Adventure Is Embracing The Unexpected: People

After I summited Two Buttes, I pushed north towards the Phillips County Highpoint. The wind that I’d experienced on the hike didn’t seem to abate. When I approached Lamar, I saw a sign notifying me that US 40 was closed from Kit Carson to Limon. I began to realize that the dark clouds and wind might be a little bit more than just a small storm.

In Kit Carson, I tried to take Colorado 59 north but it, too, was closed. Not really willing to hunker down in the Jeep before noon to endure what at that point were just windy conditions with all of the trucks waiting to go westbound so I turned east towards Cheyenne Wells. There, I found US 385 open to the north so I just kept on towards the goal; wind and some non-sticking sideways falling snow aside. In Burlington, I navigated through town, only to find that my northbound route was closed… and I-70 westbound was closed.

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I drove around town looking for a restaurant or a bar that I could hole up in, hoping against hope for somewhere that might look like it might have wifi. I spotted Essential Foods and headed inside. The space was simple but the lunch menu they handed me looked delicious. I’d already eaten on the road but they happily let me just sit and drink coffee for hours, understanding that I was just seeking refuge from the DOT and its road closures. Outside, the snow started, but it wasn’t sticking and I was frustrated. Time ticked by and it became clear that Denver was a mess and I probably shouldn’t expect any roads to be opening any time soon.

As I worked on my computer and the snow finally started to stick to the roads a little instead of just blowing sideways, a man walked up to me and asked if I’d found a place to stay. He had offered his vacant, for sale house to a couple also holed up in the restaurant and wanted to extend the offer to me as well. James, the homeowner, drove us over to the house to show us around the house that turned out to be a gorgeous 1919 Craftsman. James fretted about the lack of furniture, turned the heat up for us, insisted on opening the blinds so it didn’t feel like a cave, and offered to go to the grocery store for some toilet paper. Simply feeling grateful to have a warm place to stay, all I could do was reassure my host that it didn’t matter that there was no furniture, that I had toilet paper in the jeep, and that I couldn’t ask for anything more for the night.

Back at the restaurant, I got to know my housemates for the night better: Bart and Leigh (along with their dog Boone) run Be Hippy, a grassroots lifestyle brand. We chatted about social media, traveling, and marveled a little bit about the goodness of people opening their homes to us. The staff at Essential Foods continued to take good care of us stranded travelers and eventually we drifted off to our warm home for the night.

Be Hippy

I’d started off the blizzard delay so frustrated and annoyed with DOT for being overly cautious but in the end, I was filled with the warm fuzzies of making friends, being reminded of the kindness of strangers, and the absolute importance of being open to adventure. Thank you James, Bart, and Leigh for making my day and being part of a weather event that added so much adventure to my plains highpointing.

Exploring: Salida, Colorado

After our exploration of St. Elmo, Sprocket and I headed out past Mt. Princton Hot Springs back to the highway and headed south to Salida, enjoying the views of the southern Sawatch Mountains the whole way.

Sawatch

US 285

In Salida, I realized that I’d left my laptop at home which severely cramped my plans to do some grading and blogging but I made do with some #hikerchat and just relaxed with coffee and quiche at Brown Dog Coffee.

Brown Dog Coffee, Salida

Since I couldn’t get much work done, Sprocket and I took full advantage and wandered around town enjoying the sunshine. Spring was out in full force!

Beth and Sprocket

We walked through the shops and down the main streets:

Salida, Colorado

We wandered around by the Arkansas River:

Arkansas River Arkansas River

I made Sprocket pose with historic railroad equipment:

Denver & Rio Grand Caboose with Sprocket

We creeped on a Wagoneer driving through town:

Wagoneer; Salida, CO

Finally, after we’d seen what there was to see in town, we headed to Poncha Springs where we were going to meet Mike and then head to the trailhead.

Poncha Springs

We had some time to kill so Sprocket and I revived our living on the road skills and made ourselves at home in the rest area.

Poncha Springs Visitors Center

Sprocket Poncha Springs

It was a really rough life, hanging out in the sunshine, reading, and enjoying the views.

Sprocket with the Sawatchs

The breeze kicked up as the sun sank on the horizon and we crawled into the jeep to stay a little bit warmer. I think #jeeplife suits us well, don’t you think?

Beth and Sprocket

Fireman’s Fun Festival-Day 2

Day 2 of Fireman’s Fun Festival is all about the kids. We set up an obstacle course and sent kids from ages 3 through 13 through it. The kids also got to do a version of make-and-break, similar to the adult version from Saturday. When the events were over the fire engines and the ambulance did laps around town for about an hour, sirens going, full of the kids. (Forrest says he drove every street in town…he’s feeling pretty good behind the wheel of the truck!)

 

Obstacle course

Continue reading “Fireman’s Fun Festival-Day 2”

Fireman’s Fun Festival–Day 1

Yesterday was Mullan’s Fireman’s Fun Festival. This annual tradition has been going on for well, longer than anyone seems to know. The morning began with a parade and then it was time for the firefighter games.

Parade:

F gets to drive the fire truck!

Forrest, his brothers, and I competed in the games. I think everyone had fun, I certainly did, although Skye probably didn’t appreciate being dropped during the bed races. Continue reading “Fireman’s Fun Festival–Day 1”