My 2021 Indiana State Park Pass

I bought a 2021 Indiana State Park Pass. It cost $50. In my pedantic thinking, I will need to visit an Indiana state part at least 8 times in 2021 to recover the $50 cost. Assuming, of course, the average entrance fee is $7 for In-State Residents. Out of State people are given a $2 penalty.

An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O
An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O.

If I gather enough energy and motivation and exceed the required 8 visit quota, then the average cost of each visit declines. So, I am therefore motivated to exceed the required 8 visit quota.

At one time in my recent life, I vowed to hike every marked trail in every Indiana state park. I bought an Indiana State Park Pass at that time. In my excitement, I drove two hours south to Spring Mill State Park. Due to my perpetual out-of-shape condition I could not hike every marked trail in that park. I realized I would need to visit the same park several times to hike every trail. And, in my pedantic thinking, expenses, costs, time requirements increased exponentially and I gave up on that quest.

Maybe I will pick up that quest again. Maybe this time I will understand that fulfilling such an epic quest might not be achieved in a single year under the purchase of a single Indiana State Park pass.

If you are interested, this page lists all the entrance fees for Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties.

Start Walking

Take a look at Brett Bramble Walks.

One of my pipe dreams is to walk, run, cycle across America. From coast to coast. Probably walk across the country but I’m leaving open the possibility of running and cycling.

It’s an epic challenge to do that. That is, walk across America. Sometimes I have difficulty walking across the room so I can’t really imagine walking across the country. The walking part is the easy part. The real challenge is keeping the motivation.

But on my walk across America, I envision myself leisurely walking, taking in the landscape, reading, writing, camping, losing weight and getting fit.

I stumbled onto Brett Bramble walks in 2016 when his was walking across America to raise awareness for overdose prevention, as his sister had overdosed on heroin. I followed his walk for a while until I lost sight and his blog seemed to stall.

Brett had walked through Indiana along Highway 50. Although I read his blog too late to meet up with him while he was in Indiana, I thought that I would keep the radar on for other walkers and maybe I could meet up with them.

Last year (2017) I met up with Abby and Daniel as they were walking across America. I came across their blog while they were in West Virginia. Their route was to bring them through Indianapolis. A few weeks later when they passed through we met up for a few beers and burgers.

Abby and Daniel with me at the Big Woods Brewery in Speedway Indiana.

Abby and Daniel with me at the Big Woods Brewery in Speedway Indiana.

So today I get the radar fired up and discovered that Brett is walking across America for a second time.

I’ve read a few books of people who walked across America. The classic is Peter Jenkins’ book, which I read while a teenager and through which I was introduced to the Appalachian Trail. Another book was by Ben Davis, ‘Ever Eastward. Another was by Nate Damm.

The advice from a Life Coach would be to ‘make it happen’ and ‘start walking’. And I would like to think it is as simple as that.

Yet, so many obstacles stand in the way, so many responsibilities, pressures, obligations.

Maybe one day I’ll take a walk.

 

Return to Colorado

I work as a graphic designer, web programmer slash front end designer, photographer and general illustrative person for a small midwest manufacturer. I’ve been in this position since 1998 but been with the company since 1992.

Not very often are there ‘kudos’ for a good job. You might hear about a bad job. Kudos, good and bad, do come at times, thankfully. But since there are no quarterly or yearly evaluations I never know if I’m doing as expected or if I’m doing great or if I need to improve in some area or if they are planning to show me the door. And with the new ownership change, not knowing can play havoc inside my head.

However, two recent comments made by the some of the new owners kind of took me by surprise.

The first comment, made directly to me and about me and made by Owner #1, concerned my lack of use of ‘vacation time’. Just a comment, no “you did bad by not taking all of it” nor “you did good by not taking all of it and being at work”.

The second comment, spoken in an expressive tone loud enough for all to hear expressed Owner #5’s point of view as to “WHY anyone in their right mind WOULDN’T take ALL of their VACATION TIME”.

I thought there are several reasons why someone wouldn’t take all their vacation time. In this company, vacation time is earned, not given. Therefore, it’s pay. Some people, like me, can use the nice ‘bonus’ at the end of the year to pay bills, debt, kid’s tuition, etc. Other people, also like me, just don’t know where to go on vacation nor have the cash to go. Other people, like me, use vacation time to work around the house or wait for the cable guy between the hours of 8 – 4.

I’ve used 7 days of my 15 days of total 2015 ‘vacation’. Five days were taken to drive to Colorado and hike and explore. Two days were spent hiking around some state parks and going to a doctor’s appointment. I did have other vacation scheduled but those days were delayed and then rescinded due to work and other conflicts.

There are five new owners at the company. Maybe they want people to take vacation time for good employee morale or accounting or other reasons. Probably for accounting reasons since vacation time is not accrued from year to year. They cut a check for unused vacation time at the end of the year. So, if you don’t take two weeks of vacation then you get a ‘bonus’ (not really a bonus but you understand my drift) of two extra weeks of pay.

So they are encouraging people to take their vacation. At least that is what I’m hearing. I wouldn’t want the new owners, particular Owner #5, to think I’m somewhat deficient in person or spirit because I didn’t take all of my earned vacation time.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

So, I’m now planning some vacation time for late July, 2016. And, I’m going to Leadville Colorado and going to run on the Mineral Belt National Historic Trail. It is an 11.6 mile paved fitness trail that winds through and around Leadville.

How cool. It is cool!

I should be in shape to run the total distance by late July. I have two mini marathons scheduled for May and June 2016. So, I should be trained up for 11.6 miles. However, the elevation may offer a challenge, as Leadville is at 10,152 feet in the Colorado Rockies and is the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States.

Most, if not all, of my running and training is in the low lands of the midwest. So it may be a challenge to run at that altitude but it’s a challenge that I’m now looking forward to!

I plan to stay at a campground in Leadville or close by. I also plan to complete the Whitney Lake hike during this trip. In June 2015, on my first attempt at Whitney Lake, I turned back about a half mile from the lake because of deep snow and not really being prepared physically, as I was overweight and out of shape at that time. That hike, and that trip to Colorado in general, gave me the motive and impetuous to get back in shape.

I drove through Leadville on my 2015 Colorado trip. For the 2016 trip, I plan to linger in Leadville, take in some of the local craft brew and color and hike around the San Isabel National Forest.

Leadville is kind of a mecca for running. It hosts an entire series of races, from a 10K to the famous Leadville 100 ultra trail marathon. Here’s a link to their web site.

At least I have something on the 2016 vacation schedule. Hopefully that will make some people happy. However, I’m sure the plans will change and morph along the way before July 2016. Until then, I have something to look forward to and train for.

The Start of an Epic Quest

Like many worker bees in America, I had a three-day weekend to celebrate July Forth.

I debated on what to do with the extra time. And since my porch windows were not scheduled for delivery until July 5 and since there wasn’t much to do around the house that require large amounts of time, and I wasn’t required to show up to any family functions, I decided to start an Epic Quest.

Soon I will have a new page on the Current Mile titled Epic Quest that will explain everything involved. But, for starters, the Epic Quest is a goal requiring time, planning and endurance. It’s not something that can be achieved quickly or in a single session. It’s designed to keep me motivated and inspired for the long-term, months or maybe years. So when I have extra time and don’t know what to do I can always devote my efforts to an Epic Quest instead of sitting on the couch watching van dwelling You Tube videos.

My new Epic Quest is to hike every trail in every Indiana State Park. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Indiana State Parks and for this Epic Quest I will hike every one. On July 3 I drove to Spring Mill State Park and hiked over 8 miles in the thick humidity. I hiked every trail expect for one.

I have other Epic Quests … like to stand at every high point in the US. Climb all Colorado 14ers. Maybe even climb Everest one day. Maybe through hike the Appalachian Trail. There are all sorts of Epic Quests.

Since I’m single and alone it is easy to feel sorry for myself and spend evenings and weekends pissing away time on the couch or sleeping. I don’t mind occasionally doing that but when it become ‘normal’ there is a problem. An Epic Quest is designed to avoid wasting time. And I’ve wasted too much time already since Nikki left. This (I hope) will keep me active, give something to write about. I may even design a logo for each Quest and print t-shirts!

Raging creek in Spring Mill State Park. The trail to the Donaldson Cave is totally under water.

Raging creek in Spring Mill State Park. The trail to the Donaldson Cave is totally under water.

So … onward to the Epic Quest.

Here’s a photo from my recent Spring Mill hiking day, part of my Indiana State Parks Epic Quest.