Category: Our Trip 2

4 more days!

That’s right, it’s only four more days of being 14 for me, and then I’ll officially be 15 (and able to get my learners permit too…). Unfortunately, my birthday falls on a Monday this year, and since I’m not homeschooled anymore… That means I’ll have to escape from school celebrate either late at night, on a different day, or even better, both!

Offstring YoYoing at Rocky Mountain National Park last weekend
Offstring YoYoing at Rocky Mountain National Park last weekend

It’s crazy to think that one year ago, I was in Nashville, TN, high jumping with not a care in the world (well, mostly). I really have to say, those months that we were in Nashville were amazing. Playing tennis almost every day, getting to high jump and get coached on it twice a week, scoring a ton playing on a rec soccer team, and most importantly, celebrating my birthday on my birthday, having gotten ahead in schoolwork previously.

Well, snowboarding starts soon, since Arapahoe Basin is scheduled to open in the next few weeks, so hopefully I’ll be able to get out there and shred some. Soccer’s been going well, and our last game I finally felt like I played great, even though we lost 3-1. My next game is today, followed by one on Saturday. Without going into too much detail, school’s been going fine. Grades in a few of my classes have gone down, while a few have gone up.

Steering away from that topic, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite places we traveled to or stayed in the past year – Nashville, Sedona, Atlanta, Austin, Keystone, Vegas, New Orleans, Ouray

  1. Sedona, AZ – June/July 2016 – Definitely at the top of the list. Although the temperature was sweltering hot, I had access to a high school track with a high jump pit, got to play tennis every day we were there, hiked to some pretty incredible places, and went to YoYoFactory. To top it all off, we got to participate in a 5-day Nike Tennis Camp, which I consider to be one of the most fun weeks of my life this past year.
  2. Austin, TX – November 2015, May 2016 – For me, going back to Austin is always an enjoyable experience (unless it’s in the dead of summer and it’s over 110 degrees). Staying for a few weeks last November definitely was a great decision, since we got to see all our friends down south once again. In May, we took a plane down to Austin, and even though it was only for a few days, I packed lots of memories into them. There’s something about Austin that just makes me want to always keep revisiting.
  3. Nashville, TN – August-November 2016 – Staying in Nashville was awesome, for a few reasons. We got to see our relatives, play tennis a TON, and most importantly (for me), I got a high jump coach, and got to high jump around two to three times a week! Celebrating my birthday here was fun, because I had a lot of family there, as my aunts and uncles that weren’t already there flew in from Texas. I had the crazy opportunity to attend a few weeks of a philosophy college course taught by my parent’s good friend, who is a professor at Belmont. I’d say I learned a substantial amount, and I still think about Descartes, Plato, and all the other philosophers and their ideas today.
  4. Atlanta, GA – November 2015 – We only stayed in Atlanta for a few days, but it honestly seemed like longer. We got to do and see many things, once even hitting the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Museum, and the CNN Center all in one day. I have a lot of memories here, and I hope to return in the future.
  5. New Orleans, LA – November 2015 – On our way back to Austin last year, we passed through New Orleans. I got the chance to try my first beignet, not to mention a variety of amazing foods. We were only here for a few days, but it was an experience I want to repeat in the future.
  6. Keystone, CO – December 2015-June 2016 – We’ve been to and stayed in Keystone so many times it’s hard not to include it on this list. I have so many memories snowboarding on the mountain here, running snow-covered paths in the winter, and exploring the surrounding county. Although we’re not staying there this year, I know we’ll visit a lot this winter season.
  7. Ouray, CO – June 2016 – Staying here earlier this summer to kick off our summer travels was amazing. The views were amazing, the hikes were amazing, and the town was amazing. Almost every day we’d visit the park, whether it was to play Frisbee, go swimming in the hot spring pool, hang out in our hammocks, or offstring YoYo in the grass.
  8. Flint, TX – May 2016 – Earlier this year, after staying in Austin for around a week, we got the (rare) opportunity to see our best friends, the Halls, at their home in Flint. Just like every other time we see them, we packed a ton into just a few days, and had a crazy fun time. We played tennis, ultimate Frisbee, went for a run in the Texas heat, played some YoYo, and least importantly of all, played some Minecraft 😛
  9. Park City, UT – March 2016 – During the spring season, we took a trip out to Park City, UT with our friends the Burdiks. Although the snow wasn’t great, we had a great time shredding up the mountain with our boards, and in my case, my snowskate. Our friends had just gotten snowskates, and there was a snowboard run all the way down to the parking lot, so we decided to race some snowskatecross (it’s a thing). Naturally, I won. Most of the time. Well, the only time I would lose was when I gave them over a 20 second head start. Anyways, it was a great trip, and I definitely want to return.
  10. Las Vegas, NV – July 2016 – After leaving Sedona, we took a trip out to Las Vegas, Nevada, and before I start summarizing our time there, let me just say it was hot. Very, very hot. And that probably affected my experience there. Well, that and all the smoke coming from various casinos. We stayed at an awesome hotel, and every day we’d go out and explore the city. At night, the city was so bright and colorful it was a bit disorienting. We explored all over, walking all over downtown and on the Strip. I even went for a run in 115 degree weather (wrong idea), and that was… a unique experience. Dad celebrated his birthday here, and we went out for an awesome dinner at Therapy.

So those are my top ten favorite places I’ve been to in the last year! If I have time, I’ll try to write another blog post tomorrow or on the weekend, and I’ll hopefully include some pictures.

 

 

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3 Amazing Years – Introduction

Note: Well, I wrote this about a month ago, a few days after our July 16th “freejourner anniversary”, the day we originally left Austin, TX and started traveling. It didn’t really turn out the way I wanted to write it, but I figured “Why write this whole thing if I’m going to just keep editing it and never publish it?”.

Location: On the road to Breckenridge, CO

Geocaches: 363 (It’s funny how I always used to write those two things)

3 years and one month ago, Dad notified us that we would be leaving our neighborhood and house in Texas to travel the country on amazing adventures. We had one month to sell everything off that we couldn’t travel with, clean the house, prepare for traveling, and tell all our friends.

3 years ago, we had just finished selling everything off, packed up our car for the first time, and drove out of Austin, Texas to start what would be an amazing journey.

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My final picture with my friends in Austin before leaving.

Back then, I never knew I would be eventually be competing in the 2016 USASA Snowboarding National Championships, or running track (I’d never even heard of high jump!), or that I would backpack in the Sierra Nevadas and Channel Islands, or that I’d we’d get into YoYoing (of all things!), or that we’d see old friends and meet new ones across the country.

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My final picture with my friends in Austin before leaving.

Even before we started traveling, we had a very potentially mobile lifestyle. We were all homeschooled, and Dad could work from anywhere. In leaving, schooling didn’t change much. The hard part was leaving our friends. Initially, when we left, we thought it would only be for a year. Welp, that didn’t happen, obviously. We’ve been back to Austin a couple of times, and it’s been enjoyable to see all our friends and catch up with them. In 2014, we came back to Austin for 3 months. That was the first time that we had come back since our departure. We totally surprised all our friends and freaked them out by knocking on their doors.

I remember telling my friend Sage “Hey, are you at your house?”, and him asking “Why” (without the question mark :P), and I just gave him a dumb answer something like “Uh… So we can play Minecraft together on August 24th, 2014 at 2:30 PM, of couse”. Somehow he didn’t suspect anything, and he completely freaked out with excitement when we knocked on his door, as did all our other friends still living in our old neighborhood. After we had gathered everyone, I took everyone out to the 7-11 we always used to go to, and told everyone about our travels.

We got to have my 13th birthday in Austin, with all my friends and family, which was, to say the very least, memorable (or a little next to the very least, because I can think of a few words that are less than memorable. Just pointing that out :P).

After we left, it was straight off to Colorado again for another snowboarding season! Our first season with Team Summit, and a season where I feel I progressed exponentially (like Snowboarding Skills^1 :P. Just kidding), with learning new tricks, getting introduced to boardercross, and learning more about snowboarding in general.

This was when my love for track was born. When spring came, I got signed up for track and field through Summit Middle School, and while I won’t go through everything that happened (because I have quite a few posts from before that detail my first track and field season), I will say that I got hooked on sprinting, competing, and most importantly to me, high jump. I really don’t know why jumping over a bar over and over again is enjoyable to me, but then again, when you put all track and field events into perspective like that, I guess they’re all a bit strange in their own way (Shot put = Throwing a metal ball as far as you can, Long Jump = Running and jumping into sand, Triple Jump = Running and jumping three times into sand,  Pole Vault = Launching yourself into the air over a bar using a pole, 100m = Running as fast as you can for as long as you can, etc. :P)

In November 2015, we returned to Austin once again, this time just for ten days. It still was an amazing time (I should really stop using the word amazing. Time to go search for synonyms! Well, after I finish writing this “amazing”-filled post.), and we got to have many more memories with our friends than if we wouldn’t have gone there (well, that last part was kinda obvious, but I needed something to write while I think of the next paragraph, just like I’m doing right now!).

This last snowboarding season was probably my favorite, because I met new kids, got to learn new trampoline tricks at Woodward Barn at Copper Mountain, and most importantly (unless I can think of something more important right now. Nope. Carry on), competing at the 2016 Snowboarding National Championships. I raced a lot during the season (I think it was in total around 12 days on the course), and it was enough to get into nationals. Placing 42nd wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst, so I’m pretty happy with the result.

Track and field was a bit worse this season, as I got statistically worse in high jump, and I never won any event (except one 4×100 win, if you count that). On the bright side, I got to run, jump and throw again.

We’ve been staying in Sedona, AZ for the past month, and it’s been a blast. We started in a week-long Nike Tennis Camp, which was an amazing time. We played for 7-8 hours every day, and definitely improved our game. I got to high jump a lot more, because I found a high school with a high jump pit, and I definitely improved in that too. I cleared 5’2″, and I think I’ll be ready for this next track season, especially with the upcoming all-comers meets I’m planning on running.

Now we’re on the way back to Colorado, bringing our trip to a close. It’s crazy to think of all the places we have visited, all the mountains we’ve snowboarded, all the sports we’ve played in different places, and all the new friends we’ve met. I’m going to continue this in another post, detailing all the places we’ve stayed. Well, I better get to writing that now, so I’m going to finish off this post saying goodbye!

Leaving Nashville!

It’s almost been three months since we first came to Nashville, and it’s been fun. We played tennis at least three times a week, I scored over twenty goals in soccer this season, I improved my high jump by at least 300%, I improved my sprinting a lot, threw the discus at the park quite a bit, did a bunch of schoolwork, hung out with our cousins Oz and Otis, bought and sold some iPhone’s, learned some basic hurdling, learned how to drive a golf cart around the park, hiked… not so much, took a philosophy class, ate a lot of Edley’s BBQ down the street, and learned some new songs on the Keytar!

Me and Otis
Me and Otis

Isaac’s birthday is tomorrow, halloween is in two days (That reminds me… It’s probably time to get a costume… :P), and we’re leaving in a week. Then it’s off to North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Colorado, with a few states in between!

I really enjoyed 12 South, because basically every weekday, we went down the street and worked at a coffee shop somewhere, which is what I’m doing right now. We always have a place to eat lunch that we can just walk to, which is nice.

I finally got to attempt 5′ in High Jump, and cleared it! It felt awesome, and I can’t wait to try 5’2″….. Still going to try and clear 5’4″ and get Summit Middle School’s record, but I’m doubting that will happen.

Here’s a video of me high jumping in practice (not my best one)

 

Click here if you can’t see it

 

And…. here’s a video of me throwing discus a few days ago:

 

Click here if you can’t see it

 

 

Birthday in Nashville!

Well, my birthday came and passed again (funny how it keeps doing that), and it was honestly pretty laid-back, but fun nonetheless. I played two soccer games while my mom and her sisters ran a 5k, then went roller blading with all the aunts. Roller Blading is so much fun, which is probably the reason why we carried them around the country…. We all won our races in roller blading, my mom had the DJ guy person put on one of my favorite songs, and then we went to Desano’s Pizza for lunch.

We picked up two cakes and headed back to the house, where I opened all my presents. Isaac got me a very strangely shaped Rubik’s Cube,
  
And I got a lot of cool presents from my aunts and uncles! So yeah, really fun! Later I went out with my mom and dad, and they got me a new GoPro casing. 

We’ve only got a few weeks left here, then we have about a month to travel, then it’s off to Colorado for snowboarding season! 

Staying in Nashville

Well, we’re in Nashville now, and it’s crazy with all the sports and school and other various things I’ve been doing. I got a High Jump coach, and I think this will help me A LOT in track season back in Keystone. I’m aiming to break their school record, which is 5′ 3″, so a 5’4″ jump would break it. I’m pretty much jumping 5′ – 5’2″ when I get it right, so I don’t think that will be a problem.

I’ve been also doing a lot of soccer and tennis, which has been really fun. I’m taking lessons at a club for tennis, and I’m on a rec team for soccer, which isn’t the best, but hey, I score at least 3-4 goals per game! Another thing is, there’s only two other teams in the league… So…. We just play the same people over and over again…

 

I attended our friend Mr Manuel’s college course on philosophy at the nearby college for the past few weeks, and that went great. I’ve been learning a lot of stuff from him. I also just got a Keytar a few weeks ago, and I’ve learned a few songs on it.

 

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High Jumping is been recently really fun, because I’ve been taking a break from it to learn some other events. I’ve been practicing hurdling a lot lately, and one weekend I decided to try pole vaulting. I bought a discus and have been practicing with that. I’ve gotten a few good 50-foot throws without spinning, and I’m still trying to get the spinning-to-throwing motion down.

Practice run on Pole Vaulting video (if you can’t see it click here)
I’ve been getting in shape a lot during track training, and on Thursdays I go with the team that I practice High Jump with to a gymnastics training gym to practice stuff and work out. Isaac fractured his growth plate playing soccer a few weeks ago, and is making a recovery. He hopes to play soccer and tennis again before we leave, and we think he might be able to.

My goal for when I get back into track season is to be able to run all the events decently, so I can switch events if I have to in track meets with Summit Middle School. I’m pretty sure I can get the 100m hurdles down by the end of our stay here, and I can throw the discus pretty well. If only there was a decathlon/pentathlon for middle school…. All I need to be able to do all the events are Shot Put (Which I’m considering learning), the 800 and 1600 (which my dad can help me with over the winter), and I could probably learn some better form in Long Jump. I wish they had middle school javelin or pole vault, cause the javelin is really fun to throw…

I’ve been working on a lot of schoolwork, and am on track to be on track for the winter and not get behind again snowboarding like we did last year…

One last thing before I end this, Isaac’s been mastering the Rubik’s cube a lot, and I’ve been learning how to solve the Pyraminx, and I recently figured it out a few times.

My solved Pyraminx
My solved Pyraminx

 

Well, that’s basically it for what’s been happening in my life recently!

Traveling to Nashville, TN

We got in to Nashville a few days ago, and it’s been great. But, before that, let me write about what happened in between when I got back from Alaska to when we got to Nashville.

Right when we got back, we were in Portland, Oregon. We played a lot of basketball and stayed with our friends. I did get to visit Voodoo Donuts again, and they were amazing as always. After Portland, we went to Meridian, Idaho, to see our friends the Maculley’s. We had a great time there, went to a water park one day, and the other day we made a chocolate chip cake (with real chips), and watched Les Mis.

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After that, we headed to Keystone, Colorado for Mom’s birthday and to see our best friends. We packed SO much into like 3 days. We went to the YoYo shop in Breckenridge, and I bought Noah a Kendama (it was his birthday a few days before). I had also bought him an extra iPhone to mess around with also (cause we both love hacking iPhone’s). It was crazy being back in Keystone again, we got to see the mountains again, play tennis at the tennis center, and on my mom’s 40th birthday, we hiked to the top of a 14-er (14000 foot mountain). Or, make that two fourteeners, as there were two close to each other and we hiked to both, all with our friends.

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The day we left, it was off for a relatively short two hour drive to Boulder, Colorado, as there was a track meet there I wanted to attend. I beat all of my personal records there in all the events I did, which was great. I ran around a 13.1 for the 100m (on the website they only had it to tents of a second), a 27.49 for the 200 (I was lucky enough to get a time at the end of that race), and I finally cleared 4’10” in High Jump.

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After the track meet, we traveled all the way to St Louis, MO in a couple of days. St Louis was awesome, and we took a ride up INSIDE the arch.

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We got a few Junior Ranger badges on the way, and stayed in Missouri for a few more days. Then, we went to the St Louis City Museum. It is literally the best “museum” ever. It is 10 stories tall, with random stuff to climb around on outside, including an airplane (about 40 feet in the air), a firetruck, and all this crazy stuff including tunnels you could go through that had you climbing 60 feet in the air.

On the roof, they had a bus that you could walk out over the edge on, and see down 10 stories up, they had a Ferris Wheel on the roof, a 10 story slide that led into underground crazy caverns…. and a lot of other crazy stuff. They had “playscapes” all around the first floor, where you could climb into tiny holes, and they’d take you places, like for instance, I climbed inside a concrete whale, up a pipe, and into the roof….

Me in the ceiling
Me in the ceiling

After St Louis, we had a few uneventful days, and then we got to Nashville, where we’re going to be staying for the next 2 and a half months (it’s already been a few weeks).

Alaska – Track Meets, Planes, Hiking and Traveling

We got back from Alaska a few weeks ago, and it was amazing. It never really fully got dark, and we did some awesome things there. I ran in 3 track meets, but there weren’t that many people competing, except a friend I made in Alaska, and his friend. The first meet they had I ran the 50m dash, the High Jump, the 4×100 with my friends, and the 4×400. The second meet happened to be the Junior Olympics, and there was still a lack of people….. They were handing out medals, so I thought why not run everything….. I did the High Jump, Long Jump, Discus, Turbo Javelin, 100, 110 Hurdles, 200, 400, and 3000, in which I ran it in a very sad 13 minutes.

Racing the 100 against my friends
Racing the 100 against my friends

I didn’t get to break my High Jump record, or my 100m dash record, but I did break my 200m and 400m record. I know now what I have to beat next time I long jump (if I do), along with Turbo Javelin. I was pretty bad in discus….

The last meet, I ran the 50m, the 300m (I consider it now the hardest race, even more than the 800….) and the High Jump. I broke my PR in the 50m, running a 6.66. Isaac got super good with his yoyo’s here, and awed a lot of kids and adults alike

Isaac throwing the standing Turbo Javelin
Isaac throwing the standing Turbo Javelin
Isaac performing for a group of kids
Isaac performing for a group of kids

One day we decided to take a ferry to a glacier, which was amazing. We even got to see a giant chunk of ice fall off the glacier into the ocean!

Glacier view from the Ferry
Glacier view from the Ferry

We took a small plane that landed us on a glacier, where we could see Denali and Mt Mckinley, and a lot of snow around and under us.

View from the plane
View from the plane

We hiked a LOT, went to Alyeska Ski Resort and took a gondola up to the top. The last day was the craziest. Dad left 2 days before, so we took a separate flight. We thought we had the house up until the day after we left, but turns out, we were wrong. We had to leave the house by 12, and so in an hour we were packed up. We were on the side of the road with our bags, so we decided to rent a car for a day.

The last day we took an amazing hike at Alyeska Ski Resort through the woods. At the end, there was a hand pulled tram across a gorge

Mom and Jadyn on the Hand Tram
Mom and Jadyn on the Hand Tram

After this, we went to the airport, and we left Alaska at midnight, getting into Portland at 4 AM. We went to the hotel where we met up with Dad, and fell asleep there. The Alaska trip was amazing, and I will definitely want to go back some day…

A bear on the road
A bear on the road