Tag: travel

Summer

We just got back from our summer travels, and it’s been amazing. I haven’t been posting lately, because I was working on writing a post on school reflections, but I revised it so many times I forgot about publishing it… And that was all I was writing about. Anyways, why talk about school now, when I can talk about all our travels?

 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been in many states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, (Regular) Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. It’s been a rush, and we’ve packed so much into the time since we left Breck that I’m having trouble remembering everything that we’ve done.

 

After school ended (I passed all my final exams with almost straight 4’s, ending up with a cumulative GPA of 4.15, with a 4.14 from first semester, and a 4.16 from second semester), we stayed another week in Breck to pack up and get ready for our summer travels. In an unexpected move, we decided to go snowboarding for one last day (in JUNE!) on the hill, so we unpacked all our snowboarding gear (I had packed up and taken apart all our boards), and went out to Arapahoe Basin to snowboard. After a fun day of shredding in the spring slush (and a bit of rain), we headed home and repacked all of our snowboarding gear.

Not much happened between then and when we left, but we did go and visit our friends the Burdick’s (who we know from Team Summit) for a day after Isaac’s final lacrosse tournament. We had a ton of fun with our friend JR, and took his longboards out on the streets and bombed down the streets around his neighborhood.

Well, that was one of the last days before we took off, and when we took off, we were gone. We drove fifteen hours spread over two days on our way down to Austin, TX to see our friends, passing through New Mexico and spending a night in Amarillo. After getting to Austin, we met up with some of our friends at Dick Nichols Park, and then I proceeded to go and hang out with my friend Sage for the rest of the night.

The next day, we went to a trampoline park with all of our friends from Austin, and basically jumped around for a while, before going out to eat with all of them and returning to our old neighborhood for a few minutes before our departure to Dallas.

All of our friends we hung out with in Austin!

We stayed at our grandparent’s house in Dallas for a few days, seeing our cousins again for the first time in a while, and, on our last day in Dallas, went to watch Cars 3 on opening night.

One of my favorite parts of our trip was our stay with our best friends the Halls in Flint, TX, and I had a ton of fun with my friend Noah, building a wooden pinball machine and jumping into their pond at midnight. We stayed for two nights, then left to see our other grandparents in Louisiana.

 

After we left Louisiana, our trip really began. We decided to change our Florida plans and go to Nashville, TN instead to see our relatives and surprise our cousin Oz for his birthday. It was great being back in Nashville again, and it was awesome to see our cousins after not having seen them for a while. We traveled through Kentucky to Virginia after that, and stayed with a lot of our parent’s college friends, who were all hospitable and fun to be around. Isaac even did a Nike Lacrosse camp in Roanoke, VA!

Isaac after his Nike Lacrosse camp

We made a decision to stay in Washington, DC for a while, and it is definitely one of my favorite cities. All the museums, works of art, and government buildings are so close together, it’s easy to just walk, run, or bike around anywhere! We saw some amazing places and things around the city, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Lincoln Memorial, and even got to watch the 4th of July fireworks over the Washington Monument. On the 4th of July, we rented bikes and rode down the streets of DC (the streets being closed for Independence Day), and then watched the fireworks from the Mall.

 

Visiting the Capitol in DC!
At the Lincoln Memorial!

After DC, we headed to Chicago, IL, but not before passing through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. We saw a couple of friends in Pittsburgh, and played chess in a city square. Once we got to Chicago, we only stayed two days, but in that time, we walked alongside the river, biked around the city, visited the huge LEGO and Nike stores, and did the typical tourist thing, going to see Cloud Gate/The Bean.

One of our only photos including all five of us

After our short time in Chicago, we left to Champaign, IL for a Nike Tennis Camp. The camp was a week long, and we got in a lot of match play against many different players. It was a fun diversion from our trip, and awesome to just play tennis all day. When we left Champaign after the tennis camp, I realized that our trip was coming to an end. We passed through Kansas City, MO, and Mom and Dad went to see Steve Martin do a comedy show.

From there, we drove through Kansas, where we drove through a huge storm and saw some tornado-looking clouds (luckily, tornadoes didn’t touch down in the part where we were).

And now we’re back in Summit County, where we’re enjoying a month of fun before school starts. I’ve been running every day to prep for Cross Country season, so hopefully I’ll be ready by the time that starts. I’ve been procrastinating publishing this blog post for so long (exactly one month to the day), but it’s finally done! So, thanks for reading!

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.

 

 

Last days before school….

Last days before school….

Well, school is right around the corner, and it certainly feels like it, with orientation, tryouts, a final track meet, and the constant personal reminder that I’ll be waking up super early, and getting to sleep late after soccer. But there’s always the thought of winter, and more importantly, snowboarding. Let’s see, back to the past now. What have I done recently? Well, continuing from where the last post left off, I did get to go to the Boulder Road Runners Summer Track Meet with my friend Calvin, and although I was too late to run the 100m, and it started raining, I had a great time.

I jumped 5’2 in the High Jump, as you can see above, and jumped 17’6″ in the Long Jump, a new PR.  Unfortunately, I got put in lane 1 in the 200, and ran the worst race of my life (28 seconds, compared to 26.6 (still mediocre) from earlier this year). Discus was pretty difficult, mostly because it was raining, my discus was slippery, and the discus ring (is that what you call it?) was partially filled with water.

I did get to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which I finished in about 3 hours. On my mom’s birthday, we went to Denver and had a great time, as it was raining and we couldn’t hike a fourteener on the day of her birthday.

YoYo Night was extremely fun to go to again, Isaac performed again (inside this time, because of rain), and we had some friends show up. Here’s a few short clips from that edited together by me, and published on Isaac’s YouTube Channel.

We didn’t really do much for the next week, so I’ll skip over that. The next notable event to take place in our life was backpacking up to Wheeler Lakes up near Copper Mountain with some friends, and staying overnight. It was a great time, although we didn’t get to see the meteor shower, and it was pretty cold during the night.

Taking a break after the hike up
Taking a break after the hike up

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Actually I didn’t, I just wanted to start the paragraph like that. But anyways… I made the Summit High School Junior Varsity soccer team! Tryouts wore me out, especially with my knee hurting a ton (from not using the right muscles, according to Axis Sport Medicine), but I got through all three days of it, and made it on the team. I wish I had a picture of that, but they don’t want any parents watching the practices, period. The best I have is this:

Making the JV team!
Making the JV team!

Now that I’m on the team, it’s not an easy ride the whole season. I have practice every day, and a game every Tuesday and Thursday, plus a few on Saturdays. My first game is a scrimmage on Saturday against Eagle Valley near Vail. This team seems solid, and my hope is that I can do my part and score some goals.

Yesterday I got to meet my school counselor, Ms Finley, who not only read my blog, but noticed that I mentioned that I was not particularly excited to be attending school. Not that my position on that has changed, but with the addition of soccer I have something to look forward too in the fall (and also something to somewhat dread, as I notice myself constantly thinking about the suicides I’ll have to run…). Well, Ms Finley helped me sort out which classes to take, and for that I’m grateful. Today I went to orientation, which was a bit pointless as Ms Finley had already summed up pretty much what they told me today…. 😛 On the bright side, I got to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while, and that was cool to say hi and tell them that I’m going to school.

That about sums up everything that’s happened since last post, and since I want to finish Algebra II soon, I’ll be getting back to that.

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.

IMG_1765
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 Sedona!

Well, we’ve been staying in Sedona, AZ for about a month, and it’s almost time for us to leave. We’ve been here for a month, and it’s been a crazy, fun filled month.

When we first arrived here, we instantly were thrown into the action with a Nike Tennis Camp, which was an amazing experience, and I think improved my game a ton. We played for 5 days in a row at Enchantment Resort here in Sedona, playing for 7 hours a day. So much fun!
We rented an amazing house, which I consider one of the best we’ve stayed in on our travels, I guess because of the openness and the fact that I got my own room. Our house even had its own rooftop balcony-thing, where at night you could see the entire night sky, the Milky Way and tons of stars. One night, Isaac and I even slept out there (well, at least until 4:30 AM… :P)

Tennis was a big part of our stay here, and we probably played 25 out of the 30 days we were here. Every evening after the heat receded with the sun, we’d go out and play on some public lighted tennis courts till the lights went out, which was 10 PM.


We hiked some amazing places here, such as Bell Rock or Devil’s Bridge. We got to rent a Jeep and went on a Jeep trail, which was intense because of all the rocks and bumps, which I guess we weren’t used to.


One day, we took a trip out to the YoYoFactory Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, where we met the co-founder, Hans, got a tour and saw MANY, MANY awesome YoYos. It was a great time, and I knew that was one place I’d wanted to go to ever since I figured out it was in Arizona.


A giant plus for me was that I found a high school with a track…. And more importantly, a high jump pit! I cleared 5’2″ after many attempts, and I jumped 17′ at the long jump pit. I went out there as much as I could, because I don’t know when I’m going to get to do that again. I ran a good amount while I was here, doing an out-and-back run to the end of the town, which in total was about 2.5 miles.


Well, we’re nearing the end of our traveling, and we’re going to be back in Summit County in a week and a half! But until then, it’s off to Las Vegas, Nevada, and St. George, Utah again!