Sunday, April 30, 2006

Home sweet home

Took this from my stairwell

I'm not really in the mood for blogging...I'm kind of axious waiting for Ben to get home so I can pick up the rest of my stuff (WHERE IS HE???) but I thought I should let you know how I'm doing.

I officially moved in yesterday. It's been quite a change living by myself...times when theres nothing to do..and noone to talk to. It's tough sometimes, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Maybe most of it is that I have no TV, no internet, and no couch. It'll feel like home soon. Ok, I do have a "couch" now..I bought a futon..i know i know, but I just couldn't afford a $500 couch. I have too much other stuff to buy. And it is a nice futon.

But I've already met some outstanding people. Friday night Ben invited me over to have dinner with his girlfriend and a couple other friends...one being a guy who worked as the campus minster at Denver U. or U of Denver. Whatever. He got my number, invited me rock climbing, and invited me to church at Lakewood COC.

I went to church this morning, went to class, sat with the guys at church..and funny story..I actually served communion. It was a last second thing, and he asked all the guys around me to help out, then asked me, and stopped and said.."wait..I shouldn't be asking you.." but I told him I'd help out anyways, and I did.

While I was serving, Tara McCain, sis of Cody McCain, and friend from ACU, spotted me and was like "is that Jeremy???...it can't be..I've never seen him here before.." so she talked to me during the "say hello" session..which I usually don't like. And she doesn't live far from me.

Also, on saturday night, I had dinner with other ACU friends, Nate and Patty, who apparently live right down the street from me. Which shall be nice.

But I'm actually slightly nervous at the moment, because I have to go to work tomorrow, and I still don't have a place to stay in chicago. I have called this lady who owns a crashpad, and is opening it on the 1st of may, exactly when I need it. She left me a message once, saying she had room for me..but I can't get ahold of her. And I need a place to stay tomorrow night!! I don't know what I'm going to do..I'm sure it'll work out.

The apartment is nice, the only real problem is that it is right next to the train tracks..I mean like right next to..but it rarely comes by and it isn't that big of a deal.

So anyways, there ya go. Whenever I get internet at the house, I'll be more creative blogging.

-JJ

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Saturday night I went to the KOA with a decision to make. It was supposed to snow, and for $10 more I could get a cabin instead of having to stay in my tent...

I chose the cabin, and good thing I did. I woke up sunday morning to 4 inches of snow on my car. And it was still snowing. this slightly concerned me, as I was going to go to Yellowstone that day, and I had no idea what the roads were like on the way.

At church that morning, I went to the college class and asked some of the guys there. Apparently It's a small winding road through the mountains, and they told me that there had been tons of accidents and 3 deaths up there the day before....

Well that pretty much made up my mind. Yellowstone would have to wait.

So where should I go now?? I couldn't go north...west was just as bad as south...so back to Billings it would have to be. I didn't want to wait around for 3 days until it stopped snowing then take my chances in Yellowstone, which would surely be covered in snow.

So I decided that when its time, its time. So I made a push for Denver. Surprisingly, it wasn't as far as I thought. I left Bozeman around 11:30 and I made it to Fort Collins, Co at 8pm. I stayed with some old friends of mine Sarah and Lindell, who were gracious enough to lend me they're couch and an apple. The next morning I headed to the Denver airport, got my airport employee parking pass, and hopped a flight to Dallas.

I had a week w/o anyplace to stay, and I knew I could always go there.

So my trip didn't work out like I wanted, but those things happen. I had a blast anyways, and I regret nothing.

But Yellowstone has become my "Elenor." She will be mine. Oh yes.

-JJ

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hey, at least I'm alive


So I wasn't gonna post today..I like to give people a chance to read, but I almost died today. And no pictures, since I don't feel like going through the process of uploading them. Today was beautiful again, better than I expected, and I hit the trail at about 9:30. This time I was complete with wool socks. It took me about 45 mins to get up to the top with a spectacular view of Bozeman. I got up there, and kept going. Through snow. It got pretty deep, and a guy advised me to go around as much as I could. Which I did. But there was this bluff, way up high, that I wanted to get to before I turned around. So I went for it.

More snow. And it got deeper. The trail was lost, but there were footprints where others had been, so I followed those, since it was already packed and I wouldn't sink in up to my hip. I sat down, finished off what I had brought of food, and continuted on my way. I got to the bluff, and there was no way up. so I tried to go around to the backside, thinking there may be a trail up that way. Unfortunately, no one had been this way before, so I was stuck blazing my own trail through the snow. I had to stomp my foot in the snow, then collapse more snow around that footprint into the hole, and pack it down until it was sturdy enough to hold my weight. Then I started doing that on an incline. Many times I knocked some snow down, only to see it rush down the side of the mountain, and do the whole "snowball effect." So I kept going in this manner, quite slowly. I saw a cave, and I hoped there were no bears inside, cuz I wasn't going anywhere. I spotted a small trail up the side of the cliff, where I thought I would be able to get up onto the bluff. Unfortunately, as I got up on this so-called "trail" I realized that it was no trail at all. I found myself stuck, with a rock wall on one side, and a 70 foot drop on the other, where If I fell I would just roll..and roll...and become a giant snowball. And I only had about 5 inches to work with.

too many times I knocked loose rock down the cliff...and it just kept going.

Needless to say, I made it down, but it took me about 2 hrs to get down and turn around to where I was really comfortable. I like adventures and hiking and stuff..but rock climbing is one thing that I don't do.

To add insult to injury, so much snow had gotten inside my boot that my socks were now soaked. to the bone. twice i took them off and wrung them out.

Anyways, not sure that paints a great picture of how it actually was, but I was ACTUALLY scared. for my life. :)

I'm staying in bozeman againt tonight, where supposedly it's going to snow.

Tomorrow is church, then 80 miles south to Yellowstone, and from what I hear, the KOA's down there don't open until the middle of may. Not sure what I'll do, but surely theres something..

-JJ

Ok, so I found time. this is the ridge that I walked up with the snow. Though further on is where it got deeper, and where I got in trouble.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I love Montana..and it loves me

First off, thanks for enduring my long posts. I hope I'm making them somewhat tolerable.
AAAnd, if you don't know by now, I love Montana. Its wonderful. I left that awesome Barnes and Noble in Billings, and went and found my KOA for the evening. Not only is it the very first KOA in the nation, its also very very very nice.
This is my tent at the KOA in Billings..behind it is the Yellowstone River
As I pulled into my assigned camping spot, I noticed I had fellow campers. (yyaaaay!) I greeted him, and went about my business of setting up my tent. A few moments later, he came over, introduced himself, and started assisting me in putting up my tent. We chatted for about 15 mins, and it was amazing how similar we were. Not really that much in personalities...well..let me just tell you. He's in the process of looking into a school in Billings for aeronautics..he's from vegas, and he thought he would make a road trip out of it. and he's been camping the whole way. Also, he used to be a flight attendant for an airline called National..until they went kapoot. Plus, we'd both had one of those moments the previous day, me in south dakota, him in Idaho camping in 17 degree weather, when we thought to ourselves, "what on earth am I doing??" This was our rejuvination.
So, naturally, since we'd both been eating garbage for a few days (pbj, lunch meat, etc) , and since in 15 mins we had grown to be such good friends, he invited me out to eat with him.
As I was in the car with him, i looked at him, and said "hey, since i've only known you for a few mins, and here I am in a car with you, please don't drive me to some creepy place and kill me."
He laughed, and said, "same goes for you."
So we got o Outback steakhouse, walk in, and within 2 mins of being there, the waitress looks at us and says "you guys aren't from here, are you?" we were stunned. How did she know? Well she never said. But we were instantly friends. Long story short, the night ended, me and steve full of steak, sharing a dessert with 4 waitresses, and the owner of the restaurant. They found it amazing and funny how we just met b/c we were camping next to each other.
So I slept awesome that night. it got cool..prolly in the 40s, but very comfy, and i slept like a rock. Much better, I'd say.
So this morning I got up to clear skies and 50 degrees (its since warmed up to 70s), and drove 2 hrs to Bozeman, where I met up with a couple that I met on a flight a couple months back and they own a pizza shop. I got free lunch. Then I found a hiking trail and booked it up. It wore me out. the trail was pretty much verticle. But I ran into a guy who noticed my "times picayune-we publish come hell or high water" tshirt, and he went off about how great a job they did and to say hi to my dad. Nice guy. actually everyone here is nice. Anyways, I'm at a small coffee shop in Bozeman now, and I'm gonna stay another day and try to find a different hiking spot.

This one needs no explanation

JJ


Thursday, April 20, 2006

1600 Miles Later...

Big Horn National Park, Wyoming

Let me just say one thing..

South Dakota = evil Wyoming= cool.

Let me explain. I left around noon on monday, and drove the 6 hrs over to Des Moines, Iowa, where I met up with Justin and Allison. Man, elizabeth is such the lively one. From the moment I walked in there, she was talkin. Like shes known me her entire life. (For those who don't know, elizabeth is their 2-year old daughter.

We had dinner, just hung around and caught up with everything. I ended up staying the next day too, since I hadn't seen them in so long. And on tuesday night I babysitted. First time ever. You'll have to ask elizabeth to see how I did.

I left Iowa at 6am central, headed to Omaha, then up to Sioux Falls, SD. Everything was Peachy. Until I got to south dakota. Out of nowhere comes this hurricane force winds that I faught all 350 miles to Rapid City. Im serious. Like 10-2 the whole time. They were cross, winds, head winds, everything but a tailwind. I don't know how the cows were standing up. I visited the badlands, and I got out of the car for the first "viewpoint", and I couldn't get back to my car.. My body was leaning at a 45 degree angle. Not kidding. I didn't get out the rest of the time It took me 2 1/2 tanks of gas to go the distance of south dakota. Oh, and it rained. not too bad, but it rained.

I finally arrived in Rapid city, and all of a sudden a blue sky appeared, and the rain stopped. I was in a much better mood. I headed to Mt. Rushmore, and unfortunately it was closed. (one of the themes of this trip) I went further into the black hills to find the KOA that i had planned to stay at...CLOSED. oops. I kept going, hoping to find SOMEONE who knew if there was somewhere to pitch a tent. But no one was there. So I decided to head back into town to the Rapid City KOA. I got there, got a campsite, looked around..no one. Well there were people, but they all had campers. so, exhausted as I was, I pitched my tent, crawled in my bag, and stared at the cieling. It was 7:30.

At about 8 I said "forget it"...well..actualy I thought it...and I rolled over and closed my eyes. then came the rain. And the wind. The wind wasn't as bad as it was before, but still.

I finally went to sleep..ok it was like 20 mins later...and I woke up, looked outside, and all i saw was gray. Fog. and rain. and cold. I laid there for another 30 mins, got the nerve to get up, get dressed, and take down my tent. It was freeezing. I ignored rolling up my tent like i was supposed to, so i folded it and threw it in the car. I went to take a shower..luke warm. dang. but i did what i had to do.

Free breakfast!! They served free pancakes at the Koa. I followed my nose, and found 2 guys, in a tiny kitchen, yakkin it up. they invited me in, got me some coffee and pancakes, and he said "are you the guy with the tent?"

apparently his wife had visited the night before, and was struck to see my tent. She didn't think anybody had it in them. He just laughed and said "lucky.."

I asked how cold it was last night..he said 34. ick. 34 and rainy.

Then they told me that I-90 west through wyoming was closed due to snow (deadwood had gotten like 20 inches). I was headed north, but at this point, i thought maybe i just go home. If i could.

I decided to try my luck with I-90 west, and head for billings. I was going to skip N. Dakota. I'd had all of the Dakota's I could stand. That took me through wyoming.

As soon as i got to wyoming (at this point they opened up I-90), blue skies. as far as i could see. it was wonderful. It was in the 50s, and climbed into the 60s. i drove to big horn national park, did a short hike, then got back in my car and headed for billings...where I am now..at a barnes and noble.

Now I have to go find the KOA and pitch my tent. Weather is supposed to be great tonight..cept lows are in the 30s. uggh.

Oh, and I've decided to shorten my trip. My car makes me nervous that its gonna konk out in the middle of nowhere. And gas is expensive. and soo many things are closed until summer. It may be a waste of time to go to kalispell. So Im gonna make the best of Bozeman for 2 days, then just head south through yellowstone for a day or two then down to denver.

I'm tired.

-JJ

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Good Riddance

This one would have been better had Jill closed her mouth..but whatever. Another
relaxing morning on the plane enjoying crossword puzzles.







Laura and I made Barnyard animals from gloves blown up. I actually made one pop on accident in the process of blowing one up. Scared some passengers. Oops.

A flower while hiking in Nashville

I'm officially leaving in the morning. First stop, Des Moines, Iowa. Tonight I shaved my head for the journey. I figure showers might be few and far between, and its easier to handle when that happens. I'll try to post during my trip with pictures as much as I can.

-JJ

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's Game Time!!!

This is my new tent I got today. I set it up in my house to make sure I could figure it out, and it was a BREEZE. PLUS, I just got this Mountain Hardware sleeping bag, and I think I choose it over my full-size bed. They've come a long way since I last slept in a sleeping bag.

Ok so not really. I still have to work tomorrow, I get back on sunday at 2pm, then I'm hoping to be gone on monday. I've got a lot of stuff to do, but I think I'll be able to pull it off.
Diedra did it to me again. After I got off work today, I had to fight traffic all the way to the north suburbs to pick up my tent. Then I had to come all the way back, pick up my sleeping bag, go to the grocery, grab a frozen pizza for dinner, then I headed home. As soon as I walked in, I started up the oven to cook my pizza, then started taking the trash out. The oven beeped, sounding that my pizza was finished, and thats when I realized that Deidra had cleaned us out. Everything we had was hers, including pans, dishes, forks, everything. I had absolutely nothing to even put my pizza on to slice it, much less a plate to eat off of.
Reluctantly, I grabbed this piece of plastic I had, that I'm assuming was dirty, and slapped my pizza on it. THERE WAS LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO PUT MY FOOD ON!!! I grabbed my pocket knife, sliced it up, and ate it. Luckily, its pizza and I don't need a plate.
Anyways, thats it for now. Gotta do it all over again tomorrow. Cya
-JJ

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I'm Back!

Yes, thats right, I'm back. I've gotten a lot of sympathy from that last post, and to be honest, it was nice to have. It's very underrated, I'd have to say.

But anywho, I'm back, baby! The other night I was browsing Itunes, looking at celebrity playlists to see what kind of crap Ashlee Simpson listens too, when I ran across a band called "The Format", who was listed on Yellowcards site.

And let me tell you, it instantly put me in a better mood. For those who know them, they're like a cross between Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessionals. Check out a sample on my MySpace homepage. (Yes I have one, leave me alone.)


And on a side note, my brother got married this weekend.

ok for seRIOUS, on THE MAIN TOPIC, MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED!! It was short notice, but my parents really took charge. They had like 2 weeks to get it together. They did it in my aunts backyard in Mississippi, and they turned it into a complete oasis...aka...clark's chapel of love. The weather was great...well....the sun was out. Unfortunately, we forgot to pray about the wind. (He always gets us, doesn't He!!!) It gusted up to...something miles an hour...well..it was really strong. Luckily the main part of Clark's chapel was anchored down. In the background you saw large potted plants toppling over, spilling dirt everywhere.

It really was a funny site, one we'll never forget. It was fun, and funny. And my brother seemed happy, and I approved of his new wife, since that was the first time I met her. Shes just as "easy money" as my brother.

The rehearsal dinner was AWESOME, mostly because it involved no rehearsal, the waitress was hot and kept calling me sweetie and never called anyone else pet names, and the steak was AWESOME...oh, and it didn't have to pay. Plus, when my uncle said "you know you're a redneck if you think wearing a john deere t-shirt is dressing up" as a guy with a john deere t-shirt strolled by. And ON TOP OF THAT, my other uncle asked me if they had coke in Colorado...no kidding. ( I'll let my uncle defend himself on that one. I know he's gonna read this.)

AND luckily my dad read my blog before leaving, and grabbed some gloves to play catch. we didn't need the gloves since my uncle, the baseball coach, let us borrow some gloves from his players...who had no idea we took them..and unless they read this, they never will know.

And what do I get for all of this?? A busted lip. I swear that thing jumped up and bit me. I walked off the field biting the skin off my lip. But halfway off, i changed my mind. I wanted so bad to throw the ball, dad-gummit, and no blood or busted lip or dead skin was gonna stop me.

So we threw, and my lip swelled up, and my lip is blue in the wedding pictures. But it was well worth it.

So I'm back in Chicago, I've got 1 day (tomorrow) to get things settled for my move. I got 6 days in a row of work, starting tuesday. I hope to leave on the 17th, 18th if I have to. I've got a rough draft of my Itenerary. Ill post it. Here ya go:

Iowa
Des Moines
Justin and Allison

South Dakota
Black Hills National Forest
CUSTER, SD
JEWEL CAVE, NATIONAL MONUMENT
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore / Hill City KOA

North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Forest (Badlands)
Medora, ND
Camp somewhere in the Badlands

Montana
Billings
Billings KOA
the Bighorns, Beartooths, Crazy Mountains, the Pryor Range, and the Snowy Mountains
Bozeman
Columbos Pizza!!! 406 587 5544 1003 W College St
Gallatin National Forest
Bozeman KOA

Kalispell
Glacier National Park
St Mary/East Glacier KOA
Idaho
Hell’s Canyon
MCcall, Id (Horse Mountain Lookout)
Payette National Park

Wyoming
Jackson Hole
Yellowstone
Grand teton
Teton Village/Jackson West KOA

You've been great!! cya

-JJ

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Coming Together



Radner Lake, Nashville, TN

Im really not sure what to say. I could write this big long post about how I'm excited that baseball is here, that I can actually sit down and enjoy the sports section again without being bored to tears with pointless articles about basketball and hockey. But I wouldn't get a single comment, and I'd get complaints like "Oh, here goes Jeremy off on his sports rants again." So I won't. But excited I am.

But I'm tired because I've been working A LOT, trying to finance my cross country move... I'm a little stressed that maybe nobody will come buy my furniture tomorrow when I throw it all out on the lawn. I'm sad that I may see people cart off furniture that my mom had when she moved out of her house. She told me its not worth moving, but still.... I'm excited to go on my 2 week adventure. To be alone, wandering around, camping at strange places, seeing amazing things, to enjoy nature, meet complete strangers, listening to audio books, being alone. I'm frustrated that I havn't had a date in almost 2 years. The most frustrating part is that its my fault, that I live the way that I do, that I ENJOY living the way that I do...I'm lonely because its baseball season and theres no one to throw the baseball with....I'm angry because I spent half an hour trying to get OUT of our new parking lot at the airport when all I wanted to do was go home...All these emotions have just had a train wreck tonight. No, I'm not crying. And no, Kristi Cooke, I'm not dead inside.

But I sit here, typing this message, listening to one of my 3,000 songs, sipping hot cocoa, chatting online with good friends...maybe things aren't so bad.

-JJ


PS I finally got the picture of me and the tree that I hit off my camera. Here ya go.