Our last night in Colorado Springs was a blast! We had girls/boys nights respectively and our friends made sure we had a great time before leaving Colorado:) Because I had such a great time, Zach was stuck getting the apartment ready to have the carpets cleaned the next morning... Luckily for me, there was a bed in the back of the van to rest in during the entire cleaning process! Zach did such an amazing job getting everything ready for our adventure. He has a gift for organization and our van was perfectly packed to set out on our vanventure!
|We have so much stuff! But it all fits:)|
We stopped by the hospital I worked at to say goodbye to a great nurse and friend, Karen Butler, who was retiring. It was so fun to see her and my other co-workers from St. Francis. I got to introduce Zach and take goofy pictures with my lovely friends:) It was a fun last stop in the Springs!
We headed towards Glenwood Springs to meet a few friends, TJ and Shanese, who were a few hours ahead of us. With all the holiday traffic leaving Denver, it took us awhile to make it through. Our little van fit in well with all the campers, RV's and 5th wheels heading out. Zach mentioned how awesome it was that we were staying out for the next year while most of them probably had to be home after the holiday weekend. It was starting to set in what we were undertaking and I was so excited!
Unfortunately, the amount of holiday travelers made it impossible for our friends to find camping. After many hours of searching, we met them at a Comfort Inn near Carbondale, CO and hung out in the hotel room. It wasn't quite what we were hoping for, but spending time with our friends was the main goal. We had fun watching TV and hanging out. They settled inside for the night while Zach and I had our first night of stealth camping in the hotel parking lot!
It was exciting and a little nerve wrecking. The only hiccup came sometime in the night when a late -comer was parking something in the lot that beeped as it was backed up. We both woke thinking we were getting towed! We laid silently, even holding our breath a little. The guys parking the vehicle started given directions for where to back up to and finally said it was good. I heard Zach take a deep, relived breath as they walked inside and we both fell back to a peaceful sleep until morning.
With Shanese and TJ on the inside, we were able to eat a lovely continental breakfast with them as we made our plans. Independence Pass climbing sounded fun so we drove towards Aspen and found some bouldering to do. Outdoor bouldering always seems so much harder, but we found some fun ones and spent the day projecting hard moves. For dinner we found a lovely day area and made our camp dinners. Shanese and I, both previously members of the Girl Scouts for brief periods of time, decided to start a fire in a ring she had constructed. The wood was wet so it took us a lot of newspaper to get it started. Eventually, we had a lovely fire going. Because it was a day use area only, we weren't sure about the rules of having a fire. When the park ranger drove through, Shanese and I has a small panic attack which resulted in us pretty much dosing our hard earned fire. He drove by unimpressed and we set back to work rebuilding it, which was no easy task. We both agreed not to be so judgmental of the people on Naked and Afraid who cry when their fire goes out. It sure was fun to be Girl Scouts again!
Saying goodbye to our dear friends was hard. I will miss going on adventures each weekend with those two! Please come and see us on the road!!
It started raining as we left our day use spot. Zach and I were completely on our own. It was a slightly eerie feeling. No real plan or schedule. Just the open road and an endless amount of opportunities. We both had a brief moment of home sickness., feeling out of our normal routine and schedule from home. We chatted about it briefly, but as we started going over Independence Pass, I got to recall my bike ride last year where we climbed that same pass on our bikes. I started to feel so proud of what I had done and so excited to share that with Zach on our bike trip next week! It got us back in the adventuring mode!
We saw a turnoff into a beautiful meadow with a creek running right through it. The first campsite we came across was slightly secluded and flat, flat being the most important part when you are sleeping in your van. It was perfect! The creek ran right by us galloping over rocks and swirling down the hillside. I was so happy at that moment and so excited for the year to come!
|Our babbling brook:)|
After exploring around the area a bit, we settled into a lovely evening in the van. The living room arrangement consists of our pillows being flipped to the opposite side and leaning against the headrests of the front seats. With the computer sitting high atop our stove in the back, we watched The 5th Element starring a very young Bruce Willis. It was fantastic! To top it all off, when we went outside to brush our teeth before bed, the milky way was spread out in the sky above us! What a view! I easily settled in for a nice sleep under that blanket of stars.
|Ready to use!|
Our morning was pretty typical of camping. We woke up and Zach made coffee/tea for us. Buena Vista was our next stop to get a few supplies and find some climbing. The climbing was right off the parking lot and we had a great time doing a climb called Bob's Crack. It's a 5.9 climb meaning its a moderately difficult climb. It was great fun and if the wind and rain had not pushed us back into the van, we would have happily climbed more.
|What a great place to wake up!|
We have now settled into Salida, CO for the evening. The public library here offers free wi-fi and comfortable seats downstairs. My favorite part is the high school aged kid sitting next to me who has gotten up from his chair twice since I got here and both times knocked it completely over. The loud bang followed by my laughter is probably not what's appropriate for a library, but it has been entertaining. He hasn't seen the humor in it yet, but maybe the next time he will.
Well, you are all caught up for now! We are heading towards Durango over the next few days, but don't have anything set in stone yet. I'm loving the free spirit this trip allows me to have:) So long for now!
|My fifth element (love:)|