Wolverine Traveler: Deep Below Heaven - Chapter 2

Posted On: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 , Wolverine Traveler

Not everything goes as planned, it’s part of being on the road. After a series of blissful shows and reconnecting with old friends in L.A. and Oakland we packed up the car for our journey back. It was 8:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning as we walked down a busy street in Oakland to get coffee before we left. On our way back, as we approached the car our reflection on the back passenger-side window wasn’t appearing. As we neared we saw the edges of broken glass and half our luggage missing.

We spend the morning filing police reports and trying to figure out what we’d lost and wondering if we could keep going. The guitar was too big to pull through the window and we had one camera in hand at the time of the break-in. After the initial shock wore off we felt surprisingly calm as we re-grouped in a coffee shop in a less busy area of Oakland. We still had everything we needed to do the remaining shows, and we weren’t going to let this stop us.

We had shot out of Oakland on I-5 and had to make up for lost time that day. We pulled over as soon as we hit Lake Shasta to watch the sunset on the water. And just like that, it was like the drama in Oakland never happened. We turned west one last time taking side roads back to the coast; we were back in it.

 

From Portland to Seattle, and then straight back east the tour was coming to an end but there were still a few key spots we had to stop at on our way home. We stopped in Missoula, Montana at the request of our longtime friend, Ben, for a show and a cook-out at the Moon-Homestead and then it was time to cross the plains again. Our 12 year-old Rand McNally atlas said there was only one paved road out of Ekalaka, and with us still trying to avoid interstates at all costs we inquired about a way east at the Carter County museum where we had stopped to look around. A bearded man in blue flannel and overalls told us to take 323 towards the Badlands. The museum keeper chimed in that it was paved seven years ago even though it doesn’t always say so on most maps. Montana stretched on for miles and miles. Soft rolling hills feathered with green and yellow clovers. We didn’t see cars for hours as we rolled across.

 

 

 

The Badlands are one of the most magical places in the States. We had arrived at sunset as we managed to do for most of our chosen destinations and wandered out onto the edges of the unworldly valley. Prairie dogs scurried busily between their burrows as we wandered through this dream-like valley. 

 

We left Rock Island, IL where I recorded a session with Daytrotter and after a quick stop to peak at the mighty Mississppi we traveled the 5 hours to Kalamazoo, Michigan, my hometown. I hadn’t been back there for nearly seven years and as I walked into my grandpa’s house, it smelled exactly how I remembered it from my childhood. The Howard Miller clock above the TV sounded like the same series of bells I remember hearing from my very youth, and the walls were lined with my grandpa’s paintings. After being in unknown places for the whole month, it was reassuring to be in a place that was truly, innately home. I could feel it in my bones.

 

We had one last stop on our tour, and after all those days of slowly rolling across America, stopping in the small towns to wander, peering into the store windows, and living out of our suitcases in the motel rooms and living room floors, we were excited to get home. We woke up early and headed to Pittsburgh for a house show and potluck at Future Oak before heading home. We pulled into the Holland Tunnel as dark clouds were gathering above Manhattan. It seemed the storms we’d been chased by across the Midwest had followed us all the way home. We drove onto Canal Street as the rain started pouring down. Cars were honking, people were scurrying in the downpour, others pressed under awnings. I noticed a few people leisurely enjoying the summer rain. Somehow it was refreshing to be back in this big, messy, dirty city.

 

Missed the beginning? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Chapter 1

 

To view the entire slideshow of photos from this chapter, click here.

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Wolverine Traveler: Deep Below Heaven - Chapter 1

Posted On: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 , Wolverine Traveler

As we departed NYC on June 1st, we asked ourselves, when does an adventure actually begin? When you walk out the door? Which door? Onto the plane? Into the car?

As we rolled quickly down to Nashville from NYC for the first show of the tour and then into Florence, AL for the second show, we quickly realized our trip would be full of arbitrary starts and stops, each moment as new as the next one. From Florence, our route was directed to the west, towards the Pacific. We had a week between shows, leaving time to kill as we crossed the states. There were many penciled in marks on our map of places we dreamed of visiting and one bright red circle: White Sands, NM.

 

On Tuesday we woke up in Elk City, OK – a city we both remembered from reading Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”. As Elk City disappeared into our rear view mirror, we raced through storms into Tornado Alley, trying to reach Amarillo by the morning, as George Strait’s greatest hits played as we crossed the city line. The further west we drove, the more the terrain changed. On the doorstep of New Mexico, the trees got shorter and scrubbier, the dirt reddened and the sky seemed taller.

 

We drove into White Sands just before sunset; it was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. White slopes of sand extend as far as the eye can see and it was unbelievably quiet. Small black beetles scurried across the white surface and improbably little pink flowers bloomed on desert plants. Our red circle was truly a magical part of the country.

 

As we raced straight across Navajo Nation, deeper in to the west, we caught the sunset beyond Shiprock from a dirt road that was littered with broken bottles. The red rock formation truly looks like a ship in the distance, full sails against the flat expanse around it. As the sun went down, we pulled into a gas station to ask directions to the nearest motel. As a black dog wandered the parking lot, peering into the parked cars, we were informed that the nearest lodging was 30 miles behind us. We gave the dog the last of our sandwich meat from the cooler before we began our retrace down 64 and settled into our motel for the evening.

We’ve never traveled America like this before; being lead by one road leading to the next, all the interconnected highways and byways crisscrossing the land. The landscapes slowly changed before our eyes, taking it’s time, then exploding with beauty. We took US 89 right up to Jacob’s Lake in Arizona, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We checked into our cabin and took inter-state 67 south for a Grand Canyon sunset. Travelers like ourselves sat lawn chairs on a stone ledge and watched the sun as it lowered slowly over the canyon. We took a trail to the left where kids were running around, making their parents nervous climbing on the edges of the cliffs. We found a quiet rock and stared out into the worldly abyss. It was our frist time ever seeing it, and it was so much more than we’d ever imagined.

 

We traveled north into Utah. Our updated paper map had certain roads that ceased to exist or changed names. We took a wrong turn and saw a sign for Corral Pink Sand Dunes. We followed that road for quite a few miles and started to wonder if it was in fact an outdated sign, or we had made yet another wrong turn. Then, around a bend, we were indeed surrounded by towering sand dunes dusted in a rust color. A park sign explained that the sand came from red Navajo sandstone, funneled over time through a notch in the moquith and Moccasin Mountains. We took our shoes off and climbed in.

 

After 7 days of wandering in the Southwest we had to finally start making our way towards L.A. and the string of shows that would take us up the coast. We crossed the Mojave Desert in 106 Degree heat, under an unrelenting mid-day sun. We turned off the AC so the car wouldn’t overheat and hot wind poured in through the windows. As the hot wind hit our faces, I tmade us think about how things used to be done, how people must have crossed the desert generations before us, on foot, or on horseback, by sheer will-power. After miles of nothing and brutal heat, we stopped at a 7-11 in Twentynine Palms, CA and enjoyed Klondike bars in the shade.

We arrived at the Joshua Tree Inn, a welcomed oasis after the long days’ drive. A perfect paole gold moon was rising over the hills in a pink sky. We walked up into the desert as the evening cooled, past little houses set back from the road as we experienced a moment of calm before the next week of shows.

View the entire photo gallery HERE!

Stay tuned for the next chapter of #WolverineTraveler!

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Meet our VP of Sales, Karry Johnson!

Posted On: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 , News

Karry Johnson, AKA the office prankster. He has been known to hack into peoples computers and send inappropriate emails and pictures...all in good fun of course. Aside from Karry's jokester personality, he is the driving force that runs our sales team and without him, well, we would still sell product but we wouldn't look as good doing it!

1. W: What is your sign?
KJ: Sagittarius

2. W: What is something you've lied about?
KJ: Could it maybe be stretch the truth? Maybe my age...

(don't most women do that?)

3. W: If you were an ice cream, what flavor would you be?
KJ: ROCKY ROAD (caps because there was so much excitement)

4. W: Would you prefer to be the tortoise or the hare?
KJ: The hare! I was a sprinter in HS and college.

5. W: What do you think happened to Jimmy Hoffa?
KJ: (He laughed) Great question! I think that he is definitely burried in the great state of Michigan. Outside of that, you'll have to ask the FBI.

6. W: What is your best physical feature?
KJ: My athletic build
W: Okay, your worst?
KJ: My hair...or lack there of.

7. W: What are you afraid of?
KJ: I hate snakes! When I was younger and fishing with my grandma, a kid came up to me with a snake and asked me if I was a man or a mouse.. I said I'M A MOUSE!!

8. W: Would you rather be eternally homeless or a rich woman?
KJ: Rich Woman

(This probably goes back to the lying about his age question)

9. W: Play any sports?
KJ: I was a sprinter, point guard, and wide receiver

10. W: Where did you go to college?
KJ: Willamette University

11. W: If you could have any magic power, what would it be?
KJ: To fly! You get places faster

12. W: How many licks does it take until you get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
KJ: 96

13. W: If you were a rapper, what would your name be and what would you rap about?
KJ: Asian Sensation! I like people who rap about real life scenarios and talk about things people really don't like to discuss, like addiction. I'd like to express myself personally.

(Um... Asian Sensation went deep with that one)

14. W: Favorite food?
KJ: I love my mom's cooking. Specifically fried rice

15. W: You walk into your house and there is a family of squirrels making dinner on your stove. What do you do?
KJ: Go join them! Whatever everyone is having, please give me some because I'm going through some kind of trip right now.

16. W: If you were an animal, what would you be?
KJ: Dolphin - They are cool, everyone likes them, and they are free!

17. W: Married? Kids?
KJ: Yes, married with two kids.

18. W: Who's your daddy?
KJ: Johnny Johnson

19: W: Favorite holiday and why?
KJ:
Christmas because it's a good time for family to be together and be thankful. It's nice to give back to the kids and see the enjoyment of being a child again.

20. W: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
KJ: That i'm like a little flower (HAHA). In all seriousness, I'm a fairly shy person.

 

There you have it folks. The flower dolphin named Asian Sensation.

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Meet Our Marketing Manager, Marshall Davis

Posted On: Sunday, June 30, 2013 , News

Meet Marshall Davis, our Wolverine Marketing Manager. Equipped with a beard that would make most men jealous, Marshall is a true Wolverine man. Vegetarians beware; his desk has enough bacon paraphernalia to send you into shock. Who knew Yankee Candle made a bacon scented candle?! Aside from his strange obsession with bacon, the marketing team is lucky to have Marshall and his beard. Enjoy the not so normal interview with Marshall below.

 

1.    W: M&M’s or Skittles?
MD: Skittles

2.    W: You just won a million dollars, what is the first thing you buy?
MD: House on the water


(He had the happiest look on his face)

3.    W: If you could hide anything in your beard, what would it be?
MD: Bacon

(I mean, wasn’t that the obvious answer?)

4.    W: If you could invite any 5 peopleto dinner, who would you choose?
MD: Ryan Gosling, Richard Prier, Wes Anderson, John Lennon, my Father.

5.    W: What came first, the chicken or the egg?
MD:
The Chicken
W:
Why?
MD:  Because it tastes better.

(Valid point)

6.    W: If you were a biscuit, what kind would you be?
MD: Buttermilk

(There was no hesitation with this one… he’s clearly thought about it)

 

7.    W: What was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to you?
MD:
I almost died in a car accident ona road trip in college.


8.    W: If Hollywood was making a movie about you, who would you want to play you?
MD: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

 

9.    W: Bacon…go!
MD: YES…I like it. It’s meat candy. Quite possibly the world’s most perfect food.

(Meat candy? I thought only girls said that at bachelorette parties)


10.    W: If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?
MD: Call someone on my little shrunken cell phone that I still have on me.

 

11.    W: You’re home alone in the middle of the night and you hear a fart…are you scared or do you laugh?
MD: Oh I’d laugh.


12.    W: Where did you go to college?
MD: GVSU


13.    W: Where did you grow up?
MD: Albion, MI

14.    W: Tell us about your beard.
MD: It started out as a joke. Now it defines who I am.

15.    W: Favorite thing about Wolverine Brand?
MD: It’s like a family.


16.    W: What do you do in your spare time?
MD: I spend it with my family.


17.    W: Where did you meet your wife and what was the first thing that came to mind?
MD: I met her at John Ball Zoo during an internship. First thing I thought was ‘I wish she didn’t have a boyfriend’.


18.    W: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
MD: New Zealand


19.    W: Who let the dogs out?
MD: Lauren Mack


20.    W: What is something that drives you crazy?
MD: Loud sighing. Burnt bacon. Burnt bacon drives me crazy or too crispy bacon.


Long story short, Marshall really loves bacon.
Thanks for reading!

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Gear Junkie Lauches ' Tough as a Wolverine' Photo Challenge!

Posted On: Thursday, June 27, 2013 , Events

We want to see your “animal” side! Our photo contest with Wolverine runs today (June 27, 2013) through the company’s Extreme Wolverine Challenge Race on July 13, where hundreds of racers get wild on a six-mile obstacle course.

 

The Rules: Send in your best outdoor adventure or exercise-oriented photos to enter. We’ll judge on photo look and feel, originality, fun, humor, and overall “toughness” of the subject captured in action.

To Submit: Email your photos here. (mail to contest@gearjunkie.com if the link doesn’t work on your system). Include a one-sentence description.

Photo Rights: You keep all rights. Submitting an image gives GearJunkie and Wolverine the option to display the images on blog and social media. NOTE: By submitting an image you are agreeing to the official rules.

The Prizes! 50 prizes in all, including Wolverine-branded metal water bottles to be shipped to the top 45 photographers! In addition, the top 5 best photos (as chosen by our staff) win Wolverine shoes, boots, and gear from the GearJunkie vault.

Deadline: Submit your photos here starting today. Final submissions must be made by July 13, 2013. Good luck!

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Meet the President, Todd Yates!

Posted On: Saturday, June 15, 2013 , News

Meet the President of the Wolverine Brand, Todd Yates. Todd hails from New Jersey and anyone who works with Todd would agree, he is quite the character. Being a shoe guru is only one of his many talents. Below is a little questionnaire we gave Todd, and let us tell you, some of the responses even shocked us! 

 

 

1. W: What did you want to be when you grew up?

TY: I don’t know! Let’s call my parents, they will know! 

(After calling both his mother and father, the only thing we could come up with was that Todd wanted to be a professional athlete. I’m pretty sure this first question has lost him some sleep the past couple of nights.)

 

2. W: What is the worst thing you did as a kid?

TY: Threw up peppermint schnapps and Rocky Roco Pizza in front of my sisters’ door. I couldn’t make it to the bathroom! 

(We were thinking more along the lines of biting the neighbor kid… but this works too.)

 

3. W: Where did you go to college?

TY: University of Wisconsin Whitewater 

 

4. W: Are you married? Have any kids?

TY: Yes, I’m married and I have 2 daughters and 3 step children 

 

5. W: Who was your favorite super hero?

TY: I don’t really have one. But I do wish I had a Genie! (He then proceeded to do the traditional Genie head bob with his arms folded…multiple times.) 

 

6. W: Who is your favorite sports team?

TY: Houston Texans 

 

7. W: If you could say one thing to the President of the United States, what would it be?

TY: No Comment.

 

8. W: What is a random surprising fact about you?

TY: I watch Glee. I read a lot of people magazine and I’d have to say Pitch Perfect is one of my favorite movies. (Wait, what?!) 

 

9. W: Who is your celebrity crush?

TY: My wife is going to kill me. I’ve always had a thing for Sela Ward. Megan Markel is pretty good looking too. 

 

10. W: What is your favorite Wolverine shoe?

TY: That is easy, the 1000 Mile Boot. 

 

11. W: Favorite TV show 

TY: Suits

 

12. W: What is your favorite movie?

TY: My all time? Probably Top Gun. The world could be ending, but if Top Gun was on, I’d have to stop and watch. Recently my favorite movie is Bridesmaids. 

 

13. W: Your favorite saying?

TY: Yes Ma’am. Of course I will honey. Yes, that looks great on you (smart man) 

 

14. W: Have any bad habits?

TY: Smoking. (said with a guilty tone) 

 

15. W: Do you have any hobbies?

TY: Golfing and relaxing. 

 

So there you have it! There is Todd in a nutshell. 

Come back next week when we talk about our Director of Marketing, Kelly Redinger!

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Help Keep the Rogue River Beautiful!

Posted On: Monday, June 03, 2013 , Events

Join us Saturday, June 8th at 9AM as we help to keep the Rogue River looking beautiful.

 Click Here to register!

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Re-Boot Yourself - Wolverine Photo Contest

Posted On: Monday, April 30, 2012 , News

Even the most rugged soles need a Re-Boot! We know our customers work hard every day and so do their boots.  As a way to say thank you, Wolverine is giving them a chance to win a new pair of Wolverine boots.  It’s easy – just “Like” our Facebook Page and then share a photo of your well-worn Wolverine boots with us by May 31, 2012 for a chance to win a $200.00 gift card. One grand prize winner will also receive a $500.00 gift card.  Everyone who submits a photo will receive a free Wolverine hat.

Click here to submit an entry. We look forward to seeing all the photos!

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Introducing Wolverine ICS for Fall 2011

Posted On: Sunday, August 07, 2011 , News

New for fall 2011, Wolverine is introducing a brand new collection of outdoor boots and shoes featuring Wolverine ICS technology. Wolverine ICS is designed to help you hike longer, climb higher and go further by providing personalized comfort and backed by a 30 Day Comfort Guarantee. By adjusting the gel disc under the insole, you can choose from one of four comfort settings – cushion, firm, inner or outer support – depending on your individual needs.

In order to perfect Wolverine ICS, Wolverine has performed qualitative consumer research, quantitative online research and numerous wear tests with passionate outdoor adventures. Based on focus groups, online surveys and field tests, Wolverine analyzed what serious outdoorsmen and women desire in their footwear; much of the effectiveness of Wolverine ICS in meeting those needs rests on this extensive research.

Check out the Wolverine ICS video below and learn more about how Wolverine ICS can work for you!

 

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