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November 19, 2013

Wild Wild West 2013! Day 18

A late night leads me to an early morning. I get up and have breakfast while trying to catch this blog up. It’s clearly not going to happen while I am on the road. There is just too much going on. So I give it my best then pack up and head to the UPS store. I’ve packed too much and its time to ship stuff back home!

Today is a day of getting things back in order if that even exist on my journey. After I ship a big box full of stuff home I ride around looking for Element print and design company. They are going to help me replenish my travel card supply. I’ve given so many away that I had to have more made. While on my search for this place I meet a local guy who is driving a Defender 110. This is amazing because there were only 1,000 brought to the USA. That number might not be accurate but there are not many. This is the second one I’ve seen on this trip. 

Let’s get some cards made. I had wonderful help from Wina. Together we got the cards laid out and they will be ready tomorrow she says! Thank you again Wina and Element Print and Design

The ladies at Element recommended Double Z BBQ for lunch so I head that way. What luck they have outdoor seating!

While enjoying some BBQ a couple of Texans came and sat next to me. They were in town for the rodeo so we strike up a conversation. They invite me over to see there “camp” which consist of a high end horse trailer and lots of animals. I tell them that I’ve got a massage scheduled at Strawberry Hot Springs but tell them tomorrow I don’t have any plans. They said great we will see you tomorrow. Now I am off to see Leah for my massage. This is a special treat after more than two weeks of traveling. First I stop and buy a $7 Gatorade. Goodness that seems expensive.

The road up to Strawberry Springs is 4×4 only. I love it! I’m bouncing all over the place but no worries I am a professional! Yeah right!

I arrive about fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and slowly pack all my stuff to go massage/soak. What! Somewhere along the trail my $7 Gatorade bounced of its little spot. I should have known that the big one would’t sit there. Such a bummer. Oh well I’m off to a massage so no worries.

Strawberry Hot Springs is a privately owned natural hot spring with different pools that vary in temperature. Off to the side they have built little hobbit houses where massages are given. They even have a few of the river from the rooms.

Leah will be doing my massage today and she came recommended by one of my friends. She greats me warmly with a big smile and a friendly hug. Time to change and get to this relaxing business.

After a wonderful ninety minute massage I am all done and it’s off to the springs to soak. What a fantastic combination. I highly recommend it to anybody visiting the Steamboat Springs area. As I am relaxing in the hot waters a couple inquires about my massage. I tell them and then they ask about my trip. As we are talking a younger group of people begin asking me question. I let them in on my story and the seem interested. They are about to leave for dinner and invite me. Knowing full well that these impromptu type invites always lead to adventure and good company I quickly accept. We head off to find some food.

One of the girls finds out about my Guatemala mission trip experience and begins to probe me with well thought out questions. The likes of “what compelled you to go” and “was your family supportive”? Later I part from the group and receive the following message.

Sometimes it’s clear when God is using you and your leaving good in your wake. I was so blessed to be invited by this wonderful group to dinner tonight.

July 6, 2013

Wild Wild West 2013! Day 17 Heading to Steamboat Springs!

It’s been two wonderful nights camping with friends in Canyonalands Park but today they ride to Salt Lake City and I head to Steamboat Springs CO. I’m going to miss them but I have a feeling I will see them again.

Heading out of the park.

I rode Hwy 128 out of Moab. It is a beautiful road that runs along a river and in a canyon. There were two Harleys in front of me and nobody behind so I rode the entire road without stopping to actually take a photo. This was fine by me because my helmet camera was taking pics. The only problem was that a bug hit the lens. It left its guts all on the lens so the pictures didn’t turn out. After getting off of Hwy 128 I jumped on I-70 east. Stopping to have a much needed junk food lunch at Wendy’s. Then I continued on where I got of at the Rifle exit.

Heading north on Hwy 13 towards Craig Colorado.

Summertime is the only time they can work on these roads so you get traffic delays quite often. Its’s usually pretty exciting because I get to practice riding on a chewed up gravel surface.

I turn right onto HWY 40 and at some point roll into a small little town. It does have a McDonalds though. In front of that McDonalds is a true hardcore adventure rider. So I do a U turn to go say hello. It turns out to be a guy named Rich from California. He has been doing mostly dirt roads on his KTM. Rich just has the adventure rider look! Maybe one day I will have the look…

We have different bikes but the goal is the same… Adventure!

It appears that another rider ( KTM#2 ) is adding the onechancelife sticker to their bike. Awesome!

Good placement!

Rich and I decide to ride over to Steamboat Springs together. It’s fun to just meet up with someone and head off in the same general direction.

When we get to town we say goodbye and each go our own ways. I stop for a photo op. The sign below is the name of a family friend back home. You are one popular guy Hammond Law.

Sweet! I’ve arrived at one of my favorite towns. Let the good times begin. Well actually they started a long time ago but let’s make some more fun.

Home sweet home! At least for tonight.

Dinner time at Rex’s American Bar and Grill. This is the same meal I ate one year ago. It’s good to be back!

Yes that is chicken friend chicken with gravy! Not to mention a little bit of cheese spirals.

My “office” for the night. It takes quite a while to get these photos and words onto the web for your viewing pleasure. Does anybody read this blog? If they do I really appreciate it. I write this blog so that I will be able to remember all the experiences from this journey. There is also the memory of the lessons that I learn. Also perhaps other riders or potential travelers might be inspired and go do a journey that makes mine look like a walk through the neighborhood.

It has been a good day of riding. I am blessed. My friends and family are so wonderful. Wherever you are right now decided to do something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t. Start now and have no fear! Goodnight

June 25, 2013

Wild Wild West! Day 12 Off to Yankee Boy Basin and Then Orvis Hot Springs!

Today is a big day because I’ve traded in the bike for a Jeep! Well it’s only for one day but this Rubicon and I are about to head off to Yankee Boy Basin! I get a fantastic breakfast and then it’s up the trails. But first I say goodbye to 78 year old Harley Momma!

The trail up starts off pretty mild but it won’t be long until this all changes.

This Jeep rides a lot different from the bike but it’s a nice change of pace.

About halfway up we start getting to some exciting sections of the trail.


Don’t look down!



No stopping me now! I am going all the way to the top!

I am just a little past halfway. The wind is starting to pick up but the views are incredible!


More and bigger snow.

I made it to Yankee Boy Basin!

This is one incredible place. I am the only person up here except for one other SUV that some hikers rode up in.

I hangout for a little while. Then take some photos. After a bit I start getting cold because I didn’t bering a jacket. At this point all the windows are down and the heat is full blast. What a day!

I get about eight minutes back down the rough trail and out of the mountains comes two hikers. So I come to a stop and say hello. They are friendly and ask me if I know where some trail is. I tell them I am not too sure but I believe it is up top where I came from. They inform me that it is getting a little late to make the hike if they don’t find it quickly. So I offer them a ride. They accept and the three of us head back to the summit rocking out and four wheeling!

Meet Justus and Kelly. These cool cats were from Denver and San Francisco. It was a pleasure meeting you both in the middle of nowhere and jamming out in the Jeep. I hope you had a good hike and wish you the best!

I could be a tour guide to the basin. Here I am practicing.

This Jeep is nice but it’s no Punisher Edition R1200GS!

What a happy cute couple!

Can you spot the deer?

Heading back across

Bridge? Who needs a bridge?

Thank goodness for the Jeep! I hope the Beemer isn’t jealous!

More fun roads.

More fun roads and some additional drop-offs.

So after spending most of the day riding step roads up to a beautiful basin I head back to town have lunch. Then it’s off to relax which I did peacefully by this river for a while.

Sitting quietly in a serene setting gives me time to reflect on where I am. I also reflect on other things but mostly on the moment. I’m thankful to be here and doing this trip the way I am.

Heading over to wash the Jeep and get some gas I pass this cabin. It amazes me how it even stays attached to the mountain!

Meet Daniel from British Columbia. He has ridden his F800GS everywhere! This includes the arctic circle. It was nice to bump into him and hear about his travels. Best of luck Daniel!

Time to head back and drop off the clean Jeep. I have to admit that this Jeep got the job done than probably any 4×4 I could have had out here. It’s been fun but I head over to the poolside restaurant for a quick dinner. I really need to start eating healthier. Oh, well!

I say goodbye to the fantastic staff at the Twin Peaks lodge and head over to my new home for the evening. Upon arriving at Orvis Hot Springs I notice two other BMW motorcycles in the parking lot. This is always a good sign and I’m confident I am in for a good evening.

The sun is setting, my tent, is setup, and I’ve made some new friends. This day is ending perfectly. Soon I will be heading off to soak in the healing waters. As I reflect upon today I am reminded of the trust we are to have in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the giver and sustainer of life. So If we seek God first ( Matthew 6:33 ) all things will truly be added to us. So today let go of all of the anxiety and feelings of timelines and deadlines. God will take care of us. He will if we just trust in him. I’m off to the springs to reflect and relax. It’s so great when God handles things. The campsite in the picture was a last minute cancelation.



June 21, 2013

Wild Wild West! Day 10 I Survived the Million Dollar Hwy!

Who would have thought you could get a fantastic nights sleep with a bunch of people piled into one room. Well I for one sleep wonderfully. Now to the kitchen to start my day with some food from the organic market and leftovers.

This is the best breakfast I could possibly have had today! Thanks for the Sanpellegrino Luke!

After breakfast I grab a quick shower. Then get my stuff packed and say goodbye to Candace the owner and also AJ who is the only person left here at 10:00 besides me. I really enjoyed my time here but I don’t think the Durango Hometown Hostel is going to be in business next year. Apparently Candace is not making the kind of money she needs to with this place. Thats sad because it’s so convenient, affordable, and nice. I would recommend this to any nomadic traveler.

Let’s get this set right because today we take the Million Dollar Highway! Hopefully we will make it over alive!

Next stop… Honeyville!

Not honey but I wonder if this taste like the stuff I love in Guatemala?

This store has a live beehive inside the store. It’s pretty neat to see this. The bees come and go from outside via a clear tube that runs across the ceiling and through the wall.

Back on HWY 550 towards Silverton where I look forward to hopefully seeing the train.

As if HWY 550 wasn’t challenging enough now there is rain. This goes along nicely with all the loose gravel on the road.

I see Silverton!

The road I just came down.

My dad brought me here many years ago. So it’s special to come back.

The train! I rode it up from Durango last time I did the trip. If come this way I highly recommend traveling on the narrow gauge train.

I’m off to main street to have lunch and maybe meet my twin brother?

Go right ahead and take my picture. Cheese!

Meet David! We share the following:

1. Riding Suit

2. Same Motorcycle

3. Same Hair Color

4. Same Name

5. Same Parents

Okay that last one wasn’t true but this was a unique and interesting encounter. I enjoyed talking with David and he gave me some good advice about which trails to ride.

It’s time to get back on the bike and ride the rest of the Million $$$ Hwy over to Ouray. I’m looking forward to getting to one of my favorite places in Colorado!

Strap it in and lets roll!

I made it! What a road!

The last bridge before the viewing area.

On to Ouray to get one of my favorite treats that they offer!

Peanut butter ice cream! Before dinner!

Time to check in and then have a mountain side dinner.

The people eating next to me noticed that I was admiring their pizza. So when they left the gave me a little treat for later. How generous!

So I have had a wonderful day thus far. I survived the million dollar hwy, meet my almost twin brother, and slipped away from the Silverton Sheriff! So now that I am at my lodging place there is just two things left to do… Go hangout in the awesome hot springs and then eat my pizza! Remember this is a one chance life and we can’t live it if we are watching T.V. So go be awesome today!


“To awaken quite alone in a strange is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark


June 18, 2013

Wild Wild West! Day 9 More New Friends and My First American Hostel!

Open my eyes this morning and look out from my tent to see The Great Sand Dunes in the distance. I love camping and waking up in new places and this one has been really special for me. 

When you have an adventure bike people stop and take pictures.

Hello from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

My new friend Sarah like the Beemer. She rides a Honda Shadow but I think if I had turned away for long enough she would have taken off and ridden my bike all the way home to Pennsylvania. Sarah could have probably gotten away with it since she is a cop who kicks in doors for the drug task force team. She also does crossfit and I noticed that her dead lift max was something crazy like 275! Scary awesome!! Be safe Sarah! It was nice meeting you.

This little town has a big D on the mountain. I think it’s a sign that I am on the right “road”!

Guns and Biker Stuff! Priceless! For the person reading this that sees something else funny on the sign I hope you get a good laugh!

Elk Jerky? I’ve never had any so I guess I will give it a try! So I pull in to Grammy Jan’s Meatery! Fantastic roadside ranch!

When I walked in their was a lady working the store but she had to leave and an older gentleman showed up. It turned out to be Rich who owns the ranch. He said “I don’t normally work the store anymore.” He was a very interesting guy. Just sixteen years ago he bought this ranch and started the business. He told me that internet sales had sent his meat sales to the moon. I think they call him Rich as a nickname because he must be with the price of this jerky. But I was happy to pay it and I’m happy for Rich. He even took the time to draw me a map of off road trails that would take me to Ouray from Silverton.

This Elk knew I was taking a picture I think.

Rich came over and told me that a momma Elk had just given birth and she was “cleaning” the calf so it could walk. Look closely and you can see the baby on the ground.

After I suited out and headed toward the exit I look an it had just stood up. It was a cute wobbly leg little thing. Wolf Creek Pass overlook was my next stop.

The overlook.

Some folks checking out the view. I met a nice guy who purchased a F700GS. He was taking a quick weekend ride. It didn’t seem like he was too thrilled with his bike.

Headed west on Hwy 160 takes me to a town name Pagosa Springs.

This town has hot springs and a really nice downtown resort area where people can play and swim. I consider staying but after talking with a couple that moved to Pagosa seven months ago I decide to continue on to Durango. They said it was a nice town but that Durango would have more going on.

The same couple that advised me to go stay in Durango had also recommend a mexican restaurant about two miles up the road. However I didn’t listen to their advice once I saw this sign. You can get good mexican food in lots of places but Colorado does organic like no place I have ever seen. Plus the other side of the sign reads ” Fresh Smoothies Made With Organic Fruit”. Yum!

View from my outdoor lunch spot.

As I was sitting here a girl that was behind me in line walked out the door with her food. I noticed that her car tag said California so I ask her if she was really from California. She responded that she had recently moved to Pagosa Springs from there. I introduced myself and then Wisper started talking to me about her being an artist, life, and her engagement. She just up and moved out here because she felt called to this town. Her art style is abstract and she has great vibes about her. After quite some time of chatting and long after my sandwich was done she had to head off to work. Me I had to roll on to Durango but enjoyed the lunch company. Before Wisper left she told me “David, I really needed to hear what you had to say today. Thank You.”  My sincere thanks to you as well Wisper. I wish you the best of luck with the mural and the other things you are working to figure out. You already know the answers… 

After about another fifty five minutes of riding I arrive in Durango.

I cruise downtown and check out the Rochester Hotel. It’s close to the main street and has motorcycle parking but I decide to have an adventure. That is what this trip is all about so I head up the hill to a little place called HomeTown Hostel. I pull up and see some guy sitting on the tailgate of his truck with what looks like everything he owns in the back. He is listing to his iPhone and eating peanut butter. Yep, I am definitely in the right place. I go in and meet the host/owner Candace.

WONDERFUL accommodations for the price! Oh, and the people were the best part. Puerto Rico, Ireland, Florida, we were indeed a mixed bag of craziness.

The best part!

Jonathan is a wild man from Puerto Rico who was cooking a delicious meal in the kitchen when I arrived.

Good luck with your new job Jonathan.

This is my new friend Luke. This guy seriously rocks it! He is pretty laid back but adventurous and smart. We took his truck and headed down to the organic co-op here to get some snacks. We made our own peanut butter and honey. After loading up we head down to main street for some good times and good food. 

We decide on food and drinks at the Fired Up Pizzeria downtown. These pizzas are really fantastic! I have a pepperoni, onion, meatball, and jalapeño. pizza. Yum E!

After dinner we walk around downtown checking out Durango. We both have had long days and call it an early night around 11:00 and head back to the hostel. Once back at the hostel we meet a few new people that have arrived. This is a cool place and everybody here has a neat story. Luke and I head to the living room to hangout. We talk for a bit then he picks up a book as I start catching up on blog post. Trying to stay current on blogging is near impossible with all the riding, playing, eating, and meeting new people. However it’s a cool way for people to stay in touch and hopefully get inspired to go adventure somewhere new! So it’s getting late as I’ve “worked” until 1:00 am. It’s time to tip toe into my room and get into my bunk. I’ve been resting well on this trip. Tonight should not be any different. If you are reading this blog then I hope you have found some inspiration to get out and do whatever excites you. People everywhere are mostly friendlily and willing to help a traveler if need be. So if you want to travel then don’t let anything stop you. Like my new friend Wisper says “we just have to create from whatever comes to our mind”. There will never be a better time then now to draw a line in the sand and make a decision to live life on your terms!


” Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going. – Walt Whitman


June 17, 2013

Wild Wild West! Day 8 Hiking The Dunes and Making New Friends!


Good morning brisk 54 degree air. It is a pleasure to wake up with fresh air and a view of the mountains. Getting to this site just before dark was fantastic timing that was completely out of my control.

Mountains of Colorado

After packing up camp and paying for my campsite I rode back to Walsenburg, CO which was about three miles back from the way I came in. I needed some gas and sunscreen because today I’m off to see the Great Wizard of Oz… Wait I mean the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado! After getting what I need I am on my way out of town and pull in to see who BMW guy is in the parking lot. It turns out to be Eddie Price and he is from Madison, Ga!! Who would imagine two Georgia boys on BMW’s in the same little town at the same time. So we talked about bikes, routes of where we were headed, and where we had been. Upon Eddie telling me about his route I ask if he wanted my Butler Map for Arkansas. He said sure and I informed him that I probably wouldn’t need it. He said thanks and I ask him if he wanted to ride out with me since we were headed the same way. Eddie was good with that and said ” Isn’t it funny two Ga boys had to come all the way to Colorado to meet up for a ride.” This comment made me chuckle and reflect on the depth of this simple statement. I was glad Eddie and I met as he was a fantastic guy! He even invited me to church in my riding gear if I ever came through Madison on a Sunday. We are all saddled up and off we go towards Alamosa, CO via HWY 160 west.

Eddie and I had a beautiful ride across Hwy 160 that took us over one pass. The views and the valleys were spectacular.  Once we got to the road that turned off to the Dunes I headed right and Eddie waved by and kept on rolling. Thank you again for letting me ride with you Eddie! I hope you and your boys have fun up in Yellowstone. The road to the Dunes is about 16 miles long and once the dunes come into view you are awestruck by their massive size and the fact that they lie at the foothills of mountains.

There is only one campground inside the park and before I reach the gate there is a sign that reads “Pinyon Flats Campground Full”. Talk about a disappointing message. I’ve come all the way from Ga to camp here today and even battled thunderstorm yesterday that delayed me and they are full? So I ride up to the main gate and confirm that the campground is full and the ranger confirms they are. I’m going to the park anyway so I pay the three dollar entry fee and decide to ride into the campground just to see what happens. First a quick stop at the visitors center to see if they can help or squeeze me in. It is a busy Saturday and the parking lot of the visitors center is packed. I walk in and ask the volunteer at the front desk and she says as of 9:45am they had 13 spaces left in loop 1 and that was it. She suggested that I hurry over but the sign and the ranger at the gate seemed to know more so my hopes weren’t high that any were left. However I did bolt over to loop 1 and rode through. Not a single site available. So I decided to do two things. The first was to ride through again and the second was to ask God if he wanted me here and if so to provide a place. I’m now halfway around for the second time and I see a couple packing their car with the last few items of camping gear. I just passed here and didn’t not see them and these loops only take about sixty seconds to go around. I stop and ask if they are leaving and she says yes BUT the lady standing over to my left by the bathrooms has already claimed it. Disappointing. I was so close. Then I notice the lady walking towards me as I’m sure to say this is my spot but instead she says hello. Then she informs me that her son and her are sleeping in their car tonight and setting up a real camp tomorrow so I am free to use the site as they don’t need anything but parking. Okay Wow God is totally in control of this world! I’m so thankful and surprised about this but I quickly accept the offer, park, and go put my tent on the site. So I got a site and the couple that left had already paid for two nights and only stayed one so camping by the sand dunes ended up being free. Plus I have two new friends to share it with.

Meet Sherri and Augustus. Two fantastically awesome adventurous people who were kind enough to let me hangout at their site!

After setting up my tent I realized I haven’t eaten today and it’s 2:00 so I ride out of the park to a little store/restaurant to have lunch. I’m not sure what this is that the waitress recommend but I know it wasn’t healthy but tasted fantastic!

I finish up lunch and head out in the parking lot to see a crew of real KTM adventure riders rolling into the parking lot. They come up and talk for a bit and give me some advice on dirt roads to ride in the area. I tell them my Beemer can’t go the places their KTM’s can and they respectful inform me that the BMW is a good bike that can get the job done. I really appreciated these guys and their friendly demeanor. Plus the fact that they were seriously riding almost all dirt roads across the state! 

Notice anything special on the bike in front?

I gave this gentleman who was from Denver a sticker and he walked over and slapped it right onto his bike! Plus he has the same “Freedom” sticker on his bike that Croley and myself both have! Rock on! I apologize for not remembering your name but I hope you had a safe ride and thanks for all the helpful advice!

They KTM guys roll out and so do I. They are headed to ride more and me I am headed back to camp to change. It’s time to hike some Great Sand Dunes!

I am headed over to see another BMW rider who I noticed was camping a few sites over from me. It doesn’t appear he is around as most people are down at the dunes but I stop for a picture with his bike. The Mule deer are clearly around with not a care in the world.

I’m off to hike to the top of the dunes! A creek crossing is part of the journey just to get to these massive things.

It is a long way up these guys and the wind is starting to gust. 

Maybe I could be a dune tour guide because hiking around on these things is seriously fun! What an experience.

As I am resting about a third of the way up a couple comes hiking up my way. I start talking with them and we just keep hiking and talking. This is AJ and Naomi. He is a veterinarian from Denver and she is from Cost Rica. They are one awesome couple who I am happy came along the trail.

They were nice enough to let me hike with them. I hope this wasn’t a special couples hike. If it was guys I apologize but truly I enjoyed hiking together! You two are both fantastic people and my Great Dunes hiking experience would have been lacking had I not had the pleasure of hanging with you guys. Also Naomi I appreciate the insight into your life and your wise words of wisdom. After meeting your mom I can see where you get your vivaciousness from! She was so sweet! Together we made it to the top of the dunes. I was so happy to be there that I forget to take a picture looking over the edge. At one point on the way up the three up us had to kind of huddle up and wait out a serous rain/wind storm that had all the sane people heading off the dunes asap. Not us though. We waited it out and got sandblasted because we were halfway up and nobody wanted to wimp out. Even though the wind was about to blow us off the dunes! AJ and I after running down the dunes full speed!

I met some girls from the west coast while out playing on the dunes. Strike that pose!

Once we return from the dunes hike I get to meet Naomi’s mom and she is wonderful! She begins to tell us how she was watching us hike but didn’t understand why we didn’t come off the dunes with everybody else when the storm came it. Luckily it passed after about thirty minutes and ended up being perfect weather to finish the hike with. She said she figured if something happened to AJ and Naomi at least they were together. I informed her if it wasn’t for them I would probably be buried in sand up to my neck stuck forever in the dunes. She laughed and I’m pretty sure thought I was crazy. They gave me a lift back to my campsite and I headed back over to meet the BMW rider and hear his story. This is Stretch Gilbert from Laos, New Mexico. He was a friendly guy camping out with his daughter and grandkids. Stretch if you are reading this I want you to get some new tires! Stay safe.

Back at camp my new found friends are making dinner and offer me some. I accept the offer.

Augustus the chef in training goes to work and makes one of the best PBJ sandwiches I’ve ever had! Thanks Augustus. 

After two sandwiches Sherri drives us all down to the Mars Walk. This is a sunset guided tour that tells about how the Great Sand Dunes are being studied and compared in order to figure out Mars.

Some people from Switzerland that I met on the Mars walk. His name was Beat and I don’t recall her name. I’m sorry. They were such a neat couple and I enjoyed laughing with them. They rented and RV to trek across the western part of the USA for five weeks.

I am so thankful for all the friends I have met today. We survived a storm on the Great Sand Dunes, gave away a sticker, got a free campsite, and just had a wonderful day. I’m looking forward to a cozy night in the tent. Wherever YOU are get out there and live your life to the fullest. Check out the quote below and be mindful of others who are traveling. These could be your new best friend! Goodnight.

“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill