Fifth Leg: LiB > Denver

After a truly magical weekend at Lightning in a Bottle, it was time to rest for a couple of days at my parents’ house in Santa Barbara before making the journey back to Denver.

Although it’s a long drive (15 hours or so, depending on how many times I stop), it’s incredibly beautiful. I stopped at the Kelso Dunes for the night to break up the drive a bit. I hiked to the top of the dunes as the sun rose, then continued on my way.

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It’s difficult for me to not stop a million times while driving through Utah. There are just so many breathtaking views that can’t be passed up.

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Now you see ’em.

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And now you don’t.

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Made it back home!

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Fourth Leg: Lightning in a Bottle

After 3 nights of camping out near Mammoth and boarding with the fam, we parted ways. I drove straight from Mammoth to the San Antonio Lake Recreation Area for the one and only Lightning in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival.

This year was by far the best year of LiB yet, IMO. The lake was full of water that was the perfect temperature for swimming, the music lineup was phenomenal, and, as always, the people were friendly, inviting, and fun to be around. It also helped that I was camped with the raddest group of people.

I wrote a “Soundtrack to LiB” article for Dancing Astronaut, which you can read here:

Dancing Astronaut’s Soundtrack to LiB 2017

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Third Leg: SB to Mammoth

It was great to be back in Santa Barbara for a while, but the time came, as it is known to do sometimes, for me to leave again. However, I can’t complain when I leave one paradise just to end up at another.

While I was driving the Red Van and the sun was just starting to set on the hills behind Mojave, the back right tire blew up on me. It was the first time I’d ever been driving while a tire exploded, and it was rather exciting. Luckily, the Red Van has a full spare tire, so we just swapped the tires and were on our way within 30 minutes. Also, the clouds were beautiful – it was nice to stop for a bit and take them in.

That night we parked on the side of a dirt road next to Keough Hot Springs to camp out and soak in the springs. The hot springs felt amazing and the stars were out in full force. Maybe I’ll get to editing these pictures at some point, to make the stars really pop. In the first picture below, you can see a line created by a shooting star that fell during the time lapse.

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Spent the next few days boarding with my family during the day and camping out at different hot springs at night.

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Good thing I brought my onesie. My regular boarding clothes would’ve been way too hot.

 

Clancy got creative with the lunch-break setup.

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There was still plenty of snow even though it was 60+ degrees on the mountain every day.

#SprinterPorn #PlusMyGirlTrinity

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The Sprinter is a worthy addition to the family.

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Second Leg: Mammoth to Santa Barbara

After a weekend of nonstop cracking cold ones with the boys, I drove to my hometown of beautiful Santa Barbara. One of the main reasons I was hesitant to move to Colorado was because I grew up next to the ocean, and the farthest I’ve ever lived from it was during my time at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo – a whole five miles away! From the last time I saw the ocean, back in January, until I got to Santa Barbara in May may have been the longest I’d ever been away from the ocean. No regrets about moving away, but it sure was nice to see it and be in it again.

I went on hikes almost every day I was back, including Inspiration Point with Marcus (above), Seven Falls a handful of times, usually solo, and Tangerine Falls with my brother Clancy (below). Rock-hopping is one of my favorite physical activities, so when we found that the creek below Tangerine Falls still had plenty of water, I was beyond stoked!

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While rock-hopping is great on its own, having a reward like a cold creek-shower and a view like the one at the top of the falls makes it even more fun. We decided to scramble up to the top of the falls (100+ feet), to get the view, but the sketchy/reward ratio for that climb is way too high to do it every time.

I loved living in the Rocky Mountains this winter – especially once I quit my job and could go on day-trips to Copper or Winter Park on any given day – and am loving it almost as much during the summer. However, there will always be a special place in my heart for the paradise that is Santa Barbara.

Besides enjoying the outdoors and cracking more cold ones with the boys, I went up to San Luis Obispo with my parents to pick up my Mom’s brand new (to her) Mercedes Sprinter. She’s been dreaming about this for years and years and finally made it happen! It was so great to see her fulfill a decades-long dream of hers.

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While up in SLO, we stopped by my brother’s jazz concert. He is a killer keyboard player and overall spectacular musician.

First Leg: Denver to Mammoth

In May and June of 2017, I took a three-week road trip that saw me drive about 3,500 miles with Trinity, my trusty 2003 Toyota Matrix. The first leg of this trip was driving from Denver – through Utah and Nevada – to Mammoth Lakes, California for the 2nd Annual Mammy Slammer (with the boys).

I drove most of the 1,000 mile leg the first day, but decided to stop for the night along Highway 120 near Benton Hot Springs. I stopped away from Mammoth for the night mostly because I wanted to get the view across the valley for the sunrise, and it did not disappoint. It took a lot of willpower to not stop every five minutes for more pictures.

Made it to Mammoth. Let the 2nd Annual Mammy Slammer commence!

 

Can’t Wait

I realized this morning that one of the most important yet subtle shifts in my life since embarking on my full-time creative journey is that I’m no longer constantly looking forward to the next thing or event or change to come. My life is no longer a series of “I can’t wait for _____.”
 
Of course I have had periods of time in the past when I lived in the moment. However, this time I feel it shift the very foundation of my consciousness. There’s no turning back now, as if I’d have any desire to do so.
 
This realization is filling me with a new gratitude for each day; for each moment. I can finally live without the weight of time making everyday life a struggle. That alone would have made leaving the “normal” life worth it.

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Yewwwwwww! And just like that, my last day at IQMS, the company that has been exchanging money for my time and effort over the last two years since college, is in the bag. One and done. Over and out. End of this road. You get the idea – I’ve been waiting for this day for years.

Although rarely a week went by without fervently wishing to be free from it, I’m glad I did spend a good amount of time on the good ol’ fashioned grind, as it taught me more than I could have imagined about managing many different kinds of people and thriving under many different types of stress. Most importantly, however, was the heightened awareness of the facets of my life that I really care about.

After such a grueling year, during which I rarely had a chance to sink my teeth into what I consider to be the more important aspects of my life, now that I can, and will, be dedicating myself 100% to these, I feel like I have a much deeper appreciation of the opportunity to do so out of my own free will. I am embarking on this new journey with an unshakable trust in myself, fortified by these experiences, that lets me proceed knowing I will very rarely take the power of choice for granted again.

The 100+ flights that resulted in 100,000+ miles traveled in 2016 (more accurate number coming soon); the hundreds of “grown up” people I had to train, babysit, manage, convince, entertain, inspire, take valuable lessons or verbal/mental abuse from and/or manipulate for their own good – sometimes all in one trip; the hundreds of hours spent after-hours battling the ever-present specter of never-ending busy-work that always loomed over my consciousness; the numerous self-degrading, self-deprecating, and downright unhealthy habits and thought processes that unconsciously manifested themselves in my daily life; the slow, painful, and on-going process of eradicating those negative neural pathways through discipline and willpower….

All of it, I’m very happy to say with confidence, has resulted in a more resilient me that looks for the tough times ahead, knows that the most challenging and potentially meaningful ones cannot be seen yet, and says, while attempting to hold back a stupid grin, “Bring it the fuck on.”

Sincerely yours,

-Tobias