#30 – Read Moby Dick

I’ve had this book on my reading list since High School.  I love reading, and for the most part, I like the American classics.  This one never made it on my bookshelf though, so I figured now was the perfect time.  I’m tagging this as complete even though I still have a bit to go.  Overall, I’ve really enjoyed, although I admit that at times it is difficult to understand.  Still a great book and I would definitely recommend it!

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#29 – Fix my marriage proposal

Yea, I know this one is odd, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  25 years ago on Christmas day, 1994, I proposed to my wife.  It was possibly the worst marriage proposal ever.  At the time, I thought it would be funny, and a departure from the time-honored tradition of taking a knee and asking for her hand.  Instead, I wrapped the ring up in a stupid Wedding Planner software box, shoved it in a cheap suitcase and made her put the ring on (ironically while she was on her knee) and then come over to me before I mumbled “So, will you?”  Several people knew of my plan, and I wish one of them had simply said, “Dude, just get on your knee and ask the girl!”, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.  This was all on me and my fear of looking foolish in front of people.

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Therefore, I decided to make it right.  Thankfully, my wife has stuck by me for the last 25 years and I felt that, what better time that Christmas morning on the anniversary of our engagement to surprise her again?  I know it’s impossible to fix what I had already done, but I set out to give her a memory that will hopefully provide a better story for many years to come.  So, if you want to hear the story, you’ll have to ask her.   🙂

#26, #27 and #28 – Spend a day alone with God, Snowshoeing and Sleeping in a Yurt

I’m all about efficiency.  Well, that may be an exaggeration, but I’ve definitely found that there were several opportunities to combine items on my list.  This particular one knocked off three!

In the hustle and bustle before the holidays, I decided that would be the best time to unplug and spend a little time with God.  Many people hear the voice of the Almighty in the roar of the ocean, the laughter of a child or the cry of a newborn baby.  Me?  I hear Him most in the whispering of the pines.  I’ve always felt closest to God when I’m in the outdoors far away from the din of society, and unfortunately, I just don’t do it enough.  But on this day, I strapped on some snowshoes (which as a native of Colorado I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never done), headed up to the high country near Mt. Evans and just spent time praying, listening and enjoying God’s creation.  I hiked a couple of miles on a trail and then around a lake.  It truly was food for my soul and I’m reminded why I need to do it more often.

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To continue the theme of unplugging, I found a place that rented out yurts year round.  Ever since I saw a yurt on the “How It’s Made” TV program, I’ve been wanting to sleep in one.  This one was very simple; it had a double bed, a combo futon/bunk bed and a heater, and not much else.  After my hike and a quick dinner, I settled in and spent time reading, praying and just enjoying a few more hours of uninterrupted solitude.  It was a near perfect day and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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#25 – Ring a Bell for The Salvation Army

This was an easy one.  Every year, I pass by the bell ringers, maybe put a little something in the kettle, wish them a Merry Christmas and think to myself, “I should do that someday!”  What better time than now?  It was really easy to sign up on their website, and I was able to pick a local grocery store.  I was fortunate that I had a pleasant, albeit chilly, evening, but it was a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone!  I know I’ll be doing it again.  🙂

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#23 & #24 – Ride an ATV / Shoot a .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle

When I started writing this list, shooting a .50 caliber sniper rifle was one of the first things I wanted to do, however, it took a little more thought.  I’ve had the pleasure to shoot many different kinds of weapons, mostly thanks to the Marine Corps.  Even though I wasn’t infantry, I was fortunate enough to get put in a position where we supported the grunts, and on occasion, we got a chance to join them on the range.  But, I never got my hands on a long distance rifle such as the Barrett M82.  When I started searching for places to shoot, of course Las Vegas popped up immediately, as would be expected.  One of the first places I landed was called Bullets and Burgers, and the first offering I looked at was an ATV tour with a shooting package!  I took that as a sign, and with my wife’s blessing, decided to setup a “guys weekend” to go with a couple of friends.  I knew this would be a lot of fun and would knock a couple off my list, and as I’m not much of a gambler, I knew it would be relatively inexpensive, all things considered.

I got with my good friend Jeff and cousin Tyler and we settled on a weekend in October that worked for all of us.  I had a couple more buddies that I wanted to have come, but as is often the case, we just couldn’t make it work.  We had a great time, filled with some good dinners, a run through the Star Wars VR adventure at The Void (which is ridiculously fun), zip-lining over Fremont street, and of course shooting and ATV riding.  We got to ride in a monster truck before setting off on the tour, and that was about the most intense 2 minutes in a vehicle that I’ve ever experienced!!!

All in all, we really had a great time and we’re already trying to figure out our next adventure!  Here’s a short video I put together from our trip:

#22 – Another Concert at Red Rocks

When building this list, I thought of things that I had either never done, or used to enjoy and hadn’t done in a long time.  In this particular case, I really wanted to see another concert at Red Rocks.  If you’ve never been there, you just don’t know what you are missing.  Between the spectacular natural beauty, incredible sound created by the amphitheater, or awe-inspiring views of the city, I would argue there is no better venue for a concert.  In high school, I saw many concerts here, like Iron Maiden, Bryan Adams, The Hooters, among others, and I was fortunate enough to see Stevie Ray Vaughn perform here about a year before he died.

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When perusing their calendar for the summer, I couldn’t really decide on who to see.  I had initially settled on Chris Tomlin, who was having a 2-day stint there, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work.  So, I kept looking and found a group called Get the Led Out.  They are a Led Zeppelin tribute band and I’ve been wanting to see them for awhile.  I’ve heard many good things, so I pulled the trigger and got us tickets.  My nephew Eric and niece Danielle were there as well, and we managed to get pretty good seats.

The weather was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  The show itself was incredible.  If you closed your eyes, you almost felt like you were transported back to the 70s and were listening to Zeppelin live and at their best.  They made it a point to tell everyone that they weren’t simply a “cover” band, but they were huge fans of the band.  It reflected in their music and we had a great time.

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And if you are ever thinking to yourself, “Man, I’m too old for rock concerts”, I want you to look at this guy rocking out with his walker and then kick yourself in the ass for ever having such a thought!!!

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#21 – Visit Bandimere Again

Bandimere Speedway, or better known as Thunder Mountain, is a staple in Colorado.  While I never was much of a mechanic, most of my friends in High School all had various muscle cars or trucks they worked on, and they would occasionally race them up there and I would tag along to watch.  It’s a lot of fun watching souped up amateurs careen down a 1/4 mile strip trying their best to take 1/1000 of a second off their times.  The last time I was there, however, was in High School, over 30 years ago.  I decided I needed to go back, and as Matt really likes car, I figured he’d love it. 

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My folks have a really neat guy that lives across the street from them named Sean.  He’s a car nut if I’ve ever seen one.  I’ve gotten to know him the past few years and heard tales of his Camaro, Corvette, and his latest toy, a fox body Mustang tearing up the track.  Let me tell you, this is no ordinary Mustang.  He’s done a bunch of work on it, and it flies.  So much so that he has to have a parachute on the back!  Anyway, it finally worked out where I could go watch him on “open” night.  Basically, that means anyone, and I mean anyone, can run their car down the track as long as the pay an entrance fee.  So, we saw no less than 10 Corvettes in all shapes and sizes; old and new Mustangs, Chargers, Challengers; of course the classics like Chevelles, Novas, and Barracudas; and a few head-scratchers, like the Nissan Pathfinder and the Microbrew Delivery Mini-Van.  Matt really got a kick out of it, and there were only about 20 spectators, so we basically had the run of the place.

When Sean finally made his way up there, he told me he was shooting for under 9 seconds.  After watching most of these cars land somewhere between 10.5 and 18 seconds, I was anxious to watch him run.  You can see the video here and here, but he barely missed it.  He did it 9.08 seconds at 158 MPH the first time and 9.15 at 158 MPH the second time.  It was damn impressive.  He said he’s still doing some tweaking, but I feel pretty confident that with the right conditions, he’ll be able to nail it.  It was a fun night and Matt now wants to go back and watch some actual races, so we’ll probably grab Aiden soon and make that happen!

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