Sunday, September 21, 2014

Karma or Luck?

Its pretty funny how things can work out sometimes, I am not sure if I am lucky, have good karma coming my way, but what ever it is I hope it keeps working the way it has been. Of course in every journey there are little snags and snares, sometimes you want to stop or you see or hear something that can ruin an entire day, but if you keep going in my experience things get better. Basically things are going pretty darn good for me so far. I think I have apartment lined up, I got a new bike, and I think my hand will be good enough to play the open mics this week.

It's pretty difficult to find a good place in Breck, especially during this time of the year, everyone is both moving out and in all at the same time so it become very competitive. Thankfully, I think I may have lined up and will know by Monday, I will keep you posted. It's a small 1 room apartment, just for me, and its even closer to my job than the place that I am in right now. Looks like I am going to be staying here for a year. I could really think of worse things, to be honest. Hopefully my fortitude granted to me by Chicago winters will see me through this place once the winter comes.

Yesterday I had to work a double, I got off work the night before at 5:30am, and had to be back at Noon, work for 4 hours, go home and come back to work 6 to close, alone, on a weekend, it was good times. I was on my little 2 hour break between shifts and I decided to walk home and take a little nap, I was almost home and I saw my neighbor outside and I just said "Howdy Neighbor" and kept walking, and this woman yelled after me, "Hey, you want a bike?". So I figured she was trying to sell me a bike, I went and took a look at it and it is basically brand new, its this nice little mountain bike, she told me that I could have it for free, cause they are moving and they don't feel like taking it. So... ya I got a free bike just for saying hello to my neighbor. Well also I helped her put her grill into her car, but I think if I had to do it all over again I would.

The funny thing is that just the day before I was looking at the bikes that the bike rental places are starting to sell because the winter season is coming. You can get a bike for literally half its retail cost, I have seem 3k road bikes go for 1k, I wanted this small mountain bike for 275 but I was trying to make sure I could pay my incredibly large first, last, and deposit on my new place. Good thing I held off cause now I have a basically brand new bike that I got for free.

This is why I wonder about luck and karma, I feel so lucky out here, things of course go a little haywire for time to time, but I just keep my head up and within a couple of day I have been given a new bike, or a good job, or an awesome apartment, its hard to believe that I work for anything because sometimes it seems so effortless to acquire it.

I  have also been kind of getting in with the open mic crowd, which incidentally is also the chess crowd and old bookstore crowd, you wont hear me complaining. I have been going to chess nights and open mics every mon and tues since I have gotten here. Funny story, I was at the chess club and I look over, and this guy that looked very familiar was also looking back at me, and I was like "Tom?" and he was like "Craig?", it was a guy that I knew about 5 years ago back from home. He just lived 1 town over and we used to hang out and had a group of friends and everything, we both kind of dropped off the grid for a while but suddenly here he is. I can tell that he has grown up a lot, its just so funny how he came out here a month ago, and I came out 2 months ago, we had the same thought at pretty much the same time, and here we are in a place that only has a population of about 5,000, what are the odds?

Back to the open mic, last week I couldn't play because I had a tragic long boarding accident and messed up my hand, its still pretty sore but I think by Monday I will be able to play, which is good because one of the guys in the group decided that I am going to play lead guitar for him for "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" -Led Zepplin, and "The Final Cut" -Pink Floyd, while he sings and plays backup guitar, I am actually pretty excited, but I need to study and my hand needs to come back to me. Even if this Monday doesn't work out, I learned about another open mic night on Wednesdays that is actually run at the book store where we all play chess and stuff. Its more of a poetry, acoustic music, acapella kinda venue, I think Chris would love it. I took this Wednesday off and am going to go to that as well. The next 3 days will be Open Mic, Chess Night, then even better Open Mic, I cannot wait for my days off.

So there it is, a small part of a much larger week, I got a free bike, pretty much found an apartment, I like my job, and in general I am happy and having a good time. It seems like I should be getting some visitors soon, my grandparents and my mom and brother, and some of my friends, I hope to see you all soon. Thank you all for reading this post, I will hopefully find the chance to write again soon.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Almost 2 months now.

Sorry that it has been a while since I have last posted, life can get kind of crazy some times. My cousin Sam just came to visit me and reminded me that I should continue this blog, so here I am, I will try to be more reliable in the future, but I cannot promise anything.

So I think a recap is in order, lets see....

Those two jobs that I had, well one of them didn't work out, I guess I just wasn't that into olive oil cause we had a mutual parting of ways if you know what I mean. But I have this other job that actually turned out to be pretty decent, although some drama at work has been making me rethink that position. Basically I
work in a Chicago style eatery, how ironic is that? I come from the south suburbs of Chicago to serve our food to the find people of Colorado. Luckily I am actually a pretty decent cook, waiter, and bartender, so I am rocking the job. I thought I would have been handicapped by my being a vegetarian but that is not the case.

The people love me, I have people come in all day telling me that they loved my food, ordering more, its a really nice place to be in a small town and to do a good job, it also helps that half of these people are drunk, stoned, or both. Sometimes things are bad but I take everything with a grain of salt, my good friend Chris told me that his Mom, Nancy always told him that, "you should lets the bad roll off of you like water on a ducks back" and that's what I do. But sometimes people are toasting my name and telling me that I am awesome at my job. Also my boss said he is going to buy me my ski pass and teach me how to ski cause he is an instructor.

Talking about extreme sports, I have started trying to long board so that I can be better at snow boarding once the season starts, unfortunately concrete is much harder than snow, cause I have fallen more than once, and in general when you fall from a long board you are gonna feel it tomorrow. I have been working for the last week with a messed up thumb and unfortunately cannot play guitar right now, but its healing, I could have gotten more hurt I am sure.

I started going to this open mic night that's just down the street from me, there are a bunch of locals that go up there an play, and its really all different levels and types of music which a good atmosphere. I try to go there every week, but as I said I messed up my thumb so I didn't go last week. I met a bunch of people up there, some want to play music with me, some wants to learn how to role play, and I found another place to hang out, an old used book store where people meet up for chess every Tuesday night. Hopefully this next Monday I can play cause I am supposed to play lead guitar for "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" for one of the guys that I met there, this should be fun!

Also my new girlfriend Ramona comes with me to these chess nights, she is pretty cool and interesting and we seem to want to do the same things most of the time. Last week we went camping on top of a 13k mountain (13,000 feet), I have pictures, its was a really amazing place.

Its a Pretty great place to camp and live and in general be. So far I am pretty happy here, there are of course some snags along way, I have to find a new place to live cause in 2 weeks my sublet lease is up, also I want to try to see some good concerts are Red Rocks before it gets to cold up here.

For now I must go to work, the slow season has just started so its going to be exceptionally boring, but we shall see how it goes. I'll try to post again soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Choices Choices

Wow it has been a busy and interesting few days, I am sure you will be surprised by what has transpired, here goes! Lets see how well I can remember it.

8/3/2014 (8/7/2014)
Sunday was actually a pretty good day of rest, well as far as resting goes when you are trying to get on your feet. I spent some time talking to those girls from Mexico, they were pretty cool, they are going on a week long hiking trip tomorrow.

I spend most of my time on Craigslist looking at apartment and other jobs, there are a few prospects but nothing solid yet. The girl from Romania was working and I just sort of let the day pass me by.

I got a job offer from this place in California where I would live on a ranch near Lake Tahoe for 2 months, free room and board, its very very tempting.

I decided to go to Avon and hang out with my friend from Romania who just got a new place. Avon, which is by Beaver Creek, its this little resort town that has about a 80% Hispanic population. When I got there we decided to check out this resort ski village on top of the mountain, it had a really big art show going on with all sorts of paintings and sculptures it was really nice. There were rides and games and all sorts of things, that seems to be what these places are like. There are basically carnival games next to fancy hotels and restaurants. We walked all over the place, got some food and then went to Walmart to buy a futon which I put together in about an hour, I am pretty sure I screwed it up.

Got back to the hostel late at night, everyone was asleep already so I just checked my emails and went to bed.

8/4/2014 (8/7/2014)
Monday, today is the big day, lots of choices to make, lots of people to talk about jobs with. I woke up this morning at 6:30 as I always do and I immediately started thinking about what I wanted, where I wanted to live, what sort of job I wanted to have. I was sitting there and thinking "Option A: go to this new job, see how it goes, forget California. or Option B: Go to California, forget about colorado." Well I actually opted for a third option, I decided to not do either of them."Option C: Stay with my friend in Avon and see what I can get going on over there, forget about both of the jobs."

I quit my job, emailed the place in Cali and decided to just start over. I really love having that sort of freedom and control over my life. I may not have much, barely enough to get by really, but I am happy and that's all that really matters.

I went to Avon and right off the bat I was applying for jobs, we went back up the mountain for a few hours and papered the restaurants around there with our applications. It's nice that out here they talk to you on the spot, sometimes they ask you to apply online, but its just as common for an in person application to work. We had a bunch of interviews, although I think in the future it is better to do that sort of thing alone, I think it didn't go over as well as I had hoped. We were up there for so long that by the time we got down it was getting dark, we went back to the apartment and I kept applying online and looking for an apartment, always have to stay on top of these things.

8/5/2014 (8/7/2014)
So Romania had to go to work, so I stayed in the apartment for part of the morning just trying to find a job in Avon off of Craigslist, but once I got up and out I started looking at the actual places.

I must have put out 5 applications around town when I realized something.... I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN AVON! Its like, where the mountains meet the desert, the landscape isn't pretty, the roads are primarily composed of roundabouts, and once September hits the town will be dead for 2 months. I stopped immediately and went back to the apartment and started focusing all of my efforts on living in Breckenridge. I now know where I want to live, "Breckenridge"

There is something about Breckenridge, its this nice little town, kind of reminds me of back home where some of the old towns have a main street that everything can be found on, then then it is surrounded by houses, except this place has a million dollar view of mountains. I just started spamming all of the businesses in Breckenridge, sending out applications all over Craigslist. It didn't take very long for me to get an interview with a little organic olive oil place that has 3 stores over the copper mountain area. I have to check that out tomorrow.

Once my friend got back I was swamped, I had applied for a ridiculous amount of jobs and looked through a million different apartment ads and did basically all I could for the day. I went to sleep early, it must have been only 9.

8/6/2014 (8/7/2014)
Now for the really exciting stuff.

Today was a busy day, I had 3 apartments to look at and an interview, all in Breckenridge so I got in around 10 just to be ready. Once I got into town I got a call from another place and they asked me to interview with them too, so now I had 2 interviews. First I got some lunch at Amazing Grace though, I like that place they have some tasty food, the veggie sausage actually tasted like real sausage.

I walked by this place that I was supposed to interview and its like this little tiny bar with a kitchen behind it, and they serve a lot of meat, so I was skeptical to say the least. I interviewed with the manager and he basically wanted to hire me as a cook/bartender/server, its basically a one or two person show, doesn't see a lot of business all the time, it kind of seemed like a bad prospect, I went out of there not really interested in that job, but he said if I ever wanted it to just come back.

Then I went to my other interview at this olive oil place, they sell olive oils, spices, balsamic vinegar, and organic teas, its actually right up my alley. The interview went great, they actually offered me 2 jobs, 1 working full time in the shop as a sales man, and the other working as an IT guy updating their website and taking care of their computers, of course I accepted. They want me to come in tomorrow for a working interview, lucky for me it's at one of their warehouses, as thing that I actually have experience in, I think it will all go just fine.

After the interview I sat by the river for an hour and played guitar, my feet were in the ice cold water, the water was rushing by, and I was playing and singing like no one could hear me, it was really nice.

Then, being all relaxed and happy I went to check out the first room. The first place was this cute little house that was about 5 miles outside of town, so really it didn't work for me in that respect, but I figured that if I lived there I could just take the bus. To be honest, I haven't met very many psycho's out here, but this woman was just bad. I started off by complimenting her house and she kept saying things like "really?" and "oh I don't like it", she wasn't really selling me on it very hard. Then we went downstairs where she saw that one of the dogs had peed on the carpet, she just started yelling at them loudly, while asking me questions and interrupting me to continue yelling. She then proceeded to shove the dogs faces in the pee right in front of me, at that point I was done, it was a nice looking place, but not a chance in hell would I live with that woman. She got me from totally relaxed to totally stressed out in about 5 minutes of talking to her, I cannot imagine how it would be to live with her.

I got to the next place I had to look at, it was kind of a weird area that it was in. It was above a workshop in a back alley in a forgotten storage area part of town, I didn't even know places like this existed. The guy there seemed cool enough, but he definitely  had some agenda. He was talking about a community that he was trying to build in the apartment, and that decisions were made as a group, and he basically implied that the standards of my living could change at any time based on his own desires, of course when asked about it directly he ran me a line, but I could tell he was full of shit. The place stunk of dog, the cabinets were made of sheets, and this place was tiny. He was talking about having 14 people living there, but considering how hard it is to find a place out here this place was actually my backup. But as I was sitting in the living area with everyone and getting to know them, this girl decided she wanted to big room rather than the loft, which meant that if I got a room there I would have to sleep above the stairs... This was no longer an option.

I got to the final place and it is this double wide trailer, it kind of looks crappy from the outside but its only 6 blocks from where I would be working. I walked inside, sniffed the air a couple of times, looked around for a moment and said "I'll take it" I didn't even look around at first. He was surprised but happy to hear it, I guess I seem like a good guy to rent to because no one has turned me down yet. I looked around the place and it was actually just perfect for me. I have a 10x10 room with a bed, everything is clean, it doesn't smell, there is a back yard, the room mates were cool, basically this is exactly what I had been waiting for, although the price is a little high. "Screw it" I said, this is gonna be my place. Although not being able to move in until tomorrow I was kind of left with nowhere to go, so I just started walking around and thinking.

I was thinking about my rent, and trying to figure out how I was gonna be able to make it next month if all I am making is salary and I would only get my first weeks pay in the next 3 weeks because of how payroll works or something. So I Called up my new job and told them I only wanted the full times sales job for now, which they were okay with, and then I started looking for a late night job.

I went into a few bars but nothing really seemed like a place I could get into, but I remembered that first interview I had, they are open until 2, and I am guaranteed hours.... So long story short, I decided to take that first job I was offered working as a bartender/cook/server, and I start both of my new jobs tomorrow. Chances are I will be working about 64+ hours a week, which oddly enough I am very happy about.

My friend in Avon offered to put me up for the night again, so I went there and basically passed out right on the floor, I am excited to see how my new jobs go tomorrow.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I Love Craigslist

Wow, so there is a lot to post now, bare with me! I have been thinking about posting more often just cause so much stuff happens in a day that its hard to remember all of it. Anyways, here is how the last 3 days have gone.

7/31/2014 (8/3/2014)

Wanna know why I love Colorado so much? Its cause you can make friends instantly and just go out and do fun stuff with them. Just about everyone out here has 1 thing in common, they are from somewhere else. If you simply ask anyone "Hey, where ya from?" you are bound to make a friend, or at least have a great conversation.

Today I met some new people, although I think I met them in passing last night, a girl from Romania and another guy from Texas. First Texas and I walked around, that was pretty fun, we walked up some of the mountain roads and just talked about what ever, the scenery out here is beyond compare, we saw a little fox running around and I got a few pictures of it, those should be on here very soon, I just need to pick up a new micro USB cable. We had been walking up this hill and mind you I only have a pair of dress shoes to really walk in, so I am trudging up this mountain road and realize I forgot water and I am starting to really get dehydrated, so I just walked up to this front porch where this girl and guy were talking on a balcony and simply asked "Hey can I have some water?" and thus began a new friendship.

The girl and guy came down stairs and I got my cup of water and we just walked for about 10 minutes. Both of them were just travelers, out here for a few months and just looking to live in the mountains and ski and hike. A storm front was moving in so we had to head out and started walking back to the hostel when the girl drove by and asked us if we wanted a ride, uncharacteristically I said yes. It was only like a half a mile but in that time we all exchanged contact information and suddenly I had a new friend in Breckenridge.

We got back and the storm just blew past us, false alarm, so I kept hanging out with some of the people at the hostel, I wanted to go out to Breckenridge brewery and try some of their beer so I asked the girl from Romania if she wanted to go, we started walking into town when I discovered that she wasn't feeling so great so we changed beer into pizza and a retro arcade. There is a place called Erics Downstairs and they make decent pizza and have a cool arcade with some old old video games like Donkey Kong, she had never played any of them so of course we had to play ALL OF THEM, I am a bit of a nerd after all. Funny story, she actually kicked my ass in most of the games that we played together, I was pretty impressed! The pizza there was like a garlic bomb though, I could smell that for days later, the brushing did nothing!

When we decided to go back we started hearing this classical music coming from somewhere, after looking around for a short time we found this amphitheater which had glass garage doors on the outside so you can look in and listen to what was going on. There was some sort of classical concert that we couldn't get in cause we didn't have tickets so we just stood around outside and listened and watched, personally I think we had the best seats anyways. There was supposed to be a open concert the next day so we said we would check that out tomorrow.

After that we went back to the hostel and just hung out and talked, the guy from Texas was there and we all just talked about our adventures and what we wanted to do. I was applying for jobs the whole time and thats basically how my night ended.

8/1/2014 (8/3/2014)

The next day I was applying for jobs on Craigslist and I got a call almost immediately in the morning, it was for a front desk job at a hotel, I got there for the interview at 1, funny story, the manager was actually from Mokena, and she knew my best friend Chris cause they went to school together, small world right? Long story short, I HAVE A JOB! All it takes to get a job out here is a little hard work, just use craigslist or coolworks or a few other websites and something will come up. I start Monday, I am pretty excited for it, I get a free pass to Copper Mountain, which I have been told is the best mountain up here anyways. Now all I need to do is find a room to stay in.

After I got my job I came back to celebrate, that girl from Romania and I went to see that concert, unfortunately it was just rehearsal so we didn't stay long, it was kind of a bust, but that's okay, cause in Breckenridge there is always something else to do! We stopped at this little Vegetarian cafe and got a sandwich which was actually really good, after we road the gondolas up the mountain and just looked at the mountains. Seriously, I could do nothing but that for the whole day and be completely happy.

Once we got to the top it was this really big resort town with rides and little overpriced activities to do. We climbed up this little snow hill and boy was I tired by the end, I am pretty sure we were at around 12k feet so the air is pretty thing there. She thought I was gonna fall cause I was doing all of this in dress shoes, but little do all of you know I am a master dress shoe climber. (Not really I just need to get my mom to send me my hiking shoes) We went on a little roller coaster ride that was a ton of fun and crazy fast and seemingly incredibly dangerous, we had to sign a waiver just to go on it. After that I was pretty tired so we started making out way back.

About 3 miles from the hostel it started raining, and it was just little sprinkles, this was "water dripping from your hair" rain,  we ducked into a coffee shop where I learned that Mexican hot chocolate is not my drink, then we went into this art gallery where it was all basically cowboy art. It was all bears and mountains and horses, I really enjoyed the exhibit, then it was time to just suck it up and walk the rest of the way back. By the time I got there I was soaked all the way to my panties, but it was totally worth it.

I was freezing so first I took a shower, but then I remembered... there is a hot tub here, so we get into that and looked at the stars, I don't know why its so pleasing to do but I love to go into a hot tub when it is cold out. There were like 6 other people in the hot tub and we all just shared stories and relaxed until the sun went down, then we sat by this little gas bonfire that they have on the porch, at some leftovers, got back into the hot tub, and the night just passed by with ease, it was probably one of my best times out here so far.

8/2/2014 (8/3/2014)

The girl from Romania found an apartment out here so I helped her pack her car up and she was on her way, it's cool that I now have a friend out here, we are kind of on the same path so we share out troubles VIA text like "how did the interview go?" it reassuring to see other people around you doing the same thing and succeeding, also if I ever need help I know I have someone I can ask now.

It was so cold this morning there was frost on the cars, but as the day went on it started to warm up. I was kind of relaxing when I remembered that girl we met on the mountain so I shot her a text to find out what she was up too and she was about to leave to go to Manatou Springs, so I tagged along and got to go on a 4 hours scenic drive through the mountains. This is when I got some of the best pictures of my trip so far, including a video, it looked like god was touching the landscape, it was really the most amazing site I had ever seen. We had to stop and take pictures it was so nice.

Manatou Springs is a little hippy town, we just drove through it and went right back, it was really just a long scenic drive and I had made a new friend, she seems like the kind of person who would be fun to travel with. She has been all over and been out here for longer than me so her advice is sage. We were supposed to meet up with her friends out there but on the way he friends kid got hurt and had to go to the ER so it ended up the way it did, which for me was just fine, I love long drives through the mountains.

I got back just in time to look at an apartment, I went to this place that is pretty close but actually a tough drive up the mountain, I am not sure my car could handle that every day, but the people there seemed cool. It was kind of a beat up little mountain apartment, kind of what I would expect for my first place. I also have an offer for a place that is right near where I work, so if that works out then I will take it over this one in Breckenridge.

I got back to the hostel and Texas was gone, I hope he took some of the advice I gave him, I had told him about the Buddhist retreat and he talked about the coast guard, where ever he went I hope it is going okay for him. Instead there are 3 girls in my room, 2 are from Mexico and the other Malaysia, it was late so I didn't get much of their stories, but they all seemed nice, the next morning I taught the girl from Malaysia how to play Cards Against Humanity, one word... EPIC. That is how the last 3 days have been.

Inner Thoughts
This place is really amazing, the highs greatly outweigh the lows in both magnitude but also frequency. If I want to feel better I just look out over the landscape and remember where I am, it is the happiest I have been in a long while. I cannot wait to get an apartment and stay out here for the winter, looks like I am gonna learn some snow sports. Although I do miss my friends and family I actually enjoy that sensation for once, it is better than annoyance or anger, which no one really deserves its all just my own BS. I think my mom and I have talked more in these past 10 days than I have with her in months, and as much as I would like to see her, I think that distance is doing our relationship some good. There is a quote that I heard once on a really really bad tv show, and it goes something like this,
"Love is like a flame, and Wind is like distance, when the flame is strong the wind will make the flame larger, but when the flame is small the wind will blow it out."

I wish all of you well and don't be afraid to comment or send me a message, also if you think I should post more frequently I would like to hear that cause for now its just gonna be every 3 days but I might be able to be convince to do it every other day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A week has passed.

Still no pictures, I cannot seem to find my phone cable, but I have been taking a few.

7/28/2014 (7/30/2014)

It was on this morning that I made the brave decision to ride a horse for 4 hours, now let me preface this by saying that I regret nothing, just holy cow did my butt hurt after, I was quite sore. The wrangler that I was going with before had the day off so I was left with a different wrangler, somehow it just wasn't as fun, but boy do I love those horses. To me a horse a really just a big puppy that you can ride, give them some treats and they will love you forever. I chose to ride Jasper for the 4 hour ride and by the end he was as tired as I was.

I hung out with some of the staff while they did their work, I can't be the only person who thinks that's a little weird, but it just gave me more opportunities to be with the horses, there was a mustang called Aztec, it was the coolest horse I had ever seen, it had a caramel body with chocolate brown highlights around its ears and for the mane, I wish I got a chance to ride it.

Then it was silent, everyone had gone or was at a different cabin and I was left all by myself, its not very fun to watch all of the young people get into their cars and drive off to have their own fun while I am stuck at a ranch that for all intensive purposes may as well be closed. I spent the rest of my night just walking around and looking at the horses, I think this was my low point for the trip. Not every night can be wedding crashing and birthday crashing.

7/29/2014 (7/30/2014)

I guess I must have taken being ignored personally because the next morning I was in a hurry to get out of there, I didn't even ride again, I just ate, and left, sometimes that's really the best exit. I made my way back to Loveland to get my car fixed, but for some reason it just wont fail when I bring it to the mechanic, although I did manage to find out that the guy at the first shop was trying to cheat me by selling me a fuel pump even though mine was perfectly fine, don't let anyone sell you anything base on the check engine codes, I have gotten royally screwed like that a few times now.

So it was time to figure out my next move, I started putting out applications while I was waiting for the mechanic, I have been looking at resorts because they offer housing too, its kind of like getting paid to be somewhere amazing. I also found a hostel in Denver so once I got my car back I made my way there. Low and behold the car started acting up as I got into Denver, luckily I was where I needed to be so I just parked and went it.

I got to the hostel and it was pretty bad, there were holes in the walls, the microwave had a hole punched in it, there were homeless people all over, and the guy at the building started off our conversation about how when he worked in a medical ward he watch a guy with mouth cancer spit his own tongue out, so as you might have guessed I was a little spooked. But no matter, I am an ADVENTURER!

I relaxed for a little bit before a I befriended this guy from South Korea, he was probably 22 and we walked around looking for somewhere to eat while he told me about his country, that place is wild. I also may have talked mad shit about North Korea the whole time, but its really not my fault that they are the joke of the western world. I told him all about the crazy things that happen in America, he was pretty floored, I think its best I don't go into the chilling details.

Once we got back he went off to do his own thing and I was just hanging out in the room, there was 3 bunk beds and in one of the bunks was a traveling chef, we started talking about moving around a lot and he gave me some really good advice on how to find a job and where to look, I immediately started applying again while talking to him. We exchanged stories for a while, sometimes its hard to tell if someone is telling the truth about the things that they have done and seen, although I bet plenty of people think the same thing of the stuff that I talk about. By the time 11 rolled around I was dead on my feet so I went to bed.


Woke up the next morning to find the South Korean guy had made it back safe, thank god for that, I have never seen so many homeless people in my life, Denver is full of them, although they aren't violent, I think there are more hippies than anything. I wasn't so interested in staying there so I beat a hasty retreat back to Loveland again. While there I applied for more jobs, he put some fuel injector cleaner in there and so far it seems to have done the trick because my next drive was quite a long one.

Through my research I found out about a Hostel in Breckenridge (The town that makes the beer), so I drove out there but the rain was pretty bad, it had been raining for the past 18 hours with only short breaks. When I got to this place I thought I must be mistaken. I went from the worst hostel that I had ever seen to the best. Seriously, this place had oak bunk beads with down comforters and marble counter tops, seriously I have been to hotels that couldn't compare to this. I think I might stay here for a few days. Upon checking my emails I had two responses, and then a third called my phone, tomorrow I have interviews, and if all else fails I can go to a organic farming group in California for 6 months.

It was still raining but I decided to go for a walk anyways, I walked all through Breckenridge, I was soaked by the end but it seems like a really nice little skiing town. Most of the stuff is on the main street, including "BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP", that's one of those moments I wish I wasn't a vegetarian, I walked around for a while and then came back to the Hostel for beans and corn on a tortilla. I talked to some of the other travelers for a while and applied for some more jobs, would rather have a lot of job offers rather than none. That brings us up to the present, right now I am sitting in my incredibly comfy bed and about to go to sleep.

I think I will try to blog once every 3 days so until next time, I wish you all well.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The First Four Days

Hi, Welcome to my Blog, thanks for taking an interest, I'm Craig, I'm 28 and from a small town called Mokena, in Illinois. 4 days ago I just packed up my bags and started driving West, I can't say that everything has gone to plan, but so far even with out a plan and all of the things that have stood in my way.

Note: Pictures are on their way.


The day started off pretty normal, I had basically nothing to do except for a bunch of things I didn't want to do, an in the midst of doing them I was suddenly packing my bags and filling my car. I thought I would wuss out at any minute but that was thankfully not the case, I got in my car and drove until the sun went down, no one really know where I am or what I am doing and I gain some peace in that.

Telling my mom went about how I expected, I am glad my grandparents took it better. I would rather leave while I still care about the people in my life, go do something wild and crazy so that when I come back I am a little bit more ready to be someone else. But I don't want to be anyone else, I like who I am when I am on an adventure, and I like even better when I am the only caretaker of myself. Its freeing to have no real destination, to just go where the road leads, or stop when you see a sign for a cool thing that no one else would probably want to go to. I stopped at the Blackhawk museum when I saw it, that's my kind of place to go, I learned a lot even though I didn't go all the way in cause I forgot my wallet in the car, in any case it was pretty cool.

I had no idea that wind power was so big out this way, I am in Nebraska right now but ever since Iowa I have seen wind turbines everywhere, which I think is just fantastic. What ever prick is more concerned with his view than the environment can go fuck him or herself, I think they look cool, they look like a brighter future.

Tomorrow I will likely make it to Colorado, I am excited to see it, I miss the mountains and have always wanted to go here. I hear Fort Collins is my kind of place, I shall see. Colorado is just the beginning, I am not sure where I am going to go from there, I was thinking of traveling through the state and checking out all of the towns and cities while I am there, but who knows? I may just continue on to Cali. There are no plans for this trip, I am going to see what happens, wish me luck.

7/25/2014 (written 7/27/2014)

Woke up this morning with a back that feels about how you would expect after sleeping in the trunk of my car, there was a lot of driving to do so I got back on the road at 5:30AM, surprisingly rest stops have a whole lot of people sleeping in them at night, I woke up in the middle of a full parking lot, even though it was empty when I had arrived. This morning I was on a mission though, I knew I wanted to hit Ft Collins Colorado, my brother Brian had told me over and over that this is the town that I should visit because it is filled with young creative types like myself, so off I went.

An odd thing happens as you travel along I-80 going through Idaho and Nebraska and Wyoming, the rest stops start getting worse and less common, not that there was anything wrong with any of them, in fact they were all quite acceptable, in Idaho all of them have free Wifi, and in Nebraska they had them about once every 30 miles, but once you get to Wyoming you have a long way to go to find any sort of real habitation, but that's an excellent foreground for the mountain backdrop that was slowly making its way into the landscape a stone at a time.

Then I got into Ft. Collins, it was a pretty cool place, filled with tourists, I got out an walked around but nothing really called out to me at the time, later in my trip people had told me where I should go in Ft. Collins so I think I will have to go back and give it another shot. So I left and went to an even more touristic town, Boulder, but on my way there my car broke down and would only work a few minutes before it would die again, not surprising considering by now I have driven over 1000 miles. I stopped in a town called Loveland and brought my car to a mechanic, well this guy was my second choice and I went with him even though he wasn't AAA approved.... BIG MISTAKE, for the love of god, find a AAA approved place to bring your car. This guy started telling me I had to change my fuel pump and that it was going to be $900 just for the part, which wouldn't be there by Wednesday, so I got out of there and called up a AAA shop and he told me he could fix the whole thing for $700, so I brought my car elsewhere to get away from a scumbag mechanic. This other place was really nice but said they couldn't get the part till Monday, but he told me that my fuel pump is overheating so I would have to stop the car every hour or so and let it cool off, he ordered the part, and I left with my car that can only drive an hour before it shuts off and I have to let it sit.

Back to Boulder, I actually made it, it was a bit nerve wracking, but I got there, and my Mom in her infinite motherly nature got me a hotel room cause she "didn't want me sleeping in my car", that was my plan after all. This was the only hotel in any of the towns, except for the first one I went to but that place looked like it was filled with meth so I got the hell out of there, but this other hotel I went to was beautiful, it had a great view of the mountains and all of the walls were painted wild colors, basically it was made for hippies, heck they were even a zero waste facility, but it was really nice.

The ladies at the front desk told me about this place called Pearl Street, basically its this 6 block chunk of road in the middle of downtown boulder and its all the tourists and wandering hippies who are there, and it has a really great sense of community. Everyone in Colorado is a transplant, they all came from some other state simply because they just love the view or the people or both, and I can't say that I blame them. Down the entire street are performers of all kinds, jugglers, musicians, acrobats, it was really amazing, there was even this guy who told me what town I was from based on my zip code, he also did this for the entire rest of the crowd of about 50 people, he was called "The Zip Code Man", I was impressed. I just walked around pearl street for a few hours, sitting down to talk to all sorts of people when I felt compelled to do so. I was carrying my guitar as I went and I stopped and jammed with some homeless guys, then I walked up the street and went into a sushi bar where I made another friend, we chatted a bit and then we started playing guitar right there in the bar, and not only did no one mind, but the bartender came up and played my guitar too. I had one beer that night, I am kind of a lightweight now since I mostly stopped drinking a year ago, so after the one beer I had and that long day I was done, so I went back to my room and went to sleep after a very successful day.

7/26/2014 (7/27/2014)

When I got up I was kind of hit with a sort of dread, like I had made it to where I had planned on going and now I have to make some sort of choice, maybe go home, maybe stay in Boulder, maybe go somewhere else, but I am a wanderer, so I had to get out of Boulder, it was a great place but it wasn't the experience that I was looking for, I wanted to have an adventure. I started looking on the internet for things to do in Colorado, and once I saw horseback riding I knew what I wanted to do and I wanted to do it right then, I made a couple of calls and found this really nice Ranch, and the price was very reasonable and nothing even came close so I got something called "The Dude" Package, which gives me 3 days where I get to ride a few times and they give me 3 meals a day and a room to sleep in, its actually very nice. So it took a little doing, but I managed to get a room that I could check into at 4:00 the same day, back to the road I went.

Now Lyons wasn't so far away from Boulder, well that would have been true if the road through the super high mountains had not been out, so I had to take the long way up rather than going around, so what was supposed to be a half hour drive turned into an hour drive, up hill the entire way. I was going through this really nothing town when the car died again, I was not at all surprised, luckily I was in the best spot I could have broken down on that mountain, I pulled into the tiny town called Ward. I had never seen a town quite like this before, it had random cars laying all over the place and some of the fences were made out of a combination of gnarled branches and hockey sticks, and it was definitely a place where bikes go to die because there were hundreds of them just laying all over the place, this place looked trashed and there was only 1 store in the entire town and this is where I was gonna have to wait for 2 hours while my car cooled down.

Even though this place was infinitesimal there was an array of tourists and bicyclers and locals coming and going constantly they were all from somewhere else, many of them transplants into Colorado. The bicyclers were doing this 104 mile ride where they went up and down the mountains for 8 hours, I couldn't imagine doing that, its pretty intense. I chatted up a few other people who had broken down but I started to get bored so I wandered around this town with my guitar and just played and looked around. Tiny houses cobbled together from the remains of much older houses dotted the mountains with nothing but winding dirt roads to connect them, the forest obscured most of the town and not until I started walking down the back-roads did I start to sense there was a lot more to this town than meets the eye.

I went back to the shop to sit down and this guy showed up with a dog and we just started talking, he had come from Texas and just decided to leave one day and live in the mountains, so he moved to Ward where he could do what ever he wanted and live free in the mountains, I gathered that he lived with other people who took him in and they mostly lived off the land, it seemed like he was a bit homesick though, but I don't think he regretted leaving his home. He told me all about Ward, that there is a well that supposedly cures cancer and that it was supposed to be the capital of the U.S. a few times, now I am not sure how much of that I am willing to believe, but damn it was entertaining. When he had to go it was finally time for my car to start working again but honestly I wanted to stay in this little town for a while, there is something so pure about how it is out here, this is no pretense, people just do as they please and are generally very nice about it.

The place I had to get to was actually so far downhill that I could have probably made it with my car not running, thankfully the car ran just fine and I got to the Ranch just in time to check in. This place is much larger than it seems. There are probably 2 dozen cabins all through the woods and the main house is basically a hotel, with a pool and hot tub, I got this little room that has a sink next to the bed and the bathroom is 6x3, I actually like it, I think that if I had a sink next to my bed I would have less dirty dishes in my room.

Today there is this huge wedding, here, probably 80 people, and they were having their reception at the main house, the place where I am staying, so the dining room turned into their dining room leaving me eating at a table for 1 in the study. I was in luck though, this family of 8 was here celebrating the birthday of the people in their family that ended in a 0, and they invited me to their table and started talking to me and were so very kind to me, its amazing how generous some people are with the people around them, it really made me love this state even more. So I basically joined this family, and was seated with them for the remainder of their stay here I might add, more on that later.

So this wedding was finally winding down, they had taken all of the stuff inside so I was able to go back to the outside sitting area without disrupting their party. I was walking around outside and ran into these two guys, they were wedding guests so I stuck up a conversation with them, one of them insisted that I have a beer, so of course, so as not to be rude, I had one, or two, well maybe a few more than that by the end. These guys were hilarious, one of them was trying to hit on a girl while the other one was giving him bad advice based on his college glory days, it was a recipe made to fail but it was so much fun to watch. I didn't want to be rude so I introduced myself to the groom and he invited me to join his party. It was really win all around, so I guess I may have crashed a wedding party, first time for everything I suppose.


Ow did my head hurt that morning, and I may or may not have offended the best man and probably almost gotten into a first, but I made it out just fine, and now I was going to get to ride my first horse, but first... some Ibuprofen, much better. I sat with that family again, the hotel now had a sign that said both of our names, so I guess it was official, we were a party, they were so nice to me, it was really amazing.

Now I haven't rode a horse in probably 13 years, but I knew that I wanted to get as much riding in as they would possibly let me, so I signed up for 2 hours the first time out, and boy does it come back. I hit a few snags at first but then suddenly I was back in the saddle and it was easy as ever, although my butt my disagree. I knew I wanted to go again so I immediately signed up for another 2 hour and then a 4 hour for tomorrow, I am pretty excited for the 4 hour. I didn't have to go with any group, it was just me and the wrangler for 2 hours, 4 because I went out twice, and it was some really amazing conversation, it feels like this place is somehow personally tailored to me because of how in sync I feel with the setting and the people. By the time I was done my buns were cooked, tomorrow is gonna be hard.

I had lunch with the family again somewhere in between and they invited me to their birthday party and even gave me a party favor it was really so kind of them, I was "adopted" by them and they let me in on their family experience, showed me pictures of their dogs and told me about their families, it was really a genuine moment. They were all very educated too, all with masters and phd's it was really impressive, they were very humble about it though, the people out here really are pretty fantastic. I even played ping pong with them.

Once they left I was kind of on my own, the wedding party is gone and there is literally no one still in the same building with me, including staff, its just me trying away at a keyboard in a oversized room in a building that no one else is in, kind of depressing given how much activity I had had recently but I guess all highs must be followed by lows, at least I get the chance to finally do this blog, I feel like I get a lot out of it when I write down what happened to me, its almost a diary, but anyone is welcome to read it. Now its time for bed.

To Be Continued.