Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mountain madness: our adventure can only get better from here

Friday August 28, 2009

We're in Colorado! Yes, believe it or not we have actually managed to make it this far. I don't know how we did it, we are the biggest shleps of the touring community, but we are here.

We decided to cut off the TransAm after Eads CO and head north to Longmont CO to hang out with our friend Sean and his family. We rode on the interstate (legally this time) and found lots of goodies; license plates, hazard signs, fishing nets, blinky lights. The highway was a super smooth ride, easy concrete slabs with a slight tailwind. One of the rides we had to cut short because of various delays. There was a construction zone that we had to be escorted through specially by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Then after those nice gentleman put up with our crap, we got stuck in a downpour. We thought that it would cool us off and then dry really fast, but we underestimated the effect of this arid climate. In southeastern Colorado the humidity never reaches above 9%, so we do not sweat. When we got rained on, the rain evaporated so quick that I could barely hold onto my handlebars and steer my bike. Throughout our trek to Longmont we squatted in dugouts at school baseball fields which turns out to be one of the best campsites.

Arriving at Sean's house was a nice stop because we planned to take 2 full days off of to relax before tackling the Rockies. Of course Bonnie and Peter (Sean's parents) had read our journal and knew we would be eating anything and everything, and we tried not to disappoint. The first day off we all rode into Boulder without all our gear, zoomed around town and had a lot of fun. We literally spent our day off going to bike stores and testing out mountain bikes. Of course I made sure we stopped at an awesome sandwich joint, and hit up my favorite smoothie place in town. Boulder is really a nice change from the republican, old people, small, desolate towns we have encountered most of the way. The vibe is nice, people are young, smart, laid back, and for once we don't stand out because we look so haggard.

Today Bonnie and Peter took us for a drive up to the Rocky Mountain park to scope out the terrain and talk to some park rangers about good strategies for getting through the mountains alive. The grade is not very steep, 7% at the worst, but an average of 5.5%. The roads are well paved, and the beauty part is half of the ride will be downhill. We then did some scenery spectating, enjoyed the gorgeous mountain views, and ended with a nice photo jaunt of a herd of elk. This is where I fell in love. A park ranger walks up to scold a man for wandering too far off the path, and I start to talk to her. Carmen has been a ranger for 6 seasons, she wields a gun and a tazer, wears rugged boots and a rad park ranger hat. She went to school for Zoology in Michigan and has been working all around the US. This girl was perfect, mainly because I knew she could beat me up, but also because she was smart and really knew her stuff about her work. I admired her passion, and her good looks. She told me she's even pulled over bikers in the park for going above the speed limit downhill. I really hope she pulls me over and gives me her number instead of a ticket tomorrow when I purposely speed down the hill.

Anyway, we leave Longmont tomorrow, even though we have talked to eachother about ending the trip here and setting up shop to start new lives in Boulder. Unfortunately, the coast is not so close, so we have to push on and complete our trip. Fortunately we got to spend good time hanging out with Sean and his parents, and at this rate I think visiting Colorado in late August is going to become an annual occurence for me. We have enjoyed our days off, and from here, Wyoming is going to be pretty bare from what I hear.

This post seems like a bland summary to me, at this point in the trip we're all tired, we're confident, we're weathered, we're conditioned mentally and physically, we're still ambitious, we're anxious, but we're not done. To me there is a mission, get to the pacific coast of Oregon. After that our way down to San Francisco is going to be a party. I have a list of things I want to do upon my return, but I'll save that for another post. As for now I'd like to thank all the readers and friends and family who are supporting us and leaving us feedback in the guestbook, and I encourage everyone to write their thoughts down there. We appreciate everyone's support, even though this journal is the most crude, offensive journal on this site, and we still don't understand how it has so many hits.

But I'd like to officially invite everyone to the Welcome Home party my fantastic mother has so generously volunteered to throw uswhen we return home via train. Anyone who is in the area, I promise you my mom will not let you down with her amazing cooking and baking skills. Of course there will be tons of food, fun, music, refreshments, and a moon bounce. I will be listing a menu of food and items that will be present in the next post.

On a more serious note, I am really bottlenecked with thoughts. Images of reality are looming in the back of my head, as I realize when I get home I need to get a job, no matter how shitty it may be, and start earnning an income. If it were up to me I would live this way the rest of my life, getting free food, sleeping on concrete, never staying in one place over 24 hours. But the relentless norms of the bullshit mainstream society eventually grasp even the most rebelious individual and shake free all the dreams and wishes of a wild nomadic lifestyle. In short, I probably have to give up this entirely free world so I can live at home with my parents and work at Petco for a while before I find a respectable job. It's not an entising thought, but you have to crack some eggs to make an omelet.

I'll leave with this quote, because it really encompasses a lot about how I felt before this trip, and now even moreso coming this far. I don't want to single anyone out, but let me just say this, whoever you are, where ever you are, get up, go out and do something different, wild, crazy, for a while. Stop sitting in the town your were born in, feeling sorry for yourself, trapped in a bubble. This world is huge, and if a guy like me, who can barely tie his own shoes, can make it this far on a bike, all you have to do is put your imagination in motion to get out and get going on progressing yourself to a radical new experience in life. I personally know, and have met on this trip people who never leave the valley that they were born in, and I ask you, why don't you want to see the amazing things your state, your country, or your planet has to show you? Why do you want to doom yourself to an unhappy life in the same boring place for decades, only to raise your children with the same attitude until one sparks his imagination and breaks the mold? Think about it, and read this quote a couple of times over, maybe if I can't shake you up a bit, this will do the trick:

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."

-Cole Bear out

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