Did I say Alaska?

Well, if I did that is now a lie. We aren’t going to Alaska. Please mourn with me. Break out the sack-cloth and ashes, it is a tragedy.

But, we’ve come up with a plan B. Plan B is also pretty great, and allows for a few modern conveniences we thought we would have to do without. Stopping to sleep every night is a part of plan B. Visiting family and friends is also part of plan B. Not having a crappy car is also part of plan B. Seeing the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks Amphitheater is also part of plan B. ¬†Honestly Plan B is remarkably lit. This is probably my second best plan B ever. (If you’d like to know more about my best plan B ever, ask me sometime).

Plan B does also have an exotic destination. Yellowstone National Park! It cuts the round trip down to around 5000 miles and will allow us to sleep every night, which is good, because this adventure is just Jon and I. The rest of our friends are lame. They have commitments, girlfriends, jobs, and other lame things.

Here’s the lowdown:

6/30 Leave Virginia, destination Indianapolis Indiana (Home of Mike and Diane Keating, muchas gracias for letting us crash there!)

7/1 Leave Indiana, drive to somewhere in Minnesota. Stop in Chicago for lunch (pizza), camp overnight

7/2 Leave Minnesota, drive to Mt. Rushmore! Look at some large stone presidents, camp overnight.

7/3 Drive to Yellowstone! Camp

7/4 Hang out at Yellowstone, hike some, relax some, bask in nature, camp, ‘Murica

7/5 Hang out at Yellowstone, hike some, relax some, bask in nature, camp

7/6 Leave Yellowstone, drive to Colorado Springs, meet Jon’s family (Muchas gracias for letting us crash)

7/7 Pikes Peak? Adventuring? Then, The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks Amphitheater!

7/8 Leave Colorado, drive until we stop. Sleep.

7/9 Leave wherever we stopped, drive to Virginia.

Yeah, that’s the plan. We are taking my new little Ford Fiesta which shall be excellent! I look forward to carrying you along with us in spirit.

We might even do a Facebook live or as us anything session while we are driving, because I’m sure we’ll get bored.

Have I mentioned before that I’m bad at blogging consistently? Well I am. I’m sorry. I’ll try to document this trip relatively well. Do some typing while I’m not driving. It should go well.

If you’d like to contribute to our trip prayers, snacks, and cold hard currency are all accepted, but prayers are really all that is expected.

Also, the name of the trip has changed. It was North to the Future, but now we aren’t going to Alaska.

Go West Young Man


How to Become a Slum-Lord

Step 1: Buy a house
I don’t like paying someone else’s mortgage. Some people spend their whole life renting and have no issue, but there is something in me that yearns to own a house. More accurately, yearns to not rent. Probably the part of me that needs to feel pain (jk, I’m not a masochist, unless you’re into that kind of thing). But, if you too long to be a home-owner or a slum-lord keep in mind you’re cruising for a bruising. It’s been a significantly longer process than I expected. I tried to buy straight out of college, but there was no way that was happening. I’ve still struggled some due to my lack of rental history. The most recent drama is that they switched my loan program because I am a trimester short of the 12 months of rental history they require. That change in loan program requires more money down (fortunately I was blessed with a helpful, generous, and beautiful mother) and mortgage insurance which is its own whole ripoff. But, I am less than a week from homeowner ship. Not that my rental problems end then. I’m stuck in my lease until May. Fortunately again, I’ve got a room-mate willing to help me out with rent in exchange for a break in his rent at the house. But I’ll talk about that more later on.

This is by far the longest and most annoying step. I was initially told that I would need to explain large cash deposits in my bank account. Great, whatevs, I sold a motorcycle. Instead I got a letter asking me to explain basically every cash deposit over $40 for like the past year. It was dumb. But I did it. And I filled out the other book of paperwork they asked for. And gave them copies of my pay stubs. And bank statements. And rental history. And the certificate from my required homebuyers education course. And the certificate from the other homebuyers ed course when the first wasn’t good enough. Then the certificate from the third homebuyers ed course when the second wasn’t good enough. I’m surprised they didn’t ask for DNA. But hey, I jumped through their hoops and now they are going to give me a bunch of money. Actually they are going to charge me a bunch of money to use a bunch of other people’s money that they happen to be holding. Yay banking.

Step 2: Drive multiple cars
This is probably a mistake, but according to aforementioned roommate, it is a requirement for Slum-Lords (if you want organizational accreditation in the NASL) to drive different cars often. I’ve got my pick-up for when I’m the maintenance guy, and my beater car for when I’m just a poor home-owner. Next I need to get a gaudy old Cadillac so I can be a proper Slum-Lord. Until then the NASL will only acknowledge me as a Slum-Apprentice. There can only be two. One to embody the power, the other to crave it.

Step 3: Get Tenants
This is honestly the important step. Without this step the NASL won’t even look at your application. And I don’t mean kidnap Dr. Who. Find some people who need a place to live, and won’t complain too much when you stop showing up for maintenance calls. That part will be hard for me, because I enjoy fixing things. I said earlier that I’d talk about my roommates later. My roommates are great. They will also likely be great tenants. That’s the wrench in my plan to become a slum-lord. To become a slum-lord you need tenants that you can evict. I’ll have to revise the plan later.

Step 4: Tie up loose ends
Bribe the inspectors, murder contractors, and maybe sell some drugs. I’m probably gonna skip this step. Its kind of optional.

Step 5: Make money
I feel like I’m missing some steps, but the NASL assures me that as long as I pay my dues to the organization this is the exact path I need to follow. We shall see.


*This work is partially based on fact and partially based on fiction. If you can’t figure out which is which I apologize, but I’m not sorry. *

“I’m going on an Adventure!!”

The Two Lonely Hikers are proud to announce their next adventure. Coming to an interwebs near you this summer, hold on to your hats and keep your reading glasses on hand, it’s going to be legen…wait for it…dary! Follow us as we embark on the adventure of a lifetime; road trip style. 4 guys, nearly 9000 miles, 0 hotels, and all of the adventure. We, my friends, are going to Alaska!

It’s America’s last frontier, Seward’s Folly, the origin of the halibut you had for lunch, the great white north (sort of), and the home of the tallest mountain in the United States, but we aren’t going there for any of that. No friends, the true goal of our adventure is something that everyone, at some point in their life, has dreamed of doing. We are going to watch cars get launched off of a cliff and celebrate America. Every year, according to legend (and the news), Glacier View, Alaska has a Fourth of July celebration that truly captures the meaning of the American dream. They eat a bunch of food and then launch 3 or 4 cars off of a cliff at full throttle.

‘How do we plan to get there?’ You may ask. The answer is simple. A mini-van. The staple of middle-class America, mom’s taxi, the humble beginnings of at least 43.6% of drivers on the road today (maybe), the mini-van is a transportation staple, and if its good enough for Judy to get little Daisy across town to soccer practice in 10 minutes, then its good enough to get us to Alaska.

We plan to drive from somewhere near here to somewhere near there. 

While this may seem like just a vacay, I assure you it’s not. This is a chance for a few good men to face the open road for longer than typically thought decent, and to prove the mini-van in a capacity that it has never been proven before, as an overlander. It will be a time for us to grow closer as friends, or splinter apart as enemies. It will be a proving ground for ourselves, and a story for the grandkids.

Like Socrates didn’t say, “Adventuring is the highest form of man.” As we embark on this journey, rest assured come hell or high water we are going somewhere this summer. And there is a good chance that we won’t die.

We may or may not be dragging an aspiring film-maker along with us on this trip, so in addition to our brilliant blog posts and awe-inspiring Instagram photos with just the right balance of reality and flare, there may be vlogs or even a documentary involved (probably not).

–Tell your kids, tell your wife, tell everybody up in here, the Two Lonely Hikers are at it again. With less hiking this time. —

The Next Step.

So this time I’m actually typing the blog as I plan to post it. For those of you subscribed I apologize for posting three times in a row. The first two were previously prepared.

Anyway, the past week or so I’ve fallen off the whole30 bandwagon a good bit. It’s cool and all but I cheated more than I should’ve and the food wasn’t working. The new strategy that I picked up last week, which helps to well prep me for the coming week that we’ll discuss soon, is to eat less. Significantly less. If it’s whole30 or not who cares if I’m only having one meal in the day. And honestly it hasn’t been too bad. I weaned myself off coffee too so like today I had numerous cups of unsweetened peppermint tea, two apples, a banana, and a cruchwrap supreme from Taco Bell. Not the best option, but I was at Farm Fresh and about to drive up to Norfolk, and I can make excuses all day. What it all comes down to consists of two things. I’m gonna be honest here, I struggle with self-discipline. Whole30 contains a whole lot of that and the results I saw were decent. Unfortunately, I could use better results. The second thing is, if you are only eating one meal in a day (plus or minus a bowl of popped corn or today’s fruit) does it really matter what that meal is? So far I’ve seen a resounding no in that regard. I’ve been seeing results consistent with what I was losing with the Whole30 with significantly more effort. It honestly hasn’t been too hard not to eat. I have chewed my fingernails more than normal and that needs to stop, but that’s a different blog post.

So, this coming week’s diet idea. There is a thing called the Lemonade Master Cleanse. It’s less of a fad diet than it sounds like. It has been around since like the 40’s, and celebrities use it often to lose weight for roles. There is some science behind (it’s spotty science), but the true science of it is this: you drink only peppermint tea, special lemonade which I’ll explain soon, water, and a tea called smooth move (laxative tea). That’s all you’re allowed to have. Typically it’s a 10 day thing. Bam, weight loss.

The Lemonade should be exciting. It consists of water, lemon juice, maple syrup (special grade A dark and robust maple syrup), and a pinch of cayenne pepper. 6 -10 glasses of that is what’s recommended. As much water and peppermint tea as you please and laxative tea before bed. That’s the basic premise. It’s supposed to cleanse your intestines and the like because you are drinking only special things and pooping all the bad stuff out. I figured I’d write all about it for your reading pleasure.

So that’s the plan as of now. I’ll post some pics as I go and some today to make this page less thick. I’m glad you’re along for the ride.

Here are my weigh-ins so far
Today’s blog, and cup of Smooth Move, is brought to you by my favorite Mug

Weight Loss: Week 2 and Week 3

**It’s not as long, I promise. I wrote these back around the days that they indicate. So here is week 2. I’ll probably write-up a new post for what I want to talk about tonight, and sum up the stuff that happened since.**

… there was snow and week 1 got away from my keyboard. So did most of week 2…

Day 11 (Jan 12) I need to decide whether I’m going to go with day numbers or dates. Dates would probably be wise, but once you start down an unwise path your stubbornness tends to keep you from returning. I’ve been standing at work more which is cool. Yesterday was rough. I cheated. And it was a long day. Today I’m going to cheat less, but it will be just as long of a day. I started my workouts on day 8 (Jan 9), but skipped this morning becuase I over slept. I should probably do it tonight. I will do it tonight. John Green is doing an exercise thing. If John Green can do it so can I!! I just can’t afford a gym membership, while he can and he probably gets discounts for vlogging about it. I’m still not pleased with black coffee. Even when I put a large amount of almond milk in it. That only helps like 3.72%.

**See, I told you it wasn’t long.**


Weight Loss: Week One

Day 1:
So, I signed up to do a weight loss competition and thought I might try doing some blogging about it. Weight loss and blogging are two things that I’ve had trouble sticking to in the past. Maybe if I combine the two it’ll be better. I doubt it, but here we go. My first weigh in was a gentle 254.6 which is probably about 50 pounds more than I could be. My goal is to lose 30-40 though. I need to keep a little fat on for warmth, and to keep the game fair for guys that are just skinny. If I were skinny and still had the same winning personality, the other guys would never have a chance. My weight is a public service really. I do it for others.

Today starts January (it’s actually the second) and for January I’m going to try the whole30 diet. For those of you that are uninformed, as I was before just a few months ago, a whole30 is almost more of a cleanse. No days off and no cheat days. No sugar, no grain, no processed foods, and no dairy. There are a few other rules, but those are the basics to which there are no exceptions. I can have coffee, but black or with almond milk I think.
Today was a holiday so I only had to go to a chapel for work. Being home all day and not being able to eat junk is the worst. I just had an apple and that was the first sugar I had. For breakfast I had eggs and for lunch I had a vegetable soup with some chicken. I have a headache and I want to snack. This competition has a cash prize, so I think that’ll be my current motivation. In the motivational words of Lone Starr, “We’re not just doing it for money, we’re doing it for a s***-load of money!”

Well, it’s 8:20pm on day one and I ate a brownie. According to the special whole30 rules that means I’ve got to start over again, but screw them. I decided to quit sugar and caffeine cold turkey, the day after a week of vacation with my parents. Which means dessert directly after dinner, three square meals, and like 3 cups of coffee a day. Today I had three meals, which is odd for me at home, but no coffee and no sugar and my head hurts. Also, there is coffee brewing and I shall try to drink it black. I’ve never excelled at that. I need to do something though.

Day 2:
I didn’t drink that coffee last night. I fell asleep. I went to bed at like 9:30. It was crazy. Today is day two and I am on my second cup of black coffee (it’s 3:30 in the afternoon). Turns out black coffee won’t kill me. It isn’t delicious, but it will help me not die of de-caffination. Also, I’m not satisfied with my food. I had vegetable soup and two apples for lunch at noon and then a salad at 3 because I was super hungry. I think tomorrow I’m going to try to space out my lunch, maybe an apple then wait a bit til I eat the soup, then later on have like an orange or something. Also, I think I’ll eat breakfast tomorrow. I skipped that so I ate lunch earlier than normal. I’m gonna try to keep this short and maybe post a week at a time. Currently I have no idea where I’m gonna post this though. Maybe I’ll put it on my secret blog that only has one other post. **edited a lengthy rabbit trail about swearing…**

Day 3: Good morning day 3. I bought almond milk for my coffee last night. It doesn’t help, but maybe it’ll come in handy for other things. Also, I need to start reading better. Popped corn is not whole 30. Even if I make it on the stove with olive oil… So I had popcorn last night and apparently that’s a no-no. I guess that’s why it felt so darned good. I don’t remember the last time that I was so satisfied with popped corn. Today I had half a grapefruit for breakfast so hopefully that helps with lunch.

Day 4: I had a bagel this morning… I was waiting for my truck to get inspected, and walked about 1.2 miles or so to get said bagel so I justified it, but bagels are definitely not Whole30. Whole30 would disown me if they knew me. Basically the idea behind this is to eat healthier, which by and large I am doing. I think another idea behind it is that it gets you to look at the ingredients list on things. Canned 3 bean salad has sugar in it. Why?!?!? I’ll never know. The main benefit is going to come from eating healthier and being more active, which I haven’t really started at. Maybe over lunch today I’ll take the stairs a few times. 4 stories, steep stairs. It’ll do for now. Also use my standing desk for an hour. That’s my goal to stand for an hour. Goals are good. You need a measurement by which to prove you failed. Also, for those of you following this saga and who’ve read this far, yesterdays grapefruit didn’t help lunch. Lunch still wasn’t satisfying. But today’s lunch is stick to your ribs good. 3 bean salad (yes the aforementioned with sugar. Screw those stupid whole30 people), oven roasted yams which are freaking delicious, and a little bit of ham. I doubt ham is whole30 as well because it’s probably cured with sugar. Maybe not. It isn’t always. But it’s healthy and its better that I eat a meal like that for lunch and then have something light for dinner. The office workweek had an awful effect on the American eating schedule. I think. I have no sources, so I could be making this up, but breakfast used to be bigger because you need energy for the day. Then lunch (what my Grammy calls dinner) should be a bigger meal as well because there is still day left. Dinner (what Grammy calls supper) should be a lighter meal because you are just going to sleep on it. I might try to apply that to this whole diet thing. Maybe.
To add insult to injury, Chanellos pizza is having a special. Side note: Pineapple DOES go on pizza.

Day three where we walk through Palmerton and order too much Pizza.

Well, we are finished this leg of the journey. Our legs are also finished. Today we did 16 miles. Unfortunately at least 2 of those were pure bouldering. PA lived up to its wonderful reputation of having awful trails. Followed by long stretches of gorgeousness. Then more rocky hell. The last ridge leading down to Palmerton was exceptional viewing. We got to the end of the trail in Palmerton, our let off where we would be picked up by my wonderful aunt and uncle, and realized that the trail let off a good 3ish miles from town. And them my pizza place of choice, Palmerton Pizza was in the other side of town. 1.5 or 2 miles? Anyway we hit what we thought was the end of our journey, but then had to continue hiking. This time on pavement and sidewalks. The pizza was worth every step. We also bought three large pizzas… we have leftovers for the drive back to VA tomorrow.
In other news I have the largest blister I have ever seen on my left big toe. Pictures to follow. The list of total injuries is long and distinguished. I shall not bore or disturb you with the details. Tonight we shall sleep like kings in my parents living room. There are couches! And showers! And water that we don’t have to walk a half mile down the side of the ridge to get! And Zimmermans tea!!
As the laundry runs in the distance and my feet slowly let go of their grudge against me I remember the post I made about comfort. I did it. It was uncomfortable, but I pushed myself farther than I thought I could go, and harder than I thought I could. God defiantly provided hitherto unknown strength for those last miles. And most of the trip really. I also can’t help but think I should really go and catch the laundry.
The laundry has been caught and put in the dryer.
We really enjoyed these last few days, and we hope you enjoyed following our progress. I think, hike related or not, we will continue to parade the existence of our escapades. I’ll probably blog the recovery over the next day or two as well. Thanks for coming along for the ride. This is Sam aka Socks signing out. Here’s to many more.¬† Happy trails my friends.