.  It turns out that the looks of the lake are more menacing than conditions really.  I'm underpowered so I head back in and rig a bigger sail. 

The wind is tame, but I stay out. Because I'm here, and I'm stubborn.  Well,  after about an hour, my stubbornness pays off and the wind kicks up.  After 3 days of searching, I'm finally speeding across the top of the water, hooked in to the harness line, leaning out across the water, free and flying. 

On the way home and over the couple of days since, I come to the realization that my life has turned out differently than I had expected.  I have a great life, great wife and kid, great job, great friends and great community.  Things are great.  But even when things are great,  it is difficult to look past what could have been,  what should have been.  I guess it takes a while to get over rejection and feeling unwanted.  It takes a while for some wounds to heal.  It takes a lot of will power to focus on what reality is now compared to the dreams and aspirations that one had as a young adult.  What I thought was right, and what turns out to be real are 2 different things. 

But every day I get up,  I whisper thanks to God for what I have, what I'm going through, knowing that what is to come is more amazing than what has been.  I hug my family and sit down to figure what needs to get done that day (of course there is coffee).  And I check the wind forecast.  Because just as I know that there will be more good wind days,  I also know thatreality is often realized as I wait, and truth is spoken in that still small wind. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Burned Out?

Good grief.   Its my birthday month,  I have some time off,  I can take a road trip, windsurfari, go bikepacking.... basically anything I want to do.  But man, if I'm not having trouble deciding what to do, much less getting excited about taking any trip.  I need to just pick something a go with it. But I don't have this opportunity often, so I want to make sure the experience is good.  The fact is, I don't really have control over the outcome, especially if its weather related.

Here are my options:
  •  Mtn Biking Car Camping Road Trip- drive around the southeast to assorted mountain biking destinations and ride till my legs fall off
  • Windsurfari- drive to the east coast, chase the wind and windsurf til my arms fall off
  • Bikepacking trip- pick one of the many bikepacking routes now available in the southeast, anywhere from Damascus VA to Ocala FL   
The weather is getting a little cold/rainy/freezing for bikepacking.  I have found that while I can endure wintry weather long distance bikepacking, I enjoy stopping to smell the roses and enjoying the summer sunshine.  Can't do that if it is freezing rain on my head.

Windsurfari,  the wind might peter out, leaving me with long walks on the beach.... maybe that's just what I need?

Mtn Biking Car Camping Road Trip..... trying to get excited

I'm sure  I need a break.  I love, love, love what I do.  The people I work with are amazing, my employee and volunteers make it possible for me to have a little time off.  My family is awesome and understanding of my wanderlust. 

But good grief,  what's it gonna take for me to get excited and get out the door?

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Avoiding the Rain

The forecast was for rain in Asheville.  I checked the weather for Greenville SC,  there was 0% chance of rain.  I decided to head down to ride Paris Mtn, and then back to the parking spot in Travelers Rest via the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

The plan was going well until I got changed and grabbed my cycling shoes.  I had brought my road bike, and my mountain bike shoes. 

Options,  change back to street clothes and just ride in street shoes.... uhhh.  Fortunately, I had parked next to the Sunrift Adventures bike shop.  I was able to rent a pair of mtb pedals for $5.30.  Ride salvaged. 

Heading up Paris Mtn, towards Greenville,  the rain moved in.  For about 5 minutes.  Dang it.  At least is was warm. 

I rode down into and through Greenville to pick up the greenway.  It was a pleasant ride that I will do again, only I'll bring the single speed and do an out and back on the greenway next time.  It is a good alternative when it is butt cold up in AVL! 

3 miles from Travelers Rest, the skies opened up.  Buckets dumping on my head. 

So much for staying dry.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Who I Am

I'm turning 45 years old in 13 days.  I still wake up some days, wondering who I am and what my purpose is.  I like a challenge, and when fulfilling my purpose becomes routine, and things are running smoothly,  I tend to mistake the lack of resistance with complacency.   

That is a mistake though.  Maybe I've paid my dues.  Maybe I'm wise now and I have quit trying to do things the easy way, which a lot of times turns into the hard way. 

I realized on my ride two days ago, that we can't always be who we want to be.   I want to be a rock star bikepacker.  I know that I can't go multiple days with little to no sleep like a lot of other folks,  but I want to ride the long miles and do the long trips.  I have the equipment, the knowledge, and the desire, but I lack one important ingredient: time. 

So,  I have to remind myself to be content where I am,  to fill this spot in the universe that has been reserved just for me.  I have to quit wishing that I was somewhere doing what I want, and appreciate who I am, and who I have become. 

I love my life and I love what I am doing.  I will always have that adventure spirit that will distract me from the awesome things that are right in front of me.  I just have to ignore it sometimes and cherish the times that I am allowed to wander.