Mammoth Vacation

Before the occasions a year ago, a major gathering of my companions from arrangement chose to arrange a weekend getaway to Mammoth Mountain. We discovered a gigantic (extravagance) lodge that part between us was an awesome arrangement. The thought of huge snug flames, family style home cooked dinners, and simple access to the ski slants seemed like a stormy heaven.

Also, it was. Following quite a while of arranging, our weekend at long last came and it was only the break from LA we all required.

Where we stayed: Our lodge was similar to something out of ‘A la mode Homes of the Rich and Famous’, with four levels, snowed over green perspective, hot tub with a speaker framework, and a lot of space for every one of us to spread out without being excessively confined. It was upgraded with all the civilities you could request, complete with pool table and a film room (with raised seats like at the motion picture theater!). We’ve stayed in an assortment of lodges throughout the most recent 5 years of going by Mammoth and this one was without a doubt the best as such. I adored that all the dozing rooms were off the principle levels so that on the off chance that you needed to go to rest, you could be far from the group and commotion. In case you’re venturing out to Mammoth with a gathering, I profoundly propose leasing a lodge. We discovered our own on VRBO.

Mammoth Ca

Skiing and Snowboarding: Our gathering was divide into halves ¬†half needed to ski both days and the other half simply needed to unwind and investigate the range without being on skis. I was glad to join the recent gathering, as we took as much time as required every morning making an immense breakfast and afterward bringing off down arbitrary treks until we got drained and hungry once more. For those of us who did rent skis, they picked to lease them from Black Tie Skis, an administration that appears at your lodge the prior night and fits you in the protection and simplicity you could call your own spot. You don’t need to stress over landing to the hotel additional right on time to evade the group. For around 15 dollars more a day, they will drop off your rental rigging and lift it up for you. Isn’t that great!

The Birth Of A Dream

On my 50th birthday, a doctor informed me I had cancer. I was in “Stage 4b” of Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphoma. “4b” is the stage just before they put your name in the paper and people gather around to say what a swell guy you had been. At that time, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to sing baritone with the heavenly choir.

I had no doubt that I would beat the disease. While I was undergoing chemo, I went to the gym three days a week and worked out for up to two hours at each session. I believed that if I was able do that then I wasn’t really sick. The horror stories I had heard about chemotherapy never happened to me. I lost weight. I lost my hair and my lungs were working at less than half capacity. But mostly it was just tedious.

Every two weeks, I went for a treatment. I was poked with needles as nurses tried to find a vein that hadn’t collapsed as a result of the treatment. Then I sat for two to three hours feeling the burn as my body absorbed the toxic chemicals.

To help maintain my spirits I made plans for when I was healthy again. I decided to celebrate being alive by doing something no one else had ever done..

I grew up in South Philadelphia, just a few blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in what is called America’s most historic square mile.

You couldn’t find a cemetery that didn’t have a signer of the Declaration of Independence planted there.

It was impossible not to grow up patriotic.

I was immersed in American history. While other kids my age venerated Mantle, Musial, Mays and the Babe, my boyhood heroes were Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin.

It was the start of a life-long love affair with the American idea and ideal.

As I grew older, I became enamored with the Mountain Men: Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass, Jeremiah Johnson, Jedediah Smith and all the rest. I always wondered if I could head off into the wilderness as they did and manage to survive. Now was the time to test my mettle.

I decided to circumnavigate the contiguous 48 states by canoe. This trip would give me the opportunity to both explore America and find out if I had the right stuff to be a Mountain Man.

As I began to research the possibility of such an adventure, the route emerged. From Texas to the Florida Keys I would travel along the Gulf shore, then up the East Coast, across Canada, touching on Alaska and down the West Coast to the Panama Canal. I would then head north and finish where I had started in Texas. A 24,000 mile trip…by canoe.

My plan was to dedicate the trip to American workers, a much-maligned group that not only built this great country but also defended it when called to do so. In their honor, I would take only American-made equipment.

My original estimate was for about $18,000 worth of gear to start the trip. Because this was more money than I was likely to see at anytime in the near future, I shelved the dream for a while.

However, I still chose in some way to satisfy my passion for the work-in-progress that is America. Although I had been a truck driver and traveled through many states, I still had never seen more than a small portion of this incredible land.

So, I set out in 2000 on a six-month camping trip with a $30 tent and a $20 sleeping bag that took me through each of the lower 48 states.
During this journey I learned some things. First, I not only renewed my love for the American idea and ideal, but I fell in love with the land itself and the people who live on it.

America is a wonderful nation and we are a wonderful people. It is unfortunate that most Americans do not appreciate just how great we are.

I also realized I could do the canoe trip for a hell of a lot less money than I first thought. I took my dream from the shelf, dusted it off and decided to make it happen.

The tragedy of September 11th nearly changed all my plans. I tried to re-enlist in the army, but when I walked into the recruiting office they told me to try the Social Security Office down the hall.

I was not going to let that stop me. If I was too old to go to the war, then maybe I could bring a little bit of the war to me.

The purpose of terrorism, obviously, is to cause fear. Every time we give in by changing our lifestyle, the terrorists win a victory. Every time we go to a ball game or a concert or get on an airplane we give them a little poke in the eye.

Therefore, I call my trip the “Poke ’em in the Eye” Tour and named my canoe The American Victory. I thought if I could leave myself exposed to the terrorists and dare those loony-tunes to do something about it, then maybe other people would be inspired to get on with their own lives.

I also hoped my trip might provide a bit of diversion from all the depressing news of the day. I set out on the cold, windy morning of February 2, 2002, to begin a 24,000-mile odyssey dedicated to America’s heroes, past and present.

God bless America and give ’em a little poke in the eye.

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