Fort Collins, CO & Rocky Mountain NP
Day 101: Pinedale, WY > Fort Collins, CO
Woke up and we were ready to drive East. After a late morning at the lake and an early lunch at Wind River Brewing Company, the plan was to take our time through South Dakota on our way out to Illinois. Stop one was supposed to be Casper, WY, but we lost our way almost as soon as we got into the high desert plains & went an hour too far South. It didn’t take long before we decided to change our course and go to Colorado for the weekend instead! We drove to Fort Collins & went to Fort Collins Brewing company for dinner. We ordered the most beautiful sampler of their very tasty beers. After tasting all 12, we had a “draft” between John and I to split up our favorites. A fun new game. We sobered up in the parking lot and then slept on the streets.Click here to Read More of our vanlife diary
Day 102: Fort Collins, CO
Woke up and went to Everyday Joes for just a few hours of work. The coffee shop was an open industrial space with exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and comfy couches scattered about. We felt at home there. After noon, we took of on a Pokemon Go adventure all around town. We caught pokemon in the park, we caught pokemon on the town square, we caught pokemon in Elysium Brew Co, and we caught pokemon at New Belgium Brewing. They put on a fantastic tour of the brewery complete with tasters and Drowzees. WE found out about Tour de Fat, a big festival happening on Saturday & were intrigued. After New Belgium, we met up with John’s friend Jamie Rasmussen at El Rio Grande for tacos, fajitas and margaritas on their luscious outdoor patio. Jamie graciously invited us back to her apartment for a shower after dinner. Her black cat Jeff welcomed us. We slept in the parking lot outside of her building under a light rain.
Day 103: Fort Collins, CO > Rocky Mountain National Park > Denver, CO
Woke up in Jamie’s parking lot, got ourselves organized, and got on the road. We went North towards Rocky Mountain, but almost as soon as we got in the car we started to feel “proximity fatigue” Although few, we do have moments where the van seems too small for our big personalities. I’m rushing John, or he’s being stubborn. Today was one of those days. We drove up the mountain pass alternating between silence and intense conversation. Through alpine tundra, we drove to the highest place in the park that the roads will take you. We lounged, van doors wide open for an hour or so in the afternoon light. A collective breath of fresh air that helped the tension to dissipate. Then we got back on the road. We arrived to Denver in darkness after many more hours of driving than we had hoped for. We were happy to get to sleep.
Day 104: Denver, CO
Spent the first hours of our morning at Starbucks to get organized for the day. Then, it was time to head to Riot Fest! John’s friend Jamie had won two extra tickets two days ago and asked us to join her crew. We happily accepted. I put on black boots and sunscreen and was ready to rock. The sun was hot, but the beer was cold. We started off the day with White Lung – a female punk band. Then, we listened to a few songs from Rogue Wave and then devoured a whole turkey leg on the bone. We were surprised to like the Wonder Years – a high energy band that we jumped around to for a few songs. Then, I left John to catch Motion City – a band that brought back the sounds of my high school memories. I sat in the stands for one of John’s favorites – Lagwagon. I watched John go nuts in the mosh pit and crowd surf with a big smile on his face. John was less than impressed with NoFX, so we left early to catch Death Cab for Cutie – another one of my teenage mainstays. We ended the night at Deftones. I’ve never seen John so excited. We got deep in the crowd and jammed the night away.
Day 105: Denver, CO > Fort Collins, CO
Tour de Fat started at 10am in Fort Collins. I woke up early in Denver, so we could get there in time for the parade. We parked the van in the park on the parade route and watched thousands of costumed bikers ride by. The parade was put on by New Belgium and was full of good humor and cheer. Once the bikers were biked out, the party continued in town square. We met Nick Amoroso (a former Rocket Fuel colleague) amidst the merriment. We saw a magic show in the Le Tigre tent put on by a “metal magician” who kept us laughing. All in all, it was a magical afternoon. We went back to Jamie’s house to feed her cat Jeff & to relax on her couch. It felt good to have our own home for an evening. We showered, did a load of laundry, watched a few movies and prepared the van for the long drive ahead.
Day 106: Fort Collins, CO
We woke up, got a quick cup of coffee at Everyday Joes and got back on the road. We listened to Michael Criton’s Andromeda Strain book on tape all day. We drove through corn and barely stopped. We pulled into the Walmart parking lot in Lincoln around 9:30 & crashed, exhausted from the miles beneath our tires.