Aug 27, 2019

Overlanding at Bald Eagle State Forrest

In the spring of this year, I was bitten by the Overland Bug. What is overlanding? Essentially, it is vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel, typically exploring remote locations. This sort of hobby is right of my alley for a few reasons: 1) You need a high-clearance 4X4 vehicle.  2) Camping is inherent to the activity. And 3) it's an activity chuck full o' adventure.

Although typically, overlanding trips are multi-day journeys, I have really only been "overlanding" once and that was just last weekend at Bald Eagle State Forest. Adria and I drove three hours to the forest where we navigated a planned 20 mile route across high-clearance off-road trails and dirt roads, terminating for the night at a campsite that we had reserved. Other trips have simply been camping trips where there was no need for four wheel drive, and my tires didn't really even see gravel. They were more or less just luxury car-camping trips utilizing my roof top tent. Nevertheless, I am excited at the prospect of future overlanding trips.

The above video was a lot of fun to make and I believe it to be just a small taste of what the future holds for me and my quest for adventure. Bald Eagle State Forest is huge, comprised of 193,424 acres of land spread across five counties in Pennsylvania. I'm sure I can put together at least a two or three day overland trip through this area. Maybe even include Michaux State Forest in the mix. Stay tuned!

Aug 23, 2019

I'm not dead!

I’m baaaaaack! I’m dusting the cobwebs off of this crumby little blog and breathing new life into it! I’ve been busy working hard & playing hard and it seems that Facebook has taken the place of the blog that I once loved to update and share with you all. I’ve got a lot of updating to do. I mean, hell, a lot has changed over the past few years that I’ve been away. Let’s break it down section by section, shall we?

Home is the suburbs of Philadelphia now. In June of last year, I came to a fork in my career path. I had to choose between continuing along the path that was slowly draining my health & happiness and a new and scary path, rife with challenge and unknown adventure. I chose the scary new path. That said, I no longer live in Maryland; the state I’ve loved so dearly for the past 8 years. Alas, I no longer live in that amazing old farm house nestled in the quaint and quiet country side of Carroll County. Gone are the late night bon fires, dips in the local reservoir and Natty Bohs down the road at A-Town. I miss it all very much. Still, I’m glad for the decision I’ve made. Faithfully, I followed my new compass heading and again my choice ended up being the right one. I’m happy to be here. 

That scary new path, I mentioned above took me to a new side of my industry. Although I still work in the passenger rail industry, I now consult the transit authorities on matters related to subway vehicle production and quality assurance. I work with great people, one of which is a very close friend of mine, and I don’t find myself stressed out, in a panic, or angrily working through my weekends.

Hobbies old & new
I’ve come to accept (finally) that the hobbies I once loved, have slowly become less important to me. Mountain biking specifically. This was once a huge outlet for me. It served as a way for me to get away from my social pressures and fly as fast and as far as I wished. Early morning cross country rides along dew-soaked fields and over the loamy, soft single-track in the woods of my hometown in NY was one of the most enjoyable and freeing experiences of my adolescence. I was fast, I was fit, I was free. Today, it’s just not the same. While I love the sport, the fun factor is not quite the same with my 41 year old, out of shape body. Still I do visit the downhill parks a couple times each summer.

Hunting remains a favorite hobby of mine. To date, nothing tops hunting with my father. It will forever remain my favorite part of life.

Photography has taken a backseat to film. I’ve really been enjoying videography and although my Sony A7 Mark III is ideal for motion pictures, I remain impressed by the footage I’m taking with my GoPro cameras. Although they lack any control over depth of field, the ease with which I capture fun footage continues to impress and amaze me. Check my YouTube channel for my most recent adventures at Bald Eagle State Forest.

Although I still have my truck, I traded my Jetta in for a 2 door Jeep Wrangler which I’ve named Samsquanch (A Trailer Park Boys reference). I went with the Sport model, although in hindsight the Rubicon would have been a much better choice. Nevertheless, the upgrades I’ve performed have been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot about the machine in the process. The ol’ Samsquanch has taken my girlfriend and I on many fantastic adventures, mostly overnight trips, which have been a hoot. My girlfriend Adria has very much enjoyed being a part of the wheeling lifestyle and has proven to be a great mechanic’s apprentice and copilot!

To recap the gap between my last blog entry and today’s I’ll let the below pictures do the talking. They’re supposed to be worth a thousand words anyway. Enjoy. Talk atcha’ soon!
"Squanchy": 2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport edition. 4.5" Metalcloak lift, 35" tires, Tom Woods drive shafts, Smittybilt bumpers, EAG rock sliders & rack, Steinjager spare tire carrier.

Little solo overnight trip to Eight Lake in the Adirondacks, this past June.

Despite moving to Pennsylvania, I still managed to eat a lot of crabs with Adria (Left) and my sister Kate (Right).

Lots of crabs.

I took Adria to the range and taught her how to shoot pistols. She's pretty good!

Beauty shot of Adria in Texas for a good friend's wedding.

Buttermilk Falls in the Adirondacks.

Got to see my folks a bit over this past winter :]
Adria and I had a good time in NYC this past Christmas!

I've done a lot of traveling with my new job. I've been to Japan a few times, Spain, Prague... and I stepped directly into a pile of dog poop in Italy. 

I filled the other eye in my Daruma Doll. Finally. Feels fantastic.

Adria and I did a lot of hiking this past summer. Including a 15 mile, two day trip along the Burrough's Range.
When I left my job at with my old company I was unemployed for a month and grew a ridiculous mustache. 

I certainly miss my old dive bar just down the road from the farm house. Adria and I had so many good times there!