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100 Tips for Prospective 2017 AT Thru-hikers

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    • Datto wrote:

      max.patch wrote:

      email from sams club -- now your dog can be a minion too. $15
      Is there one for the GF? The goggles are what does it for me. Hot.

      Datto
      [IMG:https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a6/e9/93/a6e993bd7b4afc95ac7572317ca8dd15.jpg]

      walmart.com/ip/Adult-Sexy-Subo…12=46541810&wl13=&veh=sem
      >>>Advertise here! Affordable rates and no long term contracts. Send a PM for more details!<<<
    • SarcasmTheElf wrote:

      Datto wrote:

      max.patch wrote:

      email from sams club -- now your dog can be a minion too. $15
      Is there one for the GF? The goggles are what does it for me. Hot.
      Datto
      [IMG:https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a6/e9/93/a6e993bd7b4afc95ac7572317ca8dd15.jpg]
      walmart.com/ip/Adult-Sexy-Subo…12=46541810&wl13=&veh=sem

      Excellent! Also meets Drybones' three-sentence-maximum requirement. I shall call Jack Dorsey at home right now and inform him of the solution to his problems -- even less depth and more Walmart hotties.

      Datto
    • I did tour the Walmart corporate headquarters and their main datacenter not too long ago. I'd venture to say, with a high level of confidence, there is no woman in the entire state of Arkansas who looks like that. Most of the Walmart women I saw had thru-hiked the Punjab to Bentonville Trail -- no push-up but if your truck went into the ditch you'd be all set, no problem.

      Datto
    • Back to the AT with more than the three-sentence-maximum for prospective AT thru-hikers:

      I don't know how wide or how deep it is but there is unquestionably something special about the swath of mountaintops traversed by the Appalachian Trail. Former thru-hikers had mentioned this to me -- to expect the magic and specialness of the Trail to unfold...if I would let it be so.
      I did and it has.

      Other thru-hikers with me have too experienced the same unfolding, evident when we'd quietly talk amongst ourselves in the shelter at night. Sometimes the conversations would begin with a mentioning of the overwhelming kindness and generosity experienced, all from people they'd never met before. Just normal people trying to help out, to further us along in seeing it through.

      But it would go on from there, quietly still, in the conversations that is. Each with individual revelations or experiences or encounters or facing of fears. An extraordinary number of people saying privately to me their time on the Trail was undoubtedly the happiest time in their life. I've never seen such rampant joy blooming pervasively in the lives of so many. God it makes me happy to see that...I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to be a part of it all.


      This is what life is about -- rather than penance and toil then frenzied accumulation, it's about joy and happiness and thrill of discovery. Of kindness and generosity and reaching into the unknown. And friendship among those who've tackled challenges, of adventure, of facing fears while learning to look forward to what's up ahead, around this corner, over that hilltop. The preciousness of experience and appreciation of the moment and the spirit to embrace the future...whatever it may be. It's something that blossoms over time, as peace envelops.

      Datto
    • Payoff Period for AT Thru-hike Costs

      Just ran some quick numbers to see what the payoff period would likely be for an AT thru-hiker currently in the workforce to allow a recoup of the costs from an AT thru-hike (AT costs door-to-door, pre-hike costs, post AT costs, lost 401k contribution, lost match to a 401k contribution). Of course, this assumes there's a savings in expenses Post AT (POAT) versus expenses Before-AT (BEAT) from an AT thru-hiker realizing there is less expense needed in order to making oneself happy versus not having thru-hiked the AT.

      To me (considering a ton of variables but going with what I thing would be typical but conservative), it looks to me the payoff is as follows (assuming any savings realized in expenses don't start accruing until 12 months after starting an AT thru-hike and the thru-hike lasts for six months, it takes 3 months to get the first POAT paycheck in the checking account and another 3 months after the first paycheck to get the savings to start accumulating):

      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 95% -- payoff is at ~120 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 90% -- payoff is at ~60 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 85% -- payoff is at ~45 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 80% -- payoff is at ~36 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 75% -- payoff is at ~32 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 70% -- payoff is at ~29 months after starting AT thru-hike

      This is with someone making a gross income of $50,000 BEAT in 2016 dollars (USA average) and the same amount of gross income and proportional expenses into perpetuity POAT and contributing 6% toward a 401k with a 50% company 401k match up to 6% employee contribution and an savings/investment of 10% of the remainder net income beyond the 401k contributions. This would be someone who lives frugality BEAT -- for those living extravagantly BEAT, the savings could be considerable more POAT.

      My own savings/investment rate skyrocketed POAT and my gross income increased substantially over the years POAT. Additionally, I only worked 64% of the time POAT in order to allow me to adventure regularly (adventuring at least every three years or less with an adventure lasting months). After my AT thru-hike I realized a two week vacation would never do for me again -- thus the regularly schedule adventures POAT.

      Whoops! I went past Drybones' three sentence maximum so I'll make a spreadsheet available when I get the Datto's Tips v.2.5 done next summer.


      Datto
    • Datto wrote:

      Just ran some quick numbers to see what the payoff period would likely be for an AT thru-hiker currently in the workforce to allow a recoup of the costs from an AT thru-hike (AT costs door-to-door, pre-hike costs, post AT costs, lost 401k contribution, lost match to a 401k contribution). Of course, this assumes there's a savings in expenses Post AT (POAT) versus expenses Before-AT (BEAT) from an AT thru-hiker realizing there is less expense needed in order to making oneself happy versus not having thru-hiked the AT.

      To me (considering a ton of variables but going with what I thing would be typical but conservative), it looks to me the payoff is as follows (assuming any savings realized in expenses don't start accruing until 12 months after starting an AT thru-hike and the thru-hike lasts for six months, it takes 3 months to get the first POAT paycheck in the checking account and another 3 months after the first paycheck to get the savings to start accumulating):

      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 95% -- payoff is at ~120 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 90% -- payoff is at ~60 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 85% -- payoff is at ~45 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 80% -- payoff is at ~36 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 75% -- payoff is at ~32 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 70% -- payoff is at ~29 months after starting AT thru-hike

      This is with someone making a gross income of $50,000 BEAT in 2016 dollars (USA average) and the same amount of gross income and proportional expenses into perpetuity POAT and contributing 6% toward a 401k with a 50% company 401k match up to 6% employee contribution and an savings/investment of 10% of the remainder net income beyond the 401k contributions. This would be someone who lives frugality BEAT -- for those living extravagantly BEAT, the savings could be considerable more POAT.

      My own savings/investment rate skyrocketed POAT and my gross income increased substantially over the years POAT. Additionally, I only worked 64% of the time POAT in order to allow me to adventure regularly (adventuring at least every three years or less with an adventure lasting months). After my AT thru-hike I realized a two week vacation would never do for me again -- thus the regularly schedule adventures POAT.

      Whoops! I went past Drybones' three sentence maximum so I'll make a spreadsheet available when I get the Datto's Tips v.2.5 done next summer.


      Datto
      Hmmm.. Why do you need to recoup? Just get enough money set a side to hike and hike. When the money is gone , it'd gone. Life is short get out there and enjoy yourself. You really can't take it with you. I know a guy whose goal is to have all the fun he can and spend his last dollar as he draws his last breath.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • My time between finishing an adventure (AT thru-hike or PCT or South Pacific or Northern Europe) and my first day of employment ranged from 67 calendar days to 130 calendar days. These were mostly six-figure paying jobs with a nationwide job search and I am very picky. Also, this is the calendar days from when I started looking for a job, not necessarily from when the adventure finished.

      I did have a telephone interview with a sizeable casket making company and they told me they liked the way I could think out of the box.

      Needless to say, I was cracking up laughing. I don't think they'd figured out the humor. Probably not a good fit for me.


      Datto
    • I've mentioned elsewhere about the Fortune 500 company who started paying me a salary prior to me even doing the in-person interview for a position. Paychecks just started arriving in the mail for months. Geez was that a mess to get straightened out. I'd told my buddy Tony that if they didn't stop paying me I was going to ask for a raise. Then we'd figured it would be better to retire and just collect the pension they were offering. As you might imagine, I didn't take the job there since that company was so fouled up. This was 2007 at the beginning of the financial crisis and the Great Recession (They were in the financial services business, Huh!).

      Years later I would work in that same city where that company was sending me paychecks and one of my fellow co-workers actually had worked at that paycheck-sending company for years. He would confirm what a messed up company they had been.


      Datto
    • max.patch wrote:

      Datto wrote:

      Forgot to mention above that I'd used $6,000 as a door-to-door cost and $1,300 as pre-hike AT related costs (gear to arrive at the AT and travel to and from the AT).


      Datto
      i think ozjacko spent 20K. whats that do to your numbers?
      Yeah, there was a guy I had hiked with who was an executive at a Fortune 500 insurance company and he was toward what today would be about $14,000 in 2016 dollars for his AT thru-hike. A very nice guy who had a great sense of humor about all his expenses. The AT would change him considerably.


      Datto
    • The thing I utilized after my AT thru-hike was to decide whatever it is I'm going to do is going to happen. I will initially try to go around obstacles or to slide past obstacles but in the end if I have to, I will go through obstacles to get where I wanted to go.

      That is how I took advantage of the excessive level of super-confidence that followed me finishing my AT thru-hike. For the most part it led to me having a very focused level of effort toward where I was going in my life. By that time I'd already figured out where I should be leaning my ladder (through chance or sometimes luck I suppose) so getting focused was just the natural next step after my AT thru-hike.

      One of the biggest challenges for most people is to figure out what it is they want out of life. Most can only describe what it is they don't want so they wake up every morning and pinball their way through life. Knowing what it is a person truly wants out of life -- that is a powerful force to allow progress to be made toward happiness.

      That's the purpose -- the raison d'être for people -- to be happy. Not Societal happiness but rather, individualistic happiness. Once a person knows what it is they truly want, the channel becomes clear. Otherwise, it's just pinballing around the Universe.

      Amazing how many people who thru-hiked the AT with me who' figured this all out. Not that any of it became easy but the path became known.


      Datto
    • Datto wrote:

      Just ran some quick numbers to see what the payoff period would likely be for an AT thru-hiker currently in the workforce to allow a recoup of the costs from an AT thru-hike (AT costs door-to-door, pre-hike costs, post AT costs, lost 401k contribution, lost match to a 401k contribution). Of course, this assumes there's a savings in expenses Post AT (POAT) versus expenses Before-AT (BEAT) from an AT thru-hiker realizing there is less expense needed in order to making oneself happy versus not having thru-hiked the AT.

      To me (considering a ton of variables but going with what I thing would be typical but conservative), it looks to me the payoff is as follows (assuming any savings realized in expenses don't start accruing until 12 months after starting an AT thru-hike and the thru-hike lasts for six months, it takes 3 months to get the first POAT paycheck in the checking account and another 3 months after the first paycheck to get the savings to start accumulating):

      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 95% -- payoff is at ~120 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 90% -- payoff is at ~60 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 85% -- payoff is at ~45 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 80% -- payoff is at ~36 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 75% -- payoff is at ~32 months after starting AT thru-hike
      POAT expenses versus BEAT expenses: 70% -- payoff is at ~29 months after starting AT thru-hike

      This is with someone making a gross income of $50,000 BEAT in 2016 dollars (USA average) and the same amount of gross income and proportional expenses into perpetuity POAT and contributing 6% toward a 401k with a 50% company 401k match up to 6% employee contribution and an savings/investment of 10% of the remainder net income beyond the 401k contributions. This would be someone who lives frugality BEAT -- for those living extravagantly BEAT, the savings could be considerable more POAT.

      My own savings/investment rate skyrocketed POAT and my gross income increased substantially over the years POAT. Additionally, I only worked 64% of the time POAT in order to allow me to adventure regularly (adventuring at least every three years or less with an adventure lasting months). After my AT thru-hike I realized a two week vacation would never do for me again -- thus the regularly schedule adventures POAT.

      Whoops! I went past Drybones' three sentence maximum so I'll make a spreadsheet available when I get the Datto's Tips v.2.5 done next summer.


      Datto
      I can't even do the math to balance a check book and you want me to understand that?
      Geez, take a hike fella!
      :S
    • max.patch wrote:

      Datto wrote:

      Forgot to mention above that I'd used $6,000 as a door-to-door cost and $1,300 as pre-hike AT related costs (gear to arrive at the AT and travel to and from the AT).


      Datto
      i think ozjacko spent 20K. whats that do to your numbers?
      That was a totally different hike than mine so far, but sure would have been interesting (as long as someone else was willing to pay for it). ;)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Well yes, there is the story of Jimmy King.

      Jimmy was one of the Misfits that I've talked about briefly in my on-line AT journal regarding the Boy Scouts. The Misfits were the oddballs who the Hunsbergers were consolidating into the Eagle Patrol in the Boy Scout Troup -- the vernacular name for the Misfit Patrol of which I was the Patrol Leader. Probably because of my leadership ability, Ehhem.

      Jimmy was the guy who I'd previously described as being too small to fit into the smallest available Boy Scout uniform. It would drape on him in the Boy Scout meetings and the Hunsbergers would ride me about how badly Jimmy King's Boy Scout uniform fit on him. At that time I hadn't known how to say Hep Vue in an appropriate manner to the Hunsbergers -- the father and the two sons, one of which had the hots for my sister. Given his lack of awareness, I didn't hold that against him. Honestly, I had thought he didn't know what he was getting himself into.

      All the while, Jimmy would have a smiling face. Even with his ill-fitting Boy Scout admonishment. Always the happy exterior to contrast with my developing very bad attitude about the Hunsbergers and Boy Scout Society.

      I would lay a forearm under Jimmy's chin in football practice that would send him ten feet away and into a bounce off The Rock Garden. It would be as hard as I could hit someone and Jimmy would get up off the pebbles, pull himself together and go back to the huddle; How in the world could that guy take that kind of hit from me and still be standing upright?

      Coach Stokes would ask Jimmy if there wasn't some other position he would like to play. Jimmy would always say no -- he wanted to play tailback and that was the only position he'd wanted to play.

      Then our best-in-North-America defensive ends would hit Jimmy. These were the two guys who would clock me senseless on a regular basis -- once a week whether I'd needed it or not. Poor Jimmy -- the oak tree at The Rock Garden way back south where the first aid kit was kept -- the smelling salts not that effective in bring Jimmy around. I'd sneaked a couple and smelled those smelling salts back in my bedroom and they had sent me onto my back. Probably some kind of FDA prohibit on those today.

      Jimmy's father a few weeks later -- the pastor at the Assembly Of God Church in town -- had formally protested the Valparaiso Board Of Education saying football was too violent of an activity for anyone, including his son Jimmy. Heated discussions ensued and the very best person who I've ever met in my life -- way beyond all the celebrities and world class sports stars I've met and have talked to in-person -- that gap-toothed Lebanese said in the Board Of Education meeting, "If your boy wants to play football, we will have him."

      It was the finest hour of any Lebanese anywhere in the United States Of America. We would all hear about it afterward and decide this is where we will excel. This is our cause. That guy will take us to the promiseland.

      That, in itself alone, contributed to us being undefeated for years in a row and being one of the best in all of America. We would intentionally bring in Jimmy King as tailback and try to get him a touchdown. We'd actually be penalized for bodily carrying Jimmy into the end zone, then have to bring in the first string offensive line to bust out and get Jimmy some yards (bouncing the football off Jimmy's faceguard in the process a couple of times). The crowd of thousands yelling, "King, King, King, King."

      Everyone in our small town knew of the story even though the newspaper had never printed it up.

      Everyone counties away knew of that gap-toothed Lebanese who I would have a cage fight with in front of more than a hundred upper classmen.

      Jimmy -- he'd had his own Beast Mode.

      Prospective AT thru-hikers -- you will have your own Beast Mode too. No one said this will be easy. It will sometimes be your grit that will get you through. At other times it will be the beer.


      Datto
    • The "Payoff Period" is only an exercise. As the numbers clearly show (I'm laughing as I write this) the money put toward an AT thru-hike could be seen as an investment rather than strictly as an expense. Of course, the payoff from an AT thru-hike is way more than just the potential financial aspects. But, there are an awful lot of numbers-only people in the world and this is an alternative approach to seeing the world as they do.

      Of course, if all of you were CxO types I would just tell you this -- "You can tell the Board the money invested here will have a payoff period of 36 months so it's a great investment."

      CxO types usually have money to burn they can't award to themselves and instead, have to spend/invest that money. The wise CxO puts that money toward something that makes themself look good (who cares if it helps the company, that kind of thinking is for schmucks). Whatever the investment, it has to fit on a single line on a PowerPoint presentation or the Board Members won't understand it. * Payoff Period 36 Months (next bullet * Lunch Is Served At Noon -- done).

      Datto
    • Being a subject

      I have a unique perspective having been a subject for many years.

      I would say almost all CxOs, if there was money to pocketed, would take a knee during the national anthem and hold up a sign saying, "CxO Pockets Matter".

      This is what modern day traders and shortsters like me have come to expect. Anything different would be seen as an anomaly. Chainsaw Al was a piker.

      cbsnews.com/news/where-the-psy…rison-and-the-ceo-office/


      Datto
    • With the events of last night and how the markets may open this morning -- this is precisely why I've included the following into Datto's Tips v2.0:

      Tip 63: Business Cycle vs AT Thru-hike Timing.
      Tip 94: Requesting A Leave Of Absence From Work

      Following current events, my suggestions for Prospective Northbound 2017 AT Thru-hikers who are currently in the workforce (with an existing job) are as follows:

      1. As I've mentioned in Tip 63 of Datto's Tips v2.0, you don't want to get yourself in the position of thru-hiking the AT in 2017 and then returning from the AT to find the country has gone into an economic recession. That could be financially devastating and you could end up being out of work for a year or more.

      2. Wait to make your go / no-go decision on whether you're going to thru-hike the AT northbound in 2017 until Sunday night March 26, 2017. You'll want to see what the ISM Index numbers -- NMI -- (canary in the economic coalmine) are for January 2017, February 2017 and March 2017 (these come out on the first business day of the month at 10:00am). If you see two of those particular three monthly numbers below 50 then you may want to wait on starting the AT. You could plan to start southbound in July 2017 to give more time for the economic story to shake out or else wait to start northbound until April 2018. If your go / no-go decision is a go on Sunday night March 26, 2017, this allows you to then turn in your two-week notice at work the next day (Monday March 27, 2017) with your last day of work being Friday April 7, 2017. This allows you to still have time to travel to Springer Mountain, GA and start your northbound AT thru-hike on Monday April 10, 2017 and still reach Katahdin prior to the bad snow showing up in Maine in the autumn. That particular start date for a northbound AT thru-hike also may allow you to miss much of the snow in GA and NC but still hike directly into Trail Days Festival Weekend in Damascus, VA (on Trail) on Friday night May 19th.

      3. If you currently live in an apartment and are required to give 30 calendar days notice to vacate (usually a formal process requiring paperwork), you may want to wait until Monday March 27, 2017 to give your Notice To Vacate. Yes, you'll be paying for time when you're not living in the apartment but it will give you more time to figure out the economic climate before making your go / no-go decision.

      4. Don't tell anyone at work or any (more) of your friends that you're going to be thru-hiking the AT in 2017. Mentioning that, particularly to your co-workers or your boss at work, could put you in the first group of people to be terminated if the economy goes bad in 2017 (your company will think you're not a loyal employee so you could find yourself in the first group of employees to get booted out).

      5. Forget about the results of the election and the economy for the next month -- it'll be chatter, static and convulsions for the most part. What you'll want to know are the ISM Index numbers for January, February and March of 2017. These are what will tell you whether the election results are a possible economic Black Swan Event or not.

      6. You may also want to see what the new car sales and construction numbers are for January, February and March of 2017.

      7. Continue, in the meantime, doing your overnight pre-hike prep hikes carrying your full backpack in the rain/snow for eight miles per day to help you get ready for your AT thru-hike. You should also have at least one week-long hike of at least 40 total miles under your belt (carrying your full backpack) prior to March 2017.


      Links:

      You can see the ISM Index Number NMI here on the appropriate first business day of the month along with likely trending charts and commentary:

      marketwatch.com


      Other economic indicator numbers are described here:

      munibondadvisor.com/EconomicIndicators.htm


      Datto

    • Datto wrote:

      As I've mentioned in Tip 63 of Datto's Tips v2.0, you don't want to get yourself in the position of thru-hiking the AT in 2017 and then returning from the AT to find the country has gone into an economic recession.
      For those of you who are prospective 2017 AT thru-hikers who have read Tip 63 of Datto's Tips v2.0 -- the upper circle in this attachment is the most haunting. Again, no one will know where this is going for months and the churn will last at least into the late holidays. However, probably December 13-14th, 2016 will be a little bit of the tell.

      Datto

    • WanderingStovie wrote:

      So financials broke through the upper Bollinger band and trend line. Do they like rising interest rates in general, and a Fed rate hike?
      Rising bank stocks prices mean there's an expectation of rising interest rates (banks make much more money when interest rates are rising). However, rising interest rates/rising bank stock prices can mean the business cycle (recession to growth cycle back to recession period) is in the 4th quarter of the game. Note the 4th quarter of the game can last for a long time or a short time (there's no way to know ahead of time beyond watching the ISM numbers, construction numbers, automobile sales and jobless claims for somewhat of a prescient clue-in). I don't think anticipation of deregulation of the financial system is a factor here -- traders are simply rotating into the places where the 4th quarter of the business cycle game has shown to be profitable in the past and rotating out of those areas that are known to be unprofitable in the game's 4th quarter (most types of bonds for instance).

      December 13-14, 2016 is important (to me anyhow) to see if the Federal Reserve holds interests rates as-is in order to give the next administration a chance to get things in place in 2017. I wouldn't want to return to the 'Jimmy Years' of brutal Federal Reserve conflict with an administration which landed with a dull thud for pretty much everyone having a pulse.

      For prospective northbound 2017 AT thru-hikers (and an AT thru-hiking vs Business Cycle standpoint) there is simply no risk to remaining cautious right now. Keep options open until more of the near-term economic story plays out. In the meantime, keep doing pre-hike prep hikes in anticipation of an early April 2017 northbound start date, get your $5,000 (minimum) cash available for door-to-door costs of an AT thru-hike and finally, prospective AT thru-hikers should get their personal life in order if it is out of whack. There is still plenty of time for prospective 2017 northbound AT thru-hikers to get those three things in order (while the post-election economic story plays out) but time is incrementally slipping away.

      If all goes well, the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates as-is (December 14-15, ~January 31-1, ~March 14-15), the ISM numbers for January, February and March will be 53 each month, automobile sales will just plateau rather than drop and the economy will be fine for the next year.


      Datto
    • For prospective 2017 northbound AT thru-hikers following along here (and reading Tip 63: AT thru-hiking and the Business Cycle of Datto's Tips v2.0), the 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims this morning (11/17/2016) was 253,500 and the one-week delayed number for initial jobless claims was 235,000. The 4-week moving average smooths out the peaks and valleys. Both of these are exceptionally good numbers for the overall economy in America, reflected mostly from the economic situation prior to the election. These numbers are also part of the canaries in the coalmine for the American economy.

      Of course these numbers don't really take into account under-employment which has been quite widespread in America since the Great Recession of ~2007-2010. As you personally may have noted, some parts of the country/industry are not doing well economically while other parts are doing very well -- so the economic recovery since the Great Recession hasn't really been spread evenly across the board in America.

      if you're a prospective 2017 AT thru-hiker, what you'll want to watch for as an economic warning sign is the any of the above initial jobless claims moving toward 400,000. That may indicate a big bad thing is on the horizon.

      As I've said above there's no risk in being cautious at this point in time. if you're in the workforce with an existing job, keep options open until more of the near-term economic story plays out. You certainly don't want to go on an AT thru-hike only to return and discover the American economy has been heading into a recession while you were gone -- all while you're expecting to eventually go get another job after your AT thru-hike.


      Datto
    • Expanding on Tip 79: People Just Graduating From College.


      There will be no better time in your entire life to take a grand adventure.


      The Nickel Bar.


      Near the end of our college-boy careers my buddy Tony and I had decided to hitchhike to the furthest place away from Muncie, IN (our college-boy town) while staying within the lower 48 states.My buddy Tony had deftly determined, with an engineering scale and a bunch of acute measurements on a map retrieved from his acne-mobile glove compartment, the most distant location from Muncie, IN was Seattle, WA. Seems there was at least 300 pounds of Bondo on Tony's car at that time -- a Ford Galaxie with vinyl top and a few insignificant accidents in the rear-view mirror. Trust me when I advise Bondo should be smoothed out before paint is applied. Even with a vinyl top and a lack of available time.


      Of course, my buddy Tony and I were such financial wizards we hadn't figured out how to get back from Seattle -- we'd had enough money to get there hitchhiking and we would figure out how to get back from Seattle at sometime in the future once we'd got there. Long-term thinking at that time was measured in days.


      That's how the first Great Adventure had started. A hop, skip and a jump at the end of college and we'd had our thumbs hanging out along US 30 heading west. I mean, how hard could it be to get to the Pacific Ocean from Indiana, right?


      A few days later we were looking for Devil's Tower after having just entering Wyoming. Hey you know what? People in Wisconsin will not pick you up in the middle of the night when you're brushing your teeth alongside the highway. Then it was a 2.5 hour sleepfest in a Wisconsin driver's car who had mistakenly taken us all the way to northern Wisconsin. When awoken and had the chance to look at the map to determine where we were now located, I'd told that driver, "Let us out here right now." Geez we were way out in the middle of Wis-no-whereville.


      Then the law showed up.


      See, this was before my buddy Tony and I knew much about Corporate America, the law showing up and the vital attraction of older women.


      The Sheriff's Deputy was going to haul us off to do three days in the pokey for illegally hitchhiking within the state of Wisconsin. That's when divine intervention interceded and we had discovered our talent for inexplicably turning bad things into not-so-bad things. It would be a harbinger for the duration of the entire First Great Adventure at the end of our college-boy careers. How to turn the next bad-thing into something memorable and just plain fun.


      We would sleep under interstate bridges on the adventure for the most part. Right underneath the expansion joint for the bridge structure. Every five minutes the clang-de-clang of a semi-truck running over the bridge expansion joint would wake up the dead. As stressed out college students, that musta kept us awake for at least sixty seconds. Then it was off to Raquel Welsh-land. She is still hot today.


      That Deputy Sheriff had a fancy new watch on his wrist and I'd asked him about it while we were waiting for the paddy wagon to show up. Seems his wife had bought it for him during the previous Christmas season and it had all the wingding features and whatzit dials. I'd showed that Deputy Sheriff a similar Seiko wrist watch a previous girlfriend had bought for me during a Christmas season years before.


      Pretty soon, we didn't need to go off to jail. We were, instead, told how to avoid all the Wisconsin laws on hitchhiking to which we followed to the letter allowing my buddy Tony and I to escape northern Wisconsin.


      Ah yes. The Nickel Bar.


      The Nickel Bar was a place where the girl at the Dairy Queen along the Wyoming Interstate at the Devils Tower exit had said we could get some beer. It was at least a 1.4 hoofit from the Interstate Dairy Queen. Even thirsty, a 1.4 off the Interstate was doable.


      Two hours later, the bartender in The Nickel Bar told me, as I was sitting at the bar, the guy my buddy Tony was playing against in eight-ball at the pool table was the region's pool table champion. The bartender was nice enough to have pointed at all the trophies on the wall, for my particular benefit, that opponent of Tony's had won over the course of the last two years.


      That's when Tony had called the triple-bank in the no-name-town eight-ball tournament with the local champion. Tony could acquire quite the geometric and arithmetical talent after a couple or six draft beers. I had seen this before way back in Muncie.


      Well of course Tony's triple-bank had sunk clean as a whistle and Tony would win the pool tournament



      That's when the bartender at The Nickel Bar had said to me, "You and your boy should be leaving."


      Lots of very stern looks from several Wyoming gentlemen.


      I'd walked over to my buddy Tony and said, "We have to go. Right now."


      Next thing you know, we're holding a cardboard sign along a Wyoming interstate saying, "Free Jokes."


      Senior citizens slowing down to read the sign, then looking at their map to determine where the town of Free Jokes, WY was located



      I had thought at that time that Tony and I would be in Wyoming forever. We would each marry a fine woman from Wyoming and those women together would ride us into the barn for mayhem and illegalities. The idea of Indiana would become a distant memory.


      Then a miracle occurred.


      While my buddy Tony and I had been standing alongside that Wyoming highway for hours, a Chevy van had slammed on the brakes and a well-endowed woman with no brassiere motioned for us to hurry up and run toward her shouldered van. No need for encouragement -- we were on it.


      A great deal of disappointment from the woman about my buddy Tony and I. Seems at 65 miles per hour, she had thought our sign had said, "Free Joints"



      No trouble for my buddy Tony and I to adjust -- if there was one thing my buddy Tony and I knew about, we'd known how to make braless women happy.


      An hour later we're traveling toward Montana with the braless woman -- me in the front passenger seat, Tony riding shotgun on a mattress in the back of the van. Modus Operandi.



      The braless woman got to know Tony and me and she'd gotten comfortable with the both of us. After a while, we'd all become friendly. That woman driving the van had a huge four-inch diameter pendant dangling from her neck when she'd said directly to me, "Do you know what this is?" grabbing the pendant and showing it to me up close.


      That pendant was some kind of Hopi Indian type of whirligig design with circles in a maze. I guess I musta looked dumbfounded about the pendant. The woman caught on and told me straight to my face, holding the pendant so I could see up close between the jiggling boobs, "This will transmit energy from the sun directly into your brain."


      I think I'd looked totally surprised to the girl driving the van. She could recognize my naiveté so to complicate the issue she'd said to me, "You can get an orgasm off this necklace.'


      ???


      We were only halfway to Seattle on the First Great Adventure.



      Datto