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Tripppin In The Bahamas – On The Road Again

A continuation from my earlier post,

on the road

Ok, so we left Atlanta for our boat ramp in West Palm Beach, which was a mere 600 miles away. Once my Dad, Lane and I hit the road we were in high spirits, and the nerves calmed a bit as I looked back on all the planning we’d done. The run-of-show was to drive to Orlando, pick up Rusty and Sarah on the side of the Turnpike, and keep making our way to West Palm. Once we stopped off at our usual “road trip Chipotle” we finally made it to the rest stop to get the hoodlums that would accompany us on the remainder of the trip. Rusty and Sara were more than ready to get on the road after hanging out with the local Floridians at the travel plaza. A part of me still thinks that they love the local trucker lingo. A few more hours and we had the boat in the water loaded to the hilt, fueled up and the truck stowed in a safe spot in the parking lot for the next 10 days. Time to go!

Our first boat fuel bill for the trip
a little fuel

Ok, well it wasn’t really time to go, because it was dusk, and the sun was setting after an 11-hour day on the road. Fortunately, we were smart enough to plan for a hotel and we shacked up at the Sail Fish Marina for the evening. We tied the boat up, ordered some drinks at the bar, and proceeded to unload the roughly 2k pounds of gear we’d packed. Ironically, this was the part of the trip I was the most concerned about since boats like ours love to disappear in South Florida. It’s so bad that insurance premiums for triple-engine boats are about 7X more in Miami than they are in Georgia. The boat was tied up, and we were happy to finally have the first major leg of the trip complete.

Pulling into Sailfish Marina

You can find the next part of the journey here,

Tripppin In The Bahamas – You Call This A Vacation?

A continuation from my earlier post,

Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 9.59.21 AM

Now, let me preface by saying that these aren’t normal vacations like 99% of the world takes. It takes a special breed of person to come on a trip like this. There are no guarantees when you set out on a trip that you pulled out of thin air and completely made up. You may end up holed up in a dive bar for 10 days waiting out nasty storms, being sick from contaminated water, or flying in insanely expensive parts on a bush plane for the boat that you broke the day before. Turns out only one of those actually happened, but all of them have happened to me at some point in my travels. The people you choose to invite may end up hating you for dragging them along and asking them to spend a small fortune to finance a trip from hell. On the flipside, when it all works out the experience is nothing short of life-altering excitement and fun. One phone call and we had our usual rag-tag crew of wanna-be island dwellers locked down for better or worse. It was time to load and go. Knowing that everyone’s schedules wouldn’t work out we determined that it was best to take half the crew over by boat and have the other folks fly in. That way, the boat would be light enough to make the trip safely and everyone could enjoy the ride over without being crowded.

Tickets were booked, and the boat was prepped after some serious hustling by Lane and I. Boats are never really 100%, but that’s another post for another day. By the time the week rolled around we were all so excited we couldn’t’ stand it. I was both nervous, and excited for “the crossing”. The boat was plenty capable, but I had doubts about my skills. Of course, no one knew how nervous I was because that wouldn’t be a good thing to show my wife, family or passengers. Whenever you set out to do something new it’s always a challenge, but this was unique since I’d have other people’s lives in my hands. For those of you who came on the trip that are reading this now… I never had a doubt. Ha.

Lane and I making some last-minute mods
boat prep

You can find the next part of the journey here,

Tripppin In The Bahamas


So the title is a little misleading, but we did actually take an amazing trip to the Bahamas on our boat (Tripppin). Yes, you read that right; we drove a boat from the coast of Florida all the way to the Abacos. Where are the Abacos you ask? Well, they are in the middle of nowhere, and that was the whole point of the trip. The Abacos are a rather large chain of islands, but the towns are fairly small and have collective population around 15,000. They aren’t very easy to get to by boat unlike many other areas of the Bahamas, (Bimini, West End) and that was sort of the allure of this place.

Ok, so let me back up a bit. First, you need to know that I grew up with a Dad, who for most of my life I recall being single and adventurous. Now he was always around, so don’t get the wrong idea, but he did know how to have fun with his friends. They would pack up for weeks, sometimes a month at a time to head to the islands. What islands you ask? Any of them, and probably all of them at some point or another in his travels. What I’m getting at here is that I grew up with a Father who knew how to see things that most people only read about in magazines, or noticed on the cover of a Conde Nast publication while waiting at the airport to board a flight to Toledo.

Dad at home on the water

When you grow up around that type of “go anywhere, see it all” mentality it’s tough to shake it, even as you get older. I’m sitting here writing this with the thought of my next trip in the back of my mind, and that’s something I really appreciate. It’s also something that can be a real pain to juggle with the typical two-week corporate vacation policy most of the working world is dealt. Couple that with the fact that I’m not a Kennedy or Kardashian, and you’re now looking at travel through real persons eyes.

Ok, now for the trip. My buddies, Lane, Scott and I have been planning a trip to the “islands” for as long as I can remember. You can’t blame us after years of listening to my Dad tell us stories of his shenanigans, and believe me when I tell you that my Dad can tell stories. We’d sit around and think of cool places to go, what type of boat we’d take and what to do when we got there. Not normal kid vacations by any stretch.

The boys on an old trip in the Keys (From left to right, Lane, Myself, Scott)
the boys

When the time was finally right for us to start planning this adventure, life was a whole lot different than it was when we planned these trips a mere 18 years earlier. Kids, wives, mortgages and corporate work schedules were in the picture. We’d all grown up, and somehow that never really worked its way into the plans we made as kids. Go figure. No matter. We were determined to make this happen, so the planning began. Turned out Scott wasn’t going to be able to make it due to family obligations, and Lane and I knew that was completely understandable. Lane could especially relate, as he and Casie had just been blessed with a bouncing-baby-boy of their own. Once Scott declined I knew this trip wouldn’t be my last trip like this, because at some point in my life I’m going to drag that guy to the islands like we’d always planned as kids. We pushed on, set the dates, started preparing the boat, and rounding up the usual suspects to accompany us.

Stay tuned, as I attempt to recap this amazing trip in a series of small stories.

You can find the next part of the journey here,

A Day With The Mercedes-Benz SLS

sls 9

You know the moment when something seems almost too good to be true? Sure you do. You can feel the skepticism start to creep up in the back of your mind and invade your euphoria. We’ve all been there, and the old adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” still applies today. Well, I had one of those moments a few months back.

My moment came when a coworker, who is also a friend of mine, swung by my desk and asked if I would be interested in taking a potentially amazing car for a drive. Ok, the term “amazing car” means different things to different people, but this is a universally-accepted amazing car. This car does 0-60 faster than a Ferrari F430 and boats the same top speed. Not only is it impressive on the road, but the history of this vehicle puts it in a category all it’s own.

The Mercedes SLS is a dream car. Not only does it possess supercar performance in a manageable, luxurious package, but it also possesses a rich history that almost every car-loving fool can appreciate. The SLS is derived from the stunning Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing from the mid 1950’s.

I still remember the day I got my beloved Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing MicroMachine and spent hours opening the unique bird-inspired doors and rolling around on the floor pretending to be on some twisty mountain roads. I had no idea then that I’d be doing just that almost 25 years later with my amazing wife in the hills of North Georgia.

downtown dah 2

We picked the car up on a gloomy Saturday afternoon, and immediately headed for the hills. We knew the rain would eventually rear its ugly head, and our time was limited. Having ridden motorcycles on these roads for the better part of my adult life, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. We shot up GA400, and proceeded to head towards HWY 60 and HWY 129. What happened next was nothing short of an epic day. We had so much fun that we laughed until we couldn’t breathe, took some amazing photos, giggled our faces off, (fun cars will do that to you) and enjoyed one of the best days we’ve ever had together.

At the top of GA 129.

A quick stop to take some shots in the country.
sls 10

sls lake

A few shots of the SLS around Atlanta.
sls junkmans cool

sls crog 6

sls crog 3

sls wall 3

sls vortex 2

Nothing says Atlanta and heartburn like The Varsity.
SLS varsity 4

A Few Short Laps

A few months back I had an amazing opportunity presented to me from a very generous coworker. My buddy Davis was picking up the new Mini Cooper JCW Coupe in South Carolina, and needed someone to tag along to drive the other car back. Being a car nut, I of course agreed, got the OK from my boss and we took off.

This wasn’t your ordinary “get it and go” trip. We were getting a very cool car, that few people had seen, and Davis managed to have the car delivered to the BMW Performance Driving School. The school is nothing short of amazing, and the staff was of course world-class. While standing around looking at our new toy, and answering questions by curious passersby we were asked, “You guys want to see the track?”

Any gear head will tell you that the words “see the track” bring joy to the deepest parts of your petrol-fueled soul, and the answer is always an enthusiastic “yes”! What followed was nothing short of awesome. We spent the next few hours putting the Mini through its paces along with one of the new M3s. We were accompanied by a BMW Master Instructor who promptly showed us that the Mini would hold it’s own on the short track we’d claimed as our own.

Despite the rain, we had a blast, drove the wheels off both cars, and learned a lot about the new JCW Coupe.

Some Tough Mudders

It seemed easy enough to agree to participate in the Tough Mudder when I was asked back in November. “Sure, sounds like fun” I said as the grin crept across my coworkers face. I should have known then that he was just happy to have another poor soul participate along side him in this miserable race.

I didn’t really know much about Tough Mudder when I agreed to participate, but I’m always down to try new challenging things, so it seemed like a no-brainer. I had only met 2 of the 10 people in our team by the time the night before the event rolled around. We were all gathering to pick up our Hoodrich Princess team jerseys, and load up on some pasta before the big race.

Everyone was cool enough, and had a very positive attitude towards the next days events. We watched videos of people running the race, getting tazed, falling in mud and what not while keeping idle chit chat and laughing about our weaknesses. It was then that I realized that I was way under prepared for this event. These guys had been training, running half marathons, and drinking vampire blood in preparation for this thing. I had only cut back on my pizza and beer intake, and hit the gym a few times more than normal. I was screwed, and in 12 hours I would regret not taking this more seriously.

With a bum knee and no training my only hope was to kick someone in the head the morning of the event and render them incapacitated in hopes of having a teammate to maintain a slow pace with me. That, or pray for our car to roll over on the highway on the way to the event.

As we stood at the starting gate staring at everyone else in the 30 degree weather you couldn’t help but be happy with the fact that a few thousand other people were also dumb enough to subject themselves to this type of torture. It truly was nice to see my fellow lemmings standing around looking overly confident right before the inevitable cliff.

The race was tough, cold, fun, challenging, and somewhat evil. I don’t know what else to say. I won’t go into detail on the 27 obstacles, or the ins and outs of the 12 miles, because all you need to know is that it was freaking hard.

Needless to say the amazing, ragtag team of princesses finished the entire course, but not without some serious teamwork. These guys and gal were amazing, and I never would have made it all 12 miles with my knee had it not been for them. Matter of fact, I had to be damn-near carried over the finish line after being tazed 4 or 5 times in the last obstacle.

The race was tough, but mainly because of the cold. Other than that, it was a lot of fun, very challenging and an great time.

To Jack, Scott R., Scott S., Alex S. Alex W., Michael, Andy, Davis and Whitney you guys are amazing people, and I’ll hobble along side you anytime.

About half the obstacles incorporated water in some form or fashion

The worst of the many mud obstacles

The team after 12 miles

Chicago Auto Show Fun

The Chicago Auto Show can be summed up in one word. Huge. The show is massive, and full of some amazing vehicle displays you won’t see anywhere else. The auto manufacturers bring out a lot of inventory, and really take advantage of all the space McCormick Place has to offer. The things you’ll see in Chicago that you probably won’t see at any other show include Jeep’s indoor rock garden, Chrysler’s indoor racetrack, and Ram’s indoor truck playground.

The show has all the usual goodies and a few extras, but what really makes it fun is the ability to see and explore so many different variations of vehicles. One person described it as a “manufacturers showroom where you see almost every model in every trim.” That’s not that far off. Chicago is a show where you won’t see many exotics, but you will find some over the top vehicle displays, and more vehicles than you can possibly remember.

Jeep’s rock garden
Jeep 1
Jeep 2

Mopar’s 426 crate motor
Mopar 426

Dodge Challenger

Ford’s Laguna Seca Mustang
Laguna Seca Mustang

Dueling Cobras

Lexus GS project
Lexus GS

Lexus LF LC
Lexus LF LC

BMW 5-Series Hybrid
BMW Hybrid

2012 Ford Focus
Focus yellow

A slew of Lexus LFAs
Lexus LF

The new Mustand 5.0 rocking a cool shaker hood
Ford shaker hood

The 2012 911
Porsche 911

Just one of the many SRT cars

A few from the massive Ram Trucks display
Ram Trucks 2
Ram trucks

The Progression Of Wakeboarding

Defy trailer 2. The Danny Harf project from Sean Kilgus on Vimeo.

Every now and then you run across a video that inspires the heck out of you and brings back amazing memories. For someone like myself who watches a gazillion YouTube, Hulu and random videos a month it’s rare that you see anything you ever really come back to, much less write about.

Danny Harff’s documentary, Defy is simply incredible. Even the trailer is amazing. I grew up on the water, and loved water sports. My first word was “boat” and by age 3 my dad had me knee boarding. When I say I love wake boarding I don’t mean I’m just a fan of the sport, but I loved to ride. I missed 64 days of school my senior year because we’d skip class and head to the lake for that smooth weekday water. Good times.

This documentary captures everything that’s great about the sport, and all the amazing ways it’s evolved over the past 20 years. Not to mention it’s one of the most amazing soundtracks ever, coupled with simply stunning cinematography.

We’ve come a long way from the WakeSkurfer.

Time To Move

for sale

We’ve been in our current home almost six years, and we really love the neighborhood. We’re within one mile of numerous grocery stores, Starbucks, a few restaurants, and every type of small specialty store you can think of. The only real downside to Woodstock is the commute into the city. “So what?” you might say. Well, my wife and I both work inside the perimeter, and so we spend a collective three hours in our cars every day. Multiply that times 5 days per week and that’s a minimum of 15 hours per week. If you really want to get nauseous that’s 30 full days we spend sitting in our cars each year. That’s assuming we take 2 weeks vacation every year. It’s sickening. Not to mention that we’re spending about $300.00 (at current fuel prices) per month on gas just to get to work.

Ok, now that I’ve bored you with basic math, and the sadness that is our commute I will say we’re not hell-bent on selling the house. We’re simply going to try, and see what comes of it. Stay tuned for some tips, and lessons learned when preparing to sell your home.

Field Marketing At Its Best


Field, or grassroots marketing has been around for quite some time. While some companies gave it up years ago due to the expense and lack of a definitive ROI, a small few are simply dominating their respective verticals. When you think about companies that own the gorilla marketing space a few key players come to mind. The one that comes top of my mind is Red Bull.

Red Bull essentially made its mark on the world through quirky events, and associating the brand with extreme sports. While they’ve recently broken out into the mainstream sports and music arenas they always dominated the extreme sports scene. Aligning a brand with a certain segment to build affinity is somewhat genius, but it’s even more effective when an aggressive grassroots marketing component is thrown in.

Enter, Red Bull Field Marketing person. While Emily and I were surfing in Daytona a few weeks back with some friends, we were paid a visit. After a day of surfing and playing on the beach we staggered back to our blankets, board bags and coolers to find a surprise left by some ingenious marketing person. “Why are they ingenious?” you ask. Well, any good marketer knows their core audience, and the idea of leaving Red Bull for some surfers just fits all too well for the brand. It was discreet, tactful, tasteful and targeted. Not to mention we were totally OK with it.

As we drank the saltwater away, we smiled, chatted about Red Bull, and shot off photos of our presents to the Twittersphere and The FaceTube. Now, had I seen a billboard, advertisement or flyer with the big red bull on it; I wouldn’t have given it one thought But, some drinks left on a very appreciative surfers spread goes a long way. Just think… I’m here writing about it now, so it must have worked.

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