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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

#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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The Element – Where Natural Talent Meets Personal Passion

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Sunday, July 27, 2014
7:49 pm


I just downloaded the Kindle edition of “Finding your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life,” a follow-on book to “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything,” I blogged about yesterday.

In the book’s introduction is the phrase I had been searching for but hadn’t quite captured to describe the Element: “The Element is where natural aptitude meets personal passion.”

Over the first 61 years of my life, I have been blessed with many rich experiences, personally and professionally, where I have channelled my natural aptitude to accomplish some pretty great things.  As I look at the next decade of my life, I really want to re-kindle personal passion in an area supported by my aptitude and experience.  I am looking forward to reading this book.

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

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Milepost: Alaska Travel Planner

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Sunday, July 27, 2014
7:29 pm


A few months ago, soon after starting this blog, I announced my plan to drive my Yellow Jeep from Mesa, AZ, to Fairbanks, AK, and Back.  What an epic journey it will be!

Recently, using Father’s Day gift card money from one of my sons, I purchased a run and informative book, “The Milepost 2014: Alaska Travel Planner.”  It is an inch thick, 8-1/2×11 inch soft bound book packed with maps, highway details and point-of-interest descriptions for Alaska and that routes leading to it.  It has provided much great information so I can plan the route to and from Alaska for next summer. 

I’ll soon post the first cut of a possible route and schedule. Stay tuned!

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey! 

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The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Sunday, July 27, 2014
11:59 am


My daughter Heidi gave me a great book for Father’s Day, “The Element: How Finding your Passion Changes Everything,” by Ken Robinson.  The essence of the book’s message is that when an individual connects with is or her “Element,” or something that fills the person with inner passion to achieve and master something, they will become deeply aware of their own identity and tap into a source of energy far beyond the limits of an ordinary life.  

When I find my Element, I will be doing what I am meant to be doing, accomplish what I was meant to accomplish, and become what I was meant to be.

Critical components that make up the “Element” include:

  • Aptitude – I get it.  I can do it well.
  • Passion – I love it.  I am driven by inner desire.
  • Attitude – I want it.  I want it so badly that nothing will stand in the way of my getting it.
  • Opportunity – Where is is? I will find the people, places and circumstances that help me to capture the power of my Element, my Passion.

Perhaps a fifth vital part is perseverance – strong, dogged determination to accomplish and achieve, fueled by the passion within.

I figure I have about a decade left in my professional career.  I want the last ten years to be the very best, most productive, most fulfilling decade of all.  I want my personal life to rise to levels of self mastery and selfless service that I have never quite achieved.  I think finding my Element is at least part of the puzzle.

The Yellow Jeep Journey is, in part, my search for my Element.

Thanks, Ken Robison, for your insight in this book.  Thanks, Heidi, for sharing the book with me.

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

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Intrepid: An Elite Collection of Adventurous Thought

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark
Monday, July 21, 2014
12:06 pm


Do you want to be inspired to do something great, to become great within yourself?  I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to download and begin reading and re-reading the ebook, “Intrepid: An Elite Collection of Adventurous Thought,” compiled by my good friend Layne Gneiting.

Layne just returned from a heroic bicycle tour of Norway.  I was inspired yet again as he spoke today of goals reached, obstacles conquered, and achieving “harmony with the journey.”

Here are some of the quotes from inspiring men that caught my attention at first reading of Layne’s book:

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs

The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind. – Henry David Thoreau

Without passion, you donʼt have energy; without energy you have nothing. Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion. – Donald Trump

And a couple from Layne himself:

Too often we think, “When God sends the wind, then Iʼll raise my sail,” but thatʼs backward. Raise the sail; God will send the wind.

Since words have power to direct thoughts, choose only words that elevate and transcend our current reality.

Thanks, Layne, for helping to raise my vision of what is possible!

Copyright © 2014, Mark G. Dixon. All Rights Reserved.
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