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Holy Toledo!

After visiting the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio I headed in a northerly path towards Detroit. It was a blistering humid heat during the course of the factory tour but within minutes of pulling out of the driveway I could see a storm brewing out on the horizon. As I got closer and closer to the freeway the clouds got darker and darker. Suddenly it looked as if I was headed straight into the depths of hell! The winds had picked up to a dangerously ferocious speed, whipping the RV side-to-side on the road. I let off the gas and slowed my pace in order to regain control of the vehicle. Just then a huge gust smacked the side of the camper and somehow managed to suck half of the awning out from around it’s spool.

WOOSH! FWACKA FWACKA WFAWKA! The awning was now flapping vigorously in the storm against the broadside of the vehicle.

I found myself trying to keep this 24′ RV in between the lines and was fighting to counteract the gale force winds that were magnified by the fact that I now had what amounted to a giant sail attached to this land-boat! Not a good situation. I turned off the road and into the first driveway I could find to let the line of vehicles behind me pass.

I opened the door to take a look at what was going on with the awning and the second I did, a giant lightning bolt lit up the sky followed by a thunderous rumble. I was now smack dab in the middle of the storm. To make matters worse it started hailing! So I was left with a decision.

  1. Do I venture outside and try to open up the awning all of the way in order to try and re-wrap it around the spool?
  2. Or do I wait out the storm and risk having the entire awning and support bars get ripped off by a gust of wind creating an even bigger and more urgent set of problems?

I really wanted to fix it NOW. But every time I stepped outside to try, I would be pelted with little ice rocks. There was just no way I would be able to look skyward in order to fix the awning 8 feet over my head while having ice balls rain down into my eye balls. Not to mention the fact that in order to unravel the awning I would need to stand outside in this lightning storm with a 4-foot metal rod to un-hook the awning mechanism! I figured life was more valuable and useful when it comes to fixing whatever may happen with the RV. So I climbed back inside the vehicle and drove it around to the other side of a building to provide some isolation from the elements. I also re-positioned it in such a way that the awning was downwind and therefore somewhat protected by the up-wind side of the RV. About 20 minutes later the storm had died down a bit and I was able to fix everything without getting struck by lightning or going blind!

I was able to continue safely on my journey and along the way I saw not one, not two, not three, four, fix or six, but SEVEN semi-trucks that had been blown over by the winds! Holy Toledo, Ohio!

I guess I made the right decision.

Marketing Magic

This rice pudding restaurant(?) totally nails it from a marketing POV. I must have spent 20 minutes in the store just reading all the signs before I eventually ordered a bowl of gooey goodness. If everyone is like me (and really they should be!), just think of all the people that would be in the store at any given time, which to any passerbys creates curiosity and in turn draws them into the fray. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Eat.

Feel Your Memory

Discovered this great quote today:

There are few things I enjoy more than those first days in an unknown city or countryside — where you can feel your memory of that locale being painted with broad, thick strokes of new experience.

Craig Mod

Reflecting: 2011

Reflecting back on 2011 here are 99 of my top memories (in chronological order). Thanks to all that shared in the experiences!

  1. Shared life goals and dreams with great friends at the Sanctuary of Truth in Ancient Siam, Thailand
  2. Smobbed through traffic running from the police on some janky scooters in Bali, Indonesia
  3. Scuba diving in the Gili islands of Indonesia
  4. Whitewater rafting down the Telaga Waja River in Bali, Indonesia
  5. Got buzzed off Luwak coffee in the hills of Ubud, Indonesia
  6. Listened to the chanting and watched the traditional Kecak Dance at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia
  7. Bungee jumped a BMX bike off a platform into a pool below in Bali, Indonesia
  8. Witnessed traditional Thaipusam rituals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Smelled the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  10. Made $100,000,000,000,000 (that’s one-hundred-trillion) Zimbabwe dollars in Malaca, Malaysia
  11. Kayaked through the waters of Halong Bay, Vietnam
  12. Saw Ho-Chi-Minh’s body in Hanoi, Vietnam
  13. Nearly got run over by hundreds of scooters in the street of Hanoi, Vietnam
  14. Saw dogs heads for sale (presumably to be eaten) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  15. Got fitted for a custom tailored suit made in Hoi An, Vietnam
  16. Hiked through the MySon Relics of Hoi An, Vietnam
  17. Celebrated Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) with a spectacular fireworks show in Nha Trang, Vietnam
  18. Rode a red-eye sleeper train from Nha Trang to Saigon, Vietnam
  19. Shared beers (with dirty ice from a burlap sack) with some old Vietnamese men that didn’t speak a lick of English in the streets of Saigon, Vietnam
  20. Crawled through the underground Cu-Chi tunnels and fired an AK47 used during the Tet Offensive in Saigon, Vietnam
  21. Witness the effects of Agent Orange at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon, Vietnam
  22. Hiked through Angkor Wat during sunrise in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  23. Watched the sun fall from atop a temple in Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  24. Donated to the Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund to help them remove more active landmines from the Cambodian/Thailand border
  25. Got tickled by fish that ate the dead skin off my feet while I sipped on a glass of wine in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  26. Road a horse through the old rice fields of Siem Reap, Cambodia
  27. Toured the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
  28. Drove my RV on the famous Daytona Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida
  29. Ate a feast at The Wilkes House in Savannah, Georgia
  30. Peered through others peoples prayers at the smallest church in America in South Newport, Georgia
  31. Took a bike ride around St. Simons Island, Georgia
  32. Boated out to the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina
  33. Went rock climbing in Charleston, South Carolina
  34. Relaxed in the shade of the giant 400-year old Angel Oak Tree outside of Charleston, South Carolina
  35. Sat on “A Bench By The Road” on Sullivan Island, South Carolina
  36. Hollered in Spivey’s Corner, the “Hollerin’ Capital of the Universe”
  37. Deciphered the original Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, England
  38. Straddled the international dateline in Greenwhich, England
  39. Walked through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France
  40. Climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  41. Listened to hymns at Notre Dame in Paris, France
  42. Road bikes and dominated baguettes & babies in Versailles, France
  43. Picnicked on the grounds of Marie Antoinette’s old Palace of Versailles in France
  44. Saw Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa at Musée du Louvre in Paris, France
  45. Avoided paying for an overpriced ticket to Moulin Rouge in Paris, France
  46. Ingested a “Mother of Pain” currywurstspezialitäten (1,000,000 on the Scoville scale) after signing a liability waiver in Leipzig, Germany
  47. Witnessed the atrocities of Hitler’s concentration camps in Auschwitz, Poland
  48. Participated in a scavenger hunt through downtown San Francisco, California
  49. Launched a new version of MFI new hobby of kiteboarding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
  50. Retraced the path of the Wright Brothers first 4 flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
  51. Marveled at the Bodies exhibit in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  52. Witnessed an amazing 4th of July fireworks display in Savanna, Georgia
  53. Tried smoked rattlesnake meat in St. Augustine, Florida
  54. Witnessed the final launch of the Space Shuttle program (STS-135) in person in Titusville, Florida
  55. Flew my first international flight as a pilot in a Cessna 172 from Florida, USA to Freeport, Bahamas
  56. Snorkeled in the crystal clear waters from a catamaran of Icacos, Puerto Rico
  57. Whitewater rafting down the Pacuare River in Squires, Costa Rica
  58. Slept in a hammock at Rockin J’s in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
  59. Scuba diving in Bocas del Toro, Panama
  60. Took a private water taxi to Star Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama
  61. Zip-lining through the tree canopy in Red Frog Beach, Panama
  62. Watched ocean-liners pass through the Panama Canal
  63. Performed my first “elevator jump” bungee jump into the fog above a river near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  64. Soaking in the hot springs during a violent thunderstorm while lightening illuminated the silhouette of a volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  65. Went on a nature walk and saw sloths, monkeys, toucans, frogs, lizards, and more in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  66. Spent the night on a converted oil rig in the waters of Semporna Malaysia
  67. Scuba diving in one of the Top 10 diving locations in the world in Spipidan, Malaysia
  68. Followed a Xmas parade down the cobblestone streets to a soccer game in Antigua, Guatemala
  69. Disconnected and relaxed along the shore of Late Atitlan, in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala
  70. Saw the ruins of Joya de Cerén in San Salvador, El Salvador
  71. Climbed the old Myan pyramids of Tazumal where the heads from human sacrifices used to roll down in Chalchuapa, El Salvador
  72. Roamed the colorful streets of Grenada, Nicaragua
  73. Hiked up and volcano-boarded down the black ash of Volcan Cerro Negro in Leon, Nicaragua
  74. Thumbed my nose at an antiquated embargo and traveled to Cuba
  75. Navigated precarious and unmarked roads in a rental car with a bent rim to Cienfuegos, Cuba
  76. Lived with Cuban families in “casa particulars” and learned about life in communist Cuba
  77. Listened to rumba music on the steps of Casa la Musica in Trinidad, Cuba
  78. Galloped on horseback across the Cuban countryside to a waterfall up in the mountains of Trinidad, Cuba
  79. Witness firsthand as Cubans lined up in a breadline (and milk-line) for their weekly rations in Trinidad, Cuba
  80. Sampled Cuba’s infamous $7.00 CUP ($0.40 USD) street pizzas in Santa Clara, Cuba
  81. Witnessed the final resting place and monument of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba
  82. Stayed in a 5-star resort and relaxed on the white sand beaches of Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
  83. Drank an overpriced, watered-down Mojito at La Bodeguia Del Medio in La Havana Vieja, Cuba
  84. Sipped daiquiris at Floradita Restaraunte Bar, Earnest Hemmingway’s old watering hole in Havana, Cuba
  85. Marveled at the communist propaganda throughout Havana, Cuba
  86. Photographed old school cars parked outside of the Capitolo in downtown Havana, Cuba
  87. Met the famous Cuban artist Leo D’Zázaro at his studio El Ojo Del Ciclón in Havana, Cuba
  88. Strolled down El Malecón while sipping on Havana Club rum in Havana, Cuba
  89. Watched kids playing stickball with a broom and bottlecap in the streets the Centro district of Havana, Cuba
  90. Shared a Xmas eve feast — Cuban style — with my hosts in Havana, Cuba
  91. Hitched a ride in a old “Yank Tank” with a Cuban, Mexican, and Lebanese to Playa de Este, Cuba
  92. Ate a Xmas day pig roast on the Santa María del Mar beach in Havana, Cuba
  93. Toured Partagas Cigar factory and bought some Cohiba cigars from shady factory workers in Havana, Cuba
  94. Walked through Necropolis Cristóbal Colón at sundown in the Vedado area of Havana, Cuba
  95. Swam from Playa de Cerado out to a reef and then scuba dove (because Cubans aren’t allowed on boats) in Ciamito, Cuba
  96. Ate a $1.00 CUP ($0.04 USD) scoop of ice cream at the state-run Coppelia in Havana, Cuba
  97. Photographed the murals and sculptures of Salvador González Escalona on Callejon De Hamel in Havanah, Cuba
  98. Celebrated the end of the year and the start of the next on Calle del Arco in Antigua, Guatemala

Don’t Be Rich, Live Rich

An incredibly inspirational presentation by Nomadz.nu

“Design your own life according to what you want to make out of it.”


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