Name: Patrick Hoden
Hair: Short, wavy, and red
Build: Athletic - not muscular but built for agility
Strong: Everything Else
Hi. You want my story? It's nothing really interesting but since you have been polite enough to ask; I'll tell it. I'm a loner and I rather like it that way. Growing up in Ashville, North Carolina in the foothills of Appalachia was hard for me. Being a bit scrawny and well, a bit ginger, I was an easy target for the "good ol' boy" bullies of the poorer side of town I was from. While they were interested in hunting, camo, and going out in the woods, I would much rather stay at home and play my video games on one varying Nintendo system or another. The "nerd/geek" label really didn't help anything. My parents tried their best. My mother would always teach me to stick up for myself; that bullies back down whenever they are confronted. Tell that to my 6 year old self when he came home with what as known as a "shiner". It took a week for the swelling to go down. My father threw me into the Boy Scouts of America in order to try and teach me some life lessons, survival skills, and how to generally take care of myself out in the world. I admit, being around that crowd of kids in the woods was actually kind of fun. It was more like playing war or adventurer in your backyard only with 1000 more options. Knowing knots and having gear to scale around mountains and the woods made hide and seek, or "manhunt" as the extreme version was called, a lot more interesting. So after years of being picked on and not really developed an interest in girls yet, I just kept to myself. The BSA kept me fit and taught me a variety of skills, school came easy, and I generally stayed out of the way of the jock crowd. Skip ahead a few years until the ripe age of 16. Yes, this next bit is about a car. Not any car mind you, but a 1998 Mazda Protege. My parents gave it to me for keeping my nearly 4.0 average in school, staying out of trouble, and generally not being a slice of hell to raise. It was my taste of freedom, it was a hobby beyond my video games, it was amazing. I drive that car through some of the most amazing roads in North Carolina. I loved whizzing through the autumn leaves and trying my hand at snow driving when winter hit the highest mountains. When I wasn't raising Pokemon or rescuing princesses, I was tuning my car. Ok, so really it was just playing around with nuts and bots and doing routine maintenance but I thought myself cooler then. With a car and an interest in girls came the oh so awkward phase of high school dating. Needless to say, it was bad. I did manage to ask out a few girls over my first two years. I even got a date or two. Unfortunately they all ended up wanting jocks or skater kids. After about the fifth or sixth go around of what felt like my heart being ripped asunder, I decided to wait out my four years of high school and focus on my studies, my car, and as before, keeping to myself. By now the internet was a bit better than the old dial up speeds of yore so I started browsing the whole of the internet. Between my computer, my video game systems, and driving my car through the Carolina mountains to occasionally do some backpacking/drive and drop camping (The BSA made me love the woods that didnt involve beer and shooting guns for the sake of shooting guns), I was content. Fast forward to 2003, I had traded my Protege in for the Mazda3 hatchback as I was headed for UNC to study computer science and I needed something with more space and a bit more power. By now I had been working as a web designer for a few small start ups and gotten some code work under my belt. The internet had become a place of nightly meetings with online friends and gaming and I was still trying to stay out and maintain my sanity with hiking and camping. I had grown bored of the mountain roads of the Carolinas and had been on what equate to hundreds of miles of hiking over the years. The internet gave me my next hobby; urban exploring and legends. There were hundreds of haunted places, creepy buildings, dilapidated areas, and weird stories to go check out. I modified most of my camping gear to exploring gear and started a journey. The internet gave me tons of places to start and hundreds of creepy stories to see if I could follow their footsteps. You can pretty much thank Sherman and his armies for most of them or one of the hundreds of other battles. Most of the places were civil war cemeteries or battle sites or where some lover jumped from some where. I had expanded my search into the south east. One summer I took a trip to Savannah and had some pretty cool experiences. A friend was going back home to New York for the winter holidays and invited me along. My parents had long since divorced. Oh did I skip over that? Not a lot to tell, broke up right after I left for college. Usual stuff, not my fault, yadda yadda. They are still in touch and were always very cool parents. My father lives in Seattle and my mother lives in San Francisco. Anyway back to New York, my buddy took me to some of the greatest rundown factories, new how to get into the underground tunnels, and showed me the actual city. Great place to visit but I don't know if I could live there. I think I am rambling at this point but you get the idea of me. Fit, cars, games, internet, a loner for the most part. What is going on with me now? I decided to take a cross country trip to visit a few of the more legendary areas of the US and ultimately visit my mom in San Francisco. My jobs let me work from anywhere and I have saved more than enough money to get across the US. I made my way through Tennessee. There are some CRAZY places in Nashville and Chattanooga if you look hard enough. Continued through St. Louis and Kansas City; nothing interesting really. St. Louis is nice and thought I might have made some contact with some Devil sightings somewhere in Missouri but turned out to be tall tales. There is JACK CRAP throughout Kansas. Every story is just a bored farmer trying to make his life more interesting and its just farms. FARMS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. I miss my mountain roads. The good news though is that Colorado was next. I was excited. New mountain roads, tons of places to explore, and a couple of the most haunted cities in the US. I had been driving hard to get here as I wanted a few days to explore and I was not due in San Francisco for a while. I took a look around in Denver but it has mostly turned into a football town and the highlight of shopping. I had heard about two amazing things in a city to the south; Colorado Springs. The "Million Dollar Highway" and the Gold Camp Road. That's why I'm sitting in this diner telling you all this. Tomorrow I am heading out to see the legend of Gold Camp Road. You can read about it HERE and HERE. Even if that turns out to be a bust. I can always continue through the mountains to the Million Dollar Highway and see one of the most amazing roads in the US. I can see I have taken up alot of your time. Enjoy your coffee, I am going to see what I can find in Colorado Springs.