There. Much better. If that poem doesn’t give you a little burst of inspiration to go out and see the world, I’m not sure what will.THE LIST 1. Joyce Kilmer Memorial ForestWhy? To revel in the beauty of some big-ass old growth trees.2. Linville RiverWhy? To see the awe-inspiring, piss-your-pants rapids that are iconic of the gorge.3. Blue Ridge, GeorgiaWhy? I mean, the name of the town is Blue Ridge. I gotta go there. I’m surprised I haven’t been yet, honestly. Plus, the cycling scene there is off the chain (no pun intended, maybe).4. Chincoteague Island, VirginiaWhy? One word. Ponies.5. Cumberland Island, GeorgiaWhy? I mean, it captured the fascination of my editor for over 20 years of his life, enough so that he decided to write a biography about the island’s lone protector, Carol Ruckdeschel. It has to be good. Plus I like turtles.6. Edisto River, South CarolinaWhy? If not for the scenic flatwater paddling, then definitely the treehouse lodging.7. Everglades National Park, FloridaWhy? I know, I know. It’s not “technically” the Blue Ridge, but shoot – neither is half our territory! Plus, how sweet would it be to spend a week sea kayaking around the Everglades, camping on pristine beaches, watching the sun set over the horizon each night…I can almost feel the salt rash on my bum and the sunburn on my face now.8. Wilmington, N.C.Why? To go on a history tour of the town…NOT. I want to surf. Duh.9. The Fantastic Pit, GeorgiaWhy? Sounds dirty, and it is. Imagine a 586-foot vertical drop into Ellison’s Cave, the twelfth deepest cave in the United States.10. State College, Penn.Why? To get my ass kicked on a bike.11. Seneca Rocks, W.Va.Why? I’ve been there, seen it, but I actually want to climb that shit. It’s a classic.###That’s a good start, but I’d love to hear from you. Where should I go in 2015? Looking for adventure partners along the way! Per my last blog post, you’re well aware that I already have my mind made up about New Year’s resolutions. In general, I’d say I’m satisfied with that list. It’s succinct, realistic, common-sense.But you know me. I’m one of those annoying big-ideas type of people who could stay up into the wee hours talking about dreams and goals and never get anywhere with any of them but ride high on the energy of endless possibility for weeks after.So what’s the big thing that’s missing from that list? The thing that keeps me up at night, wheels turning? The thing that distracts me from writing this blog as we speak?Places.Like the great American writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag, I’m of the mindset that, “I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” I covered a lot of ground in 2014, from the coast of Carolina, to the cliffs of eastern Kentucky, to the highlands of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. But there are plenty of places I haven’t been, even in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.But, before I launch into a detailed description of all the places I’d like to visit this year and why, let’s set the mood with a little Dr. Seuss, shall we?You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourselfAny direction you choose.You’re on your own. Andyou know what you know.And you are the guy who’lldecide where to go.You’ll get mixed up,of course, as you already know.You’ll get mixed up withmany strange birds as you go.So be sure when you step,Step with care and greattact and remember thatLife’s A Great Balancing Act.And will you succeed?Yes! You will, indeed!(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)KID, YOU’LL MOVEMOUNTAINS!
Whatever happened to those lovable Warrior smurfs who turned into this Frankenstein monster?The West, once comprised of titans, now seems to cower in their presence.Remember Doc Rivers musing about their good fortune at avoiding Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, the Spurs and even his Clippers in last spring’s title romp?It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature or, these days, with the Warriors, 81-15 over two seasons, trying to make it an NBA-record 15-0 start tonight in Denver. Steph looks like their little friend, even bulked up to 6-foot-2, 190 pounds from his days at Davidson, looking like the ballboy with the slight frame and choirboy face that led the big schools to snub him.There was never a shooter like Steph or, notes Warriors consultant Jerry West, an expert, anyone like him.“Best shooter” comprises two kinds: 1) Volume guys like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller; 2) Spot-up guys like Steve Kerr, Curry’s coach, who’s No. 1 all-time in three-point accuracy (45.4 percent).Kyle Korver and Steve Nash (No. 15 in makes, No. 9 in accuracy) are the only ones at the top of both lists.Curry is on his way to making it academic.He’s No. 3 in all-time accuracy (44.1 percent). At 27 with the most (2014-15), second-most (2012-13) and fifth-most (2013-14) 3-pointers in a season, he’s on track to be No. 1 in makes in his early 30s.Last spring, James Harden was upset at losing a deservedly close MVP race.If they took the vote now with Curry averaging 34 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and shooting 52 percent, he would be the first unanimous selection.Steph is now on a roll astonishing even for him, on pace to beat his record 286 3-pointers in a season … by 130.Not even miracle-wielding waifs can raise a team to such heights single-handedly.The Warriors are admirably balanced with Klay Thompson in — you guessed it — the greatest shooting backcourt ever, and arch-versatile Draymond Green, a 6-7, 245-pound power forward they put on Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul.Showing how special Green is in his own right, he leads them in rebounds (7.9) and assists (6.9), playing pick-and-roll with Steph, whom defenses converge on… leaving Draymond, who’s making 42 percent of his 3-pointers, too.As Rivers said after Green dropped three of them on the Clippers in the comeback, “You’ve got to live with something.”Or not live with it. Going into the weekend, Curry and Green were the No. 1 tandem at plus-169. Cleveland’s LeBron James and Kevin Love were closest, 52 points back.The Warriors and Clippers have had a bristling rivalry with Andrew Bogut roughing up Griffin and Green, who also leads them in attitude, responding to a Rivers jibe with, “Cool story, Glenn.”Maybe they can resume it later, the Clippers hope.“I wouldn’t really say this is a rivalry,” said Griffin. “We’re trying to get where they are.”So are the Spurs, Cavaliers and everyone else. The NBA story line suddenly revolves not around LeBron, but the Warriors.It doesn’t get any better for the NBA. With LeBron and the Warriors, the 2015 Finals got the highest ratings since Michael Jordan’s 1998 farewell.Not that I think the Warriors will be this good by the end, since no one ever has been.I don’t think they’ll post another 67 wins — this is still the West — much less make a run at the Bulls’ record of 72.Of course, now that I’m obliged to acknowledge it if I turn out wrong, nobody misses those cuddly little Warriors of old more than I do.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Los Angeles News Group print editions. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Now you’re lucky to stay out of their way — especially the Clippers, 1-5 against them after the Warriors came from 23 behind to win Thursday.The Rockets, conference finalists last spring — for the five games the Warriors took to walk over them — got so desperate at falling 7 1/2 games behind, they fired coach Kevin McHale 11 games into his three-year, $12 million extension.Where have you gone, Don Nelson, Monta Ellis, David Lee and those entertaining teams that look like fluffy Disney characters next to this beast?The rest of the NBA turns its lonely eyes to you. The Warriors now have a rock-ribbed defense ranked No. 11 with the No. 1 offense arrayed around Steph Curry, pound for pound the greatest basketball player ever to lace them up.LeBron James is really good. Kevin Durant can really shoot. Anthony Davis looks like Peter Pan, flying around above Captain Hook’s bumbling crew.