Monday, September 23, 2013

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Around the American holiday of Memorial Day, you could have found Rake in Costa Rica.

This trip was a quick long weekend to have a little outdoor activity.

Staying in a Hostel is a good thing.  $15USD / night.
Arenal Backpackers Resort.  AWESOME!

White Water Rafting in a foreign country is thrilling.

Zipping through a crazy jungle will make you smile.

Swimming under a 270 foot waterfall will demonstrate natures power.

Riding an ATV along the side of a volcano is a delight.

Just walking the streets of some unfamiliar place can enrich your life.


Go. Explore. Smile.

Where in the world is Rake?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I am as lost as ever

I am the ultimate dreamer / enthusiast / something other....  person.

My interest are widely varied, quick to intensify and just as quickly to die down and eventually die altogether.  My mind jumps from subject to subject from one minute to the next. (as you will learn by reading this)

In the last 15 years (otherwise known as married life) I have had interest in:

Blogging (the old geocities kind - My webhome was in Soho)
Online and casino no limit hold'em poker (I once won a 1,500 person tournament)
Blogging (the blogspot kind)
Stock Market (started with $1,000 and a dream)
Geocaching (before gas prices doubled) 
      -along with blogspot led to meeting Duck Notes and Aaron Melton.
Waymarking (photographed and marked an interesting "dolphin" mailbox
Hiking (day hiking morphed to backpacking returned to day hiking..sometimes)
Camping (turning backpacking into bearable hiking)
Photography (just that the mechanism is getting more expensive)
World travel (not waiting on others)
       - I celebrated my 41st birthday with a European backpacking trip to:
          *Paris / Switzerland (hiking down Schilthorn) / Prague / Amsterdam

Those are to name a few that cross my mind as I sit here.  I am 42, drinking slim fast for lunch at my desk for lunch wondering were life goes. 


My wife makes fun of me for it.  I constantly talk about stocks / 401K's.  I rerun calculations on what I expect our "fixed" income to be. 

I struggle over being blessed with a family income that allows for the interest above with no real direction of what I really can settle on.

I work hard to make the most money I can so I can retire to what I want to do.  However, here I sit presumably half way through this journey and wonder if it is all worth it.

World travel is a big interest for me, I wish my loving wife would embrace it.  Going on trips alone is fun for a few days but I really do miss her companionship.

While I have recently shifted my travel interest from Europe to Latin & South America, I am reading and learning about the cultures of those places I want to explore. 

Costa Rica - Ecuador are currently my interest.  Travelling there leads to seeing youtube videos and webpages on retiring to those places on $1,000 per month or $2,000 month.  Can I take early retirement and go live there?   Not if I want my lovely wife to be by my side.

So, here I sit 11 fl oz of slim fast gone.  Thinking of retirement, world travel and wondering if I will ever find a true interest that I can hang onto.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pisgah National Forest - December 2012

+Ed Clem and I headed up into the mountains for a weekend of camping and hiking.

Our location of choice: Pisgah National Forest

We skipped out of our respective jobs on a Friday and soon found that we were the first campers in this section of the campground.  Being December we really didn't expect a lot of folks - but to be the only one's?

We picked a "double" site - nice, large and since there were 20 other campsites we assumed the camp host would overlook our small party of 2.  I admit we only paid a "Single" site rate.

We set up the tent so the site would be "occupied."  Then, we set off to hike Looking Glass Falls.

It's a really cool hike. 

The trail is varied.


The views are amazing.


A couple of hours later, we arrived back at the automobile.  We headed back to camp.

We set up the remaining items for camp, +Ed Clem struggled to get a fire going with the still wet logs I brought with me.  He succeeded - He's a great camp fire administrator. 

The sun was setting and we were preparing to cook dinner when the camp host arrived at our campsite.  We are still the only other campers in this section of the campground.   As it is, the camp host had retrieved our payment from the lock box and had noted our location and lack of full payment.   He says he will have to charge us for a "Double" site or we could move to the adjacent "Single" site.  We give each other a smirk and tell him politely we will move.  He leaves satisfied he has upheld the regulations of the campground.

We move the tent and then settle back into our double slot to cook dinner and relax.

It takes a couple of hours but we eventually move the remaining stuff.  We even successfully move the campfire.  Interesting set of activities to accomplish moving burning firewood.  (We are that good)

It's an evening of laughs and storytelling.  Most are pokes at our favorite camp host.  I suggest he go through some customer service training.  It's 10:00PM until the second and only other campers show up in this 20 space campground.

The next day we hang around camp until almost noon before we head out for another day hike.  This time the trail is John Rock.   Another amazing day enjoying the cool weather.


Looking back at yesterday's hike up Looking Glass


We take this opportunity to start a new tradition.  I had started this blog with the title "Where in the world is Rake"  I was shopping at Kohl's one day when I found a tee shirt on sale for $4.00 - I had a 20% off coupon good for anything in the store.  So I bought me a "Where's Waldo?" shirt.

Can you find Rake?
So, I will try and take this shirt on my future adventures to have a little fun!

Our hike ends and we head back to the campsite.   We cook up a camp meatloaf and enjoy another night of making totally hilarious funny jokes about the great camp host we have.

It rained on us during the last night there.  That made for a cool ride home out of the mountains.

All photos are by the great +Ed Clem
Where in the world is Rake?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

West Virginia – November 2012

Carrying on with the family travel in November – We trek up from Charlotte to Snowshoe, West Virginia.

We arrive the day before opening season.  If you want to go skiing in a great area with small crowds, this is it.

Opening day we suit up and ready to go (no expensive skiing clothing for us – we go street style)

We had a blast.  It was our first time skiing.  That was very eventful.

My daughter did a great job for her first time.

Not without learning how to fall.

Dad had a hard time figuring out how to stop.

We soon headed off to more adventure.

Lift time was a great time to spend with my adventurous daughter.

We ended a great day on the slopes with some photo taking in the ice/snow.



Charlotte, North Carolina November 2012

Rake and family visited Charlotte, North Carolina in November.  We had a great time visiting the downtown area.  Going to Discovery Place. 

My daughter is a bundle of joy.  She enjoyed the bed of nails.

She enjoyed the air chair.

I am not sure what to call this.

She didn't want to hear about how pulleys worked.  But, she did enjoy them.

A fun time for all in Charlotte.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Arrival in Amsterdam - Day 10 - June 2012

After a night train from Prague, I arrive in Amsterdam.
(most photos are from others - as I only took a few due to rainy weather)

It is raining and cold in Amsterdam. 
It is a quick walk to St. Christopher's hostel from Amsterdam Central station.
This by far the most happening hostel I have stayed in during my visit.
It is also the largest.  I had kept to small with good locations & amenities.
The room was quiet eclectic.

The attached restaurant is where it all happens.

I put my stuff aside and turned up the raincoat and went a little exploring along the Amsterdam streets and canals. 

Amsterdam Central Train Station
I find a burger shop along Warmosesstraat street and get a greasy cheeseburger.  mmm

I also find this little shop that made for interesting comments by the tourist passing the store window.  That's if you wanted to know.

I continue wondering the streets of Amsterdam wet and tired.  I retire back to the hostel to rest, catch up with family back home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prague - Day 9 June 2012

The day for Prague Castle tour. I was ready.
My Private tour guide showed up at the hostel around 9:00. 

I booked the tour through Praga Caput Regni.  Marketa was easy to deal with through email.  When Lea the tour guide arrived she told me that Market had given birth the day before.  I hope all is well Marketa. 

Lea and I head out over the Charles Bridge to catch a train up to Castle hill.

The Castle corner stone.
It has started to rain - but she had an umbrella and I had on a windbreaker.  Lea did a great job explaining the history of the Czech people and the buildings.

She showed me the skinniest hotel in the world.

She showed me the castle vineyards.

The backside of the castle.

If by now you are wondering why no inside photos....well - I got reprimanded by a security officer for taking photos inside.  so - I quit taking them. It was a decent tour - limited due to it is still being used as government offices.

This is the room where I was reprimanded for taking photos.  Sure enough there was a sign that said "No Pictures". 
I did take some of St. Vitus Cathedral.  Gothic style a lot like Notre Dame.


Photos are failing to load - I will stop there for now.

It was still raining after the tour.   I meandered my way through the street of Prague - arriving at the hostel just before 3PM.   This is where I could have pushed on continue to see some of the things I wanted to see in Prague.  However, I let the rain give me an excuse to take a nap, then watch a movie, head out for a quick dinner then back to the hostel for a few more movies before leaving on a night train to Amsterdam. 

Stupid Rain.