Friday, September 25, 2015

Road Trip of a Lifetime - Part I

Not exactly what I think of when I think of Colorado, but here I am leaning against a Latin-inspired building at City Park in Denver, Colorado. I travelled to Boulder, Colorado for a wedding of a close friend and my crazy friend (:P) convinced me to do a 2000+ mile road trip afterwards. I almost didn't go; nervous of being in the car for 27 hours for a week, but I put caution to the wind, and decided to live a little. Obviously, since I'm writing this post, things turned out well. I am so glad that I went!! I'll never capture the true essence of the whole vacation, but here are some of the highlights:

Oh where to begin . . .lol. Well, I was trying to save some money . . . (don't' all interesting stories start out like that)  . . . and decided to try an AirBnB for the first time. I was flying solo for the wedding, so spitting a hotel room with just myself was getting quite costly. Luckily the bride had some friends that were also traveling alone. So, I got the address and everything and arrived to the bed and breakfast pretty late after my flight into Denver. Now keep in mind that I'm from Philadelphia, so when I park my car and wheel my suitcase to my temporary home I am a little surprised to find a grown woman sleeping on a mattress outside on the porch. Look - I'm all about minimization and carefreeness, but yeah that was a little outside my comfort zone. I don't know if she belongs or is some kind of squatter, but it's late and I'm tired, so I semi avoid eye contact and proceed into the unlocked house.

Long story short I ended up sleeping on a futon in the living room, searching some random person's house for a towel so I could shower, and hiding my worldy possessions just IN CASE people were not as honest as they looked. I'm not knocking AirBnB at all, but it was a little out of my comfort zone to be sleeping on a futon in the middle of a living room of an unlocked house of a stranger in the land far far away from home. I never felt unsafe, and when the roommate who lived there got up and introduced himself, he was super friendly. But, I can say that sharing a space with a stranger is not for me. Sure, I'd try AirBnB again, but definitely with some more of my personal rules to make me feel comfortable. One day was enough for me and I found lodging elsewhere for the next night.

The next day was my first full day in Colorado. I drove up to Denver to meet with my friends (guy & girl) who were also attending the wedding. We met up with one his old high school buddies and drove to the top of Mount Evans. There we proceeded to climb to the 14,000 feet elevation. Shout out to my pal from Eastern Mountain Sports (you know who you are) for helping me get my climbing gear in order. 

Quick notes about hiking: 
  1. Wear synthetic fibers - they are much easier to breathe with and won't get heavy from sweat. Avoid cotton. Wear polyester
  2. Wear layers!!! It is cold in the morning, warm or hot in the afternoons, and then cold again at night. I was so glad to be able to take things off and put them back on.
  3. Always carry water. And drink it. The changes in elevation can give you major headaches so drink drink drink to stay hydrated.
  4. EAT! Even if you normally skip breakfast you want to make sure that you eat breakfast when you are going to be doing a lot of walking or hiking. Again, changes in elevation may catch you before you know it and you don't want to feel light headed. I am SOOO tired of peanuts right now, but they helped us out a lot, but having a quick protein to munch on before and after strenuous activity
  5. Always be ready!!! You never know when you will spot a bear. Be ready to stop, drop, and roll out that car, finger on the trigger. Because if you miss that once in a lifetime shot, chances are . . .No one will believe you ;)
Alright, back to the story, so we are climbing up this mountain, and the view from the top is just spectacular. There's big-horned sheep in the road, the air feels lighter, and there are people from all over the world, hiking to have the same view as you. This was just the beginning and I was having a great feeling of how the rest of the trip would go. I had very low expectations (no offense, my Western friends), but really I hadn't thought of what was over "here." I just figured Colorado was the land of skiers; to be perfectly honest, I didn't know a whole lot about Colorado before traveling here.


The next day was the wedding. We explored Denver a little more before the wedding and got to go to the tea house and see the farmer's market downtown. I enjoyed people watching there and seeing all walks of life. I was really proud of Denver for their recycling efforts and they really do seem like a hippy/carefree but responsible kinda town. People were pretty friendly, but they are super duper relaxed, so if you are on a tight schedule that could possibly annoy you. There's some lacking in the diversity area, but surprisingly there was a high Hispanic/Latino population.

The wedding was beautiful, and for their privacy that's all I'll say. If you know who they are check out my/their Facebook or Picasa album for pictures.

The day after the wedding was when our mad dash of driving and escapades would start. First, we would need a bigger car.

I'm only on Day 2, so we are going to have to break this up into sections. Look forward to hearing about our drive to Wyoming, visits with Bears, mastering the tuck and roll, making new international friends, and "check" and how it can improve you life.