Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Destination: Manitou Springs & Durango (last spring)

Garden of the Gods Park
  After going through Colorado twice, I find that I felt different each time. Southwestern Colorado Still had that same magical feeling as northern New Mexico had. It also happened to be snowing when we drove in last spring, which added to the charm. In the south I would recommend that anyone visit the small mining towns which still maintain a remnant of that old west charm.

The mountains of south western Colorado
   Looking back at Durango I appreciate it more now than I did when we were there, and that was mainly because we went right after Taos. It's like watching a dance competition when the best one goes first, or having Jimi Hendrix be the opening act. However, out of all the towns we visited, I would say Taos was my favorite, and Durango followed just behind. Durango had plenty of good restaurants, farmer's markets, plenty of streams to fish in, and a nice long trail along the river. It had everything you would need in a small town without being overly congested. Parking and traffic were never a problem. I even found a bookstore in an old house where I felt like I was walking through the home of a book hoarder. This bookstore had more shoot em up cowboy stories than any place I have ever seen. I didn't even get the chance to go all the way through them because I had to dig through two piles of books that were in front of the actual bookshelf. To purchase the books I had to look over a pile to see the guy at the cash register.

  We found a nearby farm with some of the freshest grassfed beef you could get. It was just shy of picking out the cow you wanted for your hamburger. They had baby goats that you could get in the pen and play with.  If I had to pick a town to live in I would say Durango would be one of the best options.
Silverton, CO
  Just outside of Durango is the Million Dollar Highway which lives up to it's name. We took it to the small cowboy town Silverton, and it had to be up there with the most beautiful drives we have had. We planned on going to Estes Park this time around, but after driving through the Denver traffic we realized it just wasn't going to happen. All of the rv parks in the area were booked up, and it took us an entire afternoon just to get the reservation in Colorado Springs.

  Colorado Springs was congested and no matter where you drove it seemed like we saw shady activities, but that seems to be a lot of places these days. I was so wrapped up in building the latest guitar that I didn't really care to see any attractions. I can appreciate the lesser admired forests where I can get away and find some peace. Redwood pine looks and smells just as good in those places outside of the national forests.

 I just have a few finishing touches and I will be showing the latest guitar build. This was my first time building a fret board, doing a scarf joint, and carving out f holes with a tiny file. We should have a demo ready the next blog post.

  Central Colorado really just made me want to go to the southwest. The traffic was just too much. The attractions cost a lot of money to be crammed with a bunch of other people to look over a mountain and be restricted where you can walk. I would have to say both of us dislike national parks, at least the popular ones.

 The park we stayed in Manitou Springs was tight, smelled like porta potty chemicals, and was impossible to level the rv. It was nice to have trails to walk into the town right behind us though. A lot of rv parks are off an expressway and there is no where to walk at all. My best buddy Frankie and I were able to take long night time walks without worrying about coyotes, and drank from the several springs in the town which were naturally carbonated, some of which were explosive. One of our jugs busted open from the water from one of the springs. Some of them tasted like an effervescent lemonade. While I loved the water I found myself counting the days I could get away from the crowds and open the windows of the rv again without getting a headache.

  Now we are pressing forward towards the Appalachian Trail. I really tried to talk Hana into spending another month in Taos and Durango, but she is ready to head east. The west was a nice backdrop that had me watching old episodes of the Lone Ranger at night on youtube, but the crowds were how I expected them to be. The west likes to say they are more openminded than the southeast, but that is only as long as you believe the same way they do. I enjoyed the southeast, and it will be nice to be able to go fishing without having to pay hundreds of dollars to yank in small farm raised trout with power bait. I will be looking into the Appalachian music scene as it is the birthplace for a lot of handmade instruments. I would like to make an attempt at a gourd banjo, and test out those rubber worms I got in Texas.


"Gas & Grass". You guessed it, gas station + dispensary.
Honestly, I didn't give much thought to the fact that marijuana is completely legal in this state. It was legal in Oregon, but only to residents. In Colorado it seems that business is booming. We have been used to large crowds given that we've frequented tourist destinations all over the west this summer, but Colorado is completely jam packed with tourists. I haven't seen traffic this bad since Ann Arbor during rush hour. Manitou Springs is a nice little town, though. It is a mecca for young vacationers, and almost has a spring break vibe.

Last weekend we decided to drive up to a hilltop park and walk around the lake. Half way around (or what I THOUGHT was half way) I suggested we keep walking to complete the loop. We had already walked a few miles and I could see the other side of the lake from where we were. Turns out the lake was full of twists, turns, and loops that ended up taking us until almost sundown to complete. Turns out it was 14.5 miles around!! That is probably the longest I've ever walked or ever will walk at one time. It was an actual miracle that Maya didn't stop because she's usually very lazy and if she would have stopped we would have been completely stuck out there. Something tells me she knew the urgency because she didn't even slow down, she just powered through. I actually contemplated calling the ranger to come "rescue"
us, but had no cell reception.

To add insult, Frankie got stung in the throat by a bee and didn't want to walk so we carried him for several miles. On the plus side, we saw a bald eagle up close. My first time ever! It's too bad the camera isn't as good as my eye because I could see that thing's pupils! The beach also appeared to be made of shimmering gold, which was neat.