A trip to Sequoia National Forest w/ The Dip Shits… 06/01/17

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Well folks, the heat in #DeathValley can get quite daunting sometimes… And now June has rolled around, it was getting into the 120’s… I have both a #SwampCooler and a pretty powerful AC unit in #TheMillenniumFalcon… And both of them are completely useless…

My friend Henry came over to hang out one day… It was like 125 degrees out… No kidding! Well, I had to give him icepacks out of my freezer because all the combination of the AC and swamp cooler did was drop the temperature inside to about 110 degrees… And trust me there’s not much difference between 125 degree dry heat and 110 degree wet heat… Because all the swamp cooler did was put moisture into the air and create a humid mess inside, which was worse than the damn dry heat outside! You can’t win out here, folks!

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So I think it was about time to get out of Death Valley for some nice #R&R… So the #DipShits got their #camping equipment together and headed to #SequoiaNationalForest… Known for its giant #SequoiaTrees…

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The Forest is right next to #SequoiaNationalPark… The home of the famous #MountWhitney… Which I will be climbing in my lifetime, you can bet your life on that… Mount Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States… Say that a bunch of times without stumbling…

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Jordan was nice enough to supply the transportation… Dustin supplied the endless, crazy entertainment… And I just observed like the kid from the movie #Almost Famous… What a wild bunch of dudes these guys are!!! lol!

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It’s funny how when you get into that work mode, you forget all of the important things in life… Because believe it or not, #TheTravelingMac almost didn’t go on this trip…. Why? I don’t know… I had been working so much and was so tired, I actually thought staying home in that god awful heat was an option… God, I am so glad I shut that idiot up in my head and just went along…

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Just think of all of the times we have missed… All of the opportunities… All of the fun… All of the excitement… All because we get so wrapped up in our own lives and actually think we are being good little humans by working our tails off and not enjoying anything… God, this ‘working martyr’ type thinking has to stop! I understand if you have a family, had some really bad luck in life or are really passionate and love what you do… But even then you need a little time to re-boot…

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And trust me folks, The Traveling Mac is the first to fall into this misguided societal trap… I’m not happy unless I am accomplishing something of some sort… Now I am smart and old enough to know that no amount of money is worth this type of slavery but my writing, learning new arts and my constant admiration for film and the theatre make me feel if I am out having fun, I’m not being a good little human and working like the rest of the good little humans in this country…

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That’s one of the main reasons I love this #blog… Even though I am forced to sit in front of a computer and write about all of my adventures, my blog also forces me to go out and experience those adventures or I will have nothing to write about… I know for a fact I wouldn’t have done all of the crazy, fun things I have done in the past year if it wasn’t for this blog… Not only does it force me to be creative, it also forces me to get out of #TheMillenniumFalcon and experience the world…

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Not that it’s all a bad thing… I just love The Millennium Falcon so much, I don’t want to leave her… I am perfectly content sitting inside her womb all day… A great feeling because I know I’m home and comfortable but dangerous, when you should be out experiencing the world…

If you’re stuck in life, I highly recommend starting a blog and writing about your passions… create something that is going to force you to dive into the thing you are interested in… It’s not easy and it’s a lot of work but trust me, after sticking at it for a year, you will notice the benefits… And to top it off, you will always have a record of your life to look back on in the future… It’s fun reminiscing and observing your thought process at a certain time in your life…

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The drive up here was so gorgeous… It was cool seeing the transition from deadly, dry, yellow heat to wet, beautiful, green loveliness…  The #forest was beautiful… I mean magnificent… We parked in this little pull-off in the actual #NationalForest… I was a little weary at first because I thought it was one of those commercial camping sites but I couldn’t have been more wrong…

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I should have known Jordan would pick the perfect spot… He loves camping and is not the type who likes to camp around a bunch of idiots… He’s got enough dip shits to deal with… lol…  As you can see above, the drop was drastic and my stomach did cartwheels when I stood on the cliff and looked down…

It was steep but you could make your way down very cautiously by dragging your butt down the cliff, laying on your back for support… but it was definitely a drop off that could kill a drunk idiot who thinks he is immortal from his recent sip of invisibility…

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We immediately set up camp… It was a little windy out but nothing too serious… Then Dustin pulled out his #machete he just bought from a gas station… Yes, they sell machetes at the gas stations out here! Lol! A lethal combination if I have ever seen one… Gas Station/Machete/Dustin… I actually think it may be the formula for Armageddon.. lol…

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The camping spot was perfect and unlike anything I have ever camped… I found a pretty flat spot with few rocks… I took Dustin’s Machete and chopped some of the dry grass down and made a nice hay bed to set my tent up on… Comfort is key folks…

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We were basically camping on a cliff on this huge mountain…  As you can see above, we are on this shelf of this mountain which is about 10 feet wide…

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Then it drops off about a few hundred feet… I couldn’t believe this awesome location and I instantly felt this connection with the #nature around me… I think it was a combination of gratitude, not dealing with 120 degree heat, and the natural effects of this pristine camping spot…

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Dustin still has the machete and is chopping everything he can get his hands on… Jordan was basically like the character #Deniro played in #TheDeerHunter… Quite fitting considering he looks like Deniro from #TaxiDriver… lol…

Like Deniro in The Deer Hunter, in the beginning when they go hunting, Jordan was the Dad of the group, even though he’s twenty years younger than me… lol.. he was constantly monitoring Dustin with his machete… honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing! It was such a funny situation… I keep on telling Dustin he should try stand-up comedy… He reminds me of a young #WoodyAllen… Just naturally hilarious without trying…

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Camp didn’t take long to set up… I brought my own little kid’s #tent… I don’t need much space and love the convenience of such a small tent… I sleep in it diagonally considering I’m too long to sleep as intended…

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I was definitely feeling the freedom when the chores were done; and I was of course happy about my ‘setting up tent’ accomplishment… Hey, every little accomplishment counts… lol!

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The guys had their own tent… They just pile in and sleep… Oh, to be young again… I would not sleep a wink in that situation… I can barely sleep effectively by myself or with a girl, never mind with a bunch of drunk, snoring, smelly dudes… lol!

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So, Jordan struck up a nice mighty #campfire… He brought this really cool camping tool with him… It was like a #CampfireWaffleIron of sorts… But Jordan used it to make his own #PizzaSandwiches… What he did was put a piece of wonder bread in the waffle type iron and then put cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni on top and covered it with another piece of bread… Then he just closed it and cooked it over the fire…

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I didn’t expect it but those waffle pizza sandwiches were awesome! I am definitely getting one of those campfire waffle irons… Cheese, bread, sauce and pepperoni are definitely good camping foods to bring on a trip… Easy to pack, light and you only need a little ice pack to keep them cool…

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The #river below had a mighty roar… You could hear it all the way up here and it was surprising how far away it was when you peered down because it seemed only yards away by ear… It was this engulfing #WhiteNoise that gave you the impression that your ears were blocked… Like everyone was talking from a far distance when they were only feet away… You definitely had to raise your voice to get things done out here…

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I kept on running to the edge and screaming at the top of my lungs… It felt so good to be free and out in the cool air… I had a little smoke in me and was getting my drink on, enjoying an effortless day with no worry in the world… I actually felt lighter up here.. Death Valley definitely has a sunken feeling which makes sense considering it’s so hot and is the lowest point in #NorthAmerica…I kept on thinking about how there was a good chance I wouldn’t have come out here and would have missed this experience… That thought made me very angry at myself, knowing it’s only me who is blocking such enjoyable moments in my life…

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I thanked God or whoever for this great gift and thanked myself for not being an idiot and staying home…

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While Jordan was cooking, Tony was making a drink concoction for all of us and Ian was getting the next round of Mary Jane ready… Dustin was of course still chopping crap with his new toy… lol! We were all like a factory of fun out here… Preparing the site, ready to party into the night…

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I was feeling pretty good at this point, if you didn’t notice… I just walked around, took pictures and fully enjoyed the perfect weather out here… When you have lived in 100 plus degree heat for a while, the cool breeze of places like this really tickles your skin… It’s a soothing feeling you take for granted in everyday life… Oh how I missed that cool breeze!

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And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Tony surprised us with a little tropical type concoction he  just finished putting together…

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He had this cool little tool that hollowed out a #pineapple to make this convenient fruit cup… Then he would just take the gutted pineapple and mix it with vodka and oj… It was delicious and the great thing is, you can just keep on refilling it and drinking…  And when you’re done with it, you just throw it on the ground and let nature do its job…

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It was almost like a brotherhood ritual, as we passed the pineapple around and drank from it like it was the Holy Grail… Tony almost looks Buddha like, sitting with his legs crossed, sipping from our newly formed tradition…

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As the day rolled on, we got more inebriated, relaxing out in nature…

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Nature was dancing around us as I noticed new things and admired the old…

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I took a little hike along the cliff, through the valley… There didn’t seem to be another soul in sight… Just me, the Dip Shits and #MotherNature… God, life is beautiful!

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It almost seemed like this place was sitting here waiting for us… Our little temporary home looked so perfect, set up on a cliff, tucked behind trees and bushes… You had to walk up close to even know we were there… You couldn’t hear us from afar due to the river and you couldn’t see us due to the tree and bush cover…

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And with the perfect amount of wind, we didn’t have to worry about any bugs either…

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Well, the feast continued on folks… After eating a bunch of campfire pizza sandwiches, we moved onto #sausages… Now, this contraption above is from yours truly… It’s perfect for cooking #hamburgers, hotdogs and buns… You just wedge your food between the grates and position it over the fire how you choose… The long handle allows you to maneuver it over the fire for optimum cooking…

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The sausage was delicious and I’m sure my state of mind made it all that much better… Not a worry in the world…

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Then after I ate two sausages and two pizza sandwiches, we moved onto hamburgers! Oh yeah folks, there was no holding back on this trip… We planned on filling ourselves up with every delight possible… And our appetites were pretty ravaging considering the help from good old #MaryJane…

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This is living folks! Tony is actually taking a nap in that chair… We all went immobile for awhile after stuffing ourselves with every campfire treat we could fire up…

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As dusk set in, we got ready for a beautiful, starry night… I am very content at this point and stumbling a little… But that didn’t stop me from scaring the crap out of my band mates by running to the edge of the cliff and screaming at the top of my lungs… They were so scared I was going to take one step too much and plummet to the river below… lol!

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The moments just got better as the night set in… The campfire was a sight to see… We were all pretty much shit faced at this point…

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But that didn’t stop Ian from firing up another round of hamburgers… I ate two pizza sandwiches, two sausages and two hamburgers! Yet I felt so content… My stomach was full but it wasn’t upset… It was the perfect alignment of spirituality, adventure and gluttony… Oh what a night…

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We were like the band ‘The Doors,’ when they got drugged up and went out into the desert to connect with nature and write songs… lol…

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Here I am comparing us to an infamous band when we haven’t even played a full song together yet… Oh, the delusions of grandeur… But yet we are the Dip Shits… the name itself gives the excuse for such random, nonsensical, band actions and comparisons… lol!

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But the feast didn’t end with another round of hamburgers folks… I pulled out my famous popcorn maker and made some of my famous #CampfirePopcorn… After, we all sat around and just let the silence engulf us as we talked about nothing and slowly started to call it a night…

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We had been drinking and smoking for the whole day now and The Traveling Mac was ready for bed… I love this last shot I took of Ian above before I retired for the night… He was the last to go to bed… I wonder what was going through his head in this moment… Only he and his higher power knows…

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Perhaps he was thinking about the first song the Dip Shits would play together… Or thinking how successful this band has become without even learning to play one single song… Who knows…

All I know is that I am so glad to have this time with these amazing guys from all walks of life… And I am thankful mostly for them dragging me out here to have one of the best camping and spiritual experiences I have ever had… Oh the memories we are creating… Thanks Dip Shits!

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