This got me thinking about when I first got started and I remembered a design I did for a motorcycle dealership back in 2001 that ended up leading to my first paid site. So even though I didn’t actually get paid for this one, it led to my first paid design. Here it is in all its glory:
Now, to get the full effect you have to see it on the web.archive because the clouds are an animated gif with lightning bolts. Thanks, Macromedia Fireworks!
It just amazes me how much back then felt like the wild west. You would copy/paste code from random forums, or peoples personal websites. No package managers, no great training resources. Just you searching for hours on how to solve problems. In some ways, I miss those days, but if I started fresh today I think it’d be so much easier.
Where I live (Charlotte, North Carolina) it’s hard to get off the grid. Most places have wifi, and we have cell coverage almost everywhere. That’s great if you work on the go or if you like to do adventurous stuff alone.
This past weekend I took the family camping in the Pisgah national forest and it was deep enough into the wood that we had zero cell coverage, no internet, nothing. We were completely isolated.
One of the downsides was food and directions. I didn’t bring food or a grill to cook so we drove into town but not being able to research restaurants or find directions was a little jarring, but we were able to get cell service after about a 15-minute drive back out of the woods. So it wasn’t terrible.
There was no reason to scroll Twitter, check email, or anything online. I just sat there by the fire and enjoyed my family with nothing taking my mind away.
I know we can all do this at any time by turning on airplane mode, but it’s not the same. Being isolated with no chance of cheating is freeing. If you ever have the ability to give it a try. You might enjoy it too.
This past weekend we as a family decided to go camping up in the Pisgah National Forest and spend the day Saturday tubing down one of the rivers. We reserved a camping spot, threw the tent in the truck, and headed out as soon as school let out Friday. The drive up started out great but as soon as we reached the mountain the rain came. We decided to just power through and take our chances so we kept driving.
Luckily it hadn’t rained a lot at the campground, the ground was wet, but not soaked so the tent went up just fine. We went to bed hoping for a dry Saturday.
Unfortunately, when we woke up it was cool, overcast, and drizzling. Not the best weather to be stuck in a river for four hours. At this point, we pulled out the map to find something else to do and I remembered the Fryingpan Tower that I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I first heard about it.
Before we continue I think it’s worth pointing out that North Carolina is home to two different Fryingpan Towers. The most famous is the “Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower” which is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The “Fryingpan Fire Tower” that we visited is in the mountains on the other side of the state and gets its name from Fryingpan Gap. One is spelled with one word, the other with two. Outside of this, I have no idea why they are named the same.
Out of all the fire tower’s in NC Fryingpan is probably the easiest to access. It is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and only a mile hike up a gravel road. A perfect walk for kids and those that might not be in the best of shape.
As we started our walk it was overcast and I was hoping as we reached the tower the clouds would lift giving us some amazing views of the mountains. Instead, the weather went the other direction and the cloud cover rolled in even more. Visibility dropped to maybe 30 feet which made for a unique experience and some cool photos that you would be able to get otherwise.
I went with the goal of looking out over the mountains and taking in beautiful views of the scenery, but instead, I think I had an even better experience because of the fog.
It just goes to show you that as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to embrace the moment even when it’s going wrong, you might just have an experience that will stay with you forever.
For the past few years, I’ve been a part of a weekend guys trip where we camp, ride our mountain bikes and just have fun. This past weekend we did it again and I wanted to share some of the pictures from the weekend.
I know we all get tied up with work and home life but if you have the opportunity, take a weekend off and head to the wilderness with your friends.