Getting Where I Want To Go. You Wouldn’t Understand…OIIIIIO

This is a tale of passion. Of childhood dreams, adult play things, and about excuses. It’s not about being frugal, yet that’s what we strive for. It’s not even about early retirement, but still remains the goal.

When I was but a wee little boy, my older brother and I had one main thing that we always played with. It involved what we could do to modify them. What we could do to get them out of trouble. How long we would have them. Where we would go. What we would do if……

This is about jeeps. leadville jeep

We had Hot Wheel style life-like jeeps that we used to dig holes in the dirt, add water, and push them through the mud. We would spend hours creating 4wd “problems” and drive our jeeps through them. All the time imagining being behind the wheel at the top of a mountain or in the thickest, deepest, worst mud you could imagine, or scrambling through a big pile of rocks.  Sometimes it would be daydreaming about using imaginary winches to pull out damsels in distress. Or crossing some 3rd world country with extra gas cans, food, and gear.

For one reason or another neither one of us purchased actual real jeeps until we were in our 40s. Both of us were raising kids, working jobs, doing whatever that life has you do and that’s okay. Now we’re both jeep owners.. He purchased his 4 years before mine (a 2007). It wasn’t until 2011 that mine came along after a major hit and run rear-ender car accident that left me and my, now wife, cautiously looking into the rear-view mirror every time we stepped on the brakes. That was the last time I would drive a little car. We got thrown off the freeway at 65 mph and slid for 160 feet, luckily, without a rollover or hitting anything solid. That’s when we went shopping for a new vehicle.shadow jeep

Shopping for a vehicle was a major uncomfortable situation, as I was working to get myself out of bad financial problems following a very rocky divorce. Some of you might think that I’m a complete ass for doing it. 🙂

jeep donkey

But my lady knew what I wanted and supported me the whole way. I spoke to my brother about it and he had some good advice. At the time, Chrysler was running a lifetime bumper to bumper warranty that was something like $2000 at the time of purchase. His thoughts “I will keep my jeep forever. I’ll probably purchase other vehicles throughout my life, but I will always have a jeep.” And that was that. SOLD!!!jeep a pose

Though not the best financial decision it was a huge hit with my family. We have had numerous adventures over the years that might not have happened without this jeep’s capabilities .

jeep surfing

antero jeep

I could have just bought a used little something or other as Dave Ramsey ( a financial advisor who I was following closely) would have advised.  In fact, he probably would have screamed at me 🙂  But, as dumb as it might seem, I wanted it.  Over the last few years, I’ve been working to pay off this wonderful piece of machinery that would make most of my mentors freeze at the thought.frozen jeep

mrmoneymustache  who I’ve met and truly appreciate his wisdom would likely want to give me a face punch at my own stupidity. But, as much as his focus was on retirement at a very early age (30), I made the decision that I would be perfectly happy calling it quits at 50.

So bare with me for a minute. It was a $43,000 toy that I bought in 2011. Payments end after 6 years (but we’re paying off early). That is a heck of a lot of money once you do the math. Not to mention what I could have done with that money if it was invested in mutual funds instead. I get that and, to be honest, it does get me wound up sometimes. But not enough to make a difference. If we made less money things would not be the same and I would have gone a different route. We are still investing a lot into our 401ks and have a forecast as to how much we’ll be putting in over the next few years plus paying off the house early. We have a decent income and are on target for my wife to retire in less than 4 years. (That side story will follow later thanks to Mr1500 at )

So, besides the fun we’ve been having,  stretch jeep(it really has been a blast)

We’re going to keep doing it.

Gunnar continental divide      Rainbow jeep

jeep garageSo, on with the fishing, hunting, climbing,. camping, mud bogging, rock-crawling, and all of the other good times that we have already had.

I have yet to go jeepin with my brother, as we live in different states, but I’m sure it will happen. We have our whole lives left as jeep owners. Besides, Moab and the Rubicon trail are between us (meet in the middle). By the way, here’s my brothers rig. It’s suhhhhweet!!!  Mikes jeep

And who knows, my lady might be leading the way…

wet jeep mommy   Cheers!!

At my age… What am I thinking??

Last October I ran/ (cough cough) walked a 26.5 mile trail marathon.

Blue Sky Finish

I guess one could say it was an ultra-marathon because in the running community anything over a 26.2 mile marathon is considered an ultra, but cmon! it was only.3 miles further.

Over the years I’ve pursued many ways to torture myself. Several half-marathons and a couple full marathons back when I was in my 30s, an attempt at the Leadville 100 Trail Run at 41 (got pulled at mile 40), and a 50 miler at 43 (completed).  This last performance was probably the slowest pace I’ve ever ran. Due to recovery from achilles tendonitis, I wasn’t able to do much training at all.

For some reason, since moving to Colorado 6 years ago, I have (at some point) decided to take on even more physical challenges. There’s been the above mentioned runs, but also multiple long distance bike rides, and several (21 so far) Colorado 14er summits.

Shavano summit money shot

(Colorado has 54 mountains that are above 14,000 feet.)

Now I’m planning an epic 157 mile bicycle trip to Glenwood Springs from Denver for summer 2016 with my son and some friends.

All this has not come without problems. I spent the first 2 years living here with Plantar Fasciitis. It felt like I was pushing a nail in my heel at every step. Then came on a bad sprain that I got from running in the crusty snow in winter. Followed ever so painfully by tendonitis in my right ankle which was cured by acupuncture. As soon as it was cured my left ankle “kicked” in with the same problem that could only be fixed by not doing anything (mentally punishing). Add in several instances of swelling feet, knees, aching back?, cuts, bruises, and a multitude of blisters you get to feeling a little beat up. Blistered foot(Gross huh?)

So why, why, why do I keep doing this? I’m not a professional athlete who spends all of his time training, racing, and recovering. I’m your basic, and as horrible as it sounds, middle-aged weekend warrior who works his real job 50 plus hours per week. I have work and family (6 kids), a yard to take care of, and an early retirement to plan.

Here’s why. There are so many of the finer things that are just better after experiencing this type of suffering.  It is the absolute pleasure that follows after the fact. The first hot shower you get when you’re done is the best shower you could ever have. Same thing goes for first time sitting  in a chair, first dry clothes, first meal, first time being spooned by your significant other, and your first through 6 beers! Oh the beer…:)

Fat Tire

Plus it’s the camaraderie between friends and people of the same interests. The times that they look at you on the trail and, genuinely, ask how you’re doing. The cheers you get from complete strangers along the course and at the finish. The people you meet. Twice I’ve got to go on runs and talk to my ultra-running hero Scott Jurek.  Arguably the greatest distance runner of all time.Scott Jurek

I guess that sums it up. This I say with an aching back, and tight hamstrings as I sit here in the what looks like the dead of winter typing away. I’ll be lacing up shortly as soon as the temp gets above 25 degrees.