One Year and 1,000 Miles with Bessie the VW Bus

February ’15
1. Miss a box jump at CrossFit. Grind my shin with full bodyweight.
2. I think it’s almost to the bone. Fist sized swelling. “Just walk it off.”
3. Hydrogen peroxide vs. stitches. I choose peroxide. 
Four days later
4. Pain and redness…more pain. Visit doctor. 
5. “OH MY GOD! VHAT DID YOU DO? Take this veeery good antibiotic. It get worse you go to zee hospital.”
Two days later
6. Los Angeles. Serious pain and redness. Call doctor.
7. “Describe for me zee symptoms you arrrre having?” (blah blah blah symptoms).
Two weeks, two hospitals, and a LOT of Vanco later 
9. “Hey doc, I’m having XYZ symptoms…” 
11. While lying in a hospital bed I’m getting reflective. Super-all-nostalgically-reflective-like-life-flashing-in-front-of-you. 
12. Dad emails me a picture of an old VW Bus we had growing up. More nostalgia. My kids should have these types of memories. 
Next morning
13. I NEED a VW Bus. So long as I don’t lose my leg, which would be problematic clutching. I promise myself I’m going to be fine. And buy a Bus. Make memories with the kids. 
14. On eBay I find a VW Bus. I text the ad to four friends asking advice. 
15. Three text back with “this is a stupid idea.” I decide they are not true friends. 
16. One doesn’t respond. This is a good friend. I take non-response as tacit endorsement. 
17. I text one more friend, a legit hippie from the 60’s.
18. He texts me back “This is a wise decision.” This is the kind of friendship I need in my life. 
19. I buy the Bus (sight unseen) on eBay.
One month later
20. En route to meet my guy selling the Bus at his bank in Seattle.
21. Test drive. Multiple stalls. “This bus is a piece of shit!” I say to him.
22. “No, no” he says to me. “You just have to give her some love.”
23. Test drive some more.
24. I am transported back to 12-years old, riding in the back of a Bus with my family.
25. I love this Bus. Exchange cash for title. 
26. Start 900 mile drive back to SF Friday night. 
27. Stop in Olympia for dinner with friends. Bessie won’t re-start.
28. This bus is a piece of shit.
29. I give her some love. And she loves me back.
30. I love this Bus again. 
That night 
31. It’s 40 degrees and midnight. Bessie has no heat. I drive faster and attempt to hit 65 MPH. We. Are. Making. Progress. 
32. I am so cold my teeth are chattering.
33. It’s 2am and I am exhausted. But I am not as tired as I am cold. Sleep would be impossible. 
34. It’s 4am, and now I am more tired than cold. This is the type of cold struggle I envision on a Mt. Everest attempt. 
35. I pull over at a rest stop. I am freezing. I wish I had a sleeping bag to snuggle with. Or a Sherpa. Both would be amazing right now. 
36. It’s 5am and I wake up to use the bathroom to pee. The bus door won’t open from the inside. I’m too tired to figure this out.
37. I see a cup. This will do. But it’s a small cup. I pee. Stop. Empty it. Repeat. Five times. I think I’ve irreparably damaged my prostate. 
The next morning
38. It’s 7am. It’s too cold to keep sleeping. I get up and start fiddling with the door.
39. Some guy pulls up next to me and blurts out “Good morning! Whatcha doing?!?!?!?!”
He’s chipper like had a full night sleep, oh and heat in his car and yes he is driving a Volvo.
41. I think Bessie is making me testy. 
42. Questioning the Bus buying decision at this moment.
43. Actually, questioning all of my life decisions.
44. It’s 7:30am and I’m on the highway. Shivering.
45. Guys with chubby cheeks should not wear beanies. I have chubby cheeks.
46. I put on my beanie. That’s how cold I am.
47. I need coffee. Someone get me coffee.
48. I don’t deserve Starbucks. You are an idiot. You only get gas station coffee.
49. My right blinker stopped working. I figure out how to love her to get it to work. By using my arm out the window.
50. My new relationship with Bessie is best described as “complicated.” 
Mid day
51. The sun is out, it’s now 48 degrees. I am warm. Actually, my teeth has simply stopped chattering. Warm is relative. 
52. The sky is clear. Bessie is purring like a kitten. We’re cruising down route 5 through Oregon.
53. Man, I love Oregon. This is AMAZING. There’s nowhere I would rather be than I-5 in Oregon with Bessie at this moment. 
54. Someone drives by me and gives me the peace sign. I flash it back.
55. I love this Bus. Good decision confirmed. 
56. My kids are going to LOVE me. I am the COOLEST dad ever.
57. Bessie starts smoking. I pull over. More love. And lots of oil.
58. My kids are going to HATE me. 
59. It’s down to 38 degrees. I am cold again. But not as cold as I am bored.
60. I stop at McDonalds to warm up. I sit inside without ordering anything.
61. I go to the bathroom, but only to run my hands under warm water for five minutes.
62. Am. I. Homeless? 
63. Reconsidering all my life’s decisions again.
64. Getting into the Bus, I see a van full of kids cheering and giving me the thumbs up and peace signs.
65. My kids are definitely going to love me.
66. I have decided to let my hair grow long. 
67. Getting onto the highway I almost get rear ended and two drivers share their feelings symbolically. Not the peace sign.
68. My kids might also have a complicated love for me and Bessie. 
69. My back is torqued from these seats and 800 miles. I need a chiropractor.
70. Or traction. Yes, I need someone to put me in traction. My back is killing me. Or a coma. Someone get me a Sherpa and a coma.
71. With a dead iPhone, I hopelessly turn on AM radio. There’s only talk radio on. 
72. I am getting smarter by the minute. This bus was a great investment.
73. Two hours from SF, and I contemplate the small pee cup so I can just get home. But instead pull off at a rest stop. 
74. Within 30-seconds another Bus pulls up next to me.
75. Peter, a German man who hasn’t bathed in 32 days, jumps out enthusiastically. 
76. “HEY MAN! How long you staying for???” He asks, as he flashes the peace sign. 
77. “Uhhhh, not sure. Pretty much here to take a leak. 30-seconds maybe…”
78. Before I finish he shouts “I’ve been told we can only stay here for EIGHT HOURS MAN! THIS IS BULLSHIT!!!” 
79. I realize he thinks I am (also) here to camp. Or maybe considers it to be the possibility of more. Like two birds that meet on a mountaintop whose paths never again depart.
80. My path is departing, in about 90-seconds. I start planning my escape. 
81. I share with Peter my outrage re. the eight hour limit, imposed upon us “by an overly restrictive government with ulterior motives and that this is an abomination against all of us as Bus owners, adventurers, and free spirits which are destroying our liberties and YES-WE-SHALL-FIGHT-FOR-OUR-RIGHT-TO-PARK-OUR-BUSES-WHEREVER-WE-WANT-HOWEVER-LONG-WE-WANT-PETER-ARE-YOU-WITH-ME?!?!?!” 
82. Peter seems pleased and comforted by my response–perhaps even a tad bit afraid–so he lets me get on my way when I explain I have kids waiting for me at home. After we talk for another hour. And open up our engine bays. And lament oil leaks. 
83. We hug goodbye. We will be friends for life. He gives me his email. Then he asks where he can camp and shower for free in San Francisco. I consider asking for my email back. 
Late that night
84. I approach the Bay Bridge. While in the toll/bridge line, Bessie starts smoking profusely.
85. This is SF, Bessie. You can’t do that here. Please. Stop. Bessie, stop. You know not the jungle we are entering for smoking engines.
86. Prius drivers are looking at me in horror. Several express their sentiments by showing me the non-peace sign.
87. As I’m pulling off the freeway to my house I see some young kids in the back of their parents car flash me the thumbs up sign.
88. I shoot back a big smile and a vibrant, confident peace sign. I’m fully comfortable in my new role now. 
89. My kids are gonna love me.
Three months later
90. I get the Bus back from my mechanic and take Royce and Zoe for their first ride. Within two miles Bessie breaks down on the highway during rush hour.
91. There are tears (them). Uncontrollable laughter (me). I MIGHT have a propensity to laugh in uncomfortable moments. 
92. The kids hate me (at the moment). The Bus gets towed on a flat bed back to my mechanic.
93. There’s not enough room in the cab of the tow truck for me. So I have to sit in the Bus. On top of the flat bed. Whilst being towed for 30-mins in rush hour.
94. My kids are pointing at me from the cab of the tow truck laughing hysterically at me. Apparently, now THIS is fun. 
Nine months later
95. For sale. 1976 VW Bus.
96. One last (and really first) road trip with Royce and Zoe. I decide to take them for a Saturday drive down Pacific Coast Highway. 
97. We hang at the beach, flash peace signs to everyone, eat Gorilla BBQ (Pacifica) out the side door overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
98. We go to another beach, drive to Pescadero, eat blueberry cobbler, buy old Marvin Gaye LP albums at a retro coffee shop, and slowly putter our way back. The kids have more fun and I hear more cackling laughter than I can remember in any recent month. 
99. The kids love me. They might even love Bessie. The day ends with “Dad, that was REALLY fun!!!”
The next day
100. One year and 1,000 miles later, Bessie heads to her next owner.
The most ridiculous, and somehow rewarding, money I’ve spent in a long time. 
IMG_8708 IMG_8709 IMG_8723 IMG_8817 IMG_8819 IMG_8891

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My Dirty Laundry

My Dirty Laundry

Note: this is one of those blog posts without a punchline, let alone a solid point. Tonight en-route a six-hour flight, I just felt like writing about the moment that lingers the most from my trip thus far. How’s that for a compelling opener? 🙂

I’m in the midst of a week of business travel and can’t stand to pay in-hotel laundry gouging prices if avoidable. So while staying in Santa Monica, I found a nearby Laundromat in Venice and scooted over mid-day Friday to clean my dirty laundry.

I pull into the parking lot in my Buick rental (an amazingly great ride), with a large Brian and Amy’s Coconut Water (with pulp) in-between my legs while toggling a conference call (using handsfree).

Within ten seconds of pulling into the parking lot, a local Laundromat-goer who is sitting in his parked car awaiting a wash cycle starts yelling at me. Apparently, there’s a special parking protocol that I don’t understand. Thankfully, Mr. Enthusiasm was more than willing to school me.

Cringing, I mute my business call, and feel my annoyance level rise as he continues to yell. “Okay, you got this” I say to myself as I roll down the windows and resist my NYC-instinct to start yelling back. We are in SoCal, after all, and unless the car is in motion there is little justification for hostility.

“Hey bro” I say in my best attempt at California-cool as I pull up my Ray Bans and kinda flick my not-quite-long-enough-to-pass-as-a-surfer-hair “just tell me what I’m doing wrong here and I’ll fix it.”

He looks at me as if I am the biggest idiot in the world (possible) and with an irritated voice and angry emphatic hand gestures instructs me on where to park, in between obvious exhalation and eye rolling, as if to solidify the point that, once again, I am indeed the biggest idiot in the world (moving from possible to probable at this point). He tells me that if my vehicle gets blocked it is my job is to track someone down and get them to move their car for me, which is why I was reprimanded in the first place—I wasn’t pulling my car all the way forward.

Fair enough. His turf. His rules. I’ll follow.

Despite the aggressive greeting, as soon as I walked through the doors of the Laundromat an amazingly unexpected wave of comfort, simplicity, and peace was around me. The quiet repetitive hum of rotating washers and dryers, with the fresh scent of cleaned clothes and dryer sheets, and a comfortable immersion in a toasty warm room that invited me to slow down and linger.

Ironically, Mr. Enthusiasm even ends up becoming quite friendly with me and is supremely chatty—even smiley—once we’re inside, which I also attribute to the healing and equalizing properties of a Laundromat.

Nobody there owned, or at least was using, an iPhone or Blackberry (let’s be real, nobody uses a Blackberry anyways), there was no multi-tasking, and not a single person stared at the dryer trying to “will” the clothes to bake faster. It was chill.

It ended up being like a 90-minute vacation for me. Sitting in a Laundromat. Talking to the locals.

So far this week I’ve been in Dallas for three days, Los Angeles for two, and now I’m off to Honolulu for the final leg of this journey before heading back to San Francisco. Not only interesting travel venues, but I’ve had some great meetings with people along the way and some amazing food to boot (Riva Bella on Sunset—if you’re in LA, totally worth a visit).

Yet, my most memorable experience so far?

The Laundromat.

I don’t even understand it, but it’s one of those things that totally stands out to me. The kind that compels me to write without any particular reason…


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Hanging for the Weekend: Surfing, and…Hair Swag?

This weekend it was just me and the kiddo’s, Royce and Zoe. “RoZo.” We had a great time, and if for nothing other than a mental memory for me down the road, I thought I’d capture highlights. Mostly a pictorial review, with a few captions summarizing along the way.


30-minutes in and RoZo have jumped into their enthusiasms. Zoe’s all about fashion, design, technology, and, well, doing nails…Apparently not just one color. She is the kinda-messy-moderately-expressive kid, so at least she’s outside.  She’s also crazy creative.


And then Royce found her own occupation, who is a ridiculously hard worker and equally responsible, has little to no interest in fashion but is a voracious reader and learner, yet has gotten consumed with this Pottermore game which appears to be mildly addictive.


Drove into SF for a pick up of the proverbial grass-fed organic frolicking-in-the-countryside CSA meat order (that is so California, which I am not…) and I stumbled onto this street which I adore–and the building / architecture. This would be a cool place to live. There’s even a GTI out front. Perfect car for the City. Love.


Took the kids surfing in Santa Cruz late in the afternoon, this is post-surf. Caught some fantastic waves, and the three of us are starting to get the hang of it. 10-years ago I never understood the magic of surfing. Now, I do. Total magic.


Sunset in Santa Cruz, such a gorgeous night with sailboats skimming the surface while watching the sun dip below the horizon with the salty smell of the Pacific Ocean. I am sure I could live anywhere, but my soul is definitely happier near water.


Raz, Zoe, and Royce…Post surfing, exhausted, but about to go and party it up in Santa Cruz at night.


We had dinner on the Pier with a really smart guy who used to be my CTO at a prior start-up and his equally smart wife, lovely couple. Afterwards, I took RoZo to the nearby Arcade. Of the 582 games, RoZo wanted to play the one where you get the 1/1000th chance to win a little stuffed animal. After 1,000 coins they each won! This is the equivalent of a slot machine for 9 and 11 year olds…


After two hours here, I no longer saw video games. I only saw pathogens. Billions on the machines. And hundreds running around the arcade. If I could’ve wrapped myself in a bubble, I would have. Arcades and hand rails on NYC subways…Ugh, try to stay away from both.


So after surfing we had dinner, then ice cream, then the arcade, but why call it a night at 10pm!?!?!?! Instead, we went bowling and loaded up with nachos. And more ice cream. After bowling we hung out at a restaurant and played music on the jukebox, had more ice cream and more food. Zoe woke up the next morning saying “Dad, I can’t believe what you fed us last night…” Yes, this is all my fault. 🙂


Love this shirt. And, I just love this picture. Oh, and she got a STRIKE! Go Roycie Go!


The kids decided to conspire against me, and asked if they could each bowl a turn for me (we were competing, of course!). They each promptly threw both of my bowling balls directly into the gutter. And they thought it was so hysterical. So I tried my best to look unamused.



I love this shot, only b/c it feels and looks so California to me. I love this house, too. So charming. However, to be clear, I am a New Yorker who digs California. I am not a Californian (at least not yet).


Took the kids with me to do my 3rd bodyfat test, which I now do every 90-days. My last test in December was 14.3%, this one was 12.6% which is okay progress but I should’ve been closer to 11% and my diet has slipped the last few months. My final goal is to be at or less than 9%, and originally wanted to hit it by April but now looks like it will be June. Still a ways to go, but slowly…slowly…


We ended the night by having a buddy of mine over and his daughter, the kids ate Pizza while for the boys I cooked braised Lamb, pancetta topped brussel sprouts, and some sweet potato concoction that I made up–pan fried in ghee with cinnamon and topped with liquid honey (diluted honey). I was overzealous on cooking tonight, but the kids cleaned, got recharged with some Girl Scout Cookies, and then decided I needed a new hairdo–so check out my new hair swag!!!

RoZo, thanks for keeping me out of trouble and making this weekend a great time! 🙂


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The Long Road Home: Tuscon, the Marathon, and…The End (part three)

The final leg of my road trip, part one is here, part two is here, and following is part three.

If you are reading this far 🙂 , I’d suggest listening to this song, the Long Road Home by Mickey Newbury. Maybe as you read this. Or not. It’s a great song. In iTunes you can see how many times you have played a certain song, and I can’t even bring myself to say how many times I have listened to a good dozen songs in my “most played.” It also probably serves as more accurate confirmation of a DSM-IV diagnosis of a bit of an obsessive/compulsive personality. The Long Road Home got some good play time on my road trip. It’s mesmerizing.

Ten minutes to start, and I think that bathroom line is longer than ten minutes...
Ten minutes to start, and I think that bathroom line is longer than ten minutes…

I left Tucson on Saturday morning to head over to Phoenix for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Checking into marathons is a great feeling, there is a type of impending human kinetic energy. Can’t quite explain it. Closest I have felt to it is when I used to work as an Exec at a Company where we’d have big events, sometimes thousands of people, at annual conventions. I think it’s the feeling of pulling together enthusiastic people who share a passion. You can feel it. One thing I hate is apathy. Being around passionless people exhausts and annoys me to no end. It’s part of why I love NYC so much. For better or worse, there is a ton of passion there. So I’m drawn to people who are passionate.

I was hanging out at the pool in the afternoon the day before the race finishing the Steve Jobs biography and trying to stay off my legs and save up my energy. I met this guy there whose wife was a professional competitor, and she was running in the half the following day. Super nice guy, 50’s, could tell he was really hard working and at one point in the conversation he told me: “I’m not gaining on the world, but the world isn’t gaining on me either–so I think I’m doing okay.”

And it made me think of the last three gas station attendants on my trip up to that point, Nick, Walter, and Bao. And it’s funny that I remember their names, because I’m not great at names. I talked to Nick from Chevron for a bit, and learned he’s worked two 40-hour a week jobs for the last 12 years. His other gig is at a grocery store. Respectable. Hard work. Good man. I have a soft spot for the “working class” (a term I don’t love but it’s the most descriptive).

Start of the Phoenix Marathon
Start of the Phoenix Marathon

You’re an Executive? Cool, good for you big shot. Maybe you’re really good. Maybe you’re lucky. But I know that however hard you worked, you got a lot of breaks along the way–a lot of breaks that other people didn’t get.

However, you clean houses or offices for a living? You have my respect.

Because, THAT is a hard job. An honorable job. And the people in those jobs, well, they’re the ones that are the fabric of America, and what makes it great. It’s not that I have a rant against people who have been successful with big fancy titles, I don’t. But them being successful doesn’t make them any more respectable than a person in a more typical American job.

Seeing the States was a reminder why I have come to be so frustrated with politics, mostly the politicians themselves. Because, most of them forgot who and what makes this country so amazing. I’m doing my best not to editorialize, but during my trip I was really reminded of the people who truly make America what it is. There are days I’m convinced we’d be better off if we simply replaced all of Congress with 535 rational, hardworking middle class Americans who care deeply about this country.

Anyways, back to the road trip…Sunday morning I awoke around 4:30am, excited and nervous. Ready to try hard, but I gave myself an out to bail if I felt horrible during the run. Race gun sounded at 7:50am, and we were off.

During the run I had two particularly memorable moments. The first one was an unknown-to-me person by the name of Jackie, and either there were a ton of women named Jackie running this race, or one REALLY popular one. This guy holding this sign I must’ve seen seven times during my run, and I saw a lot of other Jackie signs on the way. It made me feel good for two reasons, one is to watch a team of people so enthusiastic cheering someone on was simply fun to see. The other good feeling was because I saw all the people standing with the signs waiting for her, therefore, I was clearly running ahead of whoever-this-Jackie-woman was. I try to take the small victories along the way. 🙂

Go Jackie Go!
Go Jackie Go!

The other great moment was running next to this guy for the first ten miles who was carrying the American flag. Seeing the sun streaking through the flag, with him running intently, gave me goosebumps, which I don’t get often. It was one of the best moments of the marathon, perhaps even better than finishing.We live in such an amazing country. Post race I saw him and thanked him for running with the flag, but what I really wanted to do was hug it out with him. Can’t explain how cool it was, I have chills even as I write this. It was magic.

American Flag marathon runner
American Flag marathon runner

From what I have read, what usually happens with newbie marathoners is first 10 miles are cake, 11-18 are fine, then somewhere around 18-20 you hit the wall and then, well, welcome to hell.  That was pretty much my experience in my first marathon six weeks ago.

Mile 25...
Mile 25…

What happened in the Phoenix marathon was unexpected. I had the stomach flu then followed by either a wicked cold or the regular flu (there should be some law of physiology that the two can’t accompany each other) starting a week before the race. So the first 15 miles I felt pretty lousy. Then, at mile 15, something happened. It just clicked. And I felt great. My pace picked up considerably. And it lasted until I got to mile 23.5, where I finally bonk’d (hit the wall) but when you bonk that far along it’s a lot easier to complete. My time was 3:55:24, so I was thrilled to finish this one given how I’d been feeling, getting sub-four was just a bonus.

Post run, I went and saw a few friends from my high school back in Columbus, Ohio. Great people. I loved hearing their stories, experiences, and travels from over the years. I never tire of meeting, and listening to interesting people. Mike and Julie, hope to see you guys again on another Arizona trip…

And after a few hours of chatting over burgers, truffle fries, and (one) beer–my big cheat meal for the week–I was off to hit the road to continue my trek on I-10 west into the sunset. And back into California, 3,500 miles later.

Why’d I drive from Florida to California? Because I have a car affliction.

But, what prompted my car buying affliction in Florida was, in part, the prospect of driving across the Country. Because I knew that during my trip I’d learn a little bit more about myself. A lot more about others. A few great life lessons along the way.

And, that I’d fall in love with America all over again.

And I did.


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Off into the sunset…


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Long Road Home: Part Two

I made it to Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday evening, and I pretty much caught up my highlight events from the first leg of my road trip with this post here. Though, I’m adding a a few more pics to the below “Part Two” even though they were from the first leg because they were fun parts of the adventure for me. I stayed in Tucson at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch for three nights, it’s a great place and during my time there I tried to recover from this nasty bug using DayQuil, desert air, and sleep. Though I was also able to get some work done on a few various start-up projects, and I had an absolute breakthrough in terms of writing a book that’s been lingering for five years.

Being in Tucson was a reminder of a realization I’ve had in the last year about building and running companies. In hiring, lots is discussed about identifying and assessing competencies. Little is discussed in the way of chemistry. However, when I hire, those are the two things I’m looking for. Competency AND chemistry. Generally in equal measure, because I think chemistry is as important as competency, and was reminded of this during my stay at the ranch. The ranch is the same as it was in years past, but the staff is different this time. And it made a huge difference in the feel of the whole venue. That’s what chemistry does. When I ran a start-up in NYC/NJ a few years back, this was one of my big takeaways. The team was good, really competent. But the chemistry was great. And it was a difference-maker. Seeing Tanque Verde with some great chemistry among the staff really reminded me about this, and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget.

Bulletproof glass at the boiled peanut gas station

Okay, one last Florida story! It’s not my fault, the state is just SO chalk full of craziness…So if you know me, you know I LOVE boiled peanuts. Made a stop at a Florida gas station based on a Google query, it was in a rough–and I mean rough–neighborhood. When I walked in, there were bars over every possibly entry, and when I entered the cashier was sitting behind bullet proof glass (this picture–no exaggeration).

So as I’m loading up my boiled peanut containers (which are not Paleo, by the way–a peanut is a legume, so it’s a cheat meal if you’re going to splurge) a very large man wearing a tank top and a bandana barged into the store and suddenly yelled:“Alright everybody, put yo’ hands up and git yo’ asses on the floor!” 

Then, just about after enough time elapsed for everybody to wet their pants, he laughed and said “Just kidding ya’ll”. Thank you, sir, for sharing your gift of hilarity this evening…

This story further adds to my I love/hate Florida repertoire. I love Florida because you can get boiled peanuts at a gas station. I hate Florida because you can get a fake hold up whilst getting those boiled peanuts at a gas station.

Preservation Hall

This was in New Orleans, at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. There are three shows a night, no photos allowed during the performance. Here’s what I LOVED about watching these guys play jazz. Not only is the venue steeped rich in history and legacy, but these guys LOVED what they were doing. I looked at their clothes, some of them looked as if they were wearing recycled second-hand stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I realized if I were to see one of these guys at a gas station and judge him by well worn clothes I’d probably assume he was either not successful or not doing something of significance. And I’d be wrong on both counts. Each of those guys were more successful than me, and following something with a passion that I yearn to replicate. Watching them play was like watching magic unfold.

The Amazing Teri Baker! 

This is a pic with Teri Baker, a great person who used to be on my team at a former Company. She ran the Call Center, but did a lot more than that too. She’s got a lot of heart, and I have always admired that about her. Teri happened to be in Austin as I was driving through, so we caught up over Stubb’s BBQ. So much fun. She is, as they say, great people.

Sunset at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

This was the view from my room at Tanque Verde Ranch at sunset with a field full of saguaro cacti, which are truly amazing. And it’s equally amazing what an Instagram filter can do to your pictures. I posted this one on IG and was contacted by some Arizona online magazine who wanted to make it their photo of the day. I was pretty excited, until I saw I basically have more IG followers than they do (which is not a lot).

I love the desert, and the saguaro are simply spectacular. It’s generally hard for me to sit still, but it’s different in Arizona. I think this is one of my favorite states. And in Arizona, while I love Tucson, I really think Sedona is exceptional. I could get lost there. Figuratively.

Of course, if I were using Apple Maps in Sedona, I could get lost there literally too.

Happy Horses post-trail ride

I love this photo because it was taken after all the horses got back from an afternoon ride and they seem genuinely happy, like they know they just did a good job. There’s an amazing sense of satisfaction in hard work.

I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as an anaphylactic allergy with horses, but I think I come pretty close. I’m ridiculously allergic. Therefore, I would make a terrible cowboy. And I don’t even really like horses that much. Though I do like wearing a cowboy hat and boots. Just, keep the horses away from me. And lasso’s. I probably shouldn’t be near those either.

Endless fires at the ranch

I checked into Tanque Verde on a Wednesday night, and left Saturday morning. During that entire time, I had a fire going from the moment I arrived until the moment I left–as well all through the night, and would wake up to throw more logs on the fire to keep it going.

For someone that has a hard time sitting still, I did pretty good at it at the ranch–but the fires help, they’re mesmerizing. So the big breakthrough I had while in Tucson was with this book I’ve been struggling to finish. I started it almost seven years ago, and should’ve finished it five years ago. Going into this week I was probably 70% “done.” The problem was, I hated it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I just didn’t like it. The writing, structure, order, voice. There’s little I liked about it. It has been 70% done for years.

So this week, I started over. Completely over. Brand new document. Didn’t carry over one word from the last one (though I’m sure as I write more, stuff will carry over). I started and finished the first chapter on this new take, and for the first time I feel like I’ve got some of my book writing mojo back. I’m not sure what the lesson in this is, I mean surely it can’t be when things are hard just ditch ’em and start over. But at the same time, maybe with some things, you do…

Anyways, this was THE breakthrough for me this week on the road trip (so far). If I hadn’t lost myself with the scenes of the southwest outside and the crackling fireplace inside, away from all internet connectivity and my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/emails/surfing/texting and all other distractions, I’m not sure I would have ever had the realization that to get to where I wanted to go, I’d have to break free from what I’d done.

I also realized that I have to unplug my life more. Yes, many of you have been telling me, and encouraging me, to do this for years. I know, and you were right. But I just had to learn it for myself. Sometimes telling someone (repeatedly) to do something doesn’t quite work. It MIGHT even have the opposite effect with SOME individuals. 🙂

Okay, I officially want to be a Cowboy

If I wouldn’t be so terrible at it, I’d want to be a Cowboy when I grow up and work at a ranch. And write. As well as play the guitar. I’d like to be able to sing, too. Okay, let’s switch this up. I want to be a country music singer that has enough money to go to a ranch on occasion and play cowboy. Alas, I get to play Executive and consume copious amounts of Allegra and point at, instead of ride, horses. I am not even a City Slicker. I’m a City Sniffler. Ugh.

1970 VW Hippie Bus

In college I had one of these for a few months. It was not my favorite car. It was in the family for a while, I didn’t drive it long. Compared to the guy in the Jag in my earlier post, this guy did NOT look like he was having fun. Because, after all, I do not think cruising at 45 in a 75 with puffs of black smoke willowing out the tail pipe constitutes fun.

On my way from Tucson to Phoenix, I actually passed this guy three times (had to stop twice on the way). And it wasn’t because I was speeding. When I looked over at the guy I could practically see him standing on the gas pedal, and kinda rocking his body forward as if he were trying to give it some momentum.

Only if you owned and drove a VW Bus at some point in your life would you even understand this…

Raz at the Phoenix Marathon Expo check in, number 53496

When I got to Phoenix I checked into the hotel and hit up the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Expo at the convention center. My number is 53496, the 5 was cut off by my RFID timer. Given this sickness I’ve been fighting for ten days, I have seriously been debating whether to show up for the race, and if I did show up whether to simply switch to the half marathon or to go ahead and try to finish the full.

I decided to try to run the full marathon, partly because physically I feel back up to 80% now, and partly because if I didn’t run at all I’d always wonder if I could’ve finished. I’m going to try my best to have a solid run tomorrow, but I’m also trying to be somewhat aware of my body and recovery and not push it too hard. In retrospect, it was a little overzealous to do this six weeks after my first marathon. One of my future posts will be a “Lessons Learned in Marathoning.”

Since being in Phoenix I’ve read and seen some super inspirational stories about marathoners, including one guy in particular with multiple sclerosis. One of the things I love about running is drawing on inspiration from other people. And it’s usually from observation more than hearing some story, but both work.

I still remember so vividly running in Central Park this summer and a guy with an artificial leg was pacing alongside me, and I just found it breathtaking. Not in a I-feel-sorry-for-you type of way. No, in a you-inspire-me type of way. And, that’s one of the many gifts of running.

Ciao, for now. I’ll complete my third and final leg of this blog in a day or two when I get back to Cali.

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The Long Road Home

This weekend I started the trip west, from Naples Florida. I’m driving. I flew to Florida, expecting to buy a ticket back to California at some point in January, but because I have a bad habit, I mean affliction, strong enthusiasm for cars and road trips, I am driving home. Tonight I made it into Tucson and am staying at the Tanque Verde Ranch for a few nights until I head to Phoenix this weekend for the Rock ‘n Roll marathon this Sunday.

Before leaving for my road trip back West, RoZo got their ears pierced. They were pretty excited as you can tell. Me? Ahhhhhh, well…I warmed up to the idea, eventually.

Two weeks ago I had an aggressive time goal for the Phoenix marathon, but the stomach flu accompanied by a nasty cold for the last week has kept me from running for over a week. Based on how I feel tonight, I’m not even sure yet if I’ll make it to the starting line, let alone the finish line. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed my trip. And there are few things that I love more than traveling across the United States. It’s not just the road trip that I enjoy, but it’s the people you meet along the way.

Here’s a pictorial of my trip and a few highlights from the past few days.

First, let’s cover Florida. If you’ve heard people talk about a harrowing life experience or ever had one yourself, like an imminent traffic accident, you will often hear that they talk about how time slows down. Well, it’s actually true in a way. The human eye and mind can process about 20 frames per second. However, under duress in acute situations we can actually boost output to about 60 frames per second–so it feels like time slows down, but you’re just able to process faster than normal for short periods of time.

Basically, this is what I feel like when I enter the gulf coast of Florida. Like I am able to operate at 60 frames a second, but ongoing. It is more likely, however, that I am simply operating at a very normal 20 frames per second and the state is operating at 10. 🙂

I like the pace here, it’s relaxing. And there are some amazing people, too. Plus, the billboards are hysterical. This is the state of funny (and abundant) billboards. I could do a whole blog series on the billboards with various witty captions. I also learned North Florida is a hidden gem, I like it because it feels like the real south to me–the foliage is gorgeous, a bit more temperate, easy to find boiled peanuts, and the people are very real and authentic. It needs a rebranding though, like let’s give it the panache it deserves. Maybe take a page out of the playbook of SF and NYC, you know Soma, NoHo, SoHo, TriBeca, Nolita.

So here it is: NorFlor. Give it a whirl, Governor Scott. No attribution needed. Rebrand. Watch the revenues rain. Thank me later.

Following a few of my pictorial highlights from my trip so far, the Long Road Home.

With as many billboards as this guy has in Florida, you’d think the whole state were infertile at this point. I love his hair. Therefore, I love his billboards. Pretty much how I roll.


Basically the Apple Maps directions go down like this: “Hang a left here, go about 2,500 miles, hang a right onto I-5 for 500 more miles. You should see your house on the left. Or is that a cliff? Good luck, let us know if you make it!”


Even my watch is nagging me along the way, knowing I haven’t run in a week. If you are a runner, you should seriously take a look at this Nike watch w/ the TomTom built in. It’s fantastic. My Amazon affiliate link is here: (kidding, obviously). It’s a great watch.


In Alabama, not only are dogs allowed to drive, but they can also order and pick up at the drive through. This guy needs a haircut, though. I am worried about his forward visibility. Opposable thumbs. I’m also worried that he lacks opposable thumbs, too. However, I saw him using Google Maps. So he’s probably in better shape than me.


New Orleans. The city where nobody understand the term “protein style.” And nobody seemed to appreciate all my menu substitutions. There are two Paleo-friendly things to consume in New Orleans. 1. Oysters. 2. Water. That’s it. Everything else is fried. These are Beignet’s from Cafe Dumonde. Ironically enough–and this is true–the morning AFTER I ate these was the first day in my LIFE that I started to see definition in my abdominal muscles. But they went away by the time I made it to Stubb’s BBQ in Austin…Sigh.


On the way out of New Orleans I went to Mother’s, one of my fave restaurants in the U.S. This is where normal, real, down to earth people eat. Yes, on occasion I like fancy restaurants. But nine out of ten times give me a place like Mother’s–real food and real people–and I’m thrilled.


This is the greatest BBQ that I have never eaten in my life. I love this little place, and someday I will come back–because Coopers doesn’t serve at 7am (when I stumbled into it). But check it out, how could you NOT stop here? This place would turn even the most devout vegan, even if just for one meal. I love kitschy ambiance, these guys were intentional about what they built here. It’s adorable. That’s what “feel” does. I love the food, and haven’t even tasted it yet.


Driving through New Mexico I saw this cool vintage Jaguar XKE with the sunset bouncing off of it as she was hustling down the highway. Looked like they were having a great time. I love cars. Especially those with classic design, the XKE is one sexy automobile.


Have you ever driven through West Texas? Nobody is there. Except State Troopers. This guy welcomed me into the second half of Texas. I had no good excuse for speeding, so instead I tried logic. Basically, the conversation went down like this: “Officer, let’s just ignore how bad the real numbers look for a second and examine this situation using percentages, okay? If I were doing 46.5 in a 40, would you give me a ticket? Of course not, that would be silly. Therefore, wouldn’t you also agree, Officer, that it would be equally silly to give me a ticket for going 93 in an 80?” He didn’t appear amused. However, I don’t think he was really grasping the concept…That’s the problem when you don’t apply ratios to your life, your mind gets disjointed and you make emotional–rather than logical–decisions. 🙂


Finally, made it to Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona where I’m camping for two nights and then to Phoenix where I hope I’ll be able to give the marathon a shot this weekend depending on how I feel. Tonight, I’ve caught up on some writing, did this blog entry whilst listening to country music, and thought about another screenplay that I’ll probably never write. But someday if I had a writing getaway, perhaps…

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