Saturday, June 12, 2010

The End Of A Great Trip, A Toast To Absent Friends, And A Return To Blogging

Hello Dear Readers,

As you have gathered, there have not been any updates to this blog in a while. Some of you may know from our Youtube channel that the reason for this was that we met a handfull of our Youtube friends and took off for a vacation in the Yosemite Valley with a group of other Youtubers that we had only known through their Youtube work. "What would they be like in real life?" I wondered. Whenever you meet people you've only ever known from the internet there is always a 50/50 chance that the person you get along with quite well online won't turn out to be the same in person in real life.

The reality of people can be very different from the way they live in our imaginations...even when you see as much of them as you see on a medium such as Youtube. However, I feel very fortunate to say that we met some very awsome people that I would be proud to call my friends.

Jake and Craig of Orangegoblin82 were great fun to hang out with. Craig kept us laughing all the time, even when it was just pure sarcasm. Jake...while being the quieter of the pair, was also the mountain man of our group. He waded out into fast rushing, icy streams to collect wood for the fire. He was also the lead person on any hike no matter how treacherous. During the trip we discovered that Jake has backpacked alone to several countries. In them I found nerd buddies who always understood the wierd Star Wars and Scifi references that most people miss entirely. I also get bragging rights for defeating Craid in a no holds barred Star Wars Trivial Pursuit grudge Both of them just left in the car for San Francisco airport and we almost didn't let them go....they are missed already. Oh well, at least they won't leave their underwear laying around the bathroom anymore or crow about the superiority of all things in the U.K.

Tom, aka Fruityteen09 was known to me from his coming out video. His videos gave us an insight into his personal life in its most serious and heartbreaking moments as well as the funny and spontaneous ones such as singing the theme song to the lion king. Tom is just as genuine and spontaneous in real life. We had a great time when all of us pulled over into the snow and it fast became Tom against the rest of the group in a massive snowball fight. There was also the time when Tom and Brad decided to jump into the Icy stream the ran behind our camp. They had challenged each other and no sooner had the fully immersed themselves did they jump out screaming as certain body parts shrunk to oblivion.

Brad Froener aka ScottNeumann82 is another Youtuber who met us from our coming out videos who was inspired to do his own. He has discussed some very intimate topics in his videos dubbed "the life of a single gay guy", including the story of his adoption and arriving in America from with only single box of belongings. His videos always reveal a little more of his continuing journey through life. Meeting the real Brad was much the same as we shared stories of his home of Nebraska and what it means to grow up gay in a rural town. So many corn jokes went around the campfire I lost count after a while.

Yosemite itself was amazing. Most of the snow was gone except for a few patches here and there. the rivers and creeks were full and water was everywhere. The waterfalls were amazing to look at with many of them so steep that the water was only a fine mist by the time it reached the bottom. Standing at the bottom of "Bridal Veil" falls was like being in warm summer rain...I could have stayed all day.

We hiked as much as possible. On the first day a few of our group left for an all day hike and returned to tell the story of encountering a girl scout troup turning back from the trail becaused it had been closed due to snow. Our group decided to keep on anyway...being the entrepid adventurers that they are...and one of the girl scouts called back "Your all gonna die!"

Well....ominous warnings aside they pressed on to discover that the already narrow trails that wind around sheer drops down the mountainside where covered in snow. They still went on, clinging to trees and bushes as they went. Of course one of them did almost slip and was caught at the last minute bringing to life the ominous warnings by the girl scouts. Thankfully, everyone returned safely and we were able to have a good laugh about it latter.

Our friend Wolfie cooked amazing meals that made the other campers look on in envy. We truly had the best outdoor meals I have ever had. Jake and Craig were introduced to smores which didn't sit well with Craig who went on about how they don't eat things like that at home....meanwhile Jake inhaled an entire bag of marshmallows.

At night the stars where amazing and when all the campfires went out you could almost imagine what it was like to live before settlers came to the west. When the sun goes downit gets totally dark under those trees and the bears are said to be nearly silent walkers....sometimes I wonder how close they may have been in the dark. But it was also a very romantic place to be under that starlight with only the sound of the water.

The kids had never been in the snow before so it was also an awsome opportunity to get out and experience it. Of course, it turned into a great big snowball fight:

To soon the trip came to and end and we had to take the long drive back. We said our goodbuys to Brad and his friend Ashley and headed back for home but our adventure didn't end with the end of our camping trip. We still had a week with the Goblins and Tom in California so we took them on a lot of day adventures. We took them to see our coast and touched the Pacific ocean. We went to local towns like gurneville and attended the gay parade there as well as hiking Armstrong woods. We went to healdsburg and had a lesson in wine tasting (something I've never done in all my years here). We went to San Francisco and saw Alcatraz, the Castro, an A's baseball game, rode cable cars and lots of other touristy stuff.

We finished with a trip to six flags marine world in Vallejo and had an amazing time. Craig hates roller coasters so we had to drag him on at least one I've never seen an Englishmen turn that particular shade of was great fun.

But after roughing it in the wild and sharing our home with friends from Youtube, it was time for everyone to return to our everyday lives. It all came too soon. Our overfilled house now feels quiet...even with me and five kids in it. The orangegoblins, Jake and Craig, should be back home after their 16 hour flight. Brad and Ashley drove 29 hours to return to Nebraska, and Tom aka fruityteen09 is on a plane to Chicago as we speak.

I was surprised to have so much fun. I already miss everyone and look forward to the time when we can meet again. A meeting of internet friends can be funny  that way, you never know what you will encounter. I feel very fortunate to have met everyone and made friends that I think will last for many years to come...unless the goblins read this, in which case they may sever all diplomatic relations....but for now we all return to our regular lives...I.T. departments, pastry kitchens, grocery stores, sherrifs depts.....and for me a return to regular blogging. but one thing is for all great travels, the experiences we shared have changed me and for a while I will have trouble getting back into regular life when I truly wish I could go back and do it all again....

until next time and new adventures....


  1. That seems like it was a ton of fun!

    Hi, guys, my name's James and I've been following your blog and your videos on YouTube for a while now - Just wanted to let you know how AWESOME I think you guys are for being out showing yourselves like this. That is SO important for gay people everywhere!

    You have a beautiful family, and it's great that you're so proud of it - Everyone should have the right to raise their families, in whatever configuration, without the fear of persecution or hate. Thank you so much for showing it is possible!


  2. Smores sound delicious! How could Craig not like them? And he's scared of roller-coasters as well? You're letting the side down, mister! I prescribe a visit to Alton Towers ;-)

    Like Swampex, I really wish I'd been there! Perhaps you'll organise another one in the future and I'll have the money to come. My brother is a big outdoor pursuits nut, so I'd love to get to climb the half-dome (which I saw in one of your videos) purely to see how jealous he'd be.

    Jake & Craig, have either of you ever done the three peaks challenge?

  3. Sounds like you all had a great time. Wish I could have been there.

    Some of my fondest memories are camping all over northern New England. First in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, then over in Biddeford, Maine at a camp site called Bunganut Lake. We used to joke that Bunganut was Indian for land of many rocks.

    Been over a decade since I last went and I'm now feeling a strong pull back out into the open.

  4. Roller coaters make me puke! God it is good to be back in the greatest country in the world.

    Yes I have done the three peaks but not all on the same day.

    Work tomorrow, Nooooooooooo

  5. You all look like you guys had a great trip!!! How awesome!!! See you and the family in Aug!!!

  6. I must echo all the other comments. Like swampy, tavdy, and truthspew said I'm jealous of you guys and wish I'd been with you guys. Like James commented seeing such positive fun videos of normal (well maybe not normal hehe), well-adjusted, good-looking, cool guys who happen to be gay and showing it to the world is great and important. Like jojo20to1 said your camping trip looked awesome, and I knew it would be but watching it on video it was even better than I'd imagined it'd be. You guys sure did a lot! And like Orangegoblin82 commented the UK is the greatest country in the world. Oh wait. No, that's not right. Add a S in front the U and a C in front of the K and you get a decent description of it =P. I concede it was neat seeing the Brits and the others in your videos though. It's neat seeing all you fellow posters all together in 1 video for once. I do have an urge to check out all the videos of the camp attendees if I haven't been following them already

    Neat videos like this give me more resolve to come out. Or perhaps sooner than I sort of plan to. It makes me realize how much I'm missing out on. I love how your videos, the awesome life you and your family have and that you guys created for yourself, your family (and new friends) just being your awesome selves has such a strong impact on my thinking and dreams of my future.

  7. I really enjoyed fallowing the camping trip on the channels of you and you fellow campers!! It looked like so much fun, amd makes me jellos of not being there and the fact that I have not been camping since I was a little boy since no one in my family actually camps, because it looks like fun.