On September 1, I flew out to Sacramento where Michelle and Emma were nice enough to pick me up. Flying into Sacramento is alot cheaper than flying into Reno - even if it is alittle inconvenient. As you may remember I only had to use 4 vacation days to score an 11 day vacation by combining them with the paid holidays I already had thanks to Labor Day.
We got into town late Thursday night, so we didn't do much that night. Friday, we woke up and tubed down the Truckee River. It was freezing cold, but so beautiful and lots of fun!
Later that afternoon, I heard from a friend that a very close friend of mine, Tyler Harris had passed away. I was, and still am devestated by what happened. I am however, grateful that I was with Emma and Michelle when I found out and that I already had a full week off from work. We quickly had to change our plans for the roadtrip portion of the trip. The trip went from 6 days to 3, and we regrettfully had to cut out our visits to Vinton, IA to see Susannah, and our stop in Chicago. The trip was kind of a blur, but we departed Tuesday morning from Truckee, CA and made it to somewhere in Wyoming the first night (I honestly don't remember the name of the town). We slept in Wednesday morning and left around checkout. We were lucky we still had long days then, because we were able to make it to Kansas City, MO only having to drive a couple of hours in the dark. Thursday we pushed to Atlanta and arrived around Midnight. We only took one picture the whole trip. It may have been the quickest, most uneventful roadtrip across the country in history. Although, sometimes uneventful is a good thing.
Tyler's service on Sunday was not easy, but it was nice to hear everyone's stories. I didn't quite have it in me to share any stories at the service, but I did write a letter to his parents and brother that I mailed the next week. Here are a few of the memories that I shared with them in the letter.
One thing I loved about Tyler was how much respect and love he had for his family. Anytime something exciting happened, he would want to immediately call you and share it with you. One day we all decided to go to North Carolina to go snowboarding, and it was both Tyler and my first time. Of course he picked it up right away and I was still rolling down the bunny hill at the end of the night…I was so jealous.Somehow, I got the short straw and had to drive us home that night and Tyler wouldn’t shut up about how “before you drive us off the mountain I have to call my mom and tell her about “the best day EVER!”” (I don’t know why he liked to make fun of my driving. I’m perfectly fine…). It seemed like the drive took forever, and everyone else went to sleep, but Tyler stayed up and DJ’d the whole way home.After I graduated, I moved to Lake Tahoe and worked at a ski resort. By the time Ian and Tyler came out to visit, I had been practicing and gotten a lot better. I was so excited to show off how good I had gotten. It had just snowed, the weather was perfect, and we all had a really awesome day. At the end of the day I decided I was going to make it down to the bottom of the mountain before they did, so I took off and raced to the bottom. I stood there for about ten minutes waiting for them (feeling pretty good about myself), and then Ian and Tyler came up behind me and looked at me like I was crazy and asked, “Did you really think you could get down here before we did?” I don’t know what I was thinking. He was so good at everything! Later that night we decided to build a jump in my backyard – Ian has some pretty hilarious videos of our attempts. None of us actually landed it, but Tyler probably came the closest.The few days they were in Tahoe were some of my favorites from the year I was out there. One night it was snowing and I didn’t feel like putting my tire chains on to go anywhere, so we made kool-aid slushees out of snow and the three of us sat around the computer and watched the Disney movie, Johnny Tsunami. We quoted it for weeks – mainly about how “totally nectar” their visit had been!There are so many ridiculous, goofy memories. One time Tyler accidentally broke the door panel off Chris’s tiny BMW because he just plain didn’t fit in the car. We pulled over and tried to fix it, but Tyler had to ride the rest of the way home with the door panel in his lap.Another time right before he and Josh went Turkey hunting I got my dad to set them up with some special turkey camo (“superflauge”) and some calls. My mom brought it up one weekend and he picked it up from my house. He modeled all the new clothes for us, and my mom thought he was just too funny. After he got his first turkey, he sent us a picture with all the turkey hunting gear and the turkey.
It has been tough the last few months, just figuring out how to deal with this, but it has brought me closer to a lot of our mutual friends. And now I'm just trying to remember all of our happy memories, make sure everyone that I care about knows how much I do, and not to take for granted all the wonderful people and opportunities I have. To quote my favorite - Winnie the Pooh - "If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever."Tyler will always be one of my favorite people. During my last year at UGA, I went through a pretty traumatic event involving my roommate, and that’s when I became close with Tyler. He was there for me every day until I left for Tahoe, just trying to make sure I stayed busy and didn’t just sit around and mope. We played A LOT of tennis, watched A LOT of NCIS, went to my favorite bar to play pool, or just sat around and did nothing in particular. One time we were playing tennis and I had just tied it up, so that we each had one set. I was so tired and ready to go, but he could not leave with it tied. So we played the 3rd set, and I actually beat him! He was so mad that he lost to a girl; he wouldn’t even ride back in the car with me. (I’ve been thinking that maybe he let me win because I was so upset about my roommate, but it doesn’t sound like Tyler to intentionally lose). After that, we joked that he had to really piss me off to get a real game of tennis out of me.
Adding some rows on the Nifty Knitter
Ian and Tyler at Northstar
We got new hats... and obviously were "too cool" to smile.