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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

#YellowJeep Incentive Photos

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Friday, June 19, 2015
10:59 am

From June 13th to 16th, 2015, we held the fourth annual Dixon Family Reunion (#DFR15) in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona   On Monday morning, we traveled about 45 miles east of Lakeside to a beautiful mountain meadow along Forest Service Road 117 between Highways 60 and 260.  


My son brought a couple of RZR ATVs so we could go wandering along a plethora of mountain trails with gorgeous scenery.  Silly me, after all this time not earning my Yellow Jeep! I took several photos of trails and meadows and tall pines – I will call these photos my “Yellow Jeep Incentive Collection!”.  I need to think of this gorgeous area when I am tempted to overeat!

Here are a few photos.  The rest of the collection can be found on SmugMug.

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Don’t you agree – wouldn’t this be better in a #YellowJeep?

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#CrossFit Progress!

Veer Crossfit, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
10:05 am


It has been three weeks since I started working out at CrossFit Veer.   I am really encouraged by my progress.  I have already been seen a lot of personal improvement in some significant areas.  A few examples:

  1. Squats. When I began, I could barely to a squat to the level of my knees.  I can now almost sit on my heels, even when using significant weight.
  2. Pushups. I started out doing pushups on my knees, with my hands on a bench, and could barely push myself up.  I quickly advanced to my toes on the floor, although still using the bench for my hands.  This morning, I did inverted pushups, with my knees on the bench and hands on the floor, and performed quite well.
  3. Running. Last week, I ran 400 meters for the first time in many years.  I was somewhat winded, but I did it! 
  4. Endurance. At first, even the simplest workouts had me huffing and puffing. Each week has been better for me.
  5. Recovery time.  It was tough to recover from the workouts when I started.  It took a long time to feel strong enough to do much of anything. But every day, it takes less time to feel good and get about my daily activities.  i actually am feeling little residual muscle pain.  My knees, hip and back still tend to creak a lot, but I am making progress there, too.

Of course, I am a long ways away from prescribed levels in both weights and actions, but I am really making progress for me.  I appreciate the coaches accommodating my current limitations and encouraging me onward.

I really do look forward each today to joining the team at 5:30 every morning.

Thank you CrossFit Veer!


#YellowJeepJourney Progress Report: Shrinking!

Progress Report, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
9:46 am


I am pleased to report that I am making progress!  I feel like a Yellow Jeep being refurbished!

I am down only one pound, to 294, but I am shrinking!  I was able to wear a half-size smaller dress shirt this weekend, and I had to use a smaller belt because the longer one ran out of holes! I am a step closer to regaining the smaller size wardrobe waiting for me in the closet.

My CrossFit adventure threw my appetite for a loop, but I think I have that back under control. Thanksgiving was a bit difficult, but I didn’t overdo it too much.

With the progress I have made the last three weeks, I am really upbeat about the future!

Roll on #YellowJeepJourney!

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Jumping into CrossFit

CrossFit Veer, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
8:06 am

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This morning I jumped into a CrossFit program at CrossFit Veer, a gym operated by a long time friend of the family Chad O’Loughlin and his partner, Eric Greenhalgh.  I was inspired by the positive results my son Eric and his wife achieved in CrossFit, and felt that this intense program was just what I needed to complete my weight loss and health improvement program for the YellowJeepJourney.

According to CrossFit Journal, 

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. We have designed our program to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

This morning was my first workout – promptly at 5:30am.  I think I did ok for my first time. Eric was the coach for that session.  I was impressed that he adjusted the workout for me to accommodate my age, abilities and newness in the program. I am a bit tired today, but I feel good and am anxious to attack it again tomorrow.

My First CrossFit Workout

This photo will be my “Before” pose. I will periodically update my progress in the program on this blog. Stay tuned for great progress!

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#YellowJeepJourney Progress Report: Moving Forward!

Progress Report, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Monday, November 24, 2014
6:31 am

I’m pleased to report that I lost another three pounds this week – down to 295 – (only) 95 to go!

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement, support and a continued stream of #YellowJeep photos from all over the place – like flashes of sunshine to brighten my day and urge onward!

It feels good to be emerging from the doldrums!


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#YellowJeepJourney Progress Report: Back on Track!

Progress Report, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
10:44 am

Digging Out

It has been a long time since I posted a real status of how I am really doing in my quest to earn a Yellow Jeep and drive it from Arizona to Alaska and back. The last few months have been very difficult for me. I started this adventure in April 2013, and by the fall of 2013, had lost 60 pounds. My goal seemed within reach. Then, one thing after another happened and I lost my inner resolve. All the weight I had lost came back more rapidly than it had come off. I was not able to marshal the emotional energy to get my weight loss program re-started in a meaningful way. I would try to begin again over and over, but really never make in more than a few days at a time. I was embarrassed and discouraged by the lack of progress. I ballooned up to 320 pounds, seven more than when I started the project. Many times, I was sorely tempted to quit, to throw away my dream and admit defeat. Even as I sought medical health, I was initially not able to find a solution. But then starting four weeks ago yesterday, things began to change.

Since then, I have lost 22 pounds, breaking below 300 pounds for the first time in many months, while surviving two business trips, the death of my sister and Halloween. I feel good and am confident that I will succeed.

So what happened? What is different this time? Three pretty significant things:

  • My medical consultation began to pay off. Rather than experiencing debilitating depression as I had supposed, I apparently suffer from a form of chronic fatigue. I think we finally are getting the right mixture of meds and supplements to fight the causes.
  • My mental, emotional and spiritual struggles began to bear fruit. I was encouraged and motivated by the unofficial motto of our local scout troop, “Strong men find a way. Weak men find an excuse.” Each day, I remind myself (sometimes several times) of four bedrock beliefs:
    • I am a son of the living God with infinite potential!
    • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!
    • I will be a happy, health 200 pounds!
    • I will complete the Yellow Jeep Journey!
  • I have largely abandoned my traditional TV time to embrace my new love – Family History Research. Rather than relaxing in the evening with reruns of NCIS, Law and Order, Person of Interest and various British cop shows, which would inevitably trigger cravings for all sorts of food, I now spend my free time searching vast databases for records of our ancestors. I find that search intriguing, challenging and very fulfilling. Plus, while concentrating there, I don’t have cravings for food.

What has remained the same? Great support and encouragement from family and friends, including the great Jeep community. I have a Twitter friend from Texas who promises to kick my rear end with his big Texas boot if I don’t achieve my goal. There is the 80 year old grandma who reminds me every time I see her that I owe her a ride in a Yellow Jeep. And friends from literally all over the world daily send encouragement in the form of Yellow Jeep photos! As of today, the Yellow Jeep Journey has 1407 Followers on Twitter, 335 likes on Facebook and 226 followers on Instagram. With so many friends, how can I fail? Thank you all, ever so much, for your encouragement and support!

It certainly isn’t over yet. Ninety-eight more pounds is a long way to go. But I feel more confident than ever before that I will succeed.

I will be a healthy, happy 200 pounds.

I will complete the Yellow Jeep Journey.

Through the divine grace of Christ, I will come off conqueror!


You’re Home at Last, my iPad, You’re Home at Last!

Yellow Jeep Journey, YJJ Architecture
Author: Mark
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
10:27 pm

Last Wednesday, a dreaded First World Fear was realized.  During a tight connection between flights at the Dallas – Fort Worth airport, I left my iPad in the seat pocket on my first flight.  I didn’t realize what I had done until I reached into my briefcase for it on my next flight. My heart sank. I use the IPad for so many things. To lose it was a huge disruption in my day to day life, not to mention the cost and hassle of replacement

A call to the DFW lost and found department was not reassuring. I was instructed by the telephone robot to leave a message with contact information and lost item description, and wait.  I dutifully complied, but had real doubts about whether I’d ever see my iPad again.  A conversation with an American Airlines gate agent gave a little bit of hope.  She assured me that every lost item was investigated, and that I should be patient for the process to take its course.

My Monday morning, I had about given up hope.  But then – the phone call – my iPad had been found!  I had activated the “Find my iPhone” feature, which caused my phone number to be displayed when ever the device was turned on.  The lost and found agent called me, verified that the device was indeed mine and arranged for it to be returned to me by Fedex. Then things got interesting …

Soon after I received the happy phone call, I received an email, also informing me that the iPad had been found – another nice feature of Find my iPhone.  


Apparently, when a device is in the “lost” mode, it will continue to wake up periodically and attempt to send its location via email.  I have received 18 emails to that effect since the iPad was first found yesterday morning, each with a little map pinpointing its current location.

I really enjoyed tracking the iPad’s progress as it found its way back to me via my iPhone’s Find My iPhone app.  In the photos below, you can see my iPad’s circuitous journey around DFW yesterday, its flight to the Fedex hub and back to Phoenix overnight, and the fairly direct route to my home by 7:33 this morning!


So, in addition to getting my treasured iPad back, I received an object lesson in the value of mobile location services!  We live in wonderful times!

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#YellowJeep Hero: Duane Mccugh

Yellow Jeep Hero, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Thursday, August 7, 2014
11:27 am


Today, I had one of the greatest experiences of the ten years I have actively participated in social media! I met Duane McCugh (aka @DMccugh) on Twitter over the last couple of months discussing Jeeps. He shared some great Yellow Jeep pictures and encouraged me to reach my Yellow Jeep weight loss goal.

Today, we met in person for the first time! Duane works for American Airlines at the Dallas – Fort Worth airport. I sent him a tweet saying that I was connecting through DFW in route from Kansas City to Memphis. I offered to give him a virtual Jeep Wave as I went through the airport.

It turned out that I had really tight connection. The flight from Kansas City to Dallas was over an hour late because of weather, so I had less than 30 minutes to change terminals and get to my Memphis flight.

When I got off my flight, there was Duane! He not only met me at the gate, but he guided to the train that took me to the next terminal and made sure I got to the right departure gate!  Not only that – he brought me two absolutely delicious chicken tamales to eat on my flight. What great kindness and remarkable friendship from a guy I had never met in person.

There really is a special camaraderie in the “Jeep Family”! And I was a grateful recipient of that special spirit tonight. I really look forward to going jeepin’ with Duane when I get my Yellow Jeep.

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

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#YellowJeep Hero: Terry Sigle

Yellow Jeep Hero, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Sunday, August 3, 2014
3:08 am

Today is a day for powerful celebration in Terry Sigle’s life.  Today he completed a trek of 48 days and 3,393 miles across the United States   You’ve gotta love this photo of a triumphant Terry in the front of the US Capitol!


I first met Terry when I was a new employee of Sun Microsystems in 2004.  We have stayed in close touch ever since, although we work for different employers.  I have always been impressed and inspired by Terry’s professional capabilities, personal drive, and love for his family.  This latest accomplishment is but one more example of his tenacity and dedication.  Well done, sir!

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Way of the Hero: Global Bicycle Trek

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Sunday, August 3, 2014
2:56 am

My good friend Layne Gneiting has been transformed by following his dreams. A few years ago, he cycled coast to coast across America, accompanied by his wife and children. Last year, he completed a solo bicycle tour of Spain. This year, he and a friend completed a trek across Norway, with its spectacular mountains and fiords. Next year – New Zealand.

As you watch this video, you may catch a glimpse of his passion and drive.

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