Tag Archives: Colorado

Random thoughts/ month 3

26 Jul

I can’t believe this is the first real post since last months wrap up! We’ve been busy spending time with friends and just having really long days. The farther north we drive, the more hours of sunlight we seem to get. We spend our days either driving or checking out a town/landmark and don’t park for the night until 8/9pm (the sun doesn’t set until 10ish, its nuts). After we eat dinner, shower, and settle on a movie to watch, we are spent. Thus, few blog posts. Apologies! 20130724-173953.jpg This month I:

+ spent a lot of time with friends and friends of friends and loved every minute! In Denver, we spent time with our KW friend Susan’s friend Estrella, her husband and sister in law at a rainy outdoor jazz concert. In Boulder, we hung out with my high school friend Zane and met her husband and adorable twins. We also met our coworker Trish’s friend KayCee and her family and had a fabulous time at a dinner party at their house. In Fort Collins, we relaxed with Hani’s friend Phil and his wife while they were childless for a few days. From there, we went to Buford, Wyoming to see Hani’s friends Lori and Laurie who work the Spence TLC “summer camp”. Both live off the grid in the middle of literally nowhere and it was great to sit on an open porch and stare into space with nothing to do. We continued the TLC trek by heading next to Dubois to visit the Thunderhead Ranch and see the managers Kate and Gregg. It was really cool to see where Hani spend 3 weeks last summer and watch as he relived those moments. In Bozeman, Montana, we spent time with one of my oldest friends Jennie, her husband and new baby. After seeing so many new places and people, it was really comforting to reconnect with an old friend. All in all, the new people we meet are great but nothing beats an old friend.

+ learned creek, as in a body of water, is really pronounced crick in the west. And people will look at you funny if you say “creek.”

+ am surprised by the quality of food at Walmart. I feel like such a traitor to Target, the happiest place on earth, but Walmart products are great AND inexpensive. And they carry an impressive organic selection.

+ never thought I’d miss watching Seinfeld so much that I’d buy the DVDs. Who buys a show that’s on tv 24/7? We do.

+ don’t think country music is so bad anymore. Shut up Kevin.

+ spent quality time with fellow travelers. While in Denver, we got a tweet from Maria and Brian of The Roaming Pint, wanting to meet up. They are our age and have been RVing full time for 3 years. We grabbed lunch, some beers, walked the downtown and then took all of our dogs to the dog park. We had a great time and enjoyed picking their brains about where to go since they’ve done it all.

+ experienced 3 hail storms. 3! I don’t think I’ve seen 3 hail storms in my entire life let alone in a month!! The craziest was in Buford, WY where it literally looked like snow afterwards. See our Facebook page for the pictures!

+ visited 3 national parks in the US: Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier and 2 in Canada: Banff and Jasper. We saw elk, moose, bison, bears (grizzly and black), a bald eagle, mountain goats, and big horned sheep. We kayaked, hiked and saw some gorgeous sites. In Glacier, we road the motorcycle all through the park. It was an awesome way to experience the park. Our parks pass was definitely worth it!

+ discovered lakes are petty awesome! I used to think oceans were the only legitimate body of water but I’ve been proven wrong. We’ve seen some kick ass lakes in the Tetons and Montana that have been fabulous to kayak in. Even the pups enjoyed some time in the kayak on Canyon Ferry Lake in Montana. Though we didn’t go in, the lakes in Alberta, Canada are breathtaking. They are mostly from glaciers and are crystal clear and simply perfect.

+ realized timing really is everything. In Banff, Alberta Canada, while Hani was shopping in the hundredth bookstore of our trip, he got to talking to Andrew, the owner. Andrew sold Hani a Moon travel book on Western Canada since we don’t know the area or anyone here. That night, as we were reading through the book, Hani realized Andrew was the author. The next day, we went back to the bookstore to have him autograph the book and he invited us to his house that night for dinner. We had the best time meeting his family and friends. One of the couples at Andrew and Dianne’s that night was Shannon and Chad, who own a chalet that we were going to pass on our way to Lake Louise. The next day, we shopped at Baker Creek Chalet, met the staff and had coffee with Shannon and Chad. They gave us tips on lakes and landmarks to hit at Lake Louise. And after a long day of hikes and lakes, we went back to park at their place for the night. They were gracious hosts even as they were dealing with a packed business. Hopefully, we’ll see them on the road as they begin their own travels soon.

+ was in 3 states, crossed a border and in 2 territories. As we head farther north, things get greener and more lush and the days are longer. Crossing into Canada was not the best experience though. We rolled up to the border at 6pm not really thinking we needed much else besides our passports. I guess I just thought it would be like the US, very hands off. But they searched Skyhorse and it was so unsettling. I mean, if it was just a car, who cares. But this is my home. My underwear is here. It was eye opening and I won’t take the Mexican border this lightly.

Random thoughts/ month 2

24 Jun

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We are rounding out this month in Northern Colorado and loving it! That gives us one month to get up to Alaska. In the mean time, we’ve been spending time in Golden, Boulder visiting an old high school friend and her family (thanks Zane and Blake for your hospitality!!), and trying tasty brews.

This month I:

+ learned that you can happen upon a killer farmer’s market when you least expect it. I live for farmer’s markets and this month we found our first when we stopped unexpectedly in Glenwood Springs CO. The second in Golden, a tip from new friends, did not disappoint either!

+ found out that grocery stores in Colorado carry the same beers as liquor stores but with a lower percentage of alcohol. And bars in Utah can serve canned beer with higher percentages of alcohol than what’s on tap. Damn lawyers.

+ am still amazed that people lived in cliffs. I mean, actually LIVED in a house that was built into a cliff! How was that part in history erased from school syllabi??

+ discovered Utah is flipping hot! But gorgeous. I never really had a burning desire to visit that state but after going to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, I would without a doubt return, mostly to see the other National Parks we missed.

+ noticed that this country is very dusty. And we are not very well sealed. = dusty dirty home 😦

+ think Hani is an unbelievable driver. We’ve hit some unfortunate roads in both Skyhorse and on the bike and Hani has expertly maneuvered us safely every time. And no, I have not driven again since last month. I am no match for the windy curvy death-dropping roads in Colorado.

+ love white water rafting!! We rafted the Numbers section of the Arkansas River while we were in Buena Vista CO visiting Hani’s friend Samer and his fiancé Julie. The water was FREEZING and of course I got soaked (Hani stayed dry). It was hilariously awesome and we were cracking up the entire time.

+ am still amazed by the generosity of people. After meeting Brady and Sue in Telluride, I figured we would meet others in a similar fashion. But Nina and Shawn in Evergeen were something else! While parked at a park in Evergreen, Nina and her kids spied Skyhorse. They were all awestruck. And after literally 5 seconds of conversation, Nina invited us over the next morning for breakfast. Just like that. Nina, her husband and her brother were super sweet, food was great and it was an awesome start to our day!

+ KNOW we need to visit more breweries! This month (well, this week) we did Breckenridge Brewery, Great Divide and Denver Brewing Co. And that list will be growing as we make our way around Boulder and Fort Collins.

+ visited 3 states and returned to one. I never gave much thought to living in Colorado until we came out here. It’s really an amazingly beautiful state. The mountains are breathtaking and everywhere you look is picturesque. Too bad we’d have to sit for an exam to be licensed here. And then there’s that little thing called snow which is on the ground from November through May. So maybe not…

Telluride

18 Jun

I knew if we didn’t leave Telluride that day, we never would. Intimate and beautiful, mild weather, awesome people, Telluride was everything we were looking for.

We arrived in Telluride a week ago. It’s a very small ski resort (less than 3,000 people) that still has an active presence in the summer months. Its set in a valley between massive mountain ranges. Many people told us just to pass through because it is such an expensive town. I’m glad we didn’t listen and stayed.

We had been driving all day across very narrow paths (paths, not roads people) and steep inclines followed by insane declines. Hani was driving in granny gear the entire time at 10mph. It was beautiful but a scary ride. The 73 miles between Silverton and Telluride took for-ev-er but we snapped some awesome pictures. So when we arrived in Telluride, we were happy to park and just sit.

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While I was making dinner, Hani started talking to a local couple who had seen Skyhorse and looked us up. Brady and Sue, personal chefs who had been living in Telluride for 15 years, asked us if we needed anything and invited us into their apartment for a drink. They we so sweet and welcoming and conversation easily flowed throughout the evening. We left their house that night planning on leaving Telluride in the morning so we didn’t exchange numbers.

The next day, Hani woke up reeeeeally earlier so we tried to get a spot in the town’s park. It was completely full in anticipation for a concert that was happening the following week. But we decided to stay in Telluride anyway.

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We took the gondola up to Mountain Village and met up with a friend of a friend, Steve. Through having a drink with him, we started talking to a few other people. It was really SUCH a friendly, open town! We walked through their main drag and ran into Brady. He was excited we stayed and invited us to dinner that night. Dinner cooked by personal chefs– yes please! We had a great night getting to know them and the town a bit more. Since the town is so expensive, they drive 60something miles to the closest town along steep passes to do their grocery shopping. What a freaking hike just to get toilet paper! You have to really be obsessed with Telluride to deal with that but it seemed like everyone living there IS that obsessed with the city.

Time

18 Jun

Time is at the center for communal life.  It is the one tool that coordinates the lives of numerous people.  Our needs and desires can’t be met whenever we wish.  We have to balance our goals with the availability of others, who we need to achieve those goals.  So we have calendars and clocks as our language.  Time is the format of our existences.

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I am walking Olivia down a dirt road on the ridge of several mountains on the outskirts of Silverton, Colorado.  Silverton is a former mining town in the valley of mountains.  I have never seen a village like this before.  It’s now a tourist attraction because of a steam train that comes here and mine tours.

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The two streets were lined with gift shops that were once saloons and brothels.  One side was the respectable street and the other had the brothels.  But there were underground tunnels that would take from a respectable saloon to a whorehouse.  This way you could keep your public image in tact while indulging yourself.  Isn’t that where we meet our desires, in the dark secret places?  I am pretty sure it was more interesting back then.  We have been in this area for a few hours yet we have seen a few other cars.  I am allowing Olivia to walk wherever she wishes.  She is mighty happy and is in her own world.  The walk takes me through our journey in my mind.  I begin to think of how long we have been on the road.  I know its been six weeks because Sarah told me earlier.  Has it experientially felt like six weeks to me?  I try to compare how I calculated time when I was working and stationary.  I thought well back then I calculated experiences between times.  For example, I knew when I had a commitment at work such a court appearance or a deposition then I would think when will that finish and when will I be meeting up with friends.  That’s not to say that I do not enjoy my profession.  For me, I experienced time as things I needed to do versus things I wanted to do.

Now, I don’t work on time and dates.  We decide what to do and we do it.  It happens instantly without too much if any future planning.  I am no longer accessing the present time and waiting a future time.  Time unfolds in a continuum without breaks.  We still have need and want activities but they now blend together.  A solidified life is more enjoyable.  When I compartmentalized time it felt like a battle between dislikes and likes.  During that period I would try to create more likes to drown out the dislikes.  I still have like and dislikes but the time battle is not in play.

Before I return to society I hope I will continue to approach time the same way, have a wiser mindset, or devote my time to the things that give me joy.

I woke up to a rancher knocking on our door.  Where we camped for the night was in front of his entrance and he had a trailer full of horses waiting to get on his land.  He was not upset at all and rather friendly.   This reminds me of a place we parked in the hills of Santa Fe.  The following morning, this guy with a ponytail driving a Mini comes towards me gesturing for me to come to him.  He says “Cool rig, this is my land you can stay here but don’t leave any trash.”  I told him it was a nice property.  He retorted, “Go sell some weed and buy it.”  I didn’t know if that was his opinion on how I existed or he thought selling weed is good business.

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We get on the road to find the mountain pass, which we were driving on, covered with cyclists.  This road was narrow, full of switchbacks, steep declines and ascents.  I have to drive the truck in second gear to control our speed on the descents.  If not the brakes will overheat and give out.  It’s nerves racking to say the least since I’m figuring out all this as I drive.  Of course I’m worried about the transmissions burning up or the coolant system springing another leak while having to concern myself with cyclists and rushed drivers.

Living out of a truck has its own set of problems.  A couple of days ago we take the truck off-road on windy mountains dirt rock roads.  We neglect to carefully read the map at the start of the trail and we get lost for a few hours going ten miles an hour.  We had stellar views all to our selves.  Things seem to carry greater value when they are exclusive.  Two elks ran in front of Skyhorse.  They were three times the size of deer.  Later on we saw big old boy buck.  He was magnificent and twice the size of the other elks.  Chipmunks were scurrying all along the path.  A few deer popped out to look at us.

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Once we exit the Rio Grande forest roads right outside of Del Norte, CO I smell something burning.  Well I smelled it before and was too negligent to do anything.  I stop and lift the hood.  The turbo was smoking because some oil seeped out.  We park for the night while I read the truck service manual trying to figure out if there was a problem.  Next morning we start up fine.  But I can’t get the truck over 45mph and my rpms are limited.  I stop at a mechanic, the only one I see.  Its Saturday, no one is open, and this mechanic doesn’t work on diesels and he’s just in the shop doing a personal project.  He tells me the seepage is fine but he doesn’t know what’s wrong and to come back Monday when the diesel mechanic is in.  He thinks it may the turbo so I think to drive to Napa and try to source the part.  At Napa they can’t find a turbo in their computer.  Eventually they find one and its $1200 and I’ll see it on Tuesday.  Now we are looking at staying four to five days in this nothing town and losing $1500 (with it installed).  I stay at Napa trying to talk to many people to get their opinions while using their Internet signal to find a better priced turbo.  After a few hours I talk to this guy who seemed to have experience with motors.  He told me how to test the turbo.  I do the inspection and its fine.  I go back to him and he follows me to the truck.  He checks it himself and confirms they turbo is fine.  He believes I’m not getting enough fuel and that’s why we are sluggish.  He tells me to replace the six week old fuel filter.  He was spot on.  I wished he had stayed to watch the truck back on the road so I could thank him profusely.

The Steam Train

7 Jun

Yesterday we boarded the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Steam Train in Antonio, Colorado. The train slowly zig-zaged the Colorado/New Mexico border for a few hours, stopped for lunch in Osier, and continued on to our final destination, Chama, New Mexico. A bus drove us back to Antonio but it would have been better if Olivia and Shae drove Skyhorse and met us in Chama. 🙂

Here are some highlights from our day:

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