About Joe

Big Schloss hike – border of VA/WV

The following is a true story from my childhood up to modern day, as told with great literary flair by my brother, Brendan…

I wasn’t always a fan of the “great outdoors.”  Mandatory Cub Scout hikes never garnered my appreciation for towering hills, ageless trees, cascading mountains, and silent bird watching.  The very thought of my own exploration was quickly, and appropriately so for a ten year old, deemed impossible as my scout leader insisted I “stay with the group.”  Though the walks themselves may not have been memorable, the experiences were unforgettable.

My father had volunteered to assist our troop on one of the hikes near Tuscarora, PA.  Surely this was bound to be a father-son experience so classically depicted in any outdoor painting.  A prepared thermos of Cherry Kool-Aid was given to me by my mother as she hoped it would quench my thirst during the hot, sizzling summer day.  Knowing nothing of canteens (the only camping I had known had been in the backyard where house faucets were regularly available), I carted off with the small thermos.  Though it served as a perfect relief, the contents went inexplicably fast.  Luckily, halfway through the hike, our group took a break near an old-fashion water well.  Everyone took turns refilling their canteens (or thermoses) and we were advised to “be prepared” with enough water as there was still much ground to cover.  With my make-shift canteen overflowing, we continued the structured itinerary of the hike.  My father, like an Egyptian camel, stopped only at the well for a drink, choosing earlier to forgo the Muppet Show thermos left out for him.

Having a fresh supply of water made the thought of drinking it undeniable.  As I tasted the first splashes of the water that splashed in my red plastic lid cup, the distinct aftertaste of Kool Aid tainted its refreshment.  Immediately, not liking this at all, I dumped its contents, emptying it completely, and learning a valuable lesson.  Next time I will “be prepared” to ALWAYS rinse out my thermos!  After all, why would it matter if I dumped my own water?  I wasn’t in charge of the company’s thirst management.

Not too long after, the sturdy, strong and stoic camel asked me for a sip.  He must have been parched, and surely he underestimated the Scout Leader’s intentions on conquering that mountain.  Empty handed, I explained to him that the water had tasted “gross” and that I had dumped it.  Rejected, thirsty, and confused by his own young child (one who had spent many Monday nights in club meetings in preparation for the trip), he was bemused that one could dismiss the necessity of water simply because it had a yucky taste.

Needless to say my father and I chose not to share any more hiking adventures together.  Not so much because we had a bad time, but that one of us could starve or die of thirst on the other man’s watch!

Fast forward 10 years and I found myself with the means to take some small vacations. Nothing major, some trips three to five hours from my home in Upstate NY, but I enjoyed the time by myself, finally getting to make the decisions of where to go and what to explore.  It was then that I had the exciting idea to try a cross-country trip on my own, which would ultimately turn into a great adventure.

Five years from that life-altering trip, we arrive at the present day.  I’ve spent the last four years working in the defense industry in New York, Maryland, and Georgia, and although a lot of the work was enjoyable, it was not my passion.  I decided to leave it.  The time off would then allow for traveling, and then afterward I could pursue some new goals…

…but before I take a different path in life, I plan to tackle a new exploration of this country, the United States of America, along with its neighbor to the North, and plan to see more hidden, yet overwhelming natural beauty of our backyard.  Traveling alone and free of schedules, I will be armed with my camera, computer, car, and countless suggestions from people living all over the continent.

This time, I may even bring two thermoses, and I’ll definitely be sure to rinse them out!

The lure of the road


The shorthand version “About Me”:


  • Food
  • Traveling
  • Ziploc bags
  • Astronomy


  • Itineraries
  • Peanut butter-coated knives in the sink

As mentioned above, one of my favorite hobbies is studying Astronomy.  Recently, I purchased a digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera in order to take photos of the night sky, a.k.a. astrophotography.  I am really looking forward to getting out to the many scenic parts of our country and getting some shots of the stars, like this:

Stars over Northern GA

I’ve been fortunate to have seen a number of National Parks and witness our country’s beauty first-hand.  Now to be able to combine that with the beauty of the night sky…I feel very lucky.

  1. Ling
    April 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

    have a nice trip…

  2. Matt
    May 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    What peanut butter isn’t wet?

  3. Brendan
    May 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Great Site….Looking forward to the countless pictures of rocks and tall trees~~~:)

  4. Brendan
    May 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Joe, make sure you leave your story up…it’s better in blog speech!!!

  5. Donna Frankovsky
    May 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I will have Trailmix waiting at the front door. We will be sad to say so long to our happy wonderer.

  6. May 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Very impressive, Joe.

  7. Sandy Stickler
    May 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm


    The best of luck to you on your adventure. Pls. drive carefully and have lots of fun!! Please ensure you send lots of pictures. I’d love to see them.



  8. June 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    NICE travel log captain! It’s almost as good as being there! Thanks! I’ll make some Hurricanes when you’re here if you missed having one @ Pat O’Briens! Safe trip have FUN!

  9. Nathalie
    June 13, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Joe – It was good seeing you this week. Be safe and have lots of fun for all of us stuck here working 😦

  10. menchaca
    July 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    well your not in jail in juarez – good move.

  11. Kevin Curtin
    August 13, 2010 at 6:55 am


    Janet and I were excited to see your picture in front of Denali. You were so fortunate to experience such a clear day!

    Stay away from the bear.


    Kevin and Janet

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