What a Year!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had any posts.  Better late than never I suppose.  I had a great year that started off with getting engaged to my best friend, Anne!  This was followed by a scuba diving trip to the Bahamas, a great weekend with Anne diving in Ft. Lauderdale, a birthday party with Anne’s mom, a great weekend in Houghton with my parents, another great weekend shipwreck diving in Tobermory, an awesome weekend golfing with my parents at Boyne Highlands, two sailing trips with friends in Grand Traverse Bay, a wedding in Indiana, and other great times just hanging out around home, scuba diving, bike riding, golfing, etc!

Anyways, rather than bore  you with too many details, I thought I’d let some photos and videos do the talking for me!





“Brave Little Satori”

I came across this today on Cruiser’s Forum.  I figured I would repost in honor of StoryCorps (Thanks to Teresa of Sailing Simplicity for sharing about this).

Brave Little Satori

By Eric and Leslie Olander

Brave Little Satori

Once upon a time there was a kind old man named Bud. Bud made beautiful boats.
He made big strong motor boats. He made fast boats. But Bud was not happy. He wanted to build a special boat. A quiet and beautiful sailboat that he could love just like his own child.

One day, Bud went into his workshop and began to work furiously, day and night, night and day. All of the people in the village crowded outside the workshop door to listen in wonder to all of the strange noises. Clinkety clink, clankety clank, whhiirrr! Bonk! They were so excited and squirmy and just couldn’t wait to see the new boat that Bud was building.

Day turned to night and night turned to day, and back to night again. Still Bud worked. Finally the day arrived when Bud had finished. He had created his most beautiful sailboat ever! He hugged his little boat and said “I will call you Satori Westsail, and you are the strongest and the most beautiful boat I have ever made!” “You make me proud little Satori.”

With that, Bud flung open the heavy wooden doors wide so all of the people could see his wonderful sailboat. “Hi everybody!” said Satori. “Let’s go sailing!”

At first no one made a noise. Then there was heard a gasp! And then a giggle. And then everyone in the village began to laugh so hard that their tummies hurt. “He’s so small,” a man said laughing so hard he almost choked. “What good is a tiny boat like that?” asked a gruff old fisherman. “Why, the ocean will squash him flat with the first big wave!”
The people went back to their homes happy for having had such a good laugh. But little Satori was miserable. He stayed in the workshop and cried. When Bud saw him crying he asked “ Why is my strong little Satori crying?” Satori sobbed, “because everyone laughed at me and said that I was too small and too slow and that the ocean waves would smash me to pieces!”

“Nonsense, little Satori,” said Bud. Bud was very sad for his little sailboat so he told Satori a secret that no one else knew… that he had built Satori with a heart, and that was what made him stronger and braver than any sailboat he had ever built before.

Bud carried little Satori out to the ocean and placed him gently in the water. At first Satori was quite frightened and wouldn’t move. The other boats were racing past him, splashing water all over him and circling and laughing. But Satori had a secret and so he held his head high and proud and thrust his bow forward into the waves as they sailed out of the harbor. Big strong fishing boats flew past him in a hurry to catch fish. Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! The power boats sped past Vrooom! Swoooosh! and drenched him in water! Look! They shouted, it’s little Satori wet snail! Satori wished they would play with him but they only laughed.

Summer turned to fall and Satori sailed and sailed, but still the other boats wouldn’t play with him. He sailed when it was sunny and he sailed when it was cloudy. He sailed when it was windy and he sailed when it was not so windy. Satori was especially happy when the wind blew very, very hard because then his sails would fill up and he could sail very, very quickly. He felt strong and galloped happily over the waves. He didn’t understand why all of the other boats would run back to the safety of the harbor just when the wind was getting good.

One dark and cloudy morning Bud came out of his workshop to see that all of the village people had gathered at the dock and were looking quite worried. “What’s the trouble my friends?” asked Bud. A woman cried, “The biggest storm in a hundred years is coming this way and our boats are in the path of the storm!” Bud knew that little Satori was sailing that day but he was not worried because Satori had a heart and that made him a very strong and brave sailboat.

Later, the wind began to howl and howl! The rain struck the ground with a heavy slap! The waves in the ocean grew and grew until they were as tall as a house! One by one boats began to come home. Some came home hurt and frightened. A very big sailboat who had splashed poor little Satori and had been especially cruel had a hole in her hull from the waves bashing her into the rocks. She was not strong enough to fight the waves and wind to claw off the rock and so she had to be rescued. A fishing boat came limping into the harbor with the north wind screaming behind him. But there was no sign of Satori.

Little Satori was far out to sea when the storm began and now he saw that the cold dark waves were even taller than he was! The waves grew to enormous heights and with all of their might they tried to knock Satori down. The raging wind threatened to tear up his sails and blow him into the rocks on the shore! “Ha Ha Ha! shouted Satori. “I am Satori Westsail and you can’t hurt me because I have a heart, and I am the strongest and bravest boat you will ever see! With that he threw himself at another wave and felt alive as he had never felt before.
The storm ended as storms always do and Satori, tired from his battle with the sea, found himself a nice sandy beach on which to rest. When the people went looking for him, that is exactly where they found him: on the beach, all rested up.

When they returned to the harbor they discovered the sad fact that many of the big boats had been hurt during the storm, and even worse, some of them were never heard from again. It was a very sad day in the village.

But then as little Satori danced across the waves into the harbor, full of life and happiness, the village people were amazed that this tiny sailboat they had called the wet snail had survived such a terrible storm. And without a scratch! All of the people cheered and clapped as Satori sailed past. “That’s the bravest, strongest boat I’ve ever seen” they exclaimed. Kind old Bud watched all of this from his workshop on the hill, and slowly, a smile began to crease his old weathered face, and he said …“you make me proud little Satori. You make me proud.”

“Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.”

Bonne Terre Scuba Diving Trip (Part II)

After an adventurous drive down, and a well needed rest, we awoke the next morning and got a good look at the inn we were staying at in Bonne Terre.  All in all, it was a very neat place.

Bonne Terre Depot Bed & Breakfast

Bonne Terre Depot Bed & Breakfast

The Bonne Terre Depot features a Bed & Breakfast and has 4 guest rooms and 2 detached train car suites and the nostalgic Whistle Stop Saloon. The national historic depot was constructed in 1909 by St. Joseph Lead as the hallmark of the MR & BT railroad. The depot was completely restored by Doug & Cathy Goergens in 1989. Offering full banquet facilities for over 200 guests located on the main floor.

One unfortunate aspects of our stay, however, was that the “Breakfast” portion of the Bed & Breakfast only consisted of $.75 cinnamon rolls (basically the kind you can find in any vending machine) and a couple of juices.   Also, the saloon they speak of was closed.   You can tell there isn’t much in this town other than the Bonne Terre Mine.  The effects of lack of industry really showed.

The rooms were actually quite nice and had a lot of character to them.  They really did take a lot of effort to maintain the old charm of the place.  They were even complete with TV’s that were obviously built in the 1960′s!  That really didn’t matter though as we weren’t planning on hanging out in our rooms all day.  What they lacked in amenities, they made up for in character and friendly service.

The scuba diving quite simply was amazing.  We scheduled 4 dives over 2 days (3 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday).  But, before I get into that, here’s a little background on Bonne Terre Mine:

Bonne Terre Mine is listed as one of America’s top 10 greatest adventures by National Geographic.   The French were the first to mine lead in the area in the mid-1700′s.   In 1962, the mine was closed.  The workers dropped their tools where they were and simply walked out in frustration at losing their source of income.  When the mines closed, the pumps that kept the water out, stopped.   By the 1970′s the mines filled up with billions of gallons of cold, clear water.

In the mid 1970′s scuba divers began diving the mines (this was before the current owners Doug and Cathy Georgens acquired the mine in 1979 and opened it for diving in 1981).  Also, since this is before certification organizations such as PADI became popular, 4 inexperienced divers lost their lives.   This highlights the importance of adequate training and appropriate guides.

In 1981, the Georgens brought  Jacques Cousteau and his team of divers to the mine when the Calypso made an expedition up the nearby Mississippi River.  Since then, it has continued to grow into a popular tourist attraction for mining history buffs and an uncommon destination for experienced scuba divers looking for a unique underwater experience.

The dive was definately unique.  Being that the mine is underground, the water conditions remain constant with over 100 feet of visibility.  While it is cool, and holds steady in the mid 50′s year round, I was perfectly comfortable in a 7mm wetsuit.

Some of the stuff still down there

Some of the stuff still down there

Sites on our dive trips included (but wasn’t limited to) oar carts, scaffolding staircases, massive underground pillars, and of course the famed elevator shaft.  Also, being that it was in a mine, it wasn’t what many would expect.  The mine itself is illuminated with over 500,000 watts of lighting, and since the average depth was about 30-50 feet we could see everything without dive lights.

There were only a couple of negatives to the whole dive experience.  One was the fact that while it was well lit for our eyes, none of the photos we took turned out.  There just wasn’t enough light.  Brighter flashes were needed.   I pulled the photos on this page from their website.  The other negative was the stairs.  As mentioned, this is underground.  And in order to get there we had to descend a series of stairs.  Going down wasn’t the hard part, but rather going back up between each dive (I guess I need to get into better shape!).  Since they had multiple tours going on, we weren’t allowed to stay down below between surface intervals.   Luckily we were able to keep our gear down below, so at least we didn’t have to lug that stuff up and down.  Even still, going up and down those stairs wearing a wet wet-suit was still exhausting.

The famed elevator shaft.

The famed elevator shaft.

All in all, I highly recommend this as a place to go.   It was an extremely unique and thrilling adventure.  We’re actually already planning on going again.

A view of inside the mine

A view of inside the mineThe famed elevator shaftSome of the "Stuff" still laying around

Friday the 13th….and a Bonne Terre Scuba Diving Trip (Part I)

I thought concerns about Friday the 13th was only for those superstitious type.   Normally, I’m not one of those, but this past Friday the 13th may have caused me to rethink my position.   The plan was to leave the dive shop (Adventure Scuba and Snorkel Center) around 9 a.m., and then have about a 10 hour drive to Missouri for a weekend of scuba diving at Bonne Terre Mine.   Unfortunately, the Friday the 13th gremlins had other ideas.

When we made the plans, I was told we would be taking a “bus” down.  So, I envisioned a charter bus scenario with rows of seats and a smelly bathroom in the back.  I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the ride we would have for the trip to Missouri.   Technically, it wasn’t a bus.  Instead, it was a moving home!  An RV to be exact.  There were couches, a bed in the back, satellite TV’s, beers in the fridge, and quite literally tons of food.  Anything from fresh fruit to pizza’s that could be cooked on the road in the microwave.  Of course I couldn’t resist, and immediately texted my friends and rubbed it in a bit while they were toiling away at work.

With the ample space, everyone’s scuba gear and luggage was packed away nicely underneath and in the car we were towing behind.  There was 10 of us in all, and everyone was ready for a fun weekend of diving.  It was about 9:30 by the time we left the shop, so things were off to a great start.

Then, as luck would have it, about 15 minutes down the road, we heard a loud ‘pop’ followed by the smell of burned rubber and the sound of tire parts banging the roadway beneath us.  Right away, we knew we had a flat.  Luckily, we were near a highway rest stop, so we safely pulled off the road.  Of course, we light heartedly made jokes and it didn’t take long for the Friday the 13th discussion to come up.  Bob, the owner of the RV, immediately contacted his insurance company.  We were told it would be a couple of hours before somebody could make it out to us.  With that, there wasn’t much option but to go ahead and crack open a couple of cold beers.  “It could be worse!”

As promised, Progressive Insurance had us on our way in a few hours.   We didn’t feel it was a big deal, and just chaulked up the experience as part of the adventure.

We were finally getting some road between the shop and us, and the scenerey began flying by without notice.  Before we knew it, about 3 hours of the 10 hour journey had passed.  Then, the Friday the 13th gremlins struck again.  “Bang!”  Another loud noise and again the smell of burned rubber and the noise of more tire parts slapping the highway beneath us.   What are the odds of 2 flats in one trip?  We tried to calculate that, but being scuba divers instead of mathematicians we gave up quickly.  Whatever it was, the odds were slim.

Again, Bob contacted Progressive Insurance.  This time though, the wait wouldn’t be just a few hours.  Instead, we had to wait over 4 hours.  Again, we joked about it being Friday the 13th.  Travelers in a RV, on our way to a great weekend getaway, and broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  The only thing that was missing was the axe murderer chasing us in the dark.   Of course every time anybody left the RV, one of the rules of surviving a scary movie was broken:  Never, ever, ever, say “I’ll be right back” because you won’t be.

Needless to say, 4 hours later (give or take) we were back on the road again.  Thankfully, the remainder of the drive was uneventful.  Admittedly, things could’ve indeed been worse.  I can think of worse ways to be broke down on the side of the road.  At least in our case, as mentioned above, we had couches, a bed, tons of food in the fridge, and of course beer!  We made the best of the situation and still had a lot of fun.  The only side affect we had was turning what was supposed to be a 10 hour drive into an over 16 hour journey.  By the time we reached Bonne Terre we were ready for some sleep to prepare ourselves for the scuba diving ahead!

My First Yarn: A Learning Experience – Part III

Day 5: 15-20 knot winds

Day 5: 15-20 knot winds

Day 3:   So, as I mentioned, we were hoping to get a good nights rest at Mackinac Island, head out in the morning for the bridge, and then return to Cheboygan later in the day.  It seemed like a good sail plan.  Unfortunately, the weather turned on us.  Mackinac Island’s marina is pretty wide open on the south side of the island, and when the wind picked up it also brought the swells with it.  The boat rocked like a bronco all night long.  I must’ve went up on the deck at least once an hour to double check the dock lines and make sure the bumpers were secure.  I also had to let us out further from the dock as we were banging hard against it.  Needless to say, part one of the plan (a good night’s rest) failed.

 The next morning wasn’t much better.  Winds had died down some.  I turned on the radio and looked online at the NOAA forecast for that afternoon.  Forecast was winds from the west at 10-15 mph with a 30% chance of thunderstorms later in the day, and the radar showed increasing clouds throughout the day.    I figured it would be best if we got going as soon as possible to have a better chance of beating the storms.

I do find it amazing that meteorologists have the only job where you can be wrong so often but yet still keep your job.  We headed out of the marina and turned west toward the bridge.  After only about an hour into our sail, the weather turned for the worst.  The winds picked up speed and were showing about 30 knots on my wind meter with gusts up to 40!   The waves went from the 3 feet predicted to swells over twice that.    We were getting banged around like no other.  Remember, on this journey, it was only my Dad and myself.  I was also the only one who had any sailing experience (and only a few weeks at that).

The first order of business was to put our life vests on and then put a reef in the sail.  In hind site, I should have been prepared and instructed my Dad on how to reef the sail prior to leaving the dock.  Luckily, the boat had a lazy jack system in place.  While it took some creativity on my part to walk my Dad through this as I manned the helm, we finally had the main sail reefed appropriately.   Even with that, the boat seemed to have a mind of its own.  Each wave seemed more determined than the previous at taking us off course.  With the wind and the waves beating us around, I decided it wouldn’t be safe to continue on to the bridge.  A change of plan was warranted. 

At one point, we considered going back to the marina and wait until the next day.  Instead though, I thought, what if we went around the north side of Mackinac Island and then headed south on the east side of the island?  We could then use Mackinac Island and Bois Blanc Island to the south as protection from the wind.  The water would be less turbulent and the effects of the wind easier to deal with.  I knew the trip would be longer to get back to Cheboygan along that route, but with not going to the bridge, we had time to spare.   I ran the plan past my Dad and he agreed that the bridge would have to wait.

As I suspected, the wind was much slower on the other side of the island.  What was a rough, hair raising, experience turned into something much easier for us newbie sailors to handle.  Instead of 30-40 knot winds, we had 15-20 knot winds and only 3 foot waves.  Aside from the coolness of the day, it was actually a pretty nice sail.  We were making great time as the wind was coming across the beam almost perfectly.  We even took time for a nice lunch of ham and turkey wraps and a couple of beers.   Then, we came to the end of our “protection” from the winds.

Once again, the waves started knocking us about.  To make matters worse, the wind picked up even faster, and with coming around Bois Blanc and having to head westward we were now having to go upwind and close hauled.  With the winds at that speed, the boat speed came to a crawl.  At times it felt as if we were standing still or even going backwards.  I could see our channel marker though and new the Cheboygan marina was close.  So, we kept on.

As we got closer to the channel marker though, the shorelines just didn’t look right.  None of my land marks were around.  Then it hit me.  I was looking at the wrong channel marker!  Son of a …..  We were off course.  I thought there was only one of these historical 14 foot unmanned channel markers in the Lower Straits.  Apparently, after looking at the chart again, there were 2.  “What else could go wrong,” I thought.  Unfortunately, that was the wrong thing to think as then it started pouring down rain.  With the wind, it felt like sand pebbles beating my face.  At that point, I declared, “That’s it!”.  I told my Dad to bring down the sails and powered up the engine.  I figured it would be safer and faster to simply motor in as quickly as possible rather than having to tack back and forth to get to Cheboygan.

With the high swells, the strong headwind, the rain, and everything else mother nature was throwing at us, it still took us another 3 hours to get to our marina.  I was exhausted, soaked, hungry, and exhilarated all at the same time.   When we finished tying the boat to the dock, our neighbor summed up the adventure for us by exclaiming, “Are you guys crazy?!  Why would you be sailing in this weather?”

I must admit, it was definately a learning experience.  I had another day during that week where the winds and rain wreaked havoc, but not near as bad ason this trip.  The second time around though, I was much better prepared and much more confident in myself and the boat as well.  I also learned the importance of making sure everyone on the boat understands emergency procedures including reefing the main, where the life jackets are, how to read charts to adjust course as needed, radio procedures, etc…  I’m sure much worse will be thrown at me, but experiences like this will help me be more prepared and help me gain more confidence as a sailor.

My First Yarn: A Learning Experience – Part II

…(continued from)….

Charting our course

Charting our course

Day 2:  After a fairly uneventful 1st day of sailing, we got up the next day and started laying out our next sail plan.  The forecast was the same as the day before – sunny skies and light winds.  My hope was that the “light winds” would be at least enough to get us sailing. 

We decided the best option would be to plan a fairly short trip and try sailing under the Mackinac Bridge.  After all, I’ve only driven over it once or twice, so why not look at it from a different perspective?  After doing that, the plan would be to find a nice anchorage and spend the night on the hook.    With that, we stocked the boat with some fresh water, food, and of course beer and Canadian Club.   You know.  Just the essentials. 

Once again, I repeated some of the lessons from the day before, and went over the various lines, boat parts, and the plan for leaving the dock.   Again, I gave the order to undo the spring line, put the engine in reverse, and backed out of the slip.  This time though, it was flawless.  Dad had learned from the day before, and loosely secured the bumper to a hand rail on the deck to keep it from rolling off into the water. 

We then motored out of the marina once again and headed into the Lower Straits of Mackinac.  When the boat was right, I gave the order to “raise the halyard”.  Again, unlike the day before, the main sail went up.  After that, he also prepped to unroll the jib! (He was becoming a pro.)  So, I told him to go ahead.  I turned the boat to let the main sail fill up and assist in unrolling the jib and cut the engine.

We were sailing!  This time though, the sailing was great.  The wind was still pretty light, but it was enough to get us some momentum and keep us going at a nice gingerly speed of about 3 knots or so.   We weren’t going to break any speed records, but at least we had wind.  Besides, it was enough for me to continue on with his lessons and teach him a bit about tacking.

We completed a couple of tacks along the way to the bridge.  Again, our speed was slow, but we were making progress.  My major concern was that we wouldn’t make it to our anchorage in time with the slow pace we were keeping.  Then, a couple of hours into our journey, the winds completely died down again.   This sort of put the nail in the coffin (so to speak) in regards to making it to our anchorage before dark.  Mackinac Island was just to our north, and the bridge to the west.  With no wind, there would be no way to make it to the bridge without motoring the entire way.  After a quick calculation, even under motor power we wouldn’t make it to the anchorage before dark.  

I then brought up the possibility of going up to Mackinac Island and just staying there for the night in the marina.  We could make it there on engine power in about an hour and be safely docked by nightfall.    Having never stayed there in the marina, I thought it would be fun.  Dad agreed, so we turned on the engine, brought down the sails, and headed for the island.   I hailed the marina and secured a slip for the evening.   Seeing the bridge from underneath would have to wait.

My hope was to get a good nights sleep, leave early the next morning, sail under the bridge, and then return to the marina in Cheboygan.  Sounds like a good plan, hey?  Well, unfortunately, things once again didn’t go as planned…. (The Learning Experience Continues)…

My First Yarn: A Learning Experience – Part 1

Day 1 - No wind

Day 1 - No wind

I wanted to take a moment and write about one of my sailing adventures this past summer.  Just before Labor Day, I decided to rent a 33′ sailboat up in Cheboygan for a week of sailing.  Knowing my Dad had never sailed before, I thought it would be a lot of fun to invite him along and teach him the ropes.  Since he was working on a project up in Cheboygan for work, it actually worked out quite well.  He was able to swing a few days off and join in on an adventure.  Little did we know that what was coming though would be a hard knock lesson.

Day 1:  The weather was beautiful.  Unfortunately, not for sailing.  It was about 80 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much wind either.  The forecast called for increasing winds into the latter part of the afternoon of 7-10 mph.   No problem.  It would be perfect “learning weather”.  Dad arrived at the boat with my step Mom.  After a brief tour of the 33′ Gib’Sea, I began to explain some various terms that would be important to us.  I figured if I was going to have to ask him to pull on lines and whatnot, it would be helpful if he knew what I was talking about.  So, after about a 1/2 hour of explaining the differences between the halyard, reef lines, bow, stern, pulpit, stantions, starboard, port, rigging, etc. his eyes began to cross.  I figured at the time, the best way to learn would be on the water.  That was my step Mom’s cue to leave the boat.  Don’t worry, we didn’t kick her off, she is nervous when it comes to water, so she didn’t think sailing would be for her.

I begin to start prepping the sails, untying the loose dock lines, and continued to give instruction to my Dad.  The first thing was understanding the plan for leaving the slip.  His job would be to remove the last spring line and just keep an eye out and make sure I didn’t bump into anything.  So, I gave him a bumper (just in case) and handed him the spring line.  I gave the order to undo the spring line, put the gear in reverse, and began backing out of the slip.  Unfortunately, we were at the end of the dock so I didn’t have a lot of room to maneuver to get the boat pointed in the right direction.  Then I heard a light splash.  So, there was my Dad looking down into the water.  The bumper I gave him had rolled off the deck and fallen in the water.  I kept trying to maneuver the boat in a tiny little area as we drifted around.  I tossed him the boat hook at this point to grab hold of the bumper and pull it back into the boat.  It wasn’t until I informed him that the boat hook was telescoping that he managed to get the bumper up out of the water.  We had a good laugh at that, and my thought was, “If this is the worst that happens, then it would be a great trip”.

After that little mishap, we slowly motored our way out of the marina into the Lower Straits of Mackinac.   I put the bow into the wind, backed off the throttle a bit, and gave the order to “raise the halyard”.   “The what?” was the response I heard back.  “The white line with the red stripe.  Just start pulling on it,” was my response.  The main sail went up slowly.   With that, I could see the sail filling up with the wind.  After the main was raised, I cut the engine.  The hum of the engine disappeared and all you could hear was the breeze and the sound of the boat riding across the water.   I then instructed him how to pull the roller furling line to unroll the jib. 

Water was so smooth

Water was so smooth

We were sailing!  Well… we were for awhile.  The sails then went limp as the wind just completely died down.    There wasn’t even enough wind to get any kind of momentum to teach Dad how to do a tack.  So, we waited.  And waited.   For nearly 2 hours we waited for some wind.  Granted, I could’ve started the engine and “power sailed”, but even though we weren’t going anywhere, it was still relaxing.  My hope was that the forecast would be true, and that later in the day the wind would pick up.  It never did.  Instead, after a few hours of just floating around and talking, we rolled up the sails, turned on the motor, and called it a day.  There were drinks and food waiting to be had back at shore.

Day 2:  The real adventure starts…   (To be continued…)

Site is Up!

So, here I am.  My first post.  After working most of the afternoon (nearly 4 hours), I think I finally have a layout that I am happy with.   I must have tried dozens of different themes and layouts.  Click – download – refresh – click – download – refresh…  Next was finding a banner photo.  Luckily, I had a digital photo from my sailing trip to Mackinac Island this past summer.  A crop here and a crop there, and voila!  Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

I will work diligently to keep the site updated as much as possible.  As mentioned in the “About” me section, I intend on righting mostly about my dreams and goals that I have set for myself.   One of my goals of course, was to get this site up and running, and it looks like that is accomplished.  Now for the next part of that goal – keeping it updated!

For anyone interested in doing something similar here’s some things I’ve learned along the way.  For starters, you need to come up with a name for your blog.  As you can see, mine is “Yes, It is Possibe”.  Fortunately, the domain name was also available.   Secondly, I found a great web hosting company to work with – a2hosting.com.  Including domain name and e-mail, it cost about $120 for the year or $10/month.  What I liked about them was that I can setup more domains with this account and more importantly, they support WordPress for my blog editor.

If you are interested in setting up your own blog, I highly recommend WordPress.  It’s pretty simple to use and there are a variety of plugins available for download.  I not only use it personally, but also use it for work as well.    Some of my plug-ins are (careful now, I’m going to get geeky):

  • Akismet – To prevent unwanted spammers from posting to the site.  Drawback is I’m choosing to approve posts.  So, if you leave a comment it may take a bit before I can get around to approving it.
  • Google Integration Toolkit – Allows me to monitor statistics on visitors to the site via Google Analytics.
  • Tags 2 Meta Generator - Generates META tags automatically from my post tags.  This will help with my SEO endeavors (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Advanced Adsense – Essentially looks at the content of the blog posts and attempts to find relevant Google Ad links
  • Quick Adsense – Helps during writing of posts to quickly add in Google Ads

I’m sure as time goes on I’ll be adding in more and more Plugins.  This should give me a good start, though.  One mission accomplished!

Set your mind to it, and keep trying one step at a time…