Thursday, May 21, 2009

Loveland, CO

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.


....end transmission....

Topeka, KS

We continued our travels out of Texas and into Oklahoma. Nothing stands out in my mind in particular about that part of the trip, save when we passed through Clinton, OK which bore a obscenely huge sign on the outskirts of town declaring it the "HOMETOWN OF TOBY KEITH!!!"


Anyway, on into Kansas. If you've never driven through Kansas and talk to someone who has, you'd probably hear:

"Near my home there used to be a beautiful lake, but then it was gone."

"Did the lake dry up?"

"No, it just wasn't there anymore. Nothing was there anymore. Not even a dried up lake."

"A hole?"

"No, a hole would be something. Nah, it was nothing. And it got bigger and bigger. First there was no lake anymore and then finally, no rocks."

And that's Kansas.....


After some searching online after our arrival on the lot, I found there was one bar/club called the Wild Horse Saloon (complete with the tagline "Where Topeka comes to Party") right down the street from the arena. Everything else seemed like creepy ass old dude bars. It was a Wed night and the club was having their weekly "Poor Broke Redneck 3 Ring Circus" night. Yeah, buddy. B and I of course HAD to check THAT out. I like to think it was a good and bad thing I had forgotten my camera. Bad insomuch that we saw very unsettling things that would've been great to document. Bad insomuch that we saw very unsettling things that would've been hard to function enough to document.

After parking at the place, we met the door guy who apparently had several bales of hay up his ass. After refusing B's ID since it was falling apart and staring at mine for several minutes before declaring it a fake we had second thoughts about wasting an evening there. Eventually Mr. Bale-Ass said he would 'let me slide' with my Valid PA ID but we had to go back and get B's passport to gain entry.

It seemed redundant for the club to have their huge Dress Code laundry list as everyone was either dressed like a cowboy or like a...well Kansasan I guess.

'Ring 1' was Beer Pong. Not that exciting.

Before the 'Ring 2' festivities got underway we saw at least two all-out drunk girl faceplants as they descended from the dance floor, one 'dude picks up chick then runs with her across the dancefloor....and faceplants', and one 'dude picks us chick then runs with her across the dancefloor plowing in to a couple who is actually dancing'. Not bad. Oh, and apparently all the girls come to the club with their moms to hang out and drink in Topeka. Weird.

'Ring 2' was the 'Gold Digger' contest which was hosted by a young, slinky, mouse-like dude with a molester stash playing the role of Ringmaster. Like Kid-Rock meets Steve Urkle.

Girls were selected from the crowd to paw and root (I swear I heard some snorts) through various troughs of dirt and filth looking for 'prizes'. It was like watching a redneck version of a Double Dare Physical Challenge. The girls were all used to farm life or something because not a one made any real effort to clean themselves off after rooting around like hogs sniffing truffles and just went back to drinking their beers. Bleh.

Between 'Ring 2' and 'Ring 3' we began to notice the schizophrenic nature of the DJ who would play such endearing classics like 'Crazy Bitch' screaming into the mic trying to get the crowd pumped up....and then immediately transition into several country ballads. From there it would be hip-hop night for a song or two before reverting to a medley of country tunes.

The second most 'WTF' moment of the night was when the DJ started up 'The Twist'. The Twist is a song where the name of the tune is the dance that you do to the tune, right? Not in Kansas. No, in Kansas you line dance to the twist just like it was any other shitty song that people line dance to....and you continue the same line dance as the song switches from 'The Twist' to 'Great Balls of Fire'. Watching people line dance is like listening to Reageatone. There's never any need to do it.....ever. I guess what I don't get is that while everyone on the floor is doing their little dance, not one of them is smiling or even remotely looking like they're having a good time. Everyone is concentrating so hard on facing the right direction and stomping the ground at the right time to have fun with it. I don't get it.

But whatever. 'Ring 3': The 'Sexy' Shower contest.

Sounds hot, right? Just remember where we were and what we had already witnessed.

The shower was this dirty, stand alone contraption they dragged out onto the dance floor. The water came down then recycled back up the side of the thing and came down again....and again. Disgusting.

The contestants (many of the classy gals who were on all fours rooting through dirt and filth earlier in the night), clad in their typical barely there wet t-shirt contest shirts were hurriedly chugging down their $1 cans of Natty Ice and dragging heavily on their cigs before waddling over to the shower beaming (no pun intended) with anticipation for the attention they were about to receive. We lasted 30 seconds which is probably about how long someone rubbernecks at an accident scene. Twas a site best left to our scarred memories and not shared with the world at large....

The shows were fine, and after the last one Steve and I hitched up right away and shoved off for Colorado.