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Assault on Miners

Hey Team,

Not everything on the list is adrenaline fueled (obviously). But a great case in point is #11 “Go into a coal mine.” I may have mentioned this before but a good portion of the list exists because I occasionally get that feeling that I was born in either the wrong time or the wrong place to experience everything I would like to experience. So rather than get my heart rate up, the coal mine is really more of a steep slide into Nerdville. A learning experience and not much more.

And that’s exactly what I got at the Lackawana County Coal Mine yesterday. Most important lesson learned: I now know exactly why so many people told me there was no way they were going to let me into a working coal mine. Turns out there are a billion and one easy ways to get yourself killed in a working mine. Good to know.

Besides the obvious black lung (which I avoided mentioning on tape mostly out of the shame created by a “too easy” joke) there where a hundred ways to get squished, crushed, or otherwise trampled before you even make it to the coal vein in the morning. Dynamite can More >


Fiamingo Family Thanksgiving

Hey Team,

I’ve had a pretty awesome few days in Nowhere, PA, unfortunately my internet connection has been pretty spotty. So before things cut out again…

Here’s a quick video update.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT1_1 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D36", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT1", name : "WT1"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT1_1", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params , this.attr ); } } WT1_1.start();

And I’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow.

Thanks, everyone!

I’m done.


Welcome to the wonderful world of kindness to strangers.

Why NOT be a kind stranger?


Hey Team,

I had a fun-filled, turkey-fueled day with the Fiamingo family in Mansfield, PA. Not only did they take me in on what is traditionally more of a family holiday (which frankly, I’ve always thought was strange since basically it was all about taking in people in need when those pilgrims first flunked winter) but they fed me what was (don’t read the next ten words, mom) quite possible the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever had.

That was followed by a two-hour food coma and dessert was served in the midst of them letting me win at a grueling 24 hour (I’m just going off of how long it felt, I didn’t check the time) Trivial Pursuit game. Which, by the way, makes me 2 for 2 in Trivial Pursuit for this trip. That’s right…Amtrekker’s undefeated. Bring in on people.

Basically it all comes down to this: my gain, your loss. As a result of all the food, folks and fun (please don’t sue me, McDonald’s) I didn’t have much time to get any video work done today and that filthy fun killer tryptophan is doing a number on my ability to stay conscious. (Upon rereading I see it has also More >


Thanks for Giving

Hey Team,

I was going to post another video today, (I have two ready, one of my ride to Mansfield, Pennsylvania where I’ll be spending Thanksgiving this year and one of the “Jump the Gun Turkey Run” which was basically this last weekend’s pre-Thanksgiving in Boston.) but somehow neither seemed appropriate enough for this holiday.

This is more of a holiday of introspection and since I’ve had so much time for introspection lately I figure I’m well suited to send some extrospection (There’s about a 98% chance that’s not a word. But the beautiful thing about English is you probably got the point anyway.) your way.

I fully recognize that I’m the smallest piece of the Amtrekker puzzle. Amtrekker would not exist without the help of literally HUNDREDS of people. This has been such a fascinating experience for me (and hopefully for you) because so much of what this trip is about has either nothing to do with me or is completely out of my control. Everyday I’m left dangling at the whim of complete strangers and so far I’ve yet to feel let down or slighted in the least.

Maybe I’m starting to sound like a broken record but I am so More >


#47 Tour the Crayola Factory [podcast]

Hey Team,

Here’s the podcast where Amtrekker takes a road trip to Easton, PA to tour the Crayola Factory and exercise a couple dormant creative muscles.

Guest starring Ace the wonder monkey and Mr. Rogers’ shirt!


Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT3_3 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D40", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT3", name : "WT3"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT3_3", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params , this.attr ); } } WT3_3.start();

I’m done.


If you can’t help me get an “Amtrekker Green” crayon, then maybe you should just donate.

Come on, it’ll be fun!

Salute Your Shorts

Hey Team,

It was an exciting week of firsts! Obviously there was the Crayola Factory but, in true Amtrekker fashion, that was just a tiny little piece of the adventure.

I grew up in a relatively low-income neighborhood without a ton of money (good to see some things never change) so I missed out on a few of the “typical” childhood adventures. Summer camp would be one of those things. Which isn’t to say I didn’t get to (read: have to) hear other people bragging about their adventures come the start of the new school year…which really only served to make the idea of camp that much more foreign to me.

BUT, thanks to some nomadic serendipity (I love that phrase…good job Cherie) the new friend (Chelsea) that took me along on her trip to Pennsylvania so I could explore the Crayola Factory was a former camp counselor and we got to crash at the camp for a few days!

It was awesome! I got to meet some really cool people, teach some kids about teamwork and science (I don’t THINK I scared any for life, I’m pretty sure someone will be able to re-teach them the right way to do things.) and sleep More >

Mister Rogers Would Be Proud

Hey Team.

Today was a great day. I’m one step closer to eventually seeing home again (and considering how cold it’s been in the North East DO NOT underestimate how much I’m missing Southern California weather) thanks to a daylong trip to the Crayola Factory!


1. Seeing how crayons are made (duh)!

2. Seeing Mister Roger’s Crayola Factory shirt from when he made the 100,000,000,000th crayon.

3. Making a sculpture of Ace the Wonder Monkey (the podcast will reveal all) using free Model Magic clay!


1. No ghost of Mister Rogers haunting the halls.

2. No hardhats involved in the tour.

3. Couldn’t find anyone to convince that Crayola needs to adopt an “Amtrekker Green” crayon.

The evening was spent with camp counselors from the College Settlement Camps of Philadelphia where I’m staying (constantly thanking god that I’ve never seen Friday the 13th) thanks to a fortuitous meeting at a Halloween party in Boston last weekend. And since I get to wake up early tomorrow to see what life at camp is like I’m going to have to cut this post short. But there will be plenty more info about the great Crayola adventure AND a podcast coming up.

PLUS, I was able to re-shoot the closing to the More >

Color Me Excited

Hey Team,

Granted, my world has been colored by a lifetime spent in California but it just seems strange to sit in a car for six hours and cross through FIVE states. I could barely make it from LA to San Francisco in that time.

Today’s big event (besides finally caving in and purchasing new pants…which, apparently, you can’t buy with shoestrings) was a road trip with Chelsea, the Museum of Science educator that I met at a Halloween party last weekend. Turns out she was looking to take a trip to a summer camp she used to work at to visit some friends. Lucky for me, this summer camp also happens to be a scant hour car ride from the Crayola Factory AND has an open bed!

So tomorrow brings with it some #47 butt-kickery (it’s a word…promise) and a summer camp exploration.

Okay, I’ve gotta go make my bunk. Good thing the kids are all in school. I’m looking forward to pretending I’m back in the dorms.

I’m done.


If you enjoyed this story, feel free to chip in for crayons…

then I can draw myself a map.

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