On the Road: Cross Country – Flowers and Mountains

On the Road: Cross Country – Flowers and Mountains

flowers, california, travel

I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you.             ~ Jack Kerouac

So today I left Bakersfield and headed across the Mojave and up the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get to a place called Tonapah, NV.  I’ll be spending the weekend here before heading to Sacramento as a base of operations while I’m interviewing for a new position.  Not much to talk about on the drive today but a lot of pretty sights.  First, the flowers are blooming in the Mojave.

And in the mountain

And the mountains were beautiful today.

And finally, my destination, the Clown Hotel in Tonapah.

clown motel, clowns, travel

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Happiness, Silence, Gratitude & Looking Back

Happiness, Silence, Gratitude & Looking Back

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.  ~Fyodor Dostoevsky

Armstrong tree

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I spend a lot of my holidays hiking.  For my Christmas Day hike this year I went up into the big trees and hiked through the Armstrong Redwood Grove in Northern California.  It was a particularly good hike and given the holiday and the fact that trail I was on was pretty steep there were very few people that I encountered for most of the day.  I love hiking in redwood forests, the lack of significant understory, the darkness and the dampening of sound makes for a really peaceful environment.

armstrong2

One of the things that made this hike particularly special was the opportunity for some rare natural quiet.   Natural quiet being the ability to stop and hear no man-made sound, within the gullies on the hike you could hear nothing at times, not even any birds.  It’s amazing how self aware you become when things are that quiet, hiking starts to become more like meditation under those conditions.

armstrong 3

On this hike I got thinking about the last year, I really don’t like all of the top 10 lists we’re subjected too at the end of each year, but I do believe the end of the year provides a good anchor point for looking back.  Over this last year a lot has happened, of course that is every year, I’ve lost people, some have died and some well I just lost them.  I’m grateful for the good things that happened and am excited in a few days to look into my jar of good things from the year.

armstrong 4

Recently I’ve met someone and a really interesting part to it is seeing yourself reflected in the eyes of someone who is just learning about you for the first time.  Sometimes that view is a little more objective than our own.  This got me to thinking on the hike and really looking at how much I’ve accomplished in my life.  You see in my mind, I haven’t accomplished that much because there is still so much more I want to do in my life, but this may be what’s twisting my mirror when I look into it.  You see once I started enumerating all of the things I have done, I had to be proud of what I’ve done particularly given where I started out.  So I took my own advice and smiled and took pride in what I’ve accomplished, the impacts I’ve made and I had a happy day my friends.

Armstrong 5

So here’s what I want you to do, I want you to take a few minutes and do what I did, enumerate all of the good things you’ve done and be proud of yourself and smile.  Be grateful for what you have and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Some other posts you might enjoy!

My favorite AT photos from 2015

Thru-hike Gear Lists

Thru-hike FAQ’s – Part 1

My Appalachian Trail Resources Page

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Trail Community

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

Appalachian Trail Happiness: My Favorite Little Hiker

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Happiness is Being Accidentally Hip!

Happiness is Being Accidentally Hip!

happiness

So I’ve never been someone who has been particularly hip. There is a reason for this, I have never particularly cared to be all that hip. To me, fashion and the vagaries and whims of what society thinks is cool at any particular moment has never held much interest. I have been fortunate to have been someone who wasn’t particularly impacted by others opinions and have worked hard to be less concerned about those opinions as I’ve gotten older.

So I find it quite humorous to suddenly find myself as part of the in crowd. First, hipsters have suddenly made big beards cool and as someone about to go hike the Appalachian Trail I’ve been growing my beard out for some time now.

Happiness

This is not a new thing for me, here’s a picture of me hiking in Scotland five years ago.

happiness

Finally, it seems that long-distance hiking and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail itself is about to be in vogue. With both Wild about the Pacific Crest Trail and A Walk in the Woods coming out this year it seems that long distance hiking will be all the rage.
So here we are, Reverend Kane might actually suddenly be hip! God help us all!
So go for a hike, buy or grow a beard and you can have a happy day too my friends               ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and the Extraterrestrial Highway

Happiness and the Extraterrestrial Highway

ET Highway Sign
Is E.T. out there? Well, I work at the SETI Institute. That’s almost my name. SETI: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In other words, I look for aliens, and when I tell people that at a cocktail party, they usually look at me with a mildly incredulous look on their face. I try to keep my own face somewhat dispassionate. ~ Seth Shostak

Somewhere in the desert of Nevada, just Northeast of Las Vegas lies Area 51.  Long believed to be a hot spot for UFO sightings and secret government projects, it is a magnet for UFO believers.  Of course as it is a military base that doesn’t technically exist, it’s also fenced off and patrolled my military affectionately known as the “camouflage guys.”  So you can’t actually approach Area 51 but you can drive Highway 375 in Nevada which runs close to Area 51.  On the way I stopped for gas and a drink and was finally assigned a drivers license that explains so many things about me.

alien licenseNow the state of Nevada will never pass on an opportunity to create a tourist attraction and some time back the governor designated Highway 375 as the Extraterrestrial Highway.  I’ve always wanted to drive it and recently this May I got the chance.  Normally this is brutally hot desert, but I caught a break and not only was it not very hot but a rainy spring had left the desert in bloom.

desert bloomdesert bloom and snowMy first stop of course was the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign and my timing was beautiful and the cause of the facial expression in the photo.  It was a sunny day and I was squinting to see the screen on my phone to take the picture, and just at the point I clicked the picture a sonic boom exploded over my head.  What a perfect introduction to the highway.

highway signJust a short ways up the road from the sign I spotted my first alien, it was a big grey.

giant alienThe road itself was imposing for it’s remoteness and lack of traffic but in many places was beautifully framed in blooming wildflowers.

the roadThe real attraction of the ET Highway is of course the metropolis of Rachel, NV.  Basically a spot on the highway that includes the Little Ale Inn.  It contains a bar, restaurant, and a gift shop all in one room.  It also has a couple of rooms for rent if you are so inclined to hang out for the night and UFO watch.  The food was actual ok and the people were super nice, you may recognize the Little Ale Inn from the movie, Paul.

Little ale inn 2Here are a few shots to give you a feel for the place.

little ale inn menu little ale inn little ale inn side little ale inn bar self parkingOn my little adventure I unfortunately didn’t encounter any aliens but I had some fun, a pretty drive, a decent lunch and picked up a couple of souvenirs in Rachel.  Now it wouldn’t be the ET Highway without a little weirdness and I did see two dead cows along the road.  Additionally, I saw a fur covered carcass that I truly could not identify.  The desert will do that to a carcass, or maybe it was just the drive on a lonely desert highway playing with my perspective, or maybe….The Truth is out There, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Adventure & Happiness

My Polar Bear Adventure

Mardi Gras 2016 – Krewe of the Bosom Buddies

Travel Makes You Happier

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On the Road: Cross-Country – Vegas

On the Road: Cross-Country – Vegas

vegas, on the road, rev kaneThe best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view ~ Jack Kerouac

Lit out from Santa Rosa pre-dawn, 28 degrees, then as I climbed up the mountains it would get down to the lower 20s.  The plateaus looked pretty with a little layer of frost across them, once the sun came up that is.

sunrise, photography

It was a pretty drive today, crossed the continental divide and spent most of the day driving across, shrubby deserts surrounded by mountains.

mountain, travelWhen I hit Albuquerque, NM I was treated to a sky full of hot air balloons.

new mexico, travel

This was one of those days, when you’re driving eleven hours that you just want to make time.  Happily when the speed limit is 75, you can drive 80 all day and make excellent time.  Coming up through Arizona and over past Hoover Dam, I finally felt like I was on familiar ground.  Coming down out of Boulder City you get a great view of the whole Vegas strip.

Arrived in Vegas, ate, walked around a bit, won about $400 and in a first for me was back in my room and writing by 8PM.  Lunch tomorrow with a good friend, then out the next morning and back to California.

Finally, Happy St. Patrick’s Day – I lit the Eiffel Tower up for you.

 

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On the Road: Cross-Country Days 3 and 4

On the Road: Cross-Country Days 3 and 4

steak, challenge, travel

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.
~ Jack Kerouac

So yesterday I made for Dallas, TX to visit with an old friend and his wife, just a week before their 30th wedding anniversary.  I was their best man so the wedding reference seemed relevant.

The drive was the official beginning of spring for me, drove by lots of daffodils that were up and in bloom.  Lot’s of trees are starting to leaf out and flower and so I have officially left the Northeast and winter behind.

Dallas was great, got to visit with an old mean parrot that tried to kill me 15 years ago.  I swear he remembered, he looked at me with a knowing eye.  I also got to meet their dog, she’s 10 and had just had ACL surgery, yes, she’s an athlete.  But she’s a Labrador Retriever so she has an unlimited desire for affection and I spent a lot of time petting the old girl.  Much to the dismay of the cats, who sensing I was allergic to them, desperately wanted me to pet them and experience minor anaphylactic shock.  Had a lovely dinner with my friends and watched a bit of Documentary Now! which is very funny.

I left this morning making for lovely Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  My view isn’t great but there really are some nice places in the area.

Staying tonight on historic Route 66, I’ve driven large chunks of Route 66 and I wish I could have seen it in the 1960’s.  Today, Route 66 depresses me, it reminds me of the old guy in the club, the one that’s too old to be there but is trying really hard.  There are still some great stops, my favorite is the corner in Winslow, Arizona, a tribute to the Eagles.

winslow, eagles, route 66

But all in all Route 66’s time has truly passed.

Nothing too fabulous or interesting on the drive today, but I did roll through Amarillo, TX and pass my favorite food challenge in America.  If you eat the 72 ounce steak and fixins in an hour, it’s free.  However, fail and you just bought a $72 dinner.

steak, challenge, travel

So tonight, early to bed, eleven hours of driving tomorrow arriving on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day in Las Vegas.  As always, have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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Believe in Yourself and Be Happy

Believe in Yourself and Be Happy

believe in yourself, quote, meme

Believe in Yourself

Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you can’t be happy or successful ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I’ve been trying to be more active on Twitter, in addition to the retweets I typically do I’ve been posting out some of my own quotes.  Little bits of advice or wisdom or things I’ve written that I feel are worth quoting.  Last night I wrote this, I know you’re scared, I know you don’t think you can do it, but I believe you, you got this.

I wrote it as much for myself as others.  I think that in order to be happy, you have to believe in yourself.  You have to develop the confidence that you can accomplish the things you want to accomplish.  How do you do that?  Well, first it helps to do little things that you can accomplish that will help build up your confidence and your feeling of accomplishment. Then  you have to push yourself, in order to be happy I have always believed you have to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

be happy, comfort zone

Do something that scares you and be happy

One of my favorite quotes is by Joe Vitale, your goals should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.  I really believe to be happy you must have goals that do this.  Most of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I’ve become a fairly accomplished long-distance hike.  I’ve walked across Scotland, done a trek to Base Camp on Mt. Everest and most recently I did a 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

be happy, hiking, appalachian trail, tennessee

Rev Kane on the Appalachian Trail at the Tennessee border.

Hiking can help you believe in yourself

I’ve always been a day hiker and had even done some impressive day hikes to difficult locations and over long, single day distances.  But when I was about to turn 45 I had decided to do something bigger.  I became enamored with the idea of going to Base Camp on Mt. Everest.  This meant a 22 day supported trek in the Himalayas, where I would spend 14 days over 14000 feet.  Prior to that trip I had never been higher than 12,000 and that was being a tourist in Lhasa, Tibet not a hiker with a pack on.  So following what I talked about, I needed to do something to build my confidence.  Working out in the gym and doing some day hikes was a given.  But step two for me was to spend some time in Bryce Canyon National Park, 3 months to be exact, I’m fortunate my family has a cabin near the park.  I spent my time there doing day hikes, many at 8000 feet and once a week hiking up on Bryan Head Mountain at 10000 feet.  So I started to feel better about hiking consistently day in and day out as well as hiking at altitude.  Not quite the altitude I would be at, but higher than I had previously hiked.

Next, since I’d never done a true long-distance hike, I went off to Scotland to do a 7 day hut to hut hike in Scotland.  The huts were BnBs, so not exactly roughing it, but similar to the hike would be in Nepal.  The next jump was of course to head off to the Himalayas.  The trek went incredibly well, I spent an amazing time in the Himalayas an absolutely bucket list worthy trip of a lifetime.

happiness, everest, be happy, hiking

Rev Kane and a hiking friend

Believe in yourself and you can do anything

After the success of my trip to the Himalayas and with my impending 50th birthday I had even bigger plans.  I decided  I would thru-hike the Appalachian Trial, a nearly 2200 mile, 6 month, unsupported hike.  One of the big secrets I told no one before heading out, was that in fact, I had never done an unsupported, multi-day backtracking trip before.  I had built my confidence in Utah, Scotland and Nepal but I was still afraid.  Doing anything like this for the first time will truly scare the hell out of you, that’s how you know you’re pushing outside your comfort zone.  One of my primary goals for the hike was also that I would attempt to write a book, again something I’ve always wanted to do that scared me. I’ve posted plenty here on the blog about that trip and if you want to read about the whole adventure, I did write that book, Appalachian Trail Happiness, and you can get all of the details there.

Be Happy

So to come full circle to where I started this piece.  My evolution from occasional day hiker to occasional long-distance hiker, having now hiked all over the world, should be proof of concept.  I’m over 50, over weight and have bad knees, yet starting at the age of 40 I transformed what and how I hiked.  I have found that adventure, travel and getting out of your comfort zone is a way to be happy.  First, believe in yourself, create some small success and then take a chance.  I believe in you, you got this and I know you’ll have many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Happiness Posts You Might Enjoy!

My Polar Bear Adventure

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Don’t be Afraid to be Happy

 

 

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On the Road: Cross-Country Day 2

On the Road: Cross-Country Day 2

guitar, tennessee, travelTravel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.Gustav Flaubert

Today wasn’t the most exciting day on the road, there was again, a lot of traffic.

I started the morning in Virginia in spring like 50 degree weather that would then go to 70 degree spring weather and then 80 degrees with humidity, just Tennessee reminding me of what it was like to live here.  Also caught the bottom of the cyclone bomb storm heading east, a little rain and a lot of really gusty wind, got blown out of my lane a couple of times.

Always shocked when I see someone in a little electric wheel chair cart on the side of a major highway.  This dude looked awesome though, big white-blonde beard, huge flag, lots of mardi gras beads.

First big goal today make Nashville, TN by 1:30 to meet my friend Flip from the Appalachian Trail for Indian Food.  It was great to see him, he’s a great guy and a total badass hiker and chef.  Our little hikertrash reunion was great.

rev kane, hikertrashAfter lunch I was pushing on for Jackson, MS.  Happily traffic lightened up a bit while heading west and another early day tomorrow heading for Dallas.  The highlight of the day was a phone call this afternoon inviting me for a job interview in a couple of weeks, so it begins.  Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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On the Road: Cross-country Day 1

On the Road: Cross-country Day 1

travel, quote, happiness

So every time I’m doing a cross-country road ship I have this whole day full of stories.  Things happen, wild traffic, on one trip I almost drove right into a tornado in Pennsylvania.   Typically I might mention some of these things to a friend, or on Facebook, but I decided that this week, I’ll do my best to bring you along on Michael’s Magical Mystery Tour.

Ok, the picture above is where I started this morning, upstate New York and a lovely 19 degrees Fahrenheit when I got in the car.  A chilly start to say the least.  It was fun watching the temperature as I first went south, then west and then southwest.  It started going up slowly but by time I hit the Virginia border this afternoon we were well into the 50’s and by time I stopped for the day here in Christiansville, VA it was 65 degrees.  Needless to say I’m pretty happy to be walking around comfortably in a short-sleeved t-shirt.

It was a heavy traffic day, felt like national traffic break today.  You know traffic breaks, when the cops get side-by-side across all the lanes, hit their lights and slow down until traffic stops.  Instead today it was never quite a stop, and it was being done by truckers driving tandems, utterly frustrating.

I really don’t like driving through Pennsylvania, I really hate driving through Pennsylvania, and as usual they were doing their thorough job of enforcing the speed limit.  My favorite bit, I-81 pretty much through the whole state has a speed limit of 65.  So you see a sign, next 8 miles, 55 mph.  Of course there are only two 55 signs across the 8 miles as well as two-speed traps, both with cars pulled over.

Probably the most interesting thing that happened today was that while getting gas I heard someone say something.  I didn’t quite catch it, but felt like it was directed at me.  A minute later I caught another comment, it was about my car.  The person was really friendly and engaged me in conversation kind of excitedly, felt almost like he was flirting.  But I finished up, said goodbye and hit the road.  He was right behind me coming out of the station and on to the highway, did I mention he was a big, burly, hairy guy.  He pulled up along me, smiled and waved and drove on.  As he passed me, I caught the pride sticker on the back passenger window and then got a look at his plate, ursus 4U.  I got a quick chuckle out of the whole situation, it’s nice to be appreciated.

Finally, as I rolled into my hotel here in rural Virginia, I availed myself of the happy hour soup and salad that was available and right on cue, as I sat down, the familiar whistling of the Andy Griffith Show came across the big TV in the lounge.  Time for a shower and an early bedtime, Nashville bound in the morning. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and Hitting Reset

Happiness and Hitting Reset

01
What’s so fascinating and frustrating and great about life is that you’re constantly starting over, all the time, and I love that. ~ Billy Crystal

Occasionally, even if things are going ok you can end up out of sync.  That’s where I found myself this past week.  My new job had started out insanely busy but I’d finally got into a routine and was feeling comfortable.  My fitness goals were moving in a positive direction, I’ve recently lost 17 pounds although I’m still nursing a fairly serious shoulder injury.  My blood pressure is pack into an acceptable range and my blood sugar is improving, I’ve even gotten a little hiking in over the last two weeks.  So all in all things were good.

Last week I was out for a conference and out of my routines.  I found a decent pizza place and since there is no good pizza where I live I indulged two nights while away.  Sleep is always iffy in a hotel and there was a lot of learning at the conference.  The conference was informative but was also an opportunity for me to reconnect with some old colleagues as well as reconnecting with a few I didn’t expect to see.  There was also some bad news, a person I really liked passed away last week.  We’d worked together for a few years, he was one of my favorite adjunct faculty and I have missed his smile, his greetings and our conversations.

So I found myself at the end of the week feeling disconnected.  The weekend was hectic with a college event on Friday night and a Relay for Life Event, I typically do a late night slot for my hour walk and this year was no exception.

01So with my eating and sleep patterns wrecked and feeling just a bit out of sorts I decided to hit the reset button.  I slept in a bit, did my Sunday chores around the house, took a little walk and completed a little DIY home project to take care of a problem with my hot water.  My favorite football team won big tonight, I’ve written down some goals I needed to solidify and I sit here at the end of the weekend and am appropriately tired, my chores are done and I’m ready to get rolling again.  Back to it on Monday morning, keep moving forward, keep making things better, keep trying to be a happier person and always remembering to have a little fun and happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

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