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I went through a lot after high school, this is a brief summery. If you want to jump right to where I am now, click here.

The most life changing thing was about 2 or 3 years after graduating (82 or 83 I think) I had a major motorcycle accident. A van pulled out in front of me, I was doing 45mph and only left a 25' skid mark so it was estimated I was doing a little over 35mph when I hit the side of the van. I was told I'd never walk normal again. I received a large settlement and made an investment to keep me from having to use my knee too much. I bought the old Kaminski's music shop on Fulton st. across from the Clark gas station, 2 buildings east of the John Ball Park Zoo and turned it into a pet store. This was probably 1984, or at least close to then. I did that for about 2 years but it just didn't work out so I moved on.

In 1986 I became an electrician. Doing this work must have loosened my knee up because I was starting to get active. After a few years, around 89 I started going for long walks then moved to riding a bike a few hours every night after work. After about a year of that I was feeling ready for more, I started taking karate at Kicks Karate. This really put me in good shape and showed me my knee was not near as bad as I thought.

Around then I bought a mountain bike and started riding every night after work, about 3 hours a night. I did this even in winter when there was no snow. After a year of this I was in good shape, I think it was around 1990 I decided to try a mountain bike race at the Pando Ski resort. Freewheeler bike shop gave me a top of the line mountain bike to race with, if you look at the picture in the "mountain bike" section you'll see I was wearing their shirt. For my first race I didn't do to bad, 29th place out of 224 entries.

The winter after that I started snow skiing. I skied in high school but I had junk skis and no one to teach me how to do it right. I started this time with junk skies but after a few times out I bought a pair of K2 Extremes and some top of the line racing boots. I skied Michigan resorts for that winter, mostly Sugarloaf and Caberfae. I learned to ski OK but wasn't really confident.

The next summer I started mountain biking again, I built a racing bike and started training with a pro from England. He helped me build the bike, showed me things like using Titanium nuts & bolts and aluminum frame and parts. We would race each other about 3 times a week going to places like Amen park and Deep Lake (in Yankee Springs). I really was good at it now, I could hop over downed logs without loosing a stroke. That fall I went to the Pando challenge but never finished, in the beginning of the first lap someone, I don't know who, grab my brake and pull the lever at the same time turned my handle bars making me go over the front of the bike. I was lucky, there were over 150 people behind me, but I was able to roll off the trail without getting run over. I started in the back, not figuring I would do good, but by the time I made it up the Pando face I was in 3rd place. I should have known it would be rough, these were pros and there was money on the line. This accident broke my collar bone and I couldn't finish the race. The friend from England that I trained with finished 2nd and I was as good as him so I figured I would have easily placed in the top 3, maybe first, I'll never know.

As winter started I was back into skiing, a friend, Mike Z. that got me back into skiing asked if I wanted to go to Colorado with them over spring break. We skied Michigan on weekends, mostly Caberfae, I think their runs are the longest, the south peak is great. We also went to both Boyne Highlands and mountain as well as Crystal Mountain. When spring break came we went to Keystone Colorado and Skied Keystone and A-Basin. This really blew my mind, A-Basin had peaks over 14,000 feet and they allowed you to hike to the top. I did some hiking (picture here and here, my hair was a little long). Here my skiing really improved, you get to take a 5 minute lift up and spend 15 minutes skiing down, that's if you go straight down. Most people take rests on the way down so it can take over 30 minutes to get to the bottom. With so much time skiing instead sitting on the lift like in Michigan you really can learn quick.

Over the next several years I would mountain bike with friends in the summer. I would get out of work at 3:15, get home as quick as possible, eat dinner and be on my bike by 4:30. I would then ride for several hours, usually till dark, on warm summer nights I would ride longer. Weekends we'd go fishing or camping. On the week of the 4th of July we would go camping up in Mackinaw and spend the night on Mackinaw Island over the 4th & 5th. Mackinaw Island has some of the best, most extreme mountain biking trails I've ever seen. We would test our biking skills going down hills that are very steep with roots and rocks giving us big adrenalin rushes and after, a good sense of accomplishment.

As far as winter goes, I started playing hockey. I missed the game, I played in high school and every season after that it would bother me as I'd watch the red Wings, wishing I could play. What really got to me was when they won the Stanley Cup. One day Mike and his brothers got a bunch of their friends together for a day of pond hockey on a hidden pond just off Fennessy Drive. We also would fish this pond in the summer, that's how we know about it. This game of pond hockey is what did it, I had to play.

That summer I talked to Mike about it, we bought equipment and I found us a team to play on. When I played in high school I could skate very good, I played pond hockey since 5 years old, but when I tried out for the team I wanted I could barely turn and had a lot of trouble trying to stop. That team didn't want me, and I don't blame them. I didn't give up, the problem was I hadn't skated on arena ice in a while, it's different than pond ice. So I tried for another team, and they gave me a chance. By the end of that season I was doing great. The next year that team didn't play so I found another team, this team was in a different league, it was AAA and there were college players and some that could have played semi pro. When the season started I was barely good enough for this league but after a few games I fit in well. After this season that team disbanded and mike and I were sick of that so we decided to get a bunch of our friends together and start our own team. This was great, we got 17 people together, including one person that I actually played with in high school, Steve Z., Mikes older brother, and oddly enough he was the goalie of the first team that turned me down. He was great, like a coach on the ice. His on the ice coaching made us very good. He took it very serious and has a lot to do with our winning first place for our first season as well as winning the playoffs, he won a trophy for best goalie in the league.

Today
So that was the 90's, summers mountain biking, camping and fishing then winters were hockey, karate and skiing. At the end of the 90's it fell apart. My knee wouldn't let me play hockey anymore and no one seemed to have time to camp or mountain bike. This was all good, I needed to find a wife. I was so busy having fun I forgot about that, until life slowed down, then I realized I missed out on a big part of life. As I started dating I found out something I never thought of, any woman my age is going to be divorced or have something wrong with her to be single so long. The other thing is they all seemed to have kids, usually a few kids with different fathers. I didn't go for that so I tried something different, I got on the internet and went to Yahoo's personals. I met a few weird ones, then I met a good one. There was a profile of a good woman, it sounded to good, I responded anyway, but there was a catch. She informed me that Yahoo doesn't allow out of country zip codes so she used a Grand Rapids zip but she was in Thailand. She was a 27 year old Filipino, a teacher, teaching at a mission college in Thailand. I didn't care how far away she was, I figured there was nothing left in this country, good American girls don't wait till past 30 to get married, anyone worth marrying was married. She was like me, so busy with life that she never had a chance to meet anyone. Now that she was in a foreign country, working at a college where all the men were college age, she found it hard to meet someone also. We emailed and talked on the phone for a few months, then I went there to meet her. Things went well, we married in 2002 and as of now we have a wonderful daughter (I made here a web site http://lianna.us).

In 1996 I bought my first computer, $2000 for a 120 MHz Compact Presario. Now I can build top of the line computers for a fraction of that, times have changed. About a year after I bought my first computer I started learning, I didn't use my PC for email and web browsing, I used it to learn computer languages, image and video editing and to learn how to repair them. I even took a few college courses at Grand Rapids Community College. It paid off, I've been making money doing web design and computer networking, and I love doing it.

So that kind of brings us to now. I do computer networking/repair and web design for a living. My wife is a teacher and we have a wonderful daughter. I live in Hawaii and switched from mountain biking, hockey and skiing to hiking, surfing and snorkeling. My web design site is http://abcwd.com.

I was telling my wife I was writing this, about my life and that brought her to ask me what my greatest accomplishment was. I had to answer skiing. Skiing is probably my greatest accomplishment in life, over the years I became an expert skier, an extreme skier. If I would have started sooner in life I'm sure I could have gone pro. I've skied hills only expert skiers could ski. I've skied runs where at the chair lift there would be a large black sign with a skull and crossbones, saying "Experts Only! hidden and unmarked obstacles rocks and cliffs". My last time skiing was in Lake Tahoe where there was a ski resort named Kirkwood. Kirkwood was almost all double black diamond and there wasn't a hill I didn't ski and I skied them well. The double black diamonds out west are a lot different than the ones in Michigan. Also skiing helped me see the country. Skiing took me to mountain tops around 14,000 feet, it's like standing on top of the world. Skiing got me to travel, before skiing I never traveled. Skiing brought me to the top of Whistler mountain in British Colombia, Canada, where the snow had a blue tint and you were actually skiing on a glacier as giant mountains surrounded you. Skiing brought me to Utah where I took a few days off to see the state. I stood where the Colorado and Green river meet, the beginning of the Grand Canyon (click here for a picture). Skiing brought me to Travel around the state of Wyoming (here's a pic of me in 1998, looking toward Yellowstone Park, about 75 miles in the distance you can see Yellowstone's mountains). Skiing took me to Lake Tahoe, and if that wasn't good enough, we took a day off to drive around California. I got to drive up the west coast on Highway 1 to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Skiing took me to the Badlands, on our way home from a Colorado trip. We went through the black hills and visited Mount Rushmore then drove through the badlands. Skiing took me to the Grand Tetons. If my knee will take it, I plan to go again. We're planning a trip for spring break of 2007 most likely to Lake Tahoe again, or maybe Jackson hole. Here are a few pictures of me skiing, well, on the slopes. I was the only one that would take a camera and no one knew how to use it (Minolta 7000 with a 375mm zoom and auto focus), so most of my pictures are of others.


(I'm in the orange)
This was my first time out west.
Arapahoe Basin 1992

(I'm in blue, in the middle)
This is Arapahoe Basin 1994

 

(Again I'm in the middle)
This is Copper Mountain 1995

(I'm on the right)
This is my last time out, so far.
Heavenly Valley, California/Neveda 2001

For those of you that knew me in high school it sounds like a totally different person, and it is. I was a major drinker/toker in high school and for about 6 years after. All I wanted to do was get stoned, then on weekends drink and get stoned. I didn't actually quit smoking pot till January 1 2002 but I stopped drinking and being a partier around 1986. During my party years I could drink a case of beer or suck down a fifth of liquor without getting drunk, weird huh? Quitting drinking is almost unheard of, an American that doesn't drink any alcohol. Now I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke pot and don't smoke cigarettes, very different than I was in the early 80's.

I'll add more, and touch up these stories over time.

 
   
Visitor since 1996