It's really odd before my son Jeff aka Loner left for the AT, hiking his way through Georgia, the 3rd most difficult state on the trail after ME and Ma, I was just excited for him and a little envious because I've never had an adventure such as the one upon which he's embarked. Although I do have an adventurous spirit. In the past, I flew hot-air balloons and was a photo journalist for national hot air ballooning and hang gliding magazines. When I couldn't afford my own hot-air balloon and chase crew, I switched to covering the goth, heavy metal, and industrial metal music scene for Edge Magazine and a lot of free-lance jobs in music mags during the 90's, traveled for six years up and down the East Coast. mostly living in a canvas pavilion. as a merchant (Black Swan Thieves Market) with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Jeff also has an adventurous spirit despite the fact that he is a rather shy person, until he gets to know someone and then he is warm and funny, with a droll sense of humor. But like me, he his both a people person, yet needs lots of hermit time. His adventurous spirit was really riled up by his dad's family who were race car drivers on the amateur circuit going back to his great grandfather. Every man Jeff knew: uncles, grandfather, great grandfather and dad, all drove race cars sometime in there life. Most of them on asphalt tracks in the late model cars of their day in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. His dad specialized in demolition derby and Jeff was watching him crash cars on figure eight when he was ten month old sitting on my lap with earplugs in his ears (from JoAnn Fabrics, the textile mill where Mike and I worked, as well as most of my family). And so Jeff couldn't resist driving a race car as soon as he got his license. When our family moved to South Carolina, Jeff was bummed out having to leave our tiny picturesque lakeside village, Dracut, Mass and all his friends at age 11 and moving to a relatively large city for him, Greenville, SC.
But on a drive through the nearby Piedmont Foothills on the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Jeff spotted a Dodge Mopar that was painted just like the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and his car racing genes kicked into high gear.
Jeff was still only 11 at this time, but he got the bug and started off with his wheeled career on skateboards (but that's a whole separate blog.)
As soon as Jeff got his license at 16 he started building race cars in the back yard (his ancestors were also a long line of car mechanics) and it wasn't long before he started his four or five year career as a dirt track racer. He raced at Williamston and Anderson, SC a shy guy, in rough pits where fights broke out often and drinking before driving was the rule often enough. Jeff doesn't and never has liked to drink alcohol even though we are not a tee-totalling family but he still got a long and was well respected by the other rather rowdy drivers because on the first race his General Lee went airborne (not by Jeff's design) just like in The Dukes of Hazzard and everyone thought he did it on purpose to show off a bit while all the time he was shaking a good bit wondering if the car would ever land.
So I figure if he can handle racing and pit fights and cars crashing and breaking down, he can handle the mountains.