19 July, 2016

Evan Moves to Seattle - Day 5: Mountain Time!

I'm in South Dakota, specifically in a small place called Kadoka.  Tonight I'm staying at a lovely little motel, the owner of which is absolutely delightful so it's well worth the $55 for the one-night stay.  This is the first night on my own so by proxy my first post from the road!

So far I've traveled through or been in (in order): North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and of course South Dakota, with stops in Chicago, Minneapolis, and now Kadoka.

Chicago was a great visit, I got to see and stay with my grandparents as well as some NC friends who were up north to see a musical they Kickstarted.  Then in Minneapolis I visited some more friends who were gracious enough to host me and show me the sights, which included a long walk around lake Harriet to find Pokemon and stock up at Pokestops.  #TeamValor.  I'll be straightforward here, I was incredibly tempted to end my trip there.  Minneapolis is a gorgeous place that has found the sweet spot between feeling like a city and a rural area.  There's so many interesting things and places there, the weather was fantastic, plus Andy and Maja are great people and who wouldn't want to be around them?

But I had to carry on, gotta stick to the plan but maybe I'll be back...probably...absolutely.  I left pretty late from the city so I knew I wasn't going to get to Badlands National Park before the visitor's center closed so I decided to take my time and meander instead of muscling through the 7.5 hour drive speedily.  So I ended up here, about 20 miles away from Badlands where I'll be early tomorrow hiking and checking out my first National Park on the trip!

I'm really excited for these next few days on my own while I go to Yellowstone next before heading south to Colorado.  So here's to the NPS and their 100th anniversiary, maybe they'll have some neat swag.

Since I'm officially in Mountain Time now I gained an extra hour today but I'm still exhausted so right now it's unwinding and sleeping time.  Keep an eye on the Twitter if you'd like to follow my day-to-day updates and random thoughts until my next post!  Oh and Derek feel free to weigh in dude, I'm sure my trip agenda isn't terribly exciting.

Evan out!

13 July, 2016

Evan Moves to Seattle - Day 0: Catching Up

Well in the immortal words of Staind, "it's been a while."  Plenty to fill in on and happening in the future so here goes!  A few weeks back I went to the Whitewater Center to shake off some rust in the kayak before inevitably going down the Green with Derek.  I had good fun, my rolls felt on point, and I was about to run the comp channel on my own free will but I got, for lack of a better word, rekt on my last wilderness channel run so I called it a day.  I also made a video!

Seriously I'm super proud of how well I handled my combat rolls, if you couldn't tell.  This was of course just about a week before the USNWC was unfortunately closed due to water test results coming back with a brain-eating amoeba.  I have feels about this situation but I don't want to go into it.  In a nutshell: I'm not worried.

Anywho no whitewater center meant no big water Thursday for me when I came back into town.  Background: this trip from the video was a result of being bored from watching my parents' adorable dogs for a week.  For reasons I have disclosed and will go into shortly I went back to Charlotte a couple weeks later, which is why I was sad at the cancellation.  Luckily, my good bro Derek called me up and got me out to his neck of the woods (Camp Grimes) to do some kayaking instead!

So early Saturday morn I went up to visit, we loaded up our cars and hit the Upper Green.  I was still rusty but confident in my abilities to say "Fuck you water" because I had a noseplug and I ain't gon' take no crap from water that can't get up my nose.  The Upper was great as usual.  Casual class II's plus the rollicking Bayless Boof and Pinball class III+'s, it was great to be on the river again, for the last time in a while.  I had ample opportunity to work on my combat roll some more after flipping not once but four times total.  Once after a wee drop in a smaller rapid, once after the first ledge in Pinball, and two more times going down Toilet Bowl on the Narrows.  Going down the second drop in Pinball upside down was an experience, and luckily I have the whole thing on video!

Oh yeah, we hiked up to the Narrows too.  After wrapping up the Upper Derek talked me into doing even more hiking with a kayak on my back and we drove down, then backtracked up, the river and into the Narrows section.  For the uninitiated, the Green River Narrows is some nasty shit and extremely popular, boasting some of the most difficult rapids on the east cost.  So I did a small part of it, going down a rapid called Toilet Bowl and claiming my first (and second!) natural Class IV rapids.  I went through it twice, made it through the first time, then flipped and recovered.  The second time I was not so good, flipped halfway down the drop and had to swim.  Probably shouldn't have just rammed that rock and boofed instead.  Lesson learned!  I portaged past Hammer Factor and we weaved our way through the rest of the boulder garden of the Narrows to where the Lower section started.  I got the crap kicked out of me by that river but damn was it worth it.

So now we reach present day.  I sit here at my parents' house in Charlotte, having moved out of my place in Raleigh two weeks ago.  All my stuff, well most of it, sits in my car outside, along with my bike and a new-to-me Thule cargo carrier strapped to the roof which is also loaded with stuff.  Tomorrow marks the day, the great crusade I'm making across the country to Seattle where I'm hoping to start up anew.  The biggest question I get when I mention I'm moving to the west coast is "Why?"  It's a good question but honestly I don't know how well I can answer it.

Personally I'm terrified of failure, of letting people down, and pool lights for some reason, but what scares me more is stagnation.  I've been in North Carolina for some time now and I love my family, my friends, and the things I've accomplished here, but this place is wearing me down.  It got to the point where I felt like if I didn't make a change, and a big one, I wouldn't end up doing anything with my life.  So the idea of Seattle came up a few years ago and kept niggling my brain until now, when I've finally decided to do something about it.

To my family, my friends, I'm going to miss all of you, very dearly.  A life goal is now to convince you all to move out there with me.  I'm sorry I'm leaving, but I have to.  Confusing?  Yeah, even to me most of the time, but I feel like I need to make it happen.  Tomorrow in the morning I'm heading out, first stopping at camp to get my Fitbit (because I forgot it like a doofus) and then to Chicago to see friends and family.  I have many stops on the way, you can see them on the map below, and I'll be here logging as much of it as I can.  But most of all I'm going to enjoy the trip.  This once-in-a-lifetime journey where I'm going to try and draw as much of the adventure in as I can.  And hopefully see a little bit of myself along the way.

There's gonna be a lot of Pokemon to catch between here and Washington.

I know I'll visit, maybe I'll be back for good sometime, I can't see the future.  But for now: bye NC, thanks for hosting me but it's time to carry on.

Here goes nothing.