Article: Why Does Time Seem to Speed Up with Age?

This explains why the last three years of travel seem longer than the five before it.

1. Why Does Time Seem to Speed Up with Age? (Scientific America)

"The reason? Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight."

I read every one of "BBC's All Time Top 100 Best Novels"...

... well, I gave each book a try, anyway. Of the 100 books on the list, I read ninety cover-to-cover and the remaining ten anywhere from 20% to 90% through. If I read 50% in and regretted the time spent, I finished up with some CliffsNotes. There are too many great works of literature to force myself to read something I don't enjoy. The books completed to 90% were ones read for school but unfinished like The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Full disclosure: Soon before finishing the list, I learned it wasn't really created by the BBC. It was an improved version of their "Big Read" list authored by an anonymous source, online.

After comparing the two lists, the meme version seems better, adding great books like Shadow of the Wind, The Wasp Factory, Handmaid's Tale, and Atonement. It also had a few undeserving titles like

Denver: "Then and now" photo comparison between now and wayback in 2014

When we drove into Denver earlier this month, we were stunned by the changes. I was briefly disoriented by the new and ongoing construction; the lack of recognizable landmarks. It had only been 19 months!

Roads through empty lots now run through towering apartments and offices. New grocery stores. New restaurants. With around 40,000 more people in the area, places seem more crowded than I remembered. More traffic. More honking.

In 2014, many parks, train stations, and buildings were only recently completed. I can't imagine how people who grew up here, feel.

I haven't found any good pictures or time-lapses of Denver's skyline, though there seem to be plenty

Denver: Home Sweet Home #12

Another apartment to add to the list. Common warehouse type in Denver and other refurbished downtowns, but unlike any we've lived in, yet.

The apartment is in Denver's Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood. A section known as the Hardware Block. Right between the 16th Street Mall and Cherry Creek Trail. A couple blocks from Union Station and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Above or next to clothing shops, bars, restaurants, medical offices, a bike shop, bookstore, and a DIY bar for making projects while enjoying a beer or cocktail. Walk Score of 85 (for comparison, NY City = 89, SF = 86)

 View east towards downtown and the construction of what will be Denver's fourth highest building.

 Pro: Nice open space Con: Nice open space. The wall between the kitchen and bedroom stops before

Denver: We're back and here to stay!

What a summer! A road-trip from the West Coast to the East. First time visits to Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland (ME), Atlantic City, Buffalo, and Burlington (VT). We tried to make the best of our three free months off, visiting family from Florida to Boston and doing quite a bit in between. We drove the harrowing route to the top of Mount Washington in NH, RV'd around the Salton Sea and into the squatter community of Slab City, island hopped around Maine's Casco Bay in a mail-boat, camped on a hang-glider landing zone in the heart of Pennsylvania, lived on a boat for the weekend in Hilton Head, ate burritos in El Paso, air-boated in the Florida Everglades, canoed down the Schuylkill River, and saw some of our favorite musicians in Philadelphia and Trenton.

Lastly, we sold or donated anything that wouldn't fit in our Subaru (Ebay, Craigslist, yard sales) and headed for Denver; our last and hopefully final city of what has been nearly four years of travel and getting to live in amazing cities.

During these four years we've lived in 9 cities and taken the time to visit dozens more. Of the top 40 cities in the country, we've now lived in or visited 38. At the end of the year we will have been to every state except Hawaii.

San Francisco: Update and we're out

Our San Francisco stay is almost over. We overcame the initial hype backlash expressed in my last post and found some affordable places where we're comfortable hanging out.  The El NiƱo rains eased up, allowing us to bike along the coast, over the Golden Gate, and into the headlands and bay cities. We went rowing in the Golden Gate Park and took the ferry to Angel Island. We watched open mic comedy at a laundromat in SOMA and played urban mini-golf in the Mission. We hung out with the beach crowd at Java Beach Cafe in Sunset and sampled crepes in Dogpatch. We visited the Google headquarters and the Computer History Museum in Mountain Valley. We traveled south to San Jose, north to the Lagunitas Brewery, and east to Berkeley. We sampled Onigiri in Japantown and tea in Chinatown. We made it out to the Bonita Lighthouse, hiked the Coastal Trail, and found a great dog beach for Bailey at Fort Funston. We haven't fallen as hard for San Francisco as many people we know, but there is a lot we'll miss.

What I've learned to appreciate about San Francisco:

The quirky details: San Francisco is a compressed mess of cultures and time periods, religions and sexual expression. There is a lot of detail that's missed by tourists. The rebellious messages scratched in concrete. The miles of wire subtly wrapped around telephone poles to denote orthodox Jewish eruvs. The police and fire alarm boxes that dot the city dating from as far back as 1899. An adult-film studio housed in a massive former military armory. Historic markers and points of interest involving

San Francisco: Notes from month one in Bay City

There is plenty of time for a change of heart but, thus far, San Francisco seems like a great place to visit, not to live. Like San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and other cities on the water-- it's gorgeous. There are all types of things to do. But, like the typical San Franciscan row house we live in; we're glad we tried it and will be glad when we're someplace less noisy, drafty, and expensive.

Part of this view comes from being extremely spoiled. We went to Baker Beach yesterday and watched hundreds of tourists standing around taking pictures of the Pacific. Each one will probably bring those pictures home and talk about how picturesque the city and ocean were. But we just moved from Oregon were we regularly had miles of pacific ocean to ourselves with no roads in site. At the beginning of the year, we lived on an island in the Atlantic where we'd be the first ones on the beach in the morning with no one to share it with but starfish and crab. A small crowded beach with hundreds of people standing around with their fingers in their noses is better than no beach, but it's also not particularly enjoyable, either.

The other major thing standing in the way of my loving San Francisco is the prohibitive cost of living. I'm all for paying more for good food and drink, but there is a limit. I write a bit more about it  below.
Notes from the first month:

1. Carry Cash! Before moving here, money would sit in my wallet for months waiting on the rare "cash only" situation. Not in San Fran! Cash only businesses are so common, everyone is in the habit of carrying it, notices are practically hidden, and nothing says "you're not from around here" like not

Anchorage: Retrospection and final evaluation


We always planned on visiting Alaska, but were a little uncertain about moving there. We thought it might be a place best seen in a couple weeks or from the security of a cruise ship, not a place to commit to for three months. Thankfully we chose to commit!

The difference between visiting Alaska and living there is similar to the difference between camp-site camping and backpacking. Sure, metaphorically we didn't hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. We didn't live there through a winter or visit any remote native villages. We're not residents or experts, but I feel like we got a really good idea of the area. 

A JC Bucket List: 25 things to do in Johnson City, TN

Last year, during our travels to California and Colorado I typed out a quick post about Johnson City. It was a tribute, of sorts. When I wrote it, we had been away from Tennessee for a while and I was starting to miss some of my favorite places. Surprisingly, the post was quite popular. A lot of people are looking for information about JC and there doesn't seem to be much.

Coming back to the city for a few weeks at the end of last year, we noticed more changes than usual. You couldn't tell from the line of cars wrapping around JC's only Starbucks, but there is a great new coffee shop downtown. The Tweetsie Trail is finished and heavily used. Downtown streets are being torn up and rebuilt with landscaped medians. There is a new sculpture park downtown built over-top of what was once acres of warehouse and eyesore.

So much of the new that I've see in our travels across the country is sterile outdoor shopping malls and luxury condos. It's great to see new nature projects, small businesses, and warehouse reclamation. Praises to the people in Johnson City who are pushing for these types of projects. But on to the reason for this post... 

25 things to do in Johnson City!

1. Shoot pool at Numan's

Classy way to start the list, but as smoky and seedy as it is, Numan's Cafe and Sports Bar is a downtown institution. It's been the perfect place to people watch for over 20 years and has held strong through times when not much else was downtown. Where else can you see people smoking right next to their oxygen tanks or get cutthroat deals on zippo lighters from a trench-coat wearing entrepreneur?  Escape to Main Street Pizza or Mid City Grill if the smoke gets too heavy.

2. Explore Buffalo Mountain

White Rock,with its great views towards North Carolina and Elizabethton, is a mandatory hike for anyone living in Johnson City. Park at the gate and take the service road, or the more interesting White Rock Trail, to the top. Been there, done that? Buffalo Mountain offers a number of other interesting trails [trail map].

3. Browse the Johnson City Farmer's Market

The Johnson City Farmer's Market has been growing for years and is quickly becoming a focal point of downtown weekend activity. The 20,000 sq ft new Farmer's Market and Pavilion should be ready before too long. It's not just produce!

4. Catch a show at the Acoustic Coffeehouse (or The Down Home or The Hideaway)

A lot of Johnson City venues (Rafters, Casbah, Galaxy) have come and gone, but three venues have held strong. The Acoustic Coffeehouse, The Down Home and The Hideaway each offer a relaxed environment to listen to regular live music. Check out their music schedules in The Loafer or on their individual websites: Loafer - Acoustic - Hideaway - Down Home.

5. Hike to the Bay's Mountain Fire Tower

A medium-difficulty hike with a huge payoff. This fire tower was built in 1937 by the CCC as part of Roosevelt's New Deal Program. Bring a picnic then stay for one of Bay's Mountain's great nature exhibits.

San Francisco: Home sweet home #9 and first impressions of the neighborhood

We definitely like to mix things up with our housing; whether it's living on an island, above a grocery store, on the Delaware River, or in a high-rise on the 19th floor.  Even the apartment that felt like it was in the middle of a highway is remembered fondly. Now, we get to stay in a historic row-house!

This kind of apartment is common for the area and reminds me of others in Chicago and Philadelphia, but add in the neighborhood, and this place is like no other. 

Just a couple miles from the Pacific Ocean, near two enormous city parks, and in a mixed-purpose neighborhood with all types of shops and restaurants-- a cafe just a few yards from our door! There are also dozens of Asian markets a few blocks over where we can buy our canned jack fruit

Average rent in San Francisco is $3000 for a one-bedroom  and $4500 for a two-bedroom apartment. There are a lot of interesting and successful people in the area along with businesses and services to match. Instead of finding restaurant coupons in our
mailbox welcome package, we found deals offering gourmet meals delivered in 15 minutes, on-demand laundry, in-home doctor's visits, home cleaning, personal shoppers, and other services for people that actually make more money staying a couple extra hours at their IT jobs and letting other
people run their errands.

We've already been to San Francisco a couple times, so we've gotten most of the touristy stuff out of the way. Our plan is to enjoy the local neighborhood and stay out of our car. The city is only seven miles across, but with stop-signs and lights every block, it takes a long time to drive just a couple miles. It's often much quicker to bike or ride, so we'll be looking to buy some bikes (we left ours in Denver!) and get some transit passes. Plus, do you see the garages in the picture!? If you think

Good-bye Roseburg / Hello San Francisco!

Our apartment in San Fran
Next city, San Fran!

Last year, we chose to live in Fresno just to be near San Francisco and it was the closest we could get at the time. Now, we're actually going to live there!

I'm pretty excited. I think it will be really interesting. We've already been told that two of the three other tenants in our building are IT professionals and none of them have a car. We're looking forward to finding a couple decent bikes and living in the Richmond neighborhood, just a couple miles from the beach, the Presidio, and Golden Gate Park.

It's an interesting time to live in San Francisco. As housing continues to rise, there are a lot of protests against the very IT professionals the Bay Area is known for. It's a microcosm of the future war that's been predicted to eventually happen between AI advocates and future luddites, and, more importantly, a debate that will continue to occur as the wealth gap increases. In San Francisco, discontent has surfaced as public protests against the private Google and Facebook commuter buses that workers take from San Fran to their jobs in Palo Alto. Airbnb was recently in the press being blamed for increased housing costs by filling apartments with short-term tourists instead of long-term tenants. 

I'll be researching why diverse housing is such a big issue while we're there. Obviously, diversity is beneficial, but what is the argument for tampering with capitalism? Why aren't people who can't afford housing just expected to move to an area they can afford? Will the economy collapse if there aren't any minimum wage workers? I'm entirely ignorant on the issue...

Ever since we found out we were going to San Fran next, anything related to the city has been catching my eye. We watched the Disney move Inside Out last night and noticed all the San Frannery in the background. We experienced an unsettling earthquake in Anchorage and aren't too keen on the idea of a repeat, so we'll skip watching San Andreas. I did some research into earthquake prediction and the 1908 and 1989 earthquakes -- "Duck and cover!"

We leave tomorrow and are going to stop along the way to check out Sacramento. I'll write more when we actually get there. Here are a couple articles of interest:

The $600-a-month shipping container village for young professionals getting creative to avoid staggering rents in San Francisco

Tenderloin Photos

Finally, a clip from Inside Out of the family moving to San Fran. I was able to guess where they were moving to, and where they were moving from just by seeing the three transition clips. We experienced something similar along our travels through South Dakota, Colorado, and Utah.

Oregon: Wrap-up and rating. On to the next city!

Roseburg, OR
Another three months has flown by and we're getting ready to leave Roseburg for the next city. My final feelings on Roseburg and Oregon are mixed. Oregon as a whole is nothing like the reputation it often gets from Portland, but overall it's a great state.

Shortly after the UCC shooting, I was reading harsh comments on-line coming from Texas and other areas in the south about "the hippies in Oregon" and their lack of guns and carry-permits. If only they new the truth! Oregon is just like any other state with the progressives in the cities and the conservatives in the country. Roseburgians loves their guns, pick-ups, and churches. The majority are downright hostile towards "liberals", Obama, and the "tree-huggers up in Portland" that criticize the logging industry and give them a "bad" reputation. I've mentioned a couple of times already being surprised by rampant obesity and confederate flags in town.

But we're glad we came for three months. The coast was amazing! I could see owning a beach house in Oregon and living here a few months a year. So, as far as our experience overall, it was definitely positive and we've had a great three months.


1. All the interesting names like Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua, Devil's Punchbowl, Devil's Churn, Wizard's Island.
2. The Minimum wage applies to everyone (servers included)

Portland: Meh

I mentioned a couple posts back that Portland has been on our wish-list since the very beginning of our adventures. After putting down roots in Denver, we were always a little concerned that we'd eventually get a chance to live in Portland and wish we had held out. Our concern was unnecessary.

Portland wasn't the magical utopia other visitors, my exaggerated expectations, and Portlandia promised me it would be.

To be sure, it was a neat place. It seems like a great city to live in; a high-quality place to try new things and meet other healthy people; a great home for harder to please millennials who aspire to higher things than making babies and $$$. I assume if I lived there any period of time instead of just nearby, I'd find nuanced aspects to appreciate and write about. I'd fall in love like I've done with every place we've been. BUT, from the couple visits we made, I wasn't blown away; far from it. Our first visit sucked.

International Rose Garden
Aside from being spoiled and having visited and lived in some of the best cities in the country, I think the reason Portland didn't meet my expectation is that the city is no longer the outlier its reputation is built on. There is a revolution of sorts going on across the country, down through the rustbelt and even in our home base of Johnson City, TN. It's a very tame revolution that involves mainly microbreweries, anarchist bookstores, shared spaces, and tea shoppes; but to some extent it also involves things that matter more like veganism, tolerance, and opposition to progress traps. Portland has accomplished a lot on those fronts, but other cities are catching up.

It's a dumb example, but I'm going to use it: Portland has around 58 breweries while Denver has around 52. Six breweries don't make a noticeable difference, particularly when you think Denver beer is better. Make something besides IPAs, Portland!

This example applies nicely to other progress indicators like the number of people biking to work, art funding, public transportation, parks, environmental awareness, dog-friendliness, and libertarian law. When the numbers are this close, Portland becomes less attractive. It wasn't as clean as Dallas. It

Oregon: Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, and other Northwest highlights

If we ever live on the beach for more than a few months, Oregon might be the place. While Portland didn't meet our exaggerated expectations and Roseburg may as well be in Alabama for all its shallow religiosity and confederate flags, other nearby parts of the Northwest have been amazing. The whole region has quickly grown on us; particularly the coast with its cliff views, sea stacks, and untamed beaches.

The mountain forests of Oregon are as lush as those in Alaska and full of amazing waterfalls. The valleys are dotted with wineries and the cities, edifying culture. Seattle and Vancouver are now among my top favorite cities. With winter moving in, we're about ready to head out, but Oregon has been a rewarding choice.

A few highlights:

Crater Lake: This crater is huge! Originally created from an imploded volcano, the crater is now filled by the deepest lake in the country. Crater Lake is nearly 2000' deep. Only park service boats are allowed on the lake, but you can take one to Wizard Island for hiking. There is a log known as "The Old Man of the Lake" that has been floating vertically in Crater Lake since at least 1896. It moves about the lake as much as 62 miles a year, potentially influencing wave patterns.