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Reflecting: 2012

I guess this makes it a tradition now.

  1. Celebrated New Years in Antigua Guatemala with some Quezalteca. Paid the price in the morning.
  2. Climbed the Mayan temple of Xunantunich in San Ignacio, Belize
  3. Waded across rivers and swam into the mouth of a cave to explore the ancient Mayan sacrifices in Actun Tunichil Muknal
  4. Dove over 100 meters into the ancient sinkhole from the ice age at The Blue Hole in Belize
  5. Explored one of the largest ancient Mayan civilization of Tikal in Guatemala
  6. Bruised my face getting hit by a car while a riding bike
  7. Visited the house where a young Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Biked through Bogoto, Colombia on a graffiti tour
  9. Ascended over 3,000 meters while joining a pilgrimage to the top of Monserrate in Bogota
  10. Drank an aphrodisiac milkshake made of blended (live) crabs and alcohol on the streets of Bogota
  11. Consumed copious amounts of the most delicious Colombian exotic fruits
  12. Partied with some of the most beautiful women on the planet in Medellin, Colombia
  13. Scaled the crooked staircases wedged into El Peñón de Guatapé
  14. Licked BBQ sauce off my fingers at The Salt Lick in Austin, Texas
  15. Got my lime on in St. Kitts & Nevis
  16. Scuba dived through the hull of a sunken ship off the coast of St. Kitts
  17. Got blown into the ocean by the hot blast of air from a jet engine in St. Maarten
  18. Camped in the Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway from North Carolina to Virginia
  19. Toured the house and plantation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
  20. Stood in the very room where U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified in Richmond Virginia
  21. Honored the fallen heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery
  22. Walked up the steps of The United States Supreme Court
  23. Toured Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s, MLKs, Roosevelt’s, The Vietnam, WWI & WWII memorials in Washington D.C.
  24. Hung out in George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon
  25. Saw the crack in the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
  26. Taste-tested no less than 5 Philly Cheesesteaks
  27. Ran up the “Rocky Balboa” steps in Philadelphia
  28. Set foot inside the Independence Hall where The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted.
  29. Imprisoned myself inside the Eastern State Penitentiary in the cell next door to Al Capone’s
  30. Toured Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty
  31. Mourned at Grand Zero
  32. Watched The Book of Mormons on Broadway
  33. Climbed to the top of The Empire St. building in New York City
  34. Cruised on a ferry underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to the Figment Festival on Governors Island
  35. Partied with thousands of boricua’s in the streets of New York for the Puerto Rican Day Parade
  36. Gawked in the Guggenheim
  37. Relived my childhood in Bethel, CT
  38. Swung on a bench-swing while enjoying the sunset over Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont
  39. Sampled a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor at their factory in Montpelier, Vermont
  40. Heard a Who in Springfield, Massachusetts
  41. Broke into the dome of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount-Royal to catch an awesome sunset over Montreal
  42. Talked my way into permission to take photos inside of the private library of Canada’s Parliament
  43. Dunked my head into a quarry 200 feet below me at the end of Canada’s tallest bungee jump
  44. Rode a bamboo bicycle through the graffiti-filled alleys of Toronto, Canada
  45. Stood behind the roaring water falls of Niagara
  46. Rocked out at the Rock & Roll hall of fame in Cleveland, Ohio
  47. Milked a cow and ate dinner with an Amish family in Millersburg, Ohio
  48. Survived a ferocious lightning/hail/wind storm in Jackson Center, Ohio
  49. Played games at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Machines in Detroit, Michigan
  50. Cruised through the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana
  51. Uncovered a top-secret SR-71B Blackbird jet
  52. Urbex explored a decrepit church in Gary, Indiana
  53. Watched the 4th of July fireworks explode over Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois
  54. Photographed Chicago’s skyline at dusk from alongside Lake Michigan
  55. Walked a lap in The Great Mall in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  56. Found one of the meanings of life in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota
  57. Laughed at the corniness of The Corn Palace in Mitchel, South Dakota
  58. Stared up the presidents nostrils at Mount Rushmore in Keystone South Dakota
  59. Sat in a Bison-induced traffic jam in Yellowstone National Park
  60. Waited for The Grand Geyser to blow in Yellowstone. Totally worthy it!
  61. Smelled sulfurous gasses spew from the bubbling mud pits in Yellowstone
  62. Stood in the center of the universe in Wallace, Idaho
  63. Climbed rock towers in Frenchman Coulee, Washington
  64. Contributed my chewed gum to The Gum Wall at Pikes Market in Seattle, Washington
  65. Landed in a sea plane in a lake on the south-side of Kodiak Island in Alaska
  66. Played a game of chicken with a brown bear in Kodiak, Alaska. The bear won.
  67. Crossed the Arctic Circle on the perilous Dalton Highway
  68. Drove the Seward highway and discovered the diverse wildlife of Alaska
  69. Rode ATV’s through Denali National Park and caught a glimpse of Mt. McKinley’s summit
  70. Stood underneath the Alaskan pipeline
  71. Drank an apple-tini from an ice glass at an ice bar inside an ice hotel in Chena, Alaska
  72. Spooked a wild moose and her calf in Fairbanks, Alaska
  73. Feed some reindeer in North Pole, Alaska
  74. Hiked to a glacier in Juneau, Alaska
  75. Summoned my inner Homer Simpson at an old abandoned nuclear power plant in Elma, Washington.
  76. Watched glassmakers blow glass at the world renowned Museum of Glass on Tacoma, Washington
  77. Zenned-out at the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon and then porked out Voodoo Doughnuts
  78. Hiked to the top of Multnomah, Falls in Oregon
  79. Kite-boarded and stand-up paddle-boarded on the Hood River in Oregon
  80. Got soaked from the spray of ocean water as it rushed into Devil’s Churn
  81. Climbed to the top of Smith Rock in Oregon
  82. Rafted down the Big Eddy Thriller rapids of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon
  83. Stumbled my way through the pitch-dark Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon
  84. Hiked to the top of Watchman Peak and watched the sun rise over Crater Lake
  85. Stood with giants at the Redwood National Park in California
  86. Experienced an extended deja-vu in Mendocino California
  87. Completed a 2-year 23,822-mile cross-country road-trip around North America
  88. Watched the Space Shuttle Endeavour fly over the Golden Gate Bridge
  89. Completed a 13-hour hike from the valley floor to the top of Half Dome and back in Yosemite National Park
  90. Dined on a 7-course meal at one of the finest restaurants in Lima Peru and attended a beauty pageant as a VIP guest of the bathing suit designer
  91. Scuba dove with hammer-head sharks, sea lions, octopus, sea turtles and more in The Galapagos Islands
  92. Swam in Tortuga Bay in The Galapagos Islands
  93. Climbed to the top of Sierra Negra and witnessed the most amazing sunset on my birthday
  94. Straddled the two hemispheres at the center of the earth in Quito, Ecuador
  95. Soaked in natural hot springs after experiencing the excruciating head pressure associated with altitude sickness in the mountains of Quito, Ecuador
  96. Pulled an all-nighter in Bogota Colombia and partied with some bohemian Colombians
  97. Relaxed with friends on the beaches of El Salvador
  98. Attended the opening day of the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit at The Science Center in Los Angeles
  99. Leapt out of an airplane all by myself and fell through a cloud.
  100. Helped out those in need by donating some old clothes and feeding the homeless on Christmas.
  101. Sweated profusely at my first Bikram yoga experience.

Back In Bogota, Briefly

By taking advantage of some favorable flight routing we managed to get a free trip to Colombia. It’s technically just a 12-hour layover in Bogota, but that’s plenty of time to see some sights, especially if we take another Bogota Bike Tour. We ended up just pulling an all-nighter since the departing flight was early in the morning, but we met some really cool open-minded people that just ‘get it’ and it’s always nice running into kindred spirits like that!

Farewell Medellin!

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 6-weeks since I first set down in Colombia. Ever since coming to Medellin it’s seemed like a second home. Maybe one day it will be! But for now, it’s time to pay our respects to Pablo Escobar, and then blow it out for the last night at B-Lounge.

Post Peñón

After climbing up and then back down El Peñón we ventured into the quaint little nearby town of Guatapé. The colors and building facades here rival that of Antigua, Guatemala. And the warm sugar donuts filled with arequipe are to die for!

The Great Zipper Climb of Guatapé

Another fun little city for a day trip outside of Medellin is Guatapé where you can climb the 649 zipper-like steps that are wedged between a crack that runs the length of the 385 meter tall El Peñón. The modern day steps are made of concrete and bricks, but the maze-like stairway that intertwines upon itself several times like a strand of DNA is said to be based on the original set of sticks that were wedged in place to allow the first climber (and then owner of the property) to reach the top.

Oh, and speaking of climbing to the top. Make sure you check out the very last photo at full size for a pretty incredible shot.

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