Tag Archives: God

Road Trip: Eating Arby’s in Arkansas

Authors note: I am on a road trip across America! If you comment I will reply as soon as possible! My internet access is limited, also I had a hard time uploading pics to this particular blog so you will have to use your imagination! Enjoy!

I offer my sincerest apologies to the good people of Arkansas. While mapping out my itinerary several weeks ago, I decided to breeze through your state without looking back. Now I’m happy I stayed for a few days or else I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hike Mt. Nebo, or catch a breathtaking sunset over Little Rock as I crossed the Broadway Bridge.

Overlooking the Arkansas River and surrounding valley, Mt. Nebo rises over one thousand feet in the air. To reach the summit, you have to drive up a dozen grueling switchbacks. I love my Grand Van and I believe she loves me back, but after all the twists and turns and huffing and puffing, she was not happy with me. When we reached the top I gave her some extra coolant and patted her hood lovingly. She seemed to let it go.

When you stand on the ‘Bench Overlook’ gazebo, you notice how the earth and sky come together to form a masterpiece of unspeakable beauty. The deep blue from above collides with green from below and somehow makes everything terrible in this world seem trite and silly. To just sit and stare at creation is probably the most underrated hobby of all time. Looking over America from the top of a mountain can change your life. Or at least calm your soul and make you think about your priorities.

I was just about finished with the curly fries I purchased at Arby’s when I noticed how grand life is. Well for one thing, Arby’s should be on every street corner in this world (who doesn’t love a good roast beef and cheddar sandwich with a side of curly fries?). I’m on the open road with nothing but the wind at my back, the sun setting before me and mountains to climb on each side. I have a few bucks in my pocket and some survival gear. My camera is strapped on my shoulder and my walking stick plunges into mother earth when I swing my arms. What else can a man really ask for?

The Bench Trail is a four mile loop around the mountain which I proudly conquered in just about an hour or so. I brought along my backpack filled with random gear I probably won’t ever have to use but made me feel safe nonetheless. I’m a huge fan of Les Stroud and I watch his show Survivorman every day of my life. I wanted to be sure that if he had come along with me, he would have been proud of my pack. I took my compass, fire starters, emergency poncho, rope, bug spray, whistle, energy bars, three bottles of water and purifying tablets (just in case), some duct tape, pocket knife, extra socks, first aid kit, needle and thread, snakebite kit, maps and my notebook and pencils. Seems like a lot for such a short hike but you never know what you can encounter.

Speaking of wild encounters, the day after hiking Mt. Nebo I drove for several hours and decided to pull over for some shut-eye. I made it to a Wal-Mart parking lot and tried to rest but the heat was unbearable. All of a sudden the wind picked up and World War II broke out in the sky above me. Lightning shattered the heavens and rain pummeled my van. I was awestruck by the performance.

The next day I was speaking to one of the locals and I mentioned the storm, apparently I had caught the tail end of a tornado and never knew about it. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Although I felt no fear, I would rather not be stuck in a massive tornado whilst sitting in a van. I laugh because I would have been out there with my camera lickety-split taking world-class photos and sending them to the guys and gals at National Geographic.

Once I was finished playing storm chaser, I continued my drive down I-40 into Oklahoma City where I was greeted with friendly faces and one hour parking limits. What a scam! While I am running around snapping photos and pretending to be a world traveler, I’m worried about getting a ticket. It’s the same in every major city I guess.

I thoroughly enjoyed Oklahoma. Between the friendly people and Native American museums, it was a city worth checking out. Plus I always wanted to visit the OKC Memorial. I am sure most of you remember the terrorist bombing which killed many innocent people, including children. It was a sad experience. I come from New York. I understand their sorrow.

Sometimes we need to drop our guards in order to relate to one another. We put on this macho ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’ façade when most of the time we’re not. Like I’ve said before, we are creatures in need of companionship. I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking for help. There are forces in this world that would have us believe this is a weak character trait. I think we are at our strongest when we come to the realization we need help. When we are down, the only place to look is up.

Walking along the reflecting pool, I took a moment to honor the dead and I promised God to help the living no matter what the cost. Funny isn’t it? How we say things like that. No matter what the cost…I think back on all the times I put my own comfort in front of the needs of others. This is a habit I am trying to break. We are supposed to love people. If you expect to feel love for strangers all the time you will be disappointed. This is the point I would like to make before I wrap this up; you don’t have to feel love, to show love….take it easy guys and until next time, chow.

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The apex of our lives.

Cast Away. One of my favorite movies of all time. Actually, I am listening to the main theme as we speak. Music helps kick-start my creative side and makes the whole writing experience somewhat surreal and if you listen along while reading my work you will understand where I am coming from. I like to paint pictures for my readers. Pictures made not from brush or pencil but from words and feelings and music…I enjoy setting the stage so everyone can experience what exactly is going on inside of this numskull of mine.

Every movie has an apex. Whether it lasts sixty seconds or gone in the blink of an eye, every movie has a moment when people can reach out towImageards the screen and say yes, this is why the movie was made, this is what I am going through today. When I watch Tom Hanks float along the vastness of the sea on his broken boat I understand this man and his anguish. I can’t say I was ever stranded at sea, but I still feel for him. I understand the desperation on his face and the anguish in his heart, the tears on his cheek. I know the sadness he felt when he realized there was nothing left for him to do but lie down and weep and hope that maybe someone somewhere would throw a life jacket in the water and pull his wasted frame from the coldness of death. This was his apex. This was him being human. When he landed on the cursed island, he had a decision to make. Survive the unknown and make it back to Helen Hunt or succumb to the melancholy and slip away from earth through means of suicide. He chose to survive and take on whatever came next. Please don’t misunderstand I realize the movie was fiction and Hanks really doesn’t work for Fed-Ex and drive around with a volleyball named Wilson, but I believe the movie had a great message. He took what was placed in front of him and made the best out of a real crummy situation. In the film this was the path he was supposed to take.

I was sad today. Sometimes I picture myself on a broken raft in the middle of nowhere with no wind to take my sails and no water to quench my thirst. Most of the time I walk this earth in a confused state of mind waiting for someone to show me the way. I know many people wouldn’t dream of admitting it but who cares? I believe the majority of people do the same exact thing. We search for clues, we wait for signs, we pray for guidance. A friend of mine asked me today if I had any real concrete plans for my upcoming Great American road trip. Other than routing it out on my map and working overtime to pay for it all, I really don’t. Some people will call it foolishness; I am calling it the fulfillment of a destiny thirty years in the making. I am at peace with the unknown. As nerve-wracking as it is, nothing will stop me from taking this leap of faith. Life is not made for the timid. I like to think Tom Hanks’ character felt this way on the island. He didn’t know the outcome, he had no idea what to do next but he did it anyway and became world-famous. People will say I am running from something. I say nay and nay again! For I run towards the apex of my life and all the goodness to follow.


Welcome to Bangarang.

The sun melted as it struck the horizon to the West. The once orange globe now burned fiery red as it descended back to hell to refuel for the opposite side of earth. Purple mixed with blues and yellows shot forth in to the nothingness of the Milky Way where it lingered for light years before reaching the doorway to Heaven and vanishing altogether. An invisible hand took hold of massive clouds and shifted them slightly, causing people far below to bow in awe as the sunset began to reach its’ zenith. Far above the outstretched arms of mankind, stars began to awaken from slumber and the moon rose to victory as his eternal foe was snuffed out beyond the Pacific and was no more.

The sunset described above was concocted in my imagination on the way home from work the other night. It is a figment of my heart. The real sunset was rather uneventful yet beautiful in its’ own right. No fireworks. No orgasmic blast of colors raining down from above. No altercations between sun and moon. The people driving in front of me continued on their paths towards wherever while I rested my head against the cushion and listened to Lyle Lovett sing about flour tortillas and the woman he loves.  I began to wonder what type of words would describe moments of true happiness. When I listen to him sing about over-easy eggs and sleeping in on Sundays, I am convinced the hype we see on television is nothing more than smoke in mirrors. I wonder if the most precious moments in our lives really do commence over breakfast with a loved one. I watched the hula-hooped Hawaiian girl bobble back and forth in agreement on the dashboard of my van. Traffic crept along blissfully unaware of the perplexing dilemma which I faced so I rolled my window down to ask the little old lady beside me how she felt about the word Bangarang. She asked if I wanted a blue orangutan. I rolled up my window and sped away with images of blue monkeys throwing bananas and causing anarchy around town.

Image I believe we are allotted a handful of wonderful experiences in life which sweep away depression and cast light on the shadows of loneliness. We wait patiently for good tidings and great joy because some clever person told us it was a virtue and all that jazz so take a number, sit down and wait your turn. Do yourself a favor and bring a book because it may be a long wait. In all honesty, I am tired of waiting. Sometimes we need to step out of our shells of fear and uncertainty and take the plunge because nothing will ever happen if we stay stagnant. If we never have the guts to go off the beaten path once and awhile we run the risk of never finding the secret doors God intended us to find. These doors are not your main objective mind you, just interesting side quests. But there is a catch. Like our fragile human frame, these expeditions are vulnerable to time and will be swallowed up by the past if we are too timid to step out on a ledge and claim what so rightfully belongs to us. It makes me sad to think I passed up many doors in my own life that I was supposed to unlock. Fortunately I know there are more waiting for me to walk through. Actually, if you were to look down the road of my life at this moment, you would see a bunch of blue apes hanging a sign over what appears to be an ancient wooden door overrun with ivy and suspense. I think they are welcoming me to Bangarang.