Life and adventures from a high school perspective
An avid cyclist, rock climber, and all around adventurer, Francis Davis is taking to the internet to share his stories of cycling, climbing, and adventuring.
as I write this I am in the car, on my way to Pittsburgh, PA to start an expedition. I will be following the GAP trail for about 150 miles until it merges with the C&O Trail. I will take that all the way to D.C. where I will be relaxing and site-seeing. I'm very excited for this journey! While I'm on the trip, I will be mainly updating with Facebook posts and pictures while I do not have my computer (link: https://www.facebook.com/summitventure/ ). While I'm in D.C. I will hope to be back on my blog. Please contact me if you'd like!
Hello all, here is the Winter Update #2:
As expected, the weather has been fluxuating with a great degree of spontaneity in Cleveland. One day it is 60 degrees, and the next, 20. The nice weather has been making me itch to get back on the road! I have been settling back into school nicely, and the daily rhythym has started up again. I am still working at the butcher shop on the weekends which I am finding to be very enjoyable. Please check my other post to see my spring break plans, and enjoy the pictures below!
as I write this update, listening to Stealer's Wheel, I realize that I am already yearning for Spring Break. I think I've planned a good one this year! I have been informed that there is a 350 mile towpath trail that reaches from Pittsburgh to D.C. From a cycling perspective, this is an absolute boon. It is so rare thate one is able to find such a long stretch of trail that is non-motorized. I'm super psyched, as this will also be my first solo bike trip, I am also looking forward to spending a few days in Washington D.C. From there, I am going to fly to South Carolina for a few days to visit my family, which I am also excited for as I have not seen them in several years, and then finally, back to Cleveland. I have been to D.C. before with school, but I think that there is, at least for me, a certain excitement to exploring a big city. Also, good food is a must! If anyone has any dining (or other recommendations) for downtown D.C. , kindly put it in the comments. I am happy for suggestions! I have below attached a map of the entire trail, as well as a picture of the riding surface (it looks like heaven)! On a tangential note, I have recently got up and running the official Summit Instagram / Facebook feeds. My plan is to post more frequent photographic updates, with light text. The bulk of my writing will stay on the blog. If this tickles your interest, give me a follow (links below)!
Recently, my family and I travelled to the Ginko Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. Owned by Dante Boccuzzi, a landmark Cleveland chef, Ginko was no exception to his spate of excellence. Upon walking in, I was greeted by a cozy, chic ambiance that was truly indicative of a modern Japanese restaurant. I was particularly stunned by the "stained glass wall" that is featured on one side (the only kind of wall that I want)! The staff was professional and made good reccomendations throughout the meal. I ordered the ultimate Ginko Omakase Tasting Flight, a six course barage of succulent and profoundly evocative fish, with presentations ranging from mild to completely out-of-the-box, in a good way. I was schocked with the shear volume of food, I thought that it was an excellent value. All of the fish is of the highest quality, and it is reflected in the final product. My critiques are as follows: we were seated right by the door, which opens right into the frigid Cleveland air. Only the fish was supposed to be chilled... Also, it seemed that there was somewhat of a long wait time in between courses to which I am not sure to which side of the operation I can attribute. Overall, Ginko provided an absolutely stellar experience with a knowledgeable waitstaff, excellent décor, music (which is very important to me), and above all, fresh, elegantly presented fish. Thank you, Ginko!
Over the course of the school year, I decided to make two plaques, one for Dan, and one for Ping and Qing. I used the laser cutter that we have in the Fab Lab at Hawken. Basically, it etches an image into wood, metal, plexiglass... etc. For this project, I used two pieces of nice plywood. First I made a "mock-up" on the computer, and then I cut it. Finally, I gave Dan his when I was in Philadelphia earlier this winter. I shipped Ping and Qing's to their daughter Jane who resides in California. It felt really awesome to give something back to them because they took me under their auspices last summer. Here are some of the production photos of the process of making the plaques.
Recently, I have been in communications with Ping and Qing's daughter, Jane. Just to refresh everyone's memory, Ping and Qing are the Chinese couple that accompanied me on my bicycle tour this summer. Jane mentioned that her parents had some pictures that they wanted to send me, and I agreed. Here they are!
ohh what a time it has been! I have not updated the blog since the end of summer. You could say to me, "sheesh"! Over the past few months, several mini-adventures have been had, in addition to maintaining the regular school schedule. From the end of summer, I dived into the rigors of the Hawken School. What was more of a challenge was adventuring during the school session. I started out the year with a job opportunity of sorts. The proprietors of shops and venues on the arts district "Waterloo" that is near to my house recieved grant opportunities. Cindy, the owner of Beachland Ballroom, decided to use her grant to purchase two pedi-cab like contraptions. I call them "rickshaws". I was approached about driving one of these rickshaws, and I agreed.
What a blast! I will be continuing as a rickshaw driver in the spring as well. Along the vein of work, I have recently started dishwashing / butchering / learning at Ohio City Provisions, one of Cleveland's first all local butcher shops. All of the meat comes from a farm in Wilmot, Ohio, a town that I had the privilege of biking through on my way back from Columbus. It is an excellent learning opportunity for me to increase my knife skills, and learn a bit about butchering from some of Cleveland's top chefs. My friend Matt and I labored on the "estate", as we call it (I.E. Grandma's house), woodsplitting, and driving the lawnmower. One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more dedicated to updating the blog. Let's see how it goes.
first off, Let me apologize for not updating the blog sooner. I found myself busier than I initially imagined with climbing, work, and other activities. It would appear that my time in Fayetteville is coming to an abrupt close. I am determined to spend more time here next year, perhaps a full two months. It would be pretty sweet. As far as electricity goes, I have given up on the solar challenge. There is not a lot of sun where I am camping, and it moves around a lot. I have been working in town on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Hosting at the upscale restaurant called "The Station", and expediting at "Vandal's". I also had the opportunity to work a wedding catered by "The Station" at The Confluence Resort, about 1/2 hour out of Fayetteville, where the Meadow River and the Gauley River converge. For work on the weekends, I have enjoyed riding my bicycle into town. Unfortunately, I haven't done any significant mountain biking or road biking, simply due to a lack of partners. I have however done some good climbing, especially at Summersville Lake. The lake is drained every year in the fall, into the Gauley River. During the fall / winter, about 30 feet of extra rock is exposed. Many climbers have set up routes on this rock. In the spring, when the water is raised, 30 feet of the routes disappear. However, this provides a prime location for deep water soloing, which is climbing rope less above the water, which is safe because it's so deep and there are no obstacles. Other than that, I've been frequenting some of the local restaurants, gleefully exercising my "Industry Discount" of 15%. I have also been doing a fair amount of cooking at the campground, trying to go through all of the perishables before I leave. This Saturday will be my last full day. My Dad and grandma are driving in from Cleveland to spend the night, and we will depart Sunday morning. After that, it's back to school for me! And there it is, the end of summer. It's gone so fast this year; I guess that is because I have most always had something to do. Also, enjoy some of the pictures below. The fog over the bridge in the morning is nuts!
Good evening, Francis
Well, I guess that it is the dawning of a new summer chapter! I am back in Fayetteville for a three-week stay, working, climbing, biking, and LIVING! I am back at the AAC campground, which has a shiny new shower and bathroom facility. And, the kicker is: free cold water!!! Especially when the average temperature is 95 with a high humidity to boot. So far, I have two jobs: Vandal's kitchen, and The Station. At Vandal's, I am the food expo, dishwasher, food prep guy, and a little bit of everything else! I worked there last year, and I was happy to be back. At The Station, perhaps the fanciest restaurant in Fayetteville, I am hosting and bussing, which is what I did back in Cleveland. Although I have not been to the "Ville for almost a year, I feel right at home. Everyone is so caring, kind, and awesome! I will update the blog as needed, for now, peace out!
Back in CLE, the fully loaded car.
The solar array. My challenge for this month is to be 100% solar powered if possible.
Today was wrap up day. Brian and Leah departed early in the morning in the F-150 back to Charlottesville, VA. I was able to chill out at an epic coffee shop all morning, called Quills. I updated the blog, and made closing statements. Here goes:"overall, the trip was swimmingly. It is sad to realize that I am done with this adventure. I have met and bonded with the nicest people. We get to know each other so well when we camp, cycle, and cook together. As the trip is wrapping up, I am pensive on the sights and people that i have witnessed during my travels through Virginia and Kentucky. Although there are some incredible pictures, it is the experiences and memories that I will always cherish. In total, I pedaled 550 miles during my trip. Thank you!"