Wednesday, June 15, 2011
DAY 1; May 31
I had a blast visiting Denver between May 31 and June 5. In order to maximize our time there, Kyle, Cat and I decided to drive 19 straight hours. We did it, but it was quite difficult. We took shifts where one person drives 3 hours, one stays up 3 hours to help keep the next person awake, and one sleeps/rejuvenates themselves for 3 hours. It was a pretty good system, but by the end... man was it hard. And we were driving alongside a thunderstorm the whole time with crazy amounts of cloud-ground lightning. Because of all the recent tornados causing destruction the past few weeks, we were pretty nervous/scared. But in the end, we made it.
DAY 2; June 1
So we left around 7:30 on Tuesday and arrived around 2:30 on Wednesday (mountain time). We ate at a cute little restaurant called Gaia Bistro while we waited for Kyle's brother Austin to get back to his apartment so that we could meet him and grab the keys to his apartment. Needless to say, it took quite a while.
We ended up having to go to Austin's apartment anyway, where his two friends who were visiting (Danny and Jonathan) let us in. Austin had dropped them off there and had to head back off to work. The two were quite the hipsters, but Danny was extremely nice nonetheless.
Man, we were so sweaty and tired. It was all around very difficult to stay awake / feel good. Around 5:45, Kyle's brother finally came home. We said hello, talked, and then they left. Then we left to see the Capitol and walk around downtown a little. While walking around, we were offered pot and "black." Scary times. Don't go there at night, y'all.
Anyway, we left there and then went to this bar near Austin's place called "The Ale House at Amato's". Austin and his friends go there a lot apparently. The restaurant is nice because they have patio seating that overlooks downtown from across the highway. And they have 35-40 beers on tap. I ordered two drinks, but I don't remember their names unfortunately. Blasted. In any case, considering the elevation and the fact that I hadn't eaten anything in 6+ hours, I got really really drunk. Off two beers. It was the best. Kyle was the same way.
So, Cat had to drive. And we went home and we all pretty much crashed. At least, I did... face down, on the bed. It was quite comical.
DAY 3; June 2
Next day, we ate Denver omelettes on the way up to Cheyenne, Wyoming. We went to the Capitol there and got a private tour by WY state representative, Stan Blake. He guided us through the building telling us some neat little factoids that you would only know if you worked there. He even invited us to sit down in the Speaker of the ... House's seat (I believe it was?). And we met with the Secretary of State, who gave us neat little Wyoming pins that we wore proudly on our shirts for the rest of the day.
Afterwards, we went to Taco John's, which is a big deal up there. It's not bad "West-Mex", actually. And their Potato Olé are pretty good. Then we walked around downtown a little looking for souvenirs before driving back down to Fort Collins.
There, we went to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, which sucked. We each sampled one of their more "premium" beers, to which we all gave thumbs downs. They all tasted like water. Nasty. But we were just waiting for Kyle's brother to call so that we could all meet up at the New Belgium Brewery (aka Heaven). There, you get 3 free samples. But since I was with Cat (a girl), we were able to get a couple more free samples.
I had the following: Abbey Grand Cru, La Folie (super sour; tasted like sour candy), Somersault, and others.
We all wanted to drink some more (obviously), we went to old town to CooperSmith's, this restaurant that Austin, Danny, and Jonathan went to all the time when they were all at Colorado State. We got two pitchers, the Albert Damm Bitter and the Wayfarer Copper Ale. After that, we were all drunk and couldn't drive so while the other three left, we stuck around old town and looked into some of the shops. Around 9p, we ran into this concert, where this band Elephant Revival was playing a free concert. And it was there that we met this incredibly cute Newfoundland (my profile picture on Facebook as of June 16th). Then -- and keep in mind that we were drunk -- we danced in the fountain in front of the band and that was a blast. Uninhibited hippie dancing in an incredibly cold fountain.
Once the concert was over, we all felt better and we were able to drive back to Denver.
DAY 4; June 3
We had a lot of things planned, but going to the Rockies was not one of them. Why? We weren't sure. But on Day 3, we decided we needed to go up to the Rockies. So we woke up early to drive up there. We stopped in Boulder to this restaurant called the Buff, which Kyle's brother and friends recommended to us because they served "meat-filled pancakes." The food at that resto was really good. The "meat-filled pancakes" weren't actually "filled" with meat -- not like a hot pocket, we learned. We also learned, or decided rather, that Colorado has really good Mexican-esque food. But it's not like Tex-Mex. No, it's not like Tex-Mex.
So then, we drive up to the Rocky Mountain National Park, which we were able to get into thanks to Austin's yearly pass and it was absolutely gorgeous. The mountains all had snow, the weather was incredible. This place is heavenly. There's this river called "Roaring River" that we saw and naturally, I wanted to climb up the rocks alongside it. We climbed a decent way up looking for a real trail, but eventually gave up and came down. But as we were doing so (and I was distracted trying to open up a pack of gummis), Cat starts saying "Oh my god, oh my god". And lo! There were big horn sheep at our level right across the river. Seeing them so close and live and in person -- man, I feel like it's such a rare sight. We felt so lucky!
But a park ranger eventually called us down and we found the original trail we were looking for. It was a pretty steep one. It wasn't long, but it was steep. And we were ill-prepared for hiking, not only in our lack of physicality but also in our clothing. Kyle and I were not wearing tennis shoes (I was wearing my Sanucks, which are like Toms, and he had one Sperrys). And we didn't have warm clothes. Because the higher we went, the colder it got. And it got cold real quick. Anyway, we ended our adventures early because of that. And because we wanted to go shopping at Estes Park a little. And because we wanted to meet my friend who goes to CU-Boulder for dinner, which we did. We ate at Illegal Pete's, which is actually a pretty good burrito place.
When we got back to Denver later that night, we went to My Brother's Bar, another place that Kyle's brother recommended to us. Two more beers here. Dang, wish I could remember what I ordered. But I can't. And I can't look it up online. Oh well. Regardless, good end to the night.
DAY 5; June 4
Woke up early again cause we needed to do some things in Denver that we weren't able to do since we actually never really spent that much time in Denver. We went to Tattered Cover bookstore (famous indie book store), City Park (where I had to collect my dirt sample), and The Denver Chalk Arts Festival. Then we left and we drove and we drove and we drove in order to get to Cadillac Ranch before sunset, which we accomplished surprisingly. It's actually a pretty neat ordeal.
Then we drove to Lubbock, where we were going to spend the night at Cat's friend Ravi's place. Sang along loudly to Super Bass (Nicki Minaj), Firework (Katy Perry), I'll Believe in Anything (Wolf Parade) and much more. One of my favorite moments of the trip - where we realized that we were comfortable enough with each other to do this. So much bonding!
So Lubbock was a whole ridiculous ordeal. We flipped this guy off for being a douche on the road and man... he was so angry. Large angry man. I was genuinely scared that he'd follow us and beat us up. Man does Lubbock suck. At Ravi's, there was Sweater Vest, Lacrosse, and some other people, but I don't want to get into it. This night was just ridiculous.
DAY 6; June 5
Woke up incredibly exhausted. Drove to Austin. Arrived in Austin. Missed Colorado instantly but we were glad to be home. Realized how much fun we all had and how hard we fell in love with Denver/Fort Collins/Boulder.