Into the west

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I can’t really say it’s due to a lack of time, more like a lack of motivation and quite frankly interesting enough events to talk about.

However the draught is most definitely over. If anything I might have too much to talk about.

Firstly, let me update everyone on the status of Boone Bicycle Retreat. The space is done and ready to be inhabited. We’re ready to start testing this thing out, and then take the next steps in this new venture. It’s still very much up in air if it will be a success. We’re still in the “if we build it will they come?” phase. Unfortunately it is not really peak cycling season so we will have to wait until winter releases it’s icy death grip on the Carolinas to see what will really become of this new venture.

Oh and hey, speaking of things being up in the air, up in the air is exactly where I find my self right now, both physically and metaphorically.

somewhere over southern arizona

I’m in a plane flying back to the east coast after spending a little over a week traveling all over Arizona.

I took a little trip out to see one of my best friends on the planet, or any other planet for that matter, Kathy. Have I mentioned her? I met Kathy when I was in Japan a few years ago.

She likes pajamas.

We were involved in the same program mentoring/teaching Japanese students. The experience was amazing and as an added bonus I was left with a lifetime friend.

We have both been through a lot together, and for a time, we were more than friends. For various reasons our relationship didn’t continue in that way. That’s basically a short way of saying I was crazy and an idiot and made poor decisions. I don’t really regret anything that happened, I rarely do. Suffice it to say, I wish I had appreciated and realized everything she was just a little more. But that’s neither here nor there and like I said I have no regrets, and I’m really glad that we remained friends because she’s honestly one of the best ones I’ve got.

Kathy is a special person. I really look up to her and admire so much about her. She’s an incredibly hardworking, determined, and gifted person. Like I said, she’s been through a great deal for her age, and I’m kind of in awe of how she’s handled everything. She sees positivity in everything. She’s focused, driven, and most importantly confident and self-aware. Take some time and really think about what it means to possess those qualities. I promise you that software doesn’t just inherently come with the hardware. Anyhow that’s my ode to Kathy. I’m very fortunate to have a few of those people in my life. Don’t worry your odes will come soon enough too, if they haven’t already.

So, we had a great time. I’ll admit that coming out here….well I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel. It’s been about three years or so since we’ve really hung out and I guess I still held some feelings deep inside. I’ll probably always feel something but I think we are best as friends, and actually the relationship that we had will probably only make our friendship stronger. We can share nearly anything with each other, and she probably knows me better than I do.

She’s actually dating a new guy which I’m really happy about because for once he seems like a really good guy and she seems very happy. Kathy hasn’t been in some of the best relationships which as her friend has been killing me and it certainly hasn’t been good for her. I hate to see such a bright and positive person be dragged through the muck, if for nothing more than my own selfish needs. I need her to be happy and optimistic seeing how that’s the primary reason I look up to her. So naturally, I have a problem with anyone who comes in the way of that.

Anyhow, in typical Kathy fashion, she has come through all of it better off. She’s very aware of the type of guy she’s looking for now and won’t settle for anything less because she knows that she deserves the best. The problem is no one will ever be good enough, or at least that’s my view, and I include myself in that.

Unfortunately I think that very view had me coming off as very standoffish to her current guy who I met a couple of times. But I have to say, he is a really good guy and…….well……damn it I wanted to hate him, I expected to hate him. I kept waiting for the guy to give me a reason to loathe him but he just kept doing the exact opposite. He’s intelligent, social, passionate, considerate, caring blah blah blah. The guy is even working on research towards MS. When I heard that I almost laughed. I mean he was almost too good. It was like he was reading a manual or something. I can understand why Kathy connected with him. They have a lot in common and he has much of what I think she is looking for.

Still…..he’s still in trial phase as far as I’m concerned. I’m very protective when it comes to my friends. Overly so……maybe? He seems good, I just hope he appreciates and recognizes who exactly he is with. Take it from someone who sort of didn’t.

Whew…..deep breath out.

Oh speaking of breathing, (I predict no less than 6 segways by the end of this post) Kathy got me started on yoga. She took me to a few classes while I was in the desert and I was surprised at how much I really dug it. I’m hoping to find a yoga buddy in the low country who will keep me going because I don’t think it’s one of those things I will do on my own.

Yoga was just one of the many ways we stayed active throughout the trip. That’s another thing I love about her is that like me, she hates doing nothing and is probably incapable of it. We did some road cycling around Tucson and hiked into the mountains mere hours after I got off the plane. It was beautiful.

Here’s what I was riding.

Please don't tell my blumoly about this.

It was an amazing bike, and Tucson is a great place to ride. There are bike lanes and paths all throughout the city. Practically on every street actually. Charleston pales in comparison.

share the road?

Mount Lemmon

We went to the grand canyon to do some hiking but actually got snowed out on our second day. We got there on Tuesday afternoon and got a couple of hours in, and had planned to get a full 8 hour hike in the next day. But as we were climbing back up, we passed a local hiker who told us that they were expecting 8 or more inches of snow the next day. Sure enough we checked the weather and snopocalpyse was on its way. We waited until the morning, holding on to false hope that it would pass us by, but by 7:00 there was already two inches on the ground and my little Chevy Malibu rental wasn’t exactly equipped to handle the conditions, so we high tailed it out of the GC.

Warrior Two.

downward facing dog!downward facing dog!

bad weather follows me everywhere

Oh and I was dealing with a terrible stomach ache compliments of the worst dining experience I’ve ever had in my life. We had dinner at this little Mexican joint and I was really excited to dine on some good Southwest Mexican cuisine but this was apparently not the place to do it. The service was terrible and not just for us. It got to the point where people were actually trading silverware because the wait staff never brought any. The food was terrible. I ordered a four taco platter, and what came out was four stale tortillas with dried up chicken and cilantro on them. Litterally, that was it. No lettuce, cheese, salsa, notta. I can’t remember what Kathy had but I know it wasn’t any better.

Anyhow we evacuated the Grand Canyon just before they shut down all of the roads. Kathy has some photos on her blog that shows the devastation.  http://kathyredden.blogspot.com/ We spent the next day being bummed out in Sedona. There wasn’t much snow around but the weather was crap. Rainy, cold and miserable. Eventually we found a yoga spot for Kathy and I went for a run.

Sedona was beautiful, and there are plenty of great trails, but alas, it was not meant to be. Some day I definitely want to back and really experience it.

We spent new years around Phoenix.

Phoenix or Tempe if you like.

We hung out with Kathy’s friends Natalie and Phil. They’re an adorable little couple who just recently made the leap and moved in together. We actually helped them move into their house on New Years Eve Day. It seemed the least we could do since they were giving us a really nice spot to crash for a couple of days. New Years Eve was fine. Nothing too crazy. We went to a little speakeasy that was supposed to be having a sort of 40’s themed night with swing dance and big band music which I dig. It did start out that way but then this other DJ took over and started playing nothing but salsa and samba. It was weird.

But enough about that. This is getting really lengthy and I want to get on to what was the highlight of the trip for me. After New Years we went south, way south, to Bisbee. Bisbee is awesome. It’s this quirky quaint little historic western mine town that has really been preserved and not hammed up like other places such as Tombstone which is essentially the wild west version of Disney Land on a shoe string budget.

Tombstone

Bisbee

Bisbee was so great. We stayed at the Shady Dell which is this rad little trailer park loaded with refurbished period trailers, Volvo busses and yachts. It’s super cool. Here’s some photos of our spot.

Air Stream!

This place would be perfect for getting a big group of friends together to rent out a bunch of trailers and party it up for a couple of nights. Dig the Shady Dell.

We got there pretty late in the evening and did a little bit of exploring and actually stumbled upon the Mexican border, that is, like the actual wall. It was crazy. It was lined with lights and it just stretched on and on past the horizon line. Wild. The next day we had a great local breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club and then walked around and explored pretty much all of Bisbee. This place wins the award for being the most unhandicap accessible place in the world. I think there a 1,000 stair cases throughout the city.

It’s really disjointed and makes no sense and houses are just plopped right into the sides if cliffs but it makes for a great place to explore.

During our exploration we came across this place.

I give you The Bisbee Bicycle Brothel. Practically the Holy Grail of cycling. I thought it was just going to be another bicycle rental shop but it was more of a museum/shrine. There was priceless memorabilia in this place. Ken, the owner, must have had over forty bikes that had all been ridden by top-level riders at the times in all sorts of major tours.

Yeah, the actual bikes.

The guy had a signed photograph of Marco Pantani, the pirate, another top rider from the 90’s. Ken was a character. I could tell almost instantly that the guy had lived 50 lives in one. He worked with and was mentored by Phil Liggett for the love of Campi. So cool. I could have spent hours, or more like days talking to the guy. Such a fountain of knowledge. Kathy was sweet and let me carry on that way for probably a good hour.

The guy even had an actual jersey that Tom Simpson wore during the 1967 Tour De France. He died that year on the accent of Mont Ventoux. The guy was a champion, but he was way high on amphetamine. They didn’t really have doping control back in the day. Oh and speaking of doping control (I wasn’t kidding about the segways) Ken had just had breakfast that morning with the guy that designed and created the doping tests and is the head of the Flolyd Landis investigation!!  Unbelievable. I actually mentioned Boone Bicycle retreat to him and I will certainly keep in touch with him. So yeah, hands downs, coolest place ever.

We came back to Tucson at night and caught the kings speech. Colin Firth had bloody well win, or the academy can bugger off.

Just before my flight left today, we managed to sneak up to the desert museum. What can I say, we like to utilize our time. It was pretty cool. It was mostly out doors, which was beautiful, and some raptors nearly flew off with my hat.

So now I’m on my now very delayed flight back to the land of flat and green. I know my excitement is just seeping through my prose. I’m back for another season with the wives as on set greensman. It’s not what I had planned, but it was good timing, and I do really like my boss and the people I work with.

There is something else looming, and it’s important, hugely so actually……but I can’t really talk about in open forum just yet, or at least I think I shouldn’t. The anticipation will be over soon though. All will be revealed in less than 7 days.

So until then, I wish everyone well from 20,000 feet and here’s hoping that 2011 will be a keeper.

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~ by glennikin on January 5, 2011.

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