The drive to Loveland was long and flat. It was actually pretty cool driving across Kansas for a bit, seeing more sky then I've seen in a long time. It was a very overcast day which was probably for the best since we driving directly West in the late afternoon and into the evening.
It was a contently uneventful trip until we neared our destination. We hopped on the loop that went around Denver instead of through it. We were only on it for 30 miles or so but hit 3 tool booths at $7.50 a pop with the RVs. Yargh. Just before we hit the last toll booth a flash of sparks flew out from Steve's trailer as the tread of one of his tires flew off. We were able to pull over right away and any severe damage was avoided. That dude has got to hold the record for fastest tire change ever. It would've taken me three times as long for sure to get the job done.
We banged out the remainder of the drive and arrived on the lot in the wee hours of the morning. The generator wasn't due to arrive for a while so we stayed hitched and just crashed out.
There's not really much to Loveland as it almost serves as a pseudo suburb to Fort Collins (a much more happening college town) up North a few miles. I found a gym and after talking to the dude on the phone about a week pass, he told me not to worry about paying anything and just come on down. So I did. I went to the counter, gave my name, ready to head right in. The girl at the counter said "OK, so you're here for 5 days so we'll do the daily pass at $10 for 5 days. $50 in advance please." Ummm...what?
The dude I talked to then appeared avoiding eye contact and the girl went into the office to talk to Mr. Bossman to see what could be done about not screwing me over. A disapproving glance later from the smug douchebag and the offer stood firm. It was one of these tiny gyms that caters to super executives and snobby folk who stand around in their expensive gym gear instead of actually working out. After a "well f*ck you very much" I drove the extra few miles to a super nice Gold's Gym and got a $20 week pass. Yeesh.
My first visit to Ft Collins was enjoyable and it reminded me of when we were in Springfield, MA. Not much happening there but Northampton was just a few miles up the road. Very similar layout in both respects.
Oh, and Fort Collins is home to the best freaking Margarita I've ever had for the record.
A day or so later, B, Davie, and I saddled up and drove out to Rocky Mountain National Park for hikination. Holy freaking schnikies. Amazingly gorgeous. We chose Deer Mountain as our route of choice and began the 3 mile hike up to the summit. There were several spots to stop and scope the view, each more impressive than the last. We trudged through snow, avoided the bear shit in the road, and eventually reached the top. Of course pictures don't do the place justice at all but several taken nonetheless. Just as impressive as the views was the unbelievably strong and relentless winds that bombarded us making our jaunts onto rocks on the very edges of the mountain even more adrenaline filled. Imaginary 'lines of majesty' Trogdor style were drawn all around our area and we just soaked it up. Puerto Rico was great but I think Rocky Mountain National Park may take the cake as far most bad-ass place to find oneself on tour.
We made it back down the mountain without incident although disappoint had seen no Moose or other wildlife that could stomp or maul us to a bloody puddle.
Redemption was ours however upon leaving the park. We had just come out of the twisty mountain road when a bunch of cars started flashing their headlights at us. Instead of a cop waiting with a Radar Gun, we saw a huge moose on the left side of the road trying to cross over to join its two mates on the other side. It creeped to the edge of the road, then bolted back away from it several times. Once we had passed and the traffic was gone, it bounded on over to the other side. Pretty cool.
We were hungry ass dudes after out hike so we headed to a brewery in Ft Collins that was recommend to me as having good food as well. As we rolled into downtown we found ourselves at an intersection facing the crowded outdoor patio of a restaurant. As we turned left the entire place stopped eating, looked over at us and just.....glared, scoffed, and scowled at us for several seconds. Strange. As we passed another patio, the exact same thing happened. WTF. Did we have a string of dead babies dragging behind the truck or something? It wasn't until later talking to a local Couch Surfer that I discovered the sheer hatred festering in those stares was directed at my truck. My F250 environment killing DIESEL truck. For real. Wow. Damn Colorado hippie toolboxes. I'm not saying I've never been immediately judgemental of anyone in the past as I have, but this was ridiculous. It was as if a big honking truck that uncomfortably seats 3 was my cruising vehicle of choice and not a necessity. I half expected a circle of smelly protesters around my truck after we got out of the restaurant. Had I known the welcome we were to receive upon our arrival I would've stocked up on Aqua Net hairspray cans to spray out the window while flipping off the 'Greener than thou' crew seething with hatred as we passed.
The rest of my time in Colorado was very enjoyable though. A trip to another brewery where they serve you a free flight of 4 beers for free was awesome. I got a growler of Fat Tire straight from the source as that was where they brewed it. Add to that snow peaked mountains in the distance, super fresh air, and not being in Kansas. All wins.
We closed on a Saturday night so we stayed over and tackled the 800+ mile drive to El Paso the next morning.
DEER MOUNTAIN PICS HERE