Tag Archives: blydawg travels

Blydawg Travels – Arizona Adventure

Out with the old, in with the new…

Every year we make these new year resolutions, sometimes we set goals that are totally unattainable, unrealistic, or that are just plain mainstream ideas. In 2015, I said I wanted to “Love Harder” and I feel like to an extent I did, I gave my heart away a couple of times and let myself get the feels.  Well that year ended with a dud, but fortune favors the bold, and fortune favored me when I was asked to get out of town and go on an adventure to Arizona. The main purpose of this adventure was to go on a Spartan Race, but we ended up creating an epic adventure, creating memories to last  lifetime.

symbolsSo our adventure begins with a flight into Phoenix, AZ.  Once we landed, we were starving so we called my old college buddy and good friend Kevin and we had breakfast at The Original Breakfast House.  OMG! All I can say is that this is a must stop! I had this French Toast/Chicken Fried Chicken dish and WOW!! Not to mention the cinnamon danish it was pretty awesome too!

After stuffing our faces, it was time to explore, we had a rental car and we did get to town rather early in the day, so we thought…what the heck, let’s go see London Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ.  So off we went.

circle-lightbulbBut First! We had this bright idea…since we are so close to  the border of California and Arizona, why not go see Blythe, CA? Why not indeed!

az-3-of-33

With a full tank of gas, cooler in hand, we headed that way. As you can see we found it, and we were also able to start our state sign collection together! It is with a huge sigh and disappointment I must admit that the metropolis of Blythe, CA is pretty disappointing.  If you blink you might miss the entire town.  I stopped at the PD station and they were closed. I couldn’t even show them my drivers license and try an get a PD patch. Oh well, maybe next time.

After our brief stop in Blythe, CA and our state sign pics, we took off for the London Bridge!

London Bridges falling down…

For years I have thought this would be a cool place to visit. Never really having the time or having been in that area, I was not sure this was ever going to happen.  However, with my new co-pilot in tow, we said “Let’s do it!” and off we went!

What a cool place! The bridge is a cool piece of history and it is unbelievable that someone took it apart half way across the world and reassembled here in the USA.  This bridge has been a part of Lake Havasu since October 10, 1971.

Lake Havasu was fun, we arrived to the bridge just in time to watch the sunset and get some awesome pictures. From there we were going to hit up the LH Harley Davidson store, but they closed before we got there…bummer, I guess I will have to get my poker chip another time.

After the sunset we ended up getting our carbs on over at Angelina’s Italian Restaurant.  Not a bad place to grab some grub. We had just spaghetti and meatballs but it sure hit the spot! After our meal we hot the trail back to Phoenix for the race the next day.

We are SPARTA!

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Sedona!

After Running the Spartan Race, we had a whole day to kill since our flight was not until late Sunday night. So why not head up to Sedona, AZ and hike! So we took off and headed up to Cathedral Rock. Hiked to the top and watched the sunset!

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We were told about this awesome burger place called the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome, AZ. So we headed up into the mountains in search of this place.

symbols

So the rumor is that the restaurant is haunted from before it was a restaurant. Apparently the ghosts like “hammers” and some patron photos have captured a female ghost lurking in the background.  Did we see a ghost? No we did not, but I did have a great big bacon burger. The location was awesome and this is definitely worthy of a burger review!

Another adventure in the books, the first one with my new co-pilot Mother & Poet and I have to say this was one of the best times I have had. We were silly, goofy, and saw some really cool sights. By far one of the best race weekends I have ever had!

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How one month has changed my life

One Month, 4 States, 8 Races, 89 Miles, Life Changed Forever

I was going to write about all of my recent races in detail and I still may, but after this past race I had some time to reflect on what I just accomplished as I prepare to take some much needed time off from racing. So I started thinking and wow…I just did a lot of running, probably the most ever and I loved every minute of it!

So this journey of me all started on July 25th. Why is this important? Well it really isn’t except for the fact that I had not really been running. You see in May I rolled my ankle so bad, then attempted to still run on it, I had to do the smart thing and take the entire month of June off.  Sure I raced once in June and it was horrible. I started my rehab running on July 1st. To see where I was at, and knowing I felt like my conditioning was still off, I raced my first race on July 11th in PA.  I felt tired, but I did well all things considering. But afterwards, I feared I fractured my foot, took some time off and eventually went and had x-rays. They were negative so more rest for me.

As I am in rest mode I get an invitation to join a few friends at this Fossil Valley 6 hr trail night run. I originally went to cheer on my friends and spectate. But unfortunately that is not in my DNA.  I brought my gear “just in case” and the foot was feeling good so I went for it. This started a domino effect of what the next month was going to be like. Okay, here is a recap of the month that changed my life.

Race 1 – Fossil Valley 6-hour (26.9 Miles) 7/25/15

I already wrote in detail on this Race, but this one has to be the defining moment when I learned the most about myself. I discovered  can do anything, my mental toughness will get me through the physical pain my body endures. I ran for 6 hours, did 10 laps of a 2.69 mile course.  My first attempt at anything over 16 miles and no obstacles. This was such a challenge to run trails with a headlamp on in the summer Texas heat, in the middle of the night! I loved every minute of it.

Finish – 5th AG, 9th OA

Race 2 – Trinity 5000 5k (3.1 Miles) 8/6/15

I stumbled upon this 5k summer series purely by accident because it was across the river from the float the river night in Fort Worth. So I thought what the heck! It was 100* at 7:30pm when the race started and it was glorious! I was excited to see how my pace was on concrete. I have not run on the road race since January, and seldom train on the road. This was really my first run since the 6-hour too.

Finish – 1st AG, 20th OA

Race 3 – BattleFrog Pittsburgh (9.66 Miles) 8/8/15

Battlefrog has become one of my most loved/hated race series to date. I love it because it is so challenging and the mandatory obstacle completion actually give me a chance against the faster guys. I actually don’t hate it all, it just makes me the most nervous of any of the races I do. The DNF possibility is always there lingering in the background.

Pittsburgh was no joke! I mean I heard how great it was from the cave swim to the terrain. It did not disappoint at all! I crushed the first lap, took me 1:30 and only one repeat on the monkey bars. Feeling confident, running in the top ten, I had a mental and physical break down on the RIG. I spent an hour trying to get through it on lap two, then the rest of the race was cake.  I tried to make up some time on the runs, but the creek runs were brutal and I couldn’t make up the hour. Still I finished with my band. Mission Accomplished.

Finish – Masters Elite – 13th place Male, 13th OA

Race 4 – Spartan UltraBeast Hawaii (26.2 Miles) 8/15/15

I went to Hawaii to earn my Hawaiian Trifecta. Three races in two days…no problemo! Then an unexpected turn, peer pressure. Who would have thought at my age I would get peer pressure to run an UltraBeast? I mean I am not a distance guy, I don’t like distance, I like the shorter Sprint type courses, that is my thing! Nervous about the if you don’t complete it, you get nothing and worried about making the check points I was very concerned. But I threw caution to the wind and I went for it.

Running this race I definitely took my time, worked on a slow and steady pace, I knew I wanted to stay in the 15 minute mile running pace if possible. Well I was doing great, I finished the first lap of that tropical hell in 3:30. Half way done! I took a 15 min break, tried to eat PB&J but that was not going down too well. So I went back out on the trail, I didn’t want to lose anymore time than necessary. The second lap I did slow down just a tad, it was hard to get going again after the break. But I already knew I had this, I figured I could have walked the rest of the 2nd lap and still made all of the cutoffs. I was pretty stoked at this point. I continued going, into the tropical jungle hell of 85* and 80% humidity, where many people were suffering, I did not. I guess the Texas heat had me prepared.

What a feeling, tired and exhausted once I finished the second rope climb which was the highest I have ever seen, I knew I had done it, just the spear throw and rig left. I ran into the festival area to the spear and I see my good friend Laura Messner standing there and cheering. I nailed the spear and as I ran to the rig I remember giving her the “double check discount” motion. I am sure she has no clue what I was talking about, but I was referencing to the fact that I am about to get a damn belt buckle! I smoked the rig, over the non-slip, slip wall, nailed my epic fire jump pose and crossed the finish. My time was 7:49 for the 26ish mile race. ZERO burpees, yes I ran a burpee free race!

Finish – 15th OA

Race 5 – Spartan Super (8 Miles) 8/16/15

The start of a two race day. I wasn’t out to crush this, just complete it so that I could get in the sprint also. Feeling the full effects of the day before, blisters, sore feet, tired calves, slow and steady was the objective. Basically as a group effort, we jogged and walked and did all of the obstacles.

Finish – Yes I did!

Race 6 – Spartan Sprint (4 Miles) 8/16/15

Yes I am exhausted, but sadly I am refreshed also. Unfortunately I don’t leave a man behind, no matter how much they beg me to “just go on.” So there is no running even though I swear I could have done it. At this point a lot of people are just trying to finish. This meant strictly walking the final 4 miles to my Ultrafecta glory.

Finish – Yes I did!

Race 7 – Dirty Rock Triathlon (Swim, 6 Mile Bike, 2 Mile Run) 8/23/15

I know its not even a real sprint TRI, but I was itchy watching everyone else race all weekend so I found something to do. It was literally Saturday afternoon and seeing all my friends post about their Spartan races, made me want to do something. So I looked at the local race calendar and boom here I go! Since I only have a mountain bike, this was perfect. I did pretty well considering I have only ridden my bicycle once this year and no trail riding at all. The trails slowed me down, but I was able to make up for it on the run.

Finish – 3rd AG, 18th OA

Race 8 – Battlefrog Cincinnati (10 Miles) 8/29/15

I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated just by the location and after seeing first hand some of the obstacles, I knew I was in for a true test. The running was never a worry for me, it was basically two obstacles I had in my mind. The Rig and the monkey bars from hell. I shouldn’t worry about the rig, but second laps tend to have a mental block on me. The Monkey bars on the other hand, were just plain brutal for me, no strength left in my grip or forearms on the 2nd lap had me hanging on for dear life to not fall. I knew if I did, then I would be done.  Once I got past both of them on lap two…I knew is was over, I did it once again. Now I was just running for time. Trying to catch the ones I let get by me from the rig. Lap one was 1:50 with no failures, lap two with a 45 min break at the rig came in at 3:06. Granted I took my time on the hills and my watch died so I had no idea about time and pace…ugh. I was shooting for the 3:40 mark (total time)…which in the end was the difference between 5th and 8th.

Finish – Masters Elite – 8th Place Male, 12th OA

 What I have learned

When I had my summer schedule out, there were no intentions of running the equivalent of a marathon, much less two. What changed you ask? Well, for starters I stopped thinking there was something I couldn’t do just because it was out of my comfort zone or I thought I would be in discomfort. All year I said I was never doing an Ultrabeast…too much running. Then people began inspiring me, actually watching others go out and do things they had never tried before was exhilarating to me.  It was like I drank some hypnotic love potion, this lust with wanting to challenge myself in a new way.  I mean seriously watching someone nail 50 miles…its just awe inspiring. Secretly observing friends race everything from 10k’s to triathlons to OCR, at all ages, but especially people my age, motivates me to do epic things. This whole thing started with the 6-hour run and just showing up on a whim, no training for distance, no clue of what I was doing, just some good friends doing it so I thought why not. Once I did it, as difficult as it seemed towards the end, I knew from that point on I could do anything. Sure I will admit I was up in the air about the UB in Hawaii, but not because I didn’t think I could do it, I knew I could do it, it was whether or not I could do it in the allowed time frames.  I knew once I completed the first lap of the UB that it was mine. The whole second lap I just smiled and laughed and knew I had a buckle.

My mindset has changed over the past month too, now I want to run the 9-10 mile distances, I love the two lap Battlefrogs.  I am thinking what the future holds and honestly, I have to say I want to try new things, push myself more. If that means less OCR races and more trail running or adventure racing, then so be it.  I’m still skeptical of a real marathon, I think it will be too boring, but you never know.

I posted this phrase the other day which pretty much sums up my last month.

Sometimes

it’s the very people

who no one imagines anything of

who do the things

no one

can imagine

I think I absolutely fit in this category, I have never been a great athlete, I was an average wrestler, I didn’t start running until late in my 30’s.  But I am competitive and everyday I want to get better to be better. So I never imagined in a million years I would be where I am right now, doing the things I never thought I could do.

So the real realization…I am a distance runner.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Things I Think – Thursday – PA Road-trip Edition

11 States, 3368 Miles, 2-Races, 1-Speeding Ticket

Every once and awhile you need to take a road trip and experience what this great country has to offer you. If you are lucky enough then you can take your time and explore some of the great things that are out there. So, while we had to do a cannonball run up to PA and back, it was without a doubt a fun trip filled with adventure and laughs.

Initially I was going to travel alone as I could not find anyone to travel with me, then my good friend Natasha from Making Natasha a Spartan said she has nothing else going on and since we choose to LIVE OUR LIFE, off we went.  Life is too short these days and without knowing if another opportunity like this would ever happen for her, it was awesome she wanted to go.

Louisiana

OIMG_5039ur first state was Louisiana. We stopped in Shreveport first and we had a few items we needed to see, so off we went! Here is our list:

  • 14-Story Mural – this is the largest mural in the United States. It was created in 2000 and contains 19 people and 40 objects, capturing the people of Shreveport, their treasures, triumphs, and tragedies.IMG_5043
  • Giant Dalmatian -“Art” is 19-foot-tall statue peeking in the window of the Central ARTSTATION. He is said to be the guardian of the arts in Northwest Louisiana.  At night the spots light up in the dark!

The other highlight of this city was see what is claimed to be the only “World’s only Tattoo School”. I am not sure about this one and I can’t make this up I swear, but this little jewel deserves its own photo, well just cause it makes you think about who would actually go in and get tattooed by one of these “students”? I had an apprentice give me a tattoo once and I had to have it redone because it was so bad and looked nothing like the picture I had picked out. Needless to say we did not get any new ink!

IMG_5088

 

IMG_5156We then made our way on to Monroe, LA and no road trip would be complete without seeing the Duck Dynasty place. It was shocking how it was the same building you see on TV. The loading docks and everything. I was not surprised that they sell everything under the sun in products. They have their label on just about everything there.

Mississippi

So the only cool thing we stopped to see here was the great Mississippi River. Oh and there was a cool ass cannon at the top of the hill too! Otherwise there wasn’t really any cool roadside attractions we found on our route.

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Alabama

Sorry Alabama, but we kinda flew through your state and we didn’t stop to see anything. Not that we didn’t have a couple of items on the list, but by the time we got to Birmingham, everything was closed and it was dark out. But we did have these two places…maybe next time.

  • Statue of Liberty Replica
  • World’s largest Motorcycle Museum
 Tennessee

Traveling at night through a state makes it very difficult to actually experience anything. Especially when you are driving in the wee hours of the night.  On the return trip it was more of the same, we entered the state in the early morning hours and left at 0600.

Virginia

Sorry Virginia, while I am sure you have a lot to offer since you are made for lovers, we were on a mission to get to Phily to see some cool stuff.

Maryland

Your morning traffic sucks! We didn’t see much because of it.. I know you have some cool stuff and things, maybe on a different trip.

District of Columbia

The only non state we visited, we drove right though and waved. I will admit that I did hold my breath through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, just to see if I could. I did and I didn’t pass out thank goodness!

Delaware

I think I sneezed and we were already out of the state.

Pennsylvania

PA how I am growing to love you. I don’t think I had been to PA since I was 16 and now I have been there twice within a months span. Opposite ends of the state but I never thought I would say I was in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (even if Pitt was just the airport).

So off to Phily and yes I had to refrain from yelling “How ’bout them cowboys!” for the fear of being stoned by batteries! But none the less we were able to take in a few sights.

  • IMG_5483Rocky Statue – no trip would be complete without visiting the statue and going up the steps. While I had this whole video parody planned, it just was not as feasible as it was in  my head. Next time I will take a film crew! But we did get to see the statue and walk up the steps.  There was also this really cool statue at the foot of the museum and I took some rather interesting pics there too!  So some of the funnier things to happen was watching Natasha look both ways before crossing the street and then walking out in front of a bicycle. While I yelled ” Waiiiitt” in slow motion voice, somehow they just missed each other and she stopped before crushing into the bike.
  • IMG_5579Love Park – this was cool, we saw this love statue and what could be better then a rally for legalizing pot! I kid you not, they had flags, big ass bongs and legalize it everywhere. Of course it was right were all of us “tourists” were trying to take our pictures and they were annoying. It was definitely a hodge podge collection of people, because you also had kids playing in the fountains like it was a water park and the homeless hanging out like they were on the couch watching TV.

quote  “Have you seen a big bell around here? It has a crack in it, maybe bronze in color?”

  • IMG_5549Liberty Bell – now this was probably the most interesting part of the trip as we found the plaza where the phone said it was; however, it was not visible as I thought it would be. My co-pilot who has since been nick named Magellan for her awesome navigational skills (NOT), was lost getting there, so I basically rolled down my window and asked the question “have you seen a bell around here? It has a crack in it, maybe bronze in color?” Needless to say that after circling the block no less than three times, getting honked at at every green light because we didn’t take off like a bat out of hell, we finally parked and found our precious bell.

I am having a hard time finding this to the city of brotherly love when people drive in walking lanes, almost run over a man in a wheelchair and don’t give a crap.  One of the other funnier moments in the trip had to be when I was trying to find the bell and I casually say, where is this damn bell and Magellan responds with “what smell?” Oh that’s great, the wax in your ears is working perfectly! (she had an ear infection and put wax in her ears) It reminded me of my grandma who was hard of hearing and never heard anything correctly…so this became the new joke of the trip, yes I can’t ever let anything go.

At this point there is only one last thing we need to get before we can take off and make the final destination…you guessed it, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwich. So I asked a local where we should go, the suggestion was “the best” in the city a small place called Jim’s. So we ventured a few blocks and found said Jim’s. Now the first thing you need to know about Jim’s is that they are cash only, well it is a good thing they keep an ATM in the lobby for losers like us who NEVER CARRY ANY DAMN CASH! So we get the sandwich and head upstairs to eat. Now I am not going to say it was a bad sandwich, okay it was a horrible sandwich, I think I have made better ones myself! It was dry and needed salt as it was tasteless. Anyway I am sure it was the best cheesesteak in Philly at one time, actually I know it was, they had a plaque on the wall, “Best Cheesesteak Sandwich, 1979” so there you go, in 1979 they ruled this place!

Spartan Race

What can I say, this is probably a totally different blog post because this was a different kind of race I have not experienced in a long time. So lets just say, I participated in two races and I completed two races and they were on a ski resort. Made me kinda wish it was the winter time again so that I could ski!

Return Trip

So during our trip my shotgun rider took sick and we had to take her to the ER on Saturday and combine that with some family issues going on in Texas, we bolted right after the race on Sunday to get home as soon as possible. For the most part we took our state sign selfies to add to the collection, had another late night waffle house experience and got a speeding ticket!

Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas

Here are the states which were traveled through…nothing exciting except for rest stops and fuel. The bandit was on a mission, had to get back to Texas, family was waiting.

But…that is not to say we didn’t have a few highlights along the way, yes we truly are a comedy of errors and you can’t say that I won’t show you a good time.

  • So we were at this restaurant called Westy Bar & Grill, you know grabbing lunch before the trek home. Anyway they are having a wing special and the menu says flat out “the biggest wings in PA!” Well shit! I gotta have some of them, oh yeah and they are known for their hamburgers. If you know me and my quest for the best burger, hell why not, I’ll take the wings and the burger.  Well without giving a whole burger review (because it doesn’t deserve it) it was not that good. Oh yeah and the wings looked like normal wings you get anywhere, I have had bigger at hooters. Well everything is bigger at hooters! bada-bing!
  • IMG_5840Tasha gets a speeding ticket. Okay so let me set the stage…I’m sleeping. I am suddenly awoken by the rumble strips and I open my eyed to blue lights flashing. Still in a foggy state, Magellan is freaking out because she got pulled over. I have to say I have never laughed so hard in my life while receiving a speeding ticket. Maybe it was the combination of the very thick southern accent the Virginia State trooper had, combined with Natasha’s instantly blonde demeanor acting like she was the most clueless driver on the planet. Well here are a few of the highlights:

circle-dartSpeeding 85 in a 70, we were advised that anything 85 and over is considered reckless driving in the great state of Virginia. Which carries a $2500 fine and or Jail. He also advised he could take her to jail right now if he wanted to. After he leaves I get this “I can’t go to jail Travis, I just can’t go to jail”…ha ha…

circle-dartHe asks for her license and registration. She gives him her license and a copy of her personal insurance. He tells her that is great but he wants the registration. I advise him it is in the window, at this point Natasha grabs the flier from the Spartan race and tries to give it to him. If I had been drinking anything it would have been all over my dashboard. I calmly say, no it is the sticker in the window. To which the response was “they don’t give you a paper copy in Texas along with the Sticker?”

circle-dartSo he cuts her a favor and writes her up for 80 in a 70.

 

circle-dartWhen asked why she was speeding she calmly says she was just keeping up with traffic. I mentioned about how fast she was going to which her response was, “I don’t look at the speed-odometer, I just keep up with traffic”

IMG_5837circle-dartThe best part of the stop was when he goes back to his car and we both bust out out cameras to take selfies with the blue lights in the background. “did you get a good shot?” “No, did you?” “No, I wish he would turn off that stupid spot light!” I think we both took several shots and I can only image what it looked like from the rear, two cameras and arms up taking pictures!

circle-dartUpon completion, I calmly asked the trooper if he would take a selfie with me, I mentioned it would be the perfect end to our epic roadtrip. He politely refused and told us to drive safe!…Dang it!

So there you have it, after that, it was a pretty calm trip home. We will take with us the memories of this and all of the great state signs that were captured to add to our collection!

 

Footnote

So there was as usual a ton of pushback about taking Natasha with me, as people just don’t understand why she does crazy things like this. I am sure I am a hated person as it seems to always be on my watch that the adventures kick in and something arises to cause concern to everyone. So while yes, I can tell you I am greatly concerned about the health of my friend, but sometimes you can’t predict what the future holds for any of us. Any of us could kick the bucket tomorrow and who wants to have regrets? Certainly not me.

While many see this trip as something crazy and hazardous to her health, she viewed it simply as a way to escape from all of the pain she encountered in her life lately. The prior week was filled with heartbreak on a family level. So sometimes people need a good get away to keep their mind off of things. We could never have predicted the complications which lead to taking her to the ER and then checking herself out to get home.

After all of the complications we encountered on this adventure, Natasha has the can do attitude and one comment that will always resonate with me long after she has left us.  When she yelled at me “I am not going to just lay in bed and wait to die!” a cord was struck down to my bones, which although I was very concerned, it made me realize just how much of a fighter this woman was and she is going to live her life. No my friend you are not, your illness does not define who you are and you are going to do whatever you want, even if it does literally kill you one day. Until then, I cherish all of the times we have had and I look forward to many more.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers!

Motorcycle Diaries – ROT 2015

The ROTten Truth

One of the most enjoyable things about being a motorcycle enthusiast is going to rally’s. I have been to rally’s practically all over the countryState---Texas and I have been to this Republic of Texas (ROT) rally four previous times and this makes number five.  Over the years my tribe has dwindled down and the rally has been more of a been there done that type of thing. But since this was the 20th year I got a last-minute wild hair and decided to ride down and see what I have been missing. I mean my last time there was 2009, so it seemed time to check it out.

So the trip down there was one of unusual circumstances. Late start means you have to take the highway to get there…one of the things I loathe the most is running down I-35 at 80 mph. Talk about one of the more boring rides, ugh it was dreadful. With temps in the 90’s I also was getting cooked during the midday ride, but at least I was getting tan! If you have ever been on a ride with me, you know I am a back roads cruising, seeing the cool ass shit America has to offer.

Arriving at the rally I was pretty excited to see how much bigger this has become over the last 6 years. Unfortunately, I have to report that this has become the biggest waste of time and money I have ever gone to. This is one of the few rallies that charge to get into rally itself, but it is definitely not worth $75.  What used to be a pretty full area of vendors was really only two rows and the ones that were outside were just as bad. I guess if you want to camp, set up pools and run around naked and drunk then this is definitely worth going to. But otherwise, I recommend you just stay away, this was lame and the only fun part was going out on 6th street, but you know what? I can do that pretty much anytime of the year and I don’t need a ROT rally to bring me to Austin.

So the rally is bad and since it was a short trip, I didn’t go explore around the hill country like I usually do. But I managed to get off the highway and get lost on some awesome Texas back roads dodging the rain and chasing the sun on the way back.

ROT2All in all it was two days, 500 miles, got the patch and T-shirt. Until next time, keep the rubber side down!

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Things I think – Thursday AWOL Edition

Floods, Road Trips, and Funny Ass Sh!T

Oops I did it again! I know, I know I went AWOL for three solid weeks again, but I do have an excuse, I have been traveling and just too busy to write. Granted I have been writing down thoughts but I was just making a list in order to write this. So lets catch you up over the last three weeks.

Week One – Spent time traveling to Ohio in a car with one of the funniest people I have met lately. We went through Arkansas, Tennessee and Ohio. Then I raced a Spartan Race on Saturday and Sunday!

Week Two – Spent a week in Pennsylvania and had such an awesome time. I painted coffee mugs, watched a killer sunset over Lake Erie, attempted some acro-yoga and failed but haven’t laughed that hard in a long time and went to Cedar Point and rode roller coasters!

Week Three – after finally getting back, I kicked off my 9-days until my birthday do EPIC stuff week, so I missed the deadline there too…but the good news is, there is a part two today and it is all about my birthday!

Floods

Right before I left on my road trip, Texas under went a record amount of rainfall and it brought about some of the worst flooding we have had in years. One place in particular which is special to me was affected is a huge way. Luckily the two people who I hold dear in my heart were not hurt and are doing okay.  But it does make you think about the big picture of things and how quickly everything can change and totally change your life forever.

It was also great to see Texas communities coming together for those in need and help people who were affected by the flooding. Also watching my OCR friends volunteer to head down there for a weekend and help out a family in need was outstanding!

Road Trippin’

As you may know by now, I love going on roadtrips and traveling all over the place. My travels to date have mostly consisted of just places across the united states, but they are fun none the less. So when I was giving the chance to actually drive to a race, of course I took it. I had the most fun in a car I have had in a long time, lucky for me my partner in crime loves to sing and I think we sang every song on the radio. Oh yeah, and you can never here the song “Footloose” too many times!

Along with making several videos, we also did this during our road trip:

  • Arkansas Road Sign
  • Tennessee Road Sign
  • Graceland in Memphis
  • Karaoke in Nashville
  • Spartan Race in Ohio

IMG_3191After Ohio I traveled to Pennsylvania and stayed 5-days there visiting the great town of Erie. Sandwiched between a couple of work days I got to do more awesome things. I already mentioned them above but definitely going to Cedar Point was the most fun. I am glad I had the company I was with, I love roller coasters and having a super awesome partner in crime makes it even better!

 Funny ass Sh!t

So here are some random thoughts I just thought were funny over the course of the past few weeks.

  • People in PA think line dancing is country dancing! Yes I knew this was the way northern people thought when I first moved to Texas over 20 years ago, but I was asked if we could country line dance in Texas. Then I heard a country radio station advertise that they were going to be doing that…I just shook my head and laughed. No, we don’t line dance in Texas. (unless that is we are doing the electric slide or something)

circle-questionDid you know? In Salt Fork State Park in Ohio, this is the home of bigfoot? While in the gift shop at the lodge, I asked why they sold all this bigfoot stuff and why the statue in the lobby. Well, they have had “sightings” for over 100 years and even as recent as 2015…

  • Laura not knowing what Graceland was! At least she did know who Elvis was!
  • I know I touched on this before regarding athlete pages, but I also think if you have the word “Spartan” as a part of your name on any social media platform, I think you are just kinda lame. I mean think about it, that is the name of a race and a company. I know you are going to argue that you think it means you are a real spartan kinda like a warrior or something, but no, no you are not. It would be like someone putting their name to be “Dopey Sam” or maybe “Triathlon Steve” or why not one of the other races? I’d love to see someone be “Savage Joe” or “GladiatorRR Bob” or even “Battlefrog Tony”…no, no one else does it for any other of their hobbies, we don’t have “Marathon Jane” or “Scubadiver Sally” or “Motorcross Ken” so just stop it already. I am sure if your profile pic is a picture of you doing a run and you labeled it correctly in your profile, we all know already.

quote

                                                                                                  I’ll be your top thrill                                                   (quote as seen on a shirt at Cedar Point)

  • I absolutely love the women’s world cup! Pretty much the only time I watch women’s soccer is when the cup is on! USA won the pool and now the march to the cup starts!
  • So after my recent trip to ROT (blog coming soon) I have decided to add a new event to my list of goals for this year. I am going to try to complete the Iron Butt ride before the end of summer.
  • I know this is very random, but how many people have you said “I love you” to? I was thinking of this on my ride recently, while reflecting as I usually do while I am riding and it occurred to me that I have posted a lot recently about being in love or I was in love or had been in love and my feeling on love and yeah…pretty much a lot of love stuff.  Well that tends to happen when you wear your heart on your sleeve and you give yourself over to someone with reckless abandon. But contrary to belief, I have not actually told that many people that I love them. Sure I have had feelings for someone and I may have said I was falling or whatever, but at the end of the day, after 44 years, I have only told 9 (nine) women that I loved them. That is pretty much since I was 16 and I have to say some of the love I threw out there then, isn’t anything like how I think love is now (3 before 20YOA, is that even really possible?) So now I am wondering if that is a high number or a low number? I first thought it was pretty low, but now I am not so sure. What is your number?
  • So I discovered the key to making our kids in this country smarter! It is bribing them with Pizza and Movies! Okay this was pretty funny when I saw it, so I am just going to leave this here…IMG_3043 IMG_2499
  • I also discovered a new thing…while in Erie, PA, I decided to go walking and I found that they have pizza joints on like every corner! So if I ever go to visit again, I am going on a walkabout, a pizza walking tour and I am going to try a slice at each place!

circle-lightbulbFun Fact! If you need your house cleaned, dishes washed, light bulbs replaced, trash taken out…apparently all you need to do is invite me over and my OCD takes over and things seem to get done…flaw or great quality?

Music

So this week in honor or one of my favorite bands Lifehouse releasing a new album, I am going to list my top songs I love off the new album.

Lifehouse – Hurricane

Lifehouse – Firing Squad

Lifehouse – Wish

Lifehouse – Hourglass

Lifehouse – Hindsight

I know 5 songs is a lot, but these are my favorite so far, but there are a couple more that I like as well.

The Vegas Chronicles

By: Travis E. Blythe

Viva Las Vegas!

Believe it or not, Vegas has to be one of the places I dread going to the most.  I have only been probably three times in my entire life and granted it was for work and conferences, but still I was never a big fan. You see I am not much of a gambler, in fact I really hate to lose my money. However, last year I met a fellow OCR guy and over the course of the six months we have become friends.  So when he said I should come out to Vegas and race the Spartan Super, it sounded like a good thing. I was able to get a free race and a dirt cheap plane ticket, so off I went.

Unfortunately this is not going to be my blog about the Spartan Super, I’ll save that for another time. What I will do though is tell you about my adventures that may have just changed my mind about Vegas. I started the trip by getting in real early in the week, I mean like Tuesday early.  But it was late Tuesday so I basically got in and went right to sleep.

Wednesday

One of the things I dislike the most is being sick. I started to get sick on Monday and now when I woke up on Wednesday, I was full blown in my yearly bronchitis. Dreadful day, but I ended up going and getting some drugs, and I worked most of the day after that. The highlight of the day was going to Camp Rhino after my buddy got off work and get to play for a few hours. I have heard about this place on Facebook and have been waiting to get there and play.  This is basically am adult jungle gym for OCR and ninja warrior type people. Sure they also do boot camps and crossfit there, but the obstacles are the fun part. With my hands still pretty tore up from Battlefrog, I wasn’t able to do the complete WOD, as a matter of fact, we did one round and had to quit because the classes get first priority.  So I spent the majority of my time learning one of the things that slowed me down, the rope climb. I learned the technique and now was rocking up the rope using my feet! Pretty stoked about that! I was even able to meet and talk a little with the owner Julie and she is a really nice and sweet person and way cool.

Thursday

Not much happening on Thursday, I was still feeling really sick and just worked and slept most of the day.  My buddy Jesse wanted to go on a trail run after work, but I wasn’t feeling it and I talked him into tapering his workout some just two day before the race, so we just went hiking where he usually runs. Went on about a 2 mile hike, up and down the hills and park. Got to watch the sun set behind the mountains and I didn’t have to run.

Friday

Up at the buttcrack of dawn to take Jesse to work, I was able to meet up with some of my Facebook friends with who I have never really met. So we had breakfast and talked about what we were going to be doing all day. That is when this EPIC day started taking shape. What started with a conversation around one reality TV show, turned into a full blown trek around town seeing every show we could think of. So in the end, here is what was on our list:

  • Tank’d
  • Pawn Stars
  • Bad Ink
  • Counts Kustoms
  • Stratosphere – do the rides
  • Las Vegas Sign

So of course my mind starts going 100 miles an hour and I thought it would be funny to make a video giving one of the most known Spartan Athletes some grief and try to pawn his spear at the pawn Stars location. So off we go!

Las Vegas Sign

First stop to take some pics in front of the famous welcome to Vegas sign. Luckily we are fast, because as we were pulling in to the parking lot a tour bus arrived and I said we had to move faster and sure enough about 40-50 people got off the bus. But we got there first and took a few pics goofing off and being silly. (I know Shocker) Plus we posed with Spartan Spears just for the hell of it!

Pawn Stars

I am sure you have heard of this show right? Pawn Stars is actually a place called gold and silver.  Sometimes I crack even myself up with the wacky ideas that come into my head. Our morning brainstorming started with me thinking of this place. Then it hit me, why not act like they do on the show, do an interview outside and talk about going in and pawning something.  But it had to be something good, something that they would say no, maybe have an expert look at and tell me it wasn’t authentic or just not worth the crazy amount of money I wanted. Then it hit me, I need to tie it into the Spartan Race we were doing, then it really hit me and the creative juices started flowing.  My friend had his spears in the car from the day before so I called him got the okay and set my plan in motion. Some of you may know, okay who are we kidding, most of you know Matt “The Bear” Novakovich  and that he sells his own autographed spears for like $80 or $100 or something.

So there it was just staring us down, I signed a spear based on his logo and off we went to Pawn Stars.  So we get there and we make the video outside prepping the whole thing.  Here you go:

11159509_10153311297097962_5283471119770058671_nUnfortunately they would not allow us to video inside so the rest of the joke could not take place.  We were able to get some still photos and they played along. The rest of the joke was played out on social media and I have to say, Matt was awesome and played along with it. I can’t wait to finally meet the guy in person. In case you are wondering, we said they told us it was a forgery and not worth a dollar!

Counts Kustoms

IMG_9811So our next stop was Counts Kustoms.  If you have not seen this TV show, you don’t know what you are missing. For the most part they build custom cars. They drive around Vegas and buy peoples old cars and restore them or give them the “Counts” personal touch. No tricks here, we just went in and visited.  They have a ton of cool cars in there, so if you are in the neighborhood, totally check it out, hey its free.

Bad Ink

IMG_9837Another TV show Bad Ink was next on the list. If you don’t know, these guys walk around Vegas and look at peoples tattoos and then they fix them. Most of the time they are cover ups, but all of the time the work is freaking awesome. The name of the shop is PussyKat Tattoo, yes I Taught I Taw a Putty Tat! Unfortunately Dirk and Ruckus were not in, but I was validated! Screenshot 2015-04-28 21.33.52

Tank’d

IMG_9881I have only watched this show once, but it was pretty cool.  These guys build fish tanks and nothing is too big or too small. You can see a lot of their work all over town and in the casinos.  It was cool, the main characters of the show were there and came outside to pose for pics with people.  That was really cool of them and shows they are still down to earth.

So there you have it, that was our epic morning.  We hit all of those place and yet we still had a ton of time left in our day. We actually did go by Stratosphere and we were going to ride the rides but it was way pricy and we all decided it was not worth it.  Maybe next time.

But our day was not done, because you see like any great day of adventure, there is always more. We looked the watch, looked at the map and off to Hoover Dam we went.

Hoover Dam

I had never been here so the 40 minute or so it took to get there was not that bad. What a beautiful place! It was obvious the water lever was down, but none the less, pretty cool.IMG_9937 I got in my gratuitous hardstand pics on both sides of the bridge, however I did have trouble landing on the side facing the bridge. Someone got in my head that I might flip over and I was rushed because we were blocking the sidewalk and I wanted my photographer to get further out in the street and she wouldn’t because of the cars…good grief taking pictures should not be this stressful!

During the car ride we found out we had scored some tickets to get up in the Eiffel Tower, so offer went chasing more adventure.

Eiffel Tower at Paris

IMG_9939I have to say this was a little disappointing. We went up to the top and yes you can see the strip, yes there are some ooh and ahh moments, but if I would have had to actually pay for this…I would have been pissed.  You are stuck inside a cage and it just wasn’t all that…Kinda felt like jail to me…

The only cool thing was watching the fountains.

IMG_9946

So the day is winding down ad we did get the munchies, you know all this tourist stuff is exhausting so we went to Cabo Wabo Cantina and we actually sat on the railing watching the street. This was by far the most entertaining time yet. Watching the bachelor and bachelorette parties stumble up and down the strip was nothing short of hilarious. I mean seriously it was not even 5:00PM yet. Then you have the locals sitting on the sidewalks just pounding beers or margaritas or whatever, throwing their empty cans in the bushes. You also have the people dressed in costumes and you have to pay them to take pictures with them, dang it, they got me twice! (more on that later) Also if you ever want to know where to go clubbing, just stand in one spot and you will get 100 cards in no time from dudes wanting you to come to their club! I love people watching and this was funny, and the sun was still out, I can only imagine what this place turns into when the sun sets.

IMG_9955So off we go, one last stop, we are heading to the New York, New York hotel to ride the roller coaster! But first I got stopped by the storm troopers. I tried to fight it, but they were all like “Mr. Battlefrog this” and “Mr. Battlefrog that”. So I told one of them, I will take a picture with you but I have to be on your back piggy back style and I want your gun. Well, then next thing the guy says is, “you can’t do that, I think my costume will fall apart!” ha ha, that was hysterical. But in the end I had them pic me up, I think we took like 4 different poses and then they wanted to make me a video. So here is my Stormtrooper video!

New York, New York

If there is one thing you need to know about me, I love roller coasters. I love sitting in the very first seat and waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care! It is pretty sad that I live like 20 minutes away from Six Flags and I have not been in like 8 years. But none the less, I feel some summer adventures coming on some roller coasters! Well we went to NY, NY for one reason only, end the day on the roller coaster. It was not a long as I would have liked, but it was fun, it cost $14 per ride in case you are wondering and you can buy your pictures 3-$30, needless to say I do not have pictures. Fun times though!

So that concludes my Friday adventures, after this I went back to my buddies home, we had Tacos and called it a night!

Saturday

The race was run, we went home and took naps…oh the life of masters racing! After the mid-day snooze, I was lucky enough to be invited to the OCR Grinders team dinner. A very cool experience as they honored a boy named Austin. They ran for him at this race and made him a spartan! Very cool.

So off we go on our “Entourage” night out in Vegas. After a little bit of a delay, we finally were able to get to “Old Downtown” and the first stop was container park. IMG_0316

This was a cool place, they have a fire breathing praying mantis out front. Then we walked down the strip, by the Golden Nugget and a few others…pretty cool, they had zip lines overhead and these color things on the ceilings. Not to mention this hair band from hell playing live music at one end.  Again we were treated to all that Vegas has to offer, you know grown men in diapers taking pics with IMG_9992[1]people for money…and this guy================>

Only in Las Vegas can you see this stuff. There was so much more and I could have taken pictures all day.  Needless to say we laughed hard at the people and I for one am grateful I do not live in this or have to see this everyday because I am not sure if I could hold my tongue.

So we end up going to this food truck, more importantly a hamburger food truck called FUKU Burger! Knowing a chef has its rewards and they rewarded us with a little bit of heaven. Next time you are in Vegas, find this truck and get the #1, you will not be disappointed!

After stuffing our grills with these awesome burgers, we round the corner and low and behold a brick traverse wall appears out of nowhere in this back alleyway. So we do what all OCR peeps do, we climb that bitch! After a few minutes of horseplay, we decide to get on the wall and take a group picture. Now here is where that phrase “only in Vegas” has to come from. You have 7-grown ass men climbing a brick wall in an alley and as we all get up on the wall for a picture out of nowhere comes this dude who jumps in front of, one of our guys and I guess his goal was to prove he could climb also. But here is the thing…he couldn’t, that asshat kept falling off the wall and getting back on, I mean even after we all got off and started walking away in disgust that he ruined our glorious photo op, this tool kept trying.  I wish video had been captured, because here is what is going on, you have six guys on the wall, some barely holding on for dear life waiting for the picture to be taken, me in my flip flops up higher than anyone else (yes photographic evidence) and I am yelling at the tool to get off the wall, yelling at our buddy to pull his ass off by his shirt, just yelling. You know stuff like, “hey fucker, get off the wall!” “I will cut you! get off the wall!” “hey asshole, I will beat your face in, get off the wall!”, okay so maybe the last two were my inside voice, but I thought it!  In the end it was okay, we went around the corner and found another wall, this one all in black, no stupid Vegas drunk people trying to photo bomb us. We got the pic, memories forever!

13678_10205474944745414_3153628430250300388_n

Sunday

So sunday we decided to attend the Camp Rhino post Spartan workout. Unfortunately my hamstring and foot issues prevented me from working out, so I did the next best thing…I took video of the poor souls getting their spirits crushed by miss Julie! Here is my video…

Monday

Monday Monday, Come Monday, Manic Monday, what ever song you equate with Monday or just having the case of the Monday’s, I am so ready to go home! At this point I just miss everything and everyone at home, I couldn’t wait to get back and tell everyone about my adventures, but when I actually did get home…no one wanted to know…story of my life.  But before I can go home, how about a workout first? Boy I give that idea two thumbs up! I can’t say no and look like a big puss, especially since I did nothing the day before and I am staying with all these freaking “elite”  workout monsters.  So I did the damn workout, didn’t die and I felt good, none of my injuries were harmed.

IMG_0319One last thing to do before I can blow this Popsicle stand is celebrate my awesome hosts anniversary with them. No complaints there! We went to the triple A affiliate for the NY Mets, the Las Vegas 51’s baseball game. They lost but $1 hotdogs (yes I had 5) were awesome! The picture is my little buddy Gio! Ever go to a baseball game with a 2-year old? Besides the fact that he is a parrot (repeats everything) he is also a barrel of laughs and never stops smiling! Okay one thing I don’t get, they are the Las Vegas 51’s and the logo is an alien on the hat, the mascot looks like a grey Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars and excuse me if I am wrong, but aren’t we in Vegas? I thought area 51 was in New Mexico? I distinctly remember going through Roswell, NM on my way home from my EPIC Ski trip (note to self…backlog that blog, that trip was freaking awesome!) and I thought that is where the aliens were? I’m so confused…

We left in the 8th inning as the visiting team just belted out another 3 run inning and they were up like 8-2. One my way to the airport I go! Exit stage left, Viva Las Vegas, leaving Las Vegas, whatever, I am outta here. Until we meet again sin city!

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

2015 Goals

Ringing in the New!

my-goalsEvery year we get to this point and the new year resolutions start rolling in.  I have been victim to it before as well, we all commit to doing things that we really have no intentions of working on past the month of January.  So this year I have decided to commit to accomplishing goals for the entire year and then updating said goals every quarter to let you know how I am doing in my struggle to maintain accountability to myself.

So without further ado, here are my 2015 goals:

Updated 4/1/15, Updated 7/1/15

1. Laugh Hard

I want to laugh as hard as possible, laughter is my release, it is what helps me cope with the real world and problems.  I know that if I laugh hard all year, the world will be a better place. So if you know me well, you know I am full of jokes and sarcasm, don’t get all upset, that is just my personality. I am really just a big kid, but I can be serious when I need to be.

QTR 1 Update- I can honestly say that for the first three months of the year I have been laughing so hard it’s crazy. I am loving life right now, I have great friends and special people in my life who keep me smiling on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure you can see through all my pics and it’s not just a happy show on social media, I am one happy lucky guy!

QTR 2 Update- I guess you could say the past three months brought about less laughter. April and May were brutal with injuries, illnesses and heartbreak. However, June snapped me out of it. I mean how could I not smile and laugh in same month as my birthday? New friends and fun times all month definitely have me one happy camper again!

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

2. Love Harder

2014 was such a whirlwind of a year, I learned so much about myself and and what I am looking for in a partner in crime. I didn’t love very hard at all, I know I didn’t give my all in my marriage and thus it ended in divorce. I had another person with whom I loved that I also didn’t give it my all and I spent most of 2014 not loving very much.

So this year I am not going to guard my heart, I am going to give it to you if you deem worthy enough to penetrate my circle. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I only get a few months or a lifetime to love you, I will do it without hesitation. I tend to leap before I look and my favorite quote is:

quote    I would rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all ~ Ron Pope

QTR 1 Update- What a first three months! Well you guessed it, I gave my heart away and fell in love. Definitely was not intended but sometimes you meet someone who makes you feel the warm and fuzzies and you can’t help but fall in love with them. No idea what the future holds, it is definitely hard being in a long distance relationship (4hrs away), along with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I through my heart out there and I am happier than ever!

QTR 2 Update- I am not sure what is actually funnier, the fact that I last updated this on April Fool’s Day or that the following day is when I was dumped by the woman I was in love with? Anyway, yes the last three months have definitely been different than expected. I would say there was not a lot of love out there for the first couple of months (APR/MAY) but again June is another story.

I know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I jump right in, but sometimes moving on is harder than expected and just when you think you are, you are not. But I have met some amazing people the past few months and sometimes someone you lean on and talk to can become someone to help you get over that hump. Am I saying I am in love again? No not that, but I am always open to the possibility and there might be someone who I would definitely like to spend more time with to see where it would go, because that would be such a trill ride.

But I also have made new friends who I also enjoy spending time with, do I love them, yes and no, some people are easier to love at a friendship level than others. I have been able to reestablish old friendships that went to the wayside and now I have incredible bonds with them and I also made amends with old friends who I may have hurt in the past. So yes, on the friend front I was able to love more than previously.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

3. More Handstands

So I started doing handstands last fall and it totally spiraled into me doing them everywhere I go. So instead of your normal “I am here at destination X, you will see me hand-standing at destination X! My goal is to not only handstand in some cool places, but also when I am not traveling post at least once a week. #HeWhoStandsOnHands #Handstands2015

QTR 1 Update- I started out so good! I think I got the first 5 or 6 weeks in a row of various handstands. I am sure there are also a few I didn’t post, but I was there on a weekly basis. So chalk this up to a failure, I was only good on 50% of the goal.  Time to get back to standing on my hands! (it should be noted that I did injure my back in Feb and handstands were tricky)

QTR 2 Update- One of the few things I have managed to do! Handstands Across America started in April, continued in May and now I am going to get them all! Birthday week provided a ton of handstands, so I definitely made up for the lack of them the first few months.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

4. Walk on Hands

So my old college buddy says to me “that’s cute, you can stand on your hands, how about you walk on them!”, so #ChallengeAccepted! I can already go a couple of feet, but I really want to work on my form and get this down, so I can me a circus trick at parties!

QTR 1 Update- So nothing to report here, I never even really practiced much. I definitely need to work on this more.

QTR 2 Update- I started working on this, not as much as I should but I can walk a few feet. It’s not the prettiest thing ever, but I am getting there.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

5. Learn to Play Guitar

I have never been able to play an instrument, well I take that back, I did play the piano for about a year as a kid, I can’t read music very well so I ended writing what the notes were on all of the sheet music so I could play it. Well I have forgotten everything, but I would love to be able to play this acoustic guitar I have. It would be so cool to just be able to sit down and play whatever.  Since I love to sing, it would just be campfire cool!

QTR 1 Update- Nothing to report here either, I never even looked into what is required to do this.  I guess I will chalk it up to just being to darn busy enjoying all of the other things in life!

QTR 2 Update- Still not started this one, but hey I still have 6-months right? Can anyone teach me? hint hint

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

6. Top 5 in the Spartan Open

I didn’t by any means intend for this to happen but as of January 1st, 2015, I was sitting in 3d place in the WORLD standings. It shocked me, so I know I want to get a couple more trifectas this year so I thought why not just keep racing the opens and try to keep the points up there and go for it!

QTR 1 Update- Unfortunately I have not raced a Spartan Race yet this year, most of my events will be in May/June and Sept. So I fell to 8th place, but that isn’t too bad, first place is still within striking distance and I am only a couple hundred points behind. 

QTR 2 Update- So this goal has shifted dramatically, in fact it isn’t even a goal at all. The open points with Reebok Spartan Race have become a joke simply because most of the people in open heats seem to be dishonest and don’t do burpees. I really find it hard to believe on some of the courses that late afternoon heats with all of the people on the course and the condition of the obstacles, times are turned in faster than the morning times. I’m disgusted with this and I am not even on the Spartan koolaid either. My goals on this have just shifted to running the elite heats to compete with the Masters. I seem to fit in pretty well there.

So I believe I am down to 9th or so in the male open point series overall, but I am only running open when I walk a race or run with others to have fun. No more competitive open runs for me.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

7. Win more age groups in races

The days where I can compete with 20 & 30 years olds are sadly past me, but I think I can compete pretty well with people my own age. So I am challenging myself to get better and win my age groups in what ever race I attempt!

QTR 1 Update- So I have raced 3-races this quarter. I finished in the top 5 overall in the Polar Dash, 2nd in Age Group at the Atlas race, 2nd OA & 1st AG at The Original Mudrun and a big DNF at Battlefrog. I’ll take that, seeing as I took off the month of February.

QTR 2 Update- More racing this quarter, I officially ran 9 races, only 6 were competitively. I have yet to run a race since April where I have not been 100%, which is frustrating since I was primed for great races in Austin for both weekends of the Spartan Race.  I rolled my ankle and have been hobbling through the races since. But here are the results of the races I did, which I am fortunate to be top 10 in every race in the Master’s division. I feel like I am on the cusp of top 3 if I can just stay healthy.

  • Battlefrog Dallas – 7th (masters elite)
  • Vegas Super – 5th (open AG)
  • ATX Super – 5th (open AG)
  • ATX Sprint – 5th (masters elite)
  • OH Sprint – 10th (masters elite)
  • Dallas Stadium Sprint  – 10th (masters elite)

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

8. Take more video

I noticed at the end of the year I hardly took and video. I took a ton of pictures, but when making an end of the year video it comprised mostly of pictures.  So this year I am going to document my travels and quirks more by taking video. Some will be posted on social media, some will not, but watch for more video this year!

QTR 1 Update- I am doing good but not great here.  Took lots of video of various things, but not much personal video or commentary video as I call it.  Most everything is athletic video at this point, I think I need to capture more of my life than just working out or running races.

QTR 2 Update- What a great past couple of months! I have a ton of video and my end of the year video is going to be EPIC! I have everything from having fun to singing to just being silly.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update

9. More travel/adventure with my favorite hobbies

Over the past 13 years, I stopped doing the things I love the most. No single person is to blame, some things were not as important and somethings just got lost in the shuffle of life. I’ve decided that life really is too short to not do the things I grew up doing or the things that really make me happy. Some of these things include riding my motorcycle more, traveling around the country, riding dirt bikes, snow skiing, running races and just hanging with my good friends.

QTR 1 Update- I had a great first three months! I bought a dirt bike and went out riding once so far. I want downhill skiing in Taos, NM and it was one of the best trips of my life. Skiing was so much fun, my company was great and the roadtrip was just EPIC! Traveled to Houston and San Antonio to race and had a blast there too! There were also a couple of other cool things went to ICE, Legoland, and Aliens in Rosewell, NM! I am so looking forward to April and May, I have a ton of adventure planned!

QTR 2 Update- I definitely kept this train going the second three months of the year. I raced in Las Vegas, Ohio and down in Austin, TX. I took a killer road trip to the Ohio race and then spent 5-days in Erie, PA what a blast!

So my original travel plans did go according to plan or with how it was planned, but oh well things happen for a reason. So I went solo and found some new great people to hang out with. So other than racing what did I do?

  • Visited Graceland
  • Sang Karaoke in Nashville
  • Cedar Point in Ohio
  • Sunset on Lake Erie!
  • Indoor Skydiving
  • Adult go-carts
  • ROT Rally – Austin, TX
  • Zero Gravity

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

10. Complete the Iron Butt

added 7/1

One of the things I have wanted to do for the last 15 years or so is complete an Iron Butt ride on my Harley. What is an iron butt you ask? Well it is pretty simple. Ride 1000 miles in 24 hours, document the whole thing with their paperwork, receipt time stamps and photos. Why do this you ask? Well because you can of course! It is also to get a certificate to put on your wall of fame!

QTR 1 Update- N/A

QTR 2 Update- Having just decided I was going get this done on my way home from the ROT Rally, it is still in the planning stages! Stay tuned, but the goal is to do it in July or August.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

11. Write a book

added 7/1

I have wanted to write a book of my travels for about 8 years now. Actually I have two in mind and one is more like a life biography of my travels and the other is cool stuff to see. So with some encouragement, I started this project on 6/1. The goal is to have it completed and out for Christmas, it would be a great gift for any motorcycle traveler!

QTR 1 Update- N/A

QTR 2 Update- Ride one is almost complete, along with all of the graphics which will be used for the book. I am behind schedule, the whole birthday week threw me behind some. Original goal was to be completed by 8/10, but I think I am redoing my timelines and it looks closet to 9/10 now.

QTR 3 Update-

End of the year Update-

XPLOR Bravest Race – Mexico’s little gem

By: Travis E. Blythe

I had a great opportunity to head down to Mexico for little R&R and check out a little race called the XPLOR Bravest Race down in Playa Del Carmen at the XPLOR park. This was exactly what I had hoped it would be, a nice vacation race. I had a ton of fun and I can’t wait to do it again!

While many of you reading are going to be die hard Spartans, Tough Mudders, Warrior Dash or BattleFrog enthusiasts, take a min to clear your mind and just think about what I am about to tell you and open your mind to something that is out of the realm of OCR for a minute.

Sometimes you come across an event and you think how it would be fun, or the location sounds amazing and you wish you could go.  Everyone thinks of Cancun and Playa del Carmen as vacation destinations and a place to get away for a long weekend.  We had an opportunity to travel to Mexico and see what this little race was about.  I have run many different types of events over the years and the uniqueness of this race put together with the location has to definitely be one of my favorites of all time.  I know, I know, that is a pretty bold statement but I will tell you why I absolutely loved this race and why I want to return every year!

DSCF0132I am so used to running for time, trying to win age divisions, or just being so competitive that I forgot why I fell in love with this sport in the first place. This race made me remember why, made me remember how much fun you can have doing something that you love.  This race was not timed, there were no competitive waves, no chip timing, the only objective was to finish with my flags on.  Now I know what you are thinking, but no this was not a zombie run. Did they have people pulling flags?, yes they did. But this race was much more than that, I equate this to being a race almost in a water park and you ran from one obstacle to another.  Technically, a rare few even ran, the majority of the participants just walked and talked and had a good time being in the company of friends.

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I know you are thinking…what is so special? Well, if you have never been to XPLOR park or explored the caves and rivers down in Playa Del Carmen, then you definitely do not know what you are missing. This race had two water-slides, numerous cave swims, walls, cargo nets, rope cylinders, low crawls, swamps, monkey bars, tarzan ropes, canyons full of tires, tunnel crawls, a half pipe/warped wall and one epic cliff jump. I am sure I left out some other obstacles but those are the ones that come to mind the most!

DSCF0151We had an absolute blast, painted our faces in warpaint, high-fived the flag pullers and had fun along the way.  I ended up finishing with one flag and got my awesome finisher medal for the ones who kept a flag! Yes they had two different medals!

It looks like the 2015 Race is going to be on September 13th! This is  must race if you need a break from competition and want to just have a blast!  The after party was awesome, live music, food and people everywhere!

Mary’s Cafe – Strawn, TX

The hunt for the greatest burger in the United States continues. This time we head down to the small town of Strawn, TX to a place called Mary’s Cafe.

When we hear about the local spots that have a great hamburger, we have to get there and try it, I mean we are looking for the perfect hamburger.

We are going to give this a grade on a scale of 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

So we ordered the Famous Mary’s Cafe Texas Sized Bacon Cheeseburger.

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Presentation  Star-symbol Star-symbol  Star-symbol

01021ff77b9aa108ef1332961cd4cec30690b49c35On first appearance this is a monster! This was so big I didn’t think I was going to be able to get it in my mouth. I am giving it 3 stars because there was nothing on the plate and the side fixings looked weak.

Taste  Star-symbol

01277e358d1893428883b3b5898c8b82c486e4d72cThe biggest disappointment of this monster was how awful it really was.  Unfortunately after it arrived, I remembered that they never asked how I wanted it cooked. I am a medium guy and this was very well done.  After I cut into it I noticed and after the first bite it was very well done and actually crispy burnt on the outside. Almost like it was charred. Needless to say I did not like it all. It didn’t have any juices in it or actually any flavor at all. Even after putting as much ketchup as I could on it, I could only eat half of it. In the end, I can’t give anyone less than 1-star, I mean it was big and they did have to make it for us.

Condiments  Star-symbol

This is our wild card category, because everyone gets it different, we wanted to have a category where we could distinguish the condiments that go on a great burger. We ordered this one with Cheese, Bacon, Mayo, Mustard and the rest of the fixings, Onions, Pickles and Tomatoes.

I start with the bacon, it wasn’t that good. I could barely taste it even on a tasteless burger. It was what I call, limp bacon, I hate limp bacon. The cheese was regular American cheese and there was not much of it. It barely covered the  top of the burger. As for the rest, it was your normal type of sides. The onions were big, had shredded lettuce and a small bun. The bun got soggy and ended up dying quick. We give this one star as well.

Cost  Star-symbol  Star-symbol

You know you get what you pay for. Here I paid $8.50 for a Texas sized bacon cheese burger. That was it, the fries were an extra $5 for a plate. Granted the side of fries were a huge mound of fries, but alas they were not that great…limpy, soggy, funny tasting fries. I give this two stars because normally $7-$9 for a burger is reasonable, but those usually come with fries.

Overall  Star-symbol  star-3-4

Overall this was a disappointing burger after a great ride to get there and an eye feasting dream when it arrived. I am giving it 1.75 stars. They had some cool T-shirts too, but I couldn’t buy one after the bad experience.

01332faefb5dceb7c714a48a864a97fdcaec2be32eHowever, we do recommend that if you like chicken fried steak, here is a picture of the medium sized steak.  Dad ate it and said it was good and the gravy was also outstanding. It came with a salad and fries, so it was much better of a deal.