Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
56Trip End Ongoing
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Mines, mines, and mines. And then, just when you think you have passed the last one, more mines! Driving over the passes (Red Mountain, Molas, and Coal Bank) and historic mining towns, Ouray and Silverton (home of Montanya Distillers, great rum!), gave me the desire to pack up a week's worth of food and supplies and go explore every little dirt road and every old mining structure I can find
OH YEAH! If you read my last entry, you witnessed my sadness that the Colorado Boy Brewery was closed. Well, it wasn't closed, it just didn't open until 4! So, I was able to head down, have a pint and some popcorn, chat up some friendly locals, and fill up a growler before hitting the road. Also, I was able to use some needle-nose pliers to retrieve the trapped CD and my player seems to be in [mostly] working order again. :-D Now, I just wish my truck started with 100% accuracy...
Durango didn't see my face until almost 8pm. As I sit at Macy's Coffeehouse in Flagstaff just a day and a half later, I honestly cannot remember what I did that night. I assume it had to do with food and a drink or two. AH! Now I remember. A trip to Albertsons, dinner in my truck, a pint from my growler, a couple phone calls, a little bit of wandering, and eventually finding a place to sleep that night (in my truck on the dark street outside of a church...surprise, surprise).
Most of Monday was spent in Durango Joe's coffee shop doing my contract work. Deadlines are coming up quickly and I don't want to to get swamped at the last minute
After a while I got up to stretch and feel the cool, soft grass on my bare feet. A somewhat rough looking man, seeming to be around 50, approached me.
"Hey there. Mind if I play your guitar a bit?"
"No, not at all."
"Great! I just got released [from jail] and it's been a long time since I've been able to play!"
Playing guitar in parks and near rivers (think Truckee Riverwalk) have led to some interesting times! His name was (still is, I presume) Scott. Was incarcerated for 5 and a half months for some "bullshit" theft charges, just got released about a week and a half ago, and has been staying in the shelter in Durango
We talked of our travels and of sleeping in trucks. Talked about beer and women. (starting to sound like a country song...). He had lived in Reno for a time; moved away in 98 - the year I graduated high school! It was fun talking to someone who really knew the town, at least what it was a decade ago. SOO much has changed since then - more casinos, the train trench downtown, all of the swampland development in Damonte, the Aces stadium... We shared our experiences with 99c steak and eggs, and I enthusiastically told him about Awful Awful (seriously - how can anyone who has lived in Reno NOT know about the Awful Awful?!).
He spoke of all the great rock concerts he went to at the Hilton (Bally's, MGM, Sierra Grande, whatever you know it by), how his good bartender friend would get him and his wife (not the bartender's wife) shitfaced after taking their keys from them and then calling them a cab home
Wearing a straw hat, sleeveless shirt, [rather short] shorts, and checked Converse shoes, he said goodbye and headed up to get some grub. I feel so grateful and humbled being able to meet people like Scott. Just raw. Real. At a low, but so full of hope and positivity.
Shortly after I packed up, also in need of some food for the night. I was just stepping out of my changing room (the driver's seat) when three dirty campers came up. I guess between my muddy truck full of camping supplies and the fact that I was still buttoning my shorts and putting my belt on, they thought I might know of a good place to bathe in the river. I told them what I knew and was telling them about some camping I knew about when I noticed the Live Free or Die plates.
"Who's the Masshole?" I asked
After chatting and laughing and discussing our collective smell, the lone guy in the trio said, "Hey, so we're gonna go take a quick swim in the river, if you wanna join." Why the hell not?! The three of them were on a multi-week road trip, mountain biking as they went, and were, well, quite in need of a bathe. After formal introductions, we found a good, calm spot on the side of the Animas. We received some strange looks from passersby and folks across the river as we stood on the bank, changing into our suits.
You know that feeling when something is so cold your heart stops? Well, that was the river, flowing at high capacity from the snowmelt. Gasping for breath with every muscle tense, fearing the moment when I would have to dunk my head to wash my hair
After reclaiming our breath, orientation, and normal clothing, it was only obvious what we needed to do next...
Enter Steamworks Brewery. One of Durango's four microbreweries. That's right. Four. We were promptly seated, bodies still trying to recover the lost heat. While the girls were off doing girl stuff, the young man and I were discussing beer. He said, "Let's just get a pitcher - they'll both drink IPA."
Hold on!! Two good-looking girls that mountain bike, road trip, camp, bathe in rivers, AND drink IPA??!
I'm in love.
Over the course of a couple hours, the four of us shared a couple pitchers, some delicious food, stories, and laughs. They told the story of the creepy man in the hot springs near Rico that offered desperately to get them all to stay at his place
When I had left the coffeeshop earlier I was worried that it was going t be somewhat of a wasted day. Quite the contrary. Days like that are what I love most about traveling. People. Sometimes, I hate them. But I love people. I love connecting. Hearing stories. Sharing stories. It's so easy for me to just hide out and be secluded. It's safe. It's protected. But what good is a life lived alone? Safe? In a sense. Satisfying? Hardly.
My mom seems to always know someone who is sick or dying. Practically every year she knows someone who finds out they have cancer, or perhaps someone who has lost the battle. "But I have a lot of friends", she says. The only way to keep from seeing loved ones suffer and die is to not have loved ones at all. And what kind of life is that?