Ten Years On

Ten years ago, fresh out of the Navy and having just met the woman I would end up marrying, I set out from Big Bear, CA, on what was to be an 11,000 mile motorcycle trip that took me to the top of Alaska and back. It was before the days of uber-capable smartphones and GoPros, so I made the only rational decision…to build a computer with a touchscreen, name it MotoCompy, and mount it in a magnetic bag that sat on my gas tank. I stuck a webcam on the front of the bike and recorded my GPS track. Yeah, I know…I’m a nerd. I grew awful facial hair, I had a moose run through my campsite, I came close to hitting a deer and being hit by a semi, I jumped in the Arctic ocean, I got (and patched) a flat tire in an area where a wolf had chased another motorcyclist the day before, I went to the Goonies house, and I witnessed bored people exploding women’s undergarments in Chicken, AK…because there’s nothing much else to do in Chicken, AK. I kept a blog (very 2006) and I posted from the road most nights.
Much has happened in the ten years since, but I often think back on that trip and wonder when I might be able to head back up…this time with my wife and son…in something with four wheels instead of two. It was an amazing, life-altering experience, and I loved every moment of it.
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to post some pictures and memories from the trip over the next few weeks as I sift through the footage, stills, etc.  And, if you’re bored (but not quite bored enough to explode undergarments), you can take a look at the ol’ blog. Unfortunately, the comments got wiped out a while back, but the posts are still there and most of the links (including the one for the Microsoft interview) all work. I’ll conclude this first post with the way I concluded the last post, summing up my trip, from August 2006:
If you ever get a chance to take a large roadtrip like this, do it. If you’re scared of motorcycles, don’t be…ride one at least once. If you don’t like Canadians (like some of my posters), start liking them…they’re nice. If you haven’t been to Alaska, go. If you haven’t seen the Grand Canyon in person, do it. If you used to enjoy photography but haven’t done it in a while, get out your camera and take it with you in the car tomorrow. If you can’t drive thousands of miles, drive a hundred and see where it takes you. I truly believe that I am a changed person because of this trip and I hope and wish that same type of experience for all of you. God has made an amazing world and it’s worth exploring. There’s more than just buildings and houses out there and I think I had started to forget that. I mean, just look at that map up there….Look how big this continent is. Crazy! Alright, I suppose That’s all I have to say. Thank you so much for following along on this trip. It was an incredible experience for me and you all were such an important part of that. Thanks again, and happy travels to you all.
And away we go…

Things I Learned at Church Today

I’ve long taken notes at church with the thought that one day I might go back and review the things I learned.  For a little while I even went so far as to take pictures of my notes at the end of church.  In all the years I’ve done this I have never, not once, gone back through my notes.  So, while I think note-taking is a good practice and I will continue doing it, I was thinking today that I want to start writing down a small summary of what struck me from the sermon.  In a way, I suppose this will serve as a small journal of what I hear from God on any given Sunday…what points from a sermon (even if it’s not really the main thrust of what the pastor is talking about) God causes to resonate and stick.  Today is Sunday, so here goes:

The thing I learned today came from a verse that was up on the screen during one of the songs…it actually really wasn’t part of the sermon at all.  (Sorry, Matt…I really liked the sermon, too.) Hosea 10:12: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”  Sowing doesn’t sound too bad.  Reaping fruit sounds great.  Plowing the hard soil of my heart to make for good dirt for God to sow righteousness into sounds…hard.  I sense the need for my heart to be tilled but I don’t know how to approach that…or at least that’s what I tell myself, because it’s easier to say “I don’t know how!” than to say “It’s hard and I’m lazy and like comfort!”  When we want to get into physical shape, what do we do?  We choose action over inaction, to produce a desired result…a result that makes struggle and discomfort worthwhile.  We wake up early or stay up late and do the things we know we have to, even when they are hard and uncomfortable, because we are certain of the good outcome.  So why would spiritual growth be any different?  Plowing a hard heart means breaking up the dry, unfruitful dirt and turning its world upside down.  The seed is ready to be sewn…it’s all around me, in God’s Word, in sermons, in conversations with friends and family, in stirrings of the Spirit in my heart.  The promise is there, that when the seed is sewn into a good, receptive heart, it will result in the kind of fruit I desire…that God desires for me.  I need to plow my heart-dirt of its laziness.  I need to choose action over inaction…waking up early to study and pray rather than staying in bed, because that’s easier and more comfortable.  And I need to do these things out of a certainty that the result is worth it.

And that’s what I learned in church today…

Street View

Someone asked me about the motorcycle trip recently.  Long story short…I’ve been putting a little time into cleaning up the old, busted website (old.carotidbattery.com) which has sent me on a trip down memory lane.    Out of curiosity, I checked Google Maps to see if the beginning of the Dalton Highway was on Street View.  Turns out the entire highway is on there!  So, if you want to see what the highway was like, check it out!

And this is a fun view…not only shows the sketchy road conditions, but also shows what appears to be a second Google Street View car.  Redundancy up there is never a bad idea.