What I've Been Up To // October 2017


Fall seems to have finally arrived in Delaware and I couldn’t be more excited. Man was it touch and go there for a bit but the forecast (for now) shows the consistent 60 degree temps I’ve been waiting for. At least probably until I brought attention to it just now. 

Backyard camping

Jenni and I have already taken advantage of my favorite season with a few crisp morning hikes. Event spent a couple nights out in the tent. Sure, it was in the backyard but it was fantastic. Got down to high 30’s one night I believe.

I think some of my favorite days of Fall are these first few. There are some crunchy leaves fallen on the trails but most of the trees are still plenty green while the air is brisk. Just has a little bit of everything and makes for nearly perfect trail running and mountain biking.

Trail running

Oh and a new tradition I’ve started is greeting these cool mornings with a cup of coffee and a biscotti while rocking in the rocking chair on the back porch. I highly recommend you try it.

The Strenuous Life

While I’m working on a separate post solely on The Strenuous Life, I wanted to at least touch base on it because I’ve just spent the last 12 weeks living it. 

More specifically, I recently completed The Strenuous Life Challenge which is basically a 12-week boot camp designed to start you off strong in the program. You get out what you put in and honestly, just click the link above and you'll know quickly if it's for you. 


All I can say for now is that without a doubt, these last 12 weeks have been an incredible learning experience. And I’m continuing to learn more and be stretched in new ways every week. Huge hats off to Brett McKay and whoever helped him build this program.

New House

It’s not exactly new but we’re still in awe of how blessed we were to get this house. It just fits us in every way and we’re not taking it for granted.

One thing we love is the neighborhood and we’re currently gearing up for our first trick-or-treaters. Surprisingly enough, we’ve never lived anywhere that had them but we expect that to change this year. And I’ve bought a couple bags of the mini candies as well as some boxes of full size candy bars. Yup, we’re going to be ‘that’ house.

I’ve also been working on my office but it’s still not ready just yet. Here's a few select photos to give you an idea though.

So that should just about get you caught up with me, what's new with you? There's always something. Don't discount the minor things either.

Items of Want 046

I would love to see this poster framed in my home office. I've been taking things slow in decorating but so far, it's coming together extremely well. I was able to visit CW Pencils before they moved into their new location and there's just so much charm that it's hard not to find something that truly catches your interest. And while I don't know if they carried this poster back then, I'm glad I found it now.

Taylor Stitch Moto Jacket

I'm still currently without a motorcycle but when the right one comes along, you can bet your sweet bippy that you'll find me headed out for a daily evening ramble. I'm not thrilled with the idea of wearing just a generic motorcycle jacket, I want something that will take on character and ultimately pass down someday.

Comandante C40 Nitro Grinder

I was able to inspect this grinder in person while in Tulsa recently and even though I didn't try it with any beans, I immediately understood what all the fuss was about. Smooth doesn't even begin to describe this grinder. I really need to get serious about my coffee again...

Rachel Pohl Art "American Fork Twins" 3" Circle Sticker

Can't remember how I came across this but it's truly a stellar design. The vibrant colors are incredible and the scene makes me really want to get back in the mountains again. Elements of this scene remind me to being alone at 14,000 feet, waiting for the sun to come up. And then being gobsmacked when it did.

Filson Long Sleeve Upland T-Shirt

Yes, orange is probably my favorite color and yes, I really do love this shirt, but to be honest, I'm not sure how much I'd wear it out. I don't hunt and I don't like drawing attention to myself but gosh darn if this isn't one cool tee.

— Check out past Items of Want —

Solar Eclipse Totality

Note: I didn't publish this before going on the trip because I wasn't sure if it would work out. There were a lot of variables and there's a part of me that really hates showing the planning for something if it doesn't end up happening. That may be a bit backwards in thinking but I didn't want it to look like I was trying to get some sort of "social credit" for simply talking about doing a thing instead of actually doing it. Hope that makes sense. I plan to get better at this, much like Sean McCabe and his "Lambo Goal" idea.

About a month before the solar eclipse, I decided it was something I really should probably make a point to see. Even though I had the vacation time, I planned to make it a whirlwind of a trip. Drive down south, spend the night in a tent or the car, see the eclipse the next day, and drive home. Simple.

Luckily I somehow convinced my kid brother to tag along for the 1,400 mile drive which is good because he's a solid road trip partner and I knew he'd be up for driving and/or navigating. So I packed everything I could picture needing while my brother packed just an extra pair of socks and finalized our plan.


We left town Sunday after church and long drive short, showed up on some private land in North Carolina around 2 AM the next morning. We set up our tent and racked out. Didn't even set up the fly on account of it being so warm.

Waking up shortly after 8, we had some camp coffee and a Mountain House breakfast before buying time until the start of the eclipse. Of course it felt like any other day but at the same time a bit like Christmas Eve.


Before long, we were on top of a hill, staring through our special glasses and binoculars, watching the moon start its transit of the sun. It was exciting, even if the process was taking its sweet time. It was hot. And to stare at the sun, you have to be out in the sun.

I made a spot on the ground so I could lay on my back when totality was nearing. Just a camping ground pad with a backpack to prop up my head but it was super comfortable and I recommend you try it at the next solar eclipse.


Even though I spent a few minutes on and off staring at the sun for the better part of an hour, totality seemed to happen out of nowhere. Look, I could describe what I saw and felt during totality but it won't make any sense if you haven't experienced it yourself. I shot the video below on my iPhone and it's horrible. But I'm glad I hardly gave it any attention at all because I truly just enjoyed the moment. 

2 minutes and 12 seconds later, it was over. Well the fun part at least. We had to start the drive back home.


The eclipse was mindbendingly amazing.

Now for the nitty gritty...


Our initial plan was to rent a mini-van and drive down to South Carolina. We decided on the mini-van in case we needed to stealth camp in town somewhere. Our main focus was simply finding the closest point of totality to our homes with some back up locations further west. Right before the start of the trip, we adjusted our plans (due to weather) and settled on a spot in North Carolina. Turns out, a friend of ours had a place where we could crash for the night. And if necessary, we were still close to Tennessee so we could head west had the weather turned.

I have an old iPad 2 with a Verizon sim card and while I don't have service for it, the GPS still works perfectly. I downloaded a ton of offline Google Maps in case we didn't get cell reception and I'm glad I did because it ended up coming in very handy. The amount of people headed home after totality was bonkers. Gridlock everywhere. But my brother was able to find us some random side roads that connected and we were able to keep jumping ahead with relative ease. Some gravel roads here and there, a small North Carolina mountain pass, and a couple quiet neighborhoods led us to freedom. 

General Specifics



In the end, we settled on Murphy, NC but here were our other possible locations before we were able to lock down Murphy.

Primary Location

Duration of Totality: 2m38.4s

  • Start of partial eclipse (C1): 13:05:44.1
  • Start of total eclipse (C2): 14:34:26.7
  • Maximum eclipse: 14:35:46.0
  • End of total eclipse (C3): 14:37:05.1
  • End of partial eclipse (C4): 15:00:14.9
Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 10.37.29 AM.png

Alternate Location 01

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 10.36.14 AM.png

Alternate Location 02

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 10.36.49 AM.png

Alternate Location 03

  • Tellico Plains, TN
  • 1 hour 6 minute drive from Murphy, NC

Packing List

I totally overpacked but we were car camping and I had no idea what to expect. Would we have to sit on the highway for 3 days? Maybe. Leave the car and hike into totality? Possibly. I don't regret overpacking for this trip and I knew my brother didn't have any camping stuff so I made sure to bring extra.

[x] Trunk
[x] GR2

[x] Windshield phone mount
[x] Power inverter
[x] Miir water bottle
[x] Stanley thermos
[x] Snacks

[x] Lowa boots
[x] (3) Hiking socks
[x] Running shoes
[x] REI pants
[x] Kuhl pants
[x] Blue REI shirt
[x] Grey 32 deg shirt
[x] Heather grey ITS shirt
[x] OR hard shell
[x] (2) Exoficio underwear
[x] Filson hat

[x] Camp food
[x] Starbucks Via
[x] (2) Camp mugs

[x] MacBook Pro and charger
[x] USB Battery pack
[x] Apple Watch charger
[x] iPad and charger
[x] Jenni’s Headlamp (and spare batteries)
[x] External hard drive
[x] Olympus camera, lenses, charger
[x] AirPods

[x] REI Half Dome 2
[x] Tent footprint - Gossamer Gear Polycryo
[x] Sea to Summit inflatable ground pad
[x] Thermarest ground pad (2)
[x] NEMO Fillo
[x] Sleeping bag liner
[x] Camp stove and fuel
[x] Sporks (2)
[x] Aluminum plate
[x] Water container (5 gallon)
[x] Insect repellant
[x] Baby wipes
[x] Trowel
[x] Survival kit
[x] Small axe
[x] Sleeping bag
[x] Camp towel
[x] Inflatable lantern

[x] Deodorant
[x] Body glide
[x] Q-Tips
[x] Toothbrush
[x] Toothpaste
[x] Shower wipes
[x] Breathe Right strips
[x] Doc Bronners soap

[x] ENO Hammock
[x] evrgrn rocking chair
[x] REI camp seat
[x] Bear spray
[x] First Aid Kit
[x] Trauma Kit
[x] REI binoculars
[x] Eclipse - Binocular attachments
[x] Eclipse - (1) 2x binocular glasses
[x] Eclipse - (2) standard glasses
[x] (3) Trash bags
[x] (2) Baseballs and gloves

Things to do before leaving town:
[x] Download Google Maps areas offline (iPad)
[x] Download Google Maps areas offline (iPhone)
[x] Fill 5 gallon water jug


Shared Expenses

  • Rental Car: $170.61
  • Fuel: $137.33
  • Tolls: $13.91
  • Total Split: $160.91 each