Wonder and Wander

Wanderers

Do You Wander?

I have been back in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 3 months now, but my recent road trip adventure stills plays on repeat in my mind. I witnessed endless plains of unmarked beauty, played around in Nebraska/Iowa/Chicago/Amish country, hung around cliffside lakes and waterfalls, learned that Missouri is for the birds, got an education in Kansas, explored a red clay wonderland, and woke up to a glorious morning on lonely salt flats. I even made the ultimate detour and ended up bringing my goofiness to Danish country where I met some fantastic new friends, experienced the tranquility of the countryside, visited a free town, and experienced an airport refugee camp on my return trip. That was quite an excursion and I still didn’t see everything I wanted to.

Now that I’m back, I’m hunkering down and finishing my book, BOX. The road trip helped fuel the creative juices as I was in a period of stagnation and inertia being stuck in San Francisco. I’m very close to finishing a pre-edit draft of the book by month’s end. Hopefully, it will be ready to show to the world in early 2015 as I work on prepping it for final edit and publishing. Don’t forget to sign-up for the mailing list. Exclusive clues to solving BOX will only be available to subscribers.

Next year, will be an interesting year for me as I wind down this project and look to ramp up others. I’m even thinking of doing something out of character for myself…actually celebrate my birthday. I’ll be turning 40 and I want to treat myself to the great Golden Eagle hunt of the tribes of Krgyzstan. I figure I’m not getting any physically younger (I’m still mentally 15) and should take the opportunity to see some more remote parts of the world before my body decides it doesn’t want to play nice anymore. Even if that happens, I will always be a wanderer and I encourage all of you to be the same. The wonders of the world are all out there waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

Wander and wonder forevermore.

– Just Rabbit Today

 

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Bonneville Mudway

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Dreamy Bonneville

[Turn on 1080p HD in full screen for the video. Trust me.]

I spent the final leg of my journey westward pushing through northern Utah and Nevada. I didn’t get a chance to stop the first time through the Bonneville Salt Flats because I was on a speed demon schedule to get to Nebraska. On the way back I decided to treat myself to one final night out in solitary nature and take in a personal sunrise. What I got still has me in awe to this day.

Some of you may be familiar with the Bonneville Salt Flats. It’s where the famous Bonneville Speedway is where they set vehicular speed records during the dry season. I came back during the wet season so I didn’t get to careen across the salty desert floor. It was basically a giant mud trap when I got there, but still gorgeous all the same. I felt like testing my newly found time lapse video skills and set up the tripod for the night while I slept in my car on the side of the only road in and out of the flats. It was fairly cloudy, so the sunset was hidden behind cloud cover, but still awesome to be a part of just the same. In the distance were whirling dirt devils blowing across the lonely field of salt. After sundown I decided to turn in for the night to wake up early and catch the sunrise. I figured I would get the same massive cloud cover in the morning. As I woke up and groggily stumbled around outside, I noticed a thin layer of water had taken over the entire region. It created a magnificent reflection of the quiet and desolate landscape. I couldn’t help but stare like a dumbfounded fool at the absolute beauty of it all. After several minutes, I came to my senses and quickly setup the tripod to capture what has to be one of the most epic sunrises I have ever witnessed in my 39 years on this great earth. As the sun slowly began to ascend, the reflection on the water created a double sunrise like two bright diamonds pushing their light into each other. This was the perfect epitome of what my trip was about; to be in solitary beauty with the world around me. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift to end my trip.

Thank you Mother Nature.

– Rabbit In Gracious Gratitude

 

Moab Nomad

My Road

Just Me And The Road

As I inched closer and closer to the golden west coast, I decided to take one more swipe through Southern Utah to see what I had missed the first time through. It turns out I had missed nothing…glorious nothing. The road had become an empty wonderland, just me and unbound nature as far as the eye could see. No city lights or city folk to plague my way. No fast food chains or cheap ware stores dotting the horizon. No large tankers filled with the infernal noise of loud families and obnoxious drivers. Just the sound of my tires gripping the endless road to remind me that even I was an intruder in this pristine landscape.

I would typically share my route, but this is one of the few times where I ‘m going to keep mum on my secret drive. A man has to be able to have some solitary places that are sacred only to him or at least as few others as possible. Sorry, folks. Them’s the breaks.

I eventually made it into the city of Moab, famous for the nearby Arches National Park and other lesser known sites. I found a local hostel, The Lazy Lizard, and decided to spend a few days there while I explored the nearby parks and got my hike on. It’s rather apropos that The Lazy Lizard was given such a name. It’s a cozy little hostel where passers through and locals can kick up their feet and relax after a long day of hiking and getting blasted by the sun. It’s also where I met some of the laziest employees ever known to man. I’m still not sure exactly what anyone working there did besides enjoy the copious amounts of food…and weed…that was being shared by guests. This isn’t a knock on anyone there as they did make my stay pleasant and enjoyable. The place is this vortex of anarchic good will, except with great housekeeping. Don’t go there looking for 5 star hotel service, instead you will get an authentic laid back experience and at the same time make some great new friends and hear some great travel stories. Thumbs up for experience. Thumbs sideways for noise control after hours.

I spent most of my hiking days at Arches National Park. Once you reach the visitors center, it’s another 30 – 40 minute drive into the park itself to reach the Devil’s Playground hiking trail. There are a number of other trails along the way that I visited, including the trail to Delicate Arch, but Devil’s Playground was the main attraction. It receives the most tourists. However, if you’re willing to go onto the deeper trails past where most tourists stop and turn back, you will be treated to a landscape like none other I have seen. Perhaps, it was the time of year, but I often found myself alone on the deeper trail and it was bliss. Without all the distracting noise of other people’s activities, I was able to take in the serenity and rustling the landscape had to offer. I often thought to myself it wouldn’t be too bad to hike into the deep wilderness and just remain out there never to return. It was the allure of the wild. A romantic notion for sure, but not easily dismissed.

Delicate Arch was a bit busier, since it’s a major attraction. I had made the mistake of visiting on a Friday afternoon instead of during the week when less people would visit, so the site was being bombarded with the usual spread of respectful hikers and obnoxious tourists. It’s about a mile hike in and I spent half a day there to watch the sun arch over the horizon. As the sun set, I noticed a massive crowd begin to form near the entrance to the area. It was unnerving to me to hear how rude everyone was being towards travelers who wanted a close up shot of the arch. Anytime someone was getting a nice picture in near the arch the crowd would hiss and boo and yell to get out of the way so they could get their pristine shot of the sun setting. It seemed to me to defeat the purpose of the whole experience, but what do I know? I decided at one point I had had enough and trolled the unruly onlookers back by making them the subject of my photos. The subversive nature of my act seemed to register with some as they got my point and settled down a bit. As the sun finally made its final descent I decided to hightail it out of there before the mass exodus. Here’s a time lapse of my day there. Surprisingly, it took 5 hours of photos just to make a 30 second time lapse vid. Make sure you set the video at 1080p HD.

I’ll be making my way back to Moab soon as it holds a special place in my heart…and I suppose I’ll be nice and share some photos from the trip 🙂

– Sharing Rabbit

A Little Bit Of Me Time

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

That’s No Moon…

My road trip lasted nearly 5 months. Driving out east during the spring and summer was a completely different journey compared to driving back west in the fall. It was like driving through two different worlds, two galaxies far away from each other. I’ll admit the summer route was no picnic. I’m not a big fan of heat and, damn!, was it hot out in the midwest. There was the occasional thunder and lightning storm to soothe the sweltering sweat land, but those didn’t happen enough in my opinion. One of my favorite moments was sitting in a parking lot in St. Charles, Missouri and watching a furious lightning storm break all around me. It was massive. It was loud. It was glorious. Unfortunately, I was so in awe that it didn’t occur to me to capture any decent footage of the carnage. Moments like those are forever seared into the brainspace. Fortunately, the summer months don’t last too long out there in the wee wilds and fall was right around the corner. By the time I got back from Denmark, it was time to head back to good ol’ Cali (in case you’re going, “Huh, Denmark?”, I took a short detour to Denmark at one point).

The fall drive was absolutely mesmerizing and gorgeous. Every day brought new color changes in the surrounding foliage and forests. Even the textures of the mountainsides shifted depending on the moisture in the air. It was the drive that I had been seeking. Not to say the summer drive wasn’t spectacular in its own right, but…damn heat! Anyways, as I closed in on the borders of my home (?) state, I happened upon Deeth Starr Valley in Nevada. I drove past the sign, did a cranial double take, stopped the car and drove back to look at the sign and make sure I had seen that right. Yep. I saw right. The sign was even pointing upwards. Had I warped into some bizarro space-faring world? I was half expecting to see a Jawa sandcrawler in the distance. If you squint, you can just make out where they’re building the 3rd Death Star. I think they need another espionage master because misspelling the name of the most gigantic weapon known to man isn’t exactly misleading anyone. So, I guess our galaxies aren’t too far away from each other after all. Stay tuned for my Utah trip post…

– Red Rabbit Standing By

Views Upon Views

Just Hanging Around

Basking in Hydro Glory

Basking in Hydro Glory

That Time I Just Hung Around

I left the flatness of the mid-west and headed into the peaks of Colorado. After a brief night stop in Denver, I decided I needed to get my hike on. I greatly enjoyed driving through the endless plains of Kansas, but I really needed an elevated challenge to get the heart rate up. I should have been careful in what I asked for.

Colorado is well known for its plethora of hiking trails and national parks. I decided to stay on my route and hit Hanging Lake along the way into Utah. Hanging Lake is a gorgeous cliffside lake hidden in the mountains along Interstate 70. To get there, you have to take a vertical 1 mile hike. This isn’t your casual multi-switchback hike. It’s a tough uphill battle from the get go. I had spent several weeks in flatland and my hiking legs weren’t exactly trained for the hike, but I pummeled through it anyways. I paid the physical consequences: altitude migraine and slight dehydration, but it was all worth it for the breathtaking view of the lake and its mossy falls. It was also good to shock my body out of complacency and feel the rapid blood course through my body, reminding me of life’s good graces and lift the shadow of lethargy from my heart.

Hanging Lake is also where I decided to toy around with my first time lapse video. Not perfect, but enjoy.

– Alive Rabbit

Hanging Lake

That Gorgeous and Terrible Hike

 

The Fight To Learn

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Education Is A Basic Right

These days, we taking learning for granted. We have access to information everywhere we go and much of it is free through the internet. In fact, if you are intrepid enough, you can teach yourself through the many open source education portals that top universities have provided online. At the same time, we are still fighting for global education as a basic right. We still deal with systemic income and social inequalities that keep our brightest children from receiving the education they deserve so that they may thrive and maximize their potential. This is completely unacceptable in this day and age by any standards.

I was reminded of our continued fight to provide education as a basic right when I visited Monroe School in Topeka, Kansas. It is considered a national historic sight for its significance in the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling for education equality. Not so long ago, we in the U.S., thought it was a nifty idea to create separate facilities for ‘whites’ vs ‘colored’. This included education facilities. We not only created separate education facilities, but also created separate education standards. We were a nation divided by color lines and even to this day we are still fighting a tradition of segregation and racism. Society has become better, but the fight needs to continue until all have access to an equal education as a basic right. It simply makes sense, both socially and economically, to educate everyone on equal terms in order to maximize the potential of every citizen. Education provides for a better future. Education is life.

Let us not squander the efforts of previous generations by entertaining ideas of segregated educational standards. Ignorance must never win out and the truth is that ignorance is still very much a strong force in the world that seeks to disempower and disenfranchise the best of us. Fight on and never stop learning.

– Educated Rabbit

Monroe School Visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Love Everybody Already, Seriously

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God Loves Gays

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and I apologize. I’ve been battling a medical issue, but now I’m back to my bad ass self. Soooooo…to get back on track, let me get back to the rest of my road trip home after I returned from Denmark.

After the debacle at O’Hare Airport, I returned to Kansas City and decided my next stop would be Topeka, KS to visit a humorous little trifle, the Gods Loves Gays billboard that I helped support. The way I got involved in this project is pretty random. There is this pretty important dude, let’s call him Facebook God, who runs this pretty important satire Facebook page, GOD, with over 1.8 million followers. I’ve been a long time follower of his page because, though it’s a satire page aimed at revealing the ridiculous hypocrisy behind fanatical religious behavior, it has also become a compassionate haven where people go to support each other in their times of need. Therein lies the irony of the page. The most satirical religious site on the internet is also one of the most compassionate sites that exist. Go figure. Well, one day I was getting my daily dose of ‘God’ when I noticed that he was posting about shutting down the site. His post sounded like he was feeling defeated and worn down by all of the negatives trolls that battle him day in and day out. I decided to privately message him and see if there was any assistance I could offer. I received an immediate response thanking me for caring and we developed a personal correspondence over time. He mentioned that he was preparing an IndieGoGo campaign to drum up support for his God Loves Gays billboard project. The notion behind the project was to troll back the hateful hate mongers at the Westboro Baptist Church and erect a billboard near their headquarters in Topeka proclaiming once and for all that God certainly does love gays. Despite the satiric nature of the billboard, it delivers the point and would definitely ruffle some feathers at the WBC. This project happened to tickle my wicked spot so I offered my assistance in any capacity God needed. The billboard company needed a PR contact and in order to preserve God’s anonymity, I volunteered. And that’s how I became the listed ‘PR’ dude behind the project. Subsequently, I’ve received an endless stream of calls regarding the billboard, most media related, but some from religious zealots. Don’t fret, all calls are diverted to a dedicated email to help shield us from unwanted solicitations by unruly peoples.

I figured, since I was near Topeka, why not visit our beautiful handiwork and proudly display it here on my blog.

My next stop in Topeka was Monroe School which is considered a national historical site due to its involvement in the Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court Ruling. I’m going to save that for my next post so we can just admire the billboard. *flashing proud wicked grin* 😉

– Triumphant Rabbit

Feeling Missourable

Running In Place

Running In Place

In A State Of Missouri

I left it up to a Facebook vote as to my next destination and it was a tie between St. Louis and Kansas City, so I decided on St. Louis first and I’ll hit KC on the way back west after I go east some more. It’s my first time here, so I took a day to explore some of the free museums and wildlife parks they have here. I think it’s fantastic that they provide so many free alternatives for going out to budget minded people. The World Bird Sanctuary is a great place to educate yourself about the various wild birds you may come in contact with while traveling through the mid-west. They host a number of majestic eagles, falcons and owls who have been injured and cannot fly or survive in the wild anymore. I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with many of them. The place even has a monster python or two….shivers. I also had a bit of fun with their bucket o chalk that they provide for random walkway art.

Next up was a visit to the St. Louis Science Museum. This place was like kid mecca. The little tykes were everywhere running around and playing with all the fun little projects they have. It was great to see kids take an interest in science, but as for me, the environment was a bit too touristy for me so I didn’t stay long. I opted to skip the art museum and zoo and instead made for the downtown city garden.

Downtown was an interesting experience. I’ve always pictured St. Louis as a bigger city with more culture, but the place seems run down and a bit dilapidated. The great arch is definitely something to behold. However, it’s surroundings don’t match up to it’s ode to architectural wonder. I wasn’t really feeling the flow of the city, but the city garden was a fun little area. There are many peculiar sculptures and I got to splash around with kids at the fountain garden. I met a curious fellow by the name of Ronnell who kept pestering me to take photos of him to show his mom. I couldn’t help but oblige. Outside of the city garden I strolled a bit further into the main square. As I was setting up for a photo of the great arch on the horizon, I noticed a skateboarder doing ollies over a homeless guy. My curiosity got the best of me, so I introduced myself and got to grab some video footage of the feat.

I then ran into a random family taking photos of their daughter in her sweet sixteen dress. I had no idea people still did this. It was a strange scene to behold watching a girl in a big pink dress pose while being surrounded by homeless people and kids playing in the fountain. Surreal. Well, just another random day on my random road trip. Next stop…who knows? Want to vote on it?

– Missourable Rabbit

Stroll Through The Garden

Model Citizen Ronnell

For The Birds

 

 

A Fool And His Playground

The Fool

Just Being Foolish

So I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. Been freakishly busy with multiple projects while I’m on the road…oh, the irony.  Here’s a shorty post to tide you over. And by shorty I mean a ton of pictures. I’ve been treating everywhere I go like my own personal playground and occasionally I get up to goofy shenanigans. I promise to have updates sooner. Off to St. Louis!…don’t forget to let the Gifs load. Ciao!

– Silly Rabbit

OMG Nebraska

Iowackiness

Deep In The Chi-Town Dish

 

You Got This

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You got this. That’s all. 🙂

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– Minimal Rabbit