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Draplin Design Co., North America
August 18, 2003
Posted at 10:05 PM

August 17th was our “10 Years Since We Left The Nest” Anniversary. Ten whole years!

Bry and I had “The Hawk” (a shit-baked 84’ Buick Skyhawk 2 door with an attitude) packed with a winter’s worth of gear, pushing off for big adventure out west. Hearts were broken…moms, dads, better halves. Hell, about 30 gals around the greater Northern Michigan area went into depressive states upon hearing news of my departure from the state. This change had to be made.

It was sad for those first couple miles. I remember “losing my shit” at the end of Barnes Road, big ol’ crocodile tears pouring down my baby face, splashing on the Hawk’s spit-shined, shimmering interior. Seeing my parents weeping really tore me up. A tough split. My dad really lost his shit. But then again, he cries easily.

This was the big jump. Our sadness quickly turned to excited apprehension. “Would the Hawk make it all the way to Oregon?”, “Would we be able to make it in Bend?” and most importantly, “When was the snow gonna fly?” were the topics of choice as we barreled west on I-90.

Our itinerary: Northern Michigan, Upper Peninsula, Mid-Wisconsin, Southern Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and finally, Oregon!

Our timeframe: Fast as fuck with no looking back.

Our budgets: Roughly three grand between the two of us, in cold card cash. We worked all summer long at a joint on the west bay called “Shitsky’s” or “Schlitzers” or something. Oh, it was “Sweitzer’s”, that’s right. (Thank Mom for the clarification.) I was a fry cook throwin’ perch pieces and French fries into boiling grease. I had this rule, concerning “getting burned”
and it went something like this, “If I burn myself three or more times, that’s it, I’m quittin’.” I remember the assholes I worked with, burn scars up and down their forearms from baked potato trays and such. No way. I wasn’t about to give up my flesh for that sloshed vampire who ran the joint.

Bry was bussin’ tables, so we’d cross paths and lock eyes with that sort of, “Soon enough, we’ll be outta here” kind of glance. He was my rock.

We made it out to Oregon in about four days. 600 miles a day.

- - - -

Thinking back: All the news friends, adventures, wild women, brushes with the law, advancements, set backs, kickers, miles, roadtrips, jobs, pow turns, heartbreaks, trips back home, sad goodbyes, new beginnings, shitty apartments, paychecks, enemies, triumphs, rigs and good times…

10 years later. Wow.

There Are 7 Comments

Next thing you know Aaron, it will be 20. I do think your next 10 years will be even better than the last 10 have been for you. You’ve done it right. You should be proud!!

Posted by: Uncle Terry on 08/19/03 at 6:12 AM

Living your dreams + making good = The stuff to write home about.

Posted by: Naz on 08/19/03 at 7:30 AM

Can’t believe it has been a decade of adventures for you Aaron, you’ve live a very rich, full life this past 10 years…..I think you’ve walked, driven, snowboarded and rode more miles than most guys your age. I do believe you could write a book (hey, if you do, I can supply the file box of letters, postcards, trinkets and publications that you’ve sent me and dad over the years).

I gave you wings, so you could fly…..and fly you did!

Sure, there were tears and fears and a heavy heart when you left, but a trickle of wonder and awe, knowing that you were embarking on the proverbial road of life (remember, you wanted to “walk the earth”….).

I remember “memorizing” the hug you gave me…..

I knew you would work hard, play hard, enjoy yourself every minute. I appreciated your frequent phone calls, letting me know you were ok, reporting on all the adventures: the parties, the work or lack of work, Al, Red, the bump on the head at Mt. Bachelor, the riding of the train in Alaska, the decision to go back to school (phew, what a relief)……

I look forward this week to watching you nap on the new, longer sofa…..safe in the air-conditioned home environment, while spagetti brews and cookies are proudly displayed, bringing back a few childhood memories.

A very proud momma d.

Posted by: momma d. on 08/19/03 at 8:46 AM

To quote my old hero Townes Van Zant:

“Everything is not enough,
Nothing is too much to bear
Where you been is good and gone,
All you keep’s the gettin’ there…”

You’re a hell of a cowboy, Drap. You been keepin’ the herd in line, and you ain’t got buzzard-picked yet.
I’m real proud.

Posted by: Ryno on 08/19/03 at 9:32 AM

Not to often I’m driven to post a comment here… one of those people that sits back and enjoys the ride of others and the stories they tell I guess. I do appreciate it though. Your words and wisdom along w/ those of your family and friends abroad. Cool shit man! Speaking of a decade though got me to thinking of where I was and it was real simalar. Finishing up @ NMC w/ ya’. Late nights in the computer lab. Nice ladies. Fine friends. Quality design. Killer tunes. Good times were had by all. I also had some fears and tears heading out on that same drive on I-90, but as the sky got bigger all was left behind. You ended up in Bend and me in Taos, New Mexico. Man, I miss the mountains so bad sometimes. Long drives. Long runs. Fat snow. It’s just not the same here in Northern Michigan. Thanks for jarrin’ my memories buddy. I’m gonna go hit the photo album now and revisit. Hope to see you in TC if you’ve got the time. Peace and love to all!!

Posted by: Street on 08/19/03 at 10:19 AM

Here’s to another 10. Keep the spirit of the road alive, brother. Complacency breeds mediocrity. See you in a couple days.

Posted by: Eric on 08/20/03 at 6:30 AM

Cool post. Yeah, you’ve seen and lived a lot in these 10 years.

Be interesting if you take your mom’s advise and write a book. I’m glad to have met you in the chapter to be titled “The MCAD Years.”


Posted by: Maniotes on 08/20/03 at 7:07 PM