The Majesty of The Wave

If you have no interest in reading about The Wave, but want to feel like you’re there, scroll to the bottom to watch the video.

At work I had been upgraded to a brand new computer with Windows 7. The standard Windows background wasn’t working for me and I started browsing through backgrounds that came with my computer. I stumbled across this desert scene with a puddle in the middle of the photo. I’d never been to the desert so it was something new to look at for eight hours of my day.The Wave from The Wave View

A co worker walked past my cube and caught a glimpse of my desktop background. I was the outdoors guy around the office and she assumed I had taken the photo. Humbly I told her it wasn’t my photo, that I didn’t even know where it was, but I wanted to see it one day.

Fast forward 4 years to this past Friday as I was trekking over the slick rock of the Arizona desert with a pack on my back and a treasure map in my hand. Adam and I hiked for about an hour until we reached the crevice that’d lead us into The Wave.

Chills ran down my spine as I set my eyes on my previous Windows 7 background that I’d stared at for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for 4 years. I walked in to find windswept sandstone lines surrounding me. I couldn’t speak, partially because I needed water and that I was mesmerized by this place.

Once I filled my belly with some trail snacks and some water wet my whistle, I started exploring The Wave itself. Taking photos of the standard “Wave View” and then stumbling around looking at all the different lines until venturing out beyond The Wave.Line on the canyon walls of The Wave

I was walking along a sandstone wall with ridges carved into it as the wind picked up and blew threw my hair leaving some sand for me to find on my pillow the next morning. Brochures and textbooks tell us how nature’s carved out this work of art over the years, but nothing quite brings it all into perspective until you feel the wind sweeping along the canyon walls.Adam Fricke setting up a time lapse at The Wave

Adam set up a time lapse while I wandered out to the front again to admire in person what I had admired behind my desk for 4 years. The Wave is truly nature’s work of art and it’s hard express in words, and even photos, the true majesty and beauty of this place. The long and confusing hike out there makes seeing the curving lines along the canyon lines with the best colors painted on the sandstone rock so much more worth it. With so many people trying to see The Wave for themselves, it’s becoming harder and harder to win a permit. So if you find yourself with a case of wanderlust or want to come close to seeing The Wave in person, Adam and I made this for you.Windows 7 desktop background of The Wave

Welcome to The Wave

How to Stay Clean on the Road

This post is sponsored by Epic Wipes, their heavy duty wet wipes are a great way to stay clean while traveling or get clean real quick after a big day of exploring. And be sure to check out their kickstarter campaign on their website.

Summer road trip season’s upon us along with backpacking, camping, beach, festivals, mountain biking, and all around outdoor season. Let’s face it, there’s nothing holding us back from going outside and having fun. Three days of sleeping out of your car, you probably start to smell that all too familiar funky smell. You know what I’m talking about.Epic Giant Wet Wipes help you stay clean on the road

After days of fun with no showers, you lift your arms and catch a whiff of what you hope is the person standing next to you, but it’s not, that repulsive stench is coming from you. You quickly try to cover it up with deodorant and go on with the fun, knowing full well in the back of your head that you smell terrible.

Here are a few, less expensive, ways you can cure that funk while you’re on the road this summer.

Sink Bath

There’s nothing glamorous about this and chances are you won’t get a heap of like on Instagram if you take a photo of this momentous occasion. Grab a small bottle of shampoo and head into the bathroom of a chain coffee shop or fast food joint. Get your hair wet and start scrubbing.While you’re there, you might want to take a stab at cleaning your pits and nether regions. That is where a lot of the stench is coming from, after all. Bypass the paper towels and go for the hair dryer, if available.

Doing this in a big box retailer that sells soap and shampoo may get you stopped by security.

Creek/River/Lake Shower

All the creeks and rivers are flowing into lakes in the summer. The cold water running off the mountains makes for one, let’s call it refreshing, shower. If this is the way you’re going to get clean, make sure you’re using soap that’s designed for this and that won’t pollute the environment.

Rain Shower

They don’t call them summer showers for nothing. Throw on your swimsuit when the rains come a pourin’ and later up in the street. Again, make sure the soap you’re using won’t pollute the environment.

Wet Wipe Bath

Getting clean using baby wipes is always a go-to alternative. The only problem is that you burn through multiple wipes to get clean. I like to use Epic Wipes. These things are gigantic and you’ll only need one to wipe off that funky smell. They’re also portable making it a no brainer to throw one, or a few, in your bag.Epic Massive Wet Wipes help you stay clean on the road

Deal With the Funk

Eventually you’ll get used to your smell and chances are no one else around you cares because they’re possibly being offended by their own terrible smell.

This post is sponsored by Epic Wipes. Product was provided as compensation and all thoughts are my own.

They Don’t Want Us to Win – So We Goin’ Win More

Back in Nashville my friend Ben talked about DJ Khaled’s Snapchat account. He said DJ Khaled’s pretty funny, but also inspirational. I immediately started following him and since February I’ve been watching DJ Khaled’s snaps religiously when I have cell service. He’s all about making sure we win, staying away from they, and winning more. Oh and making sure you never play yourself; whatever that means.Sunset at San Clemente State Beach

A couple weeks ago my life changed. No one close to me died and I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer. Instead I lost my home, my mode of transportation, and the way I make a living. A valet driver drove my sprinter van into a parking garage that didn’t yield enough clearance for my van. The reason I had to valet it is because I couldn’t fit my van in there on my own, but apparently the valet driver thought he could. Either way, 3+ weeks of repairs and thousands of dollars of damage was caused.

This created a huge fiasco for my brother and me and kept us holed up in Scottsdale, AZ dealing with insurance companies, insurance adjusters, repairs shops, and a bunch of other things we’d rather to have never dealt with.

On Tuesday I seriously thought about throwing in the towel, calling it quits, and going back home with my tail between my legs. That’s they talking, according to DJ Khaled. They want me to fail. They don’t want me to win and I was starting to listen to they.

In order to stand out from the rest you have to do something to stand out from the rest. We live in a noisy world and we have to do something crazy to stand out. It’s almost like we have to figuratively scream the loudest in order to get through the noise.

Quitting to go back home because the road got rough would be doing easy and safe. Listening to they, admitting defeat, and settling for average.

Fast forward to Saturday and I was packing up our rental RV with Adam. Somehow, with a little help from our friends, we found a way to rent an RV while the Sprinter Van’s getting fixed so that we don’t lose more time on the road.

Quitting is easy, but dreams never come easy. If that were the case all dreams would come true. That’s what I’m learning. Just because the road looks smooth doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take that road.

They Don’t Want Us to Win – So We Goin’ Win More – DJ Khaled

The Anatomy of Coffee

Coffee has never been a big deal to me. When we’d run out of coffee in the office, I didn’t really care and I’d sit back and watch my fellow coworkers start pacing, wondering if the world was going to come to an end. That’s all changed after moving into a van full-time. Mornings that start with coffee tend to go a little smoother than mornings without and I’m not proud of this basic move of mine, but dang Gold Status at Starbucks feels so good.

There’s no way I’d call myself a coffee connoisseur, all I know is I want it dark and bold, filled to the top because cream and sugar just takes away from the au naturel taste of coffee. One thing I have noticed is that coffee has an anatomy. There are five distinct layers to coffee that should never go overlooked and should always be recognized for the ultimate coffee drinking experience.The Anatomy of Coffee by The Weekend Warrior

Ouch That’s Hot!

The cute barista hands you your coffee and you cannot wait to feel that strong jolt of caffeine in the morning. You take a sip and spit it all over here because you couldn’t tell it was hot by the steam flowing out the top. That’s one way to get her attention, I guess, but next time you may want to slow down and start with Hello, my name’s (insert name here). What’s yours?

Almost There…

We’ve established that freshly brewed coffee if piping hot, but it’s never clear when it’s at the right taste of enjoyment. Instead you wait a while and take a small sip. You clinch your face from the hotness, but it’s not so hot that you’re able to choke it down, killing the nerves in your mouth and giving yourself a case of heartburn in the process.

Sweet Nectar of the Gods

This is what we’ve been waiting for people! The middle of the coffee is where it’s at. You’ve peeled back the layers of hotness and you’ve found that sweet spot that elevates your day, mood, and life. I swear, if Obama, the leaders of ISIL, and Kim Jong-un could meet and this is the only liquid served, the world would be a peaceful and perfect place again.

Beginning of the End

You’ve grown comfortable with the Sweet Nectar of the Gods and in doing so, you’ve let the end grow cold. You thought it’d last forever, but good things must come to an end. Rather than sipping on that Sweet Nectar to the very end you find yourself chugging semi-warm coffee.

Grounds!

There’s no denying it. It doesn’t matter who brewed it or how great it was. You’re always going to come across coffee ground at the bottom of your cup, mug thermos, or whatever drinking apparatus you use. There are only two ways around them. Leave them at the bottom with some liquid or grow a mustache that’ll act as a filter.

Vanlife Lows are Better Than Office Highs

My van, Jolene is in the shop again. At the beginning of March she needed a new EGR Valve, two weeks ago she needed a new air mass flow sensor, and now a motor mount broke which ricocheted and messed things up even more. Every time she’s in the shop I’m brought down to my lowest of lows. It’s hard to get excited about where I am, what I’m doing, and the life I’m living.Vanlife Lows are Better Than Office Highs

No one likes it when their car breaks and is in the shop. They’re out of an easy form of transportation. Think of having your only means of transportation and house being worked on all at the same time without any access to either. That’s what this is like. I’m out of control, have to make quick plans so I don’t end up on the street at night, and have to completely adjust my life. Then once all that’s said and done, I have to fork over a briefcase full of Benjamins just to get my girl back and life moving forward again.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought about quitting. Throwing in the towel, calling it quits on this whole dream life of a year to move back east and get another safe office job. That’d be easy and would possibly be the “safe” thing to do.

When I had a desk job and had a great day in the office, I was capped at a certain point. It felt like there was this glass ceiling where I could see more, what I wanted, but it was unattainable. Work was just something to provide a steady paycheck with benefits that brought along with it some happiness.

My friend Megan said it best when we were in Big Sur. The lows on the road are so much lower, but the happiness potential is so much greater. I’d even venture to say that the happiness potential is infinite. At least with the low moments, like handing over Jolene’s keys to the mechanic, there’s a bottom. They’re definitive and unless things really go awry, something else in the past has been harder to overcome. The flipside is that something better’s on the horizon and the potential for that is infinite.

Vanlife may not be the answer to your happiness though. With those lows it’s given me a ton of joy, but breakdowns, tracking down a safe place to sleep every night, working in coffee shops for hours on end, little stability, and having a finite income (to name a few) may not be your idea of fun. That’s totally cool, whatever is your idea of fun, it’s worth chasing. At least that’s what I think. Sometimes it might be scary, seem impossible, or bring you to some dark places but it’s worth it.

Those infinite high moments are so worth it.

What Makes Something Highly Illegal?

The other morning Adam and I were hanging out with our friends Megan and Michael. We were putting together a tentative plan for the upcoming week. They’re from California and know some of the best spots and were leading the charge. While Megan was looking up camping locations she stumbled across different activities to do around the Central Coast and it said boldly on a page that

Cliff Jumping is Highly Illegal.Cliff Jumping is Highly Illegal

We all had a good belly laugh, not that someone would jump off a cliff, but we were all wondering what made something highly illegal rather than just being illegal. If you’ve ever planned an outdoor outing and did some research or noticed a sign on the highway saying it’s highly illegal to litter chances are you too had a belly laugh and wondered the same thing.

After careful consideration (and a few beers) I’ve been able to decipher, for all of us, what makes something illegal and highly illegal.

Illegal

This is something stupid that the 5-0 can slap you with a fine. Do you live in a town where you can’t mow your lawn between the hours of noon and two on the second Wednesday of the month where there’s more than six letters in the name of said month? Chances are you’ve done something illegal and quite possibly got slapped with a fine for mowing your lawn.

Highly Illegal

Think of the worst consequence out there, aside from death. It’s probably jail, right? That’s what gives something that status of being highly illegal. In this case jumping off a cliff is so frowned upon that you can go to jail over that. Then again, you might jump and never come back. So don’t jump off a cliff…even if your friends are doing it.

Bonus

Legal

What makes something legal? Of course doing no harm to yourself or someone else is the obvious answer. But if you want to have a little that’s also a little risky…

Don’t Get Caught!

The Price of Fun

 We loaded our packs on our backs and started the one-mile hike over the sand dunes to our campsite. Adam and I got to White Sands National Monument later in the day and had last choice of backcountry campsites. A mile hike isn’t bad, but the weather decided to make us work for our fun.The Price of Fun in White Sands National Monument New Mexico

The two of us hate wind, with a passion. It can be a beautiful day and our moods turn sour with a constant wind of even 10mph+. That’s what happened at White Sands National Monument; except the winds were 20mph with gusts of 30mph+. It was miserable. Still we walked out to our backcountry site hoping to get some awesome shots of a lit up tent with a starry night in the background.

In pictures, you could’ve seen smoke coming out of my ears, but the wind blew it away. The tent was blowing in the wind as we tried to get it staked down. Snot started flowing out of my nose from the cold wind. Finally, we had the tent secured down to the hard gypsum sand. The dunes were glowing with colors as we clicked off some photographs of the fading light.

For some reason I had a hope that the wind would die out as the night grew darker. That turned out to be a dream that would never come true. Gypsum sand swirled around all night and the wind only started blowing harder. I’m amazed my 3 person tent didn’t snap from the wind. By 8:00pm it was evident that we weren’t going to get any photos that night. Sand was bound to get into the nooks and crannies of our cameras, ruining them, and they’d topple over if we get up our tripods in hopes of getting some star trails.

One thing I’ve begun to pride myself with is being able to fall asleep anywhere. It started out warm, so I didn’t even bother to blow up my sleeping pad, but the ground got colder and somehow I slept like a baby when I wasn’t tossing and turning. Adam, on the other hand, got beat up all night by the tent pole near him that kept on getting lifted by the wind.

The morning light didn’t make things much better. It got colder over night and the wind was bitter cold without the sun’s rays beating down on me. I grabbed a couple pictures and walked back to the tent, fighting the wind and sand to get Adam up. Right when he was done grabbing pictures; we packed up and got the heck out of there. Accepting defeat, my head hung as we crossed the tall sand dunes back to the van.

For the longest time I’ve debated whether the monetary cost of a trip would be worth the reward of a great time. Countless times I turned down a good time because I wanted the money to get all moldy in my bank account.

Now there’s a new price of fun and that’s the weather. It’s like the weather’s saying Hey! I see you wanting to have a fun time. Respect. But I’m going to make you earn it. Now it’s you’re choice: will you earn it and enjoy yourself or will you accept defeat and hate everything about where you are and what you’re doing?

I think we all place a price on fun, whether it be monetary, how much we have to work for it, or even a specific suffer factor. Whatever our price is, it’s up to us to take advantage of our chance to have fun and not let a moment pass us by because of the cost. Whatever that cost might be.

6 Things to do at the Windsurfing Capital of the USA

We rolled into Padre Island National Seashore and nabbed a camp site at Bird Island Basin. We had learned at the Visitor Center that it’s chill there and cheap, $2.50 cheap if you have a National Parks Pass. Within an hour of setting up camp (parking the van), our neighbor let us know that we were staying at the windsurfing capital of the USA. The winds there are strong, the water doesn’t get too choppy, the water isn’t very deep, and windsurfers from all over (even Canada) make their way to Bird Island Basin to cruise with the wind.

We had no idea!

Adam and I surf, but we’ve never tried windsurfing. There were strong winds in the forecast and windsurfers started piling in. We had an absolute blast there, even though we’re not into windsurfing. Should you find yourself at the Wind surfing Capital of the USA and in the same boat as us, here are 6 fun things to do.

Learn how to windsurf

Wind surfing looks like a hoot. I wish Adam and I had stayed a little longer and came strapped with a little more cash for a wind surfing lesson. Since the lagoon’s fairly shallow, it’s one of the best places to learn how to windsurf. If I ever find myself back there, I’m definitely spending the extra dough to learn how to windsurf.

Take pictures and/or videos of windsurfersWindsurfing at Bird Island Basin Padre Island National Seashore

Watching the windsurfers skip across the water, jibe, and make their turn is a sight to see. Make some memories and take photos or videos. Any camera setup will work, of course, but if you have a lens that’s 400mm+, you’ll be happy. Windsurfers go far out and you need a long lens to capture the moment when they’re far off shore. Make sure you have a high shutter speed, like 1/2,000 high. You want to freeze the action and every drop of water, unless you’re going for a motion blur image, and that’s a whole new animal.

Watch the sunrise over the dunesSunrise over the Bird Island Basin Campground dunes at Padre Island National Seashore

Sunrises at Bird Island Basin are gorgeous. I’m terrible and waking up early enough to catch a sunrise and I managed to drag myself out of the van both morning we were there to see the sunrise. It starts out with all the crazy orange tones and golden hour quickly follows. Photographers will love this place, it might even be worth it to have a model friend come out with you and strike a few poses.

Then watch the sunset over the lagoonSunset over Padre Island National Seashore

Sunset happens in reverse order with golden hour casting this perfect golden light and there’s pristine light right after the sun goes down. Scout a location you want to shoot and then wait for the moment and get to snapping. You’ll love it.

Read a book or write in your journalRelaxing at Bird Island Basin Campground

It’s so peaceful at Bird Island Basin. There’s another campground right off the beach and that one’s much more populated. Bird Island Basin’s very quiet and everyone there does their own thing. Creativity seems to flow off the lagoon because our creativity and thoughts were through the roof while we were there.

Hangout with everyone at the campground

When we were camped out, everyone there was awesome. We could walk along the shore and start a conversation with the RVers and campers there, and we did! Everyone there had a different story and just wanted to shoot the breeze. It was awesome and we made some new friends while we were there. Hopefully we’ll be meeting up with one of them in Big Bend National Park and another in Iowa.

Have you camped out at Bird Island Basin and left the windsurfing to the windsurfers? What other ideas would you add?

The Traveler’s Currency

Wait. What state number is this for you? What’s been your most fun experience on the trip so far? Have you had any close calls? What’s next? How are you and your brother doing?

It’s been exactly a month and a half since setting out on the road and those are some of the questions I get. Most of the time I like to think I have a good story to tell. It really depends on how great my memory’s working that day. Hunkering down for the night at a truck stop in Alabama to wait out a storm that was spewing tornados left and right happened maybe a week or two ago and is a little more fresh on my mind than when my brother crashed and burned, hard, skating down a steep hill in North Carolina.The Traveler's Currency on The Weekend Warrior

Lots of my friends have been very welcoming and have opened their homes to a couple of stinky brothers looking for a fresh shower and a place to do some laundry, and hangout with friends, of course. In this situation I don’t have much to offer in return for their kindness. The most I have to offer are stories and it seems like that’s more than enough.

Stories are the currency of travelers. Almost everyone loves to travel for different reasons: collect things, the thrill of not knowing anyone, seeing different sights, getting away from bosses, learning to put down the phone, reconnect with oneself, etc. That’s a short list of why we travel, but the one thing we want most when we travel is to collect stories.

We love to collect and tell those stories. That’s part of the reason I wanted to do this yearlong road trip. I wasn’t living a great story, in my opinion, and I needed something more. Something had to change in order for me to live a better story. Little did I know that these stories I’m collecting would turn into some form of currency.

Stories, they don’t carry a monetary value. They aren’t much to offer to someone letting me into their home, but I like to think it’s worth something. I like to think that a story is the traveler’s currency.

5 Ways to Enjoy Singles Awareness Day

As February 14th rolls around, it becomes even more apparent as to who’s single. While all the married, engaged, dating, and people who are trying to break out of the friend zone are out buying flowers, chocolates, and anything that’s covered in red and pink, those of us who are single are left out of the mix. That’s why Valentine’s Day is also known as Singles Awareness Day.

It’s a pretty cool day to see other relationships take off, evolve, improve, or keep on keeping on, but it can be a sad day for us single folk, if we become envious of everyone else in a relationship. When Singles Awareness Day, February 14th, rolls around this year, make it your day and enjoy yourself.

Here are some great ways to enjoy yourself if you’re single on Singles Awareness Day:

Take a day outsideAdam Fricke enjoying a hiking trail in Louisiana

Find a new trail to hike or run and get away. There’s a new game I learned called: Mad, Sad, Anxious, Glad. It’s a “game” my friend would use when he worked at a camp to help campers process things and it’s actually super applicable to all of us. Ask yourself repeatedly what you’re mad about, then move on and ask yourself what’s been making you feel sad, then anxious (or stressed), and finally happy. As you go through the whole process you’ll hopefully start to see that the things that might be bumming you out are completely out of your control and that there are a TON of reasons to be happy.

Depending on where you are and how cold it is, you can also do this at the beach, by a lake, while ice fishing, snow shoeing, climbing, or surfing. Just get outside and let nature do its thing with a little help from you.

 

Sit by a campfireJustin Fricke The Weekend Warrior sitting by a campfire enjoying a Mike's Hard Lemonade

I am man/woman, hear my roar! Or the fire I built with my bare hands and a lighter roar. It’s still a little chilly out there and a nice campfire is a great way to keep warm at night or throughout the day. Grab a Mike’s Hard Lemonade and enjoy a book between stoking the fire. Invite a friend over for some company, too. A fire is always more enjoyable with another person. Have them bring a six pack over, just be smart with the consumption. I mean you are messing with actual fire.

Have a party

Nobody likes to be alone on Singles Awareness Day, so invite some friends over or invite some friends to go with you on your outing. I like to entice them with a pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and make it an unforgettable experience. Whether it be a hike to a glacial lake, campfire at your house, or just a trip to the beach to relax, get some friends together (single or taken) and have some fun together.

Take a mini road trip

Road trips are a piece of Americana, like apple pie, a right of passage and they get the gears in our minds turning. Take a little road trip by yourself. Go for a drive with plans to return home the next day. No destination, turn back when you want, and go see whatever catches your eye. Let it be a mind bending experience and a time to rejuvenate your soul and most of all, enjoy being with you.

Find a place on a postcardPostcard view of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Have you ever visited a place you’ve seen on a postcard? If you have then you can agree with me that it’s a surreal experience. And if you haven’t, this would be a perfect day. Find your favorite postcard from an area you live, put it in your pocket, jump in your car, and go to that spot. When you get there make sure you hold up the postcard and get some pictures. Cover it up so the postcard becomes the scene or put it right beside the scene that’s on the postcard.

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy Singles Awareness Day (or Valentine’s Day).

 This post is sponsored by Mike’s Hard Lemonade. While I was compensated, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Always drink responsibly.