A friendly mountain town

At around 4AM I wake up when Adam is quietly walking into the kitchen / living room. He’s making coffee and getting ready to go to the gym. Back home I don’t know anyone who wakes up earlier than I do, but this guy apparently has the same mindset as I. “This is the only way to get ahead in life”, he says, “If I wanted to be average, I’d do average. There is a reason why I do what I do.” I smile and understand what he means. There are many people that say that they are not a morning person, but I believe that everyone can be a morning person if you want to and have a good reason to wake up on time. When you’re traveling it’s also nice to wake up early so you get the most out of your day. I download an app to show me the local sunrise, so I’ll be on time the coming weeks to take nice pictures.

After Adam leaves the house I first think about getting a bit more sleep, but since I’m already awake and slept for about eight hours, I figure that I can get up as well. I read the blog of yesterday another time before publicising, add some pictures and check my e-mail. I planned to not do too much work during this journey, but I also cannot let it go completely of course. I actually like it that I can help my clients from almost everywhere in the world. After about an hour of work I take a shower and get breakfast. The sunrise app was right, it becomes light here around 6am.

After breakfast and when it’s light outside, I’m ready to go. When I look out the window, I see something unexpected. It’s snowing! I go to my car to get warm clothes and run into the neighbor again. He tells me this weather is normal here. One day it can be sunshine and warm outside, the other day cold and snowy. I think today will probably be a better day for a good book in a coffee place than a long hike in the mountains.

The first stop after a short drive is Walmart. For the people who don’t know what that is, it’s a huge supermarket where you can buy practically everything. For people from Europe: it’s about the size of IKEA. When I go on a road trip in America, it often starts at Walmart. Today I buy a camping bed, a sleeping bag and a pillow. I go back to my car and set up the bed, it fits perfectly. Happy I go back into the store and also buy a gas cooker and pots and pans. The last times in America I ate mainly at road restaurants like Mc Donalds, but in New Zealand I also discovered the comfort of being able to cook your own meals while on a road trip. It’s just nice to be able to bake some eggs, fry some vegetables or make pancakes. With my mobile home set up and filled with a lot of food, I’m ready to hit the road again.

First stop - Walmart
Starbucks in Estes Park
Meeting some locals in a coffee place (3)
Some groceries for breakfast and lunch
Meeting some locals in a coffee place (1)
Everyday is an adventure
Ingredients for pancakes
Meeting some locals in a coffee place (2)
Snow on my car

I drive to Estes Park, a beautiful little town at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. I go to the local Starbucks and do some research about the town and the area. The barista is a very friendly lady who gives me some tips about where to go in town. She tells me there is a pub quiz tonight and invites me to come, that sounds like fun. I talk to a couple more people in the coffee place, a lady who visited the Netherlands only two weeks ago and a guy who did a road trip like me years ago. The people here are really friendly and the rest of the afternoon I spend talking with about half of the coffee place. A nice thing of being on vacation is not having to go somewhere, but being able to just enjoy the day. Besides talking with the locals I also do some writing and drawing in my notebook and enjoy a few coffees. The people recommend me to also drink a lot of water, because we’re now at 7000ft altitude, that’s about 2KM and your body needs to get acclimated to that.

At the end of the afternoon I drive to the other side of town where there is a very old hotel. The barista had recommended me to go here. There is a big lobby with two fireplaces and comfortable couches. At one of the couches is a man laying and readying a book. I ask him if I can join him and he welcomes me with a smile. While I grab one of my books, he introduces himself as Chris and gives me more tips for hikes in the Rocky Mountains. The people in this town are super social and make me feel right at home. While more people are walking in and out of the lobby from time to time, we sit across the fireplace reading our books. Outside it’s still snowing, a perfect day to stay inside. The nice thing of reading a book is that you can completely forget where you are. when I stop reading it’s about an hour later and still snowing outside. Chris offers me to show me a nice hike that is not too long. After being inside most of the day, that sounds like a nice plan. I follow his car as we drive to the mountains, about ten minutes out of town. He tells me where the hike starts and then has to leave to go to his family. I thank him and start hiking. It’s really quiet out here in the snow, the only sounds I can hear are my own footsteps and an occasional airplane flying over. After hiking for a while, I suddenly hear a different sound when a couple of deer are crossing the path just in front of me. They don’t seem too scared at all. Only when I walk closer to them, they do a few steps behind. I take some pictures and walk further. After about half an hour I’m back at the car. I’d love to hike further, but I plan to go to the pub quiz tonight, so I need to be back in town on time. I notice that I still need to adjust to the altitude here, because I’m quite quickly out of breath.

The lobby of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park
First hike in Colorado
Happy on the first hike in Colorado
Reading in the lobby of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park
Some deer in the snow
First hike in Colorado (3)
First hike in Colorado (2)
A little rabit in the snow
An elk next to the road

Back in town I walk to the pub which is filled with people. I’m not so good in pub quizes, but they are often quite fun. I join two ladies in a team and together we’re scoring about average, which we agree is not too bad at all. After a while I feel that I’m getting pretty tired so I say goodbye and walk back to my car. It’s still early, but I’m sleepy and go to bed. The first night sleeping in your car is always a bit exciting, but the parking place where I am is practically departed and quiet, so all is well.


One thought on “A friendly mountain town

  1. Paul Barton says:

    Wow, what an amazing adventure so far. The people, the scenery, the wildlife, such a beautiful part of America.

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