Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bad Omens (Long Post)

     After our lovely drive through RMNP we continued on our way towards Steamboat. We drove over Rabbit Ear's Pass (another beautiful area) and found a quite, woodsy camping spot near the bottom of the Pass.

     We drove through the campground looking for the perfect spot to call "home" for the next 24 hours. There, in a magical setting (damp pine trees sparkling in the sun, a table nestled in amongst the trees, no camp spots too close by) was the perfect place just waiting for us. We started to unpack and set up the tent when we were greeted by a cloud of mosquitoes (we somehow overlooked the huge puddle of standing water, a fantastic place for the little brutes to call home). Not wanting to give up our spot, we quickly dug through the car to find the bug spray (which I'm pretty sure was just sugar water), and there, lying on the ground and looking pretty fresh, was a dead bat. THAT my friends, was our bad omen. From that moment, the next 24 hours continued to go downhill.

     After spying the dead flying rodent, we figured it was a bad idea to sleep there just in case a swarm of rabid bats decided to attack us. You know. Logical thoughts here. We drove to the other side of the campground and picked out another spot (rodent free, puddle free, MOSTLY mosquito free).

The final location.

     When camp was finally set up, we went in to town and walked around for a while. The shops in Steamboat were disappointing, so we thought it would be fun to take a drive on some of the back roads over the Pass. Everything was going beautifully. It was amazing how green everything and how blue the sky was and we even did a little... "off-roading" so to speak.'s the cousins take their beast Jeeps out and do crazy ridiculous stuff with them and drive over massive rocks and up steep hills, and Sasquatch (even though I begged and pleaded) was the responsible adult and wouldn't take our "rad Subaru" on any rough trails. So we found this rock...and well...that's about as extreme as it got, ha!
Yeah, we get crazy out here man.

     So there we were, driving up a hill with no one around. We get to the top and we see 3 tents, a man with a crazy beard, and a mini van, clothes drying on a boulder, and for some reason our guard instantly goes up. We slow down as Beardy McBeardson starts walking towards us, and out of no where, these two scraggly haired men come out of the bushes grinning from ear to ear and start walking towards our car too (if you've ever seen scary movies, you know this is the point where we get eaten alive).
     Sasquatch rolls down the window (despite my pleas to keep driving) and Beardy walks up, the two of them exchange pleasantries, and then neither of them say another word but just nod at each other. I notice the Scraggle Twins pick up a little dog that was running around and start poking at it, making it screech in anger, all the while smiling at us. Weird.
    Beardy tells us that there is a spot just past his mini van if we'd like a place to camp (nooooo thank you!) and we tell him that we were just out driving around (the Scraggle Twins are still grinning at us). Beardy says that they have been stranded on top of the mountain for 3 days after ripping a hole in his oil pan driving over rocks. He then tells us that there were 8 of them in the car going on a backpacking trip (where were the other 5, I would like to know??) but that they luckily had enough food and water to last them. He then asked us if we were going in to town the next day and if he could hitch a ride to pick up the part for his van, and we, being kind people, told him that we were driving the other direction come morning. No part in that, thanks.
    We quickly said our apologies, wished them the best of luck, flung the car in reverse and drove out of there as fast as we could, all the while, the three are still standing in our rearview mirrow, smiling.
     We drove fast back to camp, imagining a few "hitchhikers" somehow on top of our car ready to pop out and as we're pulling in to our campground, we realize that where we had just been was directly above our camp spot. Somehow, they were probably watching....

     That evening we made a roaring fire and tried to push the nonsensical thoughts from our mind. We opened a bottle of wine and had a relaxing, cozy evening without any more weirdness (besides the sheep across the freeway yelling all night). I got a chance to try out the zoom capabilities of my new tablet, and I must say, I was pretty darn impressed!

Playing around with the sunset.

     The next morning I woke up and thought I would be nice and let Sasquatch sleep, and set up the stove and make coffee (something I have never done on my own while camping mind you). I get up, and of course since I'm trying to do something nice, it starts to rain. I brush it off and continue getting the propane and the stove set up. I get everything hooked up where it needs to be, turn on the burners and hit "ignite" and before I know what has happened, a blowtorch worthy amount of flames came shooting out the side, the flame from the burners shot out 6 inches past the stove, singeing my hand (losing all the hair on my knuckles), and the fumes had created a fire INSIDE the stove. All I can think about in this moment as the arm where the propane screws in becomes white with ice crystals is "It's going to blow...this thing is going to blow, all because of coffee!".
     I rush over to the car, my heart beating a million miles an hour, and try to stay calm, urgently informing Sasquatch that the stove is on fire and I don't know what I should do. Out spews a handful of curse words from the sleeping giant as he takes in the situation from a sound sleep, in his socks and underwear, while the rain is pouring down, the mud is getting thicker, and the stove is closer to blowing up. Eventually his thoughts are gathered and I'm told to throw water on it while he looks for a towel to try and smother the flames.
     In the end, nobody was harmed (not even the table that I was sure would be burned after that incident). But let's just say, that was a TERRIBLE way to start the morning.

     We pack up our muddy mess, ditching the coffee idea, and head back to town to try and find coffee that I have no part in making. We find a quiet coffee shop where we could recover from the traumatizing morning and decide to go to Strawberry Hot Springs (a place I've always wanted to take Sasquatch). By this point, I just had a feeling it was going to continue to be a crumby day. We drove to Strawberry Springs, a long drive up a dirt road that leads to the middle of nowhere, only to find out that they don't take credit cards. LOVELY. After the morning we had, the lack of sleep, and not having the necessary form of payment for the one thing we had planned to do in Steamboat, we decided it was time to just head home. Sasquatch was extremely accommodating and offered to drive back to town to get cash but I pouted like the child I felt like and said to just go home.

     And that is our tale of our ridiculous 24 hours in the stupid little town of Steamboat Springs. So if you see a dead bat, just stop what you're doing and change every plan you made for the next 24 hours. Because chances are, they're going to be crazy.

    After unloading our muddy mess, throwing in a load of laundry, taking a hot shower, ordering a tasty pizza, renting a couple movies from the Redbox, and falling asleep in my clean, soft bed, those 24 hours had been redeemed.

Photos from Rocky Mountain National Park

     Day 3 of our trip we drove back through Rocky Mountain National Park, taking our time and taking a few more pictures on our way to Steamboat Springs. Some of the photos are a little I apologize ahead of time.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park & Estes Park

Hi all!

     We are back home now! Our wifi access was limited but I am now here, ready to update you and post some pictures. It only took me hours to email them from my tablet, download them all, convert them to JPG files, edit them, and finally post. Phew.

     Of course, we had to make our usual stops in Leadville. The Western Hardware Antique store (a place I fondly remember having old fashioned candy sticks as a kid), The Rock Hut (where Sasquatch picked up some cool pieces of stones and some feathers from Turkey Tom), City on a Hill coffee shop, and a new shop, The Aspen Traders (where I found an ADORABLE little deer ring).
     After our coffee, it was time to hit the road and head off towards Rocky Mountain National Park, and Estes Park. Two places I have never been to! The drive was beautiful, and we were down out of Leadville just in time to save my head from exploding from the altitude. We had rain THE WHOLE DRIVE (a recurring theme on our camping trips in seems) but it made for some awesome pictures.
     We quickly drove through Rocky Mountain National Park (SOMEONE was in a big hurry to find a camping spot), but we were able to take our time driving back through the next day on our way to Steamboat Springs. The weather was exactly what your stereotypical Colorado weather would be. We had sunshine, rain, rainbows, hail, snow, fog...all within minutes of each other.

Sunshine and rain...imagine that!

It was about here that it started snowing. It was 46 degrees at the top.
And around the corner the snow ceased.
      Estes Park is a really charming little ski town. We were lamenting the fact that we didn't have a lot of money, because there were some fun stores downtown. We got to see a little excitement too...we were in the rock shop browsing, when we suddenly heard sirens. Fire trucks, police, and ambulances pull up right across the street and block off the road. We were wondering what could be going on and everyone on the street was buzzing about their speculations. Turns out, it was a fire from one of the restaurants. Thankfully, everyone was okay, and the firemen didn't seem too concerned.We made camp at a local KOA (running water! Yay!) and amused ourselves eavesdropping on our "neighbors" and talking about what we would do the next day. Then we settled in for the night in our trial and error "tent" (which is the back of our car). We seem to be getting quicker at converting our backseat into a bed and making it a little more cozy each time.

Sasquatch being a goon.

The sunset over Estes Park.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

PBville Once Again

     Here we are again in beautiful Leadville and once again, we were welcomed with a downpour that lasted off and on from the time we made it to the top of Independence Pass until early this morning. Thankfully, we were smarter this time around and slept in the car from the get go. Although, the rain pounding on the roof STILL made it nearly impossible to sleep. We toyed at the Molly Brown campground at Turquoise Lake again and had a spot right by the water.
     We're back at the coffee shop we came to last year, trying to warm up and recover from trying to make oatmeal and Canadian bacon in the bone chilling wind. I'm sitting here enjoying an American cappuccino with a bacon and cheddar biscuit, and Sasquatch is scarfing down a slab of banana bread with almonds and a LARGE brewed coffee.

     Here are a few photos from yesterday's drive and camping spot.

Driving over Independence Pass.

Everything seemed to be glowing that day.

The top of the Pass.

Driving out to Turquoise Lake, Leadville.

Looking for a camping spot.

Molly Brown campground, right on Turquoise Lake.

Standing on the shore of the lake, you can just barely see out camp through the trees.

Working on his chainmaille.

My hair looks like it's on fire, ha.

Sunset on the lake.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Travel Bug Has Bitten Again

Well, here we are nearly a year after our first major roadtrip.

     Not much has changed over here on the Western Slope. We just got back from an overnight trip to Boulder for a Great Gatsby themed birthday party. That short, 3 hour drive has whet my appetite for adventure. The pine trees, the mountains, the snow. The mountains are calling....

     With little money to spend, and several days of vacation time to use up, we're getting ready to hit the road once again and use our super smart minds to have a frugal but fun trip. This time around will not be as long and as crazy as the last, and we will probably be following a similar route that started us on our journey last year.

     So, feel free to follow along. Again, the posts may not be often or they could be every hour, but I can promise lots of pictures and lots of memories.