2013 was a year of up and downs, hard work and headaches and of course a little adventure and fun. This list encompasses my personal favorite memories, posts that were well commented on or saw more than average traffic. I know posting was down this year but I was a little busy and honestly tried to only hit the high spots. Less time spent here usually means more cool stuff going on in the “real world.” So here is the much-anticipated list for 2013 – the NOSVC Best of…

Yes – several of these did happen on the same trip or trips. I took that into consideration but decided that each “event” stood out enough to claim their own spot in the “Best of” list. Honorable mentions this year go to the Kirby Derby, St. Patrick’s Day and the end of the Old Mountain Jug. All huge items on their own but being slightly edged out by the competition. It isn’t impossible that one or more of these might return to a future list with the notable exception being the Old Mountain Jug. I think it has found what might be a permanent home in Boone. And yes – an award winning Kirby Derby getting an honorable mention is proof of how much fun 2013 really was.

The Best of 2013

10. Of Haggis and Miles on Foot – Our friends Chloe and Brian went halfway across the planet and hiked an incredible distance in what I am told is my country of origin. They brought back an awesome gift from the motherland and I use it nightly in hopes that some poor (geographically challenged) haggis (or haggi) will respond. So far it has only made Princess confused but I plan on eventually making my way to Scotland and making good use of it there. Until then I will just make my own haggis. Congrats to the Morgans on completing the West Highland Way and making it back with awesome gifts in tow. Glad you didn’t have to use the Tardis to return.

09. Krispy Kreme Challenge – No – I still have not completed the challenge but this year I came a step closer by eating all the doughnuts. Maybe if I had not spent so much time goofing off in the doughnut area I could have done it. Either way – as I have decided with many things through the years I am not running this one in 2014. I felt worse after this race than I did #2 on this list.

08. Gundam – So Brian decided to build a Gundam suit – I had a little more than a vague idea of what this was when he told me. It turned out awesome and was great for Halloween and the NC Comicon. The costume even won a prize at the NC Comicon and nosvc.com was listed as media. It was bound to happen sooner or later – our literary skills were demoted to the lowest rung on the ladder. At least Brian won something.

07. Ski Beech – For close to a decade we’ve been talking about going on a ski trip. Usually it gets canceled for some reason beyond anyone’s control or we come to our senses and decide to skip it. This year the stars aligned and we made it. It was great. Better than usual conditions and despite having drinks with a flammable alcohol content the night before we did fine out on the mountain. Sure we had the usual near death experiences and stolen/misplaced ski experiences but nothing a PBR couldn’t fix at the end of the day.

06. New River Canoe Trip – Was this the end? I’m not sure but I am guessing ‘Linda’ may put this annual tradition on hold for a year or we may change gears and do something completely different. Either way this is a trip I will always remember fondly. Except for this part. That image gets burned into your head and makes you wonder how the human race survived as long as it has. Many thanks to Nick for putting things together and allowing the nosvc.com documentary team to join in.

05. Behind the Wonderful World of Disney – Disney is awesome in its own right and the magic doesn’t fade when you get a sneak peek behind the curtain. I am including this with the Orlando Rewind posts [1, 2, 3] but going behind the scenes and to Disney University was my favorite part of the experience. You always want to see something you’ve never seen before and this time we did. Inside the park was great too – great trip with Bob and Sonya (for Kennedy, Disney and the Space Coast Half) and one we may have to try to recreate next year.

04. Gentlemen of the Road [2] – We made our way to St. Augustine for a two-day show featuring a bunch of hipster bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford & Sons. It is one of the few times I’ve been able to say I saw a girl dressed as a mermaid in a bar with a pet possum. And the music was really good too.

03. World of Bluegrass in Raleigh – From the opening red carpet to the closing fireworks this event had more posts on nosvc.com than anything else this year. One of my favorite moments was this U2 cover. The great news? It is coming back next year so expect more coverage on this event in 2014.

02. Space Coast Half-marathon – Most of you know the story. I tried running a half-marathon before and I finished but not how I would have liked my training wasn’t what it should have been and I was not prepared. I wanted to run the entire distance and I wanted to feel good after I did. From a pledge to run/walk a mile a day in 2013 (which I did not complete) to finishing a half the way I wanted was a long way. I am very happy with my Space Shuttle medal and am looking forward to running my next half-marathon in a couple of week back in Florida. Yes – I do know they run this distance in other places. This was just a coincidence and probably a little poor timing. If you are looking for a destination run I highly recommend the Space Coast. From the friendly town, to the themed water stops, to the pancake breakfast this race is well done and a lot of fun.

01. Kennedy Space Center & AtlantisI stood on launchpad 39A. For those of you that know what that means I don’t think I need to say anything else. From this spot we launched countless missions and won the first round of the space race. From this spot we launched many shuttle missions including STS-132. It was amazing and hard to comprehend the history of the spectacular events that happened on that spot where we were standing. The presentation of Atlantis was equally breathtaking and a fitting tribute to the most advanced vehicle in the fleet. It is hard not to be nostalgic for the first low earth orbit airline but I think we’ll soon see these machines in the same light we do the Apollo vehicles – another block in the foundation of our reaching for the stars.

Special thanks to everyone that came along for the ride – especially Cara who always helps push the envelope. It will require some effort to make 2014 more exciting than this.

 

The best thing not written about on nosvc.com was the unbelievable recovery of one tough little dog from Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). In a very short span of time she went from a normal healthy dog to one that couldn’t walk or stand. For a 12 year old dog we feared the worst and the options we were given weren’t great. We thought our best hope for her future might be a wheelchair. Time, patience and perseverance can sometimes have wonderful results. Thanks to the NCSU Veterinary Hospital for giving us the tools and the hope to assist in a small miracle and more importantly to Cara for putting in the rehab work that makes miracles like this possible. The amazement of watching Princess run today hasn’t worn off and probably never will.

Merry Christmas!

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