Desert Bus for Hope 2017

About this time every year, I start going on and on about this thing called Desert Bus for Hope. If you’ve never heard of it, I feel like I’ve failed somewhere along the line, but also it’s essentially a charity drive that benefits the Child’s Play charity. During Desert Bus for Hope, a driver plays the game Desert Bus, a game where you drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time. You drive on a straight road in the desert, there are no other cars, no people, just you and the bus. As you can imagine, this is kinda boring, so during the drive there are live auctions, giveaways, special guests, and of course shenanigans ensue. 2017 marks the eleventh year that Loading Ready Run has been putting on this strange thing they do. Most importantly, this year they needed an extra photographer.

This is where I come in. I’ve been watching and supporting Desert Bus every year for the past seven years or so. So when I heard the call, I put my hand up as quick as possible. Which brings me to where I am now. I’m going to be the second photographer at Desert Bus! I’m very excited especially now that I’ve traveled across the country just to be a part of this amazing thing. Naturally, the proceeds from Desert Bus go straight to Child’s Play, so this position is super volunteer, as in I paid to get out here and for my accommodations. Unfortunately, this means that I’m not going to be able to donate as much as I usually do. So, this year, I’m hoping that all of you can find it in your heart to give a little more. Not just for me, but for the children!

To see me in action, be sure to follow along at http://desertbus.org and their Facebook Page as well.

NC Trip – Post-Trip Thoughts

Well, we’re back in Florida. If I’m honest, it almost doesn’t feel like we’ve left. Almost as if we were just in a dream for the past week.

The vacation is just what I needed. I feel as though the time off has lifted a weight off my shoulders that’s just been building up over the past few years. Not that anything in my life is particularly stressful, but when you haven’t had time off to kinda just shut out the world as a whole, it starts to affect you.

Tomorrow, we go back to work, and I can say that I’m excited. Being able to take the step back and reacquaint myself with my art, and I feel like jumping back into the professional side of things will be smooth and easily done. I will be back and with a fervor.

I feel as though, now that I’ve had this vacation, I’m ready to take anything on, more than usual.

NC Trip Day Seven – The Last Day

Today was our last full day here in North Carolina. For our final adventure, we went to Grandfather Mountain. As we entered the park, we were warned that there might be some rain. Fortunately though, we didn’t encounter any rain. However, we did get a few dark clouds and just a bit of wind.

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First thing was first, we crossed the mile-high swinging bridge and climbed to the top of the mountain. With the high winds, crossing the bridge was a little more nerve wracking than usual what with the howling through the metal bits of the structure. Once we were up on top, we had 360 degree views of the area. It was absolutely stunning.

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After being properly chilled between the dropping temperature, the raising humidity, and the sustaining wind, we headed down to the museum and the animal habitat.

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Down at the habitat, we spent most of our time with the bears, because they were the ones that had the most personality, and of course they were very cute. We hung around long enough to hear about one of the first bears they had in the habitat, named Mildred. They say she didn’t know that she was a bear, and when they released her, she came back and just hung around.

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We moved on from the bears after a large crowd formed, and looked at the rest of the animals they had there. We didn’t, however, get to see the cougars, because they were in the process of renovating their habitat.

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After going through the museum, we decided it was time for lunch, so we ate the lunch that we had brought in a little picnic area, and then headed back towards Little Switzerland to have some ice cream.

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Before ice cream, though, we stopped at one overlook that I absolutely needed to see before we left: the Chestoa View. It’s an overlook viewing the Linville Gorge, and it is absolutely staggering. The photos any person takes, no matter the skill, no matter the equipment, will never do it justice. However, every time I’ve stopped there I’ve tried. Every photographer will try, and I wasn’t the only one this time, even. I’m so happy to have seen it again.

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Once we returned back to the cabin, it all came to realization that this was our last day, and tomorrow will primarily be packing the car up and heading out. It’s unfortunate, but the real world needs us.

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I hope my daily documentation of our trip has been insightful or entertaining or inspiring or some other positive adjective. I’m hoping that this practice in writing will lock in the habit of doing something like this every day. I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve missed it, and I thank you for reading whatever kind writing you can call this.

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NC Trip Day Five – The Reason We’re Here

Today, the 28th (although, it’s currently past midnight, so technically yesterday) is the precise reason we’re up here in North Carolina. Today celebrated Sarah and my third wedding anniversary.

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I know, in retrospect, three years doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to us, while it seems like just yesterday we started on this journey, it also feels like we’ve always been together.

I’m going to skip all the mushy stuff, here. I could go on and on about feelings and whatever, but you’re here to read about our trip.

Today had one goal: steak dinner.

We had made reservations at the Sunset Terrace Restaurant at the Grove Park Inn over in Asheville. Quite literally an outdoor dining experience specifically set up to watch the sun go down behind the mountains as you’re eating.

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We both had amazing steaks, I had a couple of the local brews, and we had a wonderful dessert (of course). The only thing that could compare to our meal was the stunning views from my seat. Of course the view of the sunset, but also my beautiful wife who never ceases to take my breath away.

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After our drive home, we popped open a bottle of the same wine that we had the night of our wedding, put on some Top Gear, and talked about the future, which I can’t wait for.

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In other news, I’m very proud to see that David and the gang all got to record an episode of the Attack of the Beards Cast in my absence! I think you probably should listen to it, which you can over at http://attackofthebeards.com

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PS: I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry for all the iPhone photos. If this was any event but my anniversary, I would have shot it with my real camera, but I didn’t want to divert my attention too much from whom really matters, so I only took a couple shots with my iPhone. Maybe next time.

NC Trip – Day Three

Today, we made our way to the Biltmore Estate. They seemed pretty strict about photos and video, but fortunately, I was able to loophole my way into taking all the photos I wanted.

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After touring the mansion and the gardens, we went for dinner at a local BBQ place, which was alright, definitely no Southern Pig & Cattle. I always feel like I’m taking a risk when I’m trying a new food place.

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After we ate, it started pouring down rain. Since it was too much like home, we decided to head back to the cabin and take it easy for the rest of the day.

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