So, funny story- literally minutes after I posted my last entry, there was a knock on my window and a lovely gal from the hostel named Rachel told me that there was a spare bunk in her room that I was welcome to. She was from Arizona and horrified by the idea that I would be sleeping in my truck during a night that involved snow. America, you rock.
As I anticipated, the weather turned to crap in the east so I chilled in Denver for the day. I had planned to go to the Veteran’s Day ceremony but I guess most of the events happened on the weekend, so I missed out. I DID see some kick-ass F-16 fighter jets fly by. Don’t get those in Canada!
I spent most of the day just walking around Denver, which is currently booming according to locals. The legalization of marijuana has really put the gas pedal to the local economy and rent and traffic are getting bad (always a sign of “progress”). I was not expecting to like the city all that much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Near the hostel was a great little arts district on Santa Fe Road and I managed to find some cool cafes and art galleries, as well as promising watering hole called Renegade Brewery. After my wandering I headed back to my hostel to see what was going on there.
The place was full of the standard sort of budget travelers, though definitely more road-trippers than you normally see in other countries. There was one Aussie named Matt who had just gotten off a 22 hour bus from Austin, TX. Naturally I managed to convince him along with a guy from my room named Jackson from Vermont to come out for beers at the brewery. We all had a good time, but sadly the young pups were only in for one pint a piece. I didn’t end up drinking alone, though, as the live-in tenant from the hostel and his brother also came out later. We had a really fun discussion about American politics (yes, I know I have a weird idea of fun). It’s just nice to have an educated discussion without anyone getting pissy about other peoples’ opinion.
When I got up this morning, I thought very seriously about staying one more day in Denver, but decided I do want to get to Cape Breton to see my sister eventually, so I got in the truck and headed south. According to another road-tripper at the hostel from Memphis, I really don’t need to bother with Kansas. My goal today was to make it to Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I only got as far as Las Vegas (no, not the one in Nevada). Las Vegas, New Mexico, seems to be just a whistle stop town, but I will try and give it a proper look-over in the morning since it was dark when I arrived. I never did end up buying any legal weed, but it was funny to see a store next to the gas station called “the Bud Hut”. Never change, Colorado.
Tonight I splurged on a Days Inn and am now enjoying some HBO and Colorado craft beer I picked up for my collection. I know it’s a fancy place because there is a telephone beside the toilet.
Welcome to my road trip blog. Take off your socks and get comfortable! Sorry for the weird title to this post, but the old theme for America’s Funniest Home Videos has been stuck in my head since I crossed the border. Now it’s in your head too, Muahahahaha!
This month’s crazy travel scheme involves driving my parents’ truck to Cape Breton where I will exchange it with a different truck that they had left there last year (my parents are ballin’). Since my employment status recently changed to “available” I volunteered to do the drive. Nothing like a road trip in November, right? To be fair I was supposed to leave 10 days ago, but I contracted the plague and had to recover my ability to breathe properly before departure.
As I write this, I am in the back seat of my truck, parked in front of a hostel in Denver. Why not inside the hostel, you may ask? Well, genius me, too cheap to pay the fee for the hostel booking website, just checked the availability when I left Montana this morning, and since there was beds available at 10am, I assumed they would still be available at 7pm because most travelers are not big on spontaneity these days and tend not to leave things to the last minute. I use this to my advantage because it allows ME to be spontaneous (and cheap). This turned out to be one of the few times were my strategy backfired, because when I showed up at the hostel, the place was full and there was no one even around who worked there. After knocking loud enough, someone from inside let me in and let me know the vacancy was nil. The guy was nice enough to let me borrow his laptop and I booked online for tomorrow night. There is something funny about making a reservation for a place online WHILE YOU ARE IN THE PLACE. So now I am parked in front of the hostel, crashing with my sleeping bag and my laptop in the back seat of the truck. Hey, at least I’m saving a night’s accommodation fee.
My original plan was to head out across Nebraska or Kansas tomorrow, but the radio says that there is a blizzard warning for the western end of the those states and a tornado watch for the eastern end, so I will hunker down in the Mile High city for a day and wait out the weather. I don’t think I want to challenge the potential of a Kansas tornado; I have no desire to go seeking the Wizard. But speaking of the Mile High City, the hostel is across the street from an honest to goodness marijuana WAREHOUSE, How crazy is that? I’ve never been to Amsterdam so I guess this is my chance to hang out with the cool kids. I had my heart set on tracking down a craft brewery tomorrow, but maybe there’s time for more than one sinful indulgence?
The drive so far has been pretty beautiful when I wasn’t driving through a storm of freezing rain. From the US Border to Great Falls, Montana, the weather was absolutely garbage. It cleared up about 60 miles south of the city, but the road conditions, combined with a late departure from Calgary meant that I didn’t get into Billings until 10pm. I had booked ahead of time for that one and had a room waiting for me at the ever-classy Super 8 Hotel. Everyone in Montana was incredibly friendly, though I don’t know why I am surprised. My only issue with the state was the radio. When I am driving in foreign countries where English is spoken I really like to listen to talk radio because it really gives me a feel for the culture of an area. In contrast to its people, Montana radio is terrifying.
Getting past the fact that more than half of the stations I could pick up were evangelical Christian, any commentator I came across was shouting about crazy shit. No word of a lie, the successive conversations of three consecutive stations were as follows: Protecting your assets in case the “Socialists” get elected, Impeaching the President, and finally a program that I though was about science but upon further inspection, was most definitely not. I stopped at that station because the person on air was talking about vestigial organs… I thought “Oh cool, science!” Yeah, no. The guy’s premise was that “Evolutionists” use the concept of human vestigial organs as an argument against Creationism, but since we actually don’t truly have vestigial organs, and even if we did, evolution says we should be continually improving so we shouldn’t have them anyway, that was the reason why Creationism is true. Wut? Getting past the fact that the guy was trying to use science to argue FOR CREATIONISM, Evolution is not “continual improvement”. IT IS NOT A CONSCIOUS FORCE! Gah, sorry- I’ve been by myself all day and I had no one to yell this at. At the Wyoming border I found an NPR station and stopped cruising the crazy-town airwaves.
Oh and Wyoming is goddamn beautiful, by the way. The north reminded me of Southern Peru and the south reminded me of Western Australia. Both places I absolutely love. Side note: most North Americans would probably have made the reverse comparison, but I’m the weirdo who made it to two other continents before I made it to the state that’s a day’s drive from Calgary. Lots of lovely buttes and rolling cowboy landscape. I kept waiting for Sam Elliott to start narrating my journey. I had really wanted to go to Yellowstone, in the northwest of the state, but there is only one short road through the park open this time of year, so I will have to get that part in when I do my west coast motorcycle trip next year.
It is supposed to snow here in Denver tonight, but I have a sleeping bag and a down jacket, so I should be fine- it’s not like I’m sleeping on the ground or anything. The temperature is just barely below freezing, so it’s pretty much like camping in Jasper in the summer. The Fahrenheit is killing me, though. I can wrap my head around miles okay since all the land around our farm is measured in half-miles but 32 degrees should not be freezing temperatures! My brain cannot compute that.