Saturday, March 26, 2011

03/24/2011: First Days, Lessons Learned...

Greetings!  I can’t believe it’s day 4 on my trip already.  I’m currently at a Barnes and Nobles in Charleston, SC so I can update you all on the recent happenings.  This is the first chance that I’ve to really pause.  Like Newton’s Law of Motion, an object in motion tends to remain in motion. 

The first 2 days were especially interesting so I’m going to spend some time talking about that.  I’ve divided up the stories so you don’t necessarily have to read every thing but the titles which sound interesting to you.  While I’m benefiting a great deal from this trip, I want you to as well and it would be selfish of me to hold some of my thoughts and stories if I didn’t share them with you.      

Day 1: Boring, but full of lessons:

Lesson 1: Procrastination Actually Killed the Cat

I’ve always said that the 3 pillars to a strong work ethic are  1.) Being Organized  2.) Being Prepared 3.) Being energetic…excel at these and there isn’t a task you shouldn’t be able to perform.  I’ve also always said that the 3 pillars to a successful life are 1.) Having a strong work ethic 2.) Knowing yourself 3.) Your ability to have fun every step of the way.

Well, day one I already violated the first 2 rules of a strong work ethic…I was not organized or prepared. Apparently, 10 a.m. does not constitute as an ‘early start’ and I paid the price for that later by not making it to Nashville and being stuck in Knoxville that night.  I have a tendency to let the chips fall where they may and I don’t plan until I’m in the thick of things.  I’m better at this when it comes to greater things like retirement and savings but when it comes to trips and vacations, I’m terrible.  I feel like that’s part of the fun, not planning, and I didn’t want to limit myself in any way along the trail.    

Lesson 2: Follow Your Dreams w/ Logistics in Mind.

I went to my bank first that morning to notify them that I would be making some charges out of state, the teller responded to my trip plans by saying “oh so you had to quit your job to do this?  That’s um…in this economy?”  That was a polite way of saying “Dumbass”.  The early morning discouragement was met with an encouraging txt from one of my best friends who pointed out a passage in Ephesians and the day was on. 

I had the choice of going to either NC or Tennessee first.  Logistically, it made more sense to hit 77 off of 81 and head straight south into Greensboro where I had people I could have stayed with. But I really, really wanted to go to Nashville, regardless of whether it made sense, that was my dream, my itch, the thing I wanted right then and there.

I had already hit my first fork in the road, and while I was thinking this over I stopped by the town of Wytheville to see my buddy Anthony Reedy(works for Delegate Crockett-Stark) and I must say I was impressed with that little town.  I make jokes about there being nothing in SW VA, but I could live in a place like that.  I decided to irrationally go with my hearts desire and head for Nashville and halfway along realized it was a stupid decision.  I did, however, get to visit another Crockett is Morristown, home of my childhood hero, Davy Crockett, just an unexpected nice stop along the way (I made quite a few of those my first day).  I wanted to buy a coon-skin hat but believe it or not, they didn’t sell those anywhere in Morristown.     

If we greedily have to have something right then and there, we sometimes end up wasting valuable time.  We must always keep logistics in mind when chasing our dreams.  Nashville of course was a lot further than I imagined and I would have had to back track afterwards,  but I was really excited about it before I realized the stupidity in the going there first, so I decided to stop in Knoxville for the night.  It’s not that I won’t make it to Nashville, but timing isn’t there, there is another route I can take which doesn’t requiring any backtracking but it would require me waiting close to two weeks.  We must keep this in mind when it comes to the things we want in life, if the timing & logistics aren’t right, don‘t force it. 

After learning that I desperately needed to plan ahead better I made an attempt that night to do so, but fell asleep instead.  The next morning I woke up with a cold which I think is what has been slowing me up some.

Day 2 & 3: Billy Graham, A Bear, Charlotte, Demons & Devils

Billy Graham and His Cove:  One good aspect of not micromanaging the trip is that it allows God to move me in places and situations that rise unexpectedly.  I saw a sign off of Highway 40 for Billy Graham’s Seminary Training Center.  I had been ticked b/c I wanted to re-connect with my Cherokee roots earlier by going to the Cherokee Heritage Museum, but the lady at the Welcome Center misinformed me on the location of the place.  Had I gone, I wouldn’t have had the chance to spend the day at a place called “The Cove” where people come to get away from life’s pressures to spend a few days in a getaway full of nature of seminars preaching the Gospel. I ended up getting a nice tour of this place and was informed about a cool hike at the top of this gorgeous mountain which the seminary center was located in.    

Encounter With A Bear:

Once again I did not prepare, was not wearing hiking boots, I was wearing jeans and it was a hot day.  I usually take something to protect myself with when hiking but I figured this wouldn’t be a long trip and surely there would be tons of people on this trail.  Nope.  It wasn’t until I was a half hour in that I read a sign which said the hike to the peak takes 4 hours.  At this point I was already committed.  I also saw a sign which said to beware of black bears, if you see one, don't be startled but “enjoy the Lords magnificent creation”…are you kidding me?  I’ve read signs like that before and I brushed it off.  I completed the hike in just under 3 hours, every .5 miles they have emergency telephones in case of injury or if you’re too much of a wimp to finish the trail.  It was a steep hike up to the top.  I reached the deck which was built close to the peak and snapped a few photos.  As soon as I was finished, I heard some leaves be brushing on the small rocky hill behind me…I figured it was some more wild turkeys (a lot of those around)…nope…it was nice sized black bear heading right towards me.  I “marveled” at God’s creation for maybe 1.5 seconds before lowering my head and power walking down the mountain trail.  Of all times to see one, I was literally hours away from civilization, at least half a mile away from an emergency phone, unarmed, and by myself.  I probably made it back down the mountain and to my car in less than an hour!   

Close Encounter #2: Charlotte & The “Demon Possessed” Homeless Lady:

I arrived in Charlotte later that day.  I believe it has the most perfect downtown location.  Everything about that city was awesome.  It was the perfect blend of downtown residential, commercial and financial buildings…everything was within walking distance and the city was compacted so nothing was more than a half hour walk away at most.  There was little traffic and plenty of parking.  There were lots of people around but I oddly, I never had to wait in line for anything.  You could eat off the streets they were so clean, the people were friendly and the design was impeccable.  There were two very cheap, but good quality motels located on both the north and south end of the city which allowed visitors a close enough distance to walk anywhere.  I could see myself living there, the place was awesome.  I hit up a museum and didn’t really do much but stare at a lot of very cool structures. 

Homeless Lady:
I’ve been living off of a bag of Doritos & bananas up to this point so after checking into a cheap motel I decided to hit up this diner in Charlotte where nothing costed over 5 bucks…figured I needed some protein.  I was looking forward to a cheap 5 dollar meal when a woman, dressed in what looked like a table cloth stopped and asked me if she could sit with me at the diner…I thought this was an odd request so I tactfully declined saying “it had been a long day” (it was, I thought I was going to get attacked by a bear earlier!).  I felt the Lord pushing me into this awkward situation after it occurred to me that this woman was obviously homeless.  After all, she wasn’t pushy with me, so after I sat down and ordered my food I went back outside and invited her in.  I couldn’t eat by myself in front of her so I insisted that she order something, she was kind enough to order something light but I insisted that she get something like eggs (it keeps you full longer).  This woman was obviously insane, and please, read this with humor b/c I’m somewhat laughing as I type this b/c it is so ridiculous.  After talking with her for about 20 minutes I learned (according to her own words) that she was born in France, her family was ‘murdered’ 3 days ago, she wrote a lot of famous scripts for movies and songs, she’s had the same boyfriend for 30 years and they never got married, she was born in 1936 (even though I know for a fact she was no older than 50).  We got into some discussion on faith and while I wouldn’t call this person a hindu, she believed in reincarnation, etc. etc.  I shared with her what the Christian faith is.  She then asked me if I knew what it was like to have “someone living inside of you”…Me:  “ No Ma’am can’t say that I have that I’m aware of”.  She said that she had a “white woman living inside of her and she couldn’t tell anymore whether she herself was white or black” (she was black).  I KID YOU NOT. This is exactly what she said.  She would sometimes foam at the mouth and from time to time would spaz and make very odd sounds and then she'd be fine and almost normal.  You can imagine my extreme discomfort through this whole situation.    

I paid and left when she was halfway through her meal (Christ calls us to do radical things but I’m not an idiot, I planned it that way so she wouldn’t be able to follow me back.)  At one point she had asked me for my phone number so she could ‘get a hold of me’.  I told her that I didn’t give my number out to strangers, politely of course.  I wished her well and said a prayer for her as soon as I left the diner.  I opened my bible the next morning and landed on Luke 10 which was perfect for me since it dealt with going into different towns proclaiming the gospel and Christ’s power over demons.  This woman, Sandra, was probably addicted to cocaine and mentality unstable, or maybe she was possessed…who knows.  If I run into a situation like that again, I’ll know what to do. Unfortunately my 5.50 meal turned into 13.50…oh well, pay it forward.

Go Devils:
Okay, a lighter tale.  I stayed in Charlotte until noon the next day and then traveled some more.  Since I was a kid, I always wanted to go to school at Duke University so I drove up to Durham yesterday and just hung out around the campus and read some.  Durham was an okay place but the school was pretty sweet.  I also stopped by Chapel Hill…Camera died so I didn’t get any photos unfortunately.  I arrived in Charleston last night and slept in a hospital parking lot, which was not very comfortable but I highly recommend it since it was safer than a truck stop.  Next time, I think I'm going to try and see if I can sleep in one of the waiting rooms.  

Schew, Sorry if I wrote too much!  Thanks for reading.   



  1. Wow. I loved reading through this post. I was laughing out loud a little thinking of your expression when you were approached by the homeless woman at the diner. Especially after the bear incident.
    I'm impressed. Only less than a week into your trip and you've got awesome stories! Have been, and will be praying for your continued safety and growth along your way. And yes, I am still living vicariously through you. I'm just dissappointed we weren't able to meet up before you embarked.
    Keep up the good work!


  2. Joel I have heard you speak of some of these stories already but you forgot to tell me how you were tricked by a dirty Welcome Center Attendant while pursuing your Cherokee roots! I laughed real hard on that one. You have always been a proud Cherokee and its a shame that anyone would keep you from your history. So encouraged by your trip man and I know God is going to grow in you more and more through this process.