Friday, June 29, 2007

Waves and Waves and Waves

First Ocean view: San Francisco loves fog...or maybe fog loves San Francisco.

Surf Conditions: Knee/occasional waist NW windswell

Finally, after 6 long months away, i rode waves today!!! In reality it was knee-waist high, weak and choppy, but for me it was perfect head high and glassy. I ran into the water at Noriega St. Ocean Beach, San Francisco with the Dirty Bird under my arm, overflowing with joy. The water felt like a massage from God. My first effort was kinda weak as the wave backed off before i could get much going. But my second, woooo did that feel good: waist high and actually lined
up, i went right and glided down the face into a bottom turn and then back into the hook. I couldn't help but scream and laugh. I'm back home!!! I rode numerous other waves before the wind picked up real hard:::twas a great great session. After surfing, I of course made my way to Haight Ashbury. It left me somewhat disappointed. Its pretty trendy and commercialized. Alot of people trying to fill their pockets with images of dancing bears and Jerry. There were some highlights, like the Anarchist's Book Store and the 1500 person bicycle rally against oil wars.

A climber on El Capitan. Thats about 1/50 of the monolith.

Steve from Oregon preparing for El Cap.

That used to be Rt. 140 just outside Yosemite. The side of that hill decided it was time to take over. According to Tacoma commercials, Little T would have driven out of that landslide. And after the past week, I believe it. She passed the 3,000 mile mark for the trip today.

Tomorrow, i'm gonna surf in the morning and then attend the Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wow and Whoa

(quick side note: I'll be surfing tomorrow!! WOOOOHOOO!!)

OOOOHS and AHHHHS. Around every corner of Yosemite a new exclamation is needed.

El Capitan- 3000ft. vertical, granite rock. The Banzai Pipeline of rock climbing. It usually takes a couple days to climb. They sleep on ledges!!

I arrived in the Yosemite Valley yesterday morning and bought a two night stay at Camp 4. Camp 4 is in the national historical registry as a seminal spot in the history of climbing. Super cool with a lot of interesting people. Its like the North Shore of Oahu but with rocks and ropes.
After setting up camp, I took the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail to the top. I suppose i was kind of hoping for a leisurely stroll through the woods. This was nothing of the sort: 2700 ft in 3.5 miles over 100 switchbacks. Kinda painful but well well worth it for the view and chilly pools at the top.

The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail.

Yosemite Valley from the top of the Falls.


After my hike, i met a pair of characters that were sharing my campsite. Mark and John, a father in law/son in law combo from Denver had just finished a 14 hour day of hiking and climbing. These were the kind of guys that lived for the edge of all things. Climbing, skiing, kayaking, life- they were not satisfied until their lives hung in the balance. They taught me all about the climbing subculture and Yosemite's importance therein.

"Midnight Lightning" the most famous "bouldering problem" in the world.

Today i went to Glacier Point. Probably the best viewpoint in all of Yosemite.

Half-Dome and Nevada and Vernal Falls.

Half-Dome:::I'm coming back to conquer you!

Its probably just my current state of mind, but i see a perfect 3 wave set in Rainbow Arches.

Next, i drove out to Mariposa Grove where Giant Sequoias dominate the forest.

The Fallen Monarch

The Grizzly Giant- 5th oldest tree on the planet

A "prescribed burn" in the Valley.

And of course i have been hugging a lot of trees lately. This planet is the greatest gift anything has ever received. We are all lucky to be a part of this life on this planet. Wake up in the morning and appreciate the oxygen, sunlight, dirt, trees and EVERYTHING else. Ok
i'll step off my tree-hugging soap box.

My mountain experiences have been spectacular. But i am more than ready for some sea-level saltwater action. San Francisco tomorrow morning! First stop: Ocean Beach for a wave or a hundred.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Geology and Paigow

The United States is freakin' HUGE! I am sitting in a motel parking lot in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on my way to Yosemite National Park. I chased the sun the past 2 days pretty hard. I have crossed my final border and i joyously type this from California. I pulled over and asked the kind folks at the Andruss Motel if i could borrow their WiFi and they obliged.
On Monday, Steve-O gave me a short tour of Denver and i left very impressed. Very clean and well designed. I then left for the most radical drive i've ever experienced. Route 70 from Denver into Western Utah is awe-inspiring. Leaving Denver, i entered the Rockies immediately. The next 8 hours in the road warrior that is Little T, gave me a geology lesson that i could not receive in books or a classroom. Around every corner was different rock with different formations. Colors changed, shapes changed and my perspective on the land that is the USA changed.
Eastern Utah is amazing. Hours and hours of nothing but mountains and canyons. No towns, no people, no cell phone service, just a long road and millions of years worth of wind and water.
I reached Salt Lake City around 11pm and was lucky enough to meet up with an OU homeboy named Brant, who lives in the city. I thankfully stayed at his place and departed Salt Lake this morning, hell bent on reaching Yosemite tonight. The drive through Nevada was uneventful and i reached Reno at 5:30. After quickly winning $15 at a Paigow Poker table, i departed Reno for Yosemite.
All is swell: Little T continues to impress with her gnarly mountain climbing skills and all around talent. I have campsites prepared in the Yosemite Valley and i'll be in Mother Ocean by the end of the week.

Smoke from a Tahoe forest fire.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Expansive Rocks and Blue Grass

I'm sitting on Steve-O's back porch jamming to a crispy Phish groove. We just got back from a ridiculous blue grass show. A local band, "Oakhurst" played a super hard jam set. We left it all on the dance floor!
We spent most of the day in Rocky Mountain National Park. WOW:::I have been in the West Virginia and Virginia mountains, but this was a little different.

We drove up to 11,300ft. and then summited a little peak just over 12,000ft. Its tundra up there, the only plant life is centimeter tall moss. As we ascended the peak, my lungs huffed at the obvious lack of oxygen...pretty awesome sensation. The views from up there are spectacular. The expansiveness is mind bending.

"Which way to the beach?"

Steve-O and i with the Continental Divide behind.

Rocky Mountain elk

Another outrageously cool day. Existence just seems different out here. I cruised my skateboard through Colorado University and i was joined by 15-20 other longboarders. Everyone is either riding a bike, hiking, kayaking, climbing or one of the other thousands of sweet outdoor activities available round here. I am very passionate about great Mother Ocean. But i can now comprehend the spirit of these mountains that also creates passion. I want to summit some Fourteeners!

Long's Peak 14, 255ft.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bugs, Boulders and Hippies

I departed Omaha around 10:00 and proceeded to kill every large bug in Nebraska with my windshield. Little T did a real solid job of keeping up in the new to me 75 mph speed zones of Nebraska and Colorado.

Little T breaks into a serious groove with a bumpy road or a crosswind doing 80mph. But who can holdback a jam with Jerry, Bob, Eddie and Trey playing live inside?

I arrived in Boulder, Colorado around 6:00pm MT. This place has chiller vibes that radiate off the Rockies in the background. I spotted the Rockies about 50 miles away from Denver, and i could see the Boulder vibes just a short time later.

First mountain view.

Boulder is an eclectic mix of hippies, yuppies and everything in between. World class people watching. I'm currently at a coffee shop on The Hill waiting for Steve-O. As the sun set on the third longest day of the year, I drove up into Boulder National Park and took a hike. It was my first real mountain experience and it awesome. I'm pretty sure i could survive with nothing but a lighter and a shank ;)

U. of Colorado Boulder with an aptly named boulder in the foreground.

Friday, June 22, 2007

White Knuckle in Iowa

I left Toledo this morning at 10:00am and arrived in this hotel room West of Omaha, Nebraska sometime around 10:30pm CT. Little T traveled beautifully today. As i entered Iowa, i could see gnarly meteorlogical action on the horizon. Listening to NPR at the time i got word of tornado and severe t-storm warnings directly in my path. The clouds looked like they were 15 feet off the ground and looking to destroy everything. It got darker and darker until all hell broke loose. Wind and rain whipped Little T around the road and visibility become virtually zero. I would not have known if a tornado was around until i was 60 feet in the air.

The sun came out as the second longest day of the year wound down and i pushed on towards the Cornhucking State. Got some solid miles under her feet today. Thanks Indiana, Illinois and Iowa for safe travels if not exciting sights. I'll make it to Denver/Boulder tomorrow for an exhilarating weekend with Steve-O.

On a side note, yesterday was International Surfing Day. I hope as many people as possible, the world over, had a great time in the water.

Toledo is for Chillers

Spent my first 2 days on the road in Toledo, Ohio with Beaner, his beautiful wife S-Midd and Dubness himself. It was a Perfect way to start the journey. We played 36 holes of golf all told. Nine in Beaner and S-Midd's garden and 18 at a super fun course in Michigan. (yes, they did have to hold me back when i saw a few pistons jerseys in the supermarket)

Those are both birdie putts for the win, if anyone is keeping score at home.

After golfing, we went to Beaner's parents place, cooked out and chilled hard to some reggae grooves on the back porch. Then we went to see "Surf's Up". Before entering the theater I planned to stop in Chicago the next night and check out that scene.
I left the theater needing "The Glide" immediately! I skipped Chicago to accelerate my trip to the Ocean. Some of the movie was awkward, but every part involving surfing was true to the soul. It even includes a Lake Surfing chicken.

Overall my stop in Toledo was amazing. Epichill times with great friends. Thanks friends.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Walking over dunes::: looking down from a cliff::: motoring out to a reef pass::: coming to edge of the jungle. I am super excited for the hundreds of times that my heart will bounce off my throat and my stomach will drop to my knees. Sets stacked to the horizon, it is HUGE out there! And certainly bigger than it looks from here. Adrenaline scorches the senses.
Oh I’m paddling out there…it’s probably not a very good idea, but how else am I supposed to experience this world on such a raw level? Every surfer has these experiences. Each to their subjective degree. Everyone has their own 1969 Greg Noll at Makaha moments.
Sitting on the beach hyper-ventilating, psyching…wave after wave explodes viciously down the point, across the reef, onto the sand-bar. Breathe, wax excessively, check- recheck the leash, time the sets, visualize, breathe, stretch. Maximize the oxygen reaching my lungs. “You’re ready, you are prepared for this, you will survive the worst, you will scream with joy after the best.”
It is time, the time is now. It’s just me and the ocean. Walking to the shorebreak, the ground quakes under the immense power being unleashed in the water. Paddling out might take an hour of small progressions. Paddle hard- duckdive, back where i started...again and again. Rare bouts of damning of the Ocean. "Damn you! Chill out for like 30 seconds, Please!" Finally, She might relent.
Sitting outside watching monsters attack the seafloor, and chase me- paddling hard over the top or into the channel before i'm eaten. I question my desire to be there. But my soul quickly answers, “This is where we LIVE.” Live Dangerously.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ohio Retrospective

Motionless, saltless water ::: single digit temperatures :::: sunless weeks ::: feet of gray snow. After living 2 1/2 years on the inspiring Outer Banks of North Carolina, spending numerous months in Ohio was not a thrilling prospect.

I had my dog Zoey, coaching/watching/playing basketball, a gym and a pool to keep my mind off the Ocean during the dreadful winter.
Then one day something happened. I spent the first 23 years of life in Ohio. The seasons changed and i guess i never paid any attention. One day the sun came out, the snow melted, flowers blossomed and everything turned brilliant green. Those first days in short sleeves and sunshine were incredible.
Ohio is not that bad after all. Actually under the right circumstances Cleveland, Ohio is one of the greatest places on Earth. What circumstances am i speaking of? How about a Cleveland Cavalier Finals run. Because of a Cavs employee, I was fortunate enough to attend 5 playoff games and bring many family and friends along. These were special, special times.

Cavs Fans sound off- AP

Championship Hustle on WTAM 110o- YouTube
Warren is choke-full of mean mofo Cavs fans- The Optimist

I suspect the Cavaliers will win 9 out of the next 10 World Championships.
I miss the Cavs, (and I will fly home next June to attend games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals) but i will definitely miss my friends and family the most. They are all amazing people and i'd like to thank them all for a joyous 6 months. Especially my folks, John and Jeanne Stock. Amazing people!!