Texas & New Mexico
This part is about my trip from Dallas all the way up trough New Mexico, Colorado to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. As I was leaving Dallas I stopped in Denton to check out CTC Autoranch. It is basically a massive junkyard of mostly american cars dating back from the 40ies to the 80ies. Funnily enough it is located on Memory Lane…
It was driven to my attention about a year ago when I watched Roadkill Episode 11. Obviously, I couldn’t leave Texas without even trying to get a closer look at all of these classics, regardless of their condition. Many of them are visible from outside the fence. Sadly, the owner wouldn’t let me in just to walk around without buying anything… So what, it was 41°C, hence I wasn’t gonna stay out there very long anyway.
Leaving Dallas didn’t mean leaving Texas just yet. I still had to make it through the Texas panhandle. The aim was to stay as long as possible in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Hence, I only wanted to have short stops in between. My first stop was Amarillo, Texas, and no offense, but what a shithole! 😀 It didnt’t really matter because all I wanted is to sleep there at get moving the next morning. The motel was litteraly just next to the I-40. I arrived in the evening and wanted to find a Walmart to get a few things for breakfast. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one, so I ended up not far from the motel but in a weird neihgborhoood and stopped to set my GPS back to the motel. Suddenly a dog was coming out of a house and barking at me. The instant I pulled away, two cop cars started following me. It was probably just a coincidence, but one immediately overtook me and we drove in this cop-rental car-cop formation until we got out of the neighborhood and then they left. Good for me!
Northern Texas is pretty boring anyway; the landscape is very dry and the couple of little towns I drove through looked pretty run down. But then what could the people living there possible do for living? Farming? There is just nothing there. With that being said, the scenery between the towns is still amazing; Not for it’s diversity, but for it’s size. You can look into virtually any direction and see as far as the human eye can see. I could post a couple of pictures of that sight but it wouldn’t do it justice. Just stopping for a minute and enjoying the space makes me realize and appreciate the freedom and possibilities I have right now.
As I drive through New Mexico everything starts to become greener and greener (finally). Texas was fun, but just too hot and dry. And anyway, if you stay there too long you’ll probably end up in Pampa 😉
Once you get to New Mexico there is grass… I mean actual grass. The other one is to be found in Colorado, because it’s legal there. 😀
Once I got to Colorado Springs, it actually started looking like home; mountains, forests, rain… Except for one thing: the Garden of the Gods.
It looks just as impressive as it sounds; godly. 😉 Anyway, you can hike around all of the different rocks and on some of them. It’s a very easy hike but the scenerey is just beautiful and staggering.
Several hours later, when I was done hiking, taking pictures and finally realizing that I had been in an endless feeling of amazement, it started raining. So I went back to the place I was staying at. The next day, I went up to Pikes Peak, the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America (yes I know, I just copy pasted that line of Wikipedia^^).
It is a National Historic Landmark and full of wildlife. You can either drive all the way up and admire the scenery or be a little more physically active and hike or bike. However, hiking doesn’t appear to be as pleasant as the views you get from the different lookout places, because as far as I could see, you would have to hike up the paved road…
Anyhow, since Pikes Peak is also famous for its annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, I mounted my GoPro on my car and drove all the way up to the top. 😀 After all, it is the second oldest american motorsport event. The downside was, that because of the wildlife, the speed limit is between 25 and 35 MPH (40 – 56 km/h). Since I didn’t want to disturb Mr. & Mrs. Moose, I (almost) stuck to the speed limits. I will have to do a video montage and speed it up before I upload it on Youtube. 😀
As in any National Park, be prepared to see some wildlife. After all, this is why people go in there in the first place, right?
The only wildlife I could see that day was a groundhog. So this was pretty much my groundhog day. Unfortunately, Bill Murray wasn’t to be seen anywhere… 😀
If you have time, just spend the day in the park. There is a beautiful pond / lake called Crystal Creek Reservoir more or less on the upper third of mountain. It’s a good place to be lazy and just think of nothing. 🙂
As I got up to the top, the view was…not that great at all. Just look for yourself.
The “Bähnli” was about as much as I could see and it was freezing cold up there. At least it gave me an excuse to rush down again where it’s warm and the view is clear.
Denver is the capital of the state of Colorado. Colorado legalized medicinal use of cannabis in 2000. The recreational use was legalized just last year, in 2014. Therefore, when you get to the capital of one of four US states where cannabis is legal, don’t expect the local people to just smoke e-cigarettes all day long; they are pretty much all stoned. 😉 Hey, I’m all for that, as long as you don’t overdo it too often. I had booked a place to stay one night at an appartment using airbnb. I know it was just gonna be a couch and it was also pretty cheap, hence I didn’t have high expectations. The guy who rented the “futon” gave me the code of the lockbox, so that I could let myself in whenever I wanted…
Anyway, that appartment was a little creepy; there were two guys sitting in the kitchen talking about watching some TV series while being on multiple types of drugs 😀 One had a shaved head and a barcode tattooed on the back of his head…and…scars all over his body: letters, military insignias, etc. Of course, they had no clue who I was and they guy who actually rented the couch/bedroom wasn’t even there. 😀 I asked them what they were doing for living and the “scar man” answered: “I make popcorn!” 🙂 “You do that for a living?” – “Oh yes, I make normal popcorn, dill, green and blue one.” – “That’s fascinating, I replied^^”. I went downtown for the evening and when I came back at around midnight, more roommates and guests from England had arrived and started drinking games and smoking weed in the living room, which also happened to be me bedroom. 😀 😀 As you can imagine, that was a short night and I left pretty early…
I stopped in the city of Fort Collins based on a recommendation from Shawn, I guy from North Dakota who I had met in Nashville. “If you’re in to breweries, stop in Fort Collins”. And he was right, this town is packed with over twenty different breweries, many of which are family owned. Click here for an overview. Many of them are in the same neighborhood. Funnily enough, just one or two street before I got to Fort Collins Brewery, I drove through “Mulberry Street”. Of all street names that exist, it had to be this one that lead me to the breweries. 😀
Mulberry Street is translates to “Maulbeerstrasse” in german, the famous street in Bern, Switzerland, where over the last three years, many bottles of beer fulfilled their inevitable destiny and ended up empty 😉
Now back to Fort Collins. I visited Fort Collins Brewery and Odell Brewing Company. You can take a shuttle that will drive you around town from brewery to brewery, so that you can fully enjoy the different tastes of each brewery. 🙂
Fort Collins Brewery is family owned. Like most of the breweries in town, there is a restaurant in the brewery, which I highly recommend. Everything is big, spacious and clean. The only thing I didn’t like that much was the tour guide. Although he showed as many details along the brewering process, he didhn’t really know that much about it and whenever someone would ask him a question, he replied “I don’t know, I’m not a brewer, I would have to ask one of those guys”.^^
Odell Brewing was a little bit different. The building and restaurant have a similar style compared to Fort Collins Brewery. However, when it comes to the guided tour, that lady knew what she was talking about.
Furthermore, they use a “Bühler” mill for their malt. I think this pretty much sets the best foundations for a good quality beer. 😉
Finally in Wyoming
After refueling with liters of super local, super tasty, super beer was done, I did not drive to Wyoming right away. 😀 Please, do no drink and drive. After I got sober is when I continued my journey towards that yellow rock, the Yellowstone National Park. A one night pit stop in the small town of Douglas, Wyoming, and I had finally made it. After 1’400 miles of deep fried american tarmac, I had, at last, arrived in the Yellowstone National Park.