fall

Isaac and Raquel by Michael Durr

One year ago when I said, "I do." I did not realize the journey that was about to be laid out before me. I am so fortunate to have married into such an amazing family and attending Isaac and Raquel's wedding was a perfect reminder of how lucky I am. On top of that, it was a perfect way to celebrate our one-year anniversary. A few drops of rain and some crisp fall air made Isaac and Raquel's wedding a day to remember. I am looking forward to spending a lot more time, and attending a lot more weddings in the future. Congratulations Isaac and Raquel!

Michael and Lindsay by Michael Durr

Speaking of my own wedding is difficult, mainly because when I think back and reflect on it, it's like trying to recall an amazing dream. The day was perfect in every way. It was amazing looking out into a sea of our friends and family. Everyone told me to step back and enjoy the day because it goes by so fast. They were not wrong, but I do feel I stopped to pause and look around on a number of occasions throughout the day. Perhaps it's the photographer in me that made me stop to notice all the little moments or details. The amount of work, love, and vision that went into the day was absolutely incredible. It is fitting to be making this post on Thanksgiving Day, because I am so thankful for everyone that helped make our day so special. Watch this video for a glimpse into the day.

That brings me to my top ten list of moments. It was hard to boil down to ten, but here is what I came up with. In no particular order.

One, seeing Lindsay for the first time was amazing. We were at a beautiful park and it was just us and the photographers. It was chilly with a steady and brisk breeze but after seeing Lindsay it could have been 20 below and I still would have been comfortable.

Two, playing basketball with my A and B Team. That is no exaggeration. Full on 6 on 6 basketball game at the hotel neighboring us. Special thanks to the employee who brought us out a basketball.

Three, being hoisted up on a chair during I'm on a Boat at the end of the night. I can not describe the feeling of floating on a water a top a cement slab.

Four, doing push-ups with my best man seconds before walking out into the ceremony. It certainly was the time of the day I was most nervous, but doing push-ups really settled me down.

Five, the sun beaming down on Lindsay and I during the ceremony as if we planned for it to come out at that moment. It made us feel like our grandmothers were watching us.

Six, rubbing Lindsay's arm during the ceremony. She was literally shaking. Not sure if it was nerves or the temperature. I am sure it was a combination of the two, but she had goosebumps and was shivering almost all the way through.

Seven, dancing with my niece. My niece is adorable and I can only hope she can remember some portion of the day when she gets older.

Eight, The Case of the Missing Best Man Speech. See Flatline TV "the movie" for clarification.

Nine, giving Lindsay her jersey. As many know, I themed my groomsmen, ushers and ring bearer after the Chicago Bulls. I can't explain how much joy it brought me to see my vision from Christmas day 2012 materialize. I know it's crazy to have 13 guys stand up for a wedding, but it would not have been the same with any one of them missing.

Ten, knowing that the day was being captured by professionals. Just incase I missed something. Special thanks to Jess, Erika, Jesse and Jordan.

Jessica Strickland Photography Arseneau Media Productions

I could talk all night about how amazing the day was and literally everyone moment was memorable. I hoped this post has given you a glimpse into a perfect day and if you were in attendance I hope that it has brought back some amazing memories.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael and Lindsay #durwin2013

The Trip Part I by Michael Durr

This year my friend Jim and I took yet another road trip. We embarked on "The Trip" on Saturday morning with no plan, no official destination, and no idea what we would see or do Our first stop put us in Jeffersonville, IN, where we stayed for two nights. Being that it was just the two of us, we were able to take our bikes, Batman and Orange Crush. After driving that first night, we were tired. We ate dinner in the hotel and stumbled upon Zombiestock 2012, where Grindstone was playing live in front of about 8 people dressed as zombies (ask me for the full story). The next day were were up early, had breakfast and drove to Bardstown where we biked around and had lunch at The Old Talbott Tavern. It was nice stop on the way to the Maker's Mark distillery. After Maker's, we biked over the bridge to Louisville, KY and stopped at a local place called The Garage - a great restaurant converted from an old car shop. We had some awesome pizza and delicious beer. I also had a taste of there jalepaño infused beer and was happy I did not get a full glass. Afterward, we hustled over to the local movie theater and caught a showing of Flight starring Denzel Washington. It was a great movie but not quite as action packed as we were hoping for. We stopped for one more beer near the hotel, after the rather dangerous ride back across the bridge, and we discussed our plan for the next day.  

In the morning, after a very serious discussion about driving to the Florida Keys, we began the drive to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We drove the better part of that day with a quick stop off in Corbin, KY - home of the very first KFC. We had a late lunch there and checked out the run down museum dedicated to the life and times of Colonel Sanders. He actually seemed like a cool dude. Of course, on the way we saw a sign for Woodford Reserve Distillery and we had to make the stop there. Those side trips took longer than expected and we ended up having to camp outside of The Smokeys at Cove Lake State Park. It was actually a great spot despite the very loud mechanical plant that we could hear all night. We made a fire, and I took some photos over the water, then we cuddled up in the tent and watched The Walking Dead on the iPad. The next morning it was the Smokeys or bust, luckily we were only about an hour away.

 

View all the photos 2012_11-10_TheTrip

The Trip Part II by Michael Durr

We arrived in the Smokeys, after driving through the ridiculous towns of Pigeon Forge and Gaitlinburg, and spoke with a ranger about where we should go. The park is enormous, but we found a great spot called Cades Cove. If offered everything we were looking for, bike trails, hiking trails, and access to the Appalachian Trail. We followed the winding roads up north to Cades Cove and found a great campsite buried in the woods. After setting up camp, we grabbed the bikes and went on a 13 mile scenic loop. We saw lots of wild life, and old structures that had been placed along the loop. Unfortunately, it began to drizzle and the roads got slick. Jim ended up wiping out on his bike and realized after about a mile that his glasses were missing. We detoured back and ended up finding them. The ride was amazing but much more challenging than we though. It was cold and rainy, plus roads in the Smokeys aren't like roads in Chicago. They have steep hills! We got back exhausted but did a quick little hike in the back of our campsite. It was actually pretty cool with a river running and a bit of mist in the air, of course I fell in the river and soaked my right shoe. When we got back to the campsite, since it was raining we drove down to a pavilion to cook our dinner and I spent some time in the bathroom drying my shoe with the hand dryers. After dinner it had stopped raining and we attempted to build a fire, the wood was damp and hard to work with but Jim pulled off a fire large enough for us to roast a few marshmallows and warm up.  

The next morning was the serious hike day. We discovered an 8 mile hike that seemed challenging, but not so challenging that we would end up not making it back before dark. Of course, I woke up to my right shoe completely soaked through. It had rained that whole night and my shoe was just on the edge of the tents vestibule and took on water all night. So, we had breakfast in the same location as dinner and I spent 30 minutes with the hand dryers again. We also came across an employee cleaning the grounds that asked us in his thick Tennessee accent if we were down from the AT. It made us feel good that he asked us that because we must have looked the part. With our shoes dry again, we began the hike. Eight miles, at least four of which we were hiking vertically, of treacherous wet leaves, loose rocks, mud and mist. It was difficult and we both cursed the weather a number of times, but it was worth it. We got to the top of a mountain surrounded by mist not knowing where the closest human was. We actually only saw two other people that day and they hiked past us like a couple of amateurs. We hiked with a Jet Boil and cooked up one of our backpacking meals at the summit of the mountain. Delicious. We could only imagine when we came to a break in the trees near the top what the view would have looked like, because for us it was like staring into a white wall. We did not let it get us down though, it was still an awesome experience. The hike down was faster then the hike up, but just as brutal. When we got back to the campsite we were soaked, smelly, and sore and had to make the decision to stay another night or drive to Nashville.

 

We knew that staying would not have benefitted us in anyway, so we began the five hour drive to Nashville. The drive was actually nice. We warmed up talked about the hike and got into Nashville around 9pm, keep in mind we left for the hike around 7am that morning. After having trouble finding out where to park, Jim found a place and I waited in the car while he checked us in. He texted me a few minutes later that there was 20 people ahead of him and it was going to take awhile. Then my phone died. We finally got into the room after a quick dinner in the lobby with a rather interesting waiter and we fell asleep immediately.

The next day, no driving, only biking. We woke up an watched another Walking Dead. From there, we had breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, and had lunch at Savarino's Cucina. We biked around the city seeing the sights and them came up with the Bike and Brew Experience. 4 breweries, 4 flights, in 4 hours... all on bikes. The journey began at Blackstone, where we chatted with our waitress about what places to visit and we got the low down on times and locations. The next place was Yazzoo they had a great beer called Hop Project and we met some cool people there. Jim ended up chatting with an EMT and I ended up chatting with a couple in from Kansas. We actually convinced them to have dinner at Blackstone and we ended up walking to the next loaction and meeting up with our new EMT buddy. The next place was Jackalope, they had some great beers and I ended up purchasing a growler to take Lindsay's dad in Indianapolis. After Jackaolope it was back to the bikes and on to Fat Bottom, we had our fourth flight and were feeling good. We ended up having an amazing burger there and them biked back to the Ramada across the street from the football stadium. It was time for a bit of drunken swimming in the guitar shaped pool. All of the rooms looked out over this pool. Of course we had to get the frisbee so I ran out to the car dripping wet in my suit and grabbed the bee. We played for about an hour chucking it around the pool. Someone may or may not have called the police because we ended up being told by an officer that the pool was closed. Then it was bed time.

The next morning, feeling refreshed, we began the 5 hour drive to Indianapolis. We stopped for lunch at Smokey Pigs in Bowling Green, KY and had some delicious BBQ. That place was hilarious! We pulled into Indy around 6pm and met up with Lindsay's dad. After some growler beer from Jackalope, we decided it was a good idea to eat dinner as quickly as possible and go see James Bond: Skyfall, it was awesome. Then it was back to the house for some r&r.

The next morning Lindsay's mom made us some amazing breakfast and we saddled up and headed home. Of course we pulled into Chicago minutes after a huge storm had just passed, but it ended up being a nice day in the city.

That was The Trip.

View all the photos 2012_11-10_TheTrip

San Francisco by Michael Durr

Lindsay and I had an amazing time in San Francisco. The first day we stayed with the Braniff's in San Rafael, CA and had an amazing dinner at Sol Food. Afterward, we came back to their house and enjoyed a hot tub, kombucha and some new age tunes. The next day we met up with our buddy Shawn for lunch at Marlowe and we ended up traveling the city, on foot, via cable car, and in our rental car. Sightseeing was the name of the game and we saw everything from Coit Tower to the sea lions. We also caught an amazing sunset on the beach with Golden Gate Bridge as our back drop. Be careful around the rocks. You might end up seeing things that you probably don't want to see.  

View all the photos 2012_10_WineCountry