Brandon’s Thoughts 1/25/14

Note: This may end up out of context since it won’t get posted until the morning. As always, grammar and punctuation are overrated. I’ll save that energy for the brewery blog.

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We have been on the road for over three weeks now so I suppose it’s time for me to give some sort of update. We’ve been keeping pretty busy and I have been trying to dedicate as much time as possible while connected to WiFi and power towards keeping up with our blog write ups. Right now we are camping out at Chicasabogue Park, just north of Mobile, Alabama, and will be heading into Florida in the morning. We actually chose to camp out here because we visited earlier in the day to play a full disc golf course for the first time since we left Dallas. There will be plenty more of that in our future as the weather improves – it was sleeting all day yesterday and the locals tell me, of course, that isn’t typical. It’s in the 30’s now and I am wishing I had some thinner gloves that I could type with. But, alas, sacrifices must be made. Really, I can’t complain too much, this is what we signed up for and I definitely expected to battle the elements along the way and, honestly, I prefer cold to the Texas summers anytime. We have been extremely fortunate so far. Of utmost importance, I have been able to catch a shower every day. Hopefully that streak will continue for the sake of the people we meet along the way. Keep a look out for vagabonds washing their hair in rest stop sinks.

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First off, I have to say that I am so incredibly overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendship we have experienced early on in our journey. I can’t say thank you enough to all of the people who have been kind enough to host us over the past few weeks and deal with our antisocial behavior as we type away on our laptops or take notes while listening to brewery interviews. Aside from friends and family who have put us up, the brewery employees have been amazing. Each and every brewery has been welcoming and forthcoming with answering all of our questions. That is really what motivated us to take this trip – there are some really cool people making great beer all over the country and I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible. There is such a sense of community surrounding locally made craft beer that is truly inspiring.

The journey overall has been a blast. Each day is a new adventure and, while somewhat stressful at times, it is exciting to have no set schedule (aside from the daily brewery visits). Anything can happen and plans change quickly as we meet new people along the way. At the same time, we have plenty to keep us occupied: researching breweries ahead of our visit, trying to set scheduling times, answering e-mails and social media responses, doing the blog updates, and attempting to look ahead for places to stay or camp out each night. As you may have noticed, we are a bit behind on some of that after doing more than a brewery per day on average but hope to catch up soon. The local library has been a great resource for a quiet place to get some work done. I really should think about visiting them more often when we get back to normal life and I had no idea they hold such a wealth of DVDs and books on tape. The one downside to this point is that I haven’t had any spare time to read. I really expected to get quite a bit of reading accomplished on this trip and so far have been able to squeeze in about an hour or so.

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Since Michael gave his last ‘thoughts’ update, we have done quite a bit. We got to explore a small portion of New Orleans while staying with his sister, Jenny, and brother-in-law, John. I thoroughly enjoyed our short visit to the infamous Avenue Pub in the garden district and walk along St. Charles. Regretfully, we didn’t get a chance to walk over to one of my favorite spots, Frenchman St, for some amazing live NOLA jazz. It doesn’t get any better. After a nice bottle share with one of John’s co-worker, local beer aficionado Eric, we snagged some dinner at Dat Dog. I definitely recommend a stop if you are into loaded hot dogs; there were some epic combinations. The next morning we headed to Mississippi where I really enjoyed talking beer with the awesome employees at Lazy Magnolia, Southern Prohibition, and Crooked Letter. I also had a good laugh watching Michael standing on a picnic table with a flashlight and machete, preparing himself for what must have been a wild hog rustling the bushes and circling our campsite at Flint Creek Reservoir – we also made fun of ourselves for the pathetic fire that burned for 3 hours but would never catch the larger logs. Next, we savored some mind blowing seasoned pork rinds with the gentlemen at Crooked Letter and one more day brought us into Alabama, where we are now. Our visit to the Fairhope pier was not as fruitful as hoped – the sleet and cold must have driven off the pelicans that frequent the area – but that first night we got to enjoy lively music from Mobile’s Underhill Family Orchestra and chat with the locals. Afterwards, we had a great time talking and doing some more beer sharing with Dan of Fairhope Brewing and his wife, Amy, along with the pretty awesome guys from Grayton Beer in Florida, Shank and Tyler.

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Okay, I’d love to blather on but I think it’s about time to put those gloves back on, finish my ‘water’, and get a good night’s rest. Long day on the road tomorrow. We will be heading to Pensacola, FL then on to Santa Rosa Beach in the afternoon. While I am fairly well traveled around the US, I really look forward to having more time to explore in each state and get some use out of our national parks pass.

Cheers!

Brandon

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